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"Formula 1 - A year in preview"

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Wed 26/02/03 at 15:50
Regular
Posts: 787
The close season has been full of event and change and as the new season edges closer, you get the definitive guide from yours truly. Well, I like to think it's definitive. Feel free to debate any points I raise.

The winter saw the end for the Arrows team. It was a shame as I like a lot of cars in F1. The field now consists of just 20 cars and with Jordan and Minardi complaining about the lack of funds and a lot of teams wanting closer competition, Formula 1 needed to change and change it has done.

Some interesting rule changes have been enforced. The major one has to be the change in qualifying. Qualifying is now one lap for every driver, similar to what the British Touring Car Championship has been doing. Along with this comes the fact that when the cars have done their lap, the car cannot be touched until the race, meaning the fuel load they use in qualifying has to be used in the race. Strategy will be crucial. Will they go for grid position and an early stop or compromise their grid position and run with more fuel? Also, it looks likely that the 107% rule will be scrapped.

The points system has changed for this season. The points system goes as follows:

1st 10 points
2nd 8 points
3rd 6 points
4th 5 points
5th 4 points
6th 3 points
7th 2 points
8th 1 point

With 8 drivers scoring points, just less than half of the field can score. This could encourage tactical racing but with pit to car radio being debated, a repeat of staged finishes should be unlikely. Traction control also disappears during the season. Also, I think I'm right in saying that replacing an engine during a race weekend will result in a loss of 10 places on the grid. A hefty penalty, I'm sure you'll agree.

Some interesting changes and it will be interesting to see how the teams and drivers adapt to this. Let's take a closer look at the teams and drivers to see who'll be winning the championship and who'll be given the wooden spoon. Let's start at the most logical place:

Ferrari - Huge favourites for this season once again after the 2002 car dominated every car in the field. Ferrari are boasting another huge leap forward and if pre-season testing is anything to go by, another season of glory could be in the offing.

M Schumacher - Arguably the best driver in the field and odds on to win the championship for a record 6th time. Records are tumbling to this man and he'll be looking to break a few more this season. The biggest record yet to be broken is Ayrton Senna's pole position record. He'll be looking to get within touching distance of this, although he won't say that.

Barrichello - He is looking better and better with every passing season and if team orders are banned, I would love to see him challenge because he deserves it. His major problem is a lack of confidence when things go wrong. Let's hope they don't.

Williams - Ferrari's closest challengers last season but are not rated by Ferrari to be the closest challengers this season. Williams have suffered badly with bad tyres and unreliability. It will be interesting to see if Williams have closed the gap.

Montoya - Has had a big war of words with Michael Schumacher and will want to prove himself right. Is an obvious talent and will be hoping that he has a car that can match Ferrari.

R Schumacher - Looked better and better as the season went on and will be looking to continue that upward trend. Will want to win a few more races.

McLaren - They usually have a quality, comfortable car to drive but it lacked a bit of power last year. Ferrari has tipped them to be the main challengers and I think it's possible.

Coulthard - A few people will disagree with me here but Coulthard is over-rated. Every year, he comes out and says he will challenge and after some good, solid drives, he just fades away. He has driven the best car in the field numerous times and hasn't looked like winning the championship and got outshined by his team-mates. I'll be happy to withdraw everything I've said if he proves me wrong, but I don't think he will.

Raikkonen - He should have had his first win last season and outdrove Coulthard on many occasions. I would like to see him pick up his first win and show how good a driver he is.

Renault - I tipped this team to do well last season and they proved me absolutely right. They looked real challengers for 3rd in the championship and will be looking to progress again. I'm tipping this team again this season for greatness, maybe even a race win.

Trulli - He can be a very good driver when he wants to be but tends to drift away during races. A few good races and people may start thinking of this guy as a future star.

Alonso - One of the most highly rated drivers in the world. He has a lot to live up to and showed a lot of potential when he drove for Minardi a couple of years ago. Was Renault's test driver last year so knows the car very well. Should be a good year for him.

Jordan - Money trouble and lack of sponsorship are hurting. This team has been a breath of fresh air in F1 and I don't want to see them disappear. They named their final driver late and will need the extra session on Fridays to help them out. Not quite sure what we can expect from this team.

Fisichella - Has been Jordan's best driver and has a dream of driving for Ferrari. He has the ability to acheive it but the Jordan car has let him down a number of times. Should be Jordan's top scorer again this year.

Firman - Rookie Firman pipped Irvine to this drive and will be wanting to prove he can live with his team-mate. It will be a tough learning year but Jordan are known for producing proven race winners so Eddie Jordan obviously knows a good driver when he sees one.

B.A.R - When they first joined F1, they said they would be winning races first season. They didn't score a point that year. It's been a slow, uphill progress but there is signs of progress. Could be a good year.

Villeneuve - There seems to be reports saying he will quit F1 and he has been looking less and less motivated. There is no doubting his ability but the motivation just isn't there.

Button - B.A.R boss Dave Richards has said that he wants to make Button a World Champion and the talent is there. Button is in a very important year. He has to prove that he is B.A.R's number 1 and prove his critics wrong.

Sauber - There is no doubting that they have benefitted from having Ferrari engines but they had a very good package and deserved the success. Whether they can progress to world beaters remains to be seen.

Heidfeld - Felt upset over Raikkonen's switch to McLaren because he used to test drive at McLaren and felt he had done enough. He was Sauber's rock last year when Massa was failing and now has a solid team-mate with him.

Frentzen - Nearing the end of his career and will be looking to consolidate Sauber's position. The car needs to be good and the battle to see which one will come out on top between these two drivers should be good.

Toyota - A mixed season last year and they have decided to completely change their driver line up. Improvement is tough but they have the finance.

Panis - Has won a GP before but will never be good enough to win regularly. His role will be to score points and develop the car.

Da Matta - I've seen a bit of this driver in ChampCars but this is a whole different ball game. Not many drivers have come over and adapted well so this will be a very tough year.

Jaguar - The car just hasn't been good enough and the backers are getting restless for results. Major improvement is needed if they want to be taken seriously.

Webber - Did an exceptional job at Minardi last year and looked like a quality driver. A good car and this could be another good year for Webber.

Pizzonia - Another rookie and if past Jaguar performance is anything to go by, this could be a nightmare year for this guy.

Minardi - Every year, this team fights and scraps for whatever it can get and that is why they are liked by many. Lots of money trouble as usual but they always seem to manage to get through it. The grid would not be the same without them.

Wilson - Being at Minardi, you don't stand much of a chance of winning. Points finishes are more likely this season so if the car is reliable, a few points finishes are possible. This tall Brit looked like he was never going to break into F1 but Minardi have given him the chance and we shall see what the rookie can do.

Verstappen - Very inconsistent and can't seem to stay in F1 for a long period. Inconsistent performances probably won't mean that much at Minardi and an average year looks likely.

That is the drivers and teams for the new season with my little predictions. This is the calendar for the upcoming year:

09 March
Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park

23 March
Malaysian Grand Prix, Sepang

06 April
Brazil Grand Prix, Interlagos

20 April
San Marino Grand Prix, Imola

04 May
Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona

18 May
Austrian Grand Prix, A1-Ring

01 June
Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo

15 June
Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal

29 June
European Grand Prix, Nürburgring

06 July
French Grand Prix, Magny-Cours

20 July
British Grand Prix, Silverstone

03 August
German Grand Prix, Hockenheim

24 August
Hungarian Grand Prix, Hungaroring

14 September
Italian Grand Prix, Monza

28 September
US Grand Prix, Indianapolis

12 October
Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka

So, there you have it. I'm certainly looking forward to another season on F1, even if Belguim won't be on the calendar. I'm also looking forward to the F1 discussions over the coming year.

This has been a Grandprix presentation.

Thank you for reading.
Wed 05/03/03 at 19:53
Regular
"Baros!!!"
Posts: 6,989
Teams will have to start the race with whatever fuel they have left in the cars after qualifying. Therefore, race strategy will have to be decided earlier in the grand prix weekend.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I think that this rule will make races more interesting, and it could also help the lower ranked drivers, if they have a good strategy plan.
Wed 05/03/03 at 19:47
Regular
Posts: 14,117
Just found some more rule changes that GP didn't mention, and some further explanation on the ones he did:


-Any team that signs up to do no more than 10 days of testing during the season will be rewarded with an extra two hours of running on Friday morning. Teams can run up to three cars in the session.

The move is designed to cut costs and minnows Jordan and Minardi instantly signed up for the scheme. The bigger budget Renault and Jaguar teams have also decided to go along with it, obviously hoping to gain a competitive advantage by enjoying an extra two hours of track time.

- Drivers will get only one lap to set their qualifying time. Previously they were allowed 12 laps (including in and out laps) during the qualifying hour.

Under the new system, drivers will go out one by one and get the track to themselves so traffic will no longer be an excuse. Saturday’s running order will be determined by a similar session on Friday which does not count towards the grid. Friday’s order is decided by championship position, with the leader going out first.

- Teams will have to start the race with whatever fuel they have left in the cars after qualifying. Therefore, race strategy will have to be decided earlier in the grand prix weekend.

- Cars will be kept under strict supervision between qualifying and the race. Any work other than a very restricted list will require special authorisation.

- Bridgestone and Michelin will be able to develop two custom tyres for each of their teams. Previously, they had to offer the same two compounds to each of their teams. This change is of primary benefit to Michelin, who had difficulty in 2002 finding rubber that suited both the McLarens and the Williams.

- Pit-to-car telemetry – by which engineers can change car settings while they are out on the track – has been banned with immediate effect. Car-to-pit telemetry, which allows engineers to monitor the car’s performance, will be banned from the start of 2004.

- Electronic driver aids such as traction control and fully automatic gearboxes are to be banned from the British Grand Prix. Launch control will also be banned if teams can all operate their current clutches manually. Semi-automatic gearboxes still permitted.

- Radio communication must be accessible to both the FIA and broadcasters.

- Team orders "which interfere with the race result" will be banned.

- The top eight will now score points – it used to be the top six. The points descend as follows – 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Closing the differentials in points should ensure that the championship race is kept alive for longer.
Mon 03/03/03 at 22:54
Regular
"Too Orangy For Crow"
Posts: 15,844
Miserableman wrote:
> Sadly, I can't see anything much changing from last year. Qualifying
> will actually be a distinctly less interesting spectacle, and unlike
> years gone by will not be worth watching. The new qualifying rules and
> the absurd new Engine-change rule will throw up more random qualifying
> orders, which will make for some artificially close racing, as cars
> overtake each other to get back to where the should be in the pecking
> order.

It's true that qualifying will not reflect the true nature of the cars as strategy will play a huge part. They may settle on 10th on the grid so they wouldn't have to refuel too early. The fact that they have restricted access to the cars after qualifying just increases the likelihood of a wierd grid.

The preview show mentioned that teams like Minardi might go for pole position on a track like Monaco just for the prestige of leading for a couple of laps.

> Imo, the FIA should have gone for the throat and implemented ballast
> penalties, against the protests of the teams.

There are pros and cons with that suggestion. Increasing the weight might slow the car down but shifting the ballast might help with the handling so the effect of the ballast may cancel each other out.

> Mr Dennis and Mr Williams should be locked in a broom cupboard whenever
> rule changes are being debated, they always have to voice opposition,
> and always because they have their own agendas.

They don't seem very helpful. There has to be some kind of solution.

> Ballast penalties are
> a proven race generator - just look at how entertaining the
> laugh-a-minute BTCC is.

Different cars. The only way to find out if something works is to test it. It's a bit of a learning year. Let's hope they learn something.

> I hope Jordan can
> challenge, as I like the team and Fisichella is the most spectacularly
> rapid driver on the grid (make a list of the team mates he's blown
> away). I agree with the notion that Coulthard is overrated, though he
> is quick.

I have a soft spot for Jordan. Fisichella impressed me all the way back when he drove in the Minardi. Coulthard is quick to a certain degree but the best car he should be driving is the Sauber in my opinion.
Mon 03/03/03 at 19:18
Regular
"bing bang bong"
Posts: 3,040
Sadly, I can't see anything much changing from last year. Qualifying will actually be a distinctly less interesting spectacle, and unlike years gone by will not be worth watching. The new qualifying rules and the absurd new Engine-change rule will throw up more random qualifying orders, which will make for some artificially close racing, as cars overtake each other to get back to where the should be in the pecking order.

Imo, the FIA should have gone for the throat and implemented ballast penalties, against the protests of the teams. To be frank (heh), Mr Dennis and Mr Williams should be locked in a broom cupboard whenever rule changes are being debated, they always have to voice opposition, and always because they have their own agendas. Ballast penalties are a proven race generator - just look at how entertaining the laugh-a-minute BTCC is.

However the rule changes we've got will make qualifying rubbish, and the races only more jumbled up. Ferrari and Michael Schumacher will still be crushingly dominant, Williams and Mclaren may be slightly closer but will still be fighting over second place. I hope Jordan can challenge, as I like the team and Fisichella is the most spectacularly rapid driver on the grid (make a list of the team mates he's blown away). I agree with the notion that Coulthard is overrated, though he is quick.
Sun 02/03/03 at 17:47
Regular
"Where's SR?"
Posts: 1,310
My predictions.
M Schumacher will still win but others will be closer especially Ralf and Kimi who will win 3 or 4 races each.

Alonso will score podiums and maybe a win as will Fisichella and Panis.
Sun 02/03/03 at 17:12
Regular
"Hellfire Stoker"
Posts: 10,534
Grandprix wrote:
> F1 Preview show - ITV1 today at 2:30p.m. It's about an hour long so
> you might want to tape it if you want to watch the cup final.

DAMN! You could have said that yesterday. MISSED IT! [Throws monitor out of 2nd floor window]
Sun 02/03/03 at 12:41
Regular
"Too Orangy For Crow"
Posts: 15,844
F1 Preview show - ITV1 today at 2:30p.m. It's about an hour long so you might want to tape it if you want to watch the cup final.
Fri 28/02/03 at 18:29
Regular
"Just Bog Standard.."
Posts: 4,589
Sdrawkcab wrote:
> Woah. That's weird. I don't know who you are Lou Role, but in one of
> the e-mails I was sent, you forwarded it some where down the chain. Or
> maybe you were just sent it.


What do you mean? I havn't forwarded any e-mails. I've not had this account for long and I've only ever sent e-mails to my friends, and I've only recieved other mailings from Hotmail Staff.

Are you sure it was the same addy?
Thu 27/02/03 at 22:52
Regular
"Too Orangy For Crow"
Posts: 15,844
Lou Role wrote:
> I knew I could rely on you to keep me up to date Grandprix.
>
> :)

Someone has to do it. It might as well be me. :D

> Do you have MSN?
>
> It would be good to have someone to talk to about F1 over the
> season.

It's always good to share views. I have MSN and I've added you.
Thu 27/02/03 at 21:36
Posts: 4,686
Woah. That's weird. I don't know who you are Lou Role, but in one of the e-mails I was sent, you forwarded it some where down the chain. Or maybe you were just sent it.

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