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F1

Formula 1 - 2010 Season Predictions and More!
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By Carol Einarsson | 03/14/2010
Category: F1
 

Last year I tried to incorporate Formula One into our menu of weekly articles, and I'm afraid the readership just isn't there. Unlike NASCAR at Fontana, I'm willing to admit that this might not be the target audience for that series. However, there was enough interest that I thought I'd share my picks for the season. It seems I found myself included in an F1 fantasy league of sorts, but rather than scoring week after week, it's a one-shot deal. Pick the top six in order of finish at season's end. You get one point for each position missed from your prediction. Low score wins. Wanna play?
 
Bookmark this page and feel free to use the comment section as a year-long forum for RJO F1 fans. It will age off this main page, but if you lose your bookmark, you can access it again from the top menu bar by clicking ARTICLES and then F1.
 
Since we're getting a late jump on this, if you'd like to play along, we'll count all entries dated in the comment section up until Saturday, March 20th, 6pm, so you'll have a free "sneak peek" at the season before you commit to your picks. We may not have much F1 coverage at the site this year, but we'll check in from time to time, and we'll see how well we did after Abu Dhabi in mid-November.

So now for my picks...
 
1. Lewis Hamilton
I think Lewis will come back after his dismal year last year. I don't believe he is finished winning championships, and I think the snafu of the diffuser last year put a lot of teams in an early hole from which they couldn't dig out. I think this might again be Lewis' year.
 
2. Michael Schumacher
Yes, he's been retired and might possibly be out of shape. There will be upset in his personal life with his return, and that might be a distraction. He's not in his familiar Ferrari red anymore, but rather with Mercedes. So much change, so much to overcome, but yet... c'mon, he's Michael Schumacher! He won't let us down.
 
3. Rubens Barrichello
Rubens is one of only two drivers in the field with experience driving with a full-race tank of fuel on board (Schumi is the other).This will give him an advantage and a shorter learning curve than his fellow competitors
 
4. Fernando Alonso
With a chip on his shoulder and an attitude of entitlement, he will have something to prove. His nemesis Michael Schumacher is back, and "the great Fernando Alonso" will be driving harder than ever to beat him. Beating him in a Ferrari would be the icing on the cake. However, I think he'll come up short.
 
5. Jenson Button
Coming off a great year, Jenson is living the high life. His 2009 dominance was impressive and certainly fun to watch for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was his first-year team. But his early dominance was likely due mostly to his high-tech diffuser and the engineers who thought outside the box with a design unthought of by most others. Now that the field will be a little more even, Jenson will still have a good year, but nowhere near what we saw last year.
 
6. Sebastian Vettel
A runner-up for the title in 2009 in his sophomore year in the series, I think this young driver will show us more greatness. Unfortunately, I think a couple of bad races will be his undoing, and up against some veterans that feel they have a lot to prove, I think Sebastian will have to wait at least another year to really contend for the championship.
 
Having said THAT, let me say that the order of these six drivers is what was the most difficult. In my choices, I bumped drivers from one spot to another and then back again. Ordering and reordering them, I'm still not sold on my own decision of how to sort them in a top-six fashion. I'm confident in these six, but not so much in any one of their rankings.
 
Now it's your turn! Maybe for ease of reference, list your top six first, and then below the list, any commentary you'd like to add. We'll come up with a prize for the winner sometime before November, even if it's only bragging rights.
 

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Comments:
Carol
03/14/2010 12:06 pm (1)
2010 Schedule:

            Mar 14   Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix
            Mar 28   Qantas Australian Grand Prix
            Apr 04   Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix
            Apr 18   Chinese Grand Prix
            May 09   Gran Premio De Espana Telefonica
            May 16   Grand Prix de Monaco
            May 30   Turkish Grand Prix
            Jun 13   Grand Prix du Canada
            Jun 27   Telefonica Grand Prix of Europe
            Jul 11   Santander British Grand Prix
            Jul 25   Grosser Preis Santander Von Deutschland
            Aug 01   Magyar Nagydij
            Aug 29   Belgian Grand Prix
            Sep 12   Gran Premio Santander D'Italia
            Sep 26   Singtel Singapore Grand Prix
            Oct 10   Japanese Grand Prix
            Oct 24   Korean Grand Prix
            Nov 07   Grande Premio Do Brasil
            Nov 14   Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix


jem6973
03/14/2010 6:01 pm (2)
ok Carol, I'll play

I like F1 and tend to read anything you put up.

1. Lewis Hamilton
2. Jenson Button
3. Rubens Barrichello
4. Michael Schumacher
5. Mark Weber
6. Fernando Alonso
eddo
03/14/2010 10:14 pm (3)
I am actually interested to see how Micheal Shumacher will do this year. We will he win outside of Ferrari? Will he do well at all? How will the once dominant force in F1 do with a different team, and after being out a few years?

other than that- yeah, I just can't get much into it.
now maybe of Danica went F1 racing....
Carol
03/14/2010 10:54 pm (4)
eddo, eaten alive. that's all there is to say 'bout what would happen there.

C
Blknight3
03/15/2010 8:43 am (5)
1: Lewis Hamilton
2: Fernando ALonso
3: Felipe Massa
4: Sebastien Vettel
5: Jensen Button
6: Michael Schumacher
7: Mark Webber
rdfox
03/15/2010 9:24 am (6)
1: Sebastien Vettel
2: Felipe Massa
3: Fernando Alonso
4: Michael Schumacher
5: Lewis Hamilton
6: Jenson Button

Just my guesses, of course, but as strong as Vettel looked on Sunday, there's no way he's not gonna be right up front... and Ferrari is *angry* about last year. I'm gonna say the championship won't be decided until Abu Dhabi.

Just for fun, I'll throw in my guess for the top four in the Constructors' championship, too:

1: Ferrari
2: Red Bull
3: Mercedes
4: McLaren

Again, I suspect the top four won't be settled until Abu Dhabi.

And if you need another tiebreaker, I'm gonna go out on a limb and predict Force India averaging at least one point per race this season. They have to be one of the best turnarounds since the aero changes this side of Brawn/Mercedes!
Greg in Dallas
03/15/2010 3:18 pm (7)
fun - probably not gonna bother playing, but I like your picks Carol. I might juggle them a bit if I were picking, but I think our lists would look similar.

Can't wait to find out what comes of the complaints about Ferrari's wheels and McLaren's "secret aero vent." :)
budblade
03/15/2010 9:22 pm (8)
Hey, I e-mailed you asking where the C-and-JF1 went last year. I thought it was great. An extra source of fun if you will. This is "Race Journal Online" not "Nascar Journal Online" right? But.. I understand your reasoning. And chose to continue enjoying reading the C-and-J’s, if only in Nascar form. Bring back C-and-J for the truck series?

My picks:
1. Sebastian Vettel
Fast as all heck last year. The only one to really give Button/Brawn a go. Looks to be a force to be reckoned with because of the extra experience this year.
2. Fernando Alonso
He's back! In a good car and has the support to make a run at another title.
3. Felipe Massa
You can't keep a good man down. He may be a little mad to be a "second fiddle" again. But he's still around because he's good.
4. Lewis Hamilton
Always a tough competitor, and a very fast learner. I just don't think the trick rear wing is enough for Mclaren to go all the way.
5. Michael Schumacher
He may be old, and these rules might not suit him, but there a reason he's won so many times.
6. Jenson Button
I was happy to see him win last year, and he can make a solid teammate for Hamilton, but just doesn't have what it takes to be stay at the top.
XThePond
03/16/2010 6:19 am (9)
Well a quiet day at work and a mooch through tinternet and here I am adding my pick for the end of the F1 season from across the water.

1 Hamilton
I think this season may need someone with an aggressive driving edge and also the abilty to compute and remain cool at the same time..so LH is my pick for the top spot.

2 Vettel
I just like him as a driver and think he has what it takes as long as the car holds up.

3 Massa
The combination of a Ferrari and a skilfull driver will see him finish high up, his downfall maybe his ability to handle the pressure that is to come.

4 Button
English...cool and a very relaxed style. With the rule changes and preserving tyres maybe important to avoid too many pit stops he may have a strategic edge rather than out and out driver ability

5 Rosberg
Impressive driver has the abilty to finish well. In my view a competent all rounder although his fear of heights may keep him out of the top flight.

6 Webber
Straight talker no nonsense driver. Hopefully Red bull will give him the wings to fly up into a top six finish.

And finally...

I have completed this after the first race.. and am not happy...It was in my view a bit tedious and a procession lets hope it improves as the season progresses.
Carol
03/28/2010 4:53 pm (10)
Australia - What a great race!!!

I wasn’t planning on an F1 column, but when NASCAR rained out, I knew I’d have the space. If you missed it and have ever wondered what the fuss was all about, it’s too late to see a replay of this fantastic race this week, but check out (or at least set the DVR to record) the Formula 1 Debrief show on SPEED late Saturday night (1am Sunday, ET). The debrief show will show the highlights and dissect the race with commentary.

If you did see the race this weekend from Melbourne, Australia, you know it was one of the best F1 races in recent memory. Unlike NASCAR, Formula 1 races in the rain, and that becomes part of the strategy. There are rain tires, dry tires, intermediate tires… who will use which tires, and when? It’s not merely a question of two tires or four, but are we using the wets or counting on it drying off quickly?

When Jenson Button took his dry tires before anyone else, I wondered if it would turn out to be a race-winning strategy. Turns out, it was. His lap times were the fastest of the day while the other teams drove another few laps on their wets.

The race was exciting from beginning to end, and I don’t know if it was weather to blame or what it was, but what we saw late Saturday night was a field of F1 cars racing like stock cars in Bristol, TN. Bumping and banging and flying all about. There were big wrecks, guys in the wall, other guys stuck in the gravel, and body parts falling off of cars. There were spins, and more than one incident that seemed as though one driver was intentionally nudging another, and of course they’d both end up off the course. I had to keep reminding myself this isn’t NASCAR because they just don’t typically race that way in these machines!

Formula One races are on time. Rain or shine, the show must go on. The pre-race is not a fluff show. It’s a guy (this week it was Westbury Gillett) wandering about the grid with his cameraman Tim. There are no gopher cartoons or ridiculous interviews. There is no insulting of your intelligence, but rather an understanding that you are watching racing for … well…. the racing!

Okay, and the grid girls were practically naked.

There are power struggles between the governing body and the drivers with the current battle being over the crowd on the grid. The FIA has said the visitors can’t be on the grid anymore where the cars are lined up, so some top-name drivers have opted not to stand around on the grid. “If my friends and family can’t be here, I’ll stand where they CAN be.” The counter-response, then, from the FIA is to pull their cards that allow them to be on the grid and tell them if they continue this, their friends and family won’t be able to be there at all. We’ll see who wins the battle.

Sunday’s race began with a wreck on the start when the field bunched up and the great Fernando Alsonso drove through Jenson Button. Schumi lost his nose, Lewis Hamilton was in the grass, and through it all, recovered Felipe Massa drove through the field, past the carnage, and to the front.

Before the end of lap one, there were at least three other wrecks until finally the safety car came out to bring some order back to the field. The biggest of them was set off when the front wing of Kabui Kobayashi fell off his car. This was the third time in two days that’s happened, and the FIA met with the team after they lost two wings in three laps during practice. For this to happen in a race and cause the kind of damage it did to the other teams, I’d expect there will be some sort of punishment and in F1, punishment often comes with a price tag that could fund a NASCAR race team for a year.

“There is a sporting regulation requirement that the cars must be sound structurally. They must not be of an unsafe construction at any point throughout the event. The FIA are at liberty just to throw the team out if they think there’s anything wrong with the cars.”
– Steve Matchett

The video of F1 races is fed to SPEED, and from that video, Bob Varsha, David Hobbs, and Steve Matchett call the race. The beauty of the set-up is that they are watching as we are watching, and not able to see other things off the monitor. You won’t ever hear in an F1 race, “Trouble, turn two!” while you’re looking at the leaders driving out of turn four. The reactions of viewers are simultaneous to those of the commentators. When a car gets airborne and the slams a wall, the “Whoa!” you hear in your living room is at the same time you hear it from Varsha and Hobbs.

Virgin Racing has two entries in the field, and whenever they are referred to, the teams are called “Virgins”. We get a variety of quotes, from Hobbs especially, that manage to be spoken seriously, but we get the distinct impression that, were the camera on Hobbs and Varsha, they’d both be smiling like mischievous children. “It’s going to be interesting to see how far the Virgins will go…”

Lap 7/58 had Jenson Button in the pits, first to brave the track with tires designed for dry racing. Two corners later, he was driving through the gravel and grass. Still seemed like a good idea, and all eyes in the garage were watching his lap times. Two laps later, the rest of the field came in as Button ticked the fastest lap of the race.

Lap 14/58 had Massa passed by Hamilton and Webber who were battling each other. Massa patiently waited for them to wreck each other and then passed them both to reclaim his fifth spot. I imagine he probably looked over at them both and smiled.

In between pit stops (and there are few of them in F1), the teams sit at the ready, in folding chairs, with fire suites, helmets, face masks, and gloves, and watch the race on the monitor. They look as though they are all at the movie theatre, dreadfully overdressed for the occasion, and whether it’s their own driver or a competitor, they react in unison when something goes awry.

Lap 26/58 saw race leader Vettel in the gravel and immediately the camera cut to the McLaren garage to show the men in white applauding, though with their gloves on, I wonder if there was any significant sound. Their driver was the beneficiary and Button takes the lead. It seems that Vettel had a flat tire. And they’re not even Goodyears.

Hamilton and Webber were at each other all day to the extent that I was wishing there was a way we could put them in fendered cars and get them to Martinsville in time for the race.

Lap 47/58 and there are ten cars out of the race. That leaves just 14 in the race, and ten are points-paying positions.

Lap 49/58 and The Great Fernando Alonso is told by his crew that Lewis Hamilton is faster than he is and is closing the gap to catch him. Alonso’s radio response, “I don’t want to know!!” Um, okay.

Jenson Button, on the other hand, is pressing on because he knows they’re coming for him. That’s the difference between a real champion and someone a little too full of himself.

Lewis Hamilton appears to be coming apart. First he tips the other teams that he’s having trouble with his tires, and then he blasts the team for calling him into the pits last time. Sounded as though he had a Dale, Jr. moment with his crew.

Lap 57/58 and the Webber vs. Hamilton deal finally comes to fruition as this time Webber has had just about enough, and just puts a tire to the right rear of Hamilton, spinning them both. I’m tellin’ ya, it was NASCAR short-track racing at its best! One lap to go, and inexplicably, Red Bull calls Webber in for a nose change. There’s one lap to go, and even if he was slow without a nose, he’d still be in the points. Now will he get anything?

Final lap, John Travolta waves the checkered flag for Jenson Button. Robert Kubica and Felipe Massa will share the podium with him. T.G. Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Rubens Barrichello, Mark Weber, and Michael Schumacher round out the top ten.

Fantastic race in Australia!

C
rdfox
03/28/2010 11:51 pm (11)
I've got to agree--what I saw of the race (and I plead illness for my drifting off several times--pneumonia knocks the crap out of you, and "big gun" antibiotics make it a double-whammy!) was great, with spectacular scraps for position throughout the field, and nobody being content to Just Hold Position for their points.

Little remarked was the awesome war that Schumi had with Jaime Alguesuari almost the entire race as he and Alonso slashed their way through the field; once Michael caught up with Jaime, the two were just glued together for the rest of the race, with the Mercedes finally getting past with just two laps left... and Alguesuari not giving up, instead taking the fight to the seven-time World Champion for the rest of the race. (To quote Hobbs, "I'll get you, you old coot!") Great fight, that, and both men looked like they'd thoroughly enjoyed it afterwards, even if Michael was disappointed at his finish.
budblade
03/30/2010 12:46 pm (12)
I am so mad! My DVR messed up. it recorded the debrief from last week right before the race, but not the race itself. and with Nascar and Indycar rained out, i had plenty of time to watch it. I've only seen the highlights on the speed report. now i have to make sure I get the debrief this week!
the team speed puts together to call the race is great. they obviously have lots of fun together, and they always make me laugh. I think they see the same as us, but i believe they have some timing and scoring screen that they can see but we can't. they know who is running fastest in each sector and who just ran a personal fast lap right away.
rdfox
03/30/2010 7:30 pm (13)
The Speed crew has access to the same live timing and scoring feed as the teams at the track; we can see an almost-as-good timing and scoring feed (updated at the line only) on formula1.com during the races. (The public one shows sector times, but, as I said, updates at the line only--not quite as good as what the commentary team has, and usually about 20-30 seconds behind due to network lag, but it's still pretty good.) There's also an F1 timing-and-scoring app for iPhones out there; I don't have one, so I don't know how good it is.
Carol
03/31/2010 1:39 pm (14)
I have an iphone and saw that app last night. It's $32.99!!!! Needless to say, I still have my iphone sans the F1 app.

C
budblade
04/05/2010 12:56 pm (15)
i just got the free blackberry app from mobile.formula1.com I'll see how that works for Shanghai.
budblade
04/18/2010 9:32 pm (16)
So far, I have to say the F1 has been way more exciting than Nascar. No rain out's there! Jenson again at the top of the chart with Nico Rosberg (who?) second. Schumacher in 10th,and getting beat by Adrian Sutil of Force India. Maybe it wasn't all about the driver.

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