This weekend sees the last British Grand Prix to be held at Silverstone. The 2009 season has been nothing short of incredible this year so far and i'm now going to asses the chances of all the teams and drivers for this race.
• McLaren Mercedes
• Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen
The 2008 champions have not had a great start to the season. The MP4-24 is arguably the worst McLaren in a long time, this is mainly due to a lack of down force resulting in a lack of grip and unsteadiness through quick corners and straights. Silverstone is known to be a quick track with lots of quick corners and chicanes which means the McLaren will struggle through the quick corners of which there ate plenty. McLaren has huge success here last year with Kovalainen getting pole and Hamilton 4th on the grid.
Kovalainen then went on to finish 5th with Hamilton giving the drive of his life and of the season winning in the wet grey weather of Northamptonshire by over a minute and lapping everyone ok the track except BMW's Nick Heidfeld and Honda's Rubens Barrichello. A dominant performance all round for the Woking based team and a feat which unfortunately for them will not be repeated by Lewis this year.
• Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen
Ferrari are in a very similar situation to McLaren, world champions in 2008 meant production of the F2008 continued right the way through to the final race of the season in Brazil to try and win the Drivers Championship with Felipe Massa. With less time spent in the 2009 car a lack of down force and grip has been their problem as well. The 2008 British Grand Prix was a disaster for Ferrari with Massa spinning five times in the wet British weather after starting 9th on the grid and after being lapped twice he finishes the race last of the thirteen running cars. Whilst Raikkonen didn't embarrass himself he didn't do any favours for himself either, finishing 4th after starting 3rd and being lapped by race winner Lewis Hamilton. But could 2009 be different. An improved F60 has been on display for the last two races in Monaco and Turkey but with only little improvement. Ferrari will be hoping for a good result at Silverstone and the upgrades made to the F60 will improve it's chances of a win again.
• BMW Sauber
• Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld
BMW are annother team who had an invcredible season last year. Their goal for last year was start winning races and getting on the podium regulary and they achieved both of these goals with Kubica winning in Canada and a total of 11 podiums between the two drivers. Their goal for this season was one that didn't sound unrealistic at all last season, and that was to win the championship. But the German outfit have struggled to even get on the podium this year so far with only Nick Heidfeld’s second place in the Malaysian Grand Prix which only finished 31 laps making it in to the top 3. But even with this podium they have still looked incredibly poor for the majority of the season, this best example of this is at the Bahrain grand prix where Kubica and Heidfeld finished 18th and 19th respectively.
Some will blame the teams poor performance down to the fact that too much emphasis was put on the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) in the development of the car. KERS then proved out to be a pointless system and a waste of time and money.
BMW will not expecting a repeat of the 2008 British Grand Prix performance by Nick Heidfeld who finished 2nd. Instead they will be expecting a performance similar to that of Robert Kubica who crashed out of the race. BMW will ofcourse be hoping that both drivers finish the race and will hope for some points. But the most they can hope for is a couple of points at the high speed and high down force requiring track at Silverstone.
• Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet Jr.
The Renault team finished the 2008 season in style with wins from Alonso in Fuji and at the inaugural Singaporegrand prix. But Piquet on the other hand struggled the whole way through the season, with 9 retirements and only one a podium all season in Germany showed some promise, which many thought saved his Formula One career.
Renault have struggled with pace ever since their 2006 world championship double, and 2009 is no exception. Many expected things to be very different at Renault this year, many were expecting Piquet to be replaced by Roman Grosjean and for Fernando to continue his late 2008 form into 2009. But none of this has happened, yet. Piquet has been under immense pressure, he is yet to score a single point and with Dad now attending every race, Piquet has something to prove to the Renault fans and quickly because a French Man is sitting right on his tail. Alonso though has shown that this years Renault has a lot more potential than results from Piquet have shown . But with only 11 points so dr this season, Renault will be disappointed. Last year at Silverstone Renault only scored 2 points and I don't expect them to get many more than that.
• Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock
The Toyota team had their best season in a long time, a first podium since 2006 showed much promise for the team. But when the team revealed that their aim for the 2009 season was to win a race, many thought they had little or no hope. With consecutive podiums in Melbourne and Sepang the doubters began to question their worries. But when Trulli and Glock suddenly pulled of a 1-2 in qualifying at the Bahrain Grand Prix everyone was in shock and a Toyotawin was predicted, but when Trulli only managed 3rd and Glock 7th the doubters came out again. And they haven't stopped either, Toyota haven't visited the podium since the race at Bahrain and many are starting to question the team once again. But they Toyota’s are suited to quick race tracks and Silverstone is another of the quicker tracks on the calendar. But can Toyotaimprove on their poor showing in 2008 were Trulli only scored 2 points? The world will be watching the German team with keen interest wondering if they can back on the podium and even try to win their first grand prix in their 9 year history.
• Toro Rosso
• Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastien Buemi
The 2008 season was incredible for the small Italian team. Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastian Vettel scored higher in the constructors championship than the Red Bull works team. And a young German talent shot into the frame for future world champion when he won the Italian Grand Prix for Toro Rosso. But with Vettel leaving for Red Bull the Toro Rossi team have struggled, having only scored five points and with Swiss rookie Sebastian Buemi out scoring the experienced Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais the Toro Rosso team will not be looking for wins but will be looking for points. The Toro Rosso team are using the same car as the Red Bull works team used in the early races of the season. Last season in Silverstone Bourdais managed 11th place but the two Sebastiens will be looking to finish a couple places higher this year and score a couple of points.
• Red Bull
• Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel
Red Bull had poor show in 2008 being overtaken by the sister Toro Rosso but 2009 has been different. With experienced Scot, David Coulthard, retired and young German Sebastian Vettel in the seat, they have been the second best team in every race so far only losing to Brawn GP. With a win from Pole in China, and a second from pole pole in Turkey, Red Bull have had a great start to the season. With Coulthard coming last and Webber 10th the team couldn't really do much worst than last season. The Adrian Newey designed RB5 has suited Vettel and Webber perfectly so far and both drivers are 3rd and 4th in the championship respectively. The team will be hoping for another good performance at Silverstone.
• Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima
The Williams duo have been unusual so far to say the least. Nico Rosberg has been consistently quick in practise sessions on a Friday but has never been able to convert that pace into saturday and Sunday performances. Whereas Kazuki Nakajima has been consistent, but not in the way he would have hoped for at the start of the season. With three retirements and not a single point, many critics and Williams fans are dubbing him as Crashajima and many are not expecting to finish the season at Williams and with a young Brazilian who has very strong links with the team Nakajima knows he must improve his performances or Brunno Senna will most certainly take the seat from him.
Last season at Silverstone was mixed for the British outfit, having Nakajima qualify 15th and Rosberg 20th the team would have been devastated not to have put on a good show fir the British fans. But when Nakajima fought through the field to 8th place and Rosberg to 9th a lot of people were surprised at the determination of the two. Williams will be hoping for a similar performance this year but slightly higher up the grid.
• Force India
• Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella
The Force India are now in their second season in Formula One after Vijay Mallaya bought the team from the Dutch sports car manufacturer Spyker. But the team are yet to score a point in 2008 or 2009. But, with a better car this year and a very capable team factory and engine supplier, Force Indiawill be trying to score their first point of the season. Sutil suffered heartbreak in Monacolast year when he was looking to score a point, but that was before Kimi Raikkonen lost control coming out of the tunnel and hit Sutil right of the race. But the Force India’s have been threatening the top 8 all season and it can't be long before they finally score a point. With two retirements last year in Silverstone the team cannot get a worse result than last year. They will all be hoping for a point at their home race.
• Brawn GP
• Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello
Well what a difference a year makes! This time last year Honda were delighted with Rubens' podium at Silverstone but this year the team are disappointed when they don't make the podium! Late last year Honda decided to pull out of Formula One and Brawn GP were born out of the ashes, but only at the last second! Christmas 2008 would have been Jensons hardest Christmas in many years. With doubts over whether or not he would even drive a Formula One car in 2009. He could never have seen in a million years that he would have 26 point lead in the championship by the time it came to his home race in Silverstone, no one could have written a Hollywood script as moving, dramatic and thrilling as the tale of Jenson's life over the last year.
With a lead as large as Jensons he is guaranteed to still be leading the championship by the time we get to Valenciain August, but many do not Jenson will slip from the top at all. A race win here in Silverstone this weekend is looking increasingly likely. But last year here was different. Jenson retired and Rubens finished 3rd thanks to some quick thinking by the Honda team. But this year nearly everyone is expecting Jenson to win again and increase the gap at the top even further.
The 2009 British Grand Prix will be nothing short of exiting