Formula 1 Insight

Renault and Toyota at Silverstone

Renault are beginning to make a habit of looking good in the first half of the race, only to fall away as the end approaches. This was the case again at Silverstone, Alonso looking very sharp in the early laps and Piquet keeping up a couple of places further back. Fernando made the same mistake at his first pit stop as did Ferrari, staying with his old tires, and suffered a drop in performance as a result. The race was a battle for him from then on and he did well to finish in sixth.

Piquet and Alonso
Piquet ahead of Alonso - savor it!

His team mate went to new intermediates at the first stop and was looking good until caught out by the heavier rain. Poor Nelson seems to be having a terrible struggle to beat his run of bad luck and must wonder if he will ever prove his right to be in F1.

It has to be said that the Renault team are not making the best tactical decisions at the moment. Alonso continues to impress with driving skills that put the car well ahead of where it should be but is seeing much of his effort squandered by poor judgement at crucial moments. His frustration at this is already beginning to show in occasional outbursts of criticism of the team and no doubt this intensifies his search for a better seat next year.

Rumors abound on that score, of course, but I find most of them unlikely. No doubt Honda would take him on in an instant but that would seem a step back for the Spaniard. BMW are likely to stick with their dependable pair and that means Fernando has to hope that Ferrari find room for him. That looked like pie in the sky earlier in the season but Massa's see-sawing form and Raikkonen's inability to dominate the team has produced signs of discontent in the man who matters - Luca di Montezemolo. It would not surprise me if Luca were to make a concerted effort to hire Alonso for 2009.

Toyota were back to their usual status as the team most likely to disappoint, both drivers qualifying poorly, Glock ahead of Trulli for once. In the race, Trulli remained true to expectations, climbing up the order until he found a spot where he could hold others back. This time, however, he proved a bit easier to pass and was lucky to get by Nakajima for seventh on the last lap. Considering how mediocre the car was at this venue, it was a just reward for his efforts.

Timo Glock managed to spin his way out of a promising position, once again casting doubts upon his ability as a F1 driver. Nelson Piquet has been the whipping boy so far this season but, as Nelson gets closer to his highly rated-team mate, Glock's chances of being first rookie out the door look ever stronger. And the fact that Toyota's favorite son, Kazuki Nakajima, is proving a valuable asset to Williams gives Toyota just the excuse they need to drop the German.

Now that we have passed the halfway mark in the season, the rumor mill really gets into gear and we can expect all sorts of theoretical shuffling to take place. It strikes me that there is more than the usual discontent with existing arrangements amongst the teams this year and I can see quite a few changes coming on the driver front. This time there will be fewer newcomers, I think, and it is likely that the driver market will be more of a merry-go-round of swaps and deals. It all makes for fascinating stuff, F1 excelling itself on the track while the political nonsense continues to rumble on in the background. Was there ever a sport so brilliant at times and so farcical at others?


Alonso in a Ferrari is a rather splendid thought...
In a recent interview with Kimi, he came across as bored and without the desire for a decent scrap and I do not think his heart is in it any longer. I doubt it would take much to persuade him to make way for Mr. A.
Alonso may have other ideas, as you say he is a petulant sort so his mouth overuns his brain on occasion. However, give him the car and ...
mmm, a rather savoury, mouth-watering idea - let the racing begin!

Date Added: 09/07/2008

You will be interested to know, Fractal, that there is a strong rumour that Santander, a major Spanish sponsor, is interested in switching from Renault to Ferrari next year. Word is that this is subject to Alonso going to the Italian team...
Date Added: 10/07/2008

The Santander thing is interesting and certainly worth following.

Every race this season has seen both Toyotas spinning all over the track. Practice, qualifying, and the race. It's quite amazing to see this time and time again.

Timo Glock hasn't done anything for me this year and of late, Piquet Jr., although not finishing in Silverstone, has been improving and it looks like a little confidence is coming his way.

Date Added: 10/07/2008

Agreed that the Santander thing may be important. They may be arranging matters ahead of time after having to get everything done in a rush when Alonso left McLaren.

Toyota seem to be in a worse mess than usual, competitive one minute and hopeless the next. Some people still seem to think Glock is special but he looks distinctly ordinary to me. If I had to choose, I'd take Nelson over Glock.
Date Added: 10/07/2008

Björn Svensson
There's some good points in here.

That Alonso made a high ranked mess when he left McLaren i a hurry is well known. And that his sponsors for a while struggeled to keep up and to sort things out was really obvious. But there's also one other thing to consider.

Even though Alonso is a well proven driver, he is also a well proven spin-head. He never seems to know where he wants to go, or what he wants to do other than drive the fastest car available. There's no doubt that the Ferrari's are much faster than th Renault's this season, but it always take's a while to settle to a new car.

If he once more were to change team, i have no doubt he would have to endure another difficult season to get accustomed to the new team. And if he would have the chanse to replace Raikkonnen he would also have to take the struggle with Massa.

I have strong doubts that those two would play along very well if they were in a team. They're just to competitive and share the same ability to let their belief in tems selves grow well above what it should be.

Maybe it is just that Santander wantäs more exposure? Want to get more buck out of their investments in F1?

I don't know, i'm just playing with the thought that maybe they finally have grown tired of Alonso always threattening to go either this or that way.
Date Added: 10/07/2008

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