little too late, as always!
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What is it with McLaren that they always get their cars working by the time that the season is almost over?
Raikkonen was fast and at one stage looked as if he was going to win, although, towards the end of the race it started looking as if Barrichello could try another one of his brilliant overtaking manoeuvres. Even if Barrichello could pull that off he would still have been on the podium and, more significantly, he was only seconds behind Michael Schumacher.
BAR was up there too and Williams looked better too. Suddenly it is looking as if Ferrari are going to have to work to win races, it is no longer going to be handed to them on a plate.
Or is that just my perception? Or wishful thinking? After all he was some 16 seconds ahead of Raikkonen before the safety car bunched them up with 16 laps to go.
Recently Michael demonstrated that he can win races almost regardless of the strategy. Add one more pit stop and he wins and then in the very next race he shows that he can also win by reducing pit stops.
Maybe Ferrari are still not pushing as hard as they can and Michael is still winning by just going fast enough.
The "new" Hockenheim circuit (Track Layout) is very different from the original drive through the country that we all associate with this track. Very little of the original track is used. We have already seen several f1 races on this track but I guess we will always refer to it as the new circuit.
The race starts about one third down the pit straight so cars should get pretty close to around 270km/H(170mph) before braking down to roughly 200km/H(124mph) for Nordkurve.
On the first lap this could get a little exciting as tyres will not be up to operating temperatures and almost all of the cars will be bunched up.
A short straight then ends in Einfarht (turn 2) where speed comes down to less than 120km/H(75mph) followed by another tricky left twist before entering the famous Hochgeschwindigkeits Parabolica a massively fast left hand sweep where terminal speeds will exceed 300km/H(195mph).
This ends in the slowest corner of the circuit, Spitzkehre, negotiated at some 70km/H(40mph) before going through the back, windy, part of the circuit where speeds hardly get over 250km/H(155mph) that ends in Sudkurve a compound corner (turns 16 and 17) that leads on to the main straight.
Exit speed from Sudkurve is around 160km/H(100mph), firmly in the aerodynamic grip zone which will inhibit overtaking as, at these speeds, a following car will be struggling to find the grip needed to exit faster than the car in front.
The only other obvious overtaking place is the very long, very fast Hochgeschwindigkeits parabolica where a faster car should be able to drive around the outside ending up inside approaching Spitzkehre.
Ferrari and Michael Schumacher must be expecting to win this race. It is Michael's home GP and if at all possible he would be even more motivated to win.
Renault may be second in the constructors' championship but if the British Grand Prix was not a flash in the pan it could be McLaren and Raikkonen that threatens Ferrari this weekend.
Renault need to qualify strongly and be lucky enough to have clear track ahead of them at the start so that they can fully benefit from their very superior launch control system. In Brittain they were blocked at the start and could not do their normal magic. Could it be that the other drivers are starting to realise that giving them free air at the start is not a good move? Michael certainly blocked Trulli.
I also felt that Button could have done better if he had a little more luck so BAR could also be in this mix. Both Button and Sato have been very impressive this season.
Is still do not know about Williams. Occasionally they seem to find a little more speed only to put up a lack lustre performance in the very next race. They may get it right in Germany where special effort from BMW in front of their home crowd may make a difference.
Sauber is getting better and so are Jaguar and Toyota so the midfield battle will probably remain unchanged and Jordan and Minardi will compete for the budget finish stakes again.
Over the coming weeks I plan to have a hard look at the proposed changes to the formula. There is no doubt that the FIA has to do something. The cars are getting faster at an alarming rate but they must be careful not to restrict F1 too much.
Formula one has always been the leading edge of four-wheel technology. Changing the rules so that this may no longer be true and the sport could change so much that we may decide to follow another formula.
The challenge is to slow it down a little to make it safer for both drivers and spectators, find some way of reintroducing overtaking and still stay ahead of F2, F3000 and CART. I do not envy the FIA.
Agree or disagree ?