Singapore Build-up (Part 3)

26 09 2009

In this post I hope to give you a quick catch up on each team’s progress, an news stories which have effected them since the last race, as well as a quick look at their prospects for the weekend ahead and there free practice 1 and 2 times.

McLaren

Mclaren seem to be undergoing some pretty fundamental changes to their existence at the moment, following the announcement of the first of their new sportscars at the Monza weekend. The car is powered with a Mclaren engine rather than a mercedees, and it seems the 2 companies are drifiting apart with Merceddes lloking to take a very large equity stake in Brawn. Thic could pave the way for Rosberg moving to Brawn instead of Mclaren. Alonso’s predicted move to Ferrari could well see Kimi returning to his old team to create a pretty formidable partnership alongside Lewis. The team did well at Monza, and lewis was half a lap from a podium. They have looked good at both Monaco and Valencia so we could see another good showing…

Lewis Hamilton

Much has been said about Lewis’ last lap crash as he was seemingly chasing the impossible overtake of Jenson to take 2nd place. There seems to be two camps, with sme saying it shows what a great racer he is giving his all to do just a little bit better despite not having the championship on the line. The other cap argue it was a foolish waste giving up a podium for a highly unlikely pay off  and squandering valuable points in the battle for 3rd place in the constructors championship. For what its worth I think they are both right. Lewis will be hoping for a better performance tomorrow after placing 7th and 9th in Friday practice.

Heikki Kovalainen

Heikki has seemed to struggle at the team this year, and his performance at Monza perhaps highlights why McLaren have been tempted to replace him. He showed genuine speed in practice and qualifying, however from the moment the race started he went backwards quickly and was unable to keep up with those around him. The fact that Lewis beat him comfortably despite being on a slower strategy will not be lost in Woking. Heikki’s best bet for a drive next year would appear to be Renault if he can, if not he should still pick up a drive with so many new cars on the grid and his experience at a top team. He was able to beat Lewis in both free practice sessions today with an impressive 3rd in FP2. However it is his pace during the race which he will need to improve on in order to impress potential employers.

Ferrari

The team from Marenllo appear to be the key to the driver market, at the moment but the lock appears to be rattling. President Luca Di Montezemolo effectively confirming Massa for next year and putting the seccond seat up for grabs between Alonso and Kimi. The recent scandal at Renault may promt the move to happen this year rather than next, after meeting Santander officals in Spain last week, when he is alleged to have sourced funding for paying off Kimi. In the meantime Ferrari seemhappy to pick up as many points as they can this year though the Finnish driver, however they appear to have given up developing this years car in order to focus on 2010.

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi has had quite a resurgence over the summer months scoring a string of four podium finishes in a row. It would therefore seem logical to assume that the highest paid driver in F1 would not be in danger of loosing his seat. Not in F1 however. But that record speaks for itself, and he is under no real pressure to prove himself for the rest of the season, other than to show up Ferrari. It certainly might make it difficult for them to annonce Alonso if he was to win this weekend. However 9th and 14th place finishes in free practice do not show a lot of promise for the weekend.

Giancarlo Fisichella

The Veteran Italian’s dream continues for the second race in his red overalls, but after a difficult weekend at Monza where he struggled to get to grips with the car, he was in need of a big performance this weekend which going by the free practice times does not seem to be forth coming. With a 16th and 17th place he was not quite a Badoer levels, but she will need to improve to raise his chances of getting a drive next year if he wants one, laungising as a 3rd driver who can not test will effectively end your career as Luca Badoer can attest.

Red Bull Racing

The Red Bulls, much like the Brawns seem to be blowing Hot and Cold, simply unassailable speed at Silverstone and the Nurburgring has given way to a spate of underperformances and no further victories. The team suffered from the lack of power in the Renault engine at both Spa and Monza, a fact they were not to subtle about admitting. They are probably the most stable team in the paddock at the moment having confirmed both their drivers early. Question marks remain over their engine deal for next season however with the team seemingly being keen on a mercedees, but with no deal forthcoming the german manufacturer may be reconsidering its desire to supply so many front running teams

Mark Webber

He may be described as the unluckiest man in F1, but Mark has been having the season of his career, before the summer break he was a genuine championship contender and had won the first race of his career, a series of poor points hauls have led him to admit his contention is probably over after crashing out on the first lap of Monza. He will still be keen to beat his teammate though and he was doing well in Fp2 with the fastest time until he put the car into the pitwall.

Sebastian Vettel

He was having an astonishing season with a pair of wins to his name before his teammate edged ahead of him in the championship table, however he has been able to put himself ahead of his teammate in the last few races, scoring a fortuitous point after Lewis’s last lap accident at the last race. He says he wants to keep on fighting until its impossible to win the championship, and topping the timesheets in FP2 showed he will be a force this weekend. However a lack of engines could force a change and a grid penalty at somepoint, it has been speculated it could be as soon as this weekend.

Brawn GP

The fairytale continued at Monza with yet another 1-2 finish for the white cars. They have added a little colour to their car this weekend with a one-off deal with Cannon whos branding adorns the sidepods. The team have done well at stop-start circuits, a characteristic of the marina bay track. However difficulties getting heat into the tires may be a problem at the night race, although the Bridgestone official has said he expects the track to be warmer than others despite this, during an interview with the BBC. In any case it looks like they should win both championships, but Ross will be keen to ensure they don’t throw it away at the last miniute….

Jenson Button

Jenson’s form seemed to have returned to him at Monza, with the string of poor performances coming to an end with a second place, albeit with his main championship rival still taking two points out of his championship lead. The fact there hasn’t been a lone driver scoring big points against him has allowed him to stay at the summit, but he will be keen to win as soon as he can. Some great aggressive work in the first lap paid off for him at spa, but he may wish to avoid that prospect on a tighter street circuit. A 2nd and 5th best times in the Friday sessions suggest he could well be in the mix this weekend.

Rubens Barrichello

The most experienced Grand Prix racer ever has shown this year that he still has what it takes. Another win at Monza showed he is still in the championship every step of the way, however his resurgence may have come a little to late to overhaul his teammate. He will be confident on the Singapore streets after winning in Valencia, and he was able to top the timesheets in FP1. He was lucky to avoid the wall in FP2, which led to him only being 11th quickest in second practice.

FP1 times

Fp2 times

That was Epic! Might need to scale it back for future races!

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