German Grand Prix marks half-way point of season

AFTER an enjoyable trip to Silverstone with Team Lotus for the British Grand Prix, TOM WILKINSON looks forward the German race at Hockenheim.

High in the hills, Hockenheim is susceptible to poor weather conditions.

Round 10 of the 2012 Formula 1 World Championship brings us to Hockenheim for the German Grand Prix. I’m back from my holiday – and from a soggy Silverstone. What a weekend that was. To those of you who went, I hope you had a great weekend, and stayed as dry as possible. That was almost two weeks ago now can you believe. Let’s look forward now to this weekend which marks the half-way point in the season. The German Grand Prix.
This track has seen many changes over the years, but it still has the challenges I believe of its original layout. It is a circuit which rewards speed, balance and smooth driving. If you go on the maximum attack around here, you will end up off the road. Particularly on the final part of the track, in the arena section which is rather tight compared to the rest of the circuit.
It’s likely there will be many cheering for the German drivers, in particular of course, Michael Schumacher. The seven-time world champion in the Mercedes-Benz will be hoping for a solid performance in front of his home fans.  Nico Rosberg will also be looking for the same in the sister car. Timo Glock will want to impress also, even though the Marussia doesn’t have the performance of the silver arrows. Nico Hulkenberg, who has impressed so far this season, will want a good car from Force India, surely a good points finish will be on the cards if he goes well.
But McLaren will need to improve the current performance greatly if they are to remain strong in the title fight. Talking to my fellow F1 friend Mr Smaller this evening, he believes McLaren have “Lost it”. I partly agree as their performance has been on a slippery slope since the Spanish GP, with only one great race since then, at the Canadian GP at the beginning of June. But the real judgment will have to be made after the month long summer break, to see what developments and changes have been made. Of course there is also the matter of a new contract for Lewis Hamilton too. Many interesting developments at McLaren to keep our eyes on, over the coming weeks.
Red Bull and Mark Webber had great success last time out at Silverstone, a repeat performance will be on the wish list of all the team. The Hockenheim circuit should suit the Red Bulls quite well. Sebastian Vettel will want to be on the top step this weekend in front of his home crowd. The double world champion will be aiming for a strong outing once again on Sunday.
And finally, those of you who follow me on Twitter @TomWilkinsonF1 #TWF1 will know I was very kindly invited into the paddock and garage by Team Lotus on qualifying day at Silverstone. It was a pleasure to meet team member Andy Band, who is Romain Grosjean’s engineer. A tour of the garage was a real thrill, with many great insights into the construction of the cars, and how the team functions on race weekends. I will be putting together a special report over the summer break of my experience at Team Lotus.  which will provide a rare insight into the world of F1. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Andy, Team Lotus and everyone involved for this brilliant experience. You can follow Andy on Twitter @racingwookie and Team Lotus @Lotus_F1Team.
F1 News:
Marussia have ruled out car failure as the cause of Maria De Villota’s testing crash. The team have said the car was not to blame for the crash which happened during a straight line test at Duxford Airfield two weeks ago. An internal investigation was launched into the cause of the crash. Team principal John Booth responded to the outcome with the following statement: “We are satisfied that the findings of our internal investigation exclude the car as a factor in the accident. We have shared and discussed our findings with the HSE for their consideration as part of their ongoing investigation. This has been a necessarily thorough process in order to understand the cause of the accident”.  Maria is recovering well from the accident, and is communicating freely with her family and the medical team in Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
In other news Caterham have been preparing for the move to their new site at Leafield, in Oxfordshire. Renovation and refurbishment has started on the new site, which they expect to move into after the Hungarian GP next weekend.
Formula 1 has created a plan to build a new circuit inside the Olympic stadium. F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has backed the idea and clarified the details of the bid by saying they are “bidding for the use of the stadium, not to own it”. It is certainly an interesting idea, but is it realistic? London seems to be a target for F1 at the moment with talks earlier this month of a street race around the capital. My personal view is, yes it would be great, but keep on dreaming.
You can of course keep up to date with all the latest F1 news by following me on Twitter @TomWilkinsonF1 #TWF1, and don’t forget to visit again early next week for my race report.
Enjoy the German Grand Prix.