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2004 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix
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 Track Layout (from the FIA)


Indy is always a challenge !

It was encouraging in Canada to see the competition closing in on Ferrari. It may be too late for the 2 championships but at least we'll have good races for the second half of the season.
BAR and Renault are definitely catching up and had the 2 Renaults been reliable, they would have challenged Ferrari. It is also good to see Williams doing better and McLaren actually finishing both cars!

The Indianapolis track is a challenge, it combines a very fast oval section with the slow and twisty infield section. This poses a dilemma to the teams as they struggle to find a compromise setup between the two and this usually springs up a few surprises during the event!

Here is a team by team review:

Ferrari: Finished 1 and 2 in Montreal but it wasn't that easy and they lucked out due to the retirement of both Renaults and the exclusion of both Williams. It won't be easy for them here either. 
Reliability 9.5/10 - Speed 9.5/10

Drivers: Michael Schumacher won in Montreal for the 7th time and has a good chance to win here too but as in Montreal it won't be easy. 

Rubens Barrichello finished second in Montreal and seemed very happy on the podium (for some reason). He seemed to be faster than Michael but he didn't seem to attempt to pass him and then he goes off and slows down!. Don't expect higher than second unless Michael hits problems!.

Renault: Suffered their first double retirement this season. In fact they didn't suffer from any mechanical failures during the races this season until Montreal. They are still second in the championship and if this doesn't get repeated too often then they'll most likely hold onto it. 
Reliability 9.0/10 - Speed 9.0/10

Drivers: Jarno Trulli had a good qualifying in Montreal and assuming that he was on a 2 stop strategy like his team-mate, he would have at least finished on the podium. He has a good chance here.

Fernando Alonso looked set for a podium place at Montreal despite a re-fuelling problem during his first stop but a drive shaft failure put him out of the race. Like Trulli, expect a strong finish at Indy.

BAR: Didn't look as strong in race pace as expected given Button's stunning qualifying time. They'll need to work on that engine that keeps blowing behind Sato!.
Reliability 8.0/10 - Speed 9.0/10 (Team Preview)

Drivers: Jenson Button learned later that he finished 3rd in Montreal following the exclusion of the Williams cars. It will be hard for him to get on the podium at Indy but will be close!

Takuma Sato made a few mistakes in qualifying that angered his team and again suffered an engine failure during the race. He needs to cool down and so does his Honda engine. Points if that engine doesn't blow!.

Williams: Finished 2nd and 5th in Montreal only to be excluded due to a regulation infringement. It is hard to understand how an experienced team such a Williams can make such a mistake. They'll be strong in Indy.
Reliability 8.5/10 - Speed 8.5/10 (Team Preview)

Drivers: Juan Pablo Montoya only managed 5th at Montreal and that was before his result was excluded. He should do better here and may have a chance for a podium.  

Ralf Schumacher returned to form in Montreal and managed to finish second before being excluded. He may be encouraged by that and do well here or he may just go back to his usual self!

Sauber: Continue to improve and score a few points at each race. Expect them to continue to feature behind the top 4 teams. 
Reliability 8.5/10 - Speed 8.0/10 (Team Preview)

Drivers: Giancarlo Fisichella finished an impressive 4th following the exclusion of both Williams. Points finish again at Indy may be possible if the cars ahead have problems.

Felipe Massa had a big shunt at Montreal but thankfully he is OK. He seems to be falling further behind his team-mate and needs to be watching that as it won't help him stay in F1. Points difficult.

McLaren: They somehow managed to finish both their cars at Montreal and in the points (given the exclusion of Williams and Toyota, it shouldn't be that hard!). It is good to see them reliable but to fight with the 2 Toyotas isn't impressive at all! 
Reliability 7.5/10 - Speed 8.5/10 (Team Preview)

Drivers: David Coulthard drove a reasonable race in Montreal and recovered from a spin that put him near the end of the field. He'll do his best to finish here but given the stress on the engines, his car may not last!.

Kimi Raikkonen must receive a boost from finishing in Montreal. Should do well here but reliability is a major concern.

Jordan: They've moved into 7th in the Constructors' Championship thanks to the silly mistakes of Williams and Toyota. This result should give them a boost financially which would hopefully reflect on their performances.  
Reliability 7.5/10 - Speed 7.0/10

Drivers: Nick Heidfeld finished 8th after excluding 4 cars. Had a problem during his first stop and hit the re-fuelling man losing a lot of time. Good that no one was seriously hurt. Don't expect miracles to happen again here!

Timo Glock must be over the moon with his 7th place finish in his first ever race in F1. If he stays on replacing Giorgio Pantano, he'll have to adjust to reality pretty quick. 

Toyota: Appeared relatively strong in Montreal and mixed it with McLaren and Sauber. They should be equally strong here. 
Reliability 8.5/10 - Speed 7.5/10

Drivers: Cristiano da Matta drove a good race and finished 8th before his exclusion. Should do well here but points will only be scored if cars in front hit trouble.

Olivier Panis finished 10th in Montreal before his exclusion. Expect the same at Indy. 

Jaguar: Their drivers were involved in incidents at the start and that ruined their race. They missed a great opportunity to score some points at Montreal especially after excluding 4 cars. They may get a better chance at Indy! 
Reliability 7.0/10 - Speed 7.5/10

Drivers: Mark Webber will always try his best but it is hard for him to score any points in this car. 

Christian Klien did very well in qualifying in Montreal but had a poor race. He may improve at Indy but don't expect too much from the rookie.

Minardi: Missed out on a points scoring opportunity that doesn't come that often. They are that slow and unreliable that more than half the field has to retire or be exluded for them to finish in the points.
Reliability 6.5/10 - Speed 6.5/10 

Drivers: Gianmaria Bruni suffered from a gearbox problem at Montreal and retired. Points would not have been possible though even if he stayed on. Same again at Indy.

Zsolt Baumgartner finished the Canadian GP 4 laps down. Nothing will change at Indy. 

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