Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard are the only current F1 drivers
who've won at Monaco and given the unpredictability of this race as well as
the nature of this track which isn't a power track and we could see a new
winner this year but we still cannot discount either Michael Schumacher nor
David Coulthard cause the Monaco track also needs a cool head.
With the new Qualifying rules, the starting grid is going to be interesting
as the teams develop their pit stop strategies for this race. The track is
impossible to overtake on unless the driver in front makes a mistake and so
the teams wouldn't want to risk putting their drivers on a heavy fuel load and
get stuck for a big number of laps behind a slower car. At the same time
though, they wouldn't want to have a very light fuel load and end up having to
pit a few laps into the race and rejoin at the back of the grid. It will be
The McLaren team made the long awaited debut of their MP4-18 last week with
Alexander Wurz giving it a shakedown at the Paul Ricard track. Williams,
Renault and Toyota were also present. BAR and Sauber were testing at Valencia
while Ferrari were at their private track at Fiorano.
Ferrari: They have now taken the lead in the Constructors Championship
following a 1-3 finish in Austria. They now lead McLaren by 1
It is hard for Ferrari (or any other team for that matter) to dominate in
Monaco. Last year despite the Ferrari dominating the race before (and
after) Monaco, they qualified in 3rd and finished 3rd. This year they may
do better but it won't be a walk in the park.
Reliability 9.0/10 - Speed 9.5/10
Michael Schumacher won in Austria after suffering a setback in the
pits but recovered superbly. Michael never gives up as long as there is a
chance and he did exactly that in Austria. Michael must be the favourite to
win here but he'll have some serious competition from the McLaren pair as well
as the Renaults.
Rubens Barrichello didn't impress in Austria where he should have.
Don't expect him to match Michael in Monaco. A top 6 finish is likely but
a podium will be hard.
McLaren: The pressure is on to get the new car sorted out and go
racing with it. Ferrari might be only 1 point ahead but the longer they
keep racing the old car the more likely the gap to Ferrari will increase.
In Monaco though, they won't be disadvantaged much, in fact they could be
up there with Ferrari.
Reliability 9.0/10 - Speed 9.0/10
Drivers: Kimi Raikkonen maintains the lead in the Drivers'
Championship by 2 points. Last year he was forced out by Barrichello but
wasn't a match to Coulthard. This year with a win in the bag and 5 podium
finishes he may challenge. He needs to keep his cool though as crashing in
Monaco is too easy!. A podium is possible, a win will be difficult.
David Coulthard is struggling to keep up with Kimi but in
Monaco he should be on top. If he isn't, then he shouldn't be racing with
McLaren. Coulthard will be the main challenger to Michael and if he gets a
good grid position he can win this race.
Renault: They are still in 3rd place despite scoring just one point
in Austria. Alonso was unlucky not to finish (and score points) due to his
engine failure but Renault weren't expecting a strong result in Austria
due to their lack of power. In Monaco it is a completely different story,
they've shown how strong they can be on medium speed tracks and they'll be
even stronger on slow tracks like Monaco. The car is very efficient so
they'll be qualifying on a lighter fuel load than the rest but will still
be able to adopt a similar stop strategy.
The team though may be a bit ambitious with their 1-2 finish expectation.
Reliability 9.0/10 - Speed 8.5/10
Fernando Alonso has dropped to 4th in the Drivers' Championship, 1 point
behind Rubens Barrichello. He has done well in the past here (In F1 and lower formulae's)
so expect him to be strong. He could start from Pole and win.
Jarno Trulli is struggling to keep up with Alonso so far
this season but in Monaco he should be a match or more. Like Alonso, he'll
be strong in qualifying and could win the race.
Williams: For the second time this season the miss a winning opportunity.
In Melbourne Montoya spun while leading while in Austria Montoya retired
with a blown engine while leading. They are unlikely to be strong here as
they have chassis problems and their superior power won't help them as
they won't be needing it. Reliability 8.5/10 - Speed 8.5/10
Ralf Schumacher continues to finish in the points (every race so far
this season) while the others drop out but he hasn't been impressive so in
Monaco the same applies, he may score some good points but only after
those in front drop out.
Juan Pablo Montoya has now lost 2 potential wins this season, one due
to his own mistake and the other due to an engine problem. Last year he
was strong here and this year he will be strong (compared to his
team-mate) but the car isn't good enough for a win.
Jordan: Their only chance here is for a high attrition rate with
the cars ahead. Otherwise, despite Fisichella's good record here, they
don't have a good chance. Reliability 6.0/10 - Speed 7.5/10
Giancarlo Fisichella apart from winning in Brazil under odd circumstances,
he has yet to cross the finish line. He has been classified in 2 races but
in both those his car stopped before the end. Monaco will be tough for him
to do well given the car unless it rains of course then he could even win
Ralph Firman will struggle here. This is the most difficult track to
race on and for a rookie, they'll be glad if they can finish.
BAR: They did well in Austria with Jenson Button. They seem
to have a reasonable chassis and Honda is starting to deliver on power.
They could do well in Monaco but their drivers could be the weak point.
Reliability 7.0/10 - Speed 8.0/10
Drivers: Jenson Button managed to stay out of trouble and
finish 4th in Austria as a number of top team drivers struggled. Last year he
crashed out in Monaco while trying an overtaking move on Panis so perhaps he
has learned from that. A top 8 is possible provided he stays on the track.
Jacques Villeneuve appears to be getting all the technical
problems on his car. That won't help his motivation. He hasn't done well in
the past in Monaco although he managed 4th in the BAR in '01. Like Button he
could finish in the points as long as his car lasts.
Sauber: They've dropped to 7th in the Constructors' Championship.
Their chassis isn't too good and the Ferrari power won't help them here. A
double DNF in Austria is not a good sign for the ultra-reliable Sauber
team. Points will be hard!. Reliability 7.0/10 - Speed 8.0/10
Drivers: Heinz Harald Frentzen could do well here but the car
won't help. Very high attrition rate at the front will be the only way to
Nick Heidfeld in the same boat as Frentzen. He needs a good car.
Jaguar: Another improvement from the team in Austria. They are
clearly improving their reliability. They could be a surprise here in
Monaco particularly with Mark Webber.
Reliability 7.0/10 - Speed 8.0/10
Drivers: Mark Webber has scored 4 points so far this season
and could score even more in Monaco. Expect a strong race from him with a
podium finish a possibility.
Antonio Pizzonia preformed better than 'usual' in Austria
although he was still out-classed by his team-mate. Still he should get a
confidence boost by finishing 9th. Monaco won't be new to him so he should be
close to Webber. That is if he is good as those who know him tell us!
Toyota: After a good race in Spain they went backwards in
Austria. They could do well here with Panis provided his luck turns!
Reliability 7.0/10 -
Drivers: Cristiano da Matta finished in 10th in Austria but
wasn't competitive. He'll struggle on this track and will be happy to finish.
Olivier Panis needs some good luck. If he gets that then he
might have a chance of scoring a point.
Minardi: This is one of the few tracks were Minardi has a chance at
mixing it with a few teams and they could just manage to finish a car in
the top 8.
Reliability 6.5/10 - Speed 6.5/10
Drivers: Jos Verstappen will be hoping to show his skill on
this track. Rain will help him tremendously.
Justin Wilson as a rookie, he'll be happy to finish.
Pole and see how your predictions stack up against the others.
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