ATLAS F1   Volume 6, Issue 41

  The Formula One Insider

by Mitchell McCann, U.S.A.


But at least on this occasion I think we can forgive Michael Schumacher for being just the tiniest bit emotional. After five long years, we will no longer have to listen to Ferrari's predictions of a championship next year and can confidently look forward to Ferrari's forecasts of a championship last year. In what was actually a pretty boring race, aside from its championship implications, Schumacher narrowly edged out his McLaren rival and made Jody Scheckter the last Ferrari World Champion to hold the title of "The Last Ferrari World Champion For 21 Years". It remains to be seen whether he will hold his new title for 21 years.

Although I am neither a Ferrari nor a Schumacher fan, it must be said that this championship was hard fought and well deserved. It was somewhat ironic, though, that the deciding moment of the championship was not on the track but in the pits. For the life of me I can't understand why pitstop advocates would rather see the championship decided there than on the track, but as there's not a Ferrari fan alive right now who gives a damn, I think we can defer that discussion until a later date.

Pitstops and the result aside, about the only interesting part of the race was the start, when, as we should have expected, Michael forgot the track layout and turned right about five yards past the start/finish line. Is it really so difficult to write a rule along the lines of "Thou shalt only turn right if the track also turneth right"?

The number twos played their role to perfection looking for all the world like a pair of number twos. The back-markers were so deferential in their attempts to get out of the way of the championship contenders that a couple of them were actually going backwards as they were lapped. Zonta tried to make things interesting by not giving Schumacher as much room as Schumacher thought he was being given, but then I don't suppose Zonta is overly worried about a three-race ban next season. Alesi spun out, but unlike past years, when this could have been described as a typically Alesi thing to do, this time it was typically a very Peugeot thing to do.

Next week, the show moves on to Malaysia for something we haven't seen for a long time: a meaningless F1 race. Oh sure, the Constructors' Championship hasn't been mathematically decided but, (a) Ferrari only needs 3 points, and (b) nobody cares. Well Frank Williams might, but nobody cares that he cares.


Of course the most exciting F1 development of the last two weeks was not the first Ferrari World Champion for two decades but my acquisition of a hand-crafted, lovingly-autographed, official Jos cap! Yes, thanks to my wonderful editor who not only checks my spelling and hob-knobs with the rich and famous but also hob-knobs with Jos, I am now the proud owner of the ugliest cap you ever saw in your life. As I sit here typing the Jos Watch it is, of course, perched proudly on my head. Ooops. It just fell off and went spinning to the ground. Never mind. I'll try it again in two weeks.

Oh. For those of you keeping count, Jos almost, but not quite, outqualified his teammate. He was also almost, but not quite, not the first to retire from the race. On the other hand, his hat didn't fall off all weekend.


Get the job, stop trying.

Although to be fair I'm sure most F1 fans are pleased that neither of the contenders' teammates actually played a role in the outcome of the championship. Not that they ever had a choice in the matter. In a rare candid interview with The Insider prior to the race, DC and Rubens were asked, for the 42nd time this weekend, how they saw their role in the race.

DC: "My plan is to fall so far behind the leading pair that Schumacher will be lulled into a false sense of security."

RB: "Cunning but not as cunning as my plan, which is to lose so many places at the start that Hakkinen will be lulled into a false sense of security."

DC: "Ah yes, but not only will I consistently lap one second slower than the leaders, I will also mirror my team-leader's strategy so that at no point in the race will I be anywhere near Schumacher. This will ensure complete confusion in the Ferrari camp and victory will be mine. Well his, anyway."

RB: "I too will drive at the speed of a Schumacher cooling down lap and employ tactics which promise to be of no use whatsoever because I already have a contract for next season."

DC: "Yup me too. Got mine. Right here."

RB: "Here's mine. Wanna see?"

DC: "Hey! How come yours says Number 1A?"


  • Villeneuve showed up in Japan with red hair professing support for Ferrari but clearly demonstrating what was more likely support for a starving, unemployed hairdresser somewhere.

  • The smoke from Hakkinen's car on the grid immediately prior to the start turned out to be smoke without fire, which is strange, because I didn't think there was any of that. It is believed that the smoke was caused by two Peugeot engineers walking past the McLaren.

  • The earthquake in Japan on Friday was caused by Bernie dropping his wallet.

  • Prost will be auctioning one of their cars for charity after the end of the season. Although the car will not come with an engine, it is not thought that this will prove to be a serious hindrance to performance.

  • Mitch McCann© 2000 Kaizar.Com, Incorporated.
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