|The Formula One Insider|
|GREAT BRITAIN -
where every cloud has a silver stone.
|by Mitchell McCann, U.S.A.|
I'M SPINNING IN THE RAIN, JUST SPINNING IN THE RAIN...
So, whose silly idea was it to plan anything in England in the Spring other than a submariner's convention? Apparently, official word is that we have to blame either the Americans for having a race in September, which is just way too close to August, or the French for no particularly good reason at all. The decision, of course, goes to the French who are (a) responsible for a lot more than you think and (b) have an enormous over-supply of Gallic indifference.
You will notice of course that I'm not blaming Bernie for this. Bernie assures us that this was nothing to do with him and any snide remarks directed at the organizers are merely coincidental. (It is becoming somewhat surprising to find out how many things there are in F1 over which Bernie has no control. I'm beginning to believe that he's only denying that he'll ever retire because he already has).
The fact that scheduling a wet race is the easiest way to promote passing is entirely coincidental and bears no resemblance to any motive, living or dead. Shame it didn't work really.
Actually, wet qualifying can be almost as much fun as a wet race. I mean, any qualifying session that has Verstappen on provisional pole (twice!), Schumacher on the third row and most of the crowd locked out for the duration can't be knocked, can it?
Was there actually anybody at the track on Saturday? As cars were banned from the car parks which, in the interests of accuracy and truth in advertising, were promptly renamed 'fields', presumably the only people there were those who'd camped out and all of them must surely have drowned in their tents.
Seriously, the misery of the British race-going public was not totally in vain. The Brazilian race organizers found the whole situation very uplifting and complemented their British counterparts frequently and loudly on their ability to keep the track completely free of small dogs. And any other living thing.
Speaking of small dogs, is there anybody out there who hasn't heard every single renard joke. Good. (I know it's not a dog!).
Reports of Jenson's entrepreneurial activities were greatly exaggerated due, in large part, to a misleading AP report. Button's new clothes line is in fact white; 60 feet long and made of nylon. (He got a really good deal from the organizers of the Brazilian GP). According to sources close to Button, Jenson intends to hang wet clothes on it. None of this has prevented the Sun from devoting a four-page spread to it.
BAR LOOK ALIKE
There has been much speculation regarding BAR's non-tobacco livery. Is the phrase LOOK ALIKE designed simply to resemble the words LUCKY STRIKE, or is this a dig at the FIA who refused to allow the two cars to run in different liveries last year? Actually, it's much simpler than that. According to Flavio Briatore, they look a-like they did last year - one in the pits and one in the gravel.
THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME
Sunday dawned bright and sunny which was really just God's way of reminding Bernie who was in charge. Morning warm-up saw Pedro de la Rosa set the second quickest time, just a fraction behind Coulthard's McLaren. Somebody should tell these guys that you're not supposed to run under-weight once winter testing is finished.
Before the race, we saw Eccles leaning into Frentzen's car and having a long discussion with the German driver. Clearly, HHF thought it was his turn to win and Eccles was explaining in no uncertain terms that the script didn't call for an ugly German in an Irish car to win the British GP and that he was not about to embark on a major script revision this late in the day even if he wanted to. HH's parting comments regarding sartorial elegance and the function of imagination resulted in a penalty of 5 gears to be imposed at His Majesty's pleasure.
The reconnaissance laps and grid formation were marked by several of the drivers getting lost. Barrichello, Hakkinen and Schumacher each had trouble finding the 1st, 2nd and 3rd rows respectively. The inverted grid was bound to cause a spectacle and so it did. In keeping with the theme of the weekend, Schumacher's great start was the worst thing that happened to him all day. Getting away much quicker than Hakkinen, Schumacher attempted to go around him by putting a couple of wheels on the grass. (Yes! His own wheels). Apparently, Michael was the only person in the country who didn't know that it had been raining for the last 16 days. Perhaps if he'd taken the time to go paddling like our DC, he would have realized exactly how wet the water was.
Meanwhile, back in the pack, Jacques still hasn't received the memo about launch control. The only explanation I can come up with is that BAR's strategy is to use any and every illegal aid available and then DNF before they can be scrutineered. Pillock probably came up with that one. Seriously, Jacques' last two starts have been nothing short of phenomenal and if his elastic band really is that tightly wound he should probably just get it over with and marry Daaaannniiii. At least then we won't see his flap in the upright and locked position when it shouldn't be.
After the first corner and a little over-exuberance on Ralf's part, the race settled down until Coulthard decided to go all Mansell-like and started growing a mustache. Two on-track passes for the lead in successive races was too much for Rubens to bear and he promptly experienced hydraulic problems - which is Ferrari-speak for driving through 10-inch puddles.
And that was all she wrote. The McLarens ran out the race while Hakkinen's manager went over and over his contract looking for the clause that Mika swore was in there. Stepping out of his car and into the limelight as Michael Schumacher's main rival for the title... ...
Sorry, I'm back. DC is now Schumacher's closest rival and presumably we can now expect to see Mika Hakkinen supporting Coulthard's title bid. We can also expect to see gas at a dollar per gallon, the FIA revealing which team cheated in 1999 and Eccles riding a camel through the eye of a needle.
I was thrilled to see that Atlas F1 now has a Spanish language edition (added to the Russian one) and that I am now published in three languages. For somebody who skipped more English classes than Oscar Wilde, this is quite an achievement. Last week I didn't know what bilingual meant and now I are one. I even like my name better in Spanish. Please address all future correspondence to El Infiltrado. (Where's my damn sword?)
|Mitch McCann||© 2000 Kaizar.Com, Incorporated.|
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