McLaren still clinging to control of the Formula One championship

Posted on July 26, 2010


Amid the chaos and fallout from the race fixing charges against Ferrari it has been easy to forget the wider impact of the German Grand Prix on the championships.

Have McLaren missed a step in the development race? Credit:

Sebastian Vettel is now level on points with Red Bull team mate Mark Webber, while McLaren remain in command of both championships.

Despite an indifferent weekend, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button finished 4th and 5th respectively. Fernando Alonso is, pending the World Motor Sport Council decision, back in touch as the fifth placed driver overall.

But it remains very close with eight races to go, with a maximum 200 points still available in the drivers’ championship and 344 up for grabs in the constructors’ championship.

The most telling thing for me in the past couple of races is the failure of McLaren to get on top of the blown diffuser. It should be no great surprise – it’s a complicated device – but the trademark of the British outfit for the past two seasons has been its ferocious development.

It is, though, always worth remembering McLaren are only still in this championship because of earlier Red Bull errors.

I don’t think Ferrari and Alonso are a viable prospect for the title. The Red Bull is still the quickest car in most conditions and I’m sure McLaren will, in the end, get the package right. A few weeks back, I suggested one of McLarens would take the title but I’m not so sure. It could be any of the top four, with Vettel and Hamilton probably the narrow favourites.

Crucially, both Ferraris will likely continue to take points away from the top four but it’s tough to predict who this will end up hurting the worst – but probably Red Bull given the small points deficit they already have.

Mercedes should ultimately hold onto fourth in the constructor’s championship, mainly because Renault have only got one serious point scoring driver.

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