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Focus - four to go, everything to play for 08 Sep 2004

Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Belgian Grand Prix, Race Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, 29 August 2004 Jenson Button (GBR) BAR on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race, Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary, 15 August 2004 Juan Pablo Montoya (COL) Williams BMW FW26 
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, German Grand Prix, Practice Day, Hockenheim, Germany, 23 July 2004 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren in the FIA press conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Belgian Grand Prix, Preparations, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, 26 August 2004

Ferrari and Michael Schumacher may have already wrapped up the 2004 championships, but below them in the standings there is still plenty to be decided heading into round 15 of the 18-race season.

In the constructors’ table Sauber and Minardi are the only teams whose positions look vaguely ‘secure.’ The former lie sixth, 21 points behind McLaren and 18 ahead of Jaguar, while the latter are tenth with a single point, four adrift of Jordan.

Every other team has a realistic chance of moving up or down the standings in the remaining four races. Choosing between Renault and BAR for the runners up spot, for example, is a tough call. Just eight points split the two at the moment, with both having proved themselves capable of regular podium finishes this season.

Equally compelling is the fight between old rivals Williams and McLaren. What in recent seasons has been a scrap over second place has this year become one for fourth. Williams had looked favourites until Spa, when Kimi Raikkonen’s victory, coupled with DNFs for Montoya and Pizzonia, vaulted Ron Dennis’s squad to within five points of their adversaries.

Jaguar and Toyota are locked in a battle for seventh, with just one point the gap heading to Monza. There is little difference in their recent form, so this one is likely to go down to the wire. And Jordan, currently, on five points, could even pull themselves into contention, though an element of good fortune may be required.

For the current team standings in full, click here.

In the drivers’ championship, what everyone wants to know is who will finish second. Rubens Barrichello would surely have to do something drastically wrong to lose out, though with Jenson Button within 25 points of him, the Brazilian cannot totally relax. Should BAR suddenly start converting podiums into wins, the Ferrari driver could find himself under threat.

Things couldn’t be closer at Renault, with Jarno Trulli currently fourth, just a point ahead of team mate Fernando Alonso. Trulli would doubtless love to leave the team on a high by finishing the season ahead of the much-feted Spaniard, though it is Alonso who arguably has the greater consistency.

Also in the battle for fourth place is Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya, with 38 points to Trulli’s 46. Ten behind the Colombian, but very much on a high after Spa, is Kimi Raikkonen. Given McLaren’s form, Montoya could find himself slipping down the order before the season is out.

The mid table features the wildcards of David Coulthard, Takuma Sato, Giancarlo Fisichella and Ralf Schumacher, should he return as expected for China. After that things inevitably get very tight at the lower end of the standings.

The only men yet to score in 2004 are Minardi’s Gianmaria Bruni and Toyota’s Ricardo Zonta. The former must figure that as it happened for team mate Zsolt Baumgartner, it could still happen for him, while Zonta has only had two race outings so far this season.

For the current driver standings in full, click here.