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2000 German GP News
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Michael Schumacher's lead in the championship has shrunk to just six points after he retired in the last 2 races. Both Schumacher and Ferrari are under pressure to perform here and if they don't win it will be very hard to catch McLaren. Not mathematically but psychologically.
Last year McLaren appeared dominant in qualifying and in the race but it was Ferrari who finished first and second after capitalising on McLaren's misfortunes. David Coulthard only managed 5th after spending some time in the pits replacing his front wing following an aggressive move on Salo. Hakkinen first lost the lead in the pits after a refuelling problem and when he started to catch the leaders his left rear tyre disintegrated forcing him to crash and retire.
While anything can happen in Formula 1, I doubt that Ferrari can count on these misfortunes to happen again this year. Coulthard will not take the risks he used to take and Hakkinen appears to be strong again.
Ferrari: They are under a lot of pressure as they must win here to stop McLaren increasing the gap. Comparing the two cars here, McLaren appear to have an advantage and Ferrari will have to come up with a brilliant strategy and Schumacher with a brilliant drive to beat McLaren. It may also require Rubens Barrichello trying to hold up both McLaren's but that is if he can get ahead of them!!. Reliability holding, both cars should finish in the top 4.
McLaren: An amazing reliability record especially for Coulthard who has managed to finish every race this season except the first one. I expect that to continue as they are not under a lot of pressure to force them to take risks.
Mika Hakkinen appears to have found that magic touch again
and David Coulthard is confident. With no team orders, it is certainly exciting to watch
the pair fighting each other and let's hope that they don't take each other out.
Williams: They scored 2 points in Austria
and regained 3rd spot in the constructor's championship without even expecting it.
Qualifying 18th and 19th must have been a nightmare for them. They should do better here
as the Williams chassis has been performing better on low-downforce circuits in the past
but there is a question mark on their engines as this circuit is tough on engines. They
will have to fight hard with the ever improving BAR and Jordan with their new aero
package. It will be close.
Benetton: At Austria, Fisichella didn't have a chance as he was forced out on the first lap. Wurz didn't perform and that was expected. Hockenheim is a power circuit and Benetton will struggle here. Fisichella will do his best and Wurz will have yet another bad weekend.
BAR: The are now 5th in the championship and that is their specified target this year but with yet another specification Honda engine being introduced here and given Villeneuve's performance so far, third position is not far away. They will fight with Williams and Jordan but they appear to have the upper hand. Ricardo Zonta was competitive in Austria and was matching Villeneuve all weekend. He needs to do that here as well if he wants to remain in the team. Both cars could finish in the top 6.
Jordan: Reliability is the key here. A new aero package will be used and Jordan are confident of a performance boost but what about reliability ?. Not so sure. Frentzen qualified second last year but this year it will be much harder. Trulli is matching Frentzen so racing each other will be interesting.
Sauber: Both drivers finished a lap down in Austria (again!) so they are reliable but not fast enough. At Austria, Salo was fighting with the Williams of Jenson Button but I doubt a repeat of that here. They will be running alongside Arrows and Jaguar. A top 10 finish for both is possible.
Jaguar: They appear to have sorted most of the reliability problems but there is no speed. Eddie Irvine will race here after missing Austria due to abdominal pain and will try his best. He will be lucky to finish in the points. Johnny Herbert on the the hand will be lucky to finish a race!
Arrows: Once again both cars retired in
Austria were they could have scored points when Pedro de la Rosa was running 3rd for a
number of laps.
Prost: The problems the team have both on and off the track are so huge that one car finishing the race will be surprising. The 2 drivers took each other out in Austria, Peugeot and Prost are not happy with each other and it seems that Alain Prost is about to give up and sell the team. This is not a good season for Prost.
Minardi: Marc Gene finished a superb 8th in Austria and he tried his best to make it to the points but knowing that he finished ahead of a Sauber, a Jaguar and a Benetton must have been pleasing. Once again any position higher than the last 2 will be a bonus.
This race is tough on engines, last year 10 cars finished
the race. Practice starts on Friday at 11 AM local time. That is 9 AM GMT