Last year the Ferrari/Bridgestone package was so dominant at the
Nurburgring that no other team even came close. This year though it appears
that the Michelins are the dominant tyre and despite the superior Ferrari both
Williams and McLaren are able to fight them.
Having three of the four top teams on Michelins seems to be helping with
finding the optimum compounds whereas Bridgestone has only Ferrari (as a top
team) to gather data from.
The 'Ring is a relatively high downforce circuit with emphasis on good
braking and traction. The track isn't hard on tyres.
Teams were testing at Silverstone and Jerez last week. At Silverstone, Ferrari
were fastest although Williams, Sauber and Jaguar were close. At Jerez, Renault
were fastest ahead of McLaren and Toyota.
Toyota were also testing at Paul Ricard and Ferrari at Fiorano.
The new McLaren was present at Jerez. The new car won't be raced at the
Nurburgring nor Magny-Cours.
Ferrari: They are now firmly in the lead in the Constructors'
Championship 9 points ahead of McLaren. Their star driver Michael
Schumacher managed to snatch a win from Williams despite having brake and
tyre problems. They are obviously struggling with their tyres and that is
allowing Williams and McLaren and even Renault on some tracks to catch up.
Reliability 9.5/10 - Speed 9.5/10
Michael Schumacher took the lead in the Drivers' Championship for
the first time this season. He drove a superb race in Montreal and proved once
again that he still has what it takes. The Nurburgring though may prove an
even tougher race with all 3 top Michelin runners expected to be strong but
you can never discount Michael from winning.
Rubens Barrichello yet again proved that he isn't even close to the
qualities of Michael. Finishing 5th in Canada was embarrassing. Last year
he won this race, don't expect a repeat.
McLaren: They lost the lead in the Constructors' Championship
thanks to a car failure and some youthful exuberance. Given all the delays
with introducing the new car, it is embarrassing to see the old car fail.
They should be strong here though provided that Michelin provide them with
a good tyre.
Reliability 8.5/10 - Speed 9.0/10
Drivers: Kimi Raikkonen gave up his lead in the Drivers
Championship thanks to a mistake in his qualifying lap. He managed to recover
nicely and score 3 points but he could have done much better. A return to
podium finishes is possible at the 'Ring.
David Coulthard didn't really feature in Montreal before
retiring with a gearbox problem. Don't expect miracles here either!
Williams: They are on a charge and are catching McLaren fast.
They should have won in Montreal but Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo
Montoya gave it away. They'll be strong here. Reliability
9.0/10 - Speed 9.0/10
Ralf Schumacher threw away a win in Canada as he did in Monaco. He is a
consistent finisher but seems to be unable to find a winning way. A top 6 is
Juan Pablo Montoya spun in Montreal effectively losing him the chance
to win the race. That is 2 races this season that he gives away points. He
could win this race if he doesn't commit yet another mistake.
Renault: No one expected Alonso to catch Michael and the 2 Williams
towards the end of the race at Montreal. With an underpowered engine on a
low downforce track, it was certainly unexpected but Renault (with Alonso)
continue to surprise everyone. They will be strong at the 'Ring.
Reliability 9.0/10 - Speed 8.5/10
Fernando Alonso almost managed a podium finish in Canada against all
expectations. In fact he may have done it had he loaded up with a lighter fuel
load for qualifying. Expect another strong race from this young driver and a
podium is possible.
Jarno Trulli struggled in Montreal but it wasn't all his
fault. Still he appears to be outclassed by his younger team-mate and his
future at the team is starting to look shaky.
Jordan: 2 DNF's at Montreal simply highlighted the problems this
team has. Privately run teams are struggling in F1. Jaguar, BAR and Toyota
are moving ahead of them.
Reliability 6.5/10 - Speed 7.5/10
Giancarlo Fisichella happens to be in the wrong team. He needs to
drive for a better team before it is too late. Points finish will be hard.
Ralph Firman hasn't done too bad compared to his more experienced
team-mate but hasn't shown the skill that would make other teams consider him.
BAR: They suffered a double retirement in Canada. Rather
than Villeneuve getting a lucky break, his team-mate Button was also hit
with bad luck. When will they get the car sorted ?
Reliability 6.5/10 - Speed 8.0/10
Drivers: Jenson Button drove what appeared to be a strong
race before suffering problems. He needs a reliable car to prove his potential.
Jacques Villeneuve suffered yet another retirement in Canada, this
time due to brake failure. He appeared to be on the right strategy but nothing
counts if you're unable to finish. He could do well at the 'Ring. Points will
be hard though.
Sauber: They are in 7th place and just 2 points ahead of Jaguar.
The dramatic drop in their performance this year compared to last is more
a testament to how much the other mid-fielders have improved. The
reliability of the Ferrari engine though is worrying.
Reliability 6.5/10 - Speed 7.5/10
Drivers: Heinz Harald Frentzen suffered from problems early
on the race in Canada. He could do better here but points will be a matter of
being consistent, reliable and lucky!.
Nick Heidfeld seems to be fading away. We don't hear much about
him these days!.
Jaguar: They managed to finish both their cars in Montreal
(well Pizzonia retired 4 laps from the end but was classified as a
finisher!) following a double DNF in Monaco. That must be a good achievement
for the team. The car wasn't fast though.
Reliability 7.0/10 - Speed 8.0/10
Drivers: Mark Webber finished yet again in the points and
against the odds. Jaguar need to give him a good car to excel further. Points
will be difficult.
Antonio Pizzonia was once again shadowed by his team-mate.
One wonders if he'll make it till the end of the season.
Toyota: They've showed some potential by running 8th and
9th until a few laps from the end in Montreal. Still they are a long way
away from the top teams.
Reliability 7.0/10 -
Drivers: Cristiano da Matta was on track for his second
points finish of the season but was robbed of it a few laps from the end due
to a suspension problem. At least his team-mate was there to take it. The
Nurburgring isn't a familiar track to da Matta and he'll struggle a bit.
Points will be hard.
Olivier Panis finally scores a point and gets lucky for a
change. Still, he should have been ahead of his team-mate on a track that he
knows too well.
Minardi: Got more attention off the track than on it with the
public match between Stoddard and Dennis and the injection of cash into
the team by Mr. Ecclestone himself. None of which will make a dramatic turnaround
to the on track performance of the team which will once again be at the
Reliability 6.0/10 - Speed 6.5/10
Drivers: Jos Verstappen did well in Canada to finish 9th and
was pretty close to scoring the first point for the team. He'll just have to
be there and get a little lucky to score.
Justin Wilson also did well in Canada despite failing to
finish. He is proving a tough competitor for the much more experienced
Verstappen which will help him in his career.
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