Double Standards

ExcerptThe last season of Michael Schumacher, the seven times world champion, saw him involved in more than one controversy, something that has dogged him throughout his career, infact from his very second race when he was snatched from Jordan and put in a Benneton. Over the past decade and a half, the sport has revolved around this one man, so incredibly talented that he has competed and finished in the top 3 of almost every championship season he has participated in except for 1999 when he broke his leg and had to miss 6 races. He has never finished a season out of the top 5. He has finished in the points 97% of all races he has completed. For a man who has rewritten every statistic and record in the history of Formula 1, it is of course pointless to dwelve into them. It would suffice to say that the “Michael Schumacher era” saw a period of cold, calculated ruthless domination of a supremely talented racer, reducing other teams and drivers to mere envious spectators an unmentionable number of times. Is that why he inspires such double standards in others – who always judge him with one yardstick and everyone else with another? Is it because of the indignation that a man with such obvious natural gifts should also have gotten to drive in competitive teams almost throughout his career – the combination of best car and best driver wreaking havoc on the confidence and efforts of other teams for the first half of the new millenium?MORE

The Customer Car Row Demystified

ExcerptThere is just one week to go for the start of the 2007 F1 season, but what is F1 without controversy. So the customer car row looks all set to dominate race weekend proceedings, but Colin Kolles wants to keep us guessing. “I cannot tell you what will happen for the moment, because some people are expecting some things. Sometimes it is better to keep quiet and come with something that they are not necessarily expecting” he says, which is rather counter-intuitive because it is going to send the concerned parties thinking out of the box now. Gerhard Berger will no doubt be asking himself “What are we not expecting and should we be expecting it?”. All fun, bring it on.

The gist of the customer car row (just in case you were hibernating through it all) is that there are some teams that feel you cannot just share the chassis of another team and pass it off as your own, and there are some others teams that feel you can. Each team must design its own car and hold the intellectual property rights to it – sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? But of course Formula 1 team bosses are all major exponents of the policy – ”Give me a law and I will find you a loophole”. Now according to Autosport, all this deals with Concorde Agreement and not with the FIA official rules, so there won’t be an official protest. Just the legal action then. The only bummer here is that no one really knows what the darned Schedule 3 of the Concorde Agreement says as it is protected by a confidentiality clause, so we will just have to take their word for it. This is what Berger has to say – “There is a different interpretation of the Concorde Agreement and I respect very much the interpretation of Spyker and Williams, but we have our own”. And I thought the whole idea behind having a legal document and an ‘agreement’ was to remove ambiguity….if there are ‘n’ million interpretations for it then it kind of makes you wonder. Sir Frank Williams is however quite clear on the matter – “If you are a constructor, then you build your own car. If you buy one, ergo you are just not a constructor”…..MORE

The Tyre Situation Explained

ExcerptFor the 2007 Formula 1 season, Bridgestone is the sole tyre supplier for all of the Formula 1 teams.On a race weekend, each driver will receive an allocation of 14 sets of tyres for that weekend. Four sets may be used during free practice on friday, while the remaining 10 sets may be used to cover qualifying on the saturday and the race on the sunday.

Each Formula 1 team will receive only 2 different compounds of dry weather tyre per event. The choice of those compounds will be pre-determined by the tyre supplier Bridgestone. The four dry weather compounds are classified as Hard, Medium, Soft and Super-Soft. These compounds and tyres will remain the same throughout the entire season.

During the race itself, each driver must use both compounds nominated by Bridgestone for that event. The softer of the two compounds will be made distinguishable by a white dot on the wall of the tyre to indicate the difference to spectators of the sport. …. MORE

Ruminations: Kimi, Schumi, Ferrari and Controversy

Excerpt:  One of the many things that Ferrari and Michael Schumacher had in common that kind of stood out was their ability to kick up a hell of a controversy at a moment’s notice and then to calmly go about their business like nothing had changed while everything around them was in a swirl. Seldom in the past decade has the sport (or non-sport according to Nando) seen any controversy, major or minor, that didn’t involve Ferrari or Michael Schumacher or both – they were invariably surprised to be caught up in the eye of the storm but seldom disturbed by it. It is perhaps this that Jean Todt was referring to when he said Ferrari chose Kimi because of his suitable attitude. Kimi Raikkonen’s unperturbed demeanor and care-a-damn existence are in stark contrast to some members of the paddock who constantly look like they are about to pop a vein. Add to this a blatant disregard for what the F1 community as a whole thinks or talks about him, and what do we have? A perfect fit for the new Ferrari dream team in making.

A point best illustrated by the 2002 season. Despite the roasting Ferrari got in the press for Austria 2002 and a million dollar fine from FIA to boot, Michael deliberately slowed down near the finish line in Indy 2002 to coordinate a photo finish with Rubens, handing the win to Rubens by mistake instead. What makes the situation especially funny in retrospect was that he had asked to gift the win to Rubens but had been denied permission, with Jean Todt warning him to just lie low for the rest of the season and not stir up any more trouble. And we all know how difficult that is for Michael. There is something so intrinsically ‘cool’ about the rogue attitude, as morally dubious as it sounds…MORE

Monza Weekend in Pictures

Excerpt:
droppedspanner.jpg
“Damn…I dropped me spanner in ‘ere boys, and I’m damned if I can see it! Will it make a differene, do you think, if the car rattled a bit more than normal this weekend? Will David notice?” …MORE

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