News and views on motorsports

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Ominous Signs

In this headline, Jenson Button is once again aiming for a victory at Montreal. He goes on in this headline that he a maiden victory at Silverstone "would be the most amazing thing." More PR work at play here? Or are BAR once again exuding over-confidence.

In light of this revelation by Michelin Boss and this warning by Michael Schumacher, I think Button will have to wait till next season to score his maiden grand prix victory.

The McLaren MP4/19B that made its testing debut recently looks promising but its just way too new. With the upcoming testing ban, I simply doubt McLaren have the time to make its new charge reach its ultimate potential. McLaren are in danger of looking really stupid. In days past, McLaren were simply the most organised Formula 1 team of all. Now it seems that it is in complete shambles. I suspect this business with the new tech centre to be a major culprit. Playing catch up in the middle of the season has never worked. It didn't work for Ferrari in 97, 98 and it won't work for McLaren now no matter what they do. And what of next year's car? That still needs to be developed unless the 19B takes up all of their focus. In which case, they'll be catching up again next year. Ron, Ron, Ron. What the hell are you doing? Perhaps its best they just quit the season now. Simply stop developing the MP4/19 and give all resources to developing a MP4/20 instead. What's the worst that could happen? After all they are qualifying in the midddle of Saubers and Jordans now anyway.

The Ferrari in Michael Schumacher's hands is just way too fast for anyone to cope. Perhaps the only place where anyone has a fighting chance is the "Monaco of the East" Hungaroring track later in the year. OK, so Shanghai is a big unknown. Still, given that it's a Hermann Tilke designed dog and that Ferrari have always done well on his tracks, I'd say it's advantage Schumacher all the way.

I think it's probably in everyone's mind at the moment that should Michael Schumacher retire from Formula 1, the championship would once again be a very interesting event to watch. Barrichello is not infalliable and simply cannot drive the scarlet car as well as Schumacher. My guess is Schumacher will not retire until his contract with Ferrari runs out in 2006. I would also guess he is going for the century mark in terms of race victories. Yes, that means 100 grand prix victories. A tally unheard of, unless perhaps you're in American NASCAR racing I believe. This would establish Michael firmly as the all time great, the Michael Jordan of Formula 1. I still say, a lot of those victories have been fortuitous and won in the face of spineless teammates, but I cannot deny the victory tally. The last important record still to be beaten is Ayrton Senna's pole position record but that soon will fall.

Michael has always maintained that records do not interest him. I beg to differ. I believe it is foremost in his mind. Get ready for a long a dreary few years ahead.

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