Formula 1 04 Jul 2005 10:51 am

F1 Round 10 (French GP) Rant

(Actually more of a meander than a rant)

Well, well, well.

What a stunning drive by Fernando Alonso. The guy is a metronome.

Great performance also by Kimi Raikkonen. 13th to 2nd is a tremendous result. And running third fastest in qualifying with SOOO much fuel on board was impressive. Maybe he could have challenged Fernando if not for the engine failure on Friday — but I doubt it.

But what of the others?

Fisico was OK and suffered from two delays in the pits.

Michael drove well enough I suppose and was gracious enough to admit that third was all his car/driver combo deserved.

Trulli drove pretty well after great qualifying. Ralf lived up to his BGB rep again.

The Saubers seemed to run pretty well until Massa’s retirement. He (Massa) continues to outclass JV. Massa and Heidfeld at Sauber/BMW in 2006?

Red Bull ran pretty well. It will be really interesting to see what they can do with Ferrari donks (and branding) next year. Calling the engines Ferrari may prompt the Scuderia to give them good specs.

Honda seemed almost invisible during the race except for Taku’s banzai passing attempts. Now if he could just have floored it and managed a tyre-smoking four wheel drift… Wonder what JB is thinking about Williams for 2006…

Jordan? Who cares?

Minardi? Well, they really do need to learn how to fit the valve caps on their tyres.

Who else? Oh yes… Williams.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

What a disgraceful performance from the team. Check the fastest laps of the race — both Williams drivers 2 full seconds off the front running pace. Looks like the new aero bits are a drag (pun intended). Back to the drawing board, boys.

Or could it be (and here’s a conspiracy theory for you) that Dr Mario has ‘turned down’ the power on the donks (lowered max revs, changed fuel mapping, or some such) to make the Williams performance look bad, and make the BMW board feel wunderbar about their decision to buy a second string Swiss team with a hoopy wind tunnel? I don’t suppose we’ll ever know the truth on this, but one thing I do know now (that I didn’t know before) is that BMW is the ONLY engine supplier that didn’t do a new engine for 2005 — they just updated the 2004 engine. Maybe that’s why there have been so many cooling problems… Oh, and I know something else: Williams is the only one of the top teams still running a six-speed gearbox. Add weak bottom end engine power to a tranny with insufficient ratios and what do you get? Slow starts.

I think Webber has the right idea: ditch BMW asap and get lined up early with a new supplier. I still reckon Lexus-Williams is on the cards for 2006. Frank has said that the 2006 decision needs to be sorted in four weeks — he isn’t the sort of guy to make such statements lightly.

I have chosen lately to stay up late watching GPs live — and will probably do so again next week for Silverstone. Why not join me on Yahoo Messenger so that we can exchange notes during the race. Send me an email and I’ll let you know my Yahoo userid. Add me to your contacts list early so that all is sorted for race day. And don’t be looking at the GP websites during the telecast — the races are NOT live on TV in Australia.

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