Looking Forward to the F1 Season

Firstly- let me introduce us.

Along with my co-presenter Ciaran Morris and regular contributors Ollie Coleshill, Mickey Keverne and Chris Whelan, I present NCB Sportswire on the Brand New Sound of North Cornwall- NCB Radio.

We aim to be a definitive, reliable and interactive source for everything Sport- we don’t deal in gossip, just facts. We’re not experts- we leave that to the professionals, but we combine extensive knowledge in various disciplines of sport along with the fans perspective- therefore being relevant to the people that will read this- you, as sports fans.

Most of my posts on here will be Formula One and BTCC related- as these are the sports I am most passionate and knowledgable about, however it’s not uncommon for me to dabble in other sports such as Football.

Enough about us- moving on to the Formula One season. Shaping up to be a cracker isn’t it! Most of the cars have been unveiled now and a common source of debate is which one is the nicest looking. So far I think it’s a toss up between Team Lotus and McLaren. Am I the only one disappointed with the Ferrari?

Lotus T128

Lotus T128- A Car I regard as one of the best looking on the 2011 F1 Grid. © 2011 Sutton Images.

Who’s going to be top dog in 2011? It’s hard to tell at the moment. If Mercedes can iron out their teething problems displayed in Valencia in time, I think it will be a four way battle between McLaren, Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes. A particular interest of mine is who will be best of the rest- it’s going to be a titanic battle. We’ve got Sauber- on a renaissance under technical chief James Keys and a quick driver at the wheel in the form of Kamui Kobayashi, and a promising team mate in Sergio Perez. Last year’s midfield high fliers Renault (Kubica/Petrov) promise to be competitive, as proven in the third day of the Valencia test where Kubica topped the Time Sheets. Williams (Barrichello/Maldonado) should be in the mix- I wouldn’t expect anything otherwise.

Let’s not rule out Team Lotus. Mike Gascoyne is a designer with an immense track record in various teams he has been in (though I suspect they have had more sizeable budgets!). I confidently predict that they would have had 2011 in mind from the off-set of 2010 and with an experienced pairing of Italian veteran Jarno Trulli and Finland’s Heikki Kovalianen at the wheel, they should be in safe hands.

I get a feeling this year is going to be a tough year for Force India (Sutil/Di Resta). Things didn’t exactly go to plan last year and with owner Vijay Mallya getting into bother every so often with various authorities, it’s hardly the perfect environment in which to nurture a championship winning car. The driver situation with Vitatonio Liuzzi and Paul Di Resta doesn’t really help either. People are expecting big things from Di Resta- however I think he could fall foul of the problem that plagued Michael Schumacher last year- the car would probably have been designed with Liuzzi and Sutil in mind. I may be wrong. I may be right.

Likewise Toro Rosso- like last year, the little brother to Red Bull Racing has had to design cars with the outruling of customer car usage. Dietrich Mateschitz’s masterplan of a feeder team for Red Bull’s American Drivers has not worked out at all- only Scott Speed came through and look what happened to him. This year they have stuck to the lineup of Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari- a pairing both praised and criticised in equal measure. They won’t have had the millions thrown at them like Red Bull Racing have- the bigger team is more marketable to a world audience.

Virgin Racing have, on the other side had a positive but quiet winter with the introduction of Russian Car Manufacturer Marussia as a partner. For this year their lineup is ex-Jordan and Toyota driver Timo Glock, alongside Belgian rookie Jerome D’Ambrosio. I think this season will see them do battle with Toro Rosso, Force India and Hispania in the lower end of the Midfield.

And finally- onto the team that seems to be in the news each week with something going on- Hispania Racing. Yet to unveil their car, Hispania I suspect will make no further progress this season. Questions still remain- is the money there? What has Technical Chief Geoff Willis conjured up in such a short time? Who will the second driver be? What the heck is going on?!. Armed with sponsorship from Tata, the Indian conglomerate notable for cars and tea bags, Hispania see the return of ex-Jordan driver Narain Karthikeyan. I suspect Eddie Jordan will have a thing or two to say on this one!

The one thing I am absolutely certain of- this year will not be short of excitement or drama. I just hope Bahrain isn’t a such a borefest and that the BBC commentary team of Martin Brundle and David Coulthard can keep us entertained should it be the case.

So- welcome to NCB Sportswire Blog, and welcome to the 2011 F1 season!

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