Yes, spring is here again, although by calender alone. There is still enough snow outside to build a house, a city, a civilization with it. I did brave the elements yesterday, though, when I burped the Porsche after a long winter hibernation. And as I ripped the black ribbon with the sun in my ass and the wind on my windscreen, I also felt that F1 urge againâ€¦ perhaps because I was downshifting like Senna into the corners. No, not Bruno.
Standing on the brink of yet another season of romp and rpm, these are the horses I will back:
Kimi RÃ¤ikkÃ¶nen – yah, he may have had better things to do last season, but I still think Iâ€™m typing about the 2009 champ here. No one will be surprised by this incredible revelation, of course. It was never about the speed with Kimi. He has it. If he wants it. The question is, too stinkinâ€™ rich already?
Felipe Massa – the Brazilian schoolboy won the most races in 2008, and ought to have won the championship. Better luck this year? Well, despite his pinball wizard hands, I canâ€™t help but view him as a bridesmaid.
Robert Kubica – wonky Polish guy rips. I am preparing to be afraid. If the BMW is up to the job, the Pole will pole. Champion material.
Nick Heidfeld – management lacks guts. Nick is back, and we are all bored. While Nick would be king in any other series, in F1 he will never win a race. But here’s to last chances and trying hard!
Fernando Alonso – the Renault is far better this year, and the smell of chorizo will haunt us again. Fernando will win many races, and no one outside of Spain will enjoy it. But you have to give it up to Fernando – he is still disgustingly good, one of the best.
Nelson Piquet Jnr – why donâ€™t they hire his dad instead? He was a blast.
Lewis Hamilton – the graces of the gods granted him the 2008 championship. So what. 2008 is so last year. The honeymoon is over. The car is shit + Lewis is not = England weeps. Talented in a good car, frustrated in a bad one, this year will be full of embarrassing mistakes.
Heikki Kovalainen – no matter from where you look at it, Heikki has got to lay down some law this season. Because if he doesnâ€™t, he will find himself in touring cars soon. However, I believe in Heikki. He can pick up the car and carry it, and he will do it better than his teammate in 2009.
Jenson Button – we all want Jenson to come back from the dark side. Judging by the preseason speed of the old Honda, he ought to win half the races this season. But do you think weâ€™re fools? Would Honda sell the team if the car was a second quicker than everyone elseâ€™s? Nevertheless, I will keep an eye on the Jensen. In any case, seems safe to say that Brawn GP will start stronger than they will finish. No brain, just brawn? Or?
Rubens Barrichello – what? Where is Bruno? Rubens must have done 3478 GPs by now? Surely this must be another Rubens Barrichello?
Red Bull Racing:
Sebastian Vettel – ah, the new Stefan Bellof. I like Vettel; heâ€™s got spunk, and heâ€™s not afraid to use it. He was a star of the future two years ago. He still is. I would like to order another victory, please. Maybe then BMW management will come to their senses.
Mark Webber – put another shrimp on the barbie. My patience is up. Webberâ€™s curve is going down, and Iâ€™ve never yet seen a driver deflect near-inevitable descent. Life is cyclical, including financial crisis, global warming, and Mark Webber.
Jarno Trulli – if BMW management is on the wimpy side, Toyota is cooked spaghetti. Why do they spend money on Trulli? Bloody Corolla! He can never deliver anything else than a good day in a blue moon, and both you and me and the guy who just drove past your house in his burgundy Avensis know it.
Timo Glock – standing on the fence, swaying, but I just canâ€™t make up my mind. Glock can be decent, but Vettel definitely carries a bigger Glock. It is a terrible insult to be called decent, but I can not muster more. Decent-decent-decent.
Nico Rosberg – the mighty Williams, finest in F1, quintessential, epitome. Oh, those days are long gone. We all want them back, but we dare not wish for such much-much. You gotta ask yourself, is Nico wasting his career at Williams? Let us hope not. Let us pray for a couple of breakthrough performances.
Kazuki Nakajima – I like Japanese drivers. Nobody locks up like they do.
Sebastian Buemi – now, here is a team that understands the value of inexperience, if you know what I mean. Speed is the holy grail, and nothing else matters. Keep your eyes peeled, as Buemi is poised to do something spectacular, Ã la Vettel in Monza 08. You can barely believe he is Swiss.
Sebastian Bourdais – baguette and brie, to my delight Seb snatched another year in F1. A French driver upholds an illusion of the flair and glamour old F1 bathed in. Besides, no one gesticulates like them. More importantly, Bourdais is underrated. Sadly, thatâ€™s often for a reason.
Adrian Sutil – filling the grid is an important job. And on a good day, Force India can cause welcome distraction, probably when someone runs into them from behind as they try to lap them. Granted, Adrian is no punching bag, but 2009 still wonâ€™t have me shouting out his name like Rocky.
Giancarlo Fisichella – there are overtaking manouvers to be expected. Unfortunately, Fisi is the one being driven around, and it just might be around the outside. The inside works just as well, though.
So, there. There, so. In the future you will realize that the 2009 season is history. Chances are it went something like the above. Pay witness, for free! Sunday is no longer the slowest day of the week – the F1 circus is coming to town!