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The Atlas F1 2005 Gamble



 
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The Atlas F1 Drivers WC Gamble

The Atlas F1 Constructors WC Gamble



    (ABa)

1. M.Schumacher; 2. Raikkonen; 3. Montoya; 4. Barrichello; 5. Fisichella

1. Ferrari; 2. McLaren; 3. Renault; 4. Williams; 5. BAR

Schumacher will win through in the end, because his teammate will not be taking points off him, but it could be very close. I would love to see Renault and McLaren fight for supremacy for a change. I give Kimi the edge over Juan but it could easily go the other way. Rubens has to be a player, even if he won't win the title, while Renault could make me look very stupid with both Alonso and Fisi worth a bet. I think there could be quite a few winners.


    (ABr)

1. M.Schumacher; 2. Montoya; 3. Barrichello; 4. Raikkonen; 5. Button

1. Ferrari; 2. McLaren; 3. BAR; 4. Renault; 5. Williams

No point being stupid in such a list; Ferrari are going to win again. However, I do hope that McLaren give them a run for their money and at least they have the drivers to do it. My biggest regret is that I cannot put WilliamsF1 higher, but the stories coming from testing do not look good for them. Despite reports of BAR problems, I still believe they are the team that will continue to go up rather than down and I truly believe that Jenson will get that much deserved win in 2005. If I was a total gambler I would put Juan Pablo to win the title, but then my heart would be ruling my head!


    (JN)

1. M.Schumacher; 2. Montoya; 3. Fisichella; 4. Raikkonen; 5. Alonso

1. McLaren; 2. Ferrari; 3. Renault; 4. BAR; 5. Williams

Despite pre-season wishful thinking that Ferrari's lack of pace will translate into a lack of results during the season, Schuey and the design team remain ultra-strong and, with the F2005 coming on tap in May, expect yet another World Championship title going to Maranello. But don't expect the kind of walkover we witnessed in 2004. McLaren and Renault are going to be a constant thorn in Ferrari's side - and this battle is going to go all the way to the wire. Behind this top three, Williams and BAR will have an almighty fight, and both teams should find themselves in the occasional hunt for victories. Unfortunately that means more disappointment for Toyota.


    (RH)

1. M.Schumacher; 2. Montoya; 3. Alonso; 4. Raikkonen; 5. Button

1. Ferrari; 2. McLaren; 3. Renault; 4. BAR; 5. Williams

Will the new rules and sporting format produce a new Champion? Will Ferrari finally drop the ball, if only for a while? In recent years, the Championships have been Ferrari's to lose and they have defied all conventional F1 wisdom that the wheel of fortune must eventually turn against them. This year, who really knows? The main story this season will be the battle between JPM and Kimi. Ice verses fire, no prisoners. Sub plots to include whether the Williams team will be a factor at all. Is Mark Webber really a star or just a pretender? And will the Renault/Alonso combination stake a claim for greatness?


    (RB)

1. Raikkonen; 2. M.Schumacher; 3. Alonso; 4. Montoya; 5. Button

1. McLaren; 2. Ferrari; 3. Renault; 4. BAR; 5. Williams

Kimi Raikkonen will break Michael Schumacher's Championship streak and earn his maiden Championship title, but not without a fight from the reigning WDC. Fernando Alonso will capitalise on an improved Renault to beat Raikkonen's teammate, Juan Pablo Montoya, narrowly into third. Jenson Button will slip to fifth in the WDC race. With two hungry drivers and an early-season advantage, McLaren will take the Constructors' title away from Ferrari, with the other major Bridgestone runners rounding out the top five.


    (WG)

1. M.Schumacher; 2. Montoya; 3. Alonso; 4. Barrichello; 5. Raikkonen

1. Ferrari; 2. McLaren; 3. Renault; 4. BAR; 5. Williams

Last year most of us gambled on Schumacher losing his crown but instead he held onto it in style, so it is hard to go against him again this season. Montoya looks like he will excel in his new home and push Schumacher all the way if McLaren are, indeed, the best of the rest while Alonso could push Renault forward.

Ferrari will have the upper hand from the start with a 2004 car good enough to allow them to maximise development on their 2005 car and the absolute minimum they will expect is a Constructors' title. Behind them it is a tough call, but McLaren cannot have another disastrous year and the Renault looks like it is up to the job. The BAR does too, but it has struggled in testing, while the Williams seems to look too conservative and their team too unstable to mount a firm challenge.


    (DC)

1. M.Schumacher; 2. Raikkonen; 3. Montoya; 4. Barrichello; 5. Fisichella

1. McLaren; 2. Ferrari; 3. Renault; 4. Williams; 5. BAR

Despite having more titles than God, it seems that nothing can stop Michael Schumacher from taking yet another. Perhaps he'll stop when he has more than everyone else in history combined, but I'm not holding my breath. McLaren looks to have built a great car, and running as the first of the circuit sweepers (as Ron Dennis once famously referred to the third drivers) on Friday will give them the advantage that Renault (2003) and BAR (2004) enjoyed. Rubens is still driving for Ferrari, and Fisichella will put another dent in the Cult of Alonso.

McLaren to be the first non Italian Championship winner of the century by dint of both drivers outscoring Barrichello, which will show us how important the Constructors' title is to Ferrari. Renault next, mostly on the back of Alonso throwing a vastly improved car into the scenery again while losing to another underrated Italian. Williams will hopefully sort out their currently woeful car by mid-season, and their drivers will be more than enough to beat BAR's.


    (TO)

1. M.Schumacher; 2. Montoya; 3. Sato; 4. Raikkonen; 5. Alonso

1. Ferrari; 2. McLaren; 3. BAR; 4. Renault; 5. Williams

Luck favors the well-prepared, and with the new aerodynamic restrictions in place, hard tires and long-lived engines, the technologically strongest and most nimble of the teams will have the edge in 2005 and will make their own luck. Thus, Ferrari, McLaren and Honda are the cars on top and Michael, JPM and Sato are the drivers within those teams who are poised to be the beneficiaries of The Edge, with Alonso, Kimi and Rubens pulling up their socks for a win or two, and Williams-BMW being left in the dust. Having achieved one victory (after umpteen podiums), by mid-season, Williams-bound Button will be learning Japanese in order to improve his chances at staying with Honda, notwithstanding the run of bad luck and detonated Honda engines he will leave in his wake.


    (DR)

1. Raikkonen; 2. M.Schumacher; 3. Alonso; 4. Barrichello; 5. Button

1. Ferrari; 2. McLaren; 3. Renault; 4. BAR; 5. Williams

Sorry, but I can see Ferrari taking the Constructors' for the seventh time on the trot, but it will be all change on the Drivers' front, as the two point variance between first and first-loser is too large for MS to haul in after battling through the first four events with F2004M. The Constructors', though, will be different: as the Michelin runners scrap amongst each other, Bridgestone and Maranello will put up a disciplined, unified performance which will see Jean Todt collect the trophy (and millions more in bonuses) come China. Everything points to a fascinating season, particularly as 'loose' areas of 2005's revised regulations are variously interpreted...


    (PE)

1. M.Schumacher; 2. Alonso; 3. Montoya; 4. Barrichello; 5. Raikkonen

1. Ferrari; 2. McLaren; 3. Renault; 4. Williams; 5. BAR

In 2005, reliability and intelligent driving will be key to winning races, and by now everybody knows what team have the best reliability and who is the smartest driver, hence the choice is easy: Schumacher by a mile. I chose to buy the winter hype and picked Alonso to be runner-up. Montoya will be a better driver at McLaren and will dominate Raikkonen. The Ferrari will not be so dominant, however, and so Barrichello will have to settle for fourth.

Ferrari will be the only team who will not have different drivers or managers or engines or tyres, and the rules will benefit them, although they are likely to struggle a bit with the performance of Bridgestone. McLaren will benefit from their third car on Fridays, while Renault will be up there fighting for victories more often. Williams will fight for the podium but not for wins, and BAR will fail to keep their 2004 momentum.


    (TK)

1. M.Schumacher; 2. Raikkonen; 3. Montoya; 4. Button; 5. Fisichella

1. McLaren; 2. Ferrari; 3. Williams; 4. Renault; 5. BAR

Schumacher in a Ferrari is a phenomenal combination, but in the last couple of years they have been helped by their closest rivals failing to close them down. This year, unless all the top four teams falter again, or Michelin has an appalling year, Ferrari's stranglehold on the Constructors' Championship should falter. Considering the talent driving for McLaren and their dogged improvement, they have an opportunity to surpass Ferrari, though there is some danger that their drivers will fair less well if they take too many points off each other. Williams, BAR and Renault should also be strong, with the rules benefitting experience and smoothness over race distances, which would show the strengths of Button and Fisichella.


    (CS)

1. Alonso; 2. M.Schumacher; 3. Raikkonen; 4. Button; 5. Barrichello

1. Ferrari; 2. McLaren; 3. Renault; 4. BAR; 5. Williams

Common sense should put Michael at the top of the Drivers' and logic would put Raikkonen next, but I see the potential Ferrari/McLaren duel for wins leaving a gap for Alonso to take the Championship based on consistency and not race wins. Button's consistency will also pay off by beating Rubens into fourth, as Rubens couldn't take the battle to the hard charging Michelin rivals. Despite Rubens' lower Championship position, Ferrari top out as the higher scoring team, McLaren beaten by Montoya's more erratic form. Renault will beat BAR and Williams, who I expect to trail by a small margin.


    (MG)

1. M.Schumacher; 2. Raikkonen; 3. Button; 4. Alonso; 5. Webber

1. Ferrari; 2. McLaren; 3. BAR; 4. Renault; 5. Williams

The fact that Ferrari will again start the year with a development of last year's car which was painfully fast, and painfully reliable means that Michael will again start the year on the right foot, and it's up to everyone else to do something about it.

At this stage it appears that McLaren might have made some significant steps over the off-season, and their cause will be helped further with the use of a third driver on Fridays. Deciding which of the team's drivers will be the standout is harder, but I still think that Kimi is better equipped than Juan Pablo to fight a season-long campaign.

BAR and Renault will both be quick, but reports are filtering through that both teams have hurdles to overcome prior to Melbourne. Assuming that they do, Button will build upon his momentum from last year, while Alonso will get the better of Fisichella because, well, he just will. But it will be a close thing.

Gut feelings tell me that recent history might repeat for Williams, and that the team will again roll out a car in Melbourne that is less quick than they expected it to be. They'll sort it out, as they always do, however it might be too late to have an impact on the title.


    (MS)

1. M.Schumacher; 2. Barrichello; 3. Webber; 4. Button; 5. Alonso

1. Ferrari; 2. McLaren; 3. Williams; 4. Toyota; 5. BAR

To be honest, Michael Schumacher is the only choice I'm fully convinced of. Behind him, it might be Barrichello on the merits of Ferrari. After that it's a matter of take a pick from the bunch: Raikkonen, Montoya, Webber, Alonso, Fisichella, Button, Ralf, Trulli... The BAR seems to lack reliability early on, which is the reason for giving Webber the vote of confidence ahead of Button. Alonso gets fifth, because he's shown that, while error prone, he can rise above on a good day and make the difference with a win.

Ferrari should have no problem as the rest of the teams will have their hands full early on in getting the new line-up's cat and mouse games settled. Behind them, McLaren have the most experienced package if, and only if, the two drivers manage to work together well. Williams choice of a pair of relaxed, serious drivers could bring them on their way up and give them the edge over Toyota, who have a strong driver couple but have yet to learn to be winners as a team. Fifth will be close between Renault and BAR. While Sato and Alonso both have extreme ups and downs, I think Button has more potential than Fisichella.


    (DW)

1. Raikkonen; 2. M.Schumacher; 3. Alonso; 4. Montoya; 5. Button

1. McLaren; 2. Ferrari; 3. Renault; 4. BAR; 5. Williams

I feel Raikkonen and McLaren can do it after coming so close in 2003 and a strong run late in 2004. I still think Michael will be up there, however, with Alonso close behind him. Montoya will also feature, while Button will round out the top five, simply because other teams will improve. On the subject of teams, McLaren will edge out Ferrari and Renault, these three teams forcing BAR down to fourth while Williams will struggle somewhat but still remain in the top five.


    (RK)

1. M.Schumacher; 2. Montoya; 3. Raikkonen; 4. Barrichello; 5. Alonso

1. Ferrari; 2. McLaren; 3. Renault; 4. Williams; 5. BAR

Michael Schumacher's ability to win every Bridgestone race should seal the title. How much of a fight McLaren and Renault will put to Ferrari this season depends mostly on the F2005, how reliable it is, and Bridgestone. Reliability is twice as important now as a single engine failure essentially loses two races. I expect Montoya to edge out Raikkonen this season just as McLaren will edge out Renault. Button will impress with BAR in fierce midfield struggle between Williams, BAR, Toyota and Red Bull Racing.


    (MJ)

1. M.Schumacher; 2. Raikkonen; 3. Button; 4. Webber; 5. Alonso

1. Ferrari; 2. McLaren; 3. Renault; 4. Williams; 5. BAR

Last year, everyone's gamble was made a mockery by the slump in form of Williams and McLaren. This year, McLaren look stronger, as do BAR, Williams and Renault - the top three looks like a top five. The Australian within me cheers for Mark Webber, but I don't think Williams are an out-of-the-box winner. I am also left with question marks over Nick Heidfeld and Takuma Sato. That said, nearly anything could happen this year, and tyres look set to be a big factor circuit to circuit.


    (BT)

1. M.Schumacher; 2. Alonso; 3. Raikkonen; 4. Barrichello; 5. Montoya

1. Ferrari; 2. McLaren; 3. Renault; 4. Williams; 5. BAR

Sadly, I see no reason to believe that things will be much different this season, and thus I am predicting another Ferrari walkover. Changes in rules tend to favour the dominant teams, and Ferrari have been nothing if not dominant in the past couple of years. McLaren and Renault will be the main challengers to Ferrari, but I don't think that a real challenge for the Championship will materialise.

I suspect that BAR will stumble this year, and Jenson Button may wish that his contract with Williams had come through. Williams too, however, are unlikely to set the world on fire and will generally be behind the top three teams. Sauber will have a strong year, building on their successes of last year, but will still struggle to be consistent performers against the top teams.


    (MB)

1. Alonso; 2. M.Schumacher; 3. Raikkonen; 4. Barrichello; 5. Fisichella

1. Ferrari; 2. Renault; 3. McLaren; 4. Williams; 5. BAR

Fernando Alonso will be World Champion this year. The Renault seems to be better than last year, the Michelins seem to be working better than ever, and Alonso himself now has the necessary experience to become World Champion. The battle will be long and hard between Alonso, Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen, and it will probably go all the way to the Chinese Grand Prix. Barrichello, Fisichella, Montoya, Heidfeld and Webber will fight it out behind the top three, with Heidfeld defeating Webber. Due to the reliability of Ferrari, they will still take the Constructors' title ahead of Renault and McLaren. BAR won't be able to show the same form as last year and will fall back behind Renault, McLaren and Williams again.


    (ML)

1. M.Schumacher; 2. Raikkonen; 3. Montoya; 4. Barrichello; 5. Fisichella

1. Ferrari; 2. McLaren; 3. Renault; 4. BAR; 5. Williams

The 2005 season seems to be quite uncertain, at least based on winter testing performances. But while McLaren and Renault look like the teams to beat, who can underestimate Ferrari? Their F2004M car might not be setting the pace, but even if they aren't sandbagging, won't the F2005 be the car best adapted to the new regulations, thanks to the longer development time? BAR and Williams look a bit behind at the moment, but it would be surprising if they won't put a strong challenge to the front runners. As usual, I can't see anyone beating Schumacher to the title, but hopefully the other top team drivers won't be too far behind, with Raikkonen and Montoya providing some exciting battles. Barrichello and Fisichella should also be fighting for best of the rest.


    (RS)

1. M.Schumacher; 2. Raikkonen; 3. Montoya; 4. Alonso; 5. Button

1. McLaren; 2. Ferrari; 3. Renault; 4. BAR; 5. Williams

Schumacher is the clear favorite for the Drivers' title based on past form and by virtue of having the team with the least off-season changes. I tip McLaren to take the Constructors' title because, based on what little information you can gleam from winter testing, they seem to be 'in the ballpark' and have the benefit of two very quick drivers as well as an experienced Friday tester. However, with no clear No. 1 in the team, Montoya and Raikkonen will only succeed in minimising the maximum points of the other pilot. Lined up against Ferrari's scorched-earth policy of collecting points, it all but hands Schumacher the title.

Renault will be a side act to the main event this season, with Alonso's experience with the car and team giving him the crucial edge over Fisichella's overall Grand Prix experience. BAR will struggle to maintain their performances of 2004, and even achieving that won't be enough in the face of an improved McLaren and a solid Renault effort. Williams will continue to wander and while Webber and Heidfeld will center the team, it won't be enough to salvage a 2005 title attempt.


    (BG)

1. M.Schumacher; 2. Raikkonen; 3. Montoya; 4. Barrichello; 5. Fisichella

1. Ferrari; 2. McLaren; 3. Renault; 4. BAR; 5. Williams

For the past few years, every season begins with the hope that some team and some driver will oust Michael Schumacher and Ferrari from the top. And for the past few years it simply hasn't happened. I don't see a fundamental reason why this season should be different. McLaren's boss Ron Dennis used to mock Ferrari, calling them the Winter Champions - because every year they showed exceptional promise in winter testing, and would then just flop in the season. Well, Ron, guess what: that's exactly what McLaren have been doing in the 21st century. And having the best and most interesting drivers' line up isn't enough, sadly, to ensure a win.

That said, I do give in to the hype coming out of Paragon and accordingly selected McLaren as runners up in both Championships. I gave Kimi Raikkonen the edge over Juan Pablo Montoya because he strikes me as a better and more consistent driver, not to mention he has the advantage of experience in the team. But really, other than selecting Ferrari and Michael Schumacher for the first spot, everything else is just a wild guess and a reflection of the hype that dominated the pre-season preparations. And by the end of the season, none of this gamble will look even remotely accurate.



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