Friday, March 21, 2008

Hot, humid, tricky and unpredictable - all that Malaysia is

The first two Friday practices seemed to give a trailer to what could happen in Sepang the coming weekend. Earlier in the day when the track was fresh, the cars in the likes of Toyota, Renault and STR were all facing tough time in the last left hander before the finish straight. People ran wide, slid in tarmac and grass, and even broke the whole car. Yes, I am talking about David Coulthard. His RBR chassis is under scrutiny and the Stewards, having met with the team principal and technical representative of Red Bull Racing have requested a report verifying that the integrity of the suspension is such that the car should not be deemed ‘of dangerous constructions’ under Art 2.3 of the 2008 Formula One Technical Regulations. We all know Adrian Newey is aggressive in his design and never compromises for anyone. Let’s hope this doesn’t become a show stopper for the team, and probably it’s younger brother, Gerhard Berger’s Toro Rosso. Vettel’s brake failure is another act to be taken into consideration when forming the Fantasy teams.
I like Webber and I still think he can win races with his current form given a good car. His winter testing times were good and the hands of Mr.Newey have created a good competitor. But who can put money on this man who eats, sleeps and lives with ‘bad luck’?

The scarlet bullets of Kimi and Felipe were flexing their muscles really well, before the champion’s stopped. The initial comment was that his car couldn’t comprehend the wall and track (don’t have a clue of what it meant!), but Ferrari has come out and said that it was because it ran out of fuel. Second time in seven days and I am looking at the shade of Tifosi flag getting dimmer.
Renault had a better time than the previous week (13th and 19th) and ended up with Alonso’s 6th and Piquet’s 7th during the first stint and 14th and 15th during the second one. Is Piquet finally getting a grip of Formula 1 or is Flavio going to be owner of a one man team again, we’ll have to wait another day to tell.
I really like the young drivers in Vettel and Nico and the new Bourdais and Glock. Although Glock wasn’t fancy in his showoff, he showed he can be smooth and composed. Bourdais should be praised for his result in Albert Park, but 18th in FP1 and no time during FP2 will not fill one a smallest pinch of confidence. Nico was great with soft tires during the closing and cloudy stages of FP2, and was Vettel, who once placed himself 3rd, before being bumped down by a McLaran and Button. I wish Nico’s car was powerful enough to put a great performance like last week.
Where are the Bimmers? Mr. Theissen should be working on something special for allowing his cars run a lot lower than what the world (I included) expected. I will wait for qualifying to feel confident that they have closed their gap with front runners. 8 and 13 are not great ones, but we all know that BMW works on strategies and race techniques during Fridays and only in Saturday’s practice they work on the speed for qualifying. I’d be happy if Kubica could put a similar show here, placing his F1.08 between the McLarans, speaking of which I think has the best downforce and handling in the pack.
If Mr.Duesmann has done a good job with powertrain, he should aim to put the F1.08 in front of the McLarans and the Italian Rockets.
Italian cheer once again went to Fisichella, putting his Force on 9th in FP2. Ok, I am an Indian and so will support Force India. But I am also a realist and will be very happy if his or Adrian’s would be permitted to run in the 21st minute of qualifying.
Not much to speak about Super Aguri’s and the Jurassic ‘David Coulthard’, who just left the track and headed to his hotel posting no time. I think DC has lived way too long without stepping on the podium since his 3rd place finish last year in Monaco (remember the Superman picture folks?) Looking forward to Saturday’s practice and qualifying.

P.S., thank you Keith for letting us know of Grand Prix+ I just bought the subscription.

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