It's always a pleasure watching formula one-weekends on Eurosport. Both john Watson and Ben Edwards are doing a great job. But will they be commenting next year on Eurosport too?
It seems like the big bosses of F1 are looking too sell TV-rights to private companies.
I hope to see some articles about this subject in near future.
Helge Thorbjxrn Tonstad
Not only is Damon Hill a better driver than a racer he appears awfully nice. Why all this harmony amongst today's top drivers? I long for the days of Nigel Mansell yelling at Ron Dennis over the pit wall or Ayrton Senna bumping Alain Prost into the gravel trap! Viva la conflict!
On a side note, What is the latest on a US Grand Prix in Las Vegas? I attended the last race there in the early 1980's and want to win my money back!
The latest indications from the FIA have suggested there is currently three proposals to run a Formula One race in the Continental U.S. They are in San Fransisco, Las Vegas and Florida. None of these proposals have moved past a discussion stage, and the most serious seems to be from the Homestead Motorsport complex in Florida.
It's beleived that the earliest a US track could join the Championship would be 1998.
Atlas Team F1
Rising from the dust of the ill-fated Hungaroring to stand atop the podium, Jacques Villeneuve had his most convincing race of the season.
His Formula One premiere in Australia was impressive. He started on pole and led most of the race before an oil leak forced him to relinquish the lead to Damon Hill. Certainly an auspicious beginning to a highly anticipated career. But even with the whole world watching and the honor of his legendary father to uphold, the pressure wasn't really on. No one expects a driver to become world champion in his first year.
Villeneuve's win at the Nurburgring was hard fought and well deserved. He passed Hill at the start and rocketed into a lead that he would hold for the rest of the race. Even though he was under nearly constant pressure from the world champion himself, Michael Schumacher, Villeneuve didn't falter. Schumacher is an expert at using traffic to his advantage, but even this ploy didn't work against the young Williams driver, as Villeneuve proved that he can slice and dice with the best of them. Still, the European Grand Prix was only the fourth round of a long season and, unlike such chaps as poor old Martin Brundle, it was almost a foregone conclusion that Villeneuve would win his first race during the '96 season. The pressure was not yet on.
The Hungarian Grand Prix was an altogether different beast for Villeneuve. He not only had to contend with a circuit he had never raced on, he now had a championship bid to keep alive. Essentially he had to win. Talk about pressure.
Villeneuve showed that he could thrive when the chips are down. As expected, he was off the pace in the first Friday practice, but during Saturday's practice period he actually outpaced Hill and came within a Whisper of Schumacher's time. By the end of the day he had earned third place on the grid, only 0.13 seconds off Schumacher's pole time and a measly 0.08 seconds behind his teammate. Amazing stuff, especially when you consider that the Hungaroring was not only new to the French-Canadian, but is (was?) one of Formula One's most challenging circuits.
Without a doubt, Hill has proven to be the fastest driver this season. Even though he lost the race, a string of fastest laps in Hungary defended that honor. His list of wins and pole positions are beyond reproach. When he is in the lead and has an open track in front of him, he is nearly unbeatable. However, when under pressure, either from a bad start, a wet track, traffic or all of the above, he has not faired as well.
Take just one of these for example. There is no greater pressure on a grand prix driver than at the start of a race. Drivers have to funnel all of their concentration into a tightly controlled explosion of intensity. On this score, Villeneuve has soundly outperformed his teammate. Whereas Villeneuve has frequently gained places at the start, Hill has done just the opposite. The start in Hungary was a case in point. If Hill does win the championship, he will have the dubious honor of being one of the slowest champions off the line in recent memory.
Bernie, if Hill isn't with Williams next year, you won't have to worry about excitement, Villeneuve and Schumacher can provide all that you (or we) need.
I would like to personally thank the right rear tire changer in the Williams pit crew, for making the Hungarian GP a tad more exciting, and for bringing back a few memories.
In other years an event like Villeneuve's problem wouldn't have come as a surprise. At one time a good day for the Williams pit crew was for them to not be slowest by a wide margin. Perhaps I'm exaggerating a bit, but Williams' pit work was always their Achilles heel. Generally though, pit work, especially tire changing isn't as vital as it once was. Maybe it's the fact that refuelling has pretty much determines what the length of a stop will be. It could also be the fact that very rarely have cars fighting for position entered the pits at the same time, and on the same fuel strategy. Whatever the reason the F1 pit stop has lost some of it's urgency.
Race strategy is becoming the most important factor when it comes to pit work. Last season Benetton proved that you could plan race strategy based on the strengths of their car. The B195 had a larger fuel tank than the Williams'. It also ran well with heavier fuel loads. This gave them a tactical advantage in that they could run longer than the Williams' before making their first pit stop. Often the extra 3 or 4 laps gained by this strategy were enough for Schumacher to pick up the lead from Hill or Coulthard, as he had an empty track ahead of him, and a light fuel load behind him.
Also, tire changing seems less hectic then it used to be before refueling. I remember a few years back, when all the pit crew did was tire changes, it was a heck of a lot more important that a mechanic did he job quickly and accurately. Now it's just a question of waiting till the car's jacked up, and slapping the tires on while the refuelling rig is doing it's job. The only time the tires aren't done before the refuelling rig, is when something goes desperately wrong.
In the years before refueling, a pit stop was an event to watch. I remember a Ferrari pit stop in Montreal in '93 that lasted a total of 3.5 seconds. McLaren was always a good team for tire changes as was Benetton. As a Mansell fan though, nothing could match the suspense of him coming into the Williams pit, while I muttered a silent prayer "I hope they get it right. I hope they get all four on".
I'm not sure if putting an end to refueling would totally alleviate the situation, but it couldn't hurt. I'll bet most pitlane mechanics are up to the challenge. Anyone for a 3.5 second pitstop again?
For how much longer will Peugeot Sport tolerate the seemingly
understaffed Jordan organization to get them to the top step of the
podium? Possibly now that Renault is leaving F1 at the end of 1997,
Peugeot could likely become the engine of choice for, say, Williams.
In any case, even though I live in the USA, I am a big French car fan
(own a Peugeot 505 and Renault Medallion - 21). While Renault is doing
great in F1, it is very disheartening to see Peugeot struggling! Also,
maybe Renault will enter Indy Racing in the not too distant future . . .
at last, a Renault presence in the United States!
Hear Hear! Someone please send a copy of Dion van de Nes's article( A Plea for Better Coverage, not Rules) to Bernie Ecclestone. I thought I was alone in thinking this. Formula One does not need to be reinvented, it needs to be fine tuned. Proper coverage (not pay - per view), proper curcuts, Is it a dream? I only hope it will be a dream come true.
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