The King Is Dead!
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or at least he has set the date for his funeral at the end of this season. Max is going on gardening leave after effectively losing two no-confidence votes. I applaud his achievements on safety and say Ďthank god heís goingí after his achievements on ruining the sport in the name of megalomania. Lets hope that whoever replaces him has the strength to stand up to the other egomaniacís in the sport and the experience to redirect Bernie when he forgets to take his tablets. So long Max Ė I canít wait for you to go. Well, at least that is what I wrote last week. Now it seems that Max, who would never change his mind "every few minutes like a F1 team principal" - has! Changed his mind that is. I suppose he must have been gazing down into the coffin and saw the corpse of F1 move?
Max, toddle off, it was only a muscle contraction, you have succeeded - F1, as we knew it, is dead, no need to hang around for the funeral.
Itís a damn shame that Q1 is still with us. After having Minardiís up front last year Silverstone showed again just how farcical the whole thing is. I have never seen a go-slow F1 race before; it was almost as boring as the usual go-fast Q1. I do not blame the teams, they did what they had to given the intelligence they had on weather. The process is fundamentally flawed and we need to address that. Bernie, to give him his due, is still trying but getting anything done through the bureaucracy of the FIA (anything sensible that is) is impossible.
Speaking of non-sensical FIA moves, they have just released their 'safety' innovations going forward and some of them I can't complain about. Tyres that need to last the whole race will, I believe, massively reduce marbling and hopefully will widen the racing line and allow overtaking as a result. The reduction in downforce will reduce the spoiled air behind the car and support cars getting closer together into the corners.
The engine rules are not so smart. 2 race warranties then a downsized V8 with all critical dimensions mandated will do nothing toward providing automotive development. Instead of looking for innovations that may flow through to the family hack (unimportant stuff that in the past delivered things like multi-valve engines, fuel injection and ECU's) now the engine builders will spend more and more providing less and less competitive advantage with an engine they are not allowed to experiment with. Thanks Max, I knew you were still around!
Another race Ė another win to MS. Having said that, I definitely see some 19B light on the horizon. Taking nothing away from Michael, who did what he had to brilliantly, Silverstone was won by a combination of round black things and perfect strategy.
If you need any confirmation of Bridgestoneís supremacy at that circuit, under those conditions, just look at Sauber. Fisi drove a great race and used the longevity of the tyres to get out of phase with the three stoppers. It worked for him and it worked for Michael. Ten degrees more track temperature and we would have seen a very different result. Hopefully Hockenheim will deliver a different result, or at least a race where fourth place on the grid wonít be good enough for a win without overtaking anyone on the track.
Kimi drove probably the best race of his career and was the star of the show. With a little luck or a little sunshine he might just have been able to deliver a top step. On Bibendumís best rubber he did not have the option of anything but a conservative strategy and his pace after his stops was severely compromised by traffic. Itís amazing that David could not get a better result given Kimiís pace all weekend.
Mid season is generally the time we see a changing of the guard as some teams get their development more right than others. It is too early to say however it appears that McLaren are the big winners while Renault and Williams are marking time. BAR seem to be slipping backwards. I donít read anything into Giancarloís performance beyond a very motivated pilot with a good strategy on good tyres. Mark Webber drove a very good race to get into the points. Hampered by Michelin in the conditions he also showed what motivation and some talent can do.
Ferrari seem to be able to ignore development of the current car from here on in. Michael only needs points finishes to take another title and Rubens is close to wrapping up 2nd. Donít be surprised to see their winning streak stop as others deliver too little, too late to catch up. Michael may well want to blow away his own record of most points in a season (Heís pretty certain to break his most wins record) but that wonít come at the expense of diverting efforts from the 2005 car.
The silly season is now well underway. Toyota have proved they have more money than sense by signing Ralf and the rest of the potential movers are staking their claims to seats in the drivers lottery. Nothing is certain except that there wonít be four seats available at Williams so some of those claiming them will miss out. Iíd be surprised if Webber doesnít go with Williams BMW but nothing else would surprise me. DC would be a very good acquisition for Jaguar if that is the way he goes. While I donít think much of Davidís racing talent relative to the best of them, he is very quick and he is probably the best of the bunch (bar MS, who is apparently not chasing a drive with Jaguar next year for some reason) at developing the car to the next stage. Trulli to Toyota rumours are hotting up and may prove true. I wish him well if they are. That would leave a seat at both Williams and Renault open. Ron Dennis suggested Mika is considering a return in a Williams, I would love to see it but will be quite surprised if he does. JV is also stirring the rumour pot but I would be very surprised if that is more than just talk. My money would be on Fisichella for Williams and who knows for the second seat at Renault. Montagny might just sneak in there given the fact that he is French and Renault are pretty focussed on lifting their profile at home.
In life it seems only three things are certain, Death, Taxes and MS winning another championship.
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