Formula 1 will be making its second visit to India for the 17th round of the 2012 Formula 1 World Championship Season. So, let’s take a look at all possible scenarios.
Can Red Bull be stopped? Red Bull Racing seems to have regained their 2011 form, with Vettel winning all of the last three races. Can Red Bull fail in India? Looking at the form of Vettel and Red Bull, this situation looks highly unlikely, and a grand slam finish for Vettel in India won’t be a surprise. A grand slam finish in F1 is when a driver takes pole position, sets the fastest lap, and wins the race. Last year, Vettel produced a grand slam finish in India, so can anyone stop the young German this year? At the moment, there are only two people who can do that. One, his team-mate Mark Webber, who has the same machinery as Vettel, and the other, Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, who is probably the best driver on the grid.
Can Ferrari challenge Red Bull? Fernando Alonso comes to India with a 6-point deficit to Vettel, and looking at Vettel’s form, Ferrari have to produce some massive upgrades to overhaul Vettel and Red Bull. At Maranello, work is in full swing and Ferrari have planned upgrades for every race of the season. It will be interesting to see Alonso and Vettel duel on track, again.
Felipe Massa has been given a contract extension, and the Brazilian does seem to have regained some amount of confidence and is slowly returning to the form of 2008, when he almost won the championship. The double-point finish in Korea allowed Ferrari to overhaul McLaren in the constructor’s championship, and so, Felipe Massa’s contribution will be very important if Ferrari are to win this year’s constructor championship. Last year, Felipe had a very poor race in India, as he damaged his suspension in both qualifying and the race, which left him with no points. This year, Felipe is in the best form since his life-threatening crash, and the Ferrari team will be hoping for solid points contribution from Massa.
Can McLaren regain their form? McLaren have endured some bad luck in the last two races, as neither of their drivers finished on the podium in Japan and Korea. In Korea, Button was taken out on the first lap by Kobayashi while Hamilton suffered an anti-roll bar failure, which meant that he lost the balance in the car and finished at the tail end of the points in tenth place. Poor results in Japan and Korea has allowed Ferrari to overtake them in the Constructors’ Championships. If you rewind two races back, McLaren were the most dominant team, and they had won every race from Hungary to Italy. But after the upgrade Red Bull brought in Singapore, McLaren seem to have gone back, and are currently the third best team after Red Bull and Ferrari. As far as the Indian Grand Prix is concerned, it is hard to imagine McLaren fighting with Red Bull and Ferrari for victory. They may have to settle for fourth or fifth position, if they do not improve the car significantly.
Can Lotus spring a surprise?
Though Lotus have dropped back in the recent few races, they have been scoring points on a consistent basis. Kimi Raikkonen is still in the hunt for the championship with a 48-point deficit to Sebastian Vettel. With four races to go and 100 points up for grabs, the Flying Finn can spring a surprise. In 2007, Kimi was in a similar situation, and was able to pull out some brilliant drives at the end of the season to take the title; so Kimi becoming World Champion in 2012 cannot be ruled out. Also, the hot weather of India should play into the hands of Lotus, as their car is much more suited for hot climatic conditions.
Lotus are also still pushing with the developments for this year’s car, and are locked in a tight fight with McLaren in the Constructors’ Championship. So, that is also one challenge to look forward to.
Can Mercedes end their pointless drought?
In the last two races, Mercedes have not been able to score a single point, and have found themselves fighting in the mid-pack. With so many Schumi fans in India, can Mercedes spring some sort of surprise? Highly unlikely, as they have not been able to extract the full potential of the massive upgrade package they introduced in Singapore and the Coanda-exhaust doesn’t seem to be giving the sort of performance Mercedes were expecting. The only positive thing about their upgrades is the DRS system, which is the best in the field, and it won’t be a surprise to see Mercedes’ cars topping the speed trap times on the long straight. But as far as aerodynamic efficiency is concerned, they have got a lot of work to do and they will most likely be fighting at the tail end of the points in India.
Can Force India give Indians something to cheer for?
Force India team come to India on a high as Nico Hulkenberg has produced some brilliant drives in Japan and Korea to bring home some solid points. Last year, Force India could only manage to get one of their cars in the points, so they will clearly be aiming for a double point finish in front of the home crowd. But realistically speaking, Force India still doesn’t have the raw pace to compete at the top end of the field, and unless something dramatic happens, they will most likely have to settle for seventh or eight position.
So, all Indian fans out there don’t expect anything brilliant from Force India unless some of the top guys crash out.
Indian Grand Prix Schedule:
Broadcaster: Star Sports
|Fri 26 October 2012|
10:00 – 11:30
14:00 – 15:30
|Sat 27 October 2012|
11:00 – 12:00
|Sun 28 October 2012|