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Reader's Comments

There are those who will disagree with me, a common occurrence anyway, but I�m getting bored with a lack of racing. Back in the �bad old days� when a win meant a 4 point advantage and you had to do more than just finish a race to collect a point we had people challenge for positions. Now, even if you are a competent steerer you go like a bat out of hell to catch the guy in front (Montoya, Alonso in Canada) then join the procession. If you�re hampered by a lack of skill you just give your brother the centre step on the podium and then follow him to the end.

We all know that overtaking is almost impossible today unless you can force the driver in front to make an error. What I am seeing is an acceptance of a point or 8 with no effort to pressure others into making those errors. In Canada Michael put in a few very fast laps, then settled back for a Sunday afternoon drive. His brakes were ordinary, his tyres were ordinary and he had the two fastest cars on the day right behind him. If ever there was a recipe for exciting races that would have to be it. Except it didn�t happen. Ralf never once in the entire race showed a willingness to push his brother. Why should he, he was in front of Montoya (his first priority) and had 8 points in the bag. Montoya drove very hard after his initial brainfade, until he caught Ralf. Then he could do nothing. Sir Frank would have been less than impressed had Juan Pablo forced Ralf into a position that risked 14 points for the Constructors gong so JP joined the procession.

Alonso at least put his nose out once on Montoya and kept the Renault large in Montoya�s one mirror as much as he could. Having said that there was little chance for Alonso to gain a place without a pretty dumb mistake from Montoya, the relative power of the BMW over the Renault saw to that. Without taking anything away from Alonso, who drove the race of the day, he should never have caught up with the others. Michael set a pace that allowed the Renault to join the queue and Ralf let him, it is as simple as that.

Of the rest, Coulthard and Barrichello were ordinary, Raikkonen made up for his blunder in qualifying and Webber showed why he needs a better car.

If the race had half the drama and excitement of the Friday press conference I would have been ecstatic. It didn�t! I wasn�t!

The Quali-flyer
The Real Race Archive

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Reader's comments:

There is one easy solution to the lack of passing - BAN REFUELLING! The way it is now, when a car pits for fuel and tires, he comes out with grippy tires but a heavy car, which is basically a wash. Ban refuelling and everyone will be on approximately the same fuel load at all times. A car could pit and suddenly be much faster than the others because he has fresh tires.
Imagine a race where Michael (on tires he's been on for half the race) was being hunted down by JPM on fresh rubber. JPM lops off a second a lap and catches him with two laps left. He's still much faster. You tell me what will happen then. Sounds pretty exciting to me - Tony K - USA


I really can't agree with you on that one. I would like to see refuelling banned - even if it's only to get rid of those bloody nozzles - but that would not address the aerodynamic impediments to overtaking or the dirty track issues. Banning refuelling would at least ensure some parity in the damn fool exercise they call qualifying these days - The Quali-Flyer

Am I the only person on the planet who enjoyed Canada, sounds like it. I thought she was a great race. It's damn near impossible to pass late in the race in Canada as the brakes are just aboot fooked at the end. People seem to forget that most every year cars retire through brake problems or battle on at a reduced pace. GOTTA GO SATURDAY QUALIFYING IS ON - Cooky - Australia

Yes, Cooky, you probably are. No, actually I would guess that Jim must have enjoyed it too. Ohh, it's only at the end that overtaking is impossible in Canada, gee, I thought it was all the time - The Quali-Flyer

I agree with your position. Formula One has evolved so that the featherweight racers with seven hundred to nine hundred plus horsepower tearing along mostly narrow racecourses leave little opportunity for frequent position changes. A few nights ago I watched a motorcycle race where one rider lead most of the way only to be challenged for the lead by a number of other racers with a few laps to go. The lead position changed more than half a dozen times and the winner took the lead for the first time with a few hundred yards left in the race. I really enjoyed that: guts and glory. 
However, Formula One is a different game than anything else on this earth. To me the excitement is as much in the individual race as in the progression, development of the totally outrageous technology. The racing takes place over the long time horizon and the engineers, mechanics as well as the drivers are all contributing to the racing process. Probably one of the reasons Formula One is so popular all over the world is that here is a situation where technology is guided to extreme levels of development by the sheer passion and love of racing. This, to me, is what Enzo Ferrari was all about � the fusion of technology and passion. Where else do the giants of technology meet face to face to demonstrate engineering prowess. 
Formula One has in fact become a world stage where the likes of Honda, BMW, Mercedes, Toyota, Renault, Fiat-Ferrari etc., spend mind boggling amounts of funds to show the world that they too can make sexy cars. I have come to appreciate the long term aspect of Formula One racing, one year the McLaren-Hondas were superior, then the next year the Williams-Renaults became unbeatable and then, after almost two decades, Ferrari lived up to its potential. 
In conclusion, yes the Monaco Grand Prix tends to be a bit boring, however, watching Fernando Alonzo or Kimi Raikkonen taking on Michael Schumacher is very interesting and exciting. The racing is as much about the engineering prowess as well as the passion and competitiveness of the drivers. The sport has evolved to the point where driver skill is only one ingredient for the winning formula - Jaime B - USA


Thanks for your comments. The Quali-Flyer has long believed that F1 should be exactly as you describe it. Unfortunately the FIA obviously don't agree with us. Will it still be that technological tour de force once we have standardised wings, standardised brakes and engines that are retired when the driver does?

When the best driver in the best car can't get pole because someone else has the days best tyre then the contribution of the driver in the overall package is put into perspective - The Quali - Flyer

I don't think Ralf has the skill to get around his brother, unless Michael was driving a Minardi; remember Ralf started first in Monaco, where it is impossible to pass and finished in fourth, pretty good; so he was concentrating on staying in front of Montoya. 
After what happened at Indy last year I don't think Montoya was very motivated to try and pass Ralf, so Michael could pretty much relax and enjoy a Sunday drive. If Montoya had been second and Ralf third, it would have been a whole different ball game. I don't think Ralf could have kept up with Michael and Montoya and probably would have had his hands full with Alonso despite the more powerful BMW engine. 
When Kimi gets qualifying down he is going to be a force to be reckoned with. 
Webber definitely needs a better car. 
I don't think the rule changes were thought thru. They certainly have not changed much, because we still get parades instead of races. BUT, I will still get up at 5:00 AM to watch because it's the best show in town - Jeff S - USA


I'm not sure I can totally agree with you about Ralf's skill. I believe he could probably beat him occasionally if Michael were driving a Jordan or Sauber too.

On all the rest, you are spot on - The Quali-Flyer

O.K. I'll bite. Let's assume you are correct that "overtaking is almost impossible today." Now I thought the whole point of Saturday, one-lap qualifying with the car parked until the race was to "shake up" the opening grid --and so necessitate a certain amount of overtaking by the better drivers and machines. And a survey of the Canadian race results suggests that the winner improved his start position by two places; Kimi, who finished in p.6 improved his position by fourteen!; Mark Weber moved up one; Jos five and "Pizza man" by two. That adds up to twenty-four improvements in position. Did all these happen "in the pits" or as a result of retirements? I don't think so. 
Would it have been "more exciting" if Ralph had put his front wing into the barge board of big brother by seeing who would "chicken out" and brake first, therefore taking both of them out? Yes. For JPM, Fernando and Rubens. It would, also, have been extremely stupid. The kind of thing that we expect beginning drivers, especially fast ones like JPM, to do at the beginning of their careers. As you pointed out, JPM could, indeed, have muscled Ralph for a place. And probably insured himself that he'd be searching for another seat after the season! And now comes the REAL excitement. Fernando, who IS at the beginning of his career and who IS fast, was all over JPM but NOT stupidly so. 
That you found this dull means, I think, that, for you, racing IS overtaking or crashing. Or it could mean that you don't like Michael in front; especially in front and in control (and there are many with you on that). Of course, this doesn't bother Michael a whit. Which only makes those who can't stand him walk around muttering about how things are not the way they used to be. 
True enough; things have changed. Guess what? They'll change again, too. Maybe even this season. 
One more thing: about points. Nobody cares how many points you have. There's only one question that matters to a racing fan: "Who won?" Notice. 'Who?' not 'what'? There's a reason for that. It's what brings me back to my t.v. every two weeks and, if I had the money, it would take me all around the world between March and September! 
Watch out in Germany: I'm picking Fernando for the podium (probably 3; maybe 2)! thanks - Jim W - USA


You're right, the idea of one-lap qualifying was to shake up the grid and make it something of a lottery (that was before Max dreamt up the even sillier notion of drawing lots). Now, has it worked? Yes we have seen different cars in places they don't deserve to be and the strategists are now at least as important as the engineers. Has the racing improved though? Not in the least.

Lets look at Canada. The winner improved his start position by two places and overtook errrr .... no-one on the track in a racing move. Kimi started the race with a full tank and did overtake some backmarkers but didn't overtake a single 'fast' car (he did however drive a magnificent race and deserved his P6) in finishing in the 'last' position of those cars on the same lap as Michael. Mark Weber, Jos Verstappen, Pizzonia, all quoted as having made marvellous improvements and they did. Unfortunately I must have been watching a different race because in the one I watched those improvements came almost exclusively from retirements, pit stops and ailing cars being overtaken.

I'll just have to accept your advice that in the race you watched
"Did all these happen "in the pits" or as a result of retirements? I don't think so.":
because in the one I watched I do think so.

Pressuring a driver in front into making a mistake does not require macho bravado of the type you quote. These guys are the best the world has got (well some of them are and the rest are still damn good) and they are fantastically well paid to do their job. Alonso got an honourable mention in my article and I even suggested that it was the car and not a lack of trying that kept him behind Montoya. You seem to have entirely missed the point I was making, had Ralf and others used the same level of controlled aggression that Alonso did then the result may have been different and the race far more interesting to those of us who don't believe that crashing is the only alternative to overtaking. I invite you to go back over my postings and show a single comment that doesn't support safety as the number one priority or that shows a lack of appreciation of the old saw that 'to finish first, first you have to finish'. With the current spread of points it is no longer critical to finish first, also-rans are rewarded to the extent that that controlled aggression is not required. The points favour conservatives.

Michael is not a favourite of mine, but I will repeat my oft quoted opinion - He's the best driver F1 has got and I have more respect for his ability than all the Ralf's in the pack combined. Being up front is his natural position and that doesn't worry me one bit.

Finally I would just say to your comment on no-body caring how many points who has, ..... well, OK - I won't say it but I'm pretty sure any team owner, any sponsor or any informed fan would - The Quali-Flyer

Jim Replies:


Sorry you took my remarks as nasty in tone (and re-examining them I can see why you might well have done so). But they were intended only in fun; in the spirit of your headline "Tell me I'm wrong."

Of course no one can tell you that you weren't bored when, in fact, you were! Nor did I mean to. And you may well be frustrated at the lack of challenge from Ralph (probably, though, not as frustrated as Sir Frank!). And if points really do matter to Sir Frank more than racing (and I don't know him at all; but his reputation is that he would rather die than lose!), then he'd have to be as happy as a clam with Canada and be looking forward to several more (what is it 8 for second & 7 for 3?) 15 point week-ends but, somehow, I doubt it. And anyway, if it did, neither you nor I think Rubens' seat would be solid for very long!

On the other hand, it's certainly true that, if you credit recent reports ab out his grousing against the new system, Michael really cares about points. But then Michael is the exception to almost any rule one can think of, isn't he? I mean look how he dresses! Look how he responds to interviewers!! He's courteous to a fault; he's as dull and unexciting as lead; I'm sure he's a wonderful husband and father; probably even a nice brother. But face it: he's boring. And, Oh Yes; he's also the best.

But even Michael can't defeat time. Or, as we've seen in Brazil, weather. Maybe it'll rain at Nurburgring. Hard. Or maybe the Bridgestone's will de-laminate this time! Whatever. I hope it's more fun for you - Jim W

And the Quali-Flyer responds


No offence taken and I look forward to further responses from you. I would rather have you telling me that you think I'm wrong and discussing it in this forum than having you ignore my ravings altogether.

Sir Frank is an extremely successful businessman and his business is measured (as is M Schumacher Inc) in points. Sponsors want them and TV revenue is controlled by them. Minardi et al are struggling only because of a lack of them. While all the participants love winning they are there because it's the biggest business in town. It really is all about the money these days.

Michael has, in my opinion, a reasonably supportable case to grumble. He has won HALF the races held to date and has a three point advantage over Raikkonen (who has only won once). Everybody knows how I feel about Kimi but I don't think MS is being treated fairly by the new scoring system - The Quali-Flyer

Fully agreed. And what a year to introduce this new points system with the fewest entries in years. 7th and 8th means even less than in years when there were 26 entries as opposed to the present 20. 
2 solutions - 
1/ Fixed rear wing like a Champ car superspeedway wing. 
2/ New points system something like this 26,17,11,6,5,3,2,1 Each increase in position is an extra 50% in points (approx). ie very close to what is was before - Byron F - Australia


On the fixed wing idea, I'm not so sure I want to achieve the result by restricting the teams options. I'd prefer to simply have a ruling that said turbulence must be reduced to X at a point Y metres behind the vehicle at Z kph and leave the method of achieving that up to the teams. If that ruling were accompanied by one that controlled the wear characteristics of the tyres to outlaw 'marbling' you would remove the two most significant obstructions to overtaking - dirty air and dirty tracks.

On the points front - it wasn't broke so why did they have to 'fix' it - The Quali-Flyer

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