Formula one, the jpoc 2001 season interim review after the first four races

After four races, who is good and who looks like they just don't belong there?

Looking Good

Williams BMW

Well done Frank, Patrick and the guys from Munich. The team's goal for the year was to strengthen their position as best of the rest behind Ferrari and McLaren and to fight for the occasional victory. After three races, it looked as though they were on course and after four races, it looks as though they are there.

Montoya

Frank must have hoped that his newest CART import would be another Villeneuve and not another Zanardi. It looks like he struck paydirt with Montoya. The Colombian's overtaking move on Schumacher in Brazil was a delight. Now we just need JP to get some points on the board.

Ralf

Michael was not the only Schumacher to receive a Colombian wake up call. Ralf has responded well to the presence of a team mate who is genuinely fast. I'd mark him down a little for having allowed weaker team mates to make him a little less hungry but he has more than made up for that.

Michelin

Their first four races. One that they might have won and one that they did. We all knew that they would be winners eventually but few thought that they would do it so convincinly so soon.

Sauber

Great results and comparing well to the Prost which uses the same engines. Two young drivers keeping out of trouble and chalking up respectable results.

Coulthard

Well, we start every season with David, Ron and Norbert all saying yet again "this year", or at least, "it could be this year". Well, if we are talking about the championship, it will probably not be this year but this could well be the year when DC outshines Mika.

Asiatech

Last year's Peugeot engine received a lot of verbal abuse from the Prost team. This year, the engine has re-emerged as the Asiatech unit powering the Arrows to rather more success than Prost is having with their shiny glamorous customer Ferrari engines.

Well done Asiatech and perhaps the poor performance of the Prost team was not down to the motor.

Should take up tiddlywinks

Prost

Last year was an awful time for the Prost team. Team owner, Alain Prost blamed it all on the team's Peugeot engines. This year would be different we were told. Prost would be using Ferrari customer engines so, in 2001 we see Prost with the engines that last year won the championship.

But there has not been any big difference in the team's performance. Come on Prost. Show us the beef. You should be a lot closer to Sauber, the other team with the same engines.

Button

Boy wonder is looking less special this year. OK, he is suffering from what looks to be a truly dire engine but if he was as good as folks say, he'd be blowing Fisichella into the weeds.

Renault

Oh dear. The new wide V engine from Renault is off to an awful start. The original plan was to use the old Renault-Supertec lump this year and to use the new engine in 2002.

Then we had the new strategy to consider the possibility of using the new engine this year if it was ready. Well, that sounds like a good idea to me but I am not impressed with the strategy as implemented which seems to have been to use the new engine despite that fact that it is clearly far from ready. Oh dear. Will the old Supertec lump fit this year's chassis?

Verstappen

Should be spending the next eight races playing tiddlywinks and not racing after the stupidest behaviour of lapped driver in a long time.

Hakkinnen

I don't expect Mika to be driving next year and by the looks of things so far, neither does he.

Villeneuve

Long held to be the finest driver bar big Schumi and perhaps Mika, Jaques looks at best level with Panis. He is now in his third year of dragging the BAR round but each year, he has had in mind the possibility that if he thinks that it is not working out, he could switch to another team. Well, who would have him now given that Panis has him pegged and would certainly cost a lot less? I doubt that JV will be driving next year.

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