Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Battle for the 2008 Formula One Championship Begins

As I write this, Formula One is already 3 free practice sessions into the 2008 season. Due to personal issues, I was not able to post any articles in 2008... Until now! Rest assured that all races will be fully analysed in 2008! This blog is all about the day after each F1 race.

Once again this season will be, in my opinion, a close battle between McLaren and Ferrari. The edge seems to be with Ferrari, but if you recall last season, every subtle difference from one track to the other could cause a shift in balance. This year though, the edge will probably remain with Ferrari most of the times, as McLaren has lost 100 million dollars - after the spy row - and the two-time world champion Fernando Alonso.

Alonso will certainly make Renault better and better, but he will have a tough time making them the best of the rest. BMW is my pick to continue as the third force in F1, but with closer competition from RBR and the already-mentioned Renault. Williams will also score better results than in 2007, reliability allowing. The middle pack will be tightly packed together!

The rookie of the year will be Renault's Nelson Piquet Jr., because as good as Sebastian Bourdais is in adapting to F1 after many seasons in CART, he will have a hard time driving the weak STR. Piquet will certainly benefit from Alonso's experience. Timo Glock is not as good as either Piquet or Bourdais, and Kazuki Nakajima is fast but inconsistent.

Who will be driver's champion? Hard to tell. I will go with my pick from 2007, Felipe Massa. I think he is evenly matched with Kimi Raikkonen, although I read many articles from motorsport writers saying that the Finn is better. My guess is that good luck will shift from Kimi to Felipe this year. That has to happen, statistically speaking! It is not all about luck, though. Let's not forget the end of the 2006 season, when Felipe was matching Michael Schumacher's time lap after lap. And his good 2007 campaign, in which he only dropped out of the title's race due to problems related to the car and team, not his driving.

Lewis Hamilton will have a tougher season, because McLaren will suffer the impact from the spy drama. He will eventually survive as a better driver. I am not talking about natural ability, because it is impossible to get better instincts than he already has. I mean the technical aspect of the sport. He will be better and better at developing car setups - and eventually the whole car. Don't get me wrong: He will still fight for the championship. He will just have a harder time than he had in 2007, when he came very close to winning the big title.

So those were some of my points of view. Feel free to disagree if you want! Now let's watch Australia's qualifying, which starts in about 40 minutes!

--Andre N.

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