In just a couple day’s time, F1 will fire its engines for the FIGHT IN THE NIGHT (yeah, just made that up), the Singapore GP. Now, I know I have not written much over the past couple of days, but I do not think much has really happened in the intervening weeks between Italy and Singapore.
The F1 media is seemingly holding their collective breadth, waiting for decisions on both Massa and Hamilton that we thought would happen much sooner. Both sides, though, are quiet and so it is hard to write stories about the chirping of crickets.
Being, as it is, so close to the end of the year, focus has also shifted somewhat to next year, and the rule changes that are in place for 2014. We are hearing more about engines on dynos and testing programs progressing.
Teams, though, are also starting to voice concerns about the additional budgetary strain they will be under with the new engines, an expense that could reach into the tens of millions every year. Teams are already stretched thin, and worry that this may be a backbreaker.
Teams, though, have always stretched themselves thin in the pursuit of wins and points. If there is an F1 team not spending every dime they have, then they shouldn’t be in the sport. Yes, new engines means that some aerodynamic staff will be lost, teams will cut down to pay the engine suppliers and electricians will have a greater impact in F1 with the more intense KERS equipment.
The 2014 rules will make F1 more relavent, and teams will always need more money.
As far as the standings go, they are the same as when we left Italy. Alonso is clearly the favorite, and deservingly so. Kimi Raikkonen is still being called the dark horse, but I am not so sure. The split between second and fifth in the championship is insane, one point spreads and Mark Webber. Frankly, I see Red Bull losing out as Mark Webber will fight until he is mathematically out, whereas Massa and now Grosjean are on record as saying they will help their teammate over their own results. McLaren are in a similar position, but that team is in all kinds of disarray.
As for the constructors, Red Bull’s double DNF has meant that what looked locked down is now up for debate. I still see Red Bull win the constructors, provided the alternators hold up. McLaren is just too much of a mess and I see operational errors as continuing to play a part, despite their lack in the past couple races. Ferrari has reclaimed third in the constructors on the back of improved performance from Massa. If Grosjean can really start finishing races, that will be a very close fight.