Readers' Comments

Atlas F1

Readers' Comments

Updated: 15 May 1998 Spanish Issue

In regards to Rob Paterson's article, I agree that without significant changes to the current regulations, chances are slim to none that the "racing" will get better this year.

I think a reduction in aerodynamic devices will help promote closer racing, as cars will be able to run closer together.  Another solution which is entirely overlooked by most pundits, is to eliminate the semi-automatic gearboxes and the fingertip controls, and place the driver back in control of his machine.  This would help to separate the true drivers from those rich, rent-a-rides, and would let those "drivers" demonstrate their ability to the world stage.  Wouldn't you love to see Schumacher fighting to control is mount on the limit with just one hand as he flicked down to gears...

An interesting option, however, I doubt that this alone will promote overtaking, as there is so little to be gained by changing places.  Instead, what is needed is a revamped points structure, which places increased emphasis on improving one's overall postition.  Perhaps points shoulp be paid for places in the top ten, in increasing increments, not just one point per place.  Also, issue points to any driver and team who lead a lap, as well as those who lead the most laps in a race.  This might promote different (interesting) pit strategies as teams may choose to stay out to get credit for leading a lap.

I am a huge CART and F1 fan, and appreciate the difference in equipment and spectacle of the respective series.  I do not propose the addition of full course yellows to the F1 circus, but many of the other CART rules could certainly spice up the show.

They couldn't hurt.

Shane A. Brown

Looking back at Spain, there isn't much to say about the outcome of the race... except: Barrichello, what the **** happened to him? All of a sudden, out of the blue, the Stewart runs reliably and he as steady a driver as ever. Didn't commit any errors while under pressure from the world chapmpion Villeneuve. I've been so badly wanting success for the Stewart team... Maybe now, maybe... Monaco is a track that suites a good chassis and a good driver, obviously now Stewart has both in one and the same package for a change. Well deserved 5th for Barrichello and hopefully it gets better as the season progresses.

The comming together of Irvine and Fisichella was not much to examin from my point of view. Fisichella was faster and made a good move on Irvine at turn one... but he had the outside line, and has to at least leave space for one car inside him if his position in the turn isn't better than what it was. Fisichella was not more than just level with Irvine as they turned in, making it Fisichella to blame.. he should've known by then that Irvine isn't a chicken who backs off. Fisichella is a brilliant driver, I'm a little bit of a fan, but I can't deny what I saw...

Well, Monaco will be intresting, I'm sure we will se many surprises both in qualifying and the race. It sure will be more exciting than Spain and Barcelona, and maybe even better than Argentina was this year.

Jens Lindal

Rubens who?

Isn't it about time people start paying attention and restoring the proper credit to a young fella called Barrichello?? He more than proved he's fast and reliable under pressure, and despite all the underachievements of his teams (stewart, jordan, etc) he still manages to outqualify and outrace the big teams and their overpaid drivers, not to mention his teamates (whoever is put there).

I have the solution: put Rubens in a Ferrari next season! That would definetely be a bit of pressure on Mr. Schummy to prove himself against somebody not used to be 'second'; wouldn't it be interesting? Unfortunately, I'm convinced that Schummy would use all his influence on the team to prevent that...

Best regards,

Marcio Oliveira

Do you know if (or where) it would be possible to see the Austrian and German Grands Prix from the Boston area this summer? If it is possible, could you please reply to me.

Best regards,

Paul Meally

The 1998 F1 season is underway and it seems as though only Michael Schumacher will give us viewers a good look at how to really give an F1 car a good thrashing. The design of this years cars seems to be settling down so results should be decided by engineers rather than drivers (except for "the master of going faster" mr Schumacher).

What this series needs is an aerodynamic device to be introduced by the controlling body. Such a device would be like a vortex generator, and fixed to the back of the car underneath. It would work by generating an airflow  vacuum behind the car and allowing anyone who was good enough to get close to get a massive tow and shoot passed. This process would then be repeated if the overtaker could not pull away. Imagine a whole pack of cars surging back and forth passed each other, a dream of bernie's and many others i think. When i invent it i'll send more details. Good luck F1 1998.

Skye Cashen-Nicholas

Dear Atlas and/or Readers,

Is there anybody who can explain the consistent lap times of below 1min25 by M. Schumacher in the second half of the race, from lap 40, (as long as there was no traffic, but both with low fuel and used tyres and with more fuel and the new last set of tyres). At the same time D. Coulthard who by his own words was pushing hard and not cruising was doing about the same lap times, often slower than Schumacher. Of course the effect of these 15 - 20 laps was minor because of Schumachers penalty and the large gap beforehand. But does it mean that if Schumacher wouldn't have lost it at the start we would have had a race on our hands ? May be there is too much speculation here but that's only because of a lack of proper information by the German TV-crew. May be someone actually knows the reason for these lap times ?!

Axel Lorenz

Watching the last grand prix in Spain, I became extremely irritated and frustrated.

Why? Let me summarize:

Eddie Irvine.

The man drove a brilliant race, out-started Schumacher and drew away from him to open a 6-second gap before the pitstops were due. How on earth do you lose such a gap and regain the field AFTER Schumacher? How? His pitstop went brilliantly...

It's simple. Irvine was again destined to 'rape' his race and thus was told to slow down and hold up Fisichella so that Schumacher could rejoin in front of them, securing another precious 4 points.

After all the whining in Melbourne when Coulthard let Hakkinen through, wasn't this the same thing? If you feel that was not right, I believe what happened in Spain is a greater disgust, because not only was this also pre-arranged, it ruined also Giancarlo's race. No doubt, Irvine was a good clown this time.

Michael Schumacher.

Made (again) a mistake at the sart, was outdriven by his teammate, made an error while rocketing down the pitlane, and was rewarded for his services by Irvine. Thank you very much indeed...NOT!

The FIA.

Apparently the have fined Fisichella for crashing into Irvine an amount of $7.500. For what? Giancarlo made the error, but crashes are always of 2-way nature. Let's call it a 'racing incident'. When Schumacher pipped Coulthard in the air in Argentina, was that also an incident? Many of you put the blame on Coulthard, but I disagree. Schumacher banged wheels at the EXIT of the corner, under acceleration. Then you have time to lift, to judge if you can pull it off or not. Schumacher didn't. This was much more controversial than the last crash in Spain.

And what does the FIA do?

Sure, they realize that Ferrari and Schumacher are probably the only ones who can mount a serious challenge on the McLarens. This however does not justify the special treatment they get during 'incidents'.

Anyway, I enjoy watching the Macs sweeping Ferrari aside. It's McLaren against the F(errar)IA.

Enis Odaci

Dear Atlas,

          I reckon the time will arrive soon, where the provisional calendar for 1999 is drawn up. We can expect at least two races arriving, ie: China and Malaysia and so logically Bernie will have to look for two races to dump. Logically one of the race venues to be dumped will be the Hungaroring. At this point I must clarrify that i use to be for the dumping of Hungary, but after the race last year I think it serves more purpose than many of the other venues in current F1. This has compelled me to say hands off the Hungaroring! The races held there over the years have shown that you don't need the best car to win or be competivie (ie: Mansel '89, Hill, Herbert '97). While it may not suit all the good drivers on the field, it does suit some perfectly and allows them to be competative without superior equipment.

  So why must the Hungaroring be dumped when say the venues of Spain, South America, France, etc all have similar boring layouts. My solution is for no races to be dumped, but to increase the F1 calender size to at least 20 races. By doing this we can bring in Malaysia and China, U.S.A and also see the return of some old favourites, ie: Kyalami and Adelaide. lets face it Melbourne has not lived up to scratch and when the Malaysian track joins the circus it will make a mockery of the current Melbourne layout as it is of similar design only more modern. so who wants the same sort of tracks throughout all of F.1, by doing this, we will be as bland as the IRL. Lets push for variety of circuit layout and reward different styled circuits with races. Keep your hands off the Hungaroring Bernie, just 'cos the Hungarians don't sppek the same language as you, i'm sure they can see the merit of their circuit. If any of the circuits should be cut off, we should look towards circuits whichv look similar to each other. I may also like to point out that F1 in recent years has been starved of decent street racing, so lets see some more street circuits back on the calender, ie: Adelaide (no Melbourne is not a street circuit).

John Fulbrook

Dear readers,

We all scream that the new regulations for 1998 have split the field apart instead of making it more even, the very idea of the changes aside from making F1 even more safe. Last year we saw qualifications where the ten first cars were all within 1 second. This year qualification times have been very spread out, especially at the top.

But take a look at Barcelona qualification times. Mika Häkkinen was more than 0.7 seconds faster than Coulthard, who in turn was almost 0.8 seconds faster than Schumacher. Now, exclude the two superior McLaren cars and have a look at the times from 3rd Schumacher down to 12th qualification spot for Panis. Less than 1.2 seconds for 10 cars!

Maybe we are on the right way...

Peter Sjöström

Cars as grotty, vulgar and cheap looking as the 1998 F1 Williams don't deserve to be successful.  I had seen pictures of the car before the season started and was not at all impressed, but when I saw it "in the flesh" in Melbourne, I was even more disappointed.  The last time I was so taken aback by the appearance of an F1 car was when I saw the "Andrea Moda" in Montréal in (I think) 1992.  This did not qualify and was never seen again, but even it was not as dingy looking as this year's Williams.   As a long time fan of Formula 1, I resent the image of my sport been  downgraded by whoever is responsible for the paint and graphic design of these cars; if this was the type of image I wanted in a sport, I would watch professional wrestling or NASCAR. They tell me that advertising companies seek to portray in products the subconsciously sought after self image of potential customers.  If this has been accurately researched and reflected in the appearance of the F1 Williams, then I think it is the best reason yet for those who smoke to quit.

Yours Sincerely,

Ciaran McArdle

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