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Four to go and Toyota is coming on strong

The fight is on for the FIA Constructors' World Championship, with Renault holding a slim eight point advantage over the rampaging McLaren-Mercedes team. And there is another battle in the background as the weakening Ferrari comes under increasing pressure from Toyota. At the moment Ferrari has 86 points from 15 races while Toyota has collected 78 from 14 events and it is fair to say that if the United States Grand Prix had unfolded in a different fashion, Ferrari would already be behind Toyota. In recent races Ferrari's performance has been less than impressive while Toyota has been stacking up points with 21 scored in Hungary, Turkey and Italy. In the same period Ferrari has scored just eight. If that pattern is repeated in the next three races Ferrari will be pushed back to fourth in the series and is unlikely to be challenged by fifth-placed Williams, which has scored little since the announcement that it was splitting with BMW. BAR-Honda may pick up points in the next races but there is a gap of 54 points to Toyota and 29 to Williams so it is going to be tough for BAR to beat them. It is more likely that BAR will overhaul and then out-strip Red Bull Racing for sixth place in the Constructors. Sauber, Jordan and Minardi are struggling along but with reliability so good at the moment there is little hope of points.

In the Drivers' Championship Fernando Alonso needs some serious problems if he is to lose the World Championship as he has a 27 point lead with a maximum of 40 points up for grabs. However it would only take a mechanical failure with Raikkonen getting maximum points for the battle to come alive again. Michael Schumacher is third in the points but Juan Pablo Montoya is closing fast and it would unwise to bet against the Colombian moving up. Jarno Trulli and Giancarlo Fisichella are both within striking distance of Schumacher and Fisichella in particular should be able to rack up points with the car he is currently using.