News and views on motorsports

Friday, December 17, 2004

F1's Success = Bernie's Success?

In this story, Max Mosley defends the unprecendented 19 race calendar of 2005. Formula 1 teams are under enormous pressures during the summer as it is. Now with 6 races back to back they will probably be torn apart. The only mitigating factor is that most of the teams bar Ferrari have agreed for a reduction in testing. Whether or not they stick to this verbal agreement is another matter. If development calls for it, I believe some teams will drop it. BAR-Honda have hinted at this possibility especially if Ferrari goes testing unchecked.

I love this quote from Max: "Perhaps 19 races are too many, but F1's success dictates it." F1's success dictates it??!! Or is it Bernie's success that's dictating all this? Frankly speaking we don't need races in Bahrain and Turkey. As I've said in previous articles, what relevance have these countries got as far as racing is concerned. They don't even contribute to the automotive industry in general. So why do we need these Tilke designed dogs? Of course you know the answer to that. Their governments pay a helluva lot of cash for the "privilege" of running a Formula 1 Grand Prix. This trend of course was started by our very own Sepang based Malaysian Grand Prix.

Even races like Hungoraring should be dropped. Even the organizers themselves admit that race is a tremendous yawn fest. The organizers rely on off track gimmicks such as hookers in tents to spice it up. That's completely silly because whilst that may satisfy the 100,000 spectators or so on track, the 300 million or so spectators at home watching on TV can only fall asleep during the race. Or if they're lucky enough, have a good romp with their partners instead.

That's at least 3 races they can drop. The races are only there for Bernie's sake. Or as Mosley likes to put it for "F1's success." These are there to make money. They do nothing for the fans.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


The team in the news these days is Red Bull. Ever since taking over Jaguar Racing and this being the off season, the news is filled with their headlines. This is especially so with regards their driver selections.

First off the Coulthard-Red Bull courting ritual. I swear I'm not going to read anymore bullshit (pun fully intended) regarding these two. First the new owner, Dietrich Mateschitz says that they are not interested in Coulthard, prefering Heidfeld or Liuzzi. Next, he states that he'd like to re-consider Coulthard. Coulthard then hints that he might be a Red Bull driver soon. But in Dietrich's mind that he would prefer youth in the form of Liuzzi and Klein, even Heidfeld. He also would have liked Anthony Davidson too. Of course then Coulthard's motorhome arrives at Jerez and the Scot proceeds to annihiliate both the young 'uns. Which prompts Red Bull to say that perhaps "experience" is also important. But still, having youth is preferable.

Coulthard meanwhile is still hoping that a call from Grove will happen one of these days soon. But with Mario Thiessen making cheerleading noises about Nick Heidfeld, I don't see it forthcoming. Still Coulthard makes some cautious noises about a deal with Red Bull.

Dietrich Mateschitz goes on to proclaim that Coulthard's deal is all but done. Then his managing director at Red Bull David Pitchforth as lately saying that the deal with Coulthard "could still go wrong." Will he won't he? Will a Scottish backside be filling the Red Bull seat or will he be out on permanent gardening leave? God only knows. Whatever statement Red Bull comes out with next, I'm going to take a whole pile of salt with it.

An idea that Dietrich Mateschitz thinks is "conceivable" is the one where both Liuzzi and Klein share a seat at Red Bull. What the hell is this berk thinking? Liuzzi of course is none too pleased with that saying that it would be "counterproductive." Incidentally Liuzzi is thinking of a Williams drive(!) or perhaps a Jordan deal. Haven't heard anything from Frank about this but I doubt he'd like Ferrari's protege in his cars. Again, lead cheerleader Mario will also have things to say about his star quarterback Heidfeld.

Red Bull are spewing lots of crap. Is this simply some sort of publicity stunt. Nothing really to report on the track, so keep some sort of "excitement" going on off track instead. Or perhaps the British press are going overtime again with nothing else to cover but a British old age pensioner trying to get a seat in Formula 1.

Deck the halls with fields of holly. Teams have packed up only to return in January. With the lack of more F1 testing news I might just turn my attention to "other people" instead. Mwah ah ah ah.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Silverstone Moving Along

Silverstone has been saved. God bless Silverstone. Both the British and the French Grand Prix are in the FIA's Formula 1 calendar for next year. The British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC) has agreed a new 5 year deal with Greedy Bernie Ecclestone.

The BRDC also announced plan for major developments within the Silverstone circuit that include an innovation park for motor racing activities and a state of the art wind tunnel complex. Excellent stuff that will be backed up by the East Midlands Development Agency. Read about this here and here. Moreover, there will be a revamp on the Silverstone track layout. (See here) Alex Hooton, CEO of the BRDC insists that "the one thing the BRDC would not want is to reduce Silverstone to some sort of standard European-type track" and "we don't want to lose the individuality of Silverstone as a very fast circuit." Huzzah! That's what the fans want to hear. I surely hope this means that the moron Hermann Tilke will not be involved. Stories in previous months even suggested Our Nige lending a hand in the redesign. If left to Tilke, then I'm sure he'd want his blasted hairpins and drag strip long straights. I'm quite sure he'd want to top off his 200 degree Sepang Turn 1 and 270 degree Shanghai Turn 1 with something even more ridiculous. I wouldn't put it past this idiot to suggest a 360 degree turn or something. Silverstone according to Hooton will retains its rectangular shape. These guys may not please businessmen like Bernie but they sure know how to give fans much needed on track action. And why shouldn't they? Its the fans that pay for the sport in the long run.

This is great news for the 6 teams based in England. I'm pretty sure even Minardi would want to consider a move to Silverstone now especially with that new wind tunnel complex in development. More importantly is the speculation that Mike Gascoyne will want to persuade his Japanese bosses at Toyota to move their base from Cologne to the Northants circuit. As I have said many times before (see here and here), the Cologne base is a complete mistake by previous Toyota boss Ove Andersson, thinking that Formula 1 operations are comparable to rallying and sports cars.

Now here is a chance for Toyota to do it right. I'm not sure how they can abandon their hundreds of millions worth of investment in their current facilities. However, given manpower and personnel recruitement problems, they'll definitely need to do it and soon. Germans make damn fine engines but not racing chassis. Remember the Zakspeed team of the 80s or the Porsche Indycar effort? Absolutely atrocious. Making state of the art racing chassis is the premise of the British. Discounting Ferrari of course but look closely and you'll find that their team is very much an international one these days. Renault may be French but they're based in Enstone. Sauber, pfft. They're not going anywhere based in Hinwil. Unless of course, like this year, Ferrari hands over old chassis designs to them. I know this is denied but surely this year's Sauber looks like last year's Ferrari. No?

I'm glad to see Silverstone back on the map. I'm also thrilled to see that plans are in place to make sure that the British motor racing industry remains at the bleeding edge of development. This should ensure that specialists like Cosworth will continue to be a going concern in the long run. This should dispel thoughts of teams being based in silly places like the Middle East. Unless you're Dubai F1 of course in which case you'd need lots of luck.

PS/ 3 years. 5 tops. That's how long Dubai F1 will last.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Sauber's Got Albert

In this story on, Sauber announces the launch of its new supercomputer for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling. More details of this can be found on the Sauber website. The Swiss Dalco company built the supercomputer in tandem with Ferrari partner AMD and has 530 AMD microprocessors providing 2.3 terra flops (i.e. 2.3 trillion floating point operations per seconds) of processing speed and 1 terrabyte of main memory and 11 terrabytes of physical storage. That's a bloody well lot of computing power right there.

Albert is one of the most powerful supercomputers in the racing business and the automtive indutsty as a whole. Williams also has a supercomputer based on clustered Linux servers. See the press release here. I have absolutely no doubt that McLaren, with its technology partnership with Sun Microsystems utilises either a clustered or monolithic solution for its CFD modelling needs.

When I first read about CFD some ten years ago, people were talking about it being deployed on workstations like SGI or Sun. Now it seems, these are not enough for Formula 1 needs. Supercomputing facilites are the order of the day. I have no doubt that Albert will assist Sauber in making enormous strides towards its competitiveness and the effects will either be seen next season or the season after that.

One can see the levels of investment required to be competitive these days. How does one expect Minardi to survive I wonder. In these times of economic uncertainties, how does one find the money to stay ahead of the curve. It simply boggles the mind. If you think about it. It is investments in these infrastructural facilites such as wind tunnels and super computers that lead to costs figures like USD 2000 per lap or something silly like that to run a Formula 1 car.

This brings me back to my point. Teams should be allowed to purchase cars from manufacturers and competing in Formula 1 by simply operating those cars. At the moment, each team must manufacture their own cars. The costs of that is becoming much too ludicrous I believe. If you allow teams to buy cars, say from a manufacturer like Dallara or Lola for instance, the cost per car and the cost per lap per car would immediately drop. After all, infrastructural costs like supercomputing facilities can then be allocated over a larger number of cars and customers. No doubt, if Formula 1 continues on this path many teams will be out of business soon enough, degrading the level of competition even further.

Peter Windsor of F1Racing magazine makes the point that Formula 1 is or should be the pinnacle of not only racing technology but automotive technology as a whole. In a recent issue of F1Racing magazine he suggests that the smaller teams should be left to die since they contribute nothing as far as technological advancement is concerned. His view is shared by many I believe. It is however a little parochial.

Formula 1's main concern to me is that it is a sport. It is the pinnacle of motorsport. Not necessarily technology. It is the category that decides who at any given year is the best driver on the planet. Think about it. That is why it is called the world championship. That's why the Formula 1 champion is termed the world champion. In deciding who should be crowned the champion of the world, the sport should provide a competitive arena for all drivers in that category so that the title is won by the person truly deserving that title because he beat the other guy by driving harder and faster. The technology involved really doesn't matter I believe. Its about providing a category with the fastest cars (not necessarily the most technologically advanced) with the main objective here to find the best driver in the world.

Does Formula 1 really pioneer road car technology? If you compare a good road car with a Formula 1 car you will find that a lot of road cars have technology that was first pioneered on the road and not in racing. Most of the technologies are now banned in Formula 1. Active suspension, anti lock braking, continuously variable transmission, variable geometry steering, fully automated gearboxes, traction control, active aerodynamics, active torque transfer systems are just some of the technologies banned in Formula 1. These technologies were first utilised on road cars and not the other way around.

So what does it matter that we have a dumbed down or at least cost cutting Formula 1 in the future? It would still give racing fans the fastest road racing cars on the planet. The category would still be about determining the world champion. And this really should be the main objectives. Automotive manufacturers looking to showcase technology should really do it where it counts. In the showrooms. Formula 1 is sport. It should not be a showroom. For if it is a technological showcase, the automotive manufacturers would not be in the sport in the long term. After all, if you were Mercedes, would you really want to be beaten by FIAT or BMW time and time again for the next 20 years? It could happen after all, and if it did Mercedes would soon be out of Formula 1. Renault in fact are now thinking about this exact same thing.

If Formula 1 becomes a showroom then a lot more corporate politics and marketing PR crap would be streaming on the race tracks of the world. To the fans, this is completely boring. As a fan, I really couldn't give a goddamned how advanced the technology is in a Formula 1 car. After gawping about it for about an hour or so, in the end, I am really interested in the on track battle. I'm really interested to watch drivers race.

The proof is in the DTM German Touring car championship viewing figures this year. You regularly have crowds of over 100,000 people watching it. No to mention the TV audiences for it these days. Even people from America are starting to catch on. In technological terms the DTM cars are ancient dinosaurs compared to a McLaren. And yet, fans are clambering to see them. Why? Because the on track action is simply amazing. Look at the BTCC in the 90s as another example. Relatively low tech but the battle on track beats anything I've ever seen then or since.

Formula 1 I believe is losing its direction. Yes, I'll always watch it because I'm a hard core fan. However, it could be a lot lot better if the management just quits its greed for a moment and go back to the fundamentals of the sport. It is a sport for drivers and teams not a corporate automotive showroom.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Spot the World Champion

David Coulthard has had an interesting run in the Red Bull Racing (nee Jaguar) team lately. The old guy managed to end the day a half second quicker than Christian Klein and about a second faster than new boy Vitantonio Liuzzi.

Vitantonio as you may well know won the CIK World Kart Championship back in 2002 before jumping into car racing the following year in German F3. After a good season in F3, winning a race along the way, he graduated into F3000 and absolutely dominated the series. He's now a test driver for Ferrari and is looking for a seat in Formula 1 with Red Bull. Not bad. From Karts to Formula 1 in just a couple of years. Just like the man Kimi.

Vitantonio's career has barely begun. But what I'd like to comment on is his performance compared to Coulthard. Back in 1983, I remember a young Brazilian conducting a test with McLaren. You remember him. Three time world champion Aryton Senna. Along with him was Martin Brundle, now commentator with ITV and part time sportscar driver. These two were incredibly talented and were at the time fresh out of British Formula 3. Senna having won that year from Brundle.

I remember during that test at Brands Hatch, a certain John Watson, who incidentally retired that year, did some laps in the car to set the benchmark. Both Senna and Brundle summarily blew it away on their first go in the McLaren. You knew you were watching some special people right here. Especially Senna.

Fast forward to 1991 and Michael Schumacher's Formula 1 debut with Jordan. Again, superbly quick almost straight out of the box. He qualified in seventh I believe ahead of his team mate during the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix. Prior to that, he deeply impressed Eddie Jordan in testing. Admittedly the 7-Up liveried Jordan 191 was a brilliant Gary Anderson design.

Still, with both Senna and Schumacher you could sense that these guys simply knew what was going on immediately. No need for acclimatisation or a period of getting used to things. They just simply stepped up and looked like they were already old hands in the business. This is what one would call genius. Pure and simple. Senna came close to winning in his first year and won his first race in the second year of his career. Michael of course going one better, winning at Spa 12 months after his debut. In the process, Michael summarily dismissed his vastly experienced three time world champion teammate Nelson Piquet.

After Schumacher and Senna there was also the sight on Mika Hakkinen, first time racing in a McLaren in the 1993 Portugese Grand Prix, taking pole position away from Senna. How about Jacques Villeneuve grabbing pole in his first ever race in Melbourne in 1996 in a Williams.

All these guys have won world championships. All can be considered geniuses. The only one left is Michael of course. And just look at him go. Seven world championships and a win count far in excess of anyone else. Only Senna's pole record has not been broken but next year it will be.

These days when a new guy steps in to a Formula 1 car, you expect him to go through a feet finding phase before he can start blitzing the car. Take Liuzzi for instance. He's definitely finding his feet. If he were a true genius in the mold of Senna and Schumacher, he'd have blown away the geriatric Coulthard without even trying. As it is though he's still struggling.

He sort of reminds me of Jos Vestappen. Fantastic pace in German Formula 3. But when he stepped into a Formula 1 car he was seconds slower than team mate Michael Schumacher. Not the stuff of genius. He looked really lost in the Benetton those early days. Michael by contrast had stepped into the Benetton on his first go and annihilated Nelson Piquet. And look where Jos is now. Complete and utter failure.

In recent times, Montoya, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen have fit the genius bill. Raikkonen more than Alonso and Montoya, I'd say. His magnificent debut with Sauber impressed the Swiss enough to take him straight from Formula Renault with Ron Dennis signing him up after that. That's probably why Ross Brawn keeps repeating the fact that once Schuey rides off into the sunset, they'll be in touch with either him or Alonso to take over the town.

So, if you want to spot the next world champion, look for a young driver (Webber didn't count - he'd had plenty of experience by the time he stepped into a Minardi). Look closely at his first go in a Formula 1 car. If he starts destroying incumbent drivers' times and has that immediate awareness of everything that goes on around him, then he's got what it takes. He will be the world champion.

By that standard, Ralf Schumacher as I've always said is a lemon. The jury is still out on Liuzzi.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Awards and Glory

The end of the year is usually noted for awarding outstanding drivers and teams for their achievements during the season. A time to reflect on the events that have transpired during the year. For the victors, its a time to bask in glory and revel in their achievements that no doubt have been hard won.

I'd like to turn my attention to little known awards dished out by the Sepang International Circuit, namely their Motorsport Awards. Amazingly, they have two team of the year awards. One for Honda Racing Malaysia and the other for Symphony Racing. I don't really know what G1 Symphony Racing's big achievement really is but I do applaud Honda Racing for their valiant efforts during the 2004 Merdeka Millenium Endurance race. For you international readers out there the MME is an endurance event over 12 hours held at Sepang to commemorate the Malaysian independence day.

This year the MME event was won by the Honda Malaysia Racing team who entered two Honda Civics. A superb effort by any standards beating out other competitors driving ubiquitous Porsches and outlasting the ridiculous Japan GT500 Lamborghini Murcielago, which quite frankly, is in the wrong race and should be trying to win the Suzuka 24 instead of bullying production cars in Malaysia.

If one analyses the Honda effort, one notes that they have a good driving team made up of Malaysians and Japanese drivers. The team of Hiroki Katoh, Eddie Lew and Fariz Fauzy not only outlasted the competition but also completed a record number of laps over the 12 hours. In addition to these drivers, they had a slick team headed by the boss of the Kunimitsu team, yes, the very same one that runs Honda NSXs in the Japan GT. If one observes the team in action, one would rapidly come to the conclusion that the pit crew is a well drilled machine able to turnaround cars rapidly whilst their competitors flounder in the pits. Well, it helps when the Civics have built in air jacks and proper racing fuel fillers.

Nevertheless, take nothing from them. They did a fine job running in Class A (for standard production cars over 1800cc) beating out open class cars. It was a classy victory and one that appeals because of the intelligence and capabilites of the team members. So, quite rightly, they picked up the team of the year award. Again, why Sepang felt the need to dish out another award for team of the year to G1 Symphony is beyond me. Honda Racing achieved a whole lot more employing drivers of ability instead of deep pockets. Bravo.

However, Honda, to my mind, sullies their achievements by making some bold, and if one thinks carefully, very ludicrous claims. The Star newspaper of 8th December had this to say: "Fielding two 2000cc unmodified Honda Civic i-VTEC, which were locally assembled at the Honda plant in Malacca, the team finished first....."

Unmodified? Errrmmmm..... nope. I just don't think so. The standard 2 litre i-VTEC produces some 150 bhp or so. Maybe a little more. They take on Porsches with some 360bhp (or even 460bhp in the case of one competitor) and almost matches their lap times in the race. The Lotus drivers were heard to say that the Civics serenely passed their Lotus Exige (with at least 190bhp on tap with ridiculously low weight) on the straights, apparently with very little effort. Unmodified? Bollocks.

Let's just come right out and say it shall we? Yes, the Honda body shells are locally made. (Are they? I'm not sure) But were they using the 2 litre i-VTEC engines installed in locally sold Honda Civics? Yeah, maybe in the marketing managers dreams.

The truth is, let's be honest, the MME Civics were fitted with K20C engines from Honda Civic and Integra Type-Rs. Yes the same ones with 220ps (in Japan) or 197 bhp (in the UK). Let's take the truth even further. 200 bhp Civics still aren't enough to challenge raced tuned 911 GT3 RS-es and Lotus Exiges, no matter what riceboys would like you to believe. So shall we say those engines were modified then. At least taking on Super Production Group N+ specifications. Who pray tell would supply the parts for such modification? Let's just whisper the name, Mugen. Yes, the famous Honda tuners from Japan owned by great Soichiro Honda's son. The same ones that power half the field in British Formula 3. The same Mugen that used to make Formula 1 engines that powered Olivier Panis' Ligier to victory and took Heinz Harald Frentzen to a fighting finish in 1999.

Well, now it makes perfect sense doesn't it? Quite why Honda Malaysia feels the need to hide this is beyond my comprehension. So what if people know about it? Personally, I think its great that my Honda can be equipped with go faster parts to make it quicker. It would still convince people to get one. After all, you need to buy one to put in those parts right? Honda Malaysia tries very hard to give the illusion that this was a very Malaysian effort. Not sure how that makes good marketing for selling their cars. I have news for the marketing peeps at Honda Malaysia. People don't buy Hondas because they are Malaysian or are assembled in Malaysia. They buy them precisely because they are Japanese. The average person in Malaysia who is considering a replacement for his/her Proton don't really want anything to do with Malaysian cars anymore. After the squeeks, rattles and atrocious quality of Malaysian made vehicles, he/she wants to move up. And that means buying an import. If anything, they should emphasize the Japanese connection. I certainly would be less interested in a Honda if the image I conjure in my mind is of a Malaysian made rattle-after-a-month-no-glove-compartment automobile.

By making claims that the MME Civics are of the standard Malaysian assembled variety, Honda Malaysia are being incredibly insulting. Anyone with a grain of intelligence would be able to deduce that something about the MME Civics is not quite what it seemed. If the MME Civics are indeed standard production, they defy the laws of physics. Well, at least the marketing manager makes it seem that they do.

But no matter. I suppose its easy to prey on the ignorance of the majority of buyers in the showrooms. Honda make loads of dosh flogging good cars (Integra Type-Rs as the Americans would say, rock... won't you guys please officially import it?) and they win races. So, all kudos to the Honda Malaysia team. If they tried to be more open about their racing, the public I believe would be even more receptive to them. Well, at least I would.

Moving along, spare a thought if you will for a chap named Lai Wee Sing. Winner of the Super Sixteen championships in the Malaysian Super Series. From what I can gather, here is a competitor who's in it purely for the spirit of motor racing. His charge is an old Honda Civic EG, the man wins four rounds of the 6 round series. Lai is not a person who can command the financial resources of some of the businessmen who race in the Super Series. In fact he who couldn't drive his race car back to his hometown simply because he couldn't afford to pay the motorway toll. His bank manager I would imagine, would be very much annoyed with him for regularly emptying his bank account for the sake of his racing. And yet, he does it simply for the love of the sport. And he wins races as well despite a desperate lack of cash.

If anyone deserves the award for Driver Of The Year, it should have been Lai Wee Sing. He had the will and the wherewithal to do it. Its easy when you can afford the best stuff with a bottomless bank account. To do it his circumstances is heroic. I guess if he were an influential businessman, he probably would have walked it and would probably have won Driver Of The Year. As it is, Lai should take heart. Most Formula 1 drivers including Senna and Schumacher were poor on their way up. But they just kept on winning.

So there goes the SIC awards. A rich businessman wins the Driver Of The Year award. Team of the year goes, curiously, to two teams. Roll on 2005 then. More of the same I suspect.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Ferrari's Proposal - Fair Or Farce?

Ferrari proposes its own testing reduction plan is the headline on today. Let's examine in it further.

Jean Todt in the interview with proposes to limit testing to just 15,000 kilometers per team per season. Testing for car development must be conducted on a single track. This is based on the assumption that with a team with two cars running an average of 400 kilometers a day running for the total 24 days (as proposed by the other teams) would yield a total of 19,600 kilometers of testing. So Ferrari's proposal of 15,000 kilometers seems a good move towards reducing testing even further.

Here comes the next part. Really, I don't know whether to laugh or cry with this one. I certainly had a broad smile on my face reading it. In addition to testing for car development purposes, Ferrari proposes additional running for tyre testing. OK this sounds fair enough. But what they propose is that tyre testing be limited to an addtional 15,000 kilometers. This is applied per tyre supplier. Tyre companies would be free to choose how much of this mileage to divide amongst their teams.

OK, so let's take a look at that situation. On the face of it, it looks fair. This way each tyre company has the same volume of data to work with. But hey, Bridgestone needs to divide their mileage amongst a smaller number of teams. And if you think about it, teams like Minardi and Jordan skips testing altogether at times because they can't afford it. And so, guess who Bridgestone will allocate their 15,000 kilometers to the most? Yes, you guessed it, that would be Ferrari. Good one Jean Todt. Michelle screwing with your head or something?

By contrast Michelin will need to divide their testing to a larger number of teams. Top teams at that like Williams, McLaren and Renault. Not to mention, big ass factory teams like Toyota who I'm sure will be demanding more mileage from them. Each of these teams take different philosophies with regards aerodynamics and mechanical design and Michelin needs more mileage to cater for each of their needs.

This proposal of Ferrari is very damaging for Michelin. There will be lots of unhappy chappies in the pitlane who will feel they deserve more Michelin mileage. It will be harder to cater to all their needs. Bridgestone after all need only cater to Ferrari's need. What do they care about Jordan and Minardi after all? Do these teams ever appear in their promotional material? No its Ferrari's need that comes first. Michelin does not have that luxury. They have a far greater number of clients.

I can't believe Ferrari is really serious with this set of proposals. Prima facie, I admit it seems fair to both tyre companies. But if you look closer, Michelin's burden is far greater. And having their mileage restricted in this manner makes no sense and penalises them further. Of course the teams are up in arms about this. Read this story in here.

And come on, does tyre testing really mean tyre testing alone? I would imagine loads of other mechanical, aerodynamic, engine and electronic components get tested along with it. These proposals simply give Ferrari an advantage of more test mileage for development purposes than any other team.

Ferrari are being unreasonable and as has happened for a long long long time now (since the 50s) they are using their influence to bend the rules to their wishes. And that ladies and gents is why all the other teams band together against these bastards. That is why I think their successes are flawed by foul play and political manuverings. Yes, the other teams also want things their way. But only Ferrari gets what they want all the time.

These politicians at Ferrari didn't even have the decency to sit down with the other teams face to face but rather faxed their confounded proposal. Typical goddamned CRONIES.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Bravo Mr Webber

In this day and age of political correctness, PR consultant lead corporate robo-speach, we still find some drivers who are not afraid to speak their minds. And thank god for that. Winess one BMW-Williams driver Mark Webber who is apparently unafraid to pour scorn on team mate Antonio Pizzonia. You can read the stories here on PlanetF1 and here on

Mark is quoted as saying that Pizzonia "has been lying" and that "he's a loser." Harsh words and perhaps not the sort of thing corporate BMW or even Claire Fiorani of HP wants to hear. One wonders why Mark reacted so strongly to Pizzonia's allegations that during their time together at Jaguar, Mark was given preferential treatment. It is alleged that this biasness on the part of Jaguar was what had caused Antonio's less than stellar performance with the Milton Keynes based outfit leading to his dismissal after the British Grand Prix.

Accusations of preferential treatment in a team is nothing new. Alain Prost accused Senna of hijacking the McLaren team to his own detriment during the 1989 season when the two were team mates. Ayrton acted with aplomb. He basically said nothing. Perhaps it was true, but I've never really known McLaren to be unequal in their treatment of drivers especially where equipment is concerned. Perhaps Alain was simply unhappy that the young pretender was usurping "his" team. Well, Alain himself has been guilty of being political. Just ask Niki Lauda and Keke Rosberg. A case of can't swallow his own medicine.

If one looks at Eddie Irvine, well, everyone knows that Michael Schumacher gets preferential treatment at Ferrari and Irvine himself lets everyone know of this fact. Michael's reaction, like Senna, is to neither confirm nor deny this fact. He just shuts the hell up. Well, Schuey is a very shrewd competitor on and off the track. His silence is made up by the fact that he simply pulverizes the competition on the track and quite rightly, his actions speak louder than words. Rather like the Queen, Michael keeps his dignity and maintains a regal silence, without feeling to justify a reponse to those beneath him.

So why did Mark react the way he did? Perhaps he didn't want to be known as a politician-racer, unlike his good friend, the seven times world champion. Here is a person that perhaps needs the world to know that he beat his team mate fair and square and is very much concerned about how others see the means by which he achieved those results. As opposed to merely pointing to the ends and justifying any means. A straight shooter perhaps, our man Mark.

Quite frankly he doesn't need such responses because there are plenty who believe he is simply a superior driver to almost all of them out there. His bosses Frank and Patrick among them. After all he did drive better than Antonio during their time at Jaguar and he did beat a BMW-Williams driving Antonio whilst driving a Jaguar this year. Case closed I would imagine. Honestly speaking I don't really know why Frank is even considering Antonio for a race drive next year. He's a good tester and its a mistake to choose him to race. When Ralf got back in the car after his injury, he was clearly much quicker than Antonio in the Williams. Antonio is sub standard.

So there really isn't much to say about this at the end of the day. While I feel there was no need for his comments, I applaud Mark Webber's honesty (and bravery). He is already becoming like his predecessor, Juan Pablo Montoya, another man who doesn't mince his words. As for his bosses, I think they don't really care what Mark says, so long as he whips the competition on the track. Williams' sponsors though might have a word or two about it with him, but who really cares about what these corporations think anyway. It ain't about them.