The 2000 Constructors' Championship was a two-horse race between Ferrari and McLaren, with the other teams far behind in the points. Ewan Tyler evaluetes just how close the teams came to achieving the goals they set for themselves at the beginning of the season, the progress they made during the season and the strengths and weakness of each team during the 2000 season
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro 1st, 170 Points
10 Wins, 5 Fastest Laps, 10 Pole Positions, 8 DNFs
Chassis: Ferrari F1-2000. Engine: Ferrari 049.
Team Principal: Jean Todt. Technical Director: Ross Brawn. Chief Designer: Rory Byrne.
- Goal for the 2000 season: To win the World Drivers' Championship for the first time since 1979. Ferrari also hoped to score their 10th Constructors' title in 2000. The Italian team met both these goals, despite eight DNFs.
- Progress during the 2000 season: Ferrari started the season with three wins in a row and ended with four wins in a row. Major developments were in the engine department, with the 049B (race) and 049C (qualifying) engines being used at the end of the season.
- Greatest Assets: The F1-2000 was excellent in the wet. Ferrari's trump card was again race strategy, with their pit-stops again being of the highest standard.
- Achilles heel: The F1-2000 was hard on tyres at high-downforce circuits, such as Magny-Cours.
West McLaren-Mercedes 2nd, 152 Points
7 Wins, 12 Fastest Laps, 7 Pole Positions, 5 DNFs
Chassis: McLaren MP4/15. Engine: Ilmor-Mercedes-Benz F0 110 JV10.
Team Principal: Ron Dennis. Technical Director: Adrian Newey. Chief Designer: Neil Oatley.
- Goal for the 2000 season: McLaren looked to improve on a highly competitive but unreliable car, while retaining their dominance at the top of the field. While the team was indeed competitive, at times the best on the grid, they lost out on both Championships although overall reliability vastly improved.
- Progress during the 2000 season: McLaren started the season badly, with three DNFs, but were very reliable by mid-season. The FIA stripped them of 16 points and handed three 10 seconds stop-go penalties to the team for starting violations. The MP4/15 was competitive on a variety of circuits, appeared to be light on tyres and was often faster than the Ferrari F1-2000 during the race.
- Greatest Assets: Great resources, experience and a long track record of success.
- Achilles heel: Pit-stop strategies were weak, losing valuable points in Germany and Belgium. Moreover, the MP4/15 wasn't exactly a car for all seasons and was at a disadvantage in the wet.
BMW WilliamsF1 3rd, 36 Points
0 Wins, 0 Fastest Laps, 0 Pole Positions, 16 DNFs
Chassis: Williams FW22. Engine: BMW.
Team Principal: Sir Frank Williams. Technical Director: Patrick Head. Chief Designer: Gavin Fisher.
- Goal for the 2000 season: BMW's director of Motorsport Gerhard Berger stated before the season: "In the first year a victory or a place on the podium isn't realistic. Our competitors are not McLaren, Ferrari or Jordan but are more the teams and drivers at the top of the middle-ranking section, such as Prost-Peugeot, Benetton, BAR or Honda."
Chief Aerodynamicist, Geoff Willis, added: "We are confident that the FW22 will make a significant step up the learning curve that will ultimately see us in championship contention within the next two or three years." Quite ironic, considering the team ended a solid third in the Constructors' Championship!
- Progress during the 2000 season: BMW-Williams wisely promised very little and consequently far exceeded their promises, having a podium finish in their first race. The FW22 was a sound chassis and the BMW engine was surprisingly competitive, but suffered some failures.
- Greatest assets: Experience, perseverance and a track record of success. It also helped to have a pair of good young drivers.
- Achilles Heel: Unreliability.
Mild Seven Benetton 4th, 20 Points
0 Wins, 0 Fastest Laps, 0 Pole Positions, 11 DNFs
Chassis: Benetton B200. Engine: Playlife (Supertec) FB02.
Team Principal: Flavio Briatore. Technical Director: Pat Symonds. Chief Designer: Tim Densham.
- Goal for the 2000 season: Then-team Principal Rocco Benetton stated before the start of the season that, "We are determined to put the difficult times of the past few years behind us." Seventeen races later, Benetton seem to be on their way of achieving that, but not too easily.
- Progress during the 2000 season: After burning their fingers with the 1999 B199, Benetton played it safe with the design of the B200. Technical Director Pat Symonds stated, "The B200 has been designed to use proven technology and methodologies with the aim of being consistently fast and reliable." Benetton started the season well under Rocco Benetton's direction and the team was then sold to Renault with Flavio Briatore taking over command at the San Marino Grand Prix.
By mid-season the B200 was no longer competitive and for the last two races, development of the B200 was stopped. Despite this, Briatore remained positive, stating: "Congratulations to the team for our fourth place in the championship. This is a great motivation after a difficult year and so well done to everyone here and at the factory. I am sure the team will continue to get stronger and stronger now as we have put in some good foundations this year."
- Greatest Asset: The resources of Renault.
- Achilles Heel: There has been a lack of stability at Benetton over the past few seasons and Briatore's return, unfortunately, created more short-term instability and distractions.
British American Racing 5th, 20 Points
0 Wins, 0 Fastest Laps, 0 Pole Positions, 13 DNFs
Chassis: BAR 002. Engine: Honda RA000E.
Team Principal: Craig Pollock. Technical Director: Malcolm Oastler. Chief Designer: Adrian Reynard.
- Goal for the 2000 season: After a catastrophic season in 1999, BAR engineer Jock Clear explained their change in philosophy towards this season, stating: "I think the biggest thing that Honda has taught us, in the short time that we've worked together, is to set realistic goals, firm lines in the sand that you achieve, and that's what we didn't achieve last year. We fell over ourselves last year trying to achieve everything too soon." And indeed, the BAR went from total zero to an almost hero.
- Progress during the 2000 season: BAR were the most improved team of the 2000 season. The BAR 002 was a major step forward; it was quite good in the wet and it performed well on low and medium downforce circuits. The car struggled on the high downforce circuits, particularly Monaco and the Hungaroring.
Managing Director of Honda R&D, Takefumi Hosaka, concluded the season by saying: "We have achieved maybe 70% of our targets for this year. We said at the start of the year that we did not expect to achieve success immediately and we were aiming for a position among the top five teams. We have learned many things this year and gathered a lot of data, both in terms of the engine and chassis technologies. We have confirmed the direction in which we are progressing and we will continue in this way next year. We have achieved an excellent level of reliability with the engine and we are currently very competitive in terms of engine power. This base will allow us to put all our energies into delivering even more performance for both BAR and Jordan in 2001 and achieving race victories."
- Greatest Assets: A partnership with Honda and a very strong driver in Jacques Villeneuve.
- Achilles Heel: Inexperience and in-fighting within the BAR management team.
Benson & Hedges Jordan 6th, 17 Points
0 Wins, 0 Fastest Laps, 0 Pole Positions, 17 DNFs
Chassis: Jordan EJ10. Engine: Mugen Honda MF-301HE.
Team Principal: Eddie Jordan. Technical Director: Mike Gascoyne.
- Goal for the 2000 season: Owner of the third best car of last year, Eddie Jordan stated before the start of the season: "I believe we can make second spot, who knows about the rest?" Jordan fell far short of this goal.
- Progress during the 2000 season: Jordan's season was a major disappointment. The EJ10 was unreliable and surprisingly uncompetitive. However, the EJ10B chassis, that was introduced at the German Grand Prix, was a major step forward; it was competitive with the BAR 002 with the works Honda engine.
Managing Director, Trevor Foster summed up the season, saying: "One must remember that we are still the only team that has split the Ferrari and McLaren domination of the front row in qualifying this year, which shows that the car and drivers are capable of competing at the highest level. It is disappointing that we were not able to extract the reliability from the car and challenge for the high point scoring positions."
- Greatest assets: Patience, steady progress and "people-smartness" has produced a stable and consistent team. Generally, their race strategies were sound.
- Achilles heel: Unreliability and having a "semi-works" Honda engine. Moreover, Gascoyne essentially became a "lame-duck" as technical director after signing for Benetton for 2001.
Arrows 7th, 7 Points
0 Wins, 0 Fastest Laps, 0 Pole Positions, 21 DNFs
Chassis: Arrows A21. Engine: Supertec FB02.
Team Principal: Tom Walkinshaw. Technical Director: Mike Coughlan. Chief Designer: Eghbal Hamidy.
- Goal for the 2000 season: Arrows team principal Tom Walkinshaw stated at the start of the season: "There is no pressure on us, we can only do better than we're forecast to do. I think we've assembled one of the best engineering teams in Formula One here, we've got a good engine. I'm sure we've got a good car once we get it developed, and we've got two good drivers." Often the fastest car through the speedtraps, the Arrows was nonetheless disappointing.
- Progress during the 2000 season: At the end of the 1999 season Arrows were putting most of their efforts into developing the new A21. The A21 was spectacular in winter testing but proved to be fragile during the season. Jos Verstappen explained the strengths and weaknesses of the A21, saying: "Our car is very fast on the straight but you have to have a combination of quick on the straights but also on high and low speed corners. Obviously I think our car works very well on lower downforce circuits, so circuits like Hungary are where we will have to work very hard. We have a very quick car but it's not 100% reliable yet."
- Greatest Assets: Arrows appear to be on a secure financial footing. Furthermore, the A21 was very good in the wet.
- Achilles Heel: Unreliability and poor performance on high-downforce circuits.
Red Bull Sauber-Petronas 8th, 6 Points
0 Wins, 0 Fastest Laps, 0 Pole Positions, 8 DNFs
Chassis: Sauber C19. Engine: Petronas SPE 04A (Ferrari 048).
Team Principal: Peter Sauber. Technical Director: Leo Ress. Chief Designer: Sergio Rinland.
- Goal for the 2000 season: Team Principal Peter Sauber stated ahead of the 2000 season: "Formula One is a very difficult league. To be up at the front means that you have to work a lot and invest a lot and I believe that we will improve in comparison to our rather weak season in 1999."
- Progress during the 2000 season: Sauber improved aerodynamic efficiency, reduced the car's weight and improved reliability, especially in the gearbox. Sauber lost a point at Australia by fitting the nose from a 1999 Sauber C18 which exceeded the maximum dimensions allowed. Regardless, the team remains a mid-to-back runner, and does not seem to go anywhere.
- Greatest Assets: Reliability.
- Achilles Heel: Limited funding and resources, inner-team friction between drivers and owner. Moreover, Sauber do not have their own wind-tunnel yet.
Jaguar Racing 9th, 4 Points
0 Wins, 0 Fastest Laps, 0 Pole Positions, 13 DNFs
Chassis: Jaguar R1. Engine: Cosworth CR2.
Team Principal: Neil Ressler. Technical Director: Gary Anderson. Chief Designer: John Russell.
- Goal for the 2000 season: Jaguar's Chairman, Dr. Wolfgang Reitzle, said on the launch of the Jaguar R1 that "Our ultimate objective is the ultimate prize in motorsport - the FIA Formula One World Championship." Jaguar never looked further away from that goal as they do now.
- Progress during the 2000 season: Jaguar were perhaps the most disappointing team of 2000. The 1999 Stewart was so competitive that great things were expected from Jaguar. Ford's financial muscle was expected to give Jaguar the resources to respond very quickly to changes and to be able to introduce new developments quickly, but this didn't happen. Like Prost, Jaguar adopted a common oil system for the engine and gearbox, which was a mistake: the gearbox was fragile, the clutch design was weak - which led to bad starts, and there were aerodynamic problems at the back of the car.
- Greatest assets: Ford's financial assets.
- Achilles heel: The Jaguar team does not have their own wind tunnel and some of the Jaguar personnel lack Formula One experience.
Telefonica Minardi 10th, 0 Points
0 Wins, 0 Fastest Laps, 0 Pole Positions, 12 DNFs
Chassis: Minardi M02. Engine: Fondmetal (Cosworth).
Team Principal: Gian Carlo Minardi. Technical Director: Gustav Brunner. Chief Designer: Gabriele Tredozi.
- Progress during the 2000 season: Although the Minardi drivers were the tail-end Charlies during qualifying, they closed the gap between themselves and the pole-sitters. Despite being powered by a two-year-old Cosworth engine, the Minardi M02 was surprisingly quick during the races and on two occasions gave McLaren a run for their money. The season ended badly with Fondmetal's Gabriele Rumi selling out and Telefonica withdrawing their sponsorship.
- Greatest Assets: Reliability, experience and commitment.
- Achilles Heel: Limited funding and resources, an outdated engine and inexperienced drivers.
Gauloises Prost-Peugeot 11th, 0 Points
0 Wins, 0 Fastest Laps, 0 Pole Positions, 22 DNFs
Chassis: Prost AP03. Engine: Peugeot A20.
Team Principal: Alain Prost. Technical Director: Jean-Paul Gousset. Chief Designer: Loic Bigois and John Barnard.