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2003 French Grand Prix 
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Michelin will dominate!

It is becoming clear that the Michelin runners are gaining an advantage over the Bridgestone runners under dry weather conditions. This situation will be more apparent at Magny-Cours as the track suits both McLaren and Williams and the weather likely to be hot giving Michelin an even bigger advantage.

Last year, Michael Schumacher won the race after Kimi Raikkonen spun from oil on the track whilst leading. David Coulthard came 3rd ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya, Ralf Schumacher and Jenson Button.
McLaren and Williams were close here last year to dominant Ferrari package. This year expect Ferrari to be chasing.

As this race takes place a week after the European GP, no testing was carried out.

Ferrari: Remain at the top of both Championships thanks to the retirement of Kimi Raikkonen at the Nurburgring. They aren't looking as strong and their tyres are the main problem. They may leave France still leading the Constructors championship but the gap will be smaller.
Reliability 9.5/10 - Speed 9.0/10

Drivers: Michael Schumacher managed to salvage 4 points from the 'Ring and he would consider himself lucky given that his race was almost over when he spun. He'll do his best at Magny-Cours but the Bridgestones won't be competitive. A podium is possible but difficult even for Michael. 

Rubens Barrichello continues to struggle with the car. Finished in 3rd at the 'Ring but only after Raikkonen retired and Michael spun. France will be more difficult. Top 6 likely.

Williams: Finishing 1st and 2nd at the 'Ring will help them tremendously. This team have made a huge turnaround after being almost written off for this season. In France they will be fighting for the win against McLaren and it will be a tough fight. Reliability 9.0/10 - Speed 9.0/10

Drivers: Ralf Schumacher responded to his critics and won the race. He may have not done so had Kimi not retired but that's racing. He certainly beat his team-mate and from the way its looking his chances are good for France.

Juan Pablo Montoya appears to be struggling in both Qualifying and during parts of a race. As if he'd changed roles with Ralf!. He'll bounce back and that could be at Magny-Cours.  

McLaren: One wonders why they are delaying their new car if they end up with a double retirement using the old car!. They were on track to re-take the lead in the championship but with Kimi's blown engine and Coulthard's lack of patience they lost 2nd to Williams!.
Reliability 8.5/10 - Speed 9.0/10

Drivers: Kimi Raikkonen was impressive at the 'Ring and retired while leading through no fault of his own. Last year he nearly won at Magny-Cours. This year, he's got to be the favourite.

David Coulthard seems to have passed his use by date. With the same car as Kimi, he qualifies more than a second slower and in the race can't pass a Renault that is clearly struggling. A top 6 likely though thanks to the Michelin tyres.

Renault: They are turning out stronger as tracks were they are not expected to be strong and weaker at tracks were they are expected to be strong!. France is their home GP as well as Michelins so they should put on something special.   
Reliability 8.5/10 - Speed 8.5/10

Drivers: Fernando Alonso somehow managed to finish 4th at the 'Ring having held Coulthard at bay yet able to get past his team-mate through the pits. A top 6 is likely, with a podium finish not out of question. 

Jarno Trulli continues to struggle during the race. Alonso has proved that Trulli is a great qualifier but not so good during the race. He also seems to be getting all the bad luck. If his car lasts, a top 8 finish is likely. 

BAR: They are now 2 points ahead of Jordan and whilst the points are hard to get, expect the gap to increase but that is not because BAR are good but because Jordan are really struggling and BAR will have a better chance of picking up points when the front runners retire more than Jordan. They are on Bridgestone though which means that both Jaguar and Toyota look set to get ahead.
Reliability 7.0/10 - Speed 8.0/10

Drivers: Jenson Button had a good race at the 'Ring and scored 2 points thanks to retirements from McLaren, Renault and Toyota. The more he outraces Villeneuve the more confident he'll get and that will reflect on his results. Points only if a few cars in front retire.

Jacques Villeneuve might be joining Coulthard if he doesn't pick up his act very soon. His qualifying performances are poor and that is also affecting his racecraft. Not only he may be out of BAR by the end of the season but out of Formula 1 all together.

Jordan: They continue to struggle and their lack of testing shows. They are not shaping and are drifting towards the back alongside Minardi. Tyres are partly to blame.
Reliability 7.5/10 - Speed 7.5/10

Drivers: 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 seems to be getting on par with Fisichella which could indicate that Giancarlo has simply given up. Needs to be very lucky to get points.

Sauber: They've managed to score a point at the European GP. Their performance though indicates that they will be caught by Jaguar soon and possibly even by Toyota before the end of the season. Yet another private team that is starting to show signs of struggle.
Reliability 7.0/10 - Speed 7.5/10

Drivers: Heinz Harald Frentzen managed to finish 9th at the 'Ring and he'll be happy that he has finally finished a race after 4 retirements in a row. Points will be very hard at Magny-Cours.

Nick Heidfeld was very impressive at the 'Ring. Starting from the pit lane and finishing in the points. Perhaps because it was his home race!. A repeat at Magny-Cours isn't likely.

Jaguar: Are now on equal points with Sauber thanks to Mark Webber who has scored all their points. The car seems to be getting more reliable. They could do well in France.
Reliability 7.5/10 - Speed 8.0/10

Drivers: Mark Webber continues to impress as long as the car holds. He has now finished in the points in 4 out of the last 5 races and could finish in the points again in France.

Antonio Pizzonia isn't able to even get close to his team-mate and given the praise he's had from the likes of Sir Frank Williams, then Webber must be real good. Points finish for Antonio will be a dream. 

Toyota: Still have a long way to go to sort their cars out. They've shown potential at a number of tracks this year but suffered from reliability. At the European GP, they threw away points.
Reliability 6.5/10 - Speed 8.0/10

Drivers: Cristiano da Matta had a reasonable race at the 'Ring until his engine blew. Still he was outside the points. He'll have a hard time in France.

Olivier Panis had brake problems that caused his retirement at the 'Ring, was it all the car or was he partly to blame ?. He'll be motivated to do well at his home GP. If he is lucky that is he may score a point or two.

Minardi: We've probably saw more of Minardi this season at the 'Ring that all the other races combined thanks to Villeneuve who was passing them, spinning and trying to pass them again. Stoddart must be kicking himself for switching to Bridgestones. On Michelins he may have managed to challenge some of the Bridgestone runners!.
Reliability 7.0/10 - Speed 6.5/10

Drivers: Jos Verstappen only managed 14th and was behind his younger team-mate at the European GP. With his experience he should have been ahead.

Justin Wilson is proving to be strong despite the lack of points. Being close to Verstappen is a clear indication that he is good. That won't help him score points though, he needs a better car!. 

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