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GP Week : Issue 1
TONIO SAYS: It’s strange because I still don’t understand what Renault’s pace is. At some tests they seem really fast, and at some they seem a bit lost so it’s difficult to say. At the end of the day you can never know but I think this year there will be a big group of cars with BMW, Renault, Williams and Red Bull within two or three tenths and really close together. These four teams will fight for third place in the championship. Fernando and Nelson will be okay together but Fernando will make the difference because of his experience and his speed always shows. ING Renault F1 Team Fernando Alonso (SPA) / Nelson Piquet Jr (BRA) Sport should reassert itself over politics WHAT are fans and insiders expecting, or hoping for, from the 59th running of the Formula One World Championship? A lot of things, of course but – more than ever – we desperately want a season with no other issues other than the proper sporting challenge. The 2007 season raced alongside heavy controversies. They diminished the opportunity to savour some extraordinary pieces of sport, like the outstanding debut of Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen’s maiden title at Ferrari. Formula 1 fans are now anticipating Round 2 of an extraordinary confrontation, with impressive technical and human elements that will bring many points of interest to the table. The season is with no doubt set to start with much focus on the challenge between Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen, though the duo will also first have to resist the challenge of their respective team-mates and dominate the hierarchies of their own teams. Last season ended up with Massa honouring Raikkonen by allowing him to cruise to a vital win in his title quest, but the Brazilian is set to re-start from there in order to reverse his fortunes and start a new era in his own career. On paper, Hamilton is starting his 2008 season with a much different perspective than in 2007. McLaren decided to drop, with no regrets, someone like Fernando Alonso, in the knowledge that Lewis is able (and ready) to take on his duties and start as a new leader for the team.. That said, watch out for Heikki Kovalainen, who has apparently accepted with no problems his status as a second driver. The Finn proved to have an awesome psychological strength during the last season when, after overcoming a tough period of time, he managed to gain an edge over an experienced team-mate like Giancarlo Fisichella. Winter testing hasn’t revealed too much about the exact qualities of the two main title-contending machines. Both have clearly accomplished the dramatic changes required by the new single-make electronics, as Formula One proved once again its outstanding ability to recover the advantages potentially taken away by rules designed to slow it down! During the latest test at Barcelona, no big differences were evident in comparison with the situation seen last season. Kimi Raikkonen, who continues to enjoy the support of the Italian tifosi, provided his usual simple analysis at the first test: “With or without traction-control, we’ll still have the same challenge we have had in the recent past. We’re drivers, we have to be adaptive on everything.” Just a few days divide the pack from the first round of the championship, in Melbourne, where many questions will start to find an answer. Apart from Ferrari and McLaren, who RobeRto ChinCheRo SportAutoMoto (italy) o p in io n 22