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2003 Spanish Grand Prix 
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The F2003-GA Arrives!

The 2003 Ferrari is set to make its race debut in Spain this weekend and if the testing times for the new Ferrari are to go by then it will blow the competition away. In terms of pace it appears faster than the F2002 which pretty much dominated in San Marino, the only question mark would be reliability although Ferrari have tested it enough to be confident it will be as reliable as its predecessor.
The other teams aren't resting of course but if they couldn't match the F2002 what chance do they have in matching the F2003-GA. Realistically only McLaren and Williams were the teams to challenge Ferrari. It will be hard (if not impossible) for either to do so in the short term but McLaren still have a card yet to play with and that is the new MP4/18. The pressure will now be on McLaren to get that car ready (both in terms of pace and reliability) before starting to lose that point advantage they have over Ferrari. 

All teams were testing last week except for Minardi. At Mugello, Ferrari, McLaren, Toyota, Jaguar, Sauber and BAR were present with Ferrari topping the timesheets in their new car and over a second faster than McLaren.
At Silverstone, Williams, Jordan and Renault were present with Montoya topping the times before crashing heavily. His car was badly damaged but he managed to walk away from the crash.

McLaren: Continue to have good reliability and pace but couldn't match last year's Ferrari so matching the new one will be even harder. They'll need to dig deep and maintain reliability if they want to close to Ferrari here. Reliability 9.5/10 - Speed 9.0/10

Drivers: Kimi Raikkonen continues to impress having finished the 4 races of the season so far on the podium. In San Marino he finished where he could realistically finish and that was in second place. Second in Spain will be harder and will have to rely on one of the Ferraris to run into problems. 

David Coulthard was beaten by his team-mate at Imola. He must be wondering what he needs to do to become a serious challenger. He is usually good at Barcelona so he might get the better of his team-mate. A top 6 finish is likely, a podium would be hard.

Ferrari: If the new car is reliable then anything other than a 1-2 finish won't be a good result. They need to maximise their points to close in on McLaren.
Reliability 9.0/10 - Speed 9.5/10

Drivers: Michael Schumacher can make it 3 in a row at Barcelona. With the F2003-GA, his chances are even better. Only question would be reliability. 

Rubens Barrichello managed 3rd at Imola even though his car's pace clearly would have put him in second. Qualifying in 3rd didn't do him any favours and neither did his pit crew who delayed him due to a wheel nut problem. It will be interesting to see how close Rubens can be to Michael in the new car. Past knowledge tells us he'll be second, will he manage to change that ?.

Renault: They remain the only team to have a perfect finishing record although at San Marino Trulli failed to score points. They were satisfied with the result as they knew that Imola didn't suit them. They'll expect a better result in Barcelona. 
Reliability 9.5/10 - Speed 8.5/10

Drivers: Fernando Alonso drops down to 4th in the Championship but only 2 points away from Coulthard in second place. The two young guns in this year's competition are making a name for themselves. A top 6 finish is possible. A podium will be very hard.

Jarno Trulli had a poor weekend at Imola but he shouldn't be blamed fully for that. He had to qualify and race in the spare car that was setup for his team-mate as the new parc ferme' rules don't allow major changes. Still finishing 13th and a lap down isn't a good result. He needs to bounce back here and get the better of his team-mate. A top 6 finish is possible.

Williams: Appeared to be closer to Ferrari than McLaren but the end result showed the opposite. They need to improve their chassis if they are to compete with those two, otherwise they'll be fighting Renault for 3rd. Reliability 9/10 - Speed 8.5/10

Drivers: Juan Pablo Montoya continues to struggle, at Imola though it wasn't his fault having to pit an extra time to get enough fuel in. He still managed 7th. He needs a clean race to prove he is still one of the drivers with a chance. A top 6 finish is possible. Podium difficult.

Ralf Schumacher surprisingly bounced back at Imola. Whatever the reasons, he was on the pace and apart from that mistake under pressure from Barrichello, he drove flawlessly. Will he maintain his form at Barcelona ? Lets hope he does.  A top 6 finish is possible. Podium difficult.

Jordan: Their win in Brazil came them a boost but it wasn't enough for their cars to make it till the end at Imola. They have a lot of work to do if they are to score any more points this season. Reliability 6.0/10 - Speed 7.5/10

Drivers: Giancarlo Fisichella had a bad weekend at Imola. Don't expect much improvement in Spain.

Ralph Firman isn't showing any sign of getting close to Fisichella. He needs to pickup his pace if he is to last in Formula 1.

Sauber: Surprisingly aren't producing the results expected of them early in the season. Running a Ferrari engine that isn't much inferior to the one Ferrari used shows that their problem lies with the chassis. They are a small budget team and they won't be able to make major changes this season. Reliability 8.0/10 - Speed 8.0/10

Drivers: Heinz Harald Frentzen finished 11th at Imola. He needs to do better than that here. Points will be very hard though.

Nick Heidfeld finished just ahead of his team-mate in 10th. As with his team-mate scoring points will be very difficult.

BAR: Managed to score a point at Imola, the only team outside the top 4 to do so. They appear to be the closest of the rest to the top 4 but they need to sort their reliability out. 
Reliability 7.5/10 - Speed 8.0/10

Drivers: Jacques Villeneuve yet again retires from a race with a car problem. That is 2 out of 4 races so far. Like Montoya, he needs a race free of problems to show if he still has that edge. Points possible providing reliability.

Jenson Button is now on equal points with his team-mate and that should give him a boost. Spain will be interesting as the two have done well there in the past. Points are possible but expect Jacques to be ahead here.

Toyota: They became very close to scoring their first point of the season at Imola with Panis finishing in 9th. They must be under enormous pressure to move from the bottom 3 on the ladder. Their pace seems to match the mid-runners but they can't convert to points.
Reliability 8/10 - Speed 7.5/10

Drivers: Olivier Panis finally managed to finish a race. Hopefully the run of bad luck has ended. Scoring points is a priority for Toyota and Panis is the most likely driver to do so but it will be tough.

Cristiano da Matta appears to be getting better. The tracks are new to him and hence his struggle but he is close to Panis and that should give him some confidence. Scoring points though would be next to impossible.

Jaguar: They have to sort out their reliability problems. Otherwise no matter what Webber does so well isn't converted into points.
Reliability 6.5/10 - Speed 7.5/10

Drivers: Mark Webber yet again retires with a mechanical problem. If he gets a reliable car he has a good chance of scoring points.

Antonio Pizzonia is struggling and given the unreliable car he's got he loses confidence fast. He needs to bounce back otherwise he'll go back to testing (something he proved to be good at).

Minardi: Another race another double retirement. That isn't good for them. They neither have the reliability nor the pace. What chance of survival do they have ?  
Reliability 7.0/10 - Speed 7.0/10

Drivers: Jos Verstappen was expected to put the Minardi further away from the back of the grid. He isn't able to do so but that could be due to the car. Afterall his team-mate isn't doing wonders with it. Finishing the race would be an achievement.

Justin Wilson would be happy to just finish a race. He is the only driver in the championship not to be classified at any race this season. Good luck in Spain.

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