Thoughts to ponder - Australian GP

By Erica Southey - Motorsport.com Melbourne - Most F1 teams are already geared up for the first race of the 2001 season, while some still find themselves in Europe getting ready to ship off to Melbourne. Less than four days to go! With the...

By Erica Southey - Motorsport.com

Melbourne - Most F1 teams are already geared up for the first race of the 2001 season, while some still find themselves in Europe getting ready to ship off to Melbourne. Less than four days to go!

With the boost of the 2000 constructor's and driver's championships (WCC and WDC) titles behind them, Ferrari is visibly fired up for the coming season, even more so than other teams. It took them 21 years of hard work, disappointments, pressure from the Tifosi and perseverance to make it to the top. Will the 'reds' bring in the first win of the season to gain a psychological advantage over rivals McLaren Mercedes?

It will certainly put a dent in McLaren Mercedes's armour, considering the rumours going around, that Häkkinen is not very confident for the first race of the season. Perhaps it is a McLaren Mercedes smokescreen, to mislead their opponents, and have them stand helplessly watching, while the 2 silver bullets pull away leaving an embarrassing gap. Does 1998 ring any bells?

It would be unfair to only focus on the top two contenders, forgetting a few spanners in the works?

Spanner # 1 is definitely, BAR-Honda. Despite a dismal 1999, Jacques Villeneuve came from nowhere to collect 4 points at Melbourne. Team mate Ricardo Zonta moved up from 7th to 6th position, collecting the point initially reserved for Mika Salo, who got disqualified for the front wing of the Sauber not meeting Article 3.11 of the FIA 2000 technical regulations during post race scrutineering. The Brackley outfit will prove a tough competitor and may even help decide the Constructor's and Driver's championships if they split the McLaren's and Ferraris.

The Jordan Honda team has always made their presence known throughout 2000, despite a bad start at Melbourne with both cars not finishing due to gearbox and engine problems respectively. Sporting a Honda engine and a good driver line-up, they will prove to be a hand full. It will be interesting to see Jordan and BAR duelling, now that both have official Honda engines.

BMW Williams is another outsider to keep a close eye on. Ralf Schumacher gave a solid performance and finished 3rd on the podium last year. Despite a relapse in 1998 going from the best team to almost nowhere, Williams bounced back. Schumacher Jr will be more determined to prove who is Williams's # 1, following the hype caused by newcomer Juan-Pablo Montoya. Will they give us a glimpse of a reminder of Prost and Senna?

Will Jaguar Cosworth silently pounce on the opposition like a cat on its unsuspecting prey? Will Benetton despite opinion, put a few noses out of joint by securing podium? Will European Minardi, Prost Acer, Sauber Petronas with their Ferrari engines and Arrows Asiatech surprise us with finishes higher up in the ranks than expected?

No doubt some of us have made wagers on who we think is going to triumph on the 4th of March in Melbourne. Only the chequered flag will tell us if we were right or wrong.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Ralf Schumacher , Jacques Villeneuve , Ricardo Zonta , Mika Salo
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Benetton , Minardi , Jordan