Sunday, 19 April 2009

Team assesments

Brawn (1st: 36 points): Outdone today, but this was largely due to a key characteristic of their car. It is very gentle with tyres, which means that in the wet, it struggles to keep them warm enough. This will provide them with an advantage in changeable conditions (such as a track drying out) and when it is very hot (or more generally, when the super-soft is in use). They still look good for the title, probably both titles. Prediction: CHAMPIONS
Red Bull (2nd: 19.5): Clearly the best car to have in the wet. When conditions were at or near their worst, the Red Bull was 2s per lap faster than anyone else (even Webber, whose visibility wasn't great behind his teammate). Also quick in the dry, which is usually more important for championships, but not as quick as Brawn. I'm unconvinced that they'll make the same progress as others with the rear diffuser, due to their exisiting system not being as suited to its introduction. Prediction: 2nd
Toyota (3rd: 18.5): A poor weekend for them, but Glock showed his strength in the wet, fighting throuhg to 7th. Will certainly win at some point this year, but may get overtaken by the more traditionally leading teams, later in the season. Prediction: 5th
McLaren (4th: 8): Crisis? What crisis? Today's performance will ease the pressure on the team, ahead of their FIA summons next week. Unless the FIA throw the book at them (which would be ridiculous, but not out of character) they are well placed to improve further. Strong development team can probably get them fighting for wins in the second half of the season. Prediction: 3rd
BMW (5th: 4): Should have had a podium in Melbourne, had a podium in Sepang and yet they were nowhere to be seen here in China. Heidfeld's strategy probably didn't help him out - his wet tyres were thoroughly worn out by the end of the race, having gone on during the safety car period at 1/3 distance. Will need to improve, and aren't due to release their new diffuser for a while, yet. Prediction: 6th
Renault (6th: 4): Alonso looked good this weekend, but Piquet was a disaster waiting to happen in the race. Admittedly he didn't have the upgrades that were on Fernando's car, but he must improve, a lot, quickly to keep his seat for the remainder of the season. The team have upgrades coming over the next few races, which should bring them into the fight for podiums. Prediction: 4th
Toro Rosso (7th: 4): Buemi keeps picking up points through great Sunday performances. However, as the other teams improve, that will become harder and harder. Buemi might manage 10 points this season, but Bourdais won't. Prediction: 9th
Williams (8th: 3.5): Having the second or third fastest car at the opening rounds and scoring only 3.5 points shows that it is what you achieve on the day that counts. Now that their rivals will be catching them up, they will struggle to improve on 8th in the table. Nakajima (like Piquet and the Force Indias) has yet to reach the top 8 in any qualifying session (Q1, Q2 or Q3) or the fastest lap rankings, or score a point in a race. His job will come under pressure mid-season, if that doesn't change. Prediction: 8th
Force India (9th: 0): A great shame for Sutil, that he couldn't bring home that 6th place. He'll have other chances, but not many. Unless of course, their Bahrain upgrade is as good as hoped. The team WILL score points this year, but not many and not enough to come 9th. Prediction: 10th
Ferrari (10th: 0): Another weekend and yet again they leave empty hooved. Massa's pace was strong, but reliability is clearly a problem, even without KERS. Raikkonen was fairly anonymous, after his second stop, ending the race 10th. They will come good eventually, but it will amount to damage limitation for the season. Their 2010 cars will carry numbers in double figures. Prediction: 7th

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