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Monday, April 16, 2007

The Indy Awards - Round 3

Here are the results for the Independent Team awards after the Bahrain Grand Prix. For more information regarding the scoring system please consult this post.

Post race comments
Williams scored maximum points in the independents award at the Bahrain Grand Prix. They were however, very fortunate to do so for in the race it seemed that the Red Bull were absolutely in flying form. David Coulthard drove a storming race starting from 21st on the grid to catch his teammate Mark Webber during the race. At the point when the two Red Bulls retired, they were in fact not only ahead of both the Williams drivers but were also ahead of both the Renaults. Adrian Newey's design excellence whilst not yet up there with the front runners, is starting to show its worth relative to the works Renaults. The cars were fast and their drivers were clearly up for it. Mark Webber was also going quickly but his pace was perhaps hampered by a fuel filler that refused to close once the car got underway after the first round of pitstops.

Both the Red Bulls retired as a result of drive train failure, whilst both were leading the works Renaults. Or so the explanation goes. But you can never tell these days of corporate PR cover ups. Coulthard retired with a broken driveshaft and Webber with a broken greabox. All in all, it has to be encouraging for Red Bull at this stage. Pre-season of course, the expectation was that an Adrian Newey chassis coupled with Mateschitz money should have seen them challenging in the top 5. But they are progressing, no doubt about it. And with Mark Webber, they have a driver thats clearly quick and not short of motivation. Do not forget David Coulthard as well who was quicker than Webber this weekend. And in fact, his race fastest lap was quicker than that of Heikki Kovalainen's. Had Mark Webber not had his fuel filler out of shape, chances are he'd have been faster than both Coulthard and Fisichella. Their independents score below does not do justice to their race performance last weekend.

The Super Aguris continue to do well. Anthony Davidson was only beaten out of the top 10 in qualifying after some last minute performances by Williams and Toyota and for quite some time, he looked like he was going to start in the top 10. This weekend Anthony Davidson was much quicker than teammate Sato who up until this point had outperformed the Briton. During the race however, Takuma managed to battle it out with Ralf Schumacher's Toyota and looked well on his way to beating the German. But alas, his engine gave way as well. Davidson though a classified finisher, would suffer the same fate. If I were being cheeky I'd say that the Japanese pushed the self destruct button to ensure that the sole surviving Honda of Barrichello would finish ahead of both the customer cars. As it is, Davidson's fastest lap of the race was quicker than that of Barrichello.

So, with the demise of the Red Bulls, Williams are once again the leading independent. But despite pushing hard they only finished 9th and 10th overall in the race. (Both Williams had fastest laps quicker than both the works Toyotas) But as I said, luck had everything to do with this. I have a feeling though, that as the season progresses, Adrian Newey's Red Bull might just be consistently beating Woking. And do not be surprised if they win more Wag The Dog points for beating the works cars on a regular basis. Now thats a prospect to relish.

Comments On The Customer Car Row
As it is, as you can see from the points scored in Bahrain and the overall standings, the Williams teams are beating all comers including the Toro Ross and Super Aguri, both teams who have been threatened by Williams with litigation of the customer car row. But as you can see, Williams have been consistently outperforming these customer cars. Therefore, I shouldn't think that Frank Williams will be bothered about taking this matter to the courts. The Spyker team are a different story altogether. Whilst the points do show that they are ahead of Toro Rosso in race finishes but they are in actual fact slower than both Toro Rosso and Super Aguri. They have every reason to want to seek legal recourse.

Colin Chapman Award - For Best independent drivers / teams

1. Nico Rosberg (Williams)- 9
2. Alex Wurz (Williams) - 6
3. Christian Albers (Spyker) - 4
4. Andre Sutil (Spyker) - 3
5 Anthony Davidson (Super Aguri) - 2
= Mark Webber (RBR) - 2 (1 for qualy + 1 for race finish)
7. David Coulthard - 1 (For fastest lap)

1. Williams - 15
2. Spyker - 7
3. RBR - 3
4. Super Aguri - 2

Overall Drivers
1. Nico Rosberg - 22
2. Alex Wurz - 15
3. Mark Webber - 13
4. Takuma Sato - 10
5. Anthony Davidson - 7
6. Vitantonio Liuzzi - 5
7. Christian Albers - 4
= Andre Sutil - 4
8. David Coulthard - 1

Overall Teams
1. Williams - 37
2. Super Aguri - 17
3. RBR - 14
4. Spyker - 8
5. Toro Rosso - 5

Wag The Dog Award - for independent drivers / teams who beat their respective factory teams

1. Nico Rosberg - 4 (1 for qualy, 1 for race, 2 for fastest lap)
=. Alex Wurz - 4 (1 for qualy, 1 for race, 2 for fastest lap)
3. Anthony Davidson - 3 (2 for qualy, 1 for fastest lap)
4. Mark Webber - 1 (for qualy)
=. David Coulthard - 1 (for fastest lap)
=. Takuma Sato - 1 (for fastest lap)

1. Williams - 8
2. Super Aguri - 4
3. RBR - 2

Overall Drivers
1. Nico Rosberg - 12
2. Takuma Sato - 7
=. Alex Wurz - 7
4. Mark Webber - 6
=. Anthony Davidson - 6
6. David Coulthard - 1

Overall Teams
1. Williams - 19
2. Super Aguri - 13
3. RBR - 7

Post Script

The Wag The Dog points for Bahrain has been a fair reflection of the season so far. The independents are strong during qualifying and have good race pace but are no match for the factory teams over a race distance.

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