Tuesday, 14 September 2010

State of play: 5 drivers, 5 races

The European season is over, five races beckon in Asia and South America and five men are embroiled in the epic which is the 2010 F1 season. The value of a race win covers them all. They have all had great moments this year but also incidents which may well be regretted come November 14th in Yas Marina. Who is best placed to take the title? Lets look at some of the factors involved as the season heads towards its finale.


Mark Webber 187
Lewis Hamilton 182
Fernando Alonso 166
Jenson Button 165
Sebastian Vettel 163

Mark Webber's lead is narrow over Lewis Hamilton is narrow though the English driver's disappointment at retiring in Monza was increased by the feeling that it was McLaren's best chance outscoring Red Bull out of the remaining races. For the other three they could in theory leave Singapore in the championship lead but will more likely need non-scores from the people in the front to make big leaps. If not, it will be a case of chipping into the gap. DNF's are going to be a painful blow at this stage. Ferrari have been the most reliable this season whilst Red Bull have had races adversely effected by niggling problems. McLaren have suffered three terminal failures. An advantage for Fernando Alonso is he is the only contender in his team so basically has number one status. The other four have team mates as championship rivals so for Hamilton and Webber a gap built over their respective team mates in the next couple of races would strengthen them within their teams.


Abu Dhabi

The key to guessing performance could be the effect the new load tests have had on the cars. Red Bull remain adamant that their performance loss is minimal and that when we see them race in Singapore the speed shown at circuits like Monaco and Budapest will be displayed. I believe that they still have the best car in the field though the gap has tightened. Expect them to be strongest in normal race circumstances. Singapore will be a tough test though, we seen many teams struggle with brake issues last season, including Red Bull and their sister team Toro Rosso. Japan should be a strong Red Bull track with Korea more even. They may suffer a bit at Brazil where engine power is a key asset. Abu Dhabi also has two long straights though they had a 1-2 at the track in 2009. Fernando Alonso is very quick around Singapore whilst Lewis Hamilton was flying before brake issues in Yas Marina last year. Japan and Brazil has been the scene of heavy rain before which would really put the pressure on. Yenogam in Korea also seems a rainy area.


New engines remaining
Mark Webber 2
Lewis Hamilton 1
Jenson Button 1
Sebastian Vettel 1
Fernando Alonso 0

It's advantage Webber in this area with 2 fresh units left. Of course it depends on how you've managed your allocation. Lewis Hamilton had a new engine for last weekend but it only did Saturday and one racing lap on Sunday so it is relatively fresh. Fernando Alonso is really under pressure here though, solely relying on used engines to get him through to the end of the season. This may mean less running for the Ferrari driver, especially on Friday's. For any driver who needs a 9th engine in the season, a grid penalty of 10 places will be given.


Title battles
Fernando Alonso 3
Lewis Hamilton 2
Jenson Button 1
Sebastian Vettel 1
Mark Webber 0

The Australian might be leading the championship but heads into the most pressurised stage of his career having never been in a title battle before. Sebastian Vettel finished second last season behind Jenson Button. Lewis Hamilton has experienced both sides of the coin, an agonising one point loss in 2007 before an even more dramatic victory in 2008 with the last corner pass on Timo Glock. Fernando Alonso is best equipped with the pressures that the title chase bring. He fended off Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher for his two titles before missing out narrowly in 2007.

1 comment:

  1. Bring it on, rain probably in Brazil, Singapore, Japan,