Tyres should not be an issue - Ferrari could win
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Depending on how nimble the Ferrari is (over the years they have gone more towards relying on
aerodynamics and not mechanical grip), Monaco is one of the few opportunities they may have to claw back the lead that Renault,
Toyota and McLaren have already built up.
Raikkonen certainly proved that McLaren have got it right, pretty early for them, this season. He built a
commanding lead in Spain before the first round of pit stops and after that controlled the race from the front. Alonso, who finished
second, tried to challenge but after Raikkonen caught him sleeping when the pace car went back in he never looked as if he could
even get close.
I thought it was a little strange to see Fisichella set a lap record on the last lap. Surely if he could go that fast on the last lap he could have done better during the race? Weird.
layout) is one of the oldest Grand Prix circuits still in use. By modern standards, it is totally unsuitable for Formula One
racing. Because it wanders through a venue that has changed little since the days of horse drawn vehicles, the circuit layout cannot
be changed without disfigurement of this grand old city.
Having said that starting position is also more important here than on any other circuit. Not only is it impossible to make up positions on the track but the pits are so crowded that it is very difficult to orchestrate stops for overtaking. So much can go wrong and there is so little margin for error.
In my pre-season review I said that 2005 will be The Year of the Rubber.
I suggested that one of the tyre manufacturers may not get it right.
I rest my case. Bridgestone is just not up to scratch.
Ferrari's chances of winning the constructors' championship and Michael Schumacher's chance of winning the drivers' championship is kind of over.
Sure, Ferrari could still win races if the weather stays cool. The Ferrari is fast under all conditions, but the Bridgestones are not. Unless Bridgestone can pull a rabbit out of their hat Ferrari's season is over.
Monaco could be one of the races that
they can win. Michael has always been good at this track and if Barrichello can finish on the podium too they could make some
inroads into the big points deficit.
My money for Monaco is on Renault who, even if they do not have a mechanical grip advantage, will have better traction control out of the very slow corners. They will be hard to beat and Alonso will be anxious to increase his lead in the championship. Fisichella is also fast at Monaco so if he does not save his fastest lap for the end of the race he could do well.
I am not sure how Toyota will do in Monaco. I
suspect that a lot of their speed this season is due to superior power and Monaco is not a power circuit. I also suspect that they
rely more than most on aerodynamic grip and again that will not help in Monaco.
McLaren may do very well in Monaco. Their cars seem to be well balanced and could even have adequate mechanical grip this year. If the McLaren is fast I expect more from Raikkonen than Montoya. Raikkonen is very fast and consistent. Montoya on the other hand can be blisteringly fast but is inconsistent and prone to missing the road a little. One of those little offs at Monaco has a very high probability of ending his race.
Williams may also do well. With their rather patchy performance so far this year it is hard to
judge how much mechanical grip the cars have. After Monaco we will know.
Red Bull is unlikely to do well in my
opinion. Their chassis has improved over the years but I still do not think that it is good enough to be in the running at
Sauber seems to be losing ground. Performance, when there is some, seems erratic.
Jordan and Minardi may circulate in the back but will hopefully not need to be lapped that often. Lapping rookie drivers is a problem at the best of times - in Monaco it could be a nightmare.
The wild card for Monaco would have been BAR. I think that they may have the car to win and Button certainly could have been the pilot to do it. But that is not to be.
Monaco is almost always an interesting race. The atmosphere is electrifying for those lucky enough to attend it in person but even those of us who have to watch it from the comfort of our homes can sense the excitement.
Agree or disagree ?
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