Thursday, October 16, 2008

Chinese Grand Prix: Points of Interest

We have two races left in the 2008 Formula One season and this weekend we have the Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit. We have many potential story lines but these can not be ignored given the state of the title fight.

1. Fernando Alonso and Renault. Renault have been on a tear in recent races spearheaded by Fernando Alonso. Renault have amassed 35 points in the last 4 races; that total is more than Ferrari, McLaren and BMW during the same span. So, with the proven increase in performance, can Alonso make it 3 in a row?

2. Robert Kubica. He sits 3rd in the World Championship fight and sits 12 points behind championship leader Hamilton and 7 points behind Massa. Given the mistakes and penalties and squandering of points Kubica can gain alot of ground on these two. We saw it last year with Raikkonen.

3. Heikki Kovalainen. He is in one of the best cars and is in danger of being overhauled by Alonso in the championship standings. He sits in 6th and 3 points ahead of Alonso and has only scored points once in the last 4 races. He has been rather non-descript this season with 1 race win and 3 podiums. He needs to be a quality number 2 driver and take points away from Hamilton's rivals. He certainly has the car, but does he have the talent?

4. Race Stewards. This season, particularly in the last several races the stewards have had an impact on the results. Given the tight championship battle, a steward's decision can hand or take away the championship for a driver. So, the question for the Chinese Grand Prix is what role will the stewards play?

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