ATLAS F1   Volume 7, Issue 14

  The Formula One Insider

by Mitchell McCann, U.S.A.


Well that was a relief, wasn't it? Formula One talk around the water-cooler, such as it is in the States, seemed confined to communal commiseration over the fact that the 2001 season, as a competitive event, seemed to be over just about as soon as it had begun. With only two drivers in the field appearing to have the potential to win in the absence of divine intervention and one of them having a hard time making the finish, it looked like the championship trophies could be safely bolted to something heavy and immovable in Maranello.

Then came Brazil which brought us passing for the lead on the track, a serious contender other than Ferrari and McLaren and a driver other than Mika or Michael leading on merit (oh OK, two drivers other than Mika or Michael leading on merit). And for me, enough material to rebuff Holland for the rest of the season!

Nothing much needs to be said about the performance of Montoya. Great performance, perfect pass on Schumacher and a totally undeserved result. But if nothing else, Williams and Montoya (who's the other guy that drives for them?) have given us the hope that we'll see something this season a little bigger than The Big Two.


On lap 39, I felt a great disturbance in the force as if millions of people had cried out and suddenly been silenced. We will never know whether they were Colombians lamenting the untimely demise of their newly revealed Formula One hero or Dutchies driven beyond the capacity for rational thought by the fact that Montoya would dare to brake test their young champion while he was fighting so valiantly for a glorious 9th place. Whatever the reason, F1 fans the world over were left thinking "What the &#$%!"

While few outside have attempted to come up with a convincing explanation as to what it is that Jos actually has for brains, I have a theory to explain the strange mating ritual performed by the Arrows Asiatech. Sharing initials with the late, great Jacques Villeneuve (are you sure he's not dead!), Jos has been attempting to emulate the Franadian's patented overtaking manoeuver, which involves pretending that the upcoming corner is not really there. Only once one has passed the weak-willed driver ahead, who has timidly used that other pedal next to the throttle, should one begin to concern oneself with the fact that the straight isn't straight any more and that in this series the word 'banking' is only used in sentences beginning with "Bernie" and ending with "Ecclestone".

Actually, that's a complete load of codswallop (but the chance to swing at Jos and Jacques in the same sentence was too good to miss and Villeneuve has been getting just a little on the optimistic side of late). Clearly Jos had gone to great pains to let Montoya get in front of him and thus I can only imagine that he was having a Top Gun/Battle of Britain/James Bond flashback (pick your favourite movie scene where the dashingly brilliant good guy being chased by the fiendishly fast bad guy, shows his mental muscle by hitting the brakes, pulling in behind the bemused adversary, muttering a pithy one-liner and letting him have it with his Sidewinder/Browning .303s/Walther PPK).

Actually, that's probably a complete load of Benetton too. Maybe we should just use Occam's razor, and you'd think by now that Occam would be getting pretty pissed off with everybody using his razor all the time, and put it down to the fact that Jos is not a very good driver. I seem to remember somebody around here saying something like that not so very long ago.


Seems Formula One has become addicted to the use of safety cars. And you know what happens! You start off with something innocent like a safety car and before you know it you're mainlining pace cars and doing rolling starts. Apparently, this weeks episode of Driving Miss Daisy was prompted by Mika Hakkinen forgetting to put the steering wheel back on his stranded car after he stalled at the start of the race. Unfortunately for common sense, the other 21 cars had already driven by the stricken McLaren and its attendant marshalls before they were picked up by the safety car and by the time they came round again, the car and the marshalls were gone. But at least that meant that the stewards had had their fix by the time the BARs started queuing up for their pitstops in the rain.


Rubens Barrichello will have an eye test this week to see whether he is able to discern the difference between a blue and white moving thing on wheels and a flat, black stationary thing. If he fails the test Ralf Schumacher has revealed that he intends to drive for Minardi.


Seems Michael Schumacher has been taking some unnecessary lessons from his McLaren rivals in race tactics. Or maybe he was just using Brawn instead of brain. Having chosen the wrong pit strategy, the wrong time to stop and a set-up that was so bad he wouldn't even talk about it, it was only McLarens equally appalling use of tactics that allowed Michael to keep it as close as it was. Of course, if Schumacher wasn't becoming quite so careless in his old age, its likely that Ron Dennis would be closely questioning Coulthard as to exact the rationale behind "just one more lap" in pouring rain on dry tires. (And just a little sidenote here regarding my observations after the last race. Please add another 2 to the number of times that Michael has spun/gone off/fallen asleep without encountering immovable objects or irresistable force).


After Jos' loving attention, is Ralf's BMW now a sub-compaq?

Mitch McCann© 2007
Send comments to: Terms & Conditions