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Sunday, 13 October, 2002, 14:12 GMT 15:12 UK
Can anyone challenge Ferrari?
Formula One drivers pose for photographers prior to start the final of the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix
Michael Schumacher cements Ferrari's dominance of F1 with his 11th victory of the season in Japan.

Will anyone be able to rival Ferrari's force in 2003?


The 2002 Formula One season has been all about the supremacy of Schumacher and his Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello.

The German's devastating display in Japan, marked his 64th career win, and he is now 13 victories clear of the man in second place in the record books, Frenchman Alain Prost.

Coupled with Schumacher's driving skills the F2002 had several technological advantages including their tailor-made Bridgestones.

But will 2003 see a serious challenge to Ferrari's title?


FIA will make a big mistake by demonizing their biggest heroes of 2002: Schumacher and Ferrari. F1 will loose more fans if the measures pushed by Ecclestone and Mosley are adopted (Ferrari fans big in the US and Schumacher fans big in Germany will quit). Others will look for excellence elsewhere.

F1: make your heroes stand above the heroes of other sports. The enemies of F1 are not Ferrari or Schumacher, but other sports that are stealing the fans.
Alex, USA

If I could fit into one of those Ferrari F1 cockpits - which are designed for mini-men -I could finish in the top six in my first year on the circuit. Anybody with a license would finish in the top 10.
Bernard Vrban, Croatia

Ferrari will definitely have stiffer competition next year although I think that they will retain their title.

Williams and McLaren have their strong points which are limited only to one field - not an overall strength of horse power and reliability
Akhil, India

I don't think Ferrari's dominance is such a turn off, after all fans do like to see dynasties and Ferrari in the last three years have become one.
Melanie, Antigua

Ferrari should not be penalised or accused of making F1 a boring sport. It is clear that they have developed the Ferrari better than other teams, and this has been replicated across the season - it is simple, other teams aren't in the same league as Ferrari. But isn't this a special quality of F1?

Schumacher deserves every one of his wins. What I object to is watching a GP which ends in controversy and farce, like in Austria and USA. Let the best man win and leave it at that. If Ecclestone penalises Ferrari and Schumacher, then F1 will become boring for it will be unfair - other drivers will have a greater advantage in terms of their car package and set-up.
Chris Green, UK

Would we be having this debate if it had been Hill or Button instead of Schumacher who had won all those races? After all we didn't have this debate when Mansell was doing the same in 1992. Just face it, Schumacher is the best driver in the best car and the others have got to catch up.
Piyush Fatania, England

Hats off to Michael and the whole of the Ferrari team behind the curtains - they really have done an excellent job this year. And I won't be surprised if it's a replay in 2003 - that's because the 'men in red' have the perfect balance.

Williams and McLaren have their strong points which are limited only to one field - not an overall strength of horse power and reliability. So, don't bother about the leader board next season - look down the charts where there is more excitement among the mediocre teams and drivers. Perhaps new teams, new drivers and new circuits will indict a bit of colour in this 'sea of scarlet'.
Akhil, India

Michael has been good in bad cars too
Greg Pek, Hong Kong

Can anyone challenge Ferrari is a question that McClaren and Williams should be asking themselves. Just as Jaguar and Ford have questioned why they have performed so badly with the resources available to them, the other top teams should be asking the same question rather than hoping that the FIA can make things easier for them with radical changes to the sport.

F1 always has and always will have dominant teams. The question that the FIA needs to answer is how to make sport more of a spectacle.
Ian Harris, London England living in New York

Of the comments I have read to date, only about two have addressed your question. The others seem to either be praising Schumi or criticizing him and Ferrari. I would suspect that, notwithstanding the expected improvements in the other two top runners, Ferrari will improve even more and we will still have a significant gap.

For those who say that Michael unduly benefits from team orders, I think you need to look at how few times that actually came into play this season. The truth is that Barrichello, as good a driver as he is, is not as good as Michael. Furthermore, Michael has been good in bad cars too. A lot better than other drivers are in inferior cars.

Finally he has contributed to the development of the car more than any other driver I can think of. I agree with the comments of Chris B.... It's fun to be watching the best, by most measurements, while he is still in his prime.
Greg Pek, Hong Kong

F1 needs to see more character drivers on its grid
Glenn, Canada

I have no problem with dominant teams, but I do have a problem when team orders of a dominant team turn a race into a joke. I do not care about how well one team is doing, I want to at least see the two drivers in a dominant team battle it out. And if they are not going to do that, then regulations have to be bought in to stop constant driver team orders.

It's very easy to solve, if teams set up a race with obvious team orders, the driver who earns the highest points in that race loses his points and the team loses their points. Hopefully other teams will catch up to at least make driver orders a little harder to comply with, especially if other teams are between Ferrari cars.
Jimmy Simms, Australia

McLaren should close the gap somewhat with more powerful engine from MB, then falter in the mid season with the introduction of the new chassis, which will give away the title, once again, to Ferrari.

F1 needs to see more character drivers on its grid, and preferably in the same car as Schumi. While the driver swapping is too radical an idea to come to fruition, it would certainly be a draw to see JPM in a Ferrari deulling with Schumi, or even JV following his father's footsteps and drive for Ferrari.
Glenn, Canada

This year has been a boring spectacle. Can't blame Ferrari, they been awesome, I just wish the other teams could get their act together. Got a couple of ideas to make it more exciting though:

1) Grid positions drawn publicly out of a hat, the best cars/drivers should still rise to the top.
2) Get rid of blue overtaking flags for leaders, why should they be given privileges - let them race for each and all positions/places on the track.

At least when McLaren dominated in 1988 and '89, Prost and Senna hated each other
David Roberts, UK

I hope something constructive is done to improve the current Formula 1 procession (it cannot be called racing can it).
Allan, Scotland

F1 is fast becoming a joke - and I have been a huge fan for over twenty years. I actually "flicked the switch" yesterday and watched Yvon of the Yukon instead!

Ferrari - with their blank cheque from Fiat - have done much damage to the F1 brand this year. They have put that unbearably arrogant German on a pedestal and paired him with a Brazilian poodle.

At least when McLaren dominated in 1988 and '89, Prost and Senna hated each other. And if Schumacher is so darn good, why does he have all clauses in his contract?
David Roberts, UK

The blame should not lie with Schumacher; it is not his fault that he is the best. The others need to try and reach his level.
Nahied, UK

What short memories you all have...I remember the same complaints four or five years ago about McLaren, when they were winning all the races. Also, do you think Schumacher would be winning so many races if he was driving (for example) a Jordan? Good driver, certainly - but he would not be the champion he is without Ferrari!
Joanne, Scotland

The best thing they could do is ban fuel stops
Tony Lawson, UK

Despite the rumblings of discontent over the perceived demise of F1, I'm really pleased that I've been around to witness, first hand, the career of one of the all-time legends of F1 drivers. And just in case he reads this - that Schumacher bloke's not bad either!
Chris B, England

Ferrari will still be the best next season but they won't be as dominant. McLaren will close the gap and Williams will drop off, not having decent aerodynamics.

All this talk of radical F1 changes - the best thing they could do is ban fuel stops. That killed racing the minute it was introduced.
Tony Lawson, UK

I agree whole-heartedly with the statements made by Russell Taylor. The dominance that Ferrari allows Schumacher is getting beyond a joke. What ever happened to the battles that we used to have between real drivers like Nigel Mansell and (the sadly-missed) Ayrton Senna.

Let's see Schumacher driving for Jaguar next year, then we'll see who wins!
Mark Shere, Massey, Gloucestershire, England

I started watching F1 in 1980, when cars raced each other, overtaking was the norm, and pits stops were rare. Since then, races have become less exciting, with the major challenge often between team mates.

Schumacher is the best, but it would be nice to see him race against another driver
Martin Hewes, GB

Senna and Prost were always at the front in the late 1980s, but at least we had the excitement of watching then battle it out. With Ferrari not allowing racing between its two drivers, there is little excitement left.

Sure, Schumacher is the best, but it would be nice to see him race against another driver, instead of the clock. I stopped watching F1 in the middle of this season as I was tired of seeing a procession of cars.

What viewers need, at the least, is Schumacher having to race against team mates such as Raikkonen or Hakkinen. That would liven up the sport, it would also allow us to see Schumacher racing, not just driving.

Indeed, I think it is a shame that while Schumacher has won a record number of races, very few of those of the last two years have involved any racing.
Martin Hewes, GB

Long live the Messiah of F1.
Jim Edstein, Taiwan

I'm not sure about next season, I think Ferrari will still be on top but I believe that in a few seasons time we will see an emergence from the shadows of the middle teams like Jordan (with a Ford engine), Jaguar. Also keep an eye on Toyota they will be great next season!
David, England

It's the death of Formula One which is now a big switch off
Russell Taylor, Malaysia

I have watched F1 for the last three years. Wow, what a guy Schumi is. I tip Raikkonen over Montoya.... but that's only after Schumi retires.
Wang Ting, Taiwan

Boring, boring, boring! Barrichello is not allowed to challenge Schumacher yet he is always behind him, as team orders require. Ferrari are supreme and any of the top drivers could win in them. But all we ever hear is superlatives about wonder driver Schumacher when in reality he has Ferrari in his pocket.

It's the death of Formula One which is now a big switch off. Get a life Ferrari and let your drivers race against each other from the very first race next year.
Russell Taylor, Malaysia

Schumi should drive for McLaren next season. That would set up a contest, for a change.
Surajit Chakravarty, USA

Being a Ferrari fan I am really happy to see Michael and Ferrari crush the opposition and rewrite all the record books, but they really did overkill the mood by picking who they wanted to win races.

We shouldn't blame Ferrari for being dominant but rather blame Williams and McLaren for being inferior. I also want to praise William and McLaren who allow their drivers to race each other rather than follow the leader making most races so predictable. Maybe if Ferrari loosened its policy on not allowing drivers to race each other, we might see more of a show instead of a well rehearsed play.
Ravi, USA

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In-depth guide to the 2002 Formula One season

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F1 2002
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