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GP Week : Issue 55
>>F1 INSIGHT WilliamsF1 :: 5th place, 20.5 points As one of three teams to start the season with the double diffuser, Williams’lack of podiums, let alone wins, has been a marked disappointment. The squad entered the season high on confidence, and there were many within the sport who, having seen winter testing times, were convinced a win might be on the cards. Low fuel runs in practice also gave the impression that the team was, perhaps, more competitive than it might have been. That said, Nico Rosberg has scored in all but two races this season. But all his results have been around the bottom of the top eight. His performance in Germany gave an impression of a turnaround in fortune and that Williams may be getting closer to the podium it craves. Rosberg has been good in 2009, but he hasn’t been great. Robbed of a podium in Germany by a fuel system issue, he might have been on the pace for tasting champagne at various other races this season, but paddock chatter still says that he simply isn’t pulling his weight. He’s beating his team-mate, but that is something that we expect. What we need to see now is Rosberg putting in the kind of performance he did in Singapore last season on a race buy race basis. He will have to next season if his much-rumoured move to BMW comes off. Kazuki Nakajima is having a tough time of things in 2009. With a highest finish of 11th, he’s just not adapting well to the new generation of F1 car. He looks off the pace and out of contention at every circuit in race trim. For the first time we are starting to see the gulf between Rosberg and Nakajima, which begs the question of what Nico could and should have done last year, but there is still an impression Rosberg could try harder. Nakajima is impressing nobody in 2009, and needs to up his game significantly if he wants to keep racing in 2010. McLaren Mercedes :: 6th place, 14 points It’s not been an easy start to life as a Team Principal for Martin Whitmarsh. Australia, the Dave Ryan and Lewis Hamilton affair, and a car that just doesn’t appear to have any grip anywhere ... all in all it’s been a tricky few months for McLaren. Ron Dennis’ forced standing aside was a sad end to a wonderful career, but with relations at the FIA much improved, McLaren can at least concentrate on its racing once again. With just five points finishes out of 18, the team’s competitiveness needs an upturn, and the upgrades committed to Hamilton’s car in Germany looked very promising. The team thinks it can go for wins in the second half of 2009 ... time will tell. Getting disqualified from your first race as World Champion was not the best way to get 2009 started, and ironically enough had Hamilton not lied to the stewards, he would have recorded his best result of the season so far. The improvements made to the car in Germany promise much for the rest of the season, and for a champion whose hardships are turning him into a more rounded individual. Heikki Kovalainen is struggling ... big time. Sources at McLaren tell us that all is not well within the garage as the team is starting to stop believing that the hype around Heikki was all it was cracked up to be. It just seems so strange. Heikki is a great racing driver, always has been. But he’s falling apart, and it’s really rather sad to see. His chances of staying on look slim, but he may get a reprieve as the team aims to improve car and sort drivers later. 2