News and views on motorsports

Thursday, August 31, 2006

So Much For Image

Following the Turkish GP podium controversy, the Cyprus Mail newspaper was moved to write this piece of commentary regarding Formula 1. Comments about the Cyprus Mail article also appears on Whilst the FIA and Formula 1 in general is so ultra careful in these corporate infested days to keep a professional, clean and politically correct image it seems that there are many who know otherwise. Hint: they are probably not Ferrari fans.

Ignoring the political bits, the article distills the current state of the sport almost to perfection. From the Cyprus Mail article:

"FORMULA 1 is a sport that makes as many headlines off the track as on it. Races are rarely decided by audacious overtaking manoeuvres, rather by split second actions in the pits and strategies devised by men staring at computer screens. Key championship points have been decided in the courts, victims falling foul of ever-changing technical rules, deductions and disqualifications.

It’s a sport over which hovers a cloud of conspiracy, a constant suspicion of manipulation of rules and results to suit the hidden agendas of shadowy backstage figures. And yet in spite of this, it is regarded as the pinnacle of motor sport, a multi-million pound industry commanding a vast global audience.


"Formula 1 is..... a sport where competitors go round and round in circles, as compulsive to its addicts as it is bewildering to the non-initiate, a sport where the substance, the raw racing, has long given way to the self-interest of its organisers and participants, pulling arcane strings in an ultimately pointless yet strangely mesmerising ballet."

To which I would add that the sport is fast losing the "purist" fans and entertainment seekers. Its new rules alienate purists, its lack of track action distance fans looking for thrills. Some job the FIA is doing then. But its heartening to see evidence that even the mainstream press is not buying into the Max and Bernie WWF show, of which the "mass damper" issue was but the latest episode.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

What If He Makes It?

Lots seem to be happening in F1 this year but not least we have lost a great driver in Juan Pablo Montoya. I know his departure is old news but nevertheless I'd like to make my comments on this.

I know a lot of people seem to think that he's a slacker at best and a wanker at worse but to my mind Juan Pablo's departure means that Formula 1 has lost an incredible talent. I simply cannot believe jerks like Tiago Monteiro still remain but a genius Juan are surplus to requirements. Consider the Colombian's debut season in 2001. After a couple of races, here was this rookie seemingly without any fear and in a straight fight outbrakes Michael Schumacher going into Turn 1 at Interlagos. Had anyone been watching Juan in Champcars the previous two years it would have come as no surprise. But what I liked was the utter defiance against so great a driver and then triple world champion.

And I really find it hard to believe that a driver who clearly could outpace Kimi Raikkonen himself in similar machinery was sidelined as he was at McLaren. Of course Juan Pablo made his mistakes but his speed cannot be denied. I believe he'd be fast no matter what he drives and truth be told I think he would have been a better choice for Red Bull than Mark Webber.

Anyways, as we all know he's off to NASCAR now. Honestly speaking I have no idea if he'll do well there or not. These saloon cars are big and heavy and are a world away from the lightweight and excessively powerful Formula 1 single seaters. Its a whole different style of driving. But what he ought to get used to quite quickly is the level of racing in the series. Typical of saloon car races its very competitive with lots of argy bargy going on. Somehow I think he'd get pretty used to that given his character behind the wheel. But he'll still need time to adjust. Saloon cars are no mean feat. Look at what happened to Mansell when he tried a BTCC Mondeo. Round and round we go..........

Can you imagine if Juan Pablo makes it big in NASCAR? I mean Juan has a pretty big following worldwide. Certainly he has many fans over here in Malaysia. By and large, the rest of the world cares very little for this sport of the deep South. But if Juan Pablo is making it there, you can be certain interest levels would definitely go up. Heck, you might even catch me trying to get a glimpse from time to time just to see how one of my favourite drivers is doing.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Hungarian Splash

OK I have to confess, I did watch the Hungarian Grand Prix last weekend. Now look. What else would you have me do whilst having my dinner in front of the telly that night? Watch Oprah? No bloody way. I'd already watched Snatch countless of times before so dinner entertainment would have to be the race. Of course I expected to switch off once I finished my meal given that its Hungary. Surprisingly, the race was actually quite a fun one to watch.

Reading the comments on PlanetF1 after the race, I was quite surprised to see that many people thought the Jense was merely lucky to have won the event. The argument goes that the big three Raikkonen, Alonso and Schumi all retired and thats the only way he could have won. Are these fools on crack or something? Perhaps they too think that vibrating wing mirrors give some sort of unfair aero advantage.

For starters, Raikkonen could hardly keep his own teammate and eventual runner up from catching him. How on Earth would he have finished ahead of Jenson at the finish is beyond me. And Michael? Hmmm.... alright blame the Bridgestone rubber for his snail's pace at the start, putting paid to his chances overall. But before he retired, hadn't he already been passed by both de la Rosa and Heidfeld? Yes, Alonso lost his nut but he was inexorably being caught by Jenson before his stop. I doubt if he could do anything to keep the Briton behind. Come on people, I'm not a big Jenson fan but he absolutely deserved this win.

Michael Schumacher's first incident at the chicane involving Pedro de la Rosa was clearly another case of cheating from the multi world champion. He did gain an advantage by cutting right across the chicane but instead of yielding the position to de la Rosa, he elected to cover his line and continue on his merry way. All this when it was clear that de la Rosa had the inside line on the entry and was poised to rob the German of his position.

Never mind that Pedro eventually succeeded in passing him. Pedro need not have to go on taking risks when the position was already rightfully his. Never mind that Michael then failed in his attempt to keep Nick Heidfeld at bay and had his suspension tagged beyond repair. He should have been docked his one point because not for the first time this season has Das Prick flaunted the regulations deliberately.

Putting all this aside now, one could hardly fail to notice just how poor those Bridgestone tyres are in the wet. I'm pretty sure everyone on those tyres had at one point or another a spin or two. Even the so-called "Regenmeister" Schumacher. Well, it was pretty damned wet in Donington 1993 too but I remember the winner kept it all together quite nicely..... I remain unconvinced of Michael's ultimate ability in the wet. Good? Of course. Better than all of the current crop for sure. But Rain Master? No. Not quite.

All in all quite entertaining and its always good to welcome someone else into the winner's circle.