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The championship permutations at Indianapolis 28 Sep 2003

Juan Pablo Montoya (COL) Williams BMW FW25 challenges Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari F2003-GA for the lead.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Italian Grand Prix, Race Day, Monza, Italy, 14 September 2003

Given the relative competitiveness of Ferrari and Williams and the strong reliability of both teams, it is highly unlikely that either the drivers' or the constructors' championship will be decided at Indianapolis. However, in theory either one (though not both) could be. The permutations are as follows:

Michael Schumacher will be crowned 2003 champion if he wins the United States Grand Prix and Juan Pablo Montoya finishes no higher than sixth, with Kimi Raikkonen third or lower.

This would give the Ferrari driver a ten-point margin heading into the final round in Japan. He would take the title even if he failed to score at Suzuka and Montoya won, thanks to his greater number of victories this season.

Schumacher could also finish second at Indianapolis and still take the title, assuming Montoya scores a maximum of one point (eighth place) and Raikkonen no more than five (fourth place). Schumacher coming third or lower in the US will guarantee the championship goes down to the wire, regardless of who takes victory at Indy.

In the constructors' championship, Williams could wrap things up at Indianapolis if they score 15 points more than Ferrari. In real terms, this means the BMW-powered team need to finish first and second, with Ferrari scoring three points or less; or first and third, with Ferrari taking a maximum of one point; or first and fourth, with Ferrari failing to score.

Whatever happens, at least one title will be decided at the last round of the season in Japan. Schumacher finishing first or second at Indy could give him the drivers' crown, but would prevent Williams securing the constructors' championship. Conversely, if Williams become champions in the US, it guarantees a fight to the finish for drivers' honours at Suzuka.