Ferrari in trouble?
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Michael may have managed to hang on to second place but it was obvious that
he did not have the pace to take the race to Montoya. Montoya won the German
Grand Prix by a commanding lead regardless of Michael�s efforts.
Although the Bridgestone tyres are probably Ferrari�s Achilles heel,
after months of blaming them, I am now starting to wonder if that is their
only problem. Although there was a lot of evidence to support the theory that
Bridgestone is the problem in the first half of the season there is not that
much evidence to support it now.
In the past it was pretty obvious that Bridgestone wore too fast because
Michael�s fastest laps (and for that matter Barrichello too) were always on
new tyres and a full fuel load where in previous years the in-laps, when he
had little fuel left, were always his fastest.
I found the race rather boring and processional after the overtaking
spectacle of Silverstone.
Hungaroring (Track Layout) is the second slowest circuit of the season. Much of the setup and relative performance of the cars can be matched with Monaco.
Although it has been changed significantly since the 2002 Grand Prix it certainly has not become a fast track and most of what applied in the past still does.
There is only one spot where speed will approach 300km/H(186mph) and that is the main straight. This ends in a wickedly slow hairpin taken at less than 100km/H(62mph) and the slow sweep leading up to turn 2 will see the cars barely exceeding 200km/H(124mph) before braking to 80km/H(50mph) for this virtual hairpin too.
Accelerating through turn 3 the cars will again not get to 200km/H(124mph) before slowing slightly for turn 4, a left hand kink. Speed then drops down to just over 100km/H(62mph) through 5 and, after a quick squirt on the accelerator, 90kmh/56mph through turns 6 and 7, a loose �S� formation.
After that it is constantly either on the accelerator or brakes as they make their way through turns 8, 9 and 10 gradually faster until braking for 11 which is relatively fast(180km/H or 112mph) before building to 240km/H(149mph) before turn 12.
Turn 13 is a slow (80km/H or 50mph) hairpin and speed will not get up to 200km/H(124mph) before braking to 125km/H(78mph) for turn 14 that exits into the main straight.
It will be a high downforce setup. That much is obvious from the track layout. What we do not know is how tyre wear will affect the race. I suspect that all teams will go out on a soft compound and if the track surface is very abrasive this may cause excessive tyre wear during the race.
Turn 14, that leads on to the main straight, is fast enough for aerodynamics to work and that will make the straight, which is the most obvious overtaking place, somewhat difficult for overtaking as there will be little time to make up lost ground. It is not a particularly long straight.
It may be possible to force a car to drive defensively through turns 8, 9 and 10 and take advantage of the balance and flow setup to scramble past but it looks very hard to do. We will just have to see.
It is very unlikely that Ferrari will do well in Hungary. Their performance
in Monaco suggests that they do not have the mechanical grip necessary for
Michael will make the best of the situation and preserve as many championship points as he can. I am not sure what to expect from Barrichello. His performance to date this season has been very erratic.
Williams on the other hand did very well in Monaco and judging by the pace that they have demonstrated over the last few races must be my choice for both qualifying and podium finishes. Reliability is no longer an issue so it is only an accident or other mishap that will stop their finishing in first and second place.
Montoya will, like always try to drive the wheels off his car and if he is in the mood, Ralf will be very fast.
Raikkonen was also faster than Michael Schumacher at Monaco so we must
assume that McLaren will at least match the performance of Ferrari.
Renault believed that they had a good chance of being competitive in
Monaco. As it turned out they did not shape that well at all. They may not
have embarrassed themselves but they certainly did not do that well.
As high as the hopes we had for Alonso he is not that far ahead of Trulli. Both drivers are fast in their own right but Alonso has the ability to sometimes put in an inspired drive.
The rest of the field will not finish in the points unless leading cars retire or drop back.
BAR have had their run and all the money that is going into Jaguar will have to wait for results in 2004. Toyota will do a little better again and Sauber will lose a little more ground again. Minardi will be last again.
As the season draws to a close the drivers� championship is far from over. Both Schumachers, Montoya and Raikkonen can still win. As far as the constructors� championship is concerned it is between Ferrari and Willams and may also go to the very last race.
The season may be almost over but the excitement is far from over.
Agree or disagree ?
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