F1: Who on Earth Will Win in Bahrain?

Half VolleyContributor IIMarch 9, 2010

BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 26:  (L-R) Fernando Alonso of Spain and Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and McLaren Mercedes exit the pitlane during Formula One winter testing at the Circuit De Catalunya on February 26, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images)
Ker Robertson/Getty Images

So you've got your double diffuser? Check. You've got your bigger fuel tank? Check. You've got your adapted smaller front wing? Check. You've got the rest of your aero package tuned to a tee? Check. You've fiddled things around so you can fit that massive fuel tank in the boot somewhere too right? Yup. And you've made sure your drivers are the best you can possibly afford? Of course.

So has everyone else.

Working out who came out on top in Winter Testing was like trying to pick a winner at the dogs. And I don't mean Crufts. I mean some mangy greyhound track in the back end of nowhere, where the dogs are from the C-team and the trainers are all much more interested in the Sunday League game on the pitch next door. Sure, you can see who's had their Winalot for the day, but the point is they've all had a tin of Purina's finest . And there are even the lame ones out the back who've got no chance.

Extended metaphors aside, F1 2010 looks set to be the most exciting season for a good many years. There are a good five teams with very little to choose between them.

Bahrain will no doubt be its usual festival of exuberance and overindulgence. And dullness. Though it's the first race of the seasons, as Jarno Trulli commented to the Guardian, "The circuit is OK, but there is never much of an atmosphere because it's in the middle of nowhere." A shame, because the place is quite spectacular. A mixture of mainly slow- and medium-speed corners, and all that fuel mean drivers will have to be careful with the loud pedal. They'll also want to keep downforce low for those three long straights between turns 3-4, 21-22, and the finish straight. Sledging anyone?

Form here is tricky to judge too. Alonso out-nerved Schumi coming out of the pits here in 2005 going on to win. Schumi has won it once before, as has Button. Prancing horse stablemates Massa and Alonso have both won twice here. Ladbrokes seem to be basing their odds entirely on past form, giving Ferarri 6/4 for the win, though Alonso sits prettier than Massa with 11/4 playing 11/2...

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Announced this week was new boy Chandhok. I'd like to say I bet we see him in the barrier within the first few laps. Perhaps Alguersuari will have helped him in there. But previous form suggests he may be another Kobayashi (remember how long he held Button off for in that last race of 2009?). Have a watch of this fantastic closing phase from Silverstone in the GP2:

Talking of in the barrier, it's a shame we don't have the comedy duo of Grosjean and Piquet Jr. this year. But hell, you can't have everything can you?

See you on Friday for first practise...

This article was written by Pete Washer for Half Volley , the half sport, half science website.