May 4(Andrés Rojas).- After a well-deserved break, the Formula 1 action returns and over European soil for the Grand Prix of Turkey. Yes, the same where Vettel and Webber embarrassingly collided in 2010.
The entertaining Istanbul Park circuit will host the fourth round of the year, which promises to be an exciting one. This excitement in part surfaces because of the combination of several still-hard to predict elements. These, bring a certain level of uncertainty to the teams and drivers performances.
The short "time out" is over, but the vast majority of the teams have been working on changes, adjustments and improvements to their cars, even before this "break." The results and information obtained after the first three races, where new components like the KERS, the successful aerodynamic reduction system (DRS), and of course the resonated Pirelli tires were put into play, have been studied extensively by the team so they can apply all of their development programs better.
It will also be interesting to see how rookie drivers face the great Turn 8, which reaches G-Forces of 5g. The machines will be also scrutinized given the new modifications, and the teams will be left to finally come up with more tuned race strategies.
Many teams have prepared significant changes, including the humble Hispania
Racing Team, which will feature a very different car. Force India and Williams will also bring enhancement packages that will be tested in Friday practice, and similar moves are expected from Lotus, Virgin y Toro Rosso.
The teams mentioned above are part of the middle of the pack group, whose main objective is to earn points, and why not? an occasional visit to the podium. Force India seems to better fit to achieve that.
Sauber and Toro Rosso seem to look in stronger shape than the others. The latter because of its drivers, Sergio Pérez and Kamui Kobayashi, whose talents plus the apparent competitiveness of the car, makes people at Sauber feel optimistic for one, or possibly several, visits to the podium.
There is no doubt that the pressure in the house of Maranello is worse than in the boiler of a locomotive. Ferrari president, Luca Montemozolo, did not help much, but after such promising pre-season testing, results have been rather bad. Neither Alonso or Massa have stepped on podium, but most of all, the obvious lack of real speed is a little scary, and to make matters worse, Mercedes seems to be very close to run them over in terms of competitiveness.
It is a practical certainty that Nico Rosberg will win his first Grand Prix soon, the question is when. The German has not had luck on his side completely; in China he was third with few laps remaining, but had to settle for fourth after Webber impressive charge in the penultimate lap. The truth is that Nico is getting better, and once all Mercedes resources: technical, financial and organizational finally align themselves, Rosberg and the team will become a force on its own.
Lotus Renault has a painted a bright future so far, and from the beginning they gave indications of it. The car features a excellent combination of high-speed in straights and corners with the latter needs just a little more (the eternal problem!). But they have been the ones with bold and risky-creative moves, like the forward facing exhaust pipes.
Two consecutive podiums, one for Petrov in Australia and the other for Heidfeld in Malaysia, speaks of the potential, which could be augmented if they get to be more consistent and implement their improvements appropriately.
The growing threat of McLaren, with the help of the virtuoso Hamilton, who delighted us with a wonderful drive in China, promises an epic battle with Red Bull and its defending champion Sebastian Vettel. It's amazing to consider the similarities between these two drivers that features aggressiveness and lighting speed.
Without doubt the best car on the track belongs to Vettel and Webber, and this without having the KERS working perfectly, which seems to be a bit behind in development.
The truth is that Red Bull still leads the competition, and when one can count with Vettel’s superior driving skills and Webber’s determination, it will take a lot to McLaren, Mercedes and Ferrari to change the very final outcome.