We've been spectators to a number of pre-season tests from which very little can be deduced as to the true pecking order of the teams. But still, predictions are meant to be just that. Predictions. The real thrill is in finding out if things go as predicted. So, here's my expectations ahead of the new F1 season.
They're definitely not the dark-horse of the 2008 season. The fledgling team, with its highly limited resources and development time, are not going to see another 2007 season. Their biggest undoing is going to be their chassis, which is last year's Honda RA107 and that car was not too popular for its pace. If, even Honda, with its mega-everything resources couldn't turn their car into anything more than an also-ran, what can Super Aguri do? And I do not have a soft-spot for Super Aguri as I did for Minardi. They're, in the end a customer team and I'm sorry to say that they may as well save time and money by watching races in their TV. Customer teams are not what F1 needs.
Ross Brawn is there but it'll take its time before his influence is felt. Which means, we can expect to see Honda ahead of Super Aguri. Only.
This prediction is about where teams will be, at the end of the season. For this, one year's development work will have to be taken into account and I don't see this team going too far. Unlike according to its winter testing promises, I do not expect STR to worry any other team other than the preceding two and the following.
What this team lacked in the past was resources. And they're getting it now. There's no questioning their technical department's prowess. I expect Gascoyne and his team to work their magic.
I believe that the lack of a 'small' technical team is what is holding Toyota firmly near the back of the pack, despite their endless pocket. I'm not sure that Toyota will move up the ladder any further this season. We've to see how it goes.
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