Can the old guard strike back in Hungary?

It has been a couple of weeks since the last Grand Prix at Nurburgring, thankfully, devoid of the nasty FOTA vs FIA politics which tended to hog the headlines not long ago. Sure there is the Vatanen vs Todt spat but that is small changed compared to the warring bodies.

Instead we have had much hyped about Formula 1?s new kid on the block, Jaime Alguersauri, who should become the youngest driver ever to compete in Formula 1 when he lines up in his Toro Rosso on the grid for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Simmering behind all this is the fact that the race in Budapest could well be one of the most intriguing of the season so far. Sure, Red Bull Racing and Brawn GP enter the ring as favourites but there have been signs that the “old guard” are making significant steps in the right direction.

McLaren Mercedes for one will be greatly encouraged by the massive leap they took in Germany where Lewis Hamilton appeared to have found some front running pace, only to see the promise evaporate in Turn 1 of the first lap. Now it is time to make amends and the World Champion is itching to get into that winning groove once again. “I really enjoy the place. I’m hopeful of getting a result that demonstrates the improvement we’ve made over the past few weeks,? said Hamilton. Our Grand Prix preview ace writer Daniel Chalmers, who correctly predicted Mark Webber?s victory at Nurburgring, has tipped the World Champion to win this weekend?.

Heikki Kovalainen won his first race here last year and will be looking to revive his season which has been quite unremarkable and have led to rumblings that he may well be on his way out. He will want to entrench himself in the good books.

Ferrari scored their first podium with Kimi Raikkonen at Monaco. As Hungaroring is described as ?Monaco without the barriers? the boys from Maranello are optimistic. The Iceman went as far as saying, ?Let’s hope Budapest is like Monaco.? He will also be hoping to get one up on team mate Felipe Massa who has outshone the Finn this year at the wheel of the red cars.

A dark horse for Sunday?s race is Fernando Alonso who amazed just about everyone with the pace of the ING Renault at the German GP. He was comfortably quicker than anybody in the late stages of the race. He said afterwards, ?Two weeks ago no one would have thought we would end up harassing the Brawns or doing the fastest lap.?

At the other end of the spectrum Nelson Piquet will be going all out to avoid the blow of being dismissed mid-season. Thoughts of Sebastien Bourdais? recent demise will loom large in his mind.

As for the rest, Force India will be desperate to score points and betting against this happening would be unwise. Adrian Sutil has been impressive of late and Hungaroring should suit him. With Giancarlo Fisichella it is hard to predict as it all depends on which Fisi turns up in Budapest.

AT&T Williams should be quick again with Nico Rosberg at the helm. The German, who is apparently being considered for alternative F1 employment, will be keen to sustain athe good streak he is enjoying. Kazuki Nakajima, on the other hand, will want to translate spurts of speed into consistency.

Panasonic Toyota are likely to be apprehensive about Hungary as their Monaco performance was abysmal. Both Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli scored podiums in the early part of the season, this must seem like a distant memory for the big spenders.

At Toro Rosso, all eyes will be on young Alguesauri?s baptism of fire weekend. His every move will be scrutinised intensively by the media hordes as the lad embarks on a fairytale ride into the big league. We at YallaF1 hope that the story has a happy ending ? we even have a Poll on him on Team YallaF1 Bloggers. Meanwhile, Sebastien Buemi, who is apparently totally unperturbed by the new arrival in his pit garage, will try make the most of some formidable updates, expected in Hungary, to the STR4. Notably Toro Rosso line-up with two rookies in Budapest.

BMW Sauber?s season of misery is set to continue despite “fighting talk” from their boss Mario Theissen who said, ?This year our team heads for the Hungarian Grand Prix with muted expectations.? Exactly what Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld want to hear. This from a team who were contenders 12 months ago. From Championship contenders to worst team on the grid in less than twelve months. Sad but true.

The cynics among us will no doubt predict another Red Bull Racing versus Brawn GP match-up. The rest, just hype to make sure everyone stays glued to the TV. Perhaps this will be so, but even in this duel there are some juicy questions that need answering: Webber or Vettel? Button or Barrichello? And of course Red Bull or Brawn GP?

Tune in and of course keep visiting where we will reporting on everything you need to know about the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.