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27 September 2002 Volume 4 - Issue 27   

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Ferrari have won the championship, Michael Schumacher has won the driverís championship and Barrichello is second from where he can only be beaten if Montoya wins both remaining races and he does not earn at least three points. Ralf has an even slimmer chance! That is pretty unlikely.

The Indianapolis circuit is a combination of Monza and Monaco. Half of it is very fast with long sweeping bends ant the other half is very slow and tight.

The first corner, tight right hander at 100km/H (62mph) almost immediately leads into an equally tight lefthander followed by a faster right sweep (turn 3 240km/H or 150mph) that tightens into turn 4. A short squirt on the accelerator and it is down to around 160km/H (100mph) for turn 5, another squirt and you are in the S of turns 6 and 7 before getting to the back straight where cars will get up to over 300km/H (186mph) before braking for the very tight combination of turns 8, 9 and 10 which will be negotiated at under 100km/H (60mph). They will hardly be on the accelerator before turn 11 (130km?H or 80mph) and then the fast bit starts. Turn 12 will be taken flat out at over 250km/H (155mph) and turn 13 at over 300km/H (186mph). Speed on the straight will exceed 350km/H (220mph).

Overtaking will be limited to the fast section of the track and the back straight.

The compromise between downforce and straight line speed makes this circuit very difficult to set up for. Too much wing will sacrifice top speed on the fast section too little wing will lose grip in the slower section.


Ferrari are still the team to beat. Schumacher may allow Barrichello through to totally secure his second place in the championship but I suspect that they will be allowed to race as there is little risk that Barrichello will not finish second by the end of the season. If they are allowed to race, team orders will again apply to the last part of the race, which makes sense. There is no point in risking both cars when they are way out in front.

Williams may use their qualifying engines for full race distance. That will undoubtedly make them faster, possibly even fast enough to be competitive, but reliability will then be an issue. Both cars could retire.

Of the two Williams drivers I expect Montoya to be faster, providing that he keeps his motivation up.

Unless McLaren have suddenly found a lot more power they will probably not fare well in Indianapolis.

Renault should be faster than the rest but after that it could be difficult to predict. Jaguar may be very fast again, Toyota could be fast but they'll struggle in the slower section, Sauber do not have the power, Honda power is also lacking so do not expect BAR or Jordan to do well and Arrows is turning into a has-been team. Minardi will fill in the last 2 positions as usual.

I expect both Ferrari drivers on the podium, the only question is who they will share it with. It could be a Williams but if I am right and both Williams retire with a blown motor it will be between McLaren and the very improved Jaguar.

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