Text: Alex Yoong / Photos: | posted July 09, 2010 13:52
2010 British Grand Prix
Here's how I look at how all the teams they have been fairing and what they need to do to improve.
Hamilton had a few blips at the first few races of the year, where he over drove a bit, but since then, he has been very steady in both races and qualifying, and that is why he is winning the driver championship this year. He just needs to keep doing what he is doing.
Button was outstanding in quite a few races this year, with two well deserved wins in Australia and China. But he needs to improve on his qualifying, to allow him an easier time in the races.
While McLaren were a bit behind the pace at the beginning of the year, they have been able to reproduce their form in developing the car through the season, ala last year. This fantastic rate of development with good reliability has allowed them to close the gap up to the Red Bulls pace wise, and this is why they are leading both the constructors and drivers championship.
Both drivers have been driving very well with their altercation in Turkey being the only real blot on their copy book. Also Webber's first lap at Valencia was a bit shabby, but their performances in qualifying have been outstanding. Between Webber and Vettel, they have been on pole at every race except one, which by itself is an amazing stat.
The car reliability has let them down a bit in the first half of the season and that is why they are not leading the championship. Red Bull still enjoy a slight car speed advantage and if they can continue to improve at their current rate of development without anymore reliability worries, they will be challenging for both titles at the end of the year.
Alonso has been very impressive at times this year, in a car not a match for the Red Bulls. But at times just lately he has been overdriving a bit, which is similar to the Alonso who first came back to Renault after his time at McLaren. For example, at Montreal he had the speed to win the race, but was not too clever in traffic and this meant he finished third. Now sometimes getting traffic can just be bad luck, but I do remember him doing the same with Renault, when he was trying to make an uncompetitive car do things it just could not do. Massa has had a quiet year so far and needs to dig deep if he is going to stop Alonso completely taking over the number 1 position in the team.
Ferrari as a team seems to be playing catch up a bit compared to the others. There was nothing innovative on their cars this year and it seems they have just been trying to copy some of the more innovative things that have come from the other teams, such as McLaren's F duct and the Red Bulls blown diffuser. They need to concentrate more on pushing in their own direction with development if they are to get right back on top.
Mercedes has brought back Michael Schumacher this year and just about everyone has had their say on the Rainmeister's coming back. Schumacher has been struggling especially in qualifying and his younger team mate, Rosberg has been outshining him. Despite the poor performances, I still see enough of the old Shuey, and that I think he will get better. The fire and aggression is still there. It’s been hard to judge Rosberg, because while he has been very good this year, we do not know how good because Schumacher is clearly not driving as well as he use to. Also how much of it is because of the car?
Mercedes brought some neat things on as the year developed, like their shorter air box, but you cannot help but wonder if they are not quite on top of the regulations this year, because of the big four teams they seemed to have improved the least.
Kubica has been outstanding this year, squeezing every inch of performance out of the Renault. He seems to be flourishing with his new team as they have been giving him the care and attention he seems to need. Kubica's rookie team mate, Petrov has had an up and down year. There have a couple of top ten qualifications, but for me, he needs to improve his all-round game if he wants to keep his seat for next year.
Renault as done an outstanding job this year and in the last couple of races, have had the third or forth best car on the grid. Other than McLaren, they have had the best rate of development with some very clever thinking on the aerodynamics. It’s a good complement that other teams have started to copy what Renault has been doing with their front and rear wings.
Adrian Sutil has really grown into a team leader this year with some very solid drives in qualifying and the race. His teammate, Liuzzi has been a bit over shadowed although some good race performances have netted him useful points. He will need to improve his qualifying in this second part of the year if he wants to keep his seat next season.
Force India have been doing a pretty impressive job and are solidly ahead of the mid pack and knocking on the top five teams door at certain races. They have a tidy car and with some good development, they may have the potential to overtake Mercedes.
They had a shocking start to the year but have slowly come good in the last few races. Barrichello drove brilliantly to finish 4th at Valencia and there is some confidence within the team that they can be top five contenders.
Hulkenburg's rookie year has been a bit of hit and miss and I think he needs to do more if he wants to guarantee his seat for next year.
They have had a very quiet year and have firmly been at the back of the mid-pack. Occasionally one of their drivers seem to get the most of their equipment and they run in the points. Both team and drivers need to do better, because although they are one of the smaller teams on the grid, having Red Bull as a big brother should be getting them better results.
Another team, like Williams, that really underperformed for the first half of the year. Its encouraging that at the last race they finished in the points and showed good race pace. If they can improve their performances in qualifying, they should be able to finish in the points more regularly.
Pedro De Larosa has been quick on occasion this year, but his team mate, Kobayashi has been very impressive when he has driven well. He just needs to smooth out some of the times when he has not been so comfortable in the car.
They started from zero with only six months before the start of the season, so for them to be the best of the new teams is a very impressive achievement. They also seem to be going in the right direction with car developments, so think they have a good chance of challenging the bigger teams next year.
Both Trulli and Kovalianen have been evenly matched and they just need to keep up their motivation despite only fighting at the back.
Pretty good performances, but I feel that going the CFD route without any wind tunnel work, is hurting them. They need to be careful, because if HRT can afford to bring some updates, Virgin might get overtaken. Glock has been a doing a solid job all year, Di Grassi needs to improve.
They had such a rough start to the year with team ownership changing just before the start. So I have been quietly impressed with the small gains they have managed. I do not see them being able to afford any more updates and think they will stay at the back for the rest of the season.
It’s hard to judge the performance of both rookie drivers, but as an ex-Minardi driver I fully sympathize with them. They possibly have the toughest job on the grid.
Silvertone is the next race in the championship and with it there are five more European races, before five fly away races. So this next stretch is crucial.
Whoever can pick up the most points from these next five races should be favorite for the championship. Silverstone is all about high speed, so Red Bulls should be favorite here.