Atlas F1

The Formula One Insider

by Mitchell McCann, U.S.A.

I'm sorry - it's from Barcelona. Que?


So, do you think Irvine will be allowed to qualify in front of Michael ever again? Eddie's start, which was about as efficient as Windows 98's, was followed by a brilliant blocking maneuver that allowed Jacques Villeneuve to pass both Ferraris around the outside of the first corner. Once Schumacher was stuck behind Villeneuve, the outcome was inevitable because clearly, a car that is only a second or two faster than the one in front of it has no chance of passing on a track which is: "a very difficult one on which to pass." (I can't remember exactly who said that last weekend but I'll bet my house somebody did).


BAR, the team that was named after the location where most of the design work was done, has finished a race, Mika Salo dragging the schizophrenic Tyrrell wannabe to a glorious 9th place. I'm sure Lucky 5s or Strike That or whoever their sponsors may be, are absolutely thrilled. Amazing what a mere $50 million can get you these days.

Villeneuve actually had his best race of the year making a really good start and putting himself into a position to prove that the car is really quite a lot slower than the McLarens and Ferraris. Unfortunately, his race was ended in the pits when the unique BAR rear wing demonstrated another one of its strange properties. Apparently, this piece of the car was not only designed in the bar but must have been drawn up on the back of a napkin right after they called time. Apparently, the main design features are the ability to remove the wing in the middle of a high speed straight, as demonstrated in Australia, but not while sitting still in the pits. I can only assume that this feature was mandated by the marketing department who were presumably quite happy with the DNF given that everybody in the world now knows that rear wing says 666. Or was it Happy Days?


Rumours abound that Jordan is to follow McLarens lead and build a two-seat F1 car. Eddie Jordan has denied that their plan is to put Damon Hill in the rear seat on the theory that it has to be an improvement anytime he finishes less than 3 feet behind Frentzen.


I know I keep harping on about pitstops but I promise as soon as they stop doing them, I'll stop talking about them. I noticed in Spain that Arrow's Pedro De La Rosa was on a three stop strategy. Now maybe I'm getting more and more cynical as I get older but do you think this was an ingenious strategy formulated by the team to overcome McLaren's slight edge in power, aerodynamics and driver ability or simply a ploy to ensure that at least they got a little airtime? I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that Takagi employs a five stop strategy at the Japanese Grand Prix.


And while we're on the subject of passing... what's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this? I'm sorry, I mean, Max Mosley heard somebody rattling his cage this week, called his bank to make sure Bernie's check hadn't bounced and went in front of the world's media to reveal that his Dad's ability to put a straight face on the absurd had not skipped a generation.

Several drivers this week experienced a revelation and decided that they could actually say what's been on their mind for years. Because of either (A) their importance to the sport or (B) the fact that they're approaching the end of their career, Schumacher, Hill and Coulthard (who thinks he's A but is actually B), all decided to voice the opinion that the problem with passing is not the tracks, all 16 of them plus the ones they used to race on and the ones that haven't been built yet, but is, in fact, the cars. This fact has of course been widely recognized by all 16 billion F1 viewers for the better part of a decade now but its still proving to be a difficult concept for Max to grasp. Hey Max, look out for the clue stick. Grip is not a small suitcase.

I know Bernie won't let you do away with the wings, they are after all the most expensive billboards in the world, but it can't be difficult to devise regulations that would keep the wings the same size while reducing their efficiency. We may then re-discover that ancient technique called slip-streaming, maybe you've heard of it, which actually provides an advantage to the car trying to overtake rather than the current situation whereby the trailing the car is so penalized by the turbulent air left by the leading car that anything but lapping Minardis becomes a task of Herculean proportions.

How many competitive passes did we have in this race? One! For 7th place! And that was only because Barrichello screwed himself up trying to let Schumacher lap him. One pass for a non-points paying position! The pinnacle of motorsport? Not for long, Max. Not for long.


I can't stop thinking that the Barcelona circuit looks like a squid flexing its muscles. I'm not sure this is normal and if any psychologists, pop or otherwise, out there can tell me what this means I'd almost certainly not be very grateful. It would probably be more therapeutic if you would tell me what you think the Montreal circuit looks like and I'll tell you what that says about your personality disorders.

Mitch McCann© 1999 Kaizar.Com, Incorporated.
Send comments to: Terms & Conditions