|The Formula One Insider|
|SANS MARINO - adj.
Miami Dolphins in 2000
|by Mitchell McCann, U.S.A.|
U.S. SURGEON GENERAL HAS DETERMINED THAT THE INSIDER CAN BE DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH.
Those of you concerned about my ability to be rational and objective in the face of a severe reduction in my personal nicotine level, should be warned that not only am I still not smoking but now my tax return is due in less than a week and my car just died. (Doesn't matter whether it's a Ford or a Jaguar, the damn things still break down more often than your typical Eastender). Excessive cynicism should therefore be attributed to reduced nicotine, increased blood pressure and an almost complete lack of bank balance.
FORMULA ONE TO LEAVE EUROPE
Eccles tells Europe: "It's my ball and you can't play any more." European Commissioners concerned over uncontrolled growth of wine lakes if the FIA no longer meets in Paris.
As the quality of the sport heads south to join up with its TV coverage, Formula One Supremo and fashion icon, Bernie Ecclestone, has taken on the most important challenge facing F1 today: adding another zero to his bank balance.
Apparently, the task of improving competition, enabling passing and finding even one TV director who knows what all the buttons are for is beyond his ability so he's gone back to what he knows best: playing call my bluff with Euroczars. At least we can hope that when he follows through with his threat to treat Europe like one country, Imola will be one of the first venues to go. Surely a track with chicanes named for Gilles Villeneuve and Ayrton Senna is an abomination that cannot stand. And it is, all together now, A VERY DIFFICULT TRACK TO PASS ON.
To be fair, I must give credit where credit is due. The FIA did come up with one very important mid-season rule change that should go a long way towards solving the many problems facing the sport. Starting next week, the drivers will not be allowed to use a button to control their speed in the pitlane. Clearly, use of this button was making a farce of the notion that there is any skill involved on the part of the drivers.
The FIA has boldly said, "Screw safety", the pitlane speed limit is an integral part of the competition and if somebody gets hurt or disqualified for going a fraction too fast, then so be it. Lets just hope that the TV directors of the world don't forget to stick a few extra cameras in the pitlane so that we can all witness the spectacle of a world championship contender going 3 km/h too fast. Now that this burning issue has been resolved to everybody's satisfaction, we can rest assured that the FIA can move on, without distraction, to the contemplation of which global backwater should get the British GP.
COULTHARD DQ: THE ADMISSION
After boldly predicting the FIA's decision on McLaren's appeal, I must now face the consequences and humbly admit that the FIA got it wrong. Apparently, severe track conditions are no excuse. Unless of course the severe track conditions affected the plank wear of at least three other competitors in which case it is a valid excuse.
I for one stand in awe of the FIA's ability to rationalize these distinctions. Just consider exactly how much you have to drink in order to reach a level of consciousness that allows you to truly believe that the rest of the world is as stupid as you think they are. Fortunately for the FIA Members (and that word should always be capitalized in this context) by Tuesday morning they'd sobered up enough to realize that they probably shouldn't conduct a press conference as the words "What about the planks?" would probably lead to more bingeing and purging than a Richard Simmons video tape.
QUALIFYING AND THE RACE
"The race" in the context of San Marino should always be used with a qualifier.
If it weren't for its predictability, qualifying would have been exciting. Although, I must admit, it was nice to see Michael Schumacher that pissed off. (Before you write, let me say; no, I'm not trying to hide my dislike of Schumacher. I don't like him. Not as a person, not as a driver. I'm entitled to my opinion and you're entitled to be wrong. Just because I have a forum doesn't mean I have to be nice to everybody). Hakkinen's qualifying runs were of course the most exciting as he insisted on throwing in that pit-straight wiggle every time around. Presumably at Monza he'll burst into tears every time around just for old times' sake.
The race itself was a nice little procession, wasn't it? There were a couple of times when we had two cars running within 6 or 7 car lengths of each other. Fortunately, for the director, there was very little exciting action to be missed. He even found the in-car camera a couple of times although only one of them. The other two that Eccles said he could use must have been on the Prosts. He also gave us some very nice coverage of the stop/go penalties and I'm sure we're all relieved that we didn't miss as much as one second of these two fascinating penalties. There's nothing quite as exciting as a long, partially obscured shot of the back of an F1 car not doing anything.
Talking of the penalties, that brings us to Jos who must have been delighted with his penalty for blocking because this at least meant that he was on the black stuff. But I must be fair to Jos who had to contend with starting from even further back than his teammate and who had a suspension problem which could only be fixed by having one of the mechanics jiggle his right-rear wheel. Next race I suspect we'll see Arrows' mechanics performing repairs with NASCAR brand sledgehammers.
To be fair, there were a few exciting seconds in this race most of them at the start when Michael Schumacher's steering broke and Jacques Villeneuve didn't disengage his traction control until Tosa. Apart from that, it was up to DC and Rubens to demonstrate that, contrary to what I said last week, it is known as the passing lane and not the pitlane.
And so it's onto Silverstone and the most damning indictment of the sport; the fact that the schedule is designed to go where it rains so that at least there's a chance that the race will be more exciting than the line of cars leaving the parking lot.
|Mitch McCann||© 2000 Kaizar.Com, Incorporated.|
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