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GP Week : Issue 43
When the show returns to Europe ... Will the empire strike New front-runners expect old guard to come out fighting for Euro swing T HE stand-out talents of the opening Grands Prix of 2009 are expecting a tougher fight from the old guard when Formula 1 returns to Europe in two weeks’ time, as a number of technical updates are expected to shake up the order. BrawnGP, Red Bull and Toyota have proved themselves to be the class of the opening four ‘fly- away’ races of 2009, taking all four victories and all but one of the podium positions. However, after a Bahrain Grand Prix in which a driver from each of the three teams stood on the podium, the drivers are only too aware that their dominance may not last forever. “At the moment you would say that these three teams sat here have been the most consistent, but I would say that the McLarens seem to be a lot more competitive this weekend,” said race winner Jenson Button. “They made a step forward in China. Supposedly they haven’t had anything new on the car here but they’ve moved forward a lot and Lewis ended up fourth. They’ve obviously done a good job, so you can’t forget McLaren. When we start in Europe I’m sure they are going to have some new parts and they are going to be very competitive. It’s positive that we’ve got some points on them already.” Sebastian Vettel, who took his Red Bull Racing RB5 to the Chinese Grand Prix victory agreed with Button. “There’s a long, long way to go, we’ve done just four races,”he confirmed. “You may not forget the teams [that were dominant in] the last couple of years, McLaren as well as Ferrari. They have a lot of resources and they have proven in the past that even if they have a bad start they can come back very quickly, so we have to keep pushing and for us, we want to be the best, and there is at least one team still in front of us, so we have to keep pushing hard.” Jarno Trulli said that the only way in which the stand- out teams of the opening rounds could maintain their advantage was to maintain car development as Formula 1 returns to Europe. “It’s definitely going to be an interesting season because of the changes and it gives quite an open window for development from all teams. I have faith in my You m well a and t if the very q