The 2002 Austrian Grand Prix will always be remembered as the race Rubens
Barrichello won but didn't win. Rubens Barrichello led from the start until
the last corner when he was ordered to give way to Michael Schumacher. On the
podium and the press conference that followed, it was Rubens who took the
winners place. The FIA reprimanded Ferrari and their drivers for their actions
but not for applying team orders. However, the new rules applied from this
season onwards have banned team orders so lets hope the teams adhere to that
This year's race at the A1-Ring is expected to be the last as the FIA is
expected to drop this race from next season due to new anti-tobacco
The track is a medium downforce track that is demanding on engines with full
engine load applied for 70% of the lap. The track isn't hard on tyres but
doesn't provide much grip.
All teams were testing last week except for Jordan and Minardi. At Paul
Ricard, 7 teams were testing with Williams topping the times on each day.
Ferrari were testing at Monza, Mugello and Fiorano.
McLaren: Their lead in the championship has shrunk to just 3
points following their double DNF at Barcelona and Ferrari scoring 16
points. They are likely to surrender their lead to Ferrari here as they
are not expected to match the Ferrari or the BMW Williams. Reliability 9.5/10 - Speed 9.0/10
Drivers: Kimi Raikkonen continues to lead the championship but
only 4 points ahead of Michael Schumacher. His mistake in Qualifying in Spain
ended up costing him the race as well. He'll bounce back but it will be hard
for him challenge at the A1-Ring. A top 6 finish is expected though.
David Coulthard had a tough race in Spain getting involved in
2 incidents. The one with Trulli maybe a 50/50 but the one with Button wasn't
his fault. He didn't really have a race as he had to pit after his incident
with Trulli and that ruined his race. Like Kimi he's expected to finish in the
Ferrari: The new car made its debut in Spain and it came 1st and
3rd but it didn't appear that much faster than its predecessor. The
Bridgestone tyres though weren't a match for the Michelins and that could
be the reason behind the Ferrari's lack of pace. The A1-Ring isn't hard on
tyres so expect the Bridgestones to be a match to the Michelins.
Reliability 9.0/10 - Speed 9.5/10
Drivers: Michael Schumacher won in Spain but last year he needed
the team to make the call for Barrichello to let him through. This is one of
the tracks that Barrichello seems able to better Michael and since team orders
are banned this year, on even terms Michael may settle for second.
Rubens Barrichello has a real chance of winning on this track as he
has shown in the past that he can do better lap times than Michael.
Provided that he doesn't get unlucky, expect a win from the Brazilian.
Renault: They expected a good result in Spain and they achieved it.
Had Trulli not retired on the first lap they may have even finished both
their cars on the podium. At the A1-Ring they will struggle as they lack
power. Once again we'll see them fall behind on the straight yet going
into the corners they'll catch and possibly even pass the car ahead.
Reliability 9.5/10 - Speed 8.5/10
Drivers: Fernando Alonso is now 3rd in the Championship and has
scored in every race so far with 3 on the podium (Ralf Schumacher is the
only other driver to finish in the points every race so far). His
performance at his home track was superb and expect him to continue his
charge. On this track though, it will be very hard for him to make it past
the Ferrari and Williams. Top 6 likely.
Jarno Trulli retired in Spain and that isn't good for him.
With Alonso almost 3 times his points tally, he needs to deliver. He won't
score that many points here though!
Williams: They had serious problems at Barcelona. One can
somewhat understand them being behind Ferrari but also behind Renault
cannot be acceptable. They'll be strong here thanks to their engine but
they still need to sort out their chassis fast. Reliability
9/10 - Speed 8.5/10
Ralf Schumacher seems to be consistent as he has finished all the races
so far in the points yet he doesn't seem to be fast. He has a chance to
prove that he is both at the A1-Ring. A podium finish is possible.
Juan Pablo Montoya managed to finish 4th in Spain but over a minute
behind. The circuit will suit the Williams but it is unlikely that they'll
match the Ferraris. A podium is possible.
Jordan: They managed to score a point in Spain against the odds
thanks to both McLaren falling out as well as Trulli to give a few cars
outside the top 4 teams a chance to score points. It will be hard for them
to score again in Austria. Reliability 6.0/10 - Speed 7.5/10
Drivers: Giancarlo Fisichella suffered from another engine failure
in Spain. He'll try again in Austria but his chances aren't great!
Ralph Firman managed to score a point in Spain and that will be good
for him. It that he is familiar with. This one isn't and so he'll struggle.
Sauber: The new chassis isn't working. Running a 2002 spec Ferrari
engine should put that car consistently in the points but they aren't so
it must be the chassis!. On a track were power matters they could do
better. Reliability 7.5/10 - Speed 8.0/10
Drivers: Heinz Harald Frentzen suffered from a suspension
failure in Spain, something that isn't expected from Sauber. He could
score a point or two here thanks for the Ferrari power.
Nick Heidfeld may also score a point or two if they get the
BAR: Continue to struggle with reliability problems. Their
package appears to be one of the best outside the top 4 teams but don't
seem able to capitalise on that.
Reliability 7.0/10 - Speed 8.0/10
Drivers: Jacques Villeneuve yet again retires from a race with
a car problem. That is 3 out of 5 races so far. Points possible providing
reliability and a car or two in front drop out.
Jenson Button ruined his race in Spain by a silly move on David
Coulthard that cost him an extra pit stop and put him out of the points. He
cannot afford to make such mistakes as he is on equal points with his
team-mate yet has not had a car failure so far and given the reliability of
BAR he cannot count on that continuing.
Toyota: They've opened their scoresheet at Spain and showed
very good form with Cristiano da Matta. If they can sort out the reliability,
they'll continue scoring points
Reliability 7.5/10 -
Drivers: Cristiano da Matta drove a very good race in Spain
which is one of the few tracks that he is familiar with. The A1-Ring will be
new to him but being able to score the first points for Toyota this season
will give him a much needed boost. Points possible if the teams ahead drop
Olivier Panis had his 4th retirement of the season so far. He
is simply unlucky. If his car is reliable he may be able to score points.
Jaguar: They've finally managed to score after sorting out the
reliability. They have a good package which could see them challenge
Toyota and BAR but they need the reliability.
Reliability 6.5/10 - Speed 7.5/10
Drivers: Mark Webber scored his first points this season and
the first for Jaguar as well. He'll fight for a point of two if given a
Antonio Pizzonia yet again failed to start a race. It isn't
clear if the problem was car related or driver related or both. The rumours of
him being replace by Wurz faded so it appears that he'll be given a chance.
Don't expect miracles from him though!
Minardi: Managed to finish both their cars in Spain which is a
good sign but the car isn't fast and it will be nearly impossible for them
to score points
Reliability 7.0/10 - Speed 6.5/10
Drivers: Jos Verstappen must be having a tough time driving in
a car and knowing that points will be next to impossible to score.
Justin Wilson showed some good racing in Spain and needs to continue
to impress to make a name for himself in Formula 1.
Pole and see how your predictions stack up against the others.
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