1 Turkish Grand Prix
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New race, same suspects ?
brand new track in Istanbul is another Herman Tilke design. The circuit offers a number of slow corners connected by a few short
straights. The circuit which runs in a counter-clockwise direction also offers a number of elevation changes. Top speed is expected
to reach 325 km/H on the back straight just before the two corners that lead into the main straight.
Cars are expected to run with a high downforce configuration,
tyre wear is unknown as it is a new track however wear is expected to be high.
Drivers who are good at adapting quickly to a new track will shine here but given the big gap between McLaren and Renault on one side and the rest of the field on the other, expect the usual suspects to top the podium at the end of the race with McLaren having a small edge over Renault on pace but Renault being more reliable.
All the teams except for Ferrari took a 3 week break from on-track testing. Ferrari conducted several days of testing at Monza and Fiorano.
Here is a team by team preview:
Failed to score points at the Hungarian Grand Prix and lost 10 points to McLaren in the Constructors' Championship. They remain in
the lead but will have to ensure they finish both cars in the points if they are to maintain the lead. They struggled in Hungary but
they should be closer to McLaren here.
Drivers: Fernando Alonso lost 10 points in Hungary to Kimi Raikkonen but continues to lead
the Drivers' Championship by 26 points with just 6 races remaining. Finishing on the podium for the remaining races will get him the
title even if Kimi wins all the remaining races.
is clearly not on par with Alonso. Rumours suggest a Webber - Fisichella swap next season. It is probably a way to put pressure on
him but given Renault's fight for the Championship they don't want this kind of pressure to backfire.
For the 3rd time in 4 races a McLaren retires with mechanical trouble. The car is fast but the chances of both their cars finishing
is low. To fight Renault for the title they need both cars to score points and they are not achieving that at the moment.
Drivers: Kimi Raikkonen won the Hungarian Grand Prix with a superbly executed strategy and a bit of luck with his team-mate retiring!. He should win this race if his car lasts.
Juan Pablo Montoya is starting to match Kimi Raikkonen. In Hungary he started second on a heavy fuel load and was on target to win until he retired. His will have a poor qualifying slot but an aggressive strategy could see him on the podium providing his car lasts!.
Are in 3rd place in the championship with an 18 point lead over Toyota. They appear to have a tyre that is very competitive for
half a race and that is not good enough. They are trying aggressive strategies which sometimes work but the bottom line is that they
need a better tyre. The heat in Turkey won't help them.
Drivers: Michael Schumacher
he is trying his best. He qualified on Pole in Hungary but was on a light fuel load. He was reasonably competitive for half of the
race but then he struggled with lack of grip and Ralf Schumacher caught him in the end.
Rubens Barrichello seems to have lost all motivation to stay with the team and has signed with BAR Honda for next season. Don't expect much from him for the rest of the season.
Had good pace in Hungary and finished ahead of BAR and just behind Michael in the Ferrari. It will again be close between those
Jarno Trulli seems to be back to his superb qualifying but average race form. Starting from 3rd in Hungary he finished 4th behind
his team-mate who started 5th. If this continues Ralf would catch him in the Championship.
Ralf Schumacher seems to be on a roll. He had his first podium finish with Toyota in Hungary and is only 4 points behind his team-mate. Expect him to beat Trulli again here.
They had a reasonably good result in Hungary however that was a slow track and they were expected to do well there. They will
struggle to score points here.
Drivers: Nick Heidfeld finished ahead of his team-mate in Hungary. It will be an interesting fight between these two team-mates in Turkey. Points difficult.
Mark Webber seems to be struggling at the moment. He must be disappointed to have moved to a team that seems to be on the decline. He should focus on the job though as poor performances won't help him if he decides to move to another team.
They had a very disappointing race in Hungary with both drivers retiring on the first lap. Their chances of scoring points was low
but now both their cars will be the first out in qualifying and that won't help them!
Drivers: David Coulthard had only his second retirement this season (not counting Indy). Continues to be consistent however his team-mate Klien is pushing him!. Points difficult.
Christian Klien continues to race for the team and that is a sensible decision by the team. Liuzzi didn't impress so Klien deserves the race seat. He had a good chance of beating his team-mate on this new track.
Remain in 7th in the championship but are just 4 points behind Red Bull. They should take 6th in Turkey and then they will have
Williams as a target but to catch them Sato needs to score good points.
Drivers: Jenson Button finished 5th in Hungary behind the 2 Toyotas. That wasn't expected and
expect him to beat the Toyotas here.
Takuma Sato scored his first point of the season in Hungary. That is not good enough and it seems that Honda are finally realising that. He is likely to be out of the team next year.
Sauber: Suffered from the heat in Hungary and their qualifying
positions for Turkey will be affected by that. They are 8th in the championship and are likely to remain there.
Drivers: Felipe Massa is likely to do better than his team-mate on this new track. He is also heading to Ferrari and that should give him a confidence boost.
Jacques Villeneuve seems to have improved in the Sauber recently. Whether it is enough to convince BMW to keep him next year remains to be seen. Doubtful though!.
They continue to struggle. They are now caught by Minardi and if they don't get their act together they will be firmly at the back
of the grid!
Drivers: Tiago Monteiro continues to set the record of finishes without retirement for a rookie. He is very consistent and is starting to improve his pace.
Narain Karthikeyan got the better of his team-mate in Hungary. He may be regaining some of his confidence. He had a good start to the season, lets hope he has a good finish.
They struggled in Hungary but expect them to get the better of the Jordans here.
Drivers: Christijan Albers was impressive in qualifying in Hungary but suffered from hydraulic problems in the race. Still the rivalry between the two team-mates seems to be working!
Robert Doornbos retired with a hydraulic failure in Hungary but had a promising race up until then. Expect the fight with his team-mate and the two Jordans to continue here.
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