1 Canadian Grand Prix
Download the NewsOnF1.com
Can Renault and McLaren be challenged!
Under normal conditions, a Renault or a McLaren will most likely win but at Montreal we rarely have normal conditions. We often see rain and often see safety cars and that could certainly change things!
Last year Michael Schumacher won the race after taking the lead from his brother at the second pit stop. Williams looked strong but were disqualified due to irregular brake ducts. Renault were strong but both their cars retired.
The Montreal track is the
first this season for teams to run a low to medium downforce configuration. The track offers a number of straights connected by slow
to very slow speed corners. This makes it very hard on brakes and very often we see cars retire towards the end of the race due to
brake wear. The track is also hard on engines with cars on full throttle for 55% of a lap. With most teams running the same
engines from the Nurburgring, expect a few engine failures!
The teams conducted testing last week at Silverstone and Monza. At Silverstone McLaren topped the times on all 3 days while at Monza BAR topped the times on the first day while Ferrari were fastest on the second and third days.
Here is a team by team review:
Were strong at the Nurburgring but perhaps not as strong as McLaren. They had the potential to do well at Montreal last year but
suffered a double retirement. They'll be very strong this year here and are equal favourites with McLaren. Reliability remains an
Drivers: Fernando Alonso had luck on his side at the European Grand Prix but he also didn't settle for second and kept the pressure on Raikkonen. He'll be strong and if reliability holds expect a close fight with Raikkonen and Fisichella here. A win is a strong possibility
Giancarlo Fisichella had good performances on this track in the past. He should be very close to Alonso here and possibly even beat him. A podium finish a possibility
McLaren: They are fast, probably the fastest and they seem to have the reliability sorted out as well.
They almost won for the third race in a row at the Nurburgring but for a suspension failure. They will be strong here and will fight
with Renault for the win.
Drivers: Kimi Raikkonen almost made it 3 wins in a row, instead it was 4 wins for Alonso. Expect a close fight with Alonso and Fisichella for the win.
Juan Pablo Montoya tangled with Webber at the start and that lost him a strong result. He managed to recover to 7th but at some stages of the race he looked like he could have done better. He doesn't have a very good record here so don't expect him to challenge for the win. A podium finish is possible though.
Remain in 3rd in the championship despite a poor result at the Nurburgring. The Montreal track rewards power so expect the Toyotas
to be strong here however it is unlikely they'll challenge for the win.
Drivers: Jarno Trulli finished 8th at the Nurburgring and could have easily finished higher but was penalised because his mechanics didn't clear the track in time at the start of the race. He'll have another good qualifying and finish strongly in the points. A podium is possible but unlikely.
Ralf Schumacher seems to enjoy this track and has a good record (Win in '01, 2nd on '03 and '04 before being disqualified). He could do well here however he will be disadvantaged in qualifying being the second car out and that will make it difficult for him to score points.
They are now just 1 point behind Toyota and if they keep up the level of improvements they could take 3rd after Montreal. It is
great to see Williams back on the podium however I suspect that Toyota may have the upper hand at this track.
Heidfeld has quietly moved into 4th place in the Championship and can be considered a championship contender (although
unlikely) as he is just 2 points behind Raikkonen and Trulli.
Mark Webber was late braking into the first corner at the Nurburgring and that resulted in his retirement. He will now be the first to go out in qualifying which will compromise his grid position as well as his race result. Points possible but will be very difficult.
Remain in 5th in the Championship however there were encouraging signs with Barrichello finishing in 3rd place at the Nurburgring
despite losing a lot of places at the start. They weren't dominant here last year so they'll be struggling to stay with the leaders
here however that also depends on the competitiveness of their tyres.
Drivers: Michael Schumacher
recovered from the chaos of the first corner to finish in 5th place. He later admitted he wasn't happy with the pace of the
Rubens Barrichello may get a boost from finishing on the podium for the second time this season. He is only 1 point behind Michael and the closest he has been to him since he joined Ferrari. Michael though has been stronger on this track in the past so don't expect Rubens to beat him here. Points likely but a podium would be difficult.
Even though David Coulthard benefited greatly from the 1st corner chaos at the start of the European Grand Prix he had the pace to
keep up with the leaders and that was a good sign for the team. It is unlikely that Red Bull will be strong here as they lack the
power relative to the other teams.
Drivers: David Coulthard continues to impress in a car that wasn't expected to even score points this year. Montreal will be difficult though as the Red Bull lacks the power. Points will be difficult.
Christian Klien returns to racing with the team after a forced 4-race absence to give Vitantonio Liuzzi a chance. He'll be a lot closer to Coulthard particularly in the race and will prove that he should race for the team for the rest of the season.
Sauber: Didn't shape at the Nurburgring
making the Villeneuve bungled pass on Massa at Monaco all the more painful. They did well here last year so they may have a chance
of a point or two.
Drivers: Jacques Villeneuve finished a low 13th at the Nurburgring. He could do better at his home race but points will be very hard.
Felipe Massa struggled with his tyres at the Nurburgring and lost a chance to score points when he had to pit for a tyre change. If he takes care of his tyres he could have a small chance of making it into the points.
Jordan: They managed to avoid embarrassment
and finish ahead of Minardi at the Nurburgring. They will be closer to the midfield thanks to the Toyota powerplant.
Drivers: Narain Karthikeyan continues to struggle for the second race in a row. After impressing earlier in the season now he is being beaten by his team-mate. That is unlikely to change here as this track is new for Narain but Tiago raced here in the Champ series.
Tiago Monteiro is clearly improving and expect him once again to finish ahead of his team-mate. Don't expect points though!.
Surprisingly disappointing at the Nurburgring. Given the times they set in testing, one would assume the problem is with their race
plan and strategy. They were worried about their engines being on the shelf for 5 weeks but that can't be the only reason.
Drivers: Jenson Button had a disappointing race at the Nurburgring finishing 10th. With a fresh engine he could finish in the points if reliability holds and that is a big if.
got involved in the first corner chaos and had to replace the front wing. He only managed 12th in the end.
They struggled at the Nurburgring but managed to finish both cars. They'll struggle again here!.
Drivers: Christijan Albers was outqualified by his team-mate but finished ahead in the race. It is interesting to see a bit of competition at the back!
Patrick Freisacher continues to improve and it will be interesting to see who gets the upper hand here.
Discuss this preview on the Canadian Grand Prix Thread on the Forums
Join 8 'n' Pole and see how your predictions stack up against the others. Register now!