Formula 1 13 Jun 2005 10:35 am

F1 Rounds 6-8 (Monaco, European, Canadian GPs) Rant

Well, three interesting races to comment on: Monaco, European and Canadian Grands Prix.

I won’t make quite such extensive comments as in previous emails — very busy at the moment. So here goes:

Alonso: first DNF of the season in Canada, and a driver error at that. Proof positive that it is really TOUGH at the front in F1 this year. The cars and drivers are right on the limit in every race for the entire race. There’s no cruising home! Overall consistency such as Fernando has shown is a great way to win a hard-fought championship — and this one will certainly prove to have been hard fought by the end.

Fisichella: so far he’s miles ahead in the ‘unluckiest driver’ championship. What a bummer to go out of Canada in the lead. I like this guy and I like the Renault spirit this year. I’d like to see him do better.

Raikkonen: Kimi is undoubtedly driving well. But note that errors in Germany cost him the Euro GP (several trips across the grass and some huge lock-ups). I totally agree with the decision to keep racing in spite of the tyre situation. It was worth the risk. Hero or zero! And the close-ups of the tyre just before it went were AMAZING!

JPM: what a clot! First he has a ‘tennis’ accident and misses several races. Then he ‘brake tests’ the BGB in Monaco and gets sent to the back of the grid. Now he fails to stop at a red light and gets black flagged. What a shame to such such good ‘touch’ wasted on a dummy like JPM is showing himself to be. Henceforth, I will only refer to him as ‘The Dummy’.

Webber: our man is making a few mistakes — but he ain’t the only one (anybody notice mistakes from: Fernando [hit wall in Canada], Jenson [hit wall in Canada], The Dummy [red light], BGB [spun in Germany], Michael [several overshoots in Canada], Kimi [square tyres in Germany], etc.?). Like I said above, it’s ragged at the pointy end of F1 this year with low downforce and worn out tyres. His record as F1’s best qualifier in 2005 has been dented at Canada (his first corner accident in Germany meant he was first out for qualifying in Canada). I still have high hopes for Mark in 2005 and 2006. But I’m getting sick and tired of the whole Williams-BMW fiasco. Mario Theissen never stops whinging about the team and the drivers — yet it’s pretty obvious that at least PART of the problem is the BMW engine: low bottom-end power (poor starts), poor traction control software (poor starts) and very heat-sensitive (check out Mario’s post race comments for Bahrain and Canada — they take power away from the drivers because the engine is too hot). I hope BMW gets the deal done and buys Sauber, and that Williams hooks up with Toyota in 2006. They have a good donk (very reliable), and should have it again in 2006. And with new engine rules and new engine configurations, changing from manufacturer to manufacturer should not be a big problem compared to teams staying with manufacturer but just getting the new donk. Know what I mean? Or maybe (shock, horror) they could get a Honda in the back and give BAR a benchmark to compete against.

Heidfeld: doing well, but flattered by circumstances. Webber deserved to finish ahead of him in Monaco (and would have if he got the first go at the second round of pit stops). And Nick qualified very light in Germany. If Mark had managed to keep going, he was on a much better strategy and would have been a great chance for podium. But let’s not run the guy down. Doing well.

Trulli: Will certainly win Toyota’s first race (if they have a win this year). Had an exciting brake failure at Montreal when heading for a podium. The guy is driving well and has my respect.

Ralf Schumacher: BGB. ‘Nuff said.

Michael Schumacher: obviously driving wheels off a dud car. Lucked into the points in Canada after a Williams-like start effort saw him well back. Certainly would not have been on the podium if not for troubles suffered by Fisi, Jenson, Trulli and The Dummy. Pity Ferrari still failing to honour the test limitation that the other teams are living with (30 days during the season) and the longstanding no-test-in-the-week-of-a-GP agreement. Their lack of sportsmanship in this regard is very sad to see.

Barichello: bad luck following bad luck. But he also lucked into his Canada result. Won’t be so easy in USA next week.

Massa: another great drive in Canada. This guy is good. If BMW DOESN’T hook up with Sauber in some way for next year, expect to see Felipe in a better team. How long does The Dummy have to go at McLaren (two year contract, I think, but they can be broken…)? Rumour suggests that Ferrari also interested.

Villeneuve: on the other hand will be lucky to see out the season at Sauber. Slow and whiny doesn’t win the race.

Coulthard: driving well and doing more with the car than the car deserves. I LOVED the Star Wars theme and mechanics’ overalls in Monaco.

Klien: getting better! May make a decent F1 driver one day.

Button: back from holiday and not covering himself in glory. Canada quali position was on VERY low weight. And what’s all this rubbish about preferring to crash out than run 4th? Come on, Jenson, knuckle down and get some hard work done.

Sato: who?

Monteiro, Karthikeyan: they drive the yellow cars, right? Same donk as Toyota proves that car design/quality makes a BIG difference. Send the engines somewhere that they could be put to good use. Like Grove (Williams HQ).

Friesacher, Albers: why did Minardi spend all that money ($8.53, I hear) on a new car? It’s slower than the last one. These guys and Jordan are 6 and 7 seconds a lap too slow.

Well, that’s it for now. Looking forward to the next 11 weeks (8 GPs). USA should be good. Mark should qualify well again. And it sounds like there is a big aero step for Williams when they get back to Europe. I’m still hopeful that Mark will take a win this year. He just needs a slightly better car so that he can fight at the front without pushing over the edge.

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