Monday, September 10, 2012

Heikki Kulta's Blog: Up to luck

In the WC-battle the most crucial 175 points from seven races are still not given out. Hence it's useless to make any long-term conclusions, because the top leader Fernando Alonso has at the moment 179 points.

Therefore so far only Heikki Kovalainen and a few other drivers have already lost their mathematical chances for the WDC...

I'm writing this on the flight from Milano to Helsinki and from there to Turku. Nearby sits Mika Salo from MTV3, with whom we ended up to the conclusion that the next race on Singapore streets in Marina Bay's night will show what Kimi Räikkönen's Lotus really can do.

– Lotus was still the fastest car in July's races. After the break it hasn't gone anywhere in Belgium and Italy. I wonder if they have fallen off the wagon in Enstone factory since other top teams have been busy in their own development work? Salo wondered.

– Spa and Monza are of course special tracks in every sense, hence the more realistic picture of Lotus-car's speed can only be seen in Singapore, which is a downforce-track and where they again drive with softer compounds, which have been more successful for Lotus.

– But at this exact moment it looks like Fernando Alonso will take the WDC. If they had a defense-strategy in Belgium, then in Monza again the Ferrari attacked at full blast, Salo thinks.

I asked after the race on Monza paddock about the sceneries for the WC-battle and about Kimi Räikkönen's chances to come with a super-surprise.

Eric Boullier stated that they knew Monza would be extremely difficult, but that all the remaining tracks would surely be more favorable for E20-car.

– Kimi does have a chance to win this WDC but it's going to be difficult. We will return back to better positions in Singapore. Here in Monza we had to sacrifice our qualification result, because we needed more downforce for our setups than some other teams needed, Bouillier thought.

Boullier was of course also speaking on the behalf of his team. But let's take an opinion from a completely opposite side. 

Peter Windsor is a long-time media personality, who has an immense experience from all F1-works - and who at times has a very critical point of view. 

How will it go in this WC-battle?

– I wouldn't want to sound arrogant, but I predicted already before the first test that Alonso will be WDC and Lewis Hamilton will be his toughest contender. I have at no point changed my opinion. I knew after last season that with the new regulations this will become a very tough and even WC-battle. Back then I believed that Alonso would be in the best position to get the best out of his team and car.

– Of course I can see that Ferrari isn't that great car, but it's good enough for Fernando to win the WDC. Hamilton is a spectacular driver and McLaren is at the moment the strongest car, but just like Mark Webber couldn't take points from Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button also takes points from Hamilton. That's why his chances against Alonso aren't so good.

– I think that during a season like this a fast teammate is really not of any use when every point counts. Felipe Massa is in that sense a brilliant teammate for Fernando, Windsor sums up.

Then what about Räikkönen's chances - he is third isn't he?

– Although I appreciate Finns and although Leo Kinnunen is my eternal idol, I have at no stage seen Kimi as a strong WDC-candidate. He might win some race during the endseason, but a lot would have to go wrong for these other top drivers for him to become a champion.

– This isn't because I wouldn't respect the team, the elements there just aren't top class. And innermost I don't see Kimi as fast as he was when he destroyed Juan Pablo Montoya at McLaren. Although I still love to watch Kimi racing I still don't think he is as fast as he was especially at McLaren, not even as fast as he was when leaving Ferrari.

Michael Schmidt from Auto, Motor und Sport also thinks that Alonso will take his third WDC. Monza changed the settings so that now Ferrari has to now be more alert when it comes to McLaren instead of Red Bull.

– McLaren is at this stage the measure stick for everything. They won three races from pole in a row on completely different tracks with their car. No other team has this season won three races in a row. If Hamilton can drive safely to the end, then Alonso will have a really hard time.

– I guess that this championship will be decided in the very last race.

– Lotus scores points every time, Kimi is the most reliable driver in this serie, but unfortunately the car is too slow. The same tune will continue on the next tracks also, Schmidt thinks.

Martin Brundle from Sky Sports joked if I want him to claim that Kimi is no good or that he will make a sensation.

– Realistically it looks like Alonso has the best assets when going to long distance races whereas those behind him driving for victories are possibly Vettel, possibly Hamilton, possibly Button, possibly Webber, possibly Kimi, possibly Sauber. The scores will get mixed up conveniently and when Fernando like this starts from 10th grid, doesn't drive any super-race - more like a very normal race - comes in 3rd and at the same time grows the score-gap to the next battle. Hey, that's just the luck that a champion needs!

– Kimi is doing a good work. But in order to win the WDC he needs victories, Brundle emphasizes.

Courtesy: Nicole

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