Round 8 of the 2015 F1 calendar takes us to the Austrian Grand Prix to the Red Bull Ring. Rain is forecasted for Friday and Saturday which will mix things up nicely, along with a dry Sunday.
Here at ES, we bring you a team by team analysis for the Austrian Grand Prix:
- Mercedes:Mercedes go to Austria as the favourites for the race and almost every session of Qualifying. They have been in top form this season and Lewis Hamilton’s dominant victory in Canada is sure to re-assert his confidence after the Monaco fiasco. Hamilton will have a psychological advantage over his team mate Nico Rosberg, who won in Austria last year and will look to extend his lead over Rosberg which already is a good 17 points.
The Prancing Horse is set to bring new updates for the Red Bull Ring and hopes to use its super soft tyre pace to gain an advantage over Mercedes. Ferrari has been adding various updates over the last few races to address its weaknesses and make life difficult for Mercedes at the top. While Sebastian Vettel did an impressive job in the last race, finishing fifth after climbing up the field, Kimi Raikkonen lost his shot at the second podium of the season due to a spin. Both will look to make sure they capitalize on the updates and improve their performance on both Saturday and Sunday.
Austria was the only race with a non-Mercedes pole during the 2014 season, when Felipe Massa clinched it on Saturday to get the Williams on top. Williams got a third-fourth finish anyways. Canada was a strong point for them with the podium for Valtteri Bottas and a charging sixth place finish for Massa. The circuit, Red Bull Ring is supposed to suit their package well and most certainly they will hope to capitalise on that and catch Ferrari. They also have a big update planned for the race which will mix things well for their fight with Ferrari for the podium.
- Red Bull:
The proud owner of the Austrian circuit, head to their home Grand Prix completely clueless as to when they might get penalised due to engine change. Daniel Ricciardo, the ever smiling and charging Red Bull driver, characterised Canada as a new low for Red Bull this season. While Daniil Kvyat was still in the points finishing ninth, both cars were more than a lap down to the front runners. The Red Bull-Renault partnership is going haywire with talks of both leaving the F1 paddock and being much verbal about each other’s criticism. They will look to catch up to Williams and Lotus in terms of raw pace on both Saturday and Sunday and make sure they perform well in front of the home crowd.
- Lotus:Romain Grosjean’s confidence might have taken a big hit after Canada after he hit the lapped Manor of Will Stevens. On the other hand, Pastor Maldonado might be on a new high after his first “clean” and points finish this season, last race. Their performance in Qualifying was outstanding in Canada and they will certainly look to carry the momentum forward. Looking to catch up with Red Bull, they still need consistency from both their drivers in order to do well in the Constructors Standings. If reliability is set aside, both their cars can very well finish under the top 8, fighting with the Red Bulls.
- Sauber:Apart from one or two odd races, the team has struggled so far to get into points . They go into the Austrian Grand Prix with pretty much the same car setup as the previous races where they managed to finish just outside points after battling their way with the Force Indias, McLarens and Lotus’. We expect them to finish anywhere between ninth on the grid to thirteenth on the grid, all depending on how well they manage their tyres.
- Force India:With a solid performance in both Canada and Monaco, Force India starts the weekend with a positive frame of mind. Nico Hulkenberg has his Le Mans victory and all the spotlight over him, to further make him feel elated. Force India will look to Hulkenberg to carry this momentum forward with a good points finish in Austria as well. The short circuit of the Red Bull Ring might favour their car’s overall package ensuring a finish in the top ten for both their drivers if they can put reliability under check and make sure they lead the battle with Saubers and McLarens.
- Toro Rosso:
The team with one of the most “exciting” driver line up this season in the form of Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen will look to enter points again by beating Force India, Sauber and even Lotus. Much like their sister team Red Bull, their race might be plagued with reliability issues thanks to the Renault Power Unit. If they are free of unavoidable penalties, the Toro Rosso rookie duo might be the drivers who spring a surprise in Austria with a possible finish in the top 10 in qualifying and later a finish in the top 12 in the race.
- McLaren:Admit the fact that it was almost saddening to see Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button in Canada. While Fernando’s frustration were visible for the first time this season with the outburst on team radio, Jenson has over the months openly showed his concern with the McLaren car. The team expects a similar performance in Austria as well, as they had in Canada, so they will be right there at the back fighting with Saubers and possibly one of the Force India and Toro Rosso. Things have turned into a complete downfall for McLaren, although Honda has promised more power to ease off the pressure. One heavy sigh of relief for the team is that they are now allowed to run their shotter nose, after passing all the FIA tests, which will help McLaren bring a major aero overhaul.
With ex Mercedes technical director, Bob Bell and new partnership with Airbnb, Manor Marussia F1 team is giving strong signals that it is here to stay. Fresh rumours pop up just ahead of the weekend about Manor willing to use Honda power units in the future and thus serving as an unofficial B team car for McLaren. Their performance in the race, will be much similar as before. We expect them to cross the finish line at the last possible positions.
Engineer in the making. Loves cars, Formula One , Tennis and Tech. Big fan of the 80s and 90s era of Formula One. #KeepFightingMichael