Formula 1 news, results and statistics when you need it
Austrian Grand Prix
Download the NewsOnF1.com
Mika Hakkinen running out of time
The Austrian GP is the 6th race of the 2001 (out of 17) and while there is a long way to go in the championship, it is certain that the Austrian GP will be one of Hakkinen's last chances to start a challenge for the championship. He is currently in 10th place trailing Michael Schumacher by 32 points and his team-mate David Coulthard by 24. He cannot afford to lose any more points to those two.
Power, traction control and the weather will be important factors on who will emerge as the winner in Austria. The circuit suites the engines with more power like the BMW. Whether a team has sufficiently developed their traction control will also be important and the unpredictable weather at the A-1 Ring could cause unpredictable results.
Last year it was Mika Hakkinen who won the race. He beat his team-mate to the finish with Rubens Barrichello in 3rd. Michael Schumacher didn't have a good start and was put into a spin from behind by Ricardo Zonta and retired. McLaren had the 10 points for Mika's win stripped off as the car had a broken seal on the electronics box. Hakkinen escaped penalty and kept his points.
Ferrari: They keep telling us that they don't have a problem.
They had a 50% finish rate in the last 2 races. They were even lucky to
have one car finish at Spain. Surely Ferrari will get it sorted out but as
the teams are getting closer and closer to that virtual ceiling, they are
bound to make mistakes and that is what Ferrari are experiencing.
Reliability 7.5/10 - Speed 9.0/10
Drivers: Michael Schumacher is now leading the championship by 8 points. Last year he retired on the first lap after being pushed by Zonta but that weekend wasn't his best as he was out qualified by his team-mate. He could win but the competition will be very tough.
Rubens Barrichello continues his mediocre performance with Ferrari in his second year. It seems that after his string of accidents on the track and his public outcry over Michael overtaking him in Malaysia, he is an unhappy man and on his way out of the team. A top 6 finish and a podium if he is lucky but he won't fight for it.
McLaren: They were very strong in Spain and traditionally have been very strong here (although in 99 Coulthard spun Hakkinen and then lost the race to Irvine!). Expect them to outperform Ferrari here but the threat will still be there from Williams.
Reliability 8.5/10 - Speed 9.0/10
Drivers: Mika Hakkinen must stop the gap to the leaders increasing. He has won here before but Coulthard, Michael, Ralf and Montoya will not make it easy. A podium and possibly a win.
David Coulthard continues to be the most consistent driver this year having finished all the races so far this year in the points despite having to start from the back of the grid in the last race. We didn't have a chance to see how he will shape against a charging Hakkinen. Last year in Austria he couldn't keep up, this year, if he is to be taken seriously by his team he needs to beat Hakkinen here. A top 3 place is likely.
Williams: They weren't so close to the top runners in Spain
but watch out for them here. Power is important here and the BMW engine
delivers. Traction control is what the team was missing in Spain and they
seem to have it sorted out. We could have the first 1-2 finish for
Williams since '96 but Montoya needs to get better in qualifying.
Reliability 7.5/10 - Speed 9.5/10
Drivers: Ralf Schumacher could have won in Spain (given Michael's and Mika's problems) but he spun blaming his equipment. He could win here.
Juan Pablo Montoya finished 2nd when he didn't expect but that is racing!. If he manages to qualify well he could be the surprise of the race. If he doesn't retire, a points finish is likely and a win is possible.
Jordan: They didn't appear as strong as BAR and they still have reliability issues. They need more power from the Honda engine if they need to get up there with Williams, McLaren and Ferrari. Honda is working on that.
Reliability 7.0/10 - Speed 8.0/10
Drivers: Heinz Harald Frentzen had a very short race in Spain and was out-qualified by Trulli. Last year he qualified way behind Trulli so this might not be a track that he likes. A points finish is possible if some of the front runners retire.
Jarno Trulli appears to be getting more consistent. He has finished in the points in the last 3 races. But if the front runners don't retire, he'll be somewhere between 7th and 10th!
Sauber: They are proving that running a older Ferrari engine isn't that much of a disadvantage for a mid-runner. They are 5th in the championship and continue to collect the points when the teams in front run into problems.
Reliability 8.0/10 - Speed 7.5/10
Drivers: Nick Heidfeld took his team-mate Jean Alesi out of the race last year. I don't think he'll do that again with the Sauber team. He has also been very consistent finishing in the points in 3 of the last 5 races. A top 10 finish is possible.
Kimi Raikkonen finished in 8th place at Spain. He is already out-qualifying Heidfeld, now he needs to get some race experience under his belt. A top 10 finish is possible
BAR: With Villeneuve finishing on the podium, they team must have finally had a sigh of relief, this will give them a push and could start gaining on Jordan. They have been doing a lot of testing and an upgraded Honda engine should get them closer to the top teams.
Reliability 8.0/10 - Speed 8.0/10
Drivers: Jacques Villeneuve finished 3rd in Spain as a result of several drivers dropping out. Last year he finished 4th here so while a points finish seems unlikely with the top teams running, he could do it again.
Olivier Panis couldn't keep up with Villeneuve in Spain. It will be interesting to see how he will shape against him here as Villeneuve has done well here in the past.
Benetton: Were beaten in qualifying and the race by Minardi at Spain. It doesn't seem that it will get any better until the French GP. That is what Benetton tells us!
Reliability 7.0/10 - Speed 4/10
Drivers: Giancarlo Fisichella finished 14th and 2 laps behind in Spain. Even a top 10 finish is unlikely and that is not due to his skill but his car.
Jenson Button is in the same boat as Fisichella, even a top 10 finish is unlikely unless a lot of cars ahead fail.
Arrows: They are struggling at the back with Benetton and Minardi. The AsiaTech engine is not helping. They need improvements fast otherwise they will be another Minardi.
Reliability 6.5/10 - Speed 5.0/10
Drivers: Jos Verstappen finished 12th in Spain. His car isn't good enough to get him a top 10 finish.
Enrique Bernoldi once again out-qualified his more experienced team-mate but his car failed him yet again. The car is too slow to show any potential of him and a finish inside the top 10 is unlikely.
Prost: Luciano Burti did well out-qualifying Alesi. The team however is really struggling knowing that they are running the same engines as Sauber.
Reliability 7.5/10 - Speed 6.0/10
Drivers: Jean Alesi is the only other driver beside David Coulthard to have finished every race this season. He has done it inside the top 10 as well but without scoring a single point!. It looks like it will remain this way here at Austria.
Luciano Burti did surprisingly well in his first race for the team. The car is not good enough for a points finish yet! A finish is possible but outside the top 10.
Jaguar: They claimed that they have sorted out the reliability, well 2 engine failures in a row for Irvine and one for Burti (when he was driving for them) doesn't look good. Perhaps they've given up on reliability in search for speed.
Reliability 5.5/10 - Speed 6.5/10
Drivers: Eddie Irvine has retired in the last 4 races. Luckily for him de la Rosa retired in Spain too. These two will push each other but having 4 DNF's in a row for Irvine is not good. A top 10 finish is possible if he keeps it together and Jaguar give him a reliable car.
Pedro de la Rosa didn't have a chance to show us what he could do in the Jaguar after making contact with Frentzen and both retiring. As with Irvine, Jaguar have to give him a good car to finish in the top top 10.
Minardi: Alonso managed to out-qualify both Benettons and a Jaguar in Spain. This guy will most probably be in another team next year. In the race they have beaten Benetton. They are doing very well given their budget.
Reliability 6.0/10 - Speed 5.0/10
Drivers: Fernando Alonso qualified in 18th and finished in 13th in Spain. He has potential to become a future champion and another team will be offering him a drive soon. A finish here is possible.
Tarso Marques is another one of those drivers that are not shaping. He was almost 1.5 seconds behind his team-mate in qualifying in Spain. This guy is not a rookie and has raced in Formula 1 in the past. Why do they come back ?