ATLAS F1   Volume 6, Issue 31 Email to Friend   Printable Version

Atlas F1   The Formula One Insider

by Mitchell McCann, U.S.A.


Or the 18th shall be first anyway. Following a dismal qualifying session, Rubens Barrichello made the best of all the luck available on Sunday and drove to what must be the most popular Formula One victory in a very long time. Rubens was certainly the beneficiary of some luck with safety cars and rain showers but he also drove aggressively in the early laps and made sound decisions when the rain came which was enough to give him a deserved win. And not only a win but a win which team-mate Michael Schumacher could be genuinely enthusiastic about.

Schumacher had, of course, taken his leave at the first corner as has been his custom recently. This time Benetton's Giancarlo Fisichella was the object of his ire but despite Schumacher's repeated requests, the stewards inexplicably refused to impose a 10 second penalty on the Italian. Fisichella, despite the overwhelming evidence of Schumacher's salary, had weakly maintained that the Ferrari driver had suddenly swerved in front of him and slammed on the brakes. Clearly a driver with any experience at the front of the grid would be prepared for Schumacher to suddenly swerve in front of him and slam on the brakes, so really Fisichella only has himself to blame.

Actually, the real culprit was David Coulthard. As Michael has long maintained, drivers making poor starts from the front of the grid should not be allowed to swerve randomly in front of their faster competitors. I hope that this incident will finally prove to people that Schumacher was right all along and that these sort of tactics can only lead to tears before bedtime.

And talking of tears before bedtime... What on earth has Formula One become? I think Mika Hakkinen has a lot to answer for. Rubens I can understand. You've just achieved your life's ambition and, while soaking up the adulation of your peers and hundreds of thousands of fans, they start playing your national anthem. I think even Frank Williams himself would experience a slight tinge of emotion at a moment like that. Michael Schumacher may even be excused the odd tear of frustration having failed to score for the fourth time in five races through very little fault of his own. But Jean Todt! Does everyone that gets a pit pass now get a year's free supply of Puffs Plus and a complimentary copy of 'It's a Wonderful Life'?


Strange to see a Frenchman invading German territory for a change.

Those of you who watched the race are of course well aware that the most peculiar event of this race was the track invasion, half way through the race, by a lone Frenchman who apparently had a grudge against Mercedes. Did anybody actually see Jean Todt after the first lap of the race? I think somebody should check whether this, as yet unnamed, Frenchman paid his bail in francs or lira. (Or should that be euros or lira? What on earth have you guys done to that continent while I've been gone?)

But seriously, after hearing all the F1-bashing from my CART favoring neighbors, it is nice to see that Formula One has finally opened up and made the sport more accessible to the average fan. Not to mention the average raving loony with a pack-a-mac and a pair of pliers.

But seriously, seriously... Bringing out the safety car was clearly the only thing to be done in this case but I am a little worried about the precedent that has been set. Now anybody with a modicum of motor racing savvy, a pocket knife and enough money to make bail, can help determine the outcome a Formula One race. Before this situation gets out of hand, the FIA should introduce a rule to cover 'fan interference'. (I do have a couple of ideas myself but the last time the FIA listened to me was when I suggested tethering the wheels - obviously, with hindsight, they were right and two bits of sisal and a reef knot were not the best way to go).


But surely some really strong glue would've been a better choice, wouldn't it? Having inspected the electronics black box on Hakkinen's McLaren, the FIA officially sealed the component with a couple of pieces of Blue Peter-approved sticky-back plastic, replaced it with one that they'd prepared earlier and then pretended that it was nothing to do with them.

Fortunately for the sake of liberty and justice for all, Ferrari very helpfully sent a letter to the FIA during their investigation which brought to the whole process, a sense of wisdom and objectivity that had been sadly lacking up until that point.

The Insider can now reveal to you exclusively the contents of that letter.

Dear FIA,

You're looking very lovely today if I may say so (not that I mean that in any sort of derogatory or sexually harassing way, of course). I was deeply upset to hear that our learned friends at McLaren have not yet learned to cheat without getting caught. If our expertise in this area can be of any assistance we would be only too happy to help the FIA reach a conclusion that is in accordance with our opinion.

It is our opinion that the seals in question can easily be removed by holding them over a steaming kettle for 4.25 minutes (at sea level). Not that we would know that of course. Reattaching them with a mixture of flour and water makes them really messy and not particularly tasty so the more normal method would be to use a mixture of red wine, olive oil and tomato sauce, or whatever else it is that the mechanics had for lunch, and then, just to be on the safe side, squirt three tubes of super-glue over the whole damned thing.

I humbly suggest that you closely examine the box for any evidence of human contact such as fingerprints, scratches or its existence within the four dimensional realm of time and space that we know as reality, and should any of these indications be present it is our most fervent hope that the long tradition of FIA jurisprudence will be upheld by a sentence of death by hanging. Or electrocution. We're not that picky.

Lots of love


P.S. Please find enclosed the usual fee. Don't spend it all in one place. Ha. Ha.


Following Pedro de la Rosa's stunning performances in qualifying and the race and Verstappen's ability to find the track three days in a row, Arrows have announced that they're dropping the last 'S' from the decal of sponsors The Lost Boys.


Alain Prost surprised to hear that they hadn't already. Peugeot announced last week that, as was widely expected, they will be pulling out of F1 after the 2000 season. They will sell their engine program to Asia Motor Technologies (AMT) who will supply Arrows next season. If AMT can do for Peugeot what Mecachrome did for Renault, then we can look forward to Arrows blowing up and catching fire as they're being loaded into their transporters. AMT are headed by the son of late Sony chairman Akio Morita, so at least Jos will be able to listen to some decent tunes as he's being towed back to the pits.


  • DC was reportedly not upset that Hakkinen was brought in for his pitstop first although he was later seen renting Braveheart in bulk.

  • And I thought Eddie Irvine was faking it but he really does look like he was sick to his stomach.

  • This just in: the final score is Button 9: Herbert 6. (The number of teams that they are talking to. Come on! You really must pay closer attention to Atlas F1 News!)

  • I didn't realize Alesi was in this race until he wasn't.

  • In terms of passing, this track produced one of the best races we've seen in a very long time so of course it is likely to lose its place on the F1 calendar after 2001. Hungary won't so it isn't.

  • Mitch McCann© 2000 Kaizar.Com, Incorporated.
    Send comments to: Terms & Conditions

     Back to Atlas F1 Front Page   Tell a Friend about this Article