The last 2 races saw Bridgestone with a superior tyre. Is that going to continue for the rest of the season or will
Michelin fight back ? As Michelin is leaving Formula 1 at the end of this season, could they be winding down their operations ?
Unlikely, Michelin would certainly want to leave Formula 1 at the top and expect the battle between the 2 tyre suppliers to
intensify over the last 7 races of the season.
So who will have the edge at Hockenheim ? Very difficult to predict but both camps
will be trying very hard.
The Hockenheim track (layout)
is no longer the ultra high speed low downforce circuit it used to be. Now it is a high downforce track comprising a number
of low and medium speed corners. Cars need to have good braking and good traction, There are a number of overtaking opportunities at
Hockenheim but like most new tracks, overtaking is difficult. Tyre wear is expected to be high and blistering is always a concern
for the teams here.
Most teams conducted testing at Jerez with McLaren and Honda trading fastest times during the
test but it is hard to read much from testing. Ferrari were testing at Paul Ricard.
Teams and Drivers to watch:
Renault have to be on the attack in order to maintain or extend the lead they have in both Championships. They need both their
drivers to be in top form in order to maximise points. Alonso managed to take second in France and that was a good effort
as he only lost 2 points to Michael. A win is possible if the Michelin tyre has a small edge. Fisichella went back to his
'normal' performance in France and only managed 6th. He needs to do better.
Ferrari had another good race finishing 1st and 3rd. Had it not been for a great strategy by Renault, it would have been an easy
1-2. If the Bridgestone tyre has a small edge over Michelin then expect a similar result. Michael Schumacher is now 17 points
behind Fernando Alonso and needs to make sure he finishes ahead of Alonso to keep that small chance alive. Like Alonso, if he has
the better tyre he has a good chance of winning. Felipe Massa lost second to Alonso but 3rd was still a good result. Expect a
similar result in Hockenheim.
McLaren managed to finish both their cars in France but 5th and 7th isn't a great result.
Because of the tyres they looked like the 4th team in F1! McLaren are usually strong in Hockenheim so they should do better but
it still depends on the tyres. Raikkonen managed 5th while Pedro de la Rosa didn't disappoint with a 7th place not too far behind
Honda is still hanging on to 4th in the Championship despite only managing to score 3 points in the last 4 races! They will soon be
caught up by Toyota and possibly even BMW if they continue their poor form! Jenson Button is having a miserable season with 4
retirements in the last 7 races and scored just 3 points. He does need results badly but he isn't even getting a good qualifying
result! Rubens Barrichello is getting more out of the car but still 3 points from the last 4 races isn't too good!.
are now making steady progress after a poor start to the season. In the last 3 races Toyota have scored 13 points compared to 8
points scored in the first 8 races of the season! They are certainly improving and Bridgestone is helping as well. They still need
to work on reliability though. Ralf Schumacher had a good result in France finishing 4th ahead of the 2 McLarens and 1 Renault.
That was Ralf's 1st finish in 4 races. If the tyre is good and the car is reliable expect another good result. Trulli retired in
France but had the potential. If the car lasts expect points.
BMW Sauber continue to pick a point or two at each race. They
have now dropped to 6th in the Championship thanks to Toyota! They need to put up a good fight if they want to take 5th back from
them! Nick Heidfeld scored a point in France while Villeneuve finished 11th. Both can score a point if their cars last and they
are on the right tyre!.
Red Bull finished just outside the points in France. They are still a point ahead of Williams. A point
or two could be possible in Germany.
Williams continue to struggle. They are not capitalising on the strength of the
Bridgestone tyres, in fact they are damaging the tyres!!. Williams have now gone 6 races without scoring a point. Webber
has had 5 retirements in the last 7 races. You'd think things can't get worse! Rosberg has had better luck but still didn't
manage to score points in the last 6 races. Points possible but difficult.
Toro Rosso is mixing it with Red Bull, BMW Sauber
and Williams. That is impressive even though their score card only shows 1 point!. Points will still be difficult though.
MF1 Racing will
be at the back, the new Super Aguri may turn out to be faster but don't expect it to last the distance.
1st Race Engine
2nd Race Engine
Giancarlo Fisichella Pedro de la Rosa Jenson Button Rubens Barrichello Jarno Trulli Christian
Klien Vitantonio Liuzzi
Fernando Alonso Kimi Raikkonen Michael Schumacher Felipe Massa Nico Rosberg Ralf Schumacher
David Coulthard Nick
Heidfeld Jacques Villeneuve Christijan Albers Vitantonio Liuzzi Scott Speed Franck Montagny
Mark Webber (can opt for a new engine) Tiago Monteiro (can opt for a new engine)
Takuma Sato (can opt for a new engine)