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!
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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
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
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 -
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
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
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
Pole and see how your predictions stack up against the others. Register