Analysis: Advantage Shifts to Ferrari

Michael Schumacher and Ferrari could reclaim the Formula One Championship lead at the very track where they triggered world wide outrage last year.

Analysis: Advantage Shifts to Ferrari

Michael Schumacher and Ferrari could reclaim the Formula One Championship lead at the very track where they triggered world wide outrage last year.

Austria, venue for a race which became instantly notorious last season when Ferrari issued team orders to ensure that Schumacher won, is next up after the five times champion's triumph in Spain on Sunday.

Such orders are now banned and Schumacher, mocked only a month ago as he reeled from his worst ever start to a season, will be ready to put the record straight in two weeks' time.

The German is on a roll and cashed in on Sunday as McLaren and Championship leader Kimi Raikkonen, who crashed out on the starting grid in Barcelona before teammate David Coulthard also retired, fell apart. Spain marked a key stage in the season.

Ferrari's new F2003-GA car won on its debut as Schumacher collected his second successive victory after failing to make the podium in the opening three rounds.

The champion, a winner 11 times last year, left Spain second overall and just four points behind Raikkonen as they head for Spielberg and what is expected to be Austria's last appearance on the calendar. Ferrari are now just three points adrift of McLaren in the Constructors' Championship.

"Today was the day," Schumacher said as he celebrated victory and contemplated McLaren's misfortune. "It's a perfect day in both directions, for the Championship and the new car. We can be very, very happy,"

Happy Todt

Ferrari sporting director Jean Todt was content and relieved that the new Ferrari had proved its reliability and closed the gap at the top.

"I was more nervous, of course, having a new car and not knowing exactly during the race the reliability potential," he said. "For the first race it was a great result; pole, first and second position with more fuel than our direct competitors behind so it shows the potential of the car."

Despite Renault's strong showing, with Spaniard Fernando Alonso splitting the Ferraris with a memorable second for his third podium of the year, Todt said McLaren remained the World Champions' major rivals.

"We will see McLaren with a new car and we know that McLaren is strong on all the circuits," he said. "If you see the start of the season, without having problems, Renault was not as consistent as McLaren was. But still they are in the game."

McLaren, winners of the first two races of the season with their old car still in service, will not want a repeat of what team boss Ron Dennis called a "catalogue of problems".

"This was not our weekend," said Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug. "Our plan was to have a long first stint but the crashes prevented this. In two weeks it's the Austrian Grand Prix and we are looking forward to this."

shares
comments
Triumphant Schumacher in Love with F2003-GA

Previous article

Triumphant Schumacher in Love with F2003-GA

Next article

Renault aiming at Top Three

Renault aiming at Top Three
Load comments
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Plus

Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates Plus

Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates

For the second time in 2021, McLaren will line up for the start of a grand prix from the first row. It knows it has the chance of “glory” if things go well for Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris at the start of the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, but even if they just maintain their grid positions, signs from the rest of the Monza weekend suggest success is very possible for Formula 1’s other orange army

Formula 1
Sep 12, 2021
The F1 media favourite who lifted a broken Lotus Plus

The F1 media favourite who lifted a broken Lotus

Graham Hill was nearly 30 when he made his Formula 1 debut. NIGEL ROEBUCK examines the life of a gifted racer whose talismanic personality defined an era

Formula 1
Sep 11, 2021