Atlas F1 is going to keep an eye on the battle between team mates throughout the season by race and overall averages (again). The measurement is simple. We compare the intra-team difference in seconds on Saturday. Some may say compensation must be given in the favouritism between the number one and two seats within the team. We, on the other hand, do not grant that pardon. For better or worse, our analyses will be on the perfect world of egalitarian status in intra-team rivalry.
With four qualifying sessions completed for 1999, the differentials are on a roll. Let's see which drivers deserve bragging rights.
- Frentzen. And what a gap did Heinz-Harald Frentzen open up on his Jordan teammate, Damon Hill! After a couple of races of playing cat-and-mouse with each other, with the gap between the two constantly under a tenth of a second, there came Monaco and let the German stamp a remarkable authority of the former World Champion. Oh well, it wasn't Damon's weekend, really, as the race later proved beyond a doubt.
- Badoer Luca badoer returned at San Marino to race for Minardi, after an injury sustained in testing. His first qualifying was worrying; he qualified almost a second behind rookie Marc Gene. But came Monaco, and the Italian proved to be back to form, outqualifying the Spaniard by over a second, placing him right up on the overall average list, second to Jacques Villeneuve.
- Zanardi. If qualifying is to be any indication to a driver's progress, then Alex Zanardi is certainly making a very big one. Four rounds into the championship, CART champion has finally outqualified his teammate, Ralf Schumacher, and by over half a second. It remains to be seen if this is a beginning of a trend, or whether this is just Zanardi's mastering of the street circuits that allowed him a one-time glow in the charts.
- The Benetton pair. Once again, Giancarlo Fisichella and Alex Wurz are virtually inseparable - a mere 0.030sec advantage to Fisichella. However, it's still the Italian that always gets the edge over his Austrian teammate.
The average gap between teammates has increased this weekend to 0.6714sec, compared with 0.922sec in Australia; 0.446sec in Brazil; and 0.601sec in San Marino.