Daily: Saturday 23rd July

23 July, 2011 at 00:02 (GMT+01:00)

By Stuart Taylor

I don't know how the camp divides on this one, but I prefer Hockenheim to Nurburgring, generally speaking. Both are tamed versions of former, flamboyantly ridiculous mega-circuits, but Hockenheim tends to make for more exciting races, despite the Nurburgring having a more interesting layout.

But, here we are at Nurburgring and with all the usual elements in play and host of upgrades up and down the field, we could be in for a good'n. I'm going out on a limb and predicting another Alonso win, for no apparent reason.

This Week In F1

  • Major upgrades at Lotus: Lotus have arrived in Germany with a new-spec driver that they hope will move them up the grid. The totally new pilot, rumoured to have been manufactured in India, will only be used on the number 21 car to evaluate its potential over the troublesome standard component, Jarno Trulli. This new driver, codenamed Cheeky Chandhok, has been in development at the Norfolk HQ for many months now and Mike Gascoyne's crew have finally declared it 'race-ready', having run Chandhok in the wind tunnel for 6 straight weeks without a failure.
  • Webber Free to Race, almost all of the time: After long discussions between Mark Webber and Christian Horner, it has been revealed that Mark Webber is free to go head-to-head with Sebastien Vettel 99% of the time. There was tension at the end of the British GP when the team tried to neutralise Webber as he hunted Vettel down for 2nd place; Webber ignored repeated requests to hold station until Horner himself intervened. But now Webber has made the situation clear: 'We are still free to race most of the time,' he said. '99% of the time we'll be going at it, tooth and nail; and only in the 2 hour period during a race will I have to give way to Seb.'
  • Ferrari Ignoring the Standings: Ferrari have had a difficult first half to the year, despite winning in Silverstone last time out. Stefano Domenicali has said he would 'give a negative score to Ferrari' based on their performance so far, so the team must be glad Stefano isn't in charge of the Sporting Directives. To avoid depression, Ferrari have admitted they don't look at the official standings, in which they have only half the points of Red Bull. Instead, they have applied a filter to all their work computers that replaces any F1 news with a picture of a Lolcat to keep morale high.

This Time Last Year

  • Hamilton Baffled by Small Title Lead: Lewis Hamilton leads Jenson Button in the championship by 12 points - a fact he thinks is 'strange'. 'I've had four solid races - two wins and two second places - and yet I'm only 12 points ahead,' he said. Perhaps he wouldn't be so disappointed if he'd known that 12 months later after one win and two second places he'd be fourth, 95 points behind the leader.
  • Alonso - German GP critical: In the build up to the German Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso has said that picking up points in the German and Hungarian races is 'crucial to stay in the race for the title ... I've sense a great deal of determination among the people at Maranello: we all want to return to winning as soon as possible.'

This Time Next Year

  • Ecclestone 'been dead for years': Shock passed through the paddock this week as it was revealed that Bernie Ecclestone died several years ago. The diagnosis was administrated by a mysterious new Doctor who revealed that Ecclestone's corpse is merely wandering aimlessly, muttering repeated echoes of his final thoughts: 'FOTA is about to implode... Silverstone is rubbish... Give me more money...'. The Doctor said he could silence Ecclestone and lay him to rest, but FOTA and the FIA World Council agreed unanimously to leave him as he is.

  • Major revamp for Autosport Magazine: Following an extremely positive test run to the mid-life-crisis market, Autosport have announced that they will be renamed 'Lotusport' from the next issue onwards. 'We feel now is the time to give the readers something they really want,' said new Editor-in-Chief, Danny Bahar. 'The Lotus brand resonated with the Autosport reader as a symbol of true racing engineering so we have given our publication a fresh, Lotusey new perspective.'

    Articles will be written in gold text on black, Team Lotus will be referred to as Team Caterham and all race standings will be calculated from the highest-finishing Lotus (e.g. If Alonso wins and Kubica comes forth, Alonso will be classified as -3rd).

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