After the accident that placed Felipe Massa in hospital, Michael Schumacher was being touted as the driver to replace him at Ferrari while Massa recovers. In the end, Luca Badoer ($34 for a win @ SportingBet.com.au) was selected as the replacement. With all this excitement, people have been talking about little else and there is much anticipation for this weekend’s European F1 Grand Prix to be held around the streets of Valencia.
While the comeback of the retired legend German legend is not going to be happening (at least for now), the matter of the 2009 drivers championship is back into discussion. This years’ battle for the championship has been very interesting up until the month long break and should continue to be very competitive.
The question on many people’s minds is will Brawn GP be able to regain the early season form that seen an amazing debut season start for the team? Without the benefit of any mid-season testing and restricted development time, can Brawn fix up all their bugs in time for the grand prix in Valencia?
Ross Brawn, team principal and technical brain, is convinced that one of the modifications that have been made to the car has been seriously detrimental to the cars ability to get heat in to the tyres. The problems that Brawn GP has faced have seriously hampered the grip level of the vehicle that saw Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello ($34 for a win @ SportingBet.com.au) dominate in the opening rounds.
The Spanish home crowd will be happily cheering as their national hero Fernando Alonso and his team, Renault, have been given the green light to race in Valencia on the weekend. It was a possibility that Renault would not compete after an incident in the Hungarian GP that saw them incorrectly fit a wheel to the Spaniard’s car, which later came off further around the track. Renault was able to win the appeal which they made to the FIA after a ban was imposed.
The race organisers, along with the home fans will most certainly be happy to see that the ban has been lifted. Romain Grosjean will also have a smile on his face as he is set to make his formula one debut after the sacking of Nelson Piquet Jr. after the Hungarian GP.
After taking a win at the Hungaroring before the month long break, McLaren will be looking to continue with the improvement that they have made since the start of the season. Lewis Hamilton is tipped to be the outright winner this weekend with odds of $3.25 at Sporting Bet.
McLaren is believed to have the best KERS system in the field and they were able to use it o great effect in Hungary. KERS is looking to be the main weapon in the arsenal of McLaren this weekend as overtaking opportunities will be few and far between.
Last year’s maiden grand prix in Valencia showed that overtaking was next to impossible. The teams whose drivers are equipped with the KERS system will be looking to use it to maximum effect off the grid to make up a few extra positions.
For those that get caught behind as a result of this will be suffering a major setback as they may find themselves trapped behind another driver slower than them with no passing opportunity.
In my opinion, anyone not running KERS will more than likely be running light, as they will be looking to hold position off of the grid and possibly make a fast getaway to take an early lead.
My prediction for the podium finishers gives first place to Lewis Hamilton ($3.25 for a win), second to Jenson Button ($8 for a win) and third place to Sebastian Vettel ($3.75 for a win @ SportingBet.com.au).
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