Is MS invincible ?
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Michael has had his best season start ever and the Ferrari continues to deliver a level of performance above the pack but how much of that is down to the competition?
BAR came out with all guns blazing and looked promising early on but if Canada (Button's eventual third notwithstanding) is any indication then their progress is faltering. Renault have taken too long to develop the power plant to match the chassis and Williams have still, at mid-season, not got their act together. The rest were never going to be a threat once McLaren decided they would play among the backmarkers this year. Given the fact that those 2nd level teams have had a half a year to develop their packages and provide some competition, and failed, Michael will win the Drivers and Ferrari will win the Constructors Championship yet again. And they deserve them. Ferrari had the package from round one but their development has not been any more spectacular or successful than the competition, fortunately for them it hasn't needed to be. Renault certainly appear to be the only credible potential competitor at this stage.
Bridgestone wrong footed the competition from the outset, providing tyres that are equal to the Michelin in race conditions and not significantly worse in qualifying. That wasn't the way Michelins guru's planned it. At the end of last season Michelin looked liked they had the game won, with rapid development utilising multiple front running cars against the Ferrari/Bridgestone combination. Bibendum's efforts for 2004 probably ranks right up there with one of his senior development partners, McLaren.
Canada's on-track race was not particularly interesting, beyond the failure of both Renaults and the stupidity of both disqualified teams. For Renault to go from most to least reliable in a single race is a pretty strange effort. I'm not reading too much into that just yet. They are still the best of the rest and they will score a lot more points before this season is done. If they can get some more power they will win some more races as well. Had Alonso's car finished, and had his refuelling rig worked he was actually in line for a very close fought win.
As for the debacle of Williams and Toyota, the less said the better. For teams with their budgets and experience (Toyota too, their senior engineers have been around longer than the team has) to go to races without even taking a tape measure is amazingly dumb. At least it guarantees Webber can get out of his contract with Jaguar should he choose to, the performance clause locking him in there is only activated if Jaguar are 6th or better in the constructors title after Indianapolis. With the skewed results from Canada that ain't gonna happen.
Ralf had one of his rare good days in Canada, despite losing the result, and the powers that be at Toyota should be asking why he managed that only when the contract is being negotiated instead of being pleased that he did. Schuie junior is inconsistent, end of story.
McLaren actually managed to finish both cars and picked up points from them as well (a marvellous effort given that it only took 3 disqualifications and at least 2 retirements to achieve it), unfortunately the real situation there is best shown by the fact that Fisichella led them home. I'm not sure what the value of the B spec car will be but there is no way that the current car can get points on its own merit.
Hopefully we will not have too long to go now before qualifying gets a new coat of paint and a rearrangement of the ornaments from the Real Race days. The revisions from the round of Britain (assuming sign-off by the FIA on June 30) will mean 2 sessions of 25 minutes with a 10 minute break between them. Each driver must complete 6 laps per session (2 flyers and in and out laps) with grid positions determined by aggregate times from both sessions. At least its a step back in the right direction. Parc Ferme conditions will still apply; I can live with that because the damn fool no-refuelling rule has been consigned to the bad-ideas scrap heap. Some of the drivers and teams are expressing doubts about this format (the 3rd change in 1/2 a season!) but at least its better than the previous bizarre arrangements.
Indianapolis is now upon us and I expect some interesting results, at least beyond the second step of the podium, Michael seems a pretty sure bet for the top one. Indianapolis is the most compromised circuit on the calendar in terms of car set-up and some teams will get that compromise more right than others. Renault could have won in Canada and I won't be too surprised if they do well here too. BAR and Williams could also surprise, particularly if Sato can see the end of the race. I'm still banking on 2 red cars up front though.
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First, the Michelin tire controversy. Basically, Michelin was caught, if
not cheating, certainly breaking the spirit of the rules. After they were
caught last year, they have shown little more than parity since then. If it
hadn't been for their "cheating", Ferrari, Schumacher and
Bridgestone would have trounced the field decisively last year. Is Michael
invincible? Certainly not, but there is no one near his game this year as long
as the team keeps things together. As long as he has equal or better
equipment, he will be very difficult to beat. even in his first years at
Ferrari, he was in the hunt for the championship even with somewhat inferior
equipment. If he were to go to Minardi, Minardi wouldn't be last in the
standing anymore. Given a bit of sponsorship money, MS could develop them into
a front running team.
Thank you. I certainly didn't mean to imply that Schumaker would be the
fastest on race day just by arriving at Minardi, but there would certainly be
a marked improvement in their lot.
It's amazing how much closer their cars ran after the extra width was taken away from the Michelins. I'm sure they didn't change the compound just for the width adjustment. It's pretty obvious to me that the width was the difference after the "scrubbing in." Must've been pretty obvious to the Bridgestone runners, too, or why would they have complained?
We are watching one of the greatest driver (MS) and team (Ferrari) in action and we keeping hearing complaints that F1 is boring. I wish the non-Ferrari fans will stop complaining and be a good sport. When the team and driver you are supporting get their act together, the day will come when you can cheer for them too. It is really getting "boring" hearing that F1 is boring - Lee - Singapore
This season is getting pretty sad. I think the question to be asked is not
whether or not MS will come in 1st place, but how few times he *won't* win.
It's neither his nor Ferrari's fault -- they got it right and he's one of
those rare individuals with amazing talent for what he does. As much as I may
dislike seeing the red cars constantly come in 1st and 2nd (or 3rd, on an
off-day), I have to give it up to the team and MS. Herein lies the problem,
however. When everyone else is so outclassed by both the driver (MS --
although it's not like Barrichello sucks) and the machine (Ferrari), it makes
for a very boring event. It's like watching the Mike Tyson fights which ended
in the 1st round -- after a bit they start to get boring and predictable, and
you don't want to watch anymore. The same is happening here in F1; the only
problem is what can you do? You can't punish MS and/or Ferrari for being too
good -- that would hardly be realistic, let alone fair -- but at the same time
their total domination is killing the fun of watching the different competing
cars and drivers.
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