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2000 Malaysian GP News
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Having won the Drivers' title at the last race in Japan, Ferrari need just 3 points to win the Constructors' title here in Malaysia regardless of where McLaren finishes. In fact if McLaren don't finish first and second or first and third, Ferrari wins the championship even if they don't score any points!.
So Ferrari are more or less double World Champions for the 2000 season and only reliability and accidents will stop them from achieving this result.
Malaysia will witness a few other small fights down the ranks. Fourth place in the Constructors' championship is up for grabs as Benetton are struggling while BAR and Jordan are moving rapidly. BAR are two points behind Benetton and they need to pass them in the points to take 4th place. Jordan are another point behind and can also move into 4th. Ironically, Benetton can rely on the top 2 teams to take the first 4 spots which will almost ensure that Benetton retains 4th (unless BAR finishes 5th and 6th)
Sauber and Arrows are separated by a single point and Jaguar are 3 points behind. Scoring a point for any of these three teams is next to impossible!
Ferrari: They have won the Drivers' World Title and the Constructor's World Title is within easy reach. They would want to finish the season on a high and demoralise McLaren as much as they can. If Schumacher and Barrichello are leading the race expect Schumacher to let Barrichello win.
McLaren: They have the almost impossible task of winning the Constructor's title. It is almost impossible as not only will they have to finish 1st and 2nd (or 1st and 3rd) but Ferrari will have to finish 4th or less!. Having just lost the Drivers' Title at the last race won't help either.
Williams: They have virtually secured 3rd place in the Constructor's battle. The only way that Benetton can take 3rd place is by finishing 1st and 2nd and Williams not to finish but who are we kidding here. Benetton will be delighted to have one car in the points!. Jenson Button wants to leave Williams on a high and he has shown that he is a star of the future. Ralf Schumacher would want to prove that he has the upper hand after being outqualified and outraced by Button at Suzuka.
Benetton: Clinging on to 4th place simply because it is too hard for their competition to gain points. The team admits that they are not doing any development on this year's car and are concentrating on next year. Even if they don't score any points here which is very likely, they are still likely to retain 4th place.
BAR: The official target for BAR is 5th in
the Constructors' championship after finishing last in their debut season. They are very
close to snatching 4th from Benetton but with the top 2 teams looking set to take the top
4 places, it does not look that easy. Jacques Villeneuve has had a number of 4th place
finishes this season but he'll need a podium finish to help ensure BAR move into 4th.
Jordan: A single point behind BAR and can retake 5th or even 4th if their cars last. Jordan had a very bad season mainly due to reliability. Last year they finished 3rd, this year they are currently 6th!. In Japan, Frentzen once again retired while Trulli had a bad race finishing in 13th place. Things are not looking very good for Jordan.
Arrows: Currently in 7th with 7 points, they are likely to retain their position unless Sauber come up with something special and manage to finish in the points. de la Rosa and Verstappen are closely matched. They struggled in Japan and while this track is different, it probably won't suite the Arrows either. A top 10 finish is likely.
Sauber: They finished 10th and 11th in Japan, they need 2 points to pass Arrows as if they tie, Arrows will still retain 7th based on a better finishing position. It will be very hard for them to achieve that. This will be Mika Salo's last race for the team and we won't see him on the grid next year as he will be testing the Toyota of 2002.
Jaguar: They performed well in Japan just missing out on points, they could do well here but scoring the 3 points needed to move ahead of Sauber would not be easy. It appears that Bobby Rahal is starting to have an impact despite not moving in yet!.
Prost: It looks like we will have 2 teams this year without a point. Prost had high hopes at the start of the season with talk of fighting with top teams. Well things didn't work out and Prost was fighting with Minardi. Wet weather could give Jean Alesi a chance to score points but even then, his car might still not last. Next year with the Ferrari engines, thinks are looking better.
Minardi: They are in the same boat as Prost.