One thing that never varies between seasons is the optimistic outlook of every team in F1. Looking at the possibilities and listening to the reported statements, it is easy to think that everyone is going to do well next year.
Yet we know life isn’t like that; always there are losers as well as winners. Some amongst the teams will find their hopes dashed and have to transfer their optimism to 2008. And part of the game in the off season is in guessing who will fail to achieve their objectives.
The big disappointment this year was the Honda team – everyone expected them to be pushing for race wins but they came good only at the end of the year. Red Bull, too, had a poor season and are now admitting that they gave up on the RB2 from its first race, deciding that it was a lost cause and they would be better employed preparing for 2007. David Coulthard had an even tougher year than we knew about, it seems. But, having put so much work into Adrian Newey’s RB3, Red Bull are expecting great things in the coming season. We shall see.
Anthony Davidson has been talking about his reaction to being taken on as a race driver by Super Aguri and his optimism is a little more guarded than others, understandably so. To aim for points and to be pushing Takuma Sato hard by the end of the year are both realistic ambitions. There are always a few chaotic races in the year when small teams can gather a point or two. But I hope he does better than “push Taku hard”!
Over at Toro Rosso, Gerhard Berger has said that their driver line-up will be unchanged for 2007, although no official announcement has been made as yet. Which is good news for Scott Speed, in view of all the rumors that Robert Doornbos was being considered as a replacement for him. The American has been talking of his hopes for the season, perhaps more confident now that his place seems assured, and he, too, expects to score points for the team.
So who is going to lose out after all this talk? It would be easy to pick the losers from previous seasons but, ever a supporter of underdogs, I hope they all do as well as they expect to. The one I would really like to see fall flat on its face is Ferrari – which is not exactly likely, I know. But when Luca di Montezemolo “promises” the fans the 2007 championships, my natural reaction is to wish fervently for him to have to eat his words.
Optimism is one thing, a promise another thing entirely.