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2007 F1 season preview


Itís now less than two weeks before the F1 season kicks off here in Melbourne at Albert Park and as always there is so much expectation this year with some drivers having changed teams and also with some rules changes covering tyres and safety car among others.

For the first time in sixteen years there won't be Michael Schumacher on the grid this season after he retired at the end of last season. For a sport that has been criticised in the past for being too predictable, I think there is nothing predictable about it this season.

This season will see one tyre supplier, Bridgestone, supply all the teams with tyres and that could make it a bit interesting. There is no more gaining advantage because your tyre manufacturer has tyres more suited to certain conditions like rain or heat. Some may think it takes away some of the drama but I think it will bring the cream to the top.

I think teams like Ferrari who have been using Bridgestone have a slight advantage because they are familiar with tyre and know exactly how to get top performance out of it. The former Michelin supplied teams will have to adopt but having said that I don't think that it is a big concern because by now all the teams have had enough time to test the tyres up.

Fernando Alonso won the championship last year with Renault but he has since moved to McLaren where he will pair with debutant Lewis Hamilton. If McLaren can make their car a little bit more reliable then they can be competitive again and I think its high time McLaren wins the title after the Kimi Raikkonen/Pablo Montoya combination failed to provide one despite the hype.

I still think that Ferrari, even though they no longer have Schumacher are front-runners together with Renault. Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa should between them be able to secure a good number of podium finishes if they put their experience to good use. Ferrari have an experienced set of drivers compared to their major rivals, Renault and McLaren and therefore will be my favourite for the constructors title at least.

I think Renault are still very good despite losing Alonso. This year they will have Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen and to me Kovalainen is untested at this level and will have to see how he goes in the first few races before saying much about him.

Fisichella showed glimpses of how good he is but he was overshadowed by Alonso and now it's his time to shine. Renault had a very fast car last season and if they can build on that then they will be very hard to beat.

Elsewhere Mark Webber has moved to the Red Bull teaming up with David Coultard and I think they should be happy to be in the points most of the time. I think the jury is still out on Webber and this could be the year when he can prove his doubters wrong.

Jenson Button did quite well for Honda last season securing a maiden win and should he improve on that he could get more podium finishes if not more wins. Rubens Barrichello didn't have a particularly good season but now that he is in his second year with Honda maybe he will have a better season.

Its very hard to know what to expect from Toyota. Despite having a capable driver in Ralf Schumacher they are so inconsistent its hard to tell what we will get from them this time around.

If Williams can just finish a few more races then that will be a big good improvement for them from last season. A change of engine to Toyota could be all that can change their luck. From last season's performance its hard to tell that this is a team with seven drivers and nine constructors titles to its name.

Of the remaining teams the one to look out for is BMW Sauber with BMW going into its second year in full control. Scuderia Toro, Rosso Spyker and Super Aguri know what to expect and I hope they will also bring in some competition this season although that seems very unlikely.

So let the new season begin and let us see whether Alonso can secure a third consecutive championship.

mbareboy
The departure of Schumy opens up the contests. While we will miss his never say die attitude and his fierce competitiveness as seen in his last race in Brazil, there are quite a number of good drivers around.

I like Raikkonen and I expect him to do well.....even though sometimes he abuses cars, too aggressive a driver, he has got what it takes to be a winner and with a more reliable car and pit team, he has got the package o deliver.

Im still not convinced about the reliability of Honda, Toyota and to some extent McClaren. Alonso is a good driver and like in any competition there is still some adjustment to be made. While the same goes for Kimi, its the team package that should assist him.

Renault are reliable, but Fischella doesn't have the class of Alonso or Kimi. I tip Ferrari for both the constructors and driver championship.
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tyndale
McLaren is back, make no mistake. Our glory days are here again. The car has been solid in testing. Its not as if Schumacher won last year though.
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jimmy
and not the year before that either!
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