FORMULA ONE: Schumacher Looking To Make History At Silverstone

Posted By David Treffer
Contributing Motorsports Editor, The Auto Channel

July 11, 2001

For Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher this weekend at Silverstone could be a historic one. With a victory the German ace will tie Alain Prost for the top spot of fifty-one career victories in Grand Prix racing which is an incredible feat in itself. Secondly, if Schumacher wins this weekend he will all but clinch the Formula One Drivers Championship. A victory by Schumacher would also deliver a crushing psychological blow to McLaren and Williams. Both Team McLaren and Williams consider the Silverstone track a "home track".

Currently Schumacher enjoys a 31-point lead over McLaren driver David Coulthard. With only seven races left in the season, Coulthard would need an incredible run of victories to overcome Schumacher. While the possibilities exist that Schumacher could have seven disastrous races in a row the chances of that happening are very unlikely. The reliability factor has certainly been in Schumacher's corner so far this year. Of the ten races completed, Schumacher has suffered only one (Imola) retirement. Coulthard on the other hand has had his share of misfortune. A blown engine (Canada), botched launch control (Monaco) and a ten-second penalty (French GP) have contributed to a lackluster mid-season. The development work at McLaren, which is usually a leader in the world of F1, has been playing catch-up with Ferrari all season.

Realistically, Coulthard will be hard-pressed not to look over his shoulder at a rapidly closing Ralf Schumacher. Williams has demonstrated that they are back as a force in F1. Ralf Schumacher has finally demonstrated the maturity that many pundits had said was lacking in his driving repertoire. With teammate Juan Montoya raising the level of his game to match Ralf Schumacher look for both drivers to be in the hunt for victories over the remaining races.

The other championship at stake in the world of Formula One is the manufacturer's title. Currently Ferrari enjoys a fifty-two-point lead over McLaren. Again, only incredibly bad luck will deter Ferrari from winning. With seven races remaining McLaren could score a maximum of 112 points to Ferrari's 49 points. That scenario plays out only if Coulthard and Hakkinen each score 1-2 placements and Schumacher and Barichello score 3-4 placements over the remaining races. That scenario is very unlikely considering Ferrari's performance reliability to date.

As the old sage goes "Time will tell the story." Unfortunately for David Coulthard the sand in the time bottle is rapidly departing.

Text provided by David Treffer

Editors Note: To view hundreds of hot photos and racing art, please visit The Racing Image Galleries and The Visions of Speed Art Gallery

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