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GP Week : Issue 38
>>F1PREVIEW v 2nd McLaren Best 7:2 shortest 3:1 While the MP4-24 appeared on its launch to be a clever car, recent testing form has led to widespread talk of a car which is seriously under-performing and has led team management to admit that they are not where they had hoped to be. But, given the difficulty we have in determining the reality of the times laid down in testing, it is perhaps unsurprising that the bookies have left McLaren behind only Ferrari in the betting stakes. Whether the team was sandbagging or not will only become clear in Melbourne – but from the looks of things McLaren may be set for a tough year until they can resolve their downforce issues. DRIVERS 2nd Lewis hamilton Best 5:1 10th heikki Kovalainen Best 40:1 shortest 7:2 shortest 28:1 an interesting one here. With hamilton’s odds lengthening to 5:1, the bookies appear to feel that he may have an issue holding onto his crown. certainly his performance in Brazil, where he fought for position rather than the win, will have factored into this. Kovalainen’s odds are extremely long, but could be worth a punt each way if he and McLaren can get their act together. 3rd BMW Best 19:4 shortest 3:1 BMW finds itself on similar odds to McLaren at the start of the 2009 season, something which reflects the stunning breakthrough the team made in 2008. Having been the first to launch their 2009 car, at the end of 2008, BMW has more on-track data with this type of car than anyone else and as such many pundits expected them to shine, particularly at the start of the season. While testing has not been the BMW whitewash many expected, there is little doubt that the team will be fast. Whether or not it can challenge for the title is the biggest question, as it ceased any major upgrades to its 2008 challenger in order to really focus on a title push in 2009. DRIVERS 6th robert Kubica 9th nick heidfeld Best 9:1 Best 25:1 shortest 6:1 shortest 16:1 With robert Kubica only fifth on the list for the drivers’ championship, the bookies appear to feel that the BMW won’t be as strong as many had expected. one of the anticipated pre-season favourites, Kubica’s odds are comparatively long. heidfeld’s about where one would expect him to finish the season. 27