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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm sure ZIN will participate here. ;)

Now it has been confirmed that Heikki Kovalainen will be the new McLaren driver, and Fernando Alonso will go back to Renault (after one scandalous year at McLaren).

Lots of questions:

Will McLarens be competitive with two very inexperienced drivers in their lineup? I'm not doubting their actual driving skills or talent, but they're probably lacking in the car development area. And will Ron's "stepson" Hammy be favored over Heikki? ;D

I'm afraid that Kimi Raikkonen will cruise to his 2nd Championship if Macs aren't competitive. I doubt Renault can get their act together in just one year. That would be extremely boring season.

Felipe Massa has proven to be very fast and solid driver... but without major reliability problems or very bad luck, I seriously doubt he's any kind of threat to Kimi (who is clearly the Ferrari's "golden boy", no matter what the team publicly states). Massa is extremely fast, but he's awful in rain, and lacks consistency and mentality (in the long run). Kimi doesn't have any nerves, so he's mentally a lot tougher than Felipe.

I'm actually rooting for Fernando... but I doubt he's competitive any time soon. I hope I'm wrong and we'll get another exciting season.

Or will Jacques Villeneuve make a surprise comeback with Force India and steal the championship by one point margin? :laugh:

Thoughts?
 

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As long as Fernando doesn't win I'm ok.
Would like to see Felipe develop into a threat week in week out, he is a great driver.
As far as McLaren goes...I dunno who their development driver is...but I'm guessing if it's a young pup they'll be out soon in favor of an experieced F-1 pilot who can do serious development work. Look at Force India to take it to the back of the pack boys and move up...if not next season then the season after. They were determined to have an experienced driver who good could give good fevelopment feedback to the engineers.

Lewis H. well I hope he can give good feedback, he has the skills...dunno 'bout his play with the engineers...no Fernando in Ferrari ever!! Stay away...........

Interesting to see what the Red Bull teams do...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I agree that Massa is very good driver. He might be Kimi's only real threat in 2008.

But Kimi is now more familiar with the car and tyres... and he started his F1 career when there was no traction control. Massa will have a difficult time for sure.

It's also interesting to see how much the FIA's (potential) new punishments will affect on Macs' performance.
 

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I'm sure ZIN will participate here. ;)

JP my ole' friend I'm sorry that it appeared as though I had bypassed this thread. Far from it but it did come in at the start of a very busy weekend for me and the way the CF moves these days, this thread which is only 5 days old was languishing in page 3. :eek:hmy:


Lots of questions:

as there invariably are before the start of a new season though this one is particularly intriguing with the variables at play.



Will McLarens be competitive with two very inexperienced drivers in their lineup? I'm not doubting their actual driving skills or talent, but they're probably lacking in the car development area. And will Ron's "stepson" Hammy be favored over Heikki? ;D

Both the young drivers are very competitive personalities and I would expect Heikki to give Hamilton a hard time. In fact I'm hoping he will and hopefully even outpoint our big-headed "superstar" who speaks of himself as though he was a re-incarnation of the late Ayrton Senna. It's one thing if observers make that favourable comment of one but for him to have done so just brings home to me the pushy ways of his inaugural season. Being knocked off his high perch of a 17-point cushion going into the final two rounds of the 2007 title hunt seems not to have made the fallen mighty one assume any semblance of humility. Now why did I even say that since I never felt humility to be one of his traits. His double-cross of his teammate in Hungary remains one of the low points of the season for me from a sporting perspective.


I'm afraid that Kimi Raikkonen will cruise to his 2nd Championship if Macs aren't competitive.

I think Kimi can only get better too since like Fernando, he will have been used to the characteristics of Bridgestone rubber but how far he does go remains a mystery to me. There were times in the previous season when I felt Kimi would and should have been faster than his teammate. He wasn't and while this can be partly due to the need to acclimatise himself with his tyres, it still makes me a little unsure about how far ahead in terms of speed he is compared with Felipe Massa. Now I fully realise it's not just about raw speed. Indeed Massa had more than his share of reliability issues in 2007 if not for which he would have been the fourth element in the title battle at season's end. He achieved 6 pole positions to Kimi's 3 though misfortune and abiding by the team effort in Brasil meant that in terms of victories, their final tally was a lateral inversion of their pole scores. Kimi drove an exceptional second half of the season. His was a championship that was fought for and duly deserved.


I doubt Renault can get their act together in just one year. That would be extremely boring season.

It's hard for me to say at this stage since there are so many unknowns. It's all relative to what the others other do, isn't it amigo? Mclaren have had to climb down from their long-held position of not having any Ferrari IP on their car. As a result of this, they would presumably have had to remove all of it from their 2008 challenger. Where this leaves them is anyone's guess. I don't think having a smaller garage from which to operate will hamper them too much. The location of their new facilities at each circuit will.... Both their pit stops and race strategy will have to be slicker. While there hasn't been much of a problem with the former, their latter can be suspect as we all know.

Another thing too is that sometime after half-season in the 2007 campaign, Renault supposedly concentrated their efforts on their 2008 car. This was a result of their pinpointing the weaknesses and design problems with the 2007 mount. If the car is good out of the box and Mclaren's is hampered by having to be re-designed around the removal of the advantages gained by Ferrari IP, then Renault could be a formidable challenger next year. At this stage, it's all in the air, isn't it?



I'm actually rooting for Fernando... but I doubt he's competitive any time soon. I hope I'm wrong and we'll get another exciting season.

Fernando Alonso, for all his unfathomable behaviour ( or is it ? ) remains one of the truly outstanding drivers for quite sometime. Only the third driver in history to overcome superior machinery ( 2005 season ) and again having to fight through against official barriers in 2006, he was only 2 points short of becoming champion for the third time in a year when he was up against the opposition which included his own team!!! If he hadn't reacted the way he did in Q3 at Hungary, he would have ended up 2nd or even won which would have sealed the title. That's an "if" I know but consider too that Mclaren botched his race strategy in Canada, that the gearbox failure at Magny-Cours cost him dear and the no-point scorer in Japan, surely a result of over-driving while his teammate escaped the penalty of dangerous driving and won the race would have given him a shed-load of points with which to take a third title. Possessing a fiercely-proud character and that of being an insular character probably didn't endear him to all within the Mclaren team so 2007 was perhaps the story of a title lost as well as one that was won.

Getting back to an earlier point. Fernando Alonso's behaviour this year has been mind boggling, no doubt partly due to the pride in his character. It remains hard to see that he did not have a point or two to make when he alleged that the team were conspiring against him since Mclaren or rather Ron Dennis has not been known for their impartial regard of drivers. It goes back to the Prost/Lauda days of 1984/85 and continued to the Senna/Prost era to the Hakkinen/Coulthard years, to the Raikkonnen/Coulthard tenure and then Raikkonen/Montoya and then to 2007. That Ron Dennis himself inadvertently pronounced while being interviewed in Shanghai that they were not racing Kimi but Fernando says it all. Fernando Alonso was having to fight his own team. While in some way the suddenness of the parting may have come as a surprise when a possible reconciliation might have been on some cards, the Spaniard must have at some point in the second half of the season been looking for a way out of the team. Severing the ties on his own accord would have resulted in a financial penalty he might not have been able to afford. As it is, he has been able to walk away from a difficult situation with his check book intact though perhaps with some form of gagging order or shall we say, arrangement.. Perhaps the only way to have achieved that was to make matters so unbearable for the team to feel it would be best if all were to go their separate ways. It was not unprovoked though since Fernando would have stayed in the team he had always wanted to join. While I'm sure he did not relish having a rookie match him, he surely wasn't counting on the team management not giving him an appropriate level of support too. Certainly not when he had brought his car-development skills to a team that hadn't won nor looked like it, in over a year and which with the advance announcement of his joining them, were able to scour the market for sponsors with deep pockets by which I mean Vodafone, Santander and Mutua Madrilena


Or will Jacques Villeneuve make a surprise comeback with Force India and steal the championship by one point margin?

Who knows ? :D:D:D

I have to say though that I personally am glad to leave the 07 season behind. It has in many ways been most unsatisfactory in the essence of sportsmanship which was so deficient on both team and driver level, particularly over the second half of the season when we should have been enjoying Kimi Raikkonen's climb back up the rankings.

I realise I've talked more about 07 than indeed about the forthcoming season which was the title of your thread JP but I simply haven't a clue at this stage who is to emerge as challengers to Ferrari. You need a good car to win these days and Ferrari apart, none of the other machinery are known elements. Mind you, Lotus were champions in '78 and nowhere in '79. I wouldn't rule out Nick Heidfeld though. IMHO there are five or six drivers. Kimi, Felipe, Hammy, Fernando, Quick Nick and Heikki. Kimi I agree, should be the bookmaker's favourite.


Have a good Christmas pals



ZIN
 

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They will be fine as long as they stay away from the Invicta S1 model. ;)
 

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Given ALL the circumstances surrounding last year and this off-season, I look for Ferrari to be the team to beat again.
 

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Didn't realise you were an observer of F1. Welcome my friend.

Who would you personally like to see do well in '08 Mr Datsun?

I'd like it to be a fair fight between Kimi and Fernando with Felipe and Quick Nick being contenders for best supporting cast :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:

Note that I have discounted Mclaren - it's a personal choice. I've rather had it with them, sadly.



Be well now


ZIN
 

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F1 Racing is a sport? Cool. Then that means I am an athlete! I navigate the city and suburban highways everyday doing over 85 MPH!! :001_tt2: :001_tt2: :001_tt2:
 

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McLaren with Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen and strong backing will be a tough pair to beat. Ferrari has basically maintained a status quo with their drivers although the new machine will debut 1/8/08 for the world to see.


Fernando Alonso just signed with Renault again and BMW Stauber has it's two top drivers returning. You have Honda with a new road car so it may be wide open this year although I think if pushed to make a choice, McLaren.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wow, that was quite a read ZIN. You could be an editor in a F1 magazine. ;)

I think Ferrari has the strongest driver pairing. Massa and Raikkonen are both fairly experienced, and no doubt very fast. You're absolutely right: Massa is probably better qualifier of the two, and represents the raw speed. But Kimi is extremely calculative, cold headed and consistent in the race setup. He was faster than Massa in the race setup in almost all tracks during the season.

I see Massa as a hot headed, temperamental driver... while Kimis style is like the professors, Prost's. Rarely spectacular, but always consistent and very calm. Kimi might not be a rocket scientist as a person, but I think he's extremely intelligent driver. A lot like Fernando, and these things make them better than the rest of the grid (imho). That's also why they're world champions.

I'm not sure about Heikki Kovalainen. He drove a solid season with that awful Renault, but we don't really know much about his real speed. I doubt he's world championship material. I know you don't like Hammy, but I think he will have similar position in McLaren as Hakkinen did. The "golden boy", and Heikki's destiny is play the second fiddle (like DC did).

Of course this can change if Heikki can beat him in the few first races. I think it would be absolutely CRUCIAL to his career at McLaren. I doubt it though. New car, new team, new people around you, etc.

Wonder if Nelsinho Piquet can cause Alonso similar problems as Hammy did last year... Nelsinho's father is known to be a loudmouth. Remember the Piquet vs Mansell clashes? But I'm sure Fernando's contract says that he will get the complete #1 driver treatment.

I know you don't like this, but I suspect the championship will be decided between Kimi and Hammy. ;) Or if Ferraris are superior, it's between Kimi and Massa. I don't see Renault being there just yet.

Merry christmas mate!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
F1 Racing is a sport? Cool. Then that means I am an athlete! I navigate the city and suburban highways everyday doing over 85 MPH!! :001_tt2: :001_tt2: :001_tt2:
You'd be surprised how extremely fit those guys are.

Being in a 45 celcius cockpit all through the 80 laps, and driving 320 km/h for two hours in the absolute limit, isn't a walk in the park.

Kovalainen just ran the New York marathon by the way. ;)
 

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Howdy Pals


My, I've never known so many here who are observers of this sport. Do any of you follow Champcar too? :001_smile: That of course merits another thread.

Yes JP you're right, the best car/drivers combination has to be Ferrari. Wonder if they'll produce a lwb car for 2008 as they have for this year? It did cause them problems at certain tracks.

Kimi gives the impression of being calm more because of his ice-cool, say little image and style and while he did have the edge on Felipe in races in the second half of 07, the Brazilian was definitely more effective up to Silverstone.

Heikki Kovalainen improved tremendously as the season unfolded. He could be a surprise. What I like about Heikki is that he is a nice guy in a sport where there aren't many of his kind. Fernando may have done him a big favour. From a personal standpoint though I've had it with Mclaren or rather their management and one of their drivers. No team is perfect but Mclaren profess to be precisely what they are not. As you'd expect, I'll be delighted if the " Senna-reincarnate " Hammy-boy were to fall flat on his face. While I'm not expecting it and I know it isn't nice to say so, I would certainly relish such a prospect.

Honda along with Toyota must be the least successful of the teams given their budget and expectations. Indeed they appear to go from bad to worse. Ross Brawn is a coup for Honda but remember he's a strategy man. What Honda needs is a designer/engineer who can come up with a good car. Strategy is only a part of the equation, though a vital element. You still need good machinery though.

Red Bull is a mystery but that could largely be due to the reliability problems they have had. With Adrian Newey on board, they should have the technical expertise but I don't think they have quite the drivers for a top flight delivery. I like David Coulthard but Mark Webber hasn't exactly set the world alight though he seems to have the speed.

I must confess to liking the son of his father :biggrin:, Nico Rosberg. In an underfinanced Williams he will continue to demonstrate his abilities but unless Williams get major funding, there is only so far he can go with the Grove outfit. A pity really since Williams is a team that should be running up there.

It is also my hope that Nick Heidfeld will be part of a strong supporting cast for the title quest. I don't know how good the BMW will be but they have gone well in winter testing. Robert Kubica's a good driver too but I like Quick Nick's quiet and effective style.

One thing I hope is that Nelson Piquet not be allowed to open his mouth in the garage if he is allowed in there at all. A pretty good driver in his day but only when the car is good mind you, yet one cannot argue with the statistics which place him as a triple world champion. There were times though when he simply did not try hard enough. That said, Nelson did speak up for Roberto Moreno who was unfairly axed by Benetton to make way for Michael Schumacher for which he himself received his marching orders.

Sure gonna be interesting to sort out the Prancing Horse's challengers when the grid lines up again in March.


Y'all be well pals


ZIN
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yeah, it would be quite a shock for the British press if Heikki starts beating the Golden Boy. ;) I agree his 2nd half of the season was very good... reports say that Renault was absolutely horrible to drive most of the time... and Heikki did well (the circumstances considered...).

I admit that some of Hammys comments have been pretty pompous... like comparing himself to Schumacher and Senna already. But then again he's just a kid... and all that hype by the British press must have gone to his head. Quite predictable... what can you except from a 21-year old boy?

Nelson Piquet was a great driver no doubt. I'm a bit too young to remember the early eighties that well (Keke, Nelson, Prost, Watson era)... but everybody always said that he was very lucky to get so many WDC's. For some reason I don't have a proper image of Piquet in my head. He was always a bit invisible, which sounds a bit strange... being a triple WDC and all...

I agree about Webber, he made a sensational entrance at Minardi (I recall), and everybody was saying that he's a future world champion. But then he somehow disappeared. There have been so many "future world champions", but so few ever achieve the title. Look how long it took from Kimi... it's quite amazing really.
 

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Pity Hamiton lost his nerve a bit and with some bad decisions from his team towards the end of the season he could be considered to be unlucky. We will also probably never know the full extent of the Maclaren Ferrari debacle.

I suspect the the smart money will be on Ferrari next year


:cool:

 

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Putting their eggs in the basket of a fast though inexperienced rookie was just another example of how and not for the first time, Mclaren under their egotistic leader Ron Dennis got greedy. The glory of having the first rookie become a world champion proved all too irresistible for him, much as the need to win big when in encouraging Kimi Raikkonen put unnecessary distance between him and Fernando Alonso at the Nurburgring in 2005 caused the Finn to flatspot a tyre which eventually wrecked the suspension of his car. The result in either case - a failure of catastrophic proportions. The only ever rookie champion in the history of Formula 1 which began in 1950 was always going to be Giuseppe " Nino " Farina in the inaugural season of the sport. That Dennis himself had revealed that the team had been racing Fernando Alonso and not Kimi Raikkonen has been seen by many observers as a bad judgment call which had cost the team at least one championship in 2007.

As for the spy scandal, Mclaren's public apology and undertaking to place a freeze on developments that could be determined as having been derived from Ferrari information to avoid the revelations of the scrutineers in respect of their 2008 car at the initially-scheduled meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on February 14 2008 is more than likely a clear indication that they knew more than they had been prepared to reveal. It isn't over for the Woking team of course since the matter in still in the courts both in Italy and in England. The penalty applied against the team of £50million was probably much too harsh since teams in the history of the sport have always tried to discover each others' secrets. However in the dog eat dog world of Formula 1 which is laden with protest and counter-protest, something to which Mclaren have themselves have been major contributors, the injudicious taking of drivers, designers and sponsors from other teams again all in the time of Dennis, Mclaren should probably not be too surprised that they have made enemies in the sport.


Ya'll be well pals


ZIN
 
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