Will The New Formula One Season Be A Two Horse Race

by : Thomas Pretty

For those who were hoping that the F1 season would be open for all teams and drivers are likely to be disappointed. Sponsors, F1 bosses and merchandise producers are all trying to claim that this year will see the most open season for almost a decade in terms of team performances.

The early rounds of testing however are proving otherwise. So far of all the F1 practice sessions the two teams that have come through strongest are Ferrari and McLaren; good news for the sponsors and merchandise producers linked to those teams, but what of the rest of the pack?

Schumacher; the greatest statistical driver F1 has ever seen has been recorded as saying this week that he sees the upcoming season as a two horse race. Merchandise companies and sponsors will be trying to play down the former champion's claims as the risk of F1 becoming a procession rather than the pinnacle of racing will dent profits severely.

The chances of the season being a battle between the prancing horse and the silver arrow seems likely, testing has shown they are clearly the fastest cars on the track, the question is with new regulations; will a more exciting season be forthcoming?

Sponsors and merchandise produces will be hoping that the new regulations on the banning of traction control systems will create more exciting racing. Without traction control it is clear that the F1 cars will be even harder to control. Driver mistakes will be more disastrous than ever and if it is wet, expect to see cars flying off the track in abundance.

Smooth driving will be the name of the game for drivers and aggressive driving is likely to be unrewarding, sticking to the racing line will be increasingly important if drivers want to win races. This sounds as if the racing will become duller but with a mistake now likely to cost more than it has in the past, the opportunities for other drivers to capitalise on mistakes will be evident.

Merchandise and sponsorship companies in Britain will be hoping that Lewis Hamilton can build upon the impressive performances he put down in 2007. Worryingly however it seem as if the British F1 team will be undergoing a management shake up in the weeks leading up to the first race.

Ron Dennis, who has been team manager at McLaren since the late eighties is set to leave following increasing pressure from team bosses; although the company line is it is due to his want to spend more time with his family. Dennis, who has been like a father to the young Hamilton, will be a great loss to the British driver. As his most ardent supporter in the team Hamilton will be losing some of his support structure in the upper echelons of management.

Of the other teams, most have seen Renault and BMW as the biggest rivals of the two favourites. Renault have signed former champion Alonso after his clashes with McLaren management throughout the previous season and will undoubtedly raise Renault's sponsorship and merchandise profits in Spain; as he has arguably trebled the fan base in his home nation in the past few years.

BMW however will have their work cut out if they wish to achieve the podiums they so strongly desire. Kubica, a driver for BMW has stated that the BMW F1 08 is still way behind the pack after radical changes to aerodynamics and engine design. Although winter testing has been troublesome for the team, the supporting sponsors and merchandise companies will be hoping the car will come good by the time of racing in Melbourne.

Hopefully the new season will be able to throw up some surprises; Raikkonen and Hamilton may well be the favourites for the title in their Ferrari and McLaren respectively but there are other drivers who may add to the excitement for the title race.

Alonso, although in a poorer car will undoubtedly bring home results with his unique driving style and Kubica in his BMW will be hoping to build on his good results from last year. For those of us in the F1 fraternity, the wait for the new season is nearly over; as the race gets underway in Melbourne in a couple of weeks, we will see how exciting the 2008 season will be.