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Conclusions

So, how will 2007 play out in the new era of the level playing field of just one tyre supplier, more restrictions on engine and chassis development, more overtaking opportunities – if the aero changes imposed by the FIA work out -  and the retirement of the single most important driver of the last decade.

I fully expect Alonso to mount a serious challenge to back to back titles and team mate Lewis Hamilton to become a new Brit star and drive around a lot of more established drivers so quite likely McLaren will take both the drivers' and constructors' titles but points margins will be a lot slimmer and the championship will not be decided until quite late in the season.

Rivalling McLaren and scoring regular podiums Williams will re-join Ferrari and Renault among the front runners with Rosberg and Kovalainen both scoring well. Heidfeld will probably also mount the podium for BMW and Button and Barrichello for Honda will score regular points.

Kimi I think may prove to have a disappointing 2007 although his challenge will be stronger in the second half of the season if Massa goads him along by showing well early on.

Red Bull will also get off to a slow start but the car and drivers will lead the midfield runners alongside Toyota and both Coulthard and Webber will collect points to move the Red Bull team nearer to the front of its group but not yet into the big time.

Toro Rosso, Spyker and Super Aguri will all vie for the tail end group with Spyker most likely to garner points out of the three teams the other two teams’ late cars meaning they won’t get going until much later in the season.

The lawyers will also win some points and some more money as Toro Rosso, Williams and others may well go to court over the legality of the RB3 clone or not clone, that’ll all end in tears no doubt.

And, will we see more overtaking in 2007? I sincerely hope so if the TV audience for F1 is not to continue switching off in large numbers.

Article © 2007 Graham Benge

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