With just a few days to go before the Australian GP, the drivers and teams are prepping for the weekend and making their own predictions or, perhaps, wishes.
HRT will finish the race? Is that possible?
Possible or not, it is the goal of the team that is, really unarguably, at the very back of the grid. At least, so says team boss Colin Kolles.
â€œWe have worked extremely hard since the Bahrain season opener. We have worked long hours and successfully with Bridgestone, Cosworth and Xtrac learned from our first laps with the car and found a good basis from which to start preparation for our second Grand Prix in Australia in a few days.
â€œWe have successfully repaired the damage sustained by Karun Chandhokâ€™s car and focused on building our carâ€™s reliability. Our goal is to improve steadily and the next step is to work towards our first race finish. I am confident we will achieve this goal very soon and having seen how we came together as a team in Bahrain I can see just how much potential and commitment we have.â€
Driver Karun Chandhok might be telling the truth a little too much, however.
â€œI am really looking forward to my second F1 race this weekend. I have never driven in Melbourne, but I am a very quick learner. I was able to work on a teamâ€™s simulator before the Grand Prix so that will help my familiarisation a little bit! Our next step with the teamâ€™s engineers is to make the car reliable for the race. The secret of good racing preparation is to complete as many laps as possible on Friday to see where we are with the car. Finishing the race would be a fantastic achievement we will strive for.â€
At Force India, an optimistic sounding driver Adrian Sutil is targeting a top five or six finish.
I think it was a very good start to the season. We were very competitive in free practice, I was quickest in FP1, and then again in qualifying where both Tonio and myself were in the top 12. Last year we didnâ€™t get through to Q2 in Bahrain so to come out and be in the top 12 is really positive. Everything went well until the start of the race for me and then I dropped back down the field but from the team perspective at least one car got into the points. But now we want to go even higher in Australia. I think there is still potential to improve everything and get close to the top five or six.
His teammate, Tonio Liuzzi, has sights on Q3 and another points finish.
We have some new developments on the front and rear wing. Iâ€™m pretty hopeful it will be a step forward as every upgrade we made last year was positive, so the correlation from the wind tunnel seems to be working well. Of course you never know what the others are bringing but I would hope this would move us a little closer to the teams in front. My target would be to get into Q3 this time out and then, of course, get into the points again.
And then we have reigning champ Jenson Button, who acknowledges that Red Bull and Ferrari were quick at Bahrain but reckons his McLaren has a good chance this weekend.
“I think we will be a lot closer here, this circuit should suit us quite well. Lewis has had a good time here before and I have, it’s treating us well this circuit so hopefully we can get a good result.”
When asked to explain why he was optimistic about McLaren doing better, Button said: “Because I know it will. This circuit is a low downforce circuit and that should suit us reasonably well, so I am excited about racing here. I think we can have a much better race. I am excited, and if I didn’t think the car was good I wouldn’t be.”
The pressure must be on Button just a bit, don’t you think? And I certainly hope HRT does finish the race… and I hope they do while SPEED is still on the air here in the states.