Points make prizes for constructors

Michael Schumacher is this year's Formula 1 world champion. No possible outcome at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix can change that, but the constructors' title is still wide open so heavyweights Ferrari and McLaren are set to go head-to-head again this weekend

Points make prizes for constructors

Ferrari heads into Sunday's race as favourite to take the constructors' championship with a 13-point lead over its McLaren-Mercedes rivals. Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard have to finish first and second - or at worst third - to take the title, but a second place finish for either Ferrari will be good enough to clinch it for the Italian team.

"Our preparation for Malaysia is no different from our preparation for any other Grand Prix - we go there to win," said McLaren boss Ron Dennis.

Dennis has always maintained that the constructors' title is just as important as the drivers' crown, but the McLaren duo have their work cut out if they are to take a ninth title back to Woking.

Conditions are not likely to make things any easier for the drivers as Sunday's race takes place in the middle of the Malaysian rainy season with humidity at a high. Schumacher has proved time and again that he is untouchable in the wet and with the pressure of the championship off, the now triple world champion will be hard to beat.

"With the title now decided, it will certainly be more enjoyable just racing for the win without the pressure of the championship to think about," said Schumacher.

The 21-year drivers' championship drought may have ended for the Prancing Horse, but the Maranello-based team is taking the final Grand Prix of 2000 very seriously. In 1999 Schumacher and then team mate Eddie Irvine dominated the race at the Sepang Circuit, but the team lost its points due to a technical infringement.

"With only four points needed to take the contsructors' title as well," said Ferrari sporting director Jean Todt, "there is no point taking any technical risks at the last race of the season."

Schumacher has won the last four races out of five whereas McLaren have not been the first to the flag since the Belgian GP at the end of August. Mika has something to prove and Michael has nothing to lose - championship or no championship, Sunday's race should worth watching regardless...


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