Formula 1 Italian
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Here is a team by team review:
Ferrari: Didn't dominate at Spa as their
Bridgestone tyres weren't a match for the Michelins. Finishing 2nd and 3rd
was due more to the attrition rate rather than their performance. If the
Bridgestones struggle here again, expect a difficult race for Ferrari but
that is unlikely.
Drivers: Michael Schumacher clinched his 7th World Championship at Spa but didn't appear in top form. Now that the Championship is won, will his performance be affected ?. He has a good chance of winning but expect a tough fight from Rubens, Kimi, Juan Pablo, Jenson and Fernando.
Rubens Barrichello didn't have a good race at Spa but that was mainly due to an ambitious start by Mark Webber. Still somehow Rubens managed to finish 3rd despite having to replace his rear wing. Expect a strong showing from Rubens here now that the Championship battle is over.
Renault: Looked in a winning position at Spa until Fernando
lost his engine and Trulli lost his confidence in the car. They'll be
strong here provided their reliability holds.
Drivers: Jarno Trulli had a bad race at Spa. How could one start from Pole, lead until the first pit stop but end up 9th at the end of the race ? The team didn't find anything wrong with the car and so Trulli just didn't feel motivated enough. I am sure Briatore's patience is running thin.
Fernando Alonso was in a race winning position when he spun out of the race due to an oil leak from his engine. Watch out for him here, last year he finished 8th despite starting from the back and having to replace his front wing.
BAR: Lost a great chance to catch Renault in the
Championship. Sato went out at the start of the race while Button retired
when his tyre failed. They should be strong here and the Honda has been
Drivers: Jenson Button remains in 3rd in the Championship and will probably remain there. He continues to perform well despite the Williams move saga. Expect a podium finish if his engine lasts.
Takuma Sato will give Jenson a tough fight on this track. Sato seems to perform better on the faster tracks and this is one of them.
Williams: Are now under serious threat from
McLaren for 4th position in the Championship and the way McLaren and Kimi
are going, expect Williams to lose 4th.
Drivers: Juan Pablo Montoya retired with a blown tyre at Spa after entertaining us with a few bold moves. He'll be strong here and a podium is possible.
Antonio Pizzonia was on track for a podium place at Spa when he lost drive. His drive at Spa was the most impressive so far. Expect him to be very close to Montoya here.
McLaren: Were impressive at Spa and managed to win the race.
They'll be very motivated to achieve a similar result here and they could
Drivers: Kimi Raikkonen has now moved ahead of David Coulthard in the Championship following his win at Spa. He'll be fighting for a podium place again this weekend.
David Coulthard finished 7th at Spa despite the many problems he suffered. Still he never looked like challenging for a podium place. Expect more of the same.
Sauber: A 4th and 5th place finishes at Spa would have been a dream
to the Sauber team but they managed it. They'll be strong here too thanks
to the Ferrari power but don't expect a double finish in the points.
Drivers: Giancarlo Fisichella finished 5th at Spa and behind his team-mate after struggling a bit during the race. He should be strong here with a small chance of scoring a point or two.
Felipe Massa finished 4th despite having to replace his rear wing. An excellent result for the Brazilian that will surely give him a boost going into this race. Still points will be difficult.
Jaguar: Move ahead of the Toyota team in the Championship thanks to
the 6th place finish by Klien. It will be a very tough fight between
Jaguar and Toyota for 7th in the Championship for the rest of the
Drivers: Mark Webber retired from the Belgian Grand Prix and caused a number of problems for the other drivers due to his ambitious start. He'll be cautious at Monza. Points will be difficult.
Christian Klien enjoyed his best ever result at Spa after scoring his first ever points. This kid is making a name for himself and could move on to better things in the future. At Monza it will be hard for him to score any points.
Toyota: Were looking good until Zonta suffered a
blown engine. Something we haven't seen in a long time. They will be
strong at Monza and they could score a point or two if their engines last.
Drivers: Olivier Panis is more the David Coulthard type. He is more likely to finish a race than his team-mate but won't push the car as hard. Panis landed in the points at Spa due to attrition including his own team-mate who was on track for a 4th place finish before his engine blew.
Ricardo Zonta impressed at Spa and must be in serious contention
for the second seat at Toyota alongside Ralf Schumacher next year especially
given the dismal performance of Jarno Trulli who is rumoured to be on his way
Jordan: They couldn't capitalise on the high attrition rate in
Spa and Heidfeld was 4 laps down in the end after having all sorts of
problems. They are seriously struggling financially and need to sort out
their problems if they are to move up again.
Drivers: Nick Heidfeld didn't do well at Spa as he had to pit for a front wing. He struggled with his car after that and ended up the last of the finishers. He won't have a much better race at Monza.
Giorgio Pantano didn't last a lap at Spa but that wasn't entirely his fault. He'll struggle here.
Minardi: They should signs of challenging Jordan at
Spa but that is due more to the fact that Jordan were struggling. They'll
again make up the end of the field.
Drivers: Zsolt Baumgartner was unlucky to retire when Jenson Button crashed into him as a result of his tyre failure. He'll be hoping for a better fortune. A top 10 finish is unlikely though.
Gianmaria Bruni crashed out of the race on the first lap at Spa as a result of Sato's crash. Will need a strong result here to keep his chances of racing in Formula 1 next year.
Pole and see how your predictions stack up against the others.