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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Thoughts For The Weekend - San Marino

The weather forecast for Imola this weekend is for cold weather. Daytime tempratures are exprected to range between 10 - 12 degrees celsius. The weekend will generally be a sharp contrast to the blistering heat of Bahrain and Malaysia. In addition, there is a possibility of light rain on Sunday as well.

Cold tempratures usually mean happier and more powerful engines. Its probably going to suit the Bridgestone tyres a lot more than the past two rounds. The Ferrari team have been going about a massive testing programme over the last two weeks with four cars running on their two test tracks, Mugello and Fiorano. And despite this being the week of a grand prix, Ferrari are continuing their testing programme in Monza as well. Bastards.

But the Michelin have been doing their bit as well. Teams like McLaren and Williams are complaining that the current Michelin tyre is a little on the hard side and can be worked harder. I heard Renault claims that Giancarlo Fisichella had used about 25% of his tyres in Melbourne. No doubt Renault are easy on tyres but still with that much margin to play with Michelin can be a bit more aggressive.

Imola will see the introduction of new aero packages from the likes of Renault, Williams and Toyota. Toyota in particular with new new diffuser, front wing and sidepods for this weekend.

Strong improvement is also likely to come from BAR Honda, fresh from a lap record breaking test session at Barcelona and Paul Ricard. The team and Jenson Button in particular seems a lot happier after those tests. A new aero package will also be introduced for the race.

Going nowhere is McLaren who will be using the Bahrain car for this weekend with no new improvements. Let's hope those new soft Michelins can do them some good.

Its always great to read about the technical challenges from the boffins. In this article on Renault's Fabrice Lom gives us an insight into the Renault V10's challenges for the weekend. Fisichella might be using a new B-spec V10 for this weekend but Renault will be using a new front wing for this race.

The Michelin clad boys are keeping each other within sight. Except for McLaren the others are introducing new upgrades and developments. The only advantage I can think of for McLaren is the fact that they're the only ones basically who've done wet weather running during the two tests at Paul Ricard and Barcelona. If it does rain at Imola, they're better prepared than the rest. But its a small advantage mind.

The real dark horse for Imola is well, the prancing horse. The majority of Ferrari's tests have been conducted at their private test tracks, so a direct comparison between them, their toughest rivals Renault and the rest cannot be made. Friday and Saturday practise should give us a true indication. I think its 50-50 they'll win this weekend what with all the hard development work they've been doing and continue to be doing.

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