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Past ponderings, future forecasts 18 Aug 2006

Mark Webber (AUS) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, German Grand Prix, Practice Day, Hockenheim, Germany, 28 July 2006 Takuma Sato (JPN) Super Aguri F1 SA06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, German Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Hockenheim, Germany, 29 July 2006 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, 5 August 2006 Ralf Schumacher (GER) Toyota TF106 battles with Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race, Budapest, Hungary, 6 August 2006

If you’ve been participating in our recent homepage votes, now is your chance to find out if your views tallied with those of your fellow Formula One fans. Whether it be opinions on events past, or expectations for those to come, the results make for interesting reading…

Team most likely to win the German Grand Prix?
A huge two-thirds majority correctly predicted a Ferrari triumph - perhaps not surprising given their consecutive wins in the two previous rounds. Renault mustered 18 percent of the vote, but only fifth and sixth places in the race, while just 16 percent tipped McLaren, who eventually saw Kimi Raikkonen finish ‘best of the rest’ behind the two red cars.

Which 'home' team will score the most points in Germany?
Three quarters of you correctly predicted that the Mercedes-powered McLaren squad would pick up this honour, which came courtesy of Kimi Raikkonen’s third place. Toyota were second favourite - and did indeed score at Hockenheim, with Jarno Trulli seventh. And just 10 percent of you tipped BMW Sauber, who unfortunately failed to make the top eight on the team’s home debut.

Will Super Aguri's new car lift them above Midland in Germany?
Just over 45 percent of you believed the new SA06 would put Super Aguri ahead at Hockenheim, but in the race is wasn’t to be, with neither car making the finish. There was encouraging news for the Japanese team’s fans in qualifying, however, with Takuma Sato splitting the two Midland cars.

Will Robert Kubica score points on his race debut for BMW Sauber?
A supportive 39 per cent of voters thought that he would, and were no doubt pleased when the young Polish driver stormed home seventh to take two points. But in the end the pessimistic viewpoint won out and the 45 per cent who voted that Kubica wouldn’t score were proved right when he was disqualified.

Unluckiest man of the eventful Hungarian Grand Prix weekend?
After all the thrills and spills in Budapest, you couldn’t quite decide which driver had been most unfortunate. In the end Michael Schumacher was the (un)lucky winner with 38 percent of the vote after his departure in the closing stages. Fellow retirees Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen were close behind with 34 percent and 27 per cent respectively.

Will Ferrari beat Renault to the 2006 Constructors' Championship?
Although the title race between Ferrari and Renault is only now intensifying, some of you are convinced you already know the outcome. Back in July, you voted overwhelmingly in favour of Ferrari lifting the trophy at the season’s close - 64 percent of you were waving the red flag whilst a more modest 30 percent still had faith in the blues holding on to their crown.

How many races will Renault win in the remainder of 2006?
On a race-by-race basis you were only slightly more behind the Renault drivers when we posed this question following Ferrari’s three-win run in the US, France and Germany. Just over a third of voters predicted Renault would not taste victory again this season, with a further 27 percent saying one more win was the best they could hope for.

Which team do you think Mark Webber will race for next year?
After he’d thrown in the towel with Williams, but before he’d signed elsewhere, almost half of you were certain Webber was destined for Renault, the team run by his manager Flavio Briatore. Another 18 percent predicted McLaren, whilst 33 percent opted for another team - perhaps prophesying the Australian’s eventual move to Red Bull.

Who will have the upper hand at Red Bull in 2007?
Once Webber had decided on Red Bull, the question arose of who would dominate the team - old hand David Coulthard or the Australian new boy? The results were some of the closest we’ve seen, with 46.63 percent backing Coulthard and 46.78 percent in favour of Webber.

Has Formula One racing seen the last of Jacques Villeneuve?
News that BMW Sauber had parted company with Jacques Villeneuve inevitably sparked questions over the French-Canadian’s future. More than 72 per cent of voters believe the colourful former champion has gone for good, whilst 20 percent predict he will get another chance.

Which Japanese team will finish higher in the 2006 championship?
A resounding 69 percent of you predicted Toyota would breeze through to the end the season with more points than rivals Honda, who only had a 24 percent share of the vote. Needless to say the vote was taken before Honda’s breakthrough victory in Hungary.

Should Michael Schumacher retire if he wins the 2006 title?
The results were split almost down the middle - a reflection of Schumacher’s own indecision perhaps? Just over 46 percent of you believe retirement is the best option for the German should he triumph over Alonso, but 50 percent think he should stay on and defend his (hypothetical) eighth world crown.

Which of these French driving greats did you rate most highly?
As the paddock headed to Magny-Cours, we looked back on French racing history and selected three big names for you to quarrel over. Rene Arnoux won out in the end with 46 percent of the vote, with Jacques Laffite and Didier Pironi pretty evenly matched with 28 percent and 26 percent respectively.

Your greatest Japanese Formula One driver of all time?
It seems to be a case of ‘out of sight out of mind’ here, with Satoru Nakajima - not seen in a Formula One car since 1991 - claiming just 19 percent of the vote, despite having 74 starts, 16 points and one fastest lap to his name. For those still in the spotlight votes flooded in. Aguri Suzuki - now Super Aguri team boss - took 35 percent of the vote and his current star driver, Takuma Sato, picked up just over 46 percent.