2008 Spanish GP preview: The midfield

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With three teams likely to be in the hunt for the victory this weekend the battle to be best of the rest could decide who takes home the points for seventh and eighth positions – assuming the Ferraris, McLarens and BMWs all come home in one piece.

So who from Renault, Williams, Red Bull, Toyota and Honda will do the business at Barcelona?

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso’s record at home is pretty formidable – he’s been in the top four in his last five visits. In 2003 he was in marvellous form and audaciously took the fight to Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari. Only being delayed by Ralf Schumacher during a pit stop sequence prevented him from chasing the elder Schumacher across the line at the end.

He had to give best to Kimi Raikkonen’s McLaren in 2005 but finally won in 2006. Last year he gambled everything on a risky attempt to pass Felipe Massa at the first corner, and lost. He rolled in third after Raikkonen’s car had failed.

After last week’s test Alonso was cautious not to sing the praises of the revised R28 too highly – perhaps not wanting to excite the expectations of the home crowd. But Renault’s Bob Bell has described the team’s performance as being in the order of “multiple tenths of a second”. In which case, a solid top ten qualifying performance and points finish is definitely on.

Mark Webber

Webber finished seventh in the last two races and, with a reliable and quick car under him, is starting to deliver on the promise that’s lain dormant in years spent driving unreliable and uncompetitive cars.

His best result here was sixth in 2005, when he equalled his best-ever starting position of second.

Webber recently remarked that Red Bull’s strength was that they had two drivers who can be relied on to score points – unlike Renault’s Nelson Piquet Jnr and Williams’ Kazuki Nakajima. But David Coulthard has been in crashes in the last two races and badly needs to rediscover his form or risk being left behind by his team mate.

Nico Rosberg

Williams started the season brightly with Rosberg scoring his debut podium, and after a scare at Malaysia where they seemed to get totally lost on set-up, they looked competitive once again at Bahrain.

Now comes the hard part for a non-manufacturer team. How well will they cope with the grind of races every other weekend, chasing to develop the FW30 without the kind of budgets enjoyed by Toyota and BMW?

They suffered front wing failures at the first test at the Circuit de Catalunya, which is one of the bumpier F1 tracks, but seemed to have no problems once they returned.

Jarno Trulli

Often the quiet man of Formula 1, Trulli is revelling in a more competitive Toyota, seems not in the least bit perturbed by his new team mate, and is pushing the team hard for more developments.

He’ll inevitably go well in qualifying, up there with Webber and Rosberg on one-lap pace, but his race performances have looked stronger so far this year as well.

Jenson Button

Button got the Honda RA108 into the top ten entirely on merit at Bahrain three weeks ago, only to suffer a race-ruining puncture on the first lap.

He said he thought a points finish was on at Bahrain and if either of the Honda drivers is capable of getting there it will be Button.

Who do you think will be best of the rest in Barcelona?

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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10 comments on “2008 Spanish GP preview: The midfield”

  1. I hope Alonso will do a great score but we will see. He always had some nice victories here in Barcelona. Come on Alonso show the others that your are back in challenge.
    Good luck to all the teams and drivers.

  2. I think that I JB can get a good start and not get involved in any incidents he has a good change of getting some points on the board, even with the new dodgey Honda "Dumbo Ears"!!

  3. The midfield is so unpredictable, I’m really not sure who will do well. I have a feeling that Mark Webber and Jenson Button will get good results if they can keep out of trouble. Both cars have been looking quite healthy recently, so both drivers could do well.

    On the other hand, Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso (despite the lack of pace in the Renault) will be very dangerous too.

    All in all, the midfield is so close, its difficult to really who will come out on top (at least for me…)

  4. That’s will be very close!! I think Alonso will be a good job, but Webber will be better on qualifiying.. and as Williams’s fan, I hope Rosberg will finish in points!! Good luck to him!!

    Best wishes from Spain.. from F1OnBoard, the F1’s other vision!!

  5. Sorry for my poor english, mates!

  6. Given that Spain places a high importance on aero, I’m going to say Red Bull (with a designer who concentrates heavily on aero) is going to do well this weekend.

    +1 Webber

  7. frankly i’d like to see vettel live up to the hype around him

  8. Anyone think that Force India will be able to move up the grid?
    I have not seen too much on there results but they have been improving at a good pace.

  9. I would like to see Williams do well but,fully expect Red Bull be best of the rest.Webbo has the best chance of leading the mid-pack in my opinion.Coulthard maybe can be there with him lacking any more bumper car antics.

    I agree Chas,I would like to see Vettel move up…too bad he is not in a BMW where we could see more of his potential but,maybe trying to compete in a lesser car will push him to drive harder and not rely so much on the car.He did get in the points  in a BMW last year when he covered for Kubica.

  10. Michael Counsell
    25th April 2008, 1:02

    If Trulli is as quick as he was in Malaysia he could be better than best of the rest.  The gaps between all of the cars are pretty close this year and a good or bad day can mean the difference of 5 or 6 places.  I definitely agree with Scootin159 that it will be all about the aero.  Force India were fast in testing but were they testing slick tyres?

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