Formula 1 - 2008: First Impressions

I wanted to write this post like 10 days ago, but with only 7 cars finishing the Australian Grand Prix I didn’t felt I had a correct overview of pilots and constructors. But now, after the Malaysian Grand Prix, I think I’m ready to comment my first impressions.

At the moment, Ferrari seems to be as strong as they were last year, and that they still have the technical problems that sporadically appeared last season. To me, Kimi is still the best pilot in the grid, and I hope he wins again this year. For Massa… well, now without the traction control he is facing some driving problems, and he is a driver as dirty as always.

McLaren drivers are still flying over a wheeled missile, but the FIA is not going to allow them any tricks, as we saw in the Makaysia’s Q3. Kovalainen is not an excellent driver, but he behaves. Both Kovalainen and Hamilton have had no problems overtaking very slow cars, but with others, they have had many problems, like we saw in the Malaysian duels Kovalainen-Trulli and Hamilton-Webber (and it’s very curious because Alonso had no problem overtaking Webber in the same race).

BMW has given another leap in the beginning of this season, but I think that the good results of the first 2 races had been only due to diverse errors from Ferrari and McLaren, and that they still have no chance. Let’s wait and see how they develop the car this season. For Kubica and Heidfeld, I see them as strong and focused as last year, so if the car let’s them, they can do great things this season.

Williams have a very irregular car, capable of doing both great races and having poor performances. I don’t have a clear idea of what they can do, because in their best moments, they’ve been able to beat the BMW… so maybe they can be real contenders for the “best of the rest”. Rosberg has done a great job for the last year and a half, but Nakajima is still paying for his inexperience, with important mistakes.

Renault is still where they were last year, but maybe with the help of Alonso (who has regained my sympathy this season) they can prepare a nice car for the last year. Piquet haven’t shine not even a single spark, but I think that it’s going to be a very hard season both for him and Alonso, as it’s hard to tell if they’re driving a Formula 1 car or a Renault Clio.

Toro Rosso, Red Bull and Toyota seem to have a capable car, but reliability problems and bad luck with accidents have prevented them from doing anything really remarkable (despite the previously mentioned Kovalainen-Trulli and Hamilton-Webber duels). If they don’t have reliability issues and improve a little bit, they might try to jump from the midfield (where they’re with Renault) to sporadic fights for the “best of the rest”.

Honda is still sunk in the grid of the Formula 1, and as last season, I see them fighting for not finishing the season without points. Super Aguri and Force India (former Spyker) will face a strong duel for not being the last in the standings at the end of the season.

Almost one week until the next Grand Prix, this time in Bahrain… and I’m already impatient to see how the season evolves from there!

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