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Predictions for 2007

Over at From the Kerbside, Rob Jones has posted regarding Flavio Briatore’s recent outburst against McLaren and Ferrari. The point is really that nobody knows how things will pan out this coming season so it’s all hot air from the team managers as they attempt to out-psyche the competition.

If it’s anyone’s guess what will happen, I might as well chime in with my own predictions, knowing full well that F1 is the sport that turns crystal balls into plain old glass globes. I have already said that Button will be champion (hope springs eternal) but I’ll add to that by suggesting that Honda will not win the constructor’s title. That will go to McLaren.

Jenson

Jenson Button

So, team by team, here is what will (or might) happen:

Renault: Fisichella surprises everyone by winning a couple of races in the early season but the challenge fades as time wears on. Kovalainen has flashes of great promise but something always goes wrong. The team end the season by fighting with Ferrari for third place.

Ferrari: Raikkonen and Massa push each other off in the first race and everything becomes very strained in the camp thereafter. Kimi wins a couple but so does Massa and the Raikkonen luck remains, the Finn picking up whatever Ferrari retirements are going. By mid-season the team is in disarray and Brawn is recalled to restore order. The resultant improvement is all that keeps them level with Renault. Raikkonen signs for Williams in 2008.

McLaren: They start slowly but get better and better so that Alonso becomes locked in battle with Button in the last few races. Hamilton also improves steadily and ensures that they win the constructor’s championship. Rumors of a Mercedes buy-out become stronger as the season progresses.

Honda: Begin where they left off, just a little behind the leaders. But the car improves steadily and they find a few tweaks that enable Button to hit the front and win a few races mid-season. By the end, Jenson has a narrow lead over Alonso and just pips him for the championship by two points. Barrichello says the car doesn’t suit his driving style.

BMW Sauber: Are in shock after Kubica wins the first race. Convinced they must be doing something wrong to have messed up their schedule so badly, they try out a host of tweaks to the car that only make it less competitive and they finish the season with one win and a few podiums, exactly where they expected to be. Theissen says they are aiming for two wins in 2008.

Toyota: Promise much but fail to deliver. Ralf and Trulli share out the few podiums going but the team is embarrassed by Williams beating them in most of the races. At the end of the year Toyota buys Williams and merges the two teams.

Red Bull: The RB3 chassis turns out to be very good but there are problems getting the Renault engine to reach its potential. Too often the cars retire and Coulthard and Webber finish the season mid-field, frustrated and insisting that 2008 will be better.

Williams: Improve steadily throughout the season so that, by the halfway point, they are beating the Toyotas consistently. Rosberg is mounting a challenge for the title by then but a bout of mysterious engine failures ruins his final races.

Toro Rosso: Running what is effectively an RB3 chassis, TR have no problems mating it with the Ferrari engine and are strong second-rank contenders from the start. The season develops into a battle between the TR drivers and Red Bull and Mateschitz sells the team to Prodrive for 2008. Gerhard Berger has a drive in a McLaren in the off season.

Spyker: Steady improvement throughout the season. Sutil turns out to be something of a find and he earns the team’s first podium in the last race.

Super Aguri: Have a disappointing year considering they are running a car that looks very much like a Honda. Sato is quick at times but Davidson is more consistent and earns the team’s solitary point.

Well, it could happen…

4 Responses to “Predictions for 2007”

  1. Rose tinted spectacles as far as BMW-Sauber are concerned I think, Clive! I very much hope you’re right about Button. I think Torro Rosso and Super A will be contenders for 3rd and 4th places in races from the start, provided the drivers can keep the cars on the road.

    Your prediction about Raikkonen/Massa unease is a cracker – I can see it going this way for sure. Massa won’t want to accept a new #1 driver in ‘his’ team and Raikkonen won’t want enything less. Tasty.

    I predict Renault will be the biggest faller, however. New tyres, Fisi lacking confidence and under a lot of pressure, Kovi showing him the way to the grid, and the flag, in the early races. He’ll implode if it goes badly for him.

    Come on Jenson!

  2. Slightly tongue in cheek, I admit, Rob. But anything can happen in F1! And a win for a rookie is just what the sport needs to shake it up.

    Interesting what you say about Renault – it’s very possible but I’m hoping that Fizzy will rise to the challenge and put on a better show than that. We shall see.

  3. Fizzy has the potential to do great now that the team is more focused on him and offering all they can to get him wins. Not quite sure how good renault will be I really hope that Fizzy will get the confidence and go from strength to strength as he is a excellent driver. Unfortunately I can see your prediction about Ferarri coming true, I hope Raikkonen’s luck finally comes good but I sincerely doubt it. He just can’t seem to catch a break. I honestly don’t think Honda will do good I just can’t see them picking it up. Honda have always been lots of promise no goods. Although I think Jenson has what it takes to win the championship and he can finally get a little less pressure from the media now that he’s got his first win. Mclaren, Mclaren, Mclaren. No idea what they’ll do. It’ll either work out brilliantly or be a disaster I honestly can’t say what will happen. Although this F1 season promises to be great, hope they don’t tinker with the rules too much.

  4. Renault ought to produce a good car as the only major change they’ve had is the departure of Alonso. Kovalainen is a bit young and new to the game to win more than once or twice so it’s really down to Fizzy to get the best from the car. He raced well when he first arrived in F1 but over the years seems to have lost his “fizz”. Like you, I hope he finds it again.

    Don’t write Honda off too easily – they’re used to winning in bike racing and have served a long apprenticeship in F1 now, if you count supplying engines to BAR as well. I think they were quite embarrassed by making a lot of noise before the 2006 season and then seeing it all drift away from them, so they will be quieter this time and just get on with the business in hand. Sooner or later the monopoly of the big three has to be broken and I have this feeling that Honda are about to do it.

    McLaren is what we all wait to see, of course. The frozen engine formula should enable them to be a lot more reliable but they still have to build a winning car. And they’ve lost one or two key designers lately.

    As for tinkering with the rules, the FIA seems to think that’s its job…

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