The Formula One Insider

By Mitchell McCann, U.S.A.
Atlas F1 Columnist


I was sitting in traffic on the way home today when it struck me how much my commute reminded me of the Hungarian Grand Prix. There was no passing, it was very boring and I kept wishing that I was somewhere else. The only difference seemed to be that we were going faster than the F1 cars were on Sunday and, to my knowledge, everybody managed to make it around the first corner without incident.

But I suppose it was appropriate that a boring championship was finally decided at the most boring track. It's been a while since a championship was decided this early and, while many of the races have been exciting, the title chase certainly hasn't. Although I must hold my hand up and confess that I didn't predict this result before the season, I, and most other F1 fans, were jumping off the McLaren bandwagon before early April had even begun to realize that it wasn't late March any more.

Before I go too much further, I must say congratulations to Michael Schumacher and Ferrari. This championship was certainly well deserved and easily won. I'm still not a fan of either but credit where credit is due. The car and the driver were the class of their respective fields and not even a couple of wobbly starts or the typical run of Schumacher luck can make the outcome of this year's championship controversial.

Now that it's all over, we can look forward to an interesting prelude to the 2002 season. Williams is coming on strong and the remaining tracks should play to their strength. McLaren may not be involved too much but surely there's serious off-season ass-kicking in the works and the rumor mill now has both drivers on the road to retirement or irrelevance. Coulthard's previously rumored contract is extension is now rumored to be just a rumor and Mika Hakkinen is driving with all the motivation of a 64 year old working for a dot com.

One of the most interesting rumors to come out of the paddock at the Hungaroring was that Eddie Irvine would be replaced at Jaguar by Hakkinen. There has to be a joke in there somewhere about replacing a Mick with a Finn. This would actually be a very positive development as it would accomplish two things. Firstly, we wouldn't have to listen to Mika trying to get through another podium press conference without answering any of the questions put to him and, secondly, we wouldn't have to listen to Eddie at all. I know that Irvine, and Villeneuve, can bring a breath of fresh air to Formula One when they forget the rules and say what's on their mind but recently, Eddie seems to have become obsessed by the notion that Michael Schumacher is so close to divinity that there's no way an ordinary mortal, such as himself, could have competed with him.

And talking of strangely annoying self-serving statements... Rubens Barrichello mentioned, or should I say claimed, that Ferrari has done nothing but win since he joined the team. This may be true but it's also true that Ferrari has only been winning since I lost my lucky t-shirt. What do you think of that, Rubens? Who is really responsible for Ferrari's success? You or me?

And on the subject of strangely annoying statements.... I couldn't help but laugh at one of Michael's comments during the post-race interview. Let me preface this by saying that I am enormously impressed by his, or anybody else's ability to speak a foreign language. I sure as hell don't know the German word for improvise. But sometime before his next championship, somebody should explain to Michael the difference between loving his teammates, which is entirely appropriate for men only after they have won a championship, and being in love with each one of them. (I know there is a difference because many of my soon to be ex-girlfriends told me so just before they asked for my best friend's phone number).

But aside from that, Schumacher really didn't give us poor British fans anything that we could get justifiably annoyed about. Which was annoying. He cried and smiled in just the right proportion, he gave credit to his team and managed to look way more happy than smug. Of course, he didn't have much to say about Coulthard's challenge but then again, there wasn't much to say about it was there?


I wonder if they deliberately scheduled Formula One's summer vacation immediately before the Hungarian Grand Prix so that this race would look exciting compared to two weeks of complete inactivity? If they're going to keep racing at this track they should really do something about the fact that we have to watch it! Maybe they could run that night race they were talking about in Hungary. Do it without lights and it would make it more interesting for the drivers and impossible for anybody to televise.

I knew this race was going to be boring and it was. It's a good job I tape every race because this one induced a fit of narcolepsy that would have left Prince Charming scratching his head. The ONLY saving grace, assuming you're not a Ferrari/Schu fan, was Alesi's pass of de la Rosa. That brought back fond memories of the old Alesi - or should I say 'young Alesi'; he's the old Alesi now. It would be nice if Jean's sudden elevation to a semi-decent team brings on a few flashes of the brilliance that we used to see from him on the occasions that he wasn't doing something really, really stupid.


Thank God that's over!

© 2007 . This service is provided under the Atlas F1 terms and conditions.
Please Contact Us for permission to republish this or any other material from Atlas F1.
Email to Friend

Print Version

Volume 7, Issue 34
August 22nd 2001

Atlas F1 Special

1 to 51: Comparative Victories
by Atlas F1 Writers

Simply Supreme
by Richard Barnes

Time to Move On
by Barry Kalb

Hungarian GP Review

The Hungarian GP Review
by Pablo Elizalde

It's Magic!
by Karl Ludvigsen


Qualifying Differentials
by Marcel Borsboom

The F1 Insider
by Mitch McCann

Season Strokes - the GP Cartoon
by Bruce Thomson

Rear View Mirror
by Don Capps

The Weekly Grapevine
by the F1 Rumors Team

  Contact the Author
Contact the Editor

  Find More Articles by this Author

   > Homepage
   > Magazine
   > News Service
   > Grapevine
   > Photo Gallery
   > My Atlas
   > Bulletin Board
   > Chat Room
   > Bet Your Nuts
   > Shop @ Atlas
   > Search Archive
   > FORIX
   > Help