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Monaco Grand Prix
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Can Michael equal Senna's 6 wins ?
Despite being one of the most unpredictable races of the
season, a number of drivers perform exceptionally well on this track. Michael
Schumacher is one of those drivers who have dominated the Monaco GP in recent
years. Since 1994, Michael has won every Monaco GP he participated in with the
exception of '96 (Spun), '98 (Accident) and '00 (Suspension problem). 5 wins
Monaco is a very tight track were overtaking is nearly
impossible. The attrition rate is very high mainly due to drivers committing
mistakes on the tight track. Any brush with the barrier usually means
Last week, most of the Formula 1 teams were testing at several venues. Williams, Renault, Jordan and BAR were testing at Valencia. BAR also conducted a test at Jerez. Toyota, McLaren, Sauber and Arrows were testing at Paul Ricard while Ferrari once again tested at 3 different venues, Jerez, Mugello and Fiorano.
Last year at Monaco, Michael Schumacher won the race ahead of Ruben Barrichello after their main competition (McLaren) hit problems. David Coulthard who was on Pole stalled at the formation lap and had to start from the back while Mika Hakkinen had steering problems. Both Williams cars retired with Juan Pablo Montoya on his first appearance hit the barrier early in the race while Ralf Schumacher went out with electrical problems. This handed Eddie Irvine his only podium finish of the year and maintained his impressive finishing record at Monaco..
Ferrari: They lead the Constructors' Championship
by 16 points but they have yet to appear before the FIA to explain their
actions in Austria so they could lose points or face a race ban. In Austria
they proved reliable with both their cars finishing. Given the strength of
their package, it will be surprising to see them anywhere but on the first row
at the start come Sunday.
Drivers: Michael Schumacher is the clear favourite to win his 6th in a row. It is unlikely that Rubens will be able to beat him here but if Rubens manages to get in front, don't be surprised if Ferrari apply team orders again..
Rubens Barrichello is now certain that he can't win a race if Michael is behind him. He keeps saying that he will be doing his best to win at Monaco but one has to question the motivation. A win if Michael hits problems, otherwise second.
Williams: This is definitely not a power track so Williams won't have the BMW advantage they enjoy at other tracks. Their chassis is one of their weaknesses so they could struggle here. Reliability 9.5/10 - Speed 9.0/10
Drivers: Juan Pablo Montoya would want to do well here after ending his race early last year. He has certainly matured since last year so he could do well provided that his car is up to it. Expect a top 6 finish.
Ralf Schumacher has one of the worst records at Monaco. Since '97 when he first raced here, he has never finished a race. Only last year did he retire due to a mechanical failure, all other years it was due to spins or accidents. Going by his record, he may not finish, otherwise a top 6 finish!.
McLaren: Finishing the Austrian GP with 1 car in 6th place must be the low point for McLaren so far!. Last year they were on Pole. This is not a power circuit so they might do well here. Reliability however is another thing!. Reliability 6.0/10 - Speed 8.5/10
Drivers: David Coulthard won here in 2000 and grabbed pole in 2001. the odds are against him this year. He has been fairly consistent though and for some reason his McLaren has been reasonably reliable. A top 6 finish is possible.
Kimi Raikkonen outqualified his team-mate at Sauber last year on his first appearance. Expect the same here but don't expect him to finish. He's had 5 retirements in a row, I wonder what will fail on his car next!!.
Renault: Didn't shape in Austria but given that this is not a power track and given that they have an impressive chassis, they could be a surprise and be the leading Michelin team here. Reliability 7.0/10 - Speed 8.5/10
Drivers: Jenson Button continues to impress finishing 7th in Austria and outqualifying his team-mate yet again. This could be his first podium finish.
Jarno Trulli was yet again outqualified by his team-mate and yet again hit by mechanical problems. So far he has only managed to finish once out of six attempts. He hasn't been lucky here either finishing only once since '97 when he first raced here. The odds are against him.
Sauber: They have traditionally struggled on this track. The powerful Ferrari engine they use would give them a big advantage. Reliability 8.5/10 - Speed 8.0/10
Drivers: Nick Heidfeld was lucky to escape uninjured after his lockup in Austria. He was also lucky that Takuma Sato was OK. I don't expect Sauber to be competitive here so if Heidfeld finishes he'll be outside the points.
Felipe Massa may do well in qualifying but given his lack of experience, expect an early exit for him.
Jaguar: They may do well here if they have good mechanical grip. If they don't, then I wonder what their car is good at ??. Their lack of performance is affecting the team. They went from being very reliable in the first 3 races of the season to the most unreliable in the latter 3!. Reliability 6.0/10 - Speed 5.5/10
Drivers: Eddie Irvine has one of the best finishing records at this track (6 finishes out of 7 attempts). Despite the poor performing car, he'll probably finish and possibly in the points.
Pedro de la Rosa hasn't finished in all his attempts (3 so far). Was outqualified last year by Irvine by a huge margin. Car reliability and performance won't help either. Unlikely to finish.
Minardi: Theoretically they could do better than usual here however they've had a bad record in the past few years. Since '99 they have not managed to finish either of their cars. That could be due to the inexperienced drivers they have. Reliability 6.5/10 - Speed 5.5/10
Drivers: Mark Webber could impress here. This is one of the few tracks that he could qualify higher than 21st on merit. Last year Alonso managed to put the Minardi in 18th so expect the same from Mark or even better. He could also surprise in the race and score more points for Minardi but he'll have to keep cool and enjoy some luck.
Alex Yoong had a chance to drive in the historic race at Monaco last weekend. That should give him a head start over his team-mate. Will that help him much though ? Doubt it and doubt that he'll make it to the end.
Jordan: Became the first Honda
team to score points this season (after 6 races!). It will be interesting to
see how they shape here with the Honda engine..
Drivers: Giancarlo Fisichella ended Jordan's drought this season. This is another chance for him to score points. He has a good record here as he has managed to finish 4 times in the points out of his 6 attempts. Another points finish is possible.
Takuma Sato like Yoong took part in the historic race at Monaco over the weekend. He crashed his car then and will probably do the same again!.
Toyota: Seem to have a powerful engine but not that good of a chassis. They'll probably struggle here but having finished both of their cars in the last 2 races they may have fixed their reliability issues. Reliability 7.5/10 - Speed 7.5/10
Drivers: Mika Salo has an impressive record here finishing 4 times in the points out of his 6 attempts. He finished in 5th twice in a Tyrell, in the Toyota he could finish on the podium!.
Allan McNish he will struggle here due to lack of experience and Salo's experience here will show in qualifying. He will struggle in the race and isn't likely to finish.
Arrows: Have a powerful car that
is good aerodynamically. Mechanical grip though is questionable and this is
one of the tracks were Jaguar might be better. They continue to have reliability
Drivers: Heinz Harald Frentzen could do well here although his past record indicates he is more likely to retire than to finish. If he finishes, he'll be outside the points.
Enrique Bernoldi is one of 2 drivers who have yet to finish a race this season. Will his first finish of the season be at Monaco ? Unlikely!.
BAR: In a similar situation to Jordan (minus the points). They are working on improving the car and modifying it for Monaco won't be on their agenda. They could do well with what they have though!. Reliability 6.5/10 - Speed 7.5/10
Drivers: Jacques Villeneuve has picked up his performance on this track in the last 2 years finishing 4th last year. Unless the car has good mechanical grip, it will be hard for him to finished in the points.
Olivier Panis won here in '96.but don't expect a repeat of that this year. He usually does well though and it will be good to see him finish his first race of 2002 in the points.
6 'n' Pole and see how your predictions stack up against the others.