After nine races, we are now officially halfway through the season. And this race is going to be critical - after the controversy surrounding the off-throttle blown diffuser in Silverstone, the teams have agreed to uphold the Valencia-spec regulations. It's clear that Ferrari have made some progress, but how much of that is down to OTBD restrictions remains to be see. This race is going to go a long way toward setting up the second half of the season. Round X of the 2011 FIA Formula 1 World Championship is the ... 2011 GROßER PRIES SANTANDER von DEUTSCHLAND from the Nürburgring GP-Strecke in Nürburg, Germany Seven-day forecast: Late afternoon showers expected all week. Dry conditions for race day Mid-range temperatures (15-20°C) predicted through to Sunday. Lap Record ~ 1:29.468 (Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, 2004) 2009 Results*: 1st ~ Mark Webber (Red Bull-Renault) 2nd ~ Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault) 3rd ~ Felipe Massa (Ferrari) *The 2010 German Grand Prix was held at the Hockenheimring 2011 standings after nine races: 1st ~ Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault) ~ 204 points 2nd ~ Mark Webber (Red Bull-Renault) ~ 124 points 3rd ~ Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) ~ 112 points 4th ~ Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes) ~ 109 points 5th ~ Jenson Button (McLaren-Mercedes) ~ 109 points 6th ~ Felipe Massa (Ferrari) ~ 52 points 7th ~ Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) ~ 40 points 8th ~ Nick Heidfeld (Renault) ~ 34 points 9th ~ Vitaly Petrov (Renault) ~ 31 points 10th ~ Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) ~ 28 points It's back to the Nürburgring for round ten, in what could be the msot critical phase of the championship. From a purely mathematical standpoint, the earliest Sebastian Vettel can win the championship is in Japan, six races from now. But that assumes nobody else scores any points. By contract, Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button all need four straight wins - with Vettel failing to score - just to take the lead of the championship. With Ferrari in particular making progress for Silverstone, one can expect that they will be in the mix for some time to come. A few good results could draw the championship fight out until the end of the season. The big question in all of this is how much of their performance in Silverstone was down to the OTBD regulations, and how much of it was a genuine step forward. The German Grand Prix looks set to show just the world a much clearer picture of the status quo in that regard.