Danielchalmersonf1

Articles and debate on the world’s most glamorous sport

Form Guide and Predictions

Brawn GP started the season perfectly by dominating the first two races. However in China they suffered their first slight blip as Red Bull usurped them in the wet conditions. As Red Bull doesn’t yet have a new diffuser it was a particularly impressive victory for them. However a solid 3-4 finish still leaves Brawn GP dominating the standings, and is still very much the team to beat this weekend.

Jenson Button is also looking very strong in the drivers’ championship, having scored 21 points out of the first 25 available. That is great championship form. He is really stepping up to the plate now he finally has a great car. He has beaten his team mate Rubens Barrichello in all three races so far. Barrichello has to up his game so that he doesn’t get stuck with the dreaded number 2 status again, that he suffered at Ferrari. It’s a very important weekend for the Brazilian.

Brawn GP still has the quickest car in dry conditions. In China Brawn GP were 1-2 in qualifying when you take the fuel loads into account and do the maths. Had the race been dry they would been able to demonstrate their superior race pace, as the car is very easy on its tyres. They ought to have won that race 1-2 once the strategies played out.

However in the wet conditions the Brawn wasn’t able to keep the heat in its tyres as well as the Red Bull did. This was key to how the Chinese GP unfolded. The wet weather demonstrated the team’s only real flaw so far. This isn’t a huge surprise as the car had hardly done any running at all in the wet. Sepang was the only bit of wet running they have had. Jenson had that race won in the dry section of the race so the rain wasn’t a major issue there. They are still yet to find a good balance in the rain.

In Bahrain the expected hot temperatures should play into Brawn GP’s hands. The ability to look after the tyres in race stints will give them an advantage over their opponents in these tough conditions, particularly at the end of the stints. In dry race conditions Brawn GP’s advantage could still around 0.5 seconds per lap over their nearest rival.

In qualifying the gap isn’t as big. Red Bull, Toyota and Williams are all capable of threatening Brawn GP’s position on the front row of the grid. Any of their drivers could try and go light, or try a radical strategy so that they can try and mix it with the Brawns.

It will be interesting to see close Red Bull can be to Brawn GP in this race. However I don’t expect an even challenge between the pair until Red Bull get their new diffuser sorted out.

Toyota could play a major role this weekend. We have see glimpses of the pace that the car has. We haven’t really had a major indicator of where they are in race trim. In Australia they started at the back of the grid, and it has rained in the last two races.

Toyota was also one of the teams that came to Bahrain to do extensive testing. Therefore this may give them a bit of a head start. The design of the car was focused to be easy on its rear tyres, so this could also be play into their hands at Bahrain. They could be as big threat as Red Bull is to Brawn GP.

Williams too have shown some pace but haven’t yet utilised it. If they can get it together this weekend they there is no reason why they can’t join in the battle to catch Brawn GP.

Ferrari, Renault and BMW are all in need of a result this weekend. It’s been a terrible start to the season for all of them, especially as they were all touted as title contenders pre-season. Not much will change this weekend as a week between races isn’t enough time to put major upgrades on the car. All are just in need of getting some valuable points on the board.

Ferrari and BMW should be stronger this weekend. They both tested here along with Toyota in winter testing. Ferrari will be hoping that they can get their KERs system operating reliably again, as there is time to be gained from KERs around Bahrain. This group of teams will be hoping that they can start making in-roads on the group in front of them.

Mclaren have started to make improvements. In China the car looked much better than it did at the start of the season in Melbourne. The car now seems more driveable and Lewis seems happier. A solid double points finish in China was a great result for Mclaren.

I think their upward trend will continue in Bahrain. Another double points finish is a distinct possibility. Mclaren also appear to be the leader in terms of having the best KERs package so far this season. It is reliable and is very well packaged so they don’t have a huge weight penalty because of it. They have made it work really well and appears to be giving them a useful advantage. The team are very happy with it. That’s at least one thing they nailed in 2009.

For all of these chasing teams this weekend is about getting as many points as possible. Spain is going to be pivotal for many down the pit lane. This is where we will be seeing huge upgrades, and possibly more “double decker” diffusers popping up. It’s a chance for teams like Ferrari and BMW to get back into the running in 2009.

Conclusion

It should be another exciting weekend at Bahrain with more great racing, and maybe a few more surprises throughout the grid. Brawn GP is most definitely the team to beat, unless we get a rare desert rain storm as the Moto GP riders suffered in Qatar a couple of weeks ago.

It will be a close battle between the chasing pack of Red Bull, Toyota and Williams. It will be interesting to see how hard they can fight Brawn GP. And could one of the underperforming giants behind go and join them?

Brawn should just edge this race but it won’t be easy at all.

My top 5 prediction

1.      Button

2.      Vettel

3.      Trulli

4.      Barrichello

5.      Webber

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April 23, 2009 - Posted by | Previews | , , , , ,

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