Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Special Allowances for Maldonado?

Maldonado's retrospective twenty second penalty seems a little lenient considering the fact that he had four wheels off the track, then came back on, running Lewis into a wall.  Surely this is worse than the misjudgement Schumacher made when he ran into the back of Senna in Spain.  Following the infamous incident at Hungary in 2010 with Barrichello, there was uproar about his apparant ramming of the Brazilian into the wall.  Where is the same uproar when Pastor actually does it?

Martin Whitmarsh has told Lewis that he should be wary of  the hotheaded Maldonado and drive accordingly.  Why should these allowances be made for him?  They wouldn't be made for Lewis. 

Kobayashi was handed a 5 place grid penalty for the British GP for his tangle with Massa and John Eric Vergne will move 10 places back  for his collision with Kovalainen.  These are much harsher penalties, where is the justice?

Friday, 22 June 2012

Rotten Run of Luck or Something More Sinister?

What a horrendous horrorshow the start of the season has been for Michael Schumacher.  Co - commentating on Free Practice 1 in Valencia for Sky, Allan McNish was of the opinion that when a driver notches up only two finishes out of seven, the driver himself must be looked to when apportioning blame.  Clearly the only race he has watched this year is the Spanish Grand Prix, because that is the only one where the blame can really be laid at Schumi's door. 

Forced off the track in Australia due to a gearbox problem.

Front right wheel wasn't secured properly in China.

A DRS problem in qualifying and a gearbox change meant a start from 22nd on the grid in Bahrain.  He finished 10th.

A fuel pressure problem caused another retirement in Monaco.

Schumacher explains the DRS problem in Canada.
There have been other times when he has seemed less than jolly with decisions made by the team.  In Canada they made the decision not to send him out for his final qualifying lap.

A cynic could be forgiven for thinking that Mercedes are sabotaging his season in favour of Rosberg...

Alonso's facade

Alonso has been openly saying he would not be phased by having a high calibre team mate such as Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel.  Transparent comments, considering what happened when the double World Champion moved to McLaren to partner Lewis in 2007.  History repeating itself as the deteriorating relationship between the two top drivers at the team mirrored that of Prost and Senna years earlier. 

Fernando's influence within the Scuderia is substantial and he has no intention of agreeing to a driver who could challenge him to the first Ferrari championship in six years.  The facade is a necessary cloak, hiding the fact that whoever takes the place of Felipe Massa will be there as a number two driver.  Who better to fulfil the brief than his good friend Mark Webber?

Sunday, 17 June 2012

The Passion of Gilles Villeneuve

Having Jacques Villeneuve as a pundit on the Sky F1 coverage for the Canadian Grand Prix was a refreshing change.  He has some interesting opinions,  in particular his comments about drivers today not showing enough passion or excitement.  Considering the fact that he is the son of one of the most passionate drivers of all time, it is fitting that this should be his belief.

Gilles Villenueve had a fearless attitude to his driving, famously stating that he was not worried about breaking his legs in an F1 car.  Not someone to do things by halves,  he was always trying to surpass himself, searching for the ultimate lap.  Something which sadly resulted in his death during practice for the Belgian Grand Prix in 1982.
Watching footage of Gilles and Arnoux from Dijon 1979 does induce a nostalgic feeling for the days when drivers really raced, exuding passion that was impossible to miss.

If this sort of racing happened now it would be followed by a visit to the stewards.  Is it that current drivers lack passion, or is it a case of them not being allowed to show it on the track?  The attitude Gilles had about never taking it easy to guarantee second place when there was a chance of pushing relentlessly to gain first, is an attitude that is not always apparent now.  Whether this is due to the teams being cautious, wanting to see the car home intact and gaining points rather than in the barrier, or whether it is the drivers worried about being handed a possible penalty, it creates a detrimental air of compliance.

The passionate driving style of Giles Villeneuve was often considered too reckless, but was equally regarded as being refreshing in a conformist period of F1.  In 2012 we seem to be in another era of  following the rules and keeping harmony, when what fans really want is some good old fashioned racing from the heart, Gilles style. 

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Fangio Versus the Modern Day

When asked in a recent interview whom he believes the greatest driver of all time to be, Murray Walker answered,  "Juan Manuel Fangio won five championships with four different constructors, even Michael Schumacher hasn't done that." 
I wonder whether winning with so many different constructors is really something against which the most superior driving skill and talent can be measured.  It is well documented that Fangio followed the best teams around, therefore giving him the opportunity to win so many championships. 
Fangio is described as exuding style and grace in his driving,  showing an immense amount of skill and courage, but isn't the true test of a great driver winning races in a car that isn't the best?  Maybe his real skill was an eye for spotting the best car.
Fangio driving an Alfa Romeo during the 1951 season.

He won the 1954 World Championship with points from both Maserati and Mercedes.  He made the switch because Mercedes had a superior car.  Mercedes also gave him the 1955 title.

Ferrari was the place to be in 1956.

Followed by a switch to Maserati in 1957.

He may have been considered the best driver then, but he certainly wasn't loyal.  It has been written that his strengths included being a team player and a team leader.  Obviously these were great qualities in the Argentinian as long as no one expected them to last more than a year. 

Can comparisons really be made between Fangio and modern day drivers?  There is a lot more loyalty around now.  Schumacher's loyalty to Ferrari rewarded him with five World Championships, and who is to say the same won't be true of Alonso in the near future?  Lewis has stayed true to McLaren when they haven't always been able to give him the best car.  All of these drivers have been able to show they can win races in cars that are not the most superior in the field.  Could we say the same about Fangio?

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

By the Power of an Accent

In 2010 Lewis Hamilton could be heard talking with an American twang.  He had a good season, in the hunt for the championship.  Last year he seemed to have reverted back to being the boy from Stevenage.  He had a dismal year.

Now in 2012, the twang is back and so is the old Lewis, driving well and leading the World Championship.  Is his ridiculous fake accent the key to his success?

Does adopting Nicole's accent give Lewis strength?

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Kimi Remembers Hunt

James Hunt was the focus of a tribute helmet worn by Kimi Raikkonen at Monaco last weekend.  It was good to see a driver display respect and admiration for a past driver other than Ayrton Senna.

There are similarities between Raikkonen and the 1976 World Champion.  When Hunt joined McLaren at the beginning of 1976 he was a rebel, a quality which obviously holds appeal for Kimi, who doesn't exactly conform to the usual expectations in Formula One.  Hunt had a lazy streak which is mirrored in the Finn.  It is no secret that James liked a drink, likewise Kimi is known for having a taste for alcohol, and the way he lives his life away from F1 is widely known.

Now Eddie Irvine is no longer driving, Kimi Raikkonen is probably the closest driver we have to the caddish seventies F1 playboy.

The difference though, is that James Hunt made no effort to hide his maverick personality which is in stark contrast to Kimi who does everything to keep his concealed.  Is the tribute because he believes he has an affinity with the legendary F1 playboy, or is there a touch of envy about the way Hunt could display his personality for all to see?