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2000 Belgian GP News
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Michael Schumacher did manage to score 6 points in Hungary but that was not enough for him to keep the lead in the drivers championship. Mika Hakkinen now leads by 2 points. David Coulthard is 4 points behind Michael.
The Spa-Francorchamps circuit is a low downforce configuration circuit which is better suited to the McLaren. It will be very hard for Michael to win this one unless it rains!
It has rained twice in the last 3 years at Spa. In 97, Michael Schumacher won and in 98 Michael Schumacher retired while leading the race after crashing into David Coulthard's McLaren while lapping him. Last year, he didn't participate due to his broken leg.
Of the current drivers, only Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard have won here with Schumacher winning 4 races and David Coulthard winning 1. On the other hand, only Mika Hakkinen, Jacques Villeneuve and Rubens Barrichello have been on pole here. Mika and Jacques twice and once for Rubens. Recently the results have been unpredictable here as no driver has won from pole in the last 8 years. (Ayrton Senna managed to win 4 times in a row from pole from 88 to 91)
Ferrari: They will struggle here. Last year (although Schumacher was not driving) they qualified 6th (Irvine) and 8th (Salo) and finished 4th (Irvine) and 7th (Salo). They were actually beaten by McLaren as well as Jordan. That is why Michael Schumacher and Ferrari will struggle unless it rains. Ruben Barrichello will be a bit behind his teammate as it will take him longer to setup his car for this track. Michael Schumacher could finish in 3rd and Barrichello in the top 6. If it rains, then Schumacher would be the favourite.
McLaren: They are the clear favourites on this track. Last year, Coulthard outraced Mika Hakkinen and it is very hard to predict who will be stronger this year.
Unless they encounter a technical failure, take each other out or it rains, a 1-2 finish for McLaren is expected.
Williams: They have struggled on low downforce tracks this year. I don't expect them to do much better here. Now that Jenson Button's future is defined, I expect him to do even better than in the past. Both Williams could qualify outside the top 10 but may finish inside the top 10 but not in the points.
Benetton: Similar to Williams, they will also struggle and I don't expect Fisichella to score points here. Alexander Wurz needs to impress if anyone will offer him a drive for next year but he won't do it here..
BAR: Jacques Villeneuve grabbed pole position twice here when driving the Williams. This year he won't be on pole but I expect the BAR Honda to be very close to the top 2 teams here at Spa. Ricardo Zonta will also qualify well. Expect Villeneuve to score a few points here with a podium a slight possibility. Zonta (As Wurz) needs to impress, he has a chance and could use it although he has been crashing too many times this season.
Jordan: The other team that can be close to the top 2. Frentzen and Hill outqualified the Ferrari duo last year. It is still a possibility this year that one or two of the Jordan's would outqualify one or both of the Ferrari's. I do expect though that Jordan and BAR will fight it out for the 3rd placed team here. That is if the Jordan proves more reliable than in the recent past!
Sauber: They appear to be better suited to the low downforce tracks so I expect them to be just behind Jordan and BAR and ahead of Benetton and William. A top 10 finish for both is possible.
Jaguar: Not a suitable track for the struggling Jaguar team. As in Germany, they will qualify close to the back of the grid and depending on the retirements, one of them could make the top 10.
Arrows: Similar to Sauber, the Arrows car is more suited to low downforce configuration. They will be competing with Sauber ahead of Williams and Benetton. A top 10 finish is likely and a top 6 could be possible.
Prost: Will struggle here as they have done on all the circuits this yea with either reliability issues or bad setup. Will finish outside the top 10 if they finish.
Minardi: Any position higher than the last 2 will be a bonus.
Last year only 6 cars failed to finish but it was a dry race. If it is wet we'll see more cars retire but lets hope we don't see the first corner carnage we saw in 98! Practice starts on Friday at 11 AM local time. That is 9 AM GMT