2009 German Grand Prix Preview. Vettel, Rosberg and Toyota Come Home.

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2009 German Grand Prix Preview. Vettel, Rosberg and Toyota Come Home.
(Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

When someone says the word Nurburgring to me, the first thing I think of is of the old classic, Jackie Stewart's "Green Hell", the fearsome 22 km-long Nordschleife. So the Grand Prix Circuit at the Nurburgring seems a little underwhelming when comparing it to the Nordschleife.

But I've gone off topic enough... now to talk about the weekend itself. The German Grand Prix will be a homecoming of sorts for Formula One's front runners. Sebastian Vettel, the young German, will come to his home grand prix first time as a legitimate Formula One contender.

Germany's legacy in Grand Prix racing extends as far back as the Auto Union and Mercedes Benz "Siver Arrows" from the 1930s. The Germans have always been at the forefront of engineering in motorsports, but they've had very few good Formula One drivers, with one notable exception: Michael Schumacher.

So Sebastian Vettel is the new home town favorite, a guy that seemingly seems to emulate Schumacher. He seems as cool, collected and focused as Schumi. He seems to be as much interested in development, testing and team performance as in his own finishing position.

So the crowds in the Eifel mountains will be supporting their Sebi and I think he might oblige them with something they haven't seen since Schumacher retired. A German winning his home race.

Toyota F1's headquarters are in Cologne a city not far away from the Nurburgring. In Toyota's seven years they have never won a race. They've spent billions of dollars on their Formula One program and have nary a win to show for it. But in 2009, Trulli and Glock have shown how good the the TF109 can be, with a pole position in Bahrain and two podium finishes early in the season and consistent finishing positions as of late.

Further, the track at the Nurburgring is kind of similar in profile to the circuit in Sakhir, a good mixture of high and low speed corners and some quite technical parts and lots of full throttle racing with long straights.  All characteristics that seem to suit the incredibly well balanced TF109 and Jarno Trulli's smooth driving style. So this might be the breakthrough Toyota has been looking for all along.

Finally, Nico Rosberg has said that he feels that the circuit seems to suit his style and the FW29 well. Also, Williams has been consistently improving their Sunday afternoon performances since some time, being able to convert Friday and Saturday pace into points. Even Nakajima has improved lately.

Rosberg is probably one of the most talented young drivers in Formula One. Though since he's been with Williams, the once mighty team of Patrick Head, Sir Frank Williams and Sam Michael has faltered. But 2009 has been somewhat of a return to form. This weekend might be the culmination of that, by a return to the top step of the podium for Williams with another Rosberg in the cockpit.

 

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