Preview: Schumacher Set to Wrap Up Title in Belgium

Michael Schumacher returns to one of his favourite circuits this weekend with the intention of wrapping up a seventh world title in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday.

Preview: Schumacher Set to Wrap Up Title in Belgium

Michael Schumacher returns to one of his favourite circuits this weekend with the intention of wrapping up a seventh world title in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday.

The Belgian race is back on the Formula One calendar after a year's absence and victory for Germany's Schumacher would ensure the Drivers' Championship is concluded at Spa.

The Ferrari driver has won 12 of the 13 Grands Prix this season and a 13th triumph at the circuit where he made his Formula One debut in 1991 would put his rivals out of their misery.

Schumacher admitted facing a dilemma after his latest win in Hungary of whether to wrap up the title in Belgium or wait two weeks until Ferrari's home Italian Grand Prix at Monza. But the six-time World Champion wants things completed in Belgium with a seventh win at the high-speed Spa circuit.

"I know that the title will be one of the topics of conversation this weekend," said Schumacher, who claimed his maiden Grand Prix victory at Spa in 1992. "But I won't be approaching this race any differently than the others.

"The important thing is to race well and whatever happens, happens. It's great being in a position to win the title at this stage but this is the fruit of an unexpected and superb season."

A Schumacher win would end the Championship race because even if his teammate Rubens Barrichello finishes second he would be 40 points behind with 40 remaining. Schumacher would lift a fifth successive title.

Ferrari have already won a sixth consecutive Constructors' Championship after a one-two finish at the last race in Hungary but Brazilian Barrichello has vowed to give it his all to drag the drivers' title race on to Italy.

"I think we just keep on trying," Barrichello said.

Schumacher, conscious of the threat posed by his teammate, added: "Rubens still has a mathematical chance of winning and I take his challenge seriously."

Aside from the Ferrari and Schumacher show, BAR-Honda's Briton Jenson Button is determined to strengthen his grip on third place in the drivers' standings.

Button is likely to learn his future for 2005 after the race when the International Automobile Association's (FIA) Contract Recognition Board decide if BAR have a firm contract for next year or whether Williams have the right to sign him.

For now the 24-year-old is focused on his goal of picking up vital points at Spa as he aims to hang on to third place and in the process help BAR challenge for second in the Constructors' Championship where they trail Renault by eight points.

"Although Ferrari have won the constructors', the competition is still strong for the remaining places in the championship," Button said. "I'm looking forward to the race and to hopefully gaining some more all-important points for the team."

Renault's Fernando Alonso claimed the final place on the podium in Hungary behind Schumacher and Barrichello but his teammate Jarno Trulli retired from the race.

Trulli is in the midst of a slump in form having been told he will lose his seat to fellow Italian Giancarlo Fisichella next season but is determined to get his campaign back on track.

Williams, fourth in the Constructors' Championship, have Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia replacing the injured Ralf Schumacher for the third consecutive race as they chase much-needed points.

McLaren, one place further back, head to Spa determined to put the ghosts of Hungary behind them after Kimi Raikkonen retired and David Coulthard ended outside the points in ninth.

shares
comments
Bernoldi to Test for BAR in September

Previous article

Bernoldi to Test for BAR in September

Next article

DC backs refuelling ban

DC backs refuelling ban
Load comments
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021
Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems Plus

Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of action for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, on the Istanbul circuit’s much improved track surface. But the Black Arrows squad’s position isn’t quite what it seems. Here’s why

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021
The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower Plus

The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower

On 8 October 1961, Innes Ireland claimed victory at the United States Grand Prix to herald the true arrival of a new Formula 1 giant. While Team Lotus endured plenty of highs and lows until the team folded over three decades later, Colin Chapman's squad made F1 history and helped shape the championship

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021