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A Couple of 2011 F1 Season Predictions

Red Bull and their RB7 will smash the opposition. Figuratively speaking.

My prediction of Red Bull domination won’t be a surprise to anyone who knows me at all.

Yes, as people frequently and correctly point out, Fernando Alonso would have won the 2010 drivers’ world championship if it hadn’t been for his team’s strategic error in the final race. There’s no denying that’s true — but, as people have also frequently pointed out, it isn’t the whole story. If we’re going to speak in terms of gifts being handed to people, Alonso’s status going into that final race was a generous gift to him, courtesy of fate and Red Bull Racing. It was the result of the various errors and technical mishaps that led to Sebastian Vettel not having the championship tied up far earlier in the season, as he indisputably could have.

So my prediction is predicated on at least those same errors not occurring again this year. Sebastian Vettel is, yes, still very young, and he is prone to fits of extreme emotion. He doesn’t have Schumacherian ice water running through his veins, and he probably never will. This is part of what we love about him. However, he’s also very intelligent and very determined, and he has undoubtedly learned a hell of a lot from what happened last year, both the good and the bad. I think this was the case even by the end of last season.

The RB7 appears to be pretty good on the reliability front this year, as well, so there could be a good chance of minimizing technical mishaps. And I really don’t need to go into how freaking fast the car is. That’s been pretty clear throughout preseason testing. So I think the combination of Sebastian Vettel + RB7 = other teams wondering just what hit them. (Again, figuratively speaking!)

Of course, none of this is even remotely surprising or controversial. It’s a common theme among those making predictions about this season, including people who, unlike me, actually know a lot about what they’re talking about. I saw that Bob Varsha went against the grain a bit during SpeedTV’s season preview show and predicted that Lewis Hamilton will win the 2011 title. I do hope and expect that Lewis Hamilton will win more titles. I just doubt it’s going to happen this year.

Ferrari will be very good in 2011, and Fernando Alonso will be a scarily determined force to be reckoned with, but all the team orders under the sun aren’t going to help them get any better than second place among constructors or drivers. So say I.

On the rookie front, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Watch for Sergio Pérez! I haven’t had the opportunity to watch very much GP2, but the times when I did last season, he was always the driver capturing my attention. Therefore, I proclaim that he will surprise all those “But he’s a paaaaay driiiiiver” haters, who, at the end of the season, will be all, “Man, Robyn, when you’re right, you’re right! We should listen to you more often, clearly.” And I’ll be like, “Damn straight, bitches!” So best to just be showing respect to Sergio, my fellow North American, now, to avoid feelings of shame and inadequacy later on. I will be defending that kid like a protective big sister this season, so check yourselves, etcetera!

As far as all the other teams go, I’m adopting a safe and judicious (i.e., boring) wait-and-see attitude, because I’m not sure how useful it is to do anything else this early on, and it’s also time for me to shut down this computer and go to brunch. I will say, though, that it’s sad and frustrating that we’ll never know what would have happened had Robert Kubica been able to drive this year’s Renault, a car that seems promising. Guess that’s not a prediction, though — more of a wistful observation. Life and F1 must move on, of course, but it’s hard not to think about how differently the 2011 season might shake out if Robert Kubica were taking part in it.

(Photoshop mashup above composed of images by/from Tudor Hulubai, D Sharon Pruitt, Photoshop Scrap, and Red Bull Racing. Font is “Refurbished” by Billy Argel.)

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2 Responses

  1. Sweet graphic, dude! You’ve got mad skillz!

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