Atlas F1 The Formula One Insider

MONACO: short for monocoque by Mitchell McCann, U.S.A.


Yeah I know it's where the beautiful people hang out but unless GP stands for Grand Parade, it's a pretty stupid place to hold a Formula One race. It's a good thing that attrition is always so high otherwise we could safely stop watching before the end of the race - about 24 hours before the end of the race.

Before I go too much further, I should explain my absence from the last post-race issue. As a requirement of parenthood, I was obliged to take the goblins to DisneyWorld. This of course entailed a trip into confederate country where, apparently, one of the penalties for losing the Civil War was being denied the opportunity of ever seeing race-cars turn right. Unfortunately, I was completely unaware of this and was busy forcing a screaming 2 year old onto the lap of a 50 year old midget dressed as a semi-naked duck while my VCR recorded six hours of professional bowling, semi-pro fishing and amateur beachball bouncing (or women's beach volleyball as it is sometimes called - actually, the volleyball wasn't so bad if you know what to watch for).

Returning to my vacation home at half past the time that kids turn into mutant trolls, I quickly showered to remove the accumulated mixture of sweat, SPF 24, ice cream, spit and mouse droppings, before sitting down to watch the race. Of course, just because 95% of Fox Sports affiliates carry the race at the same time, that's no reason that the Florida one should follow suit. But I wasn't too disappointed. I'd set my VCR at home to record qualifying and the race. Of course, I don't know what I was doing at the precise moment that the power cut happened at my house but I was obviously completely oblivious to the fact that something really annoying had just happened. (The rum and cokes probably contributed to my being quite so completely oblivious).

Returning from the "Happiest Place on Earth" to the Crappiest Place on Earth (defined as anywhere within commuting distance of my job), I noticed the blinking lights on the VCR clock shortly before I noticed the flooded basement and all I can say is that it's a damned good job I threw that stinking VCR down the stairs.

Despite this further annoyance, I was delighted to see from Fox's program schedule that the race would be on again at 2AM in a couple of days time. I studiously avoided any and all contact with anybody who had ever heard of the letter F or the number 1 and three days later settled down to watch my tape of the race - half hour highlights only but better than nothing. Unfortunately, Fox New York had chosen to pre-empt the 2AM showing of F1 with a Golf Infomercial but was I bitter? Of course not.

Trooper that I am, I went back to my favourite fictional work, the Fox Program Schedule, to discover that no less than three affiliates were claiming to show half hour highlights of the race immediately before Monaco qualifying. So I had to get up half an hour early in order to watch a quarter of the race two weeks late but what the hell. I finally got to see the damn thing.

So where was I? Oh yeah. The Grand Procession of Monte Python. I know we got to see a topless woman during the world feed coverage of qualifying but I'm just not convinced that that's enough to justify Monaco's position on the calendar. And what's more, I'm pretty sure that following that little display, Bernie can kiss goodbye any thoughts of a GP of Iran. And where were all the gratuitous celebrities this year? I didn't see even one shot of George Harrison.

I know that we will never see Monaco eliminated from the calendar no matter how bad the racing but maybe one day we will reach the point where us race fans are able to simply ignore it while the rich and beautiful get on with the business of being seen by each other. Of course, this is from someone who set four VCRs in 3 different states on 2 different channels to ensure that I wouldn't miss a minute of the 'action'.


So talking of action, let's get right to the Jos watch. I know that many of you thought my absence from the Nurburgring issue was because I'd been kidnapped by tulip growers from Eindhoven but given my previously mentioned coverage deprivation I am unable to say, to this day, whether the accident was Jos' fault or whether the laws of physics and nature can indeed be temporarily suspended on the whim of a vengeful and petty god. Perhaps it was put most succinctly by HHF who said, and I quote, "Jos really is a tosser." (I wonder where he keeps his caber?)

Monaco was of course a return to form and not particularly noteworthy except that Jos did manage to squeak by his semi-pro teammate in qualifying. A routine spin during the race left one with the feeling that Jos' heart is no longer in it. He didn't even manage to complete one full rotation before climbing out of his car and walking away, barely stopping to look back as he tripped over a fag paper and two matchsticks.


I guess if a standing start is good then one which lasts half an hour must be really good. I'm still not entirely sure what the story was with the red flag, having heard two slightly different versions. According to one, the timing and scoring system instructed the race director to red flag the race. Presumably, if you tell him to take a long walk on a short pier, he does that too.

It's at this point that I feel compelled to offer my sincere condolences to all those Americans who couldn't be bothered to get up early and simply set their VCRs to record the race. Boy, that last half hour has to be the most exciting racing I have ever seen in my entire life. (Those of you with the foresight to let your VCRs go long and we poor, pathetic few who felt compelled to get up in the middle of the night to watch the Grand Prix of Monaco for God's sake, SHHHHHHH…. don't let on).

It was nice to see that Wurz won the pre-race fist-fight with the entire F3000 field to determine who would actually get to drive the #12 this week but unfortunately for Alex, Flavio retained the power of veto and decided that he wasn't worth the gas. Button and de la Rosa did a nice job at Loews prompting the first Monaco GP on foot as half the field had to run back to their spare cars in the pits. De la Rosa actually failed to start the race because half way back to the pits he stopped and is still waiting for somebody to bring him a bottle of Evian and a new pair of sneakers.

Once the race started for real, it was just a question of sitting back and waiting to see who could take Ste Devote 78 times and who still wasn't sure where the braking point was. Ferrari finally suffered a mechanical failure, which left me nostalgic for the good old days of 1996 when Ferrari reliability was as much a part of this column as Dutch navigation, and the Flying Scotsman cruised easily to his second win of the season. With a pole position and a win in the last two races, David Coulthard proved that he did indeed die in that plane crash and his body is currently playing host to the star of "Heaven Can Wait 2".

Mitch McCann© 2000 Kaizar.Com, Incorporated.
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