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2000 Monaco GP News
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The 7th race of the 2000 Formula 1 season takes place at Monte Carlo. The circuit is the slowest on the calendar. The race usually produces unexpected results due to the fact that the cars are closer together in terms of power as maximum power is rarely used on this tight and twisty track. Overtaking is almost impossible and the only way to gain position is via the pits. Also due to the tightness of the circuit expect a few accidents and if it rains, it could be anyone's race. Back in 1996 Olivier Panis won the race in a Ligier in the wet !
Ferrari and Michael Schumacher in particular have regained the momentum after a convincing win at the European GP. McLaren however will not just sit there and watch so it will be an interesting fight between the top 2 teams again. Other teams such as Williams, Benetton, BAR and Jordan could also do well here.
McLaren: Even though they didn't win at the Nurburgring they still finished 2nd and 3rd maintaining a 100% reliability record in the last 4 races and have managed to finish both cars on the podium in the last 4 races as well. So expect them to be strong here however from the previous seasons it appears that their setup is not as strong here compared to Ferrari so they could be slightly behind here. Mika Hakkinen needs to catch up with Michael Schumacher and pull away from his teammate if he wants to keep the title for a 3rd year in a row. David Coulthard wants to do exactly the same especially following the comments made by Mika Hakkinen. Let us hope that they don't take each other out though !. Expect a top 4 finish for both drivers.
Ferrari: Traditionally they have been stronger than McLaren here so I would expect them to maintain that edge this year. They have to get both cars to finish ahead of McLaren if they want to increase the gap in the constructors championship. Rubens Barrichello still seems to struggle in the car and hopefully he will manage to get a handle on it sooner rather than later. Michael Schumacher is superb here and follows in the footsteps of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in mastering this track and having a monopoly on this race, a win for him is a big possibility. Rubens Barrichello is strong here as well and we could see an interesting fight between these two as well. The second Ferrari 1-2 this season could happen here.
Williams: Despite not finishing either car at the Nurburgring, they are strong and reliable as both cars went out due to accidents rather than mechanical failures. Ralf Schumacher has the upper hand in the team and he will perform well here. Given the nature of the track, he could even challenge the top 2 teams for a top 4 position in qualifying. Jenson Button on the other hand is starting to get under a lot of pressure to perform as talk of replacing him with Juan Pablo Montoya intensifies. Monaco is a difficult track to learn and since this is Jenson's first time here, it will be very hard on him. Ralf could finish on the podium and if not in the top 6 but Jenson would probably retire.
Benetton: This is one of their few chances to score a few more points as their car seems more suited to the slower tracks. Giancarlo Fisichella will certainly perform well here and he too could be fighting for a top 4 position. Alexander Wurz on the other hand appears to have given up and his accident with Johnny Herbert at the Nurburgring was a clear sign of desperation. Monaco might be on of his last chances if he is to retain his seat. Fisichella could finish in the top 6 while Wurz could be close if he tries.
Jordan: Had a terrible weekend at the Nurburgring but were promising in testing last week. They could fight with the top teams but they could also struggle a lot. In the last few years they struggled here so I expect them to struggle this year too. Jarno Trulli is starting to put pressure in Heinz Harald Frentzen and it will be interesting to see who ends up on top this season once and if the car is sorted out. Both will struggle with the car, a top 10 finish will be a good result.
BAR: News that Jacques Villeneuve is looking around for a drive next year will not help BAR and the string of failures in the last few races has reminded us of the terribly unreliable car BAR had last year. They could surprise a few here and compete with Williams and Benetton but I doubt it. Jacques Villeneuve will again qualify well and if his car lasts he could finish in the points although a top 10 is more likely. Ricardo Zonta has been doing a few mistakes lately and that will not help him. He has not raced Formula 1here before and therefore will struggle, he will eventually retire.
Sauber: They came close yet again to scoring a point at the Nurburgring but couldn't do it. Perhaps they could do it here at Monaco. Both Mika Salo and Pedro Diniz have done well here in the past. A top 10 finish for both is possible.
Arrows: They have finally scored a point and they will be very happy about that. Given the lack of power they have, Arrows could surprise a few here and finish in the top 6. Last year they struggled though however this year they are much stronger. Pedro de la Rosa is making less mistakes than Jos Verstappen on the track and will probably do better here as well. This track is physically demanding and Jos Verstappen will struggle here because of that. A top 10 finish is very possible and even a points finish for one of the drivers.
Jaguar: Last year Rubens Barrichello qualified 5th in the Stewart here so Jaguar could be strong but we haven't seen any impressive performances from them all season !. Eddie Irvine was impressive at the Nurburgring and that could be a good sign as for Johnny Herbert, well his seat is under question and like Wurz he could be replaced before the end of the season to give Luciano Burti a chance to show what he can do under race conditions. Burti has already been impressive in testing. Once again Jaguar will be very happy if they manage a top 10 finish.
Prost: They would rather forget the Nurburgring were Nick Heidfeld was excluded because his car was underweight while Jean Alesi was 2 laps down even though he is known for his superb wet race skills but his car didn't help. I hope that they can do something here as they shouldn't have much of a disadvantage but I doubt it. If they finish they will be at least a lap down.
Minardi: They seem reliable but slow and even this type of circuit would not help them gain much so they will still be at the back of the grid unless it rains of course then we could see Marc Gene do well. I maintain though that any position higher than the last 2 will be a bonus.
The race will be a tough one with a lot of retirements.
Rarely does more than 10 cars finish this race and the same will happen again. Keep in
mind that practice starts on Thursday at Monaco as Friday is market day at the