The Ring marks the 2011 season half way point

The Ring marks the 2011 season half way point image

Text: Alex Yoong / Photos: | posted July 22, 2011 12:24

2011 German Grand Prix

The German Grand Prix this weekend marks the half way point in the season and interestingly enough, there are some question marks remaining in the form of the the top three teams. Red Bull have been without a doubt, on form this year and as a result, lead the driver's and constructor's championship by not just a gap but a chasm.

While the results have seem one sided, in reality the other two big teams, Mclaren and Ferrari have been close. Especially in race trim. Mclaren have taken two race wins this year and have mostly been on Red Bull's coat tails, but in Silverstone that changed.

Silverstone has always been a very important marker in judging the form of the teams for the rest of the year. It's a circuit that needs very good aero-efficiency, meaning the drivers with good cars always win there. And the fact that all the teams brought big updates to the British GP, gave us a pretty good indication of form.

But the results of the last GP in the land of Blighty were a bit skewed due to the exhaust blown diffuser controversy. Ferrari won the race with Alonso on genuine pace, but it is hard to say how much was due to the banning of blowing hot air on the exhaust blown diffuser or the updates the prancing horse brought to England.

It is probably a bit of both as Ferrari have sorted out their wind tunnel problems which plagued them from the beginning of the year and the results in theory now seem to bear themselves out on the track, which will be much to the relief to everyone in Italy.

This weekend, the diffuser regulations go back to pre-Silverstone, so i expect Red Bull to be a bit stronger against Ferrari, but by how much, it is impossible to calculate.

What about Mclaren? They were off the pace by 1.5 seconds in qualifying and while it was not as bad in the race, it was certainly their least competitive showing since pre-season testing.

Mclaren have gone on record saying that not the blown diffuser ban cost them up to 0.7 seconds a lap and with the regulations going back to pre-Silverstone, which allows the blown diffuser to work as it should, they are optimistic of an improved performance. If that is enough to beat the Red Bulls and Ferraris, we will only know about half way through Sundays race.

Further back, we have Renault and Mercedes battling hard for 4th place in the championship. Both of them seem to have dropped a bit further back from the top three teams as this season has gone on, but i was impressed with their race pace at Silverstone and their updates do seem to show potential. Schumacher has also been a lot quicker in recent races and with the home crowd expected to be big this weekend, i would not be surprised to see Michael Schumacher have his best race yet, provided he manages to preserve his front wing for a change.

Let's also not forget that it always seems to rain at some point at the Nurburgring, so we could be in for some surprising results this weekend.