F1 Midweek – Channel Crossings

Kansas City – With this year’s British Grand Prix said and done, the circus has begun its cross-Channel journey to the ancestral home of Britain’s monarchy: Germany. Where Silverstone holds a solid place in the F1 history books, the Hockenheimring’s connections to the sport are about 20 years more recent.

Formula 1 first came to Hockenheim in 1970, following a driver boycott of the ever-perilous Nürburgring. Today, the two competing German circuits alternate hosting the annual German Grand Prix. What could be said most about Germany is that this race will be focused on three drivers in particular: Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel, and Nico Hülkenberg. The trio of Germans have all done quite well thus far this season, each of them earning points at multiple races. I have little doubt that Rosberg could take Germany just as Hamilton took Britain.

On the Hamilton-Rosberg rivalry, Lewis Hamilton decided to start goading at his German teammate. In an article published Monday by The Guardian, Hamilton is quoted as having said, “Nico Rosberg is not a real German.” Rosberg responded on Tuesday, according to The Guardian“describing himself as ‘100% German.'” This entire tit-for-tat seems to be just a simple matter of team rivalry intended for the press to know about.

In the other paddocks, less bickering appears to be going on. For one thing, Caterham has changed ownership in the last week, having been sold by former owner Tony Fernandes to a Swiss and Middle Eastern consortium. Perhaps the biggest question that I have on the matter is whether or not the team will seek a different country’s license than Malaysia? Perhaps with the new ownership, come 2015 we will see Caterham joining Sauber under the Swiss flag. For now though, the new ownership will certainly have an Everest-sized uphill struggle in the attempt to score some points on the drivers’ and constructors’ leaderboards.

Caterham’s rival, Marussia on the other hand seems to be doing something right. Considering that Jules Bianchi has scored a couple of points this season, and that Max Chilton has come very close to doing so as well, the Anglo-Russian team seems to be on the verge of breaking through the lowest glass celling in the sport, that being the one between the non-points scoring teams and the middle of the field teams.

Williams likewise seems to be on the verge of good times. With Valtteri Bottas earning his second career podium this past weekend at Silverstone, and Felipe Massa equally doing quite well when he has the chance, the team from Grove in Oxfordshire could be on the edge of breaking back into the top level of the sport, challenging the Mercedes and Red Bulls. Despite the brevity of her inaugural Formula One drive, Williams test-driver Susie Wolff has shown great talent. I do hope that she gets a seat at one of the teams next season, as she could be fantastic competition. On top of that, her appearance in Free Practise 1 was cut quite short due to an engine failure.

As Formula 1 prepares to return to Germany, there will be much to watch out for. Perhaps soon we will see Williams win their first Grand Prix since Pastor Maldonado’s victory at the 2012 Spanish GP. What will happen with the Mercedes duo is yet to be seen. Equally, will Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull roar back into life? We will all find out on the 20th.

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