ATLAS F1   Volume 6, Issue 33 Email to Friend   Printable Version

Atlas F1   The Formula One Insider

the most exciting ring in the world
(excluding the one around my bathtub)
by Mitchell McCann, U.S.A.


Don't you just hate it when there are four weeks between races? The Hungaroring lived up to its name and produced exactly what you'd expect, a slow speed chase that, for Formula One fans, closely resembled the pointless tension and predictable anti-climax of the original OJ Simpson slow speed chase. With the exception that nobody had a gun pointed at anybody's head, except maybe the TV director who must have been sorely tempted to point his cameras at the grass and take the rest of the afternoon off.

Do you suppose there's any way that we can make the Hungarians ban tobacco sponsorship? Hell, the track was full of Finns (who all apparently speak Hungarian) so can't we just have this race in Finland instead. Or make this a novelty round and have all the drivers play darts for the 10 ten points. I can imagine it now: "Its Hakki on the ockey" (you'll have to find an Englishman to explain that to you). Or how about having them run around the track 77 times - at least there'd be some passing although Gene would probably still be in everybody's way. Better yet, make the team principals run around the track 77 times. Ron could use a bit of exercise and Flavio needs an incentive to stop smoking in pit-lane (other than selling Supertec that is).

Next week we're off to Spa which is like going from coals to Newcastle. No, that's not a very good analogy - Newcastle is like the Hungaroring on Prozac. Its like chalk and cheese - one's dry and dusty and doesn't even look good on paper and the other is smelly and full of holes. Sorry. I'm really having trouble with my analogies today - maybe I need some anti-histamine. Spa is like a red, red rose which by any other name would smell as sweet - unless they chose something like the Belgoring and made Eau Rouge a 180 degree paper clip turn.

Have I said anything about the race yet? Do I have to? Anybody who watched the first 13 minutes of qualifying could safely have predicted what was going to happen for the rest of the weekend.

Ralf Schumacher in HungaryThe opening ten seconds of the race provided the first exciting moment of the day and, in a flurry of efficiency, also managed to produce the last exciting moment of the day. Mika Hakkinen made a blinding start and it wasn't until it was too late that Schumacher realized that he had not in fact squeezed his opponent off the track but merely onto an additional little bit of tarmac provided by a service road at the end of pit-lane. In keeping with the theme of the track, David Coulthard started this race with his foot firmly planted on the brake which probably explains why he thought he started in third - maybe he was referring to his gear selection. The other cars also started the race but by the first corner they'd pretty much lost interest and they all just decided to follow each other around for the next couple of hours.

Ten minutes into the race and the order was Hakkinen, Schumacher, Coulthard. Fifteen minutes later... . But I don't want to give it all away for those of you who haven't read the race report yet!

As I sit here reviewing my note on the race (it says 'Hungary'), I am overcome with relief that I'm not writing the race review. Hope you had your Wheaties, Pablo! In fact, it occurs to me that a new generation of English public school teachers will no longer be confined to assigning 1000 words on "The Sex Life of a Ping Pong Ball" for detention (which is probably dangerously incorrect these days), but will now be able to safely set "The Hungarian Grand Prix" as the ultimate deterrent to juvenile malfeasance. (And I should just add a little note to all you 15 year olds about copyright law! Basically, the somewhat arcane and intricate field of copyright law dictates that if you're going to copy it, at least get it right).


So the race was nothing to write home about, let alone write a column about, but what about the rumors and gossip from the paddock. Well, unfortunately the paddock was also in Hungary this week, which probably didn't go down well with the rich and famous, so rumors were confined to stories of Montoya signing/not signing for Williams, Button leaving/not leaving Williams, Wurz leaving/whether he likes it or not and Pedro Diniz waving ten million dollars around like it was still worth something. Verstappen's still here and Herbert still isn't, Bernie hasn't bought anybody for a couple of weeks now and Villeneuve doesn't like Schumacher.

Where are all the nutty Frenchmen when you need them? (And don't say 'curled up in the fetal position in the second red motor-home on the right' because the truth hurts).


Hey! I'll bet you couldn't out-qualify the Minardis!


Do you think anybody at Prost even cares any more? When Alesi came in early for an unscheduled pitstop the group gathered around his car looked more like a crowd of senior citizens examining a rare velvet Elvis at an Antiques Roadshow than a finely honed, well-tuned Formula One pitcrew. I don't know what they were doing to his car but when the director cut back to the same shot of the Prost in the pits five minutes later, they were still doing it. Reports that Heidfeld's speed failed to register on the telemetry until the mechanics started pushing the car are, no doubt, something of an exaggeration. However, reports that Alain Prost's hair went grey last week and fell out this week have not been verified but are really, really plausible.


Infernal, rude smoothie


Next years Hungarian Grand Prix will be in Hungary. I'll be in bed.

Mitch McCann© 2000 Kaizar.Com, Incorporated.
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