Formula 1 news, results and statistics when you need it
Belgian Grand Prix
Download the NewsOnF1.com
Another Ferrari domination ?
With Ferrari clinching the Constructors' title at Hungary,
their next aim is to secure second place in the Drivers' championship to
Rubens Barrichello. Once that is achieved, they will aim at giving Michael his
10th win of the season (a new record). With just 4 races to go, those who are
hoping to see a real race between the 2 Ferrari team-mates would be disappointed.
At Spa, Ferrari and Williams should be strong and provided the weather is nice and warm, the 2 Williams could qualify ahead of the 2 Ferraris however that situation will probably be reversed during the race as the Ferrari-Bridgestone package is stronger in race trim.
It is hard to read much from last year's results. In qualifying Montoya and Ralf started from the front row in a mixed weather session that affected the results and the race was a incident filled and was actually restarted 6 laps into the race. At the original start Montoya stalled and had to start the race from the back while at the second start, Ralf Schumacher had problems and was relegated to the back. Michael Schumacher won the race from David Coulthard and Giancarlo Fisichella.
There was no major testing last week. A number of teams will give their cars a shakedown at their local tracks before heading to the Spa track.
Ferrari: Jean Todt described their win in
Hungary as the easiest. They may dominate here again but it certainly won't be
Drivers: Michael Schumacher was beaten by
his team-mate Rubens Barrichello in Qualifying and the race but it appeared
that he settled for second from the start as to help Rubens maximise his
points. Hungary was a difficult track to overtake on so he would have
struggled to pass Barrichello anyway but it would have been good to watch!.
Rubens Barrichello drove a perfect race in Hungary and will try to do the same here. The Williams cars will be closer and might even qualify ahead of the Ferraris. It won't be so easy then for Rubens to win but a podium finish is likely.
Williams: Had a bad weekend at
Hungary and couldn't get their car set-up right for the track. They should be
much stronger here and expect a front row Williams. In the race though,
Ferrari will have an advantage and Williams will have to fight very hard for
Drivers: Ralf Schumacher silenced his critics by his performance in Hungary. He out-qualified and out raced his team-mate and was the only driver to stay in touch with the Ferraris. He could do well here but expect Montoya to be ahead of him. A podium finish is possible.
Juan Pablo Montoya for the second race in a row struggles in qualifying and given his past qualifying performances is uncharacteristic of him. This is a track that suits his style and should be able to bounce back and probably start from Pole. He has yet to convert a Pole to a Win this season so this could be his chance.
McLaren: They were very disappointing
in qualifying trim in Hungary but managed to bounce back during the race.
Starting from 10th and 11th, they did well to finish in 4th and 5th. They
should do better in Qualifying here but will be a fair way behind Ferrari and
Williams. In the race, they will be closer to Williams as they seem to handle
their tyres better.
Drivers: David Coulthard managed to qualify just ahead of his team-mate but his team-mate got him at the start and never looked back. Expect a similar result here. A points finish is likely.
Kimi Raikkonen drove a fantastic race in Hungary and made a rare overtaking move on Montoya. If his tyres help him here, he'll be close to the Williams. A points finish is likely.
Renault: Yet again they appear to
struggle in race trim. After qualifying 6th and 9th, Trulli only managed 8th
while Button spun out. Both drivers complaining of loss of grip.
Drivers: Jenson Button will again try his best to do well here but he won't be a match for Trulli in qualifying. Given that they seem to struggle in race trim, don't expect them to finish in the points!.
Jarno Trulli equalled his best qualifying position this season in Hungary and will try to even better than. It is possible that he mixes it with the McLarens for the 3rd row of the grid. In the race, he'll be lucky to finish in the points though.
Sauber: Whilst they seem to be performing better than
Renault in race trim, that seems to be primarily related to tyre performance.
The 2 Honda runners who also run on Bridgestone tyres have closed the gap to
Sauber and on certain circuits will out perform them. They are reliable though
and if enough cars in front retire then they'll score a point or two.
Drivers: Nick Heidfeld was out-qualified and
out-raced by his rookie team-mate at Hungary yet he will remain with the team
while Massa has been offered a test role for next year. This seems unfair but
Heidfeld is consistent and tends to keep the car on the track more often that
his team-mate. Add to that his experience and it becomes an obvious decision.
Felipe Massa will be eager to impress here as he
needs to secure a drive from next year. He has raw talent but needs to mature
a bit. It will be a shame if we don't see him driving next year.
Jordan: They will be using
customer Ford (Cosworth) engines next year so don't expect Honda to continue
giving them the latest spec engines to try out. This will affect their
performance however Fisichella enjoys racing here and might pull out a
Drivers: Giancarlo Fisichella drove a great race in Hungary to finish 6th. He finished on the podium here last year in the Benetton so expect another strong performance from him in both Qualifying and the Race. A top 10 finish is likely, points are possible.
Takuma Sato seems to be improving slowly
and that is unlikely to be enough for Eddie Jordan to retain him for next
year. Given that Honda have dropped Jordan, Eddie won't be pressured to sign
him for next year.
BAR: Had a bad race in Hungary but
should do better here. They'll be a lot closer to the Jordans and particularly
Fisichella. Depending on how the Bridgestone tyre performs compared to the
Michelin, they could be behind the top 3 teams. Their reliability is hurting
Drivers: Jacques Villeneuve had a nightmare of a race in Hungary. His contractual situation won't help either but he enjoys this track so expect him to be in the top 10 in qualifying and if his car lasts he could end up in the points depending on how many cars in front retire.
Olivier Panis has been out-qualifying Villeneuve on a regular basis but in the races he seems to struggle. Expect more of the same here. A top 10 finish is likely if his car lasts.
Jaguar: They will struggle here
again. Rumours that they are available for sale won't help. They are just
lucky that Arrows are struggling so a direct comparison cannot be made. They
will qualify and race towards the back of the grid.
Drivers: Eddie Irvine has had 6 retirements
on a row, 9 retirements out of the last 10 races and only 3 finishes this
season. He isn't a happy man and will be leaving the team at the end of the
season no doubt.
Pedro de la Rosa may have finish more races
than his team-mate but his results aren't impressive. With no points so far
this season, Jaguar will be looking at his position too (when they get the
time to do that!).
Minardi: On this kind of track,
Minardi will reserve the last row of the gird. Unless someone gets relegated
to the back due to an infringement they don't have the power to match even
Jaguar. Of course it may rain like it did last year and we could see a Minardi
closer to the front than anytime before this season!.
Drivers: Mark Webber was mixing it with the Toyotas and Jaguars in the race in Hungary but had a few problems with his drink bottle and lost some time in the pits. It will be very hard to be close to any of the other teams here. A finish outside the top 10 is likely.
Anthony Davidson did a fantastic job in qualifying close to Mark Webber in a car that he has never driven before. Expect him to be even closer this time around. This will be his second chance to give the teams a positive impression about him. Regardless though, a finish outside the top 10 is the likely outcome.
Toyota: Their performance this season has been so
unpredictable so it is hard to see how they will do here. They have a powerful
engine and if they get their set-up right they could be in the top 10 but that
is the best case scenario.
Drivers: Mika Salo qualified just ahead of his team-mate and the 2 Minardi's in Hungary as he struggled with his car. Should do better here but it all depends on their package. A top 10 finish is unlikely though.
Allan McNish is starting to get closer to his team-mate and he needs to continue doing that if he is to remain with the team next year. A finish outside the top 10 is likely if he doesn't go off the track.
Arrows: They continue to be in a
deep financial crisis and the longer it takes, the more likely the team will
end up in liquidation. It will be another sad moment in the history for
Formula 1 if that happens.
6 'n' Pole and see how your predictions stack up against the others.