Constructors Rankings 2008: The Tail End Of The Grid
This was not only a great year for the drivers but also the constructors championship with new winners, a much closer midfield and up and coming teams punching above their weight.
If you've read my previous two articles, it's pretty much the same system. Essentially this article is my review of each team who are ranked on my personal opinions of their performance this year.
Note: Again like the drivers rankings I have not included Super Aguri, it just wouldn't be fair.
10th: Honda Honda seems to be going backwards. This year, if anything was worse than 2007 as the team failed to break into the midfield and scored the same number of points as last year. In a season of more unpredictable results they should have down better.
The team were hurt by the lack of development and by Hungary they were already focusing on 2009, if the down turn of results is to be believed. Honda continues to have title aspirations but so far have shown no signs of jumping from rivals of Force India to challenging the likes of BMW-Sauber and Renault.
It’s easy to criticise but one would expect a team that has been around for almost a decade to be able to improve on the show in 2007, especially with the funds and skills they have on board. On next year Ross Brawn and the team are, as usual, confident, Brawn going as far to say that the team to aims to fight the BMW-Saubers.
Can they do it? With the new regulations and Ross Brawn at the helm they have a much larger chance to step up than this year but all too often Honda promises much but deliver little.
Best Moment: Third in Silverstone was pretty much the only time when the Honda team got something right.
Worst Moment: Take your pick after Canada.
What to watch out for in 2009: Brawn’s first winter taken in anger is the biggest hope for team in the future.
9th: Force India One thing you have to say about Vijay Mallya and his team of minnows is that they try to the bitter end. They failed to score this year and after Super Aguri went bust they had little in the way of competition.
But they stuck at it bringing in new aero parts, spending Mallya’s cash injection and had a pop at the midfield whenever they could. However the sad truth was that the car never looked like scoring in a normal race and only through Sutil’s brilliance in Monaco did the car look remotely competitive.
Like Honda however there is some bright hope for the future. The collaboration with Mclaren (should they get it) would be a sensational sweep and there is some element of continuity in keeping Fisichella and Sutil on for next season. So with Mike Gascoigne, new aero regs, the same drivers and hopefully more cash maybe Force India could join the midfield next year.
Best Moment: Monaco—Sutil's performance.
Worst Moment:When the new aero parts in Germany failed to move them up the grid.
What to watch out for in 2009: If they get the McLaren parts and expertise then they could challenge the midfield, if not then they'll be at the back again.
8th: Williams The season started with so much promise for Williams. On the form of winter testing many analysts were claiming that Williams would take over from BMW-Sauber as the best of the rest. Certainly in Australia they were one of the few teams to get both drivers home and in the points, albeit Nakajima had a few scrapes along the way. Indeed the season started well with the team scoring consistently. By Monaco they had scored 15 points, including one podium.
But during the summer, when races became more predictable the lack of speed in the car was shown. In France for example which probably was one of the least interesting races of the season both drivers failed to finish higher than 15th, beating only Bourdais and the Force India’s.
Furthermore if you took away Rosberg’s great drive to second in Singapore the team would have only scored two points after Monaco. That’s better only than Force India. Williams are one of the classic F1 teams but they are moving towards of the back of the pack and as an independent team there is no manufacturer backing. Everybody wants to see the Williams at the front but there is little sign that anything is going to change soon.
Best Moment: Australia where both drivers scored points and the team briefly held second in the Constructors championship.
Worst Moment: The summer season was an absolute nightmare.
What to watch out for in 2009: Little news on plans for 2009 but if ever they needed Rosberg to shine it would be next year.
7th: Red Bull In many ways this was Red Bull’s best year in F1, finally cracking the reliability and putting in some consistent points results. But in other ways it was their worst as they were embarrassed by junior team Torro Rosso and eventually their season tailed off.
Once again for Red Bull it started well. Mark Webber was sensational as he was easily the best of the rest behind the likes of Ferrari, Mclaren and BMW-Sauber. He took six points results between Australia and France. While Coulthard couldn’t seem to match his pace or consistency, the Scot was dogged by incident, he did drive well in Canada, taking Red Bull’s only podium of the season.
While the Red Bull was once again a pioneer chassis under Adrian Newey (coming up with the shark fin) the car failed to improve and Red Bull began to slip down the pecking order. In the last races Webber failed to qualify in the top 10, a feat he had previously achieved in 11/14 races.
But what hurt Red Bull the most is that they were thoroughly beaten by their baby team Torro Rosso. Arguably this could be down the driver line-up- Bourdais and Vettel were probably faster than both senior drivers.
However most blame it on the impotence of the Renault engine, compared to the Ferrari engine of the Torro Rosso. This was a nice alibi for Red Bull, until Singapore and Japan when Alonso showed that the Renault engine could win races.
Development throughout a season seems to be a weakness for Red Bull as they seem to get little out of the car compared to other teams. Yes they lost out most to the increased competitiveness of Renault, STR and Toyota, but to finish 10 points behind their baby team was surely disappointing. At least however Vettel is replacing Coulthard for 2009. This could either be advantageous for Red Bull or a hammer blow to Vettel’s career.
Best Moment: Inspired timing in Singapore during the safety car period put both cars on the podium temporarily.
Worst Moment:Being thoroughly out paced by Torro Rosso throughout the second half of the season and finishing 10 points behind in the constructors’ championship.
What to watch out for in 2009: The fate of Vettel’s career, will Red Bull be able to rise up ahead of their Junior team?
6th: Renault 2008 was looking a dud year for Renault. With Alonso struggling to get the car in Q3 and Piquet crashing more often than Massa did in 2002. It seemed that the French team would have to wait another season to get to the top. Luckily for them they were able to fix their aerodynamic problems and we saw a glimpse of the team that were champions in 2005 and 2006.
The main issue was that the front wing was causing problems for both drivers giving them under steer. However they were able to fix that and were able to out develop their competitors and move up the grid. By Singapore Alonso was a front runner and deserved the win in Japan, if the first win in Singapore was a tad fortunate.
Renault's progress was remarkable, even Piquet improved tremendously netting a second in Germany (down to a well timed safety car period). He also scored an excellent fourth when he hustled Kimi Raikkonen for a long time for third. When Renault finally saw that a one size fits all strategy did not suit Piquet they began to cater to his needs and he did improve.
But they did have that torrid start which means the team left Brazil with a bitter-sweet taste in the mouth, although it’s looking pretty bright for a Renault fight back in 2009.
Best Moment:The best piece of teamwork this season—Piquet crashing in Singapore gifting Alonso the lead in the race.
Worst Moment:Erratic driving in Monaco from both drivers lost team potential points with Piquet crashing rather pathetically and mistakes showing that even Alonso is human.
What to watch out for in 2009: If Alonso can challenge the top guns from the off.
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