Atlas F1 The Formula One Insider

NURBURGRING - it's just so European by Mitchell McCann, U.S.A.


Did I tell you I was gonna become a real bore about this whole Jaguar thing? I'm sure I did and I have to warn you that I'll probably get much worse before I get any better. No sooner did the word Jaguar leave Jackie Stewart's lips than the pride of British motor racing leapt to the front flexing its muscles and snarling its defiance. Can you imagine what will happen when they actually paint the darn things green?

OK, Herbert's third career win was similar in many ways to his first two but it's not his fault if all the championship contenders combined couldn't find a car and driver that could stay on the track. And what a shame Barrichello couldn't quite make it a one-two. That would've been some way for the team to record their first ever victory.

But one must also give credit to Jarno Trulli who did a good job holding off Rubens for the last few laps. Asked what he thought about his departing driver's performance, Alain Prost said: "Trulli's scrumptious, he's truly, truly scrumptious. And I shan't for-get this love-ly day. My heart beats so unruly, because I love you Trulli...." Sorry. Next year Dick van Dyke will be driving Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for the French outfit. Just as Panis is this year. I just hope they don't pronounce it with a French accent.

Following Prost's comments, somebody asked Jarno what he thought. He's still talking. I think they had him in mind when they came up with the word garrulous. Don't get me wrong, I'm very 'appy for him that he got his best result ever. I just hope he doesn't do it again anytime soon - videotapes are only 6 hours long over here.

As far as Coulthard and Irvine are concerned I think all I can do is repeat myself as they manage to keep repeating themselves with embarrassing performances which must have DC yearning for the good old days of Hungary and Eddie hoping he'll be able to persuade Jackie Stewart to make him a number two again - not that he needs much help. OK, the Italian fire drill in the Ferrari pits was not his fault but I think qualifying 9th, getting passed by Hakkinen and not being able to catch Marc Gene might have had something to do with him. Schumacher has announced that he will not be back this season but you've got to believe that this has more to do with the shambles that Ferrari has become rather than any concern he might have about being required to help Eddie win the championship.

Sorry. Had to step away for a second and compose myself. "Eddie", "win" and "championship" do not seem to belong in the same sentence. Not unless it's a sentence like: "Eddie's about as likely to win a championship as Jos Verstappen."

There was actually so much to comment on in this race that I don't think I could fit it all in this column without writing an actual race report, and God knows you don't want to read that kind of thing here, but I do just want to say that it was nice to see Pedro Diniz using his head for a change. Although I'm not sure that using it as a roll-bar was the wisest thing he's ever done. Alexander 'it could've been' Wurz certainly made a wrong turn out of a slow Hill. Perhaps somebody should explain to them that they don't use inverted grids in F1. Do you think Diniz considers F1 to be a pain in the neck? Is the FIA going to fine Diniz for not getting out of the car in the required 5 seconds? Seriously, I'm just happy to be able to joke about that crash. For a long while there I thought I'd be sitting down to write an epitaph.


Seems all it takes to repeatedly win broadcaster of the year is Superslomo which, surprisingly, is not a Jewish super-hero but is in fact the technical term for really, really slow motion shots. Once again RTL treated us to their speciality which gave me the chance to notice some things I'd overlooked before.

Apart from the fact that Mika Salo should not be allowed to drive for Ferrari because his helmet colours clash so badly with his car's, I noticed several sponsors that I'd never seen before. For instance, Ferrari's front wing endplate is sponsored by Tim. Now I know Tim is a really nice guy but I didn't think he could even afford his shout in The Kings Arms on a Friday night let alone an entire Ferrari endplate! Two Ferrari endplates in fact.

Wurz's helmet is sponsored by the law firm of Kravitt, Roberts, Andrews and Patterson. Fortunately Messrs Roberts and Andrews could not agree with their partners sponsorship decision and refused to participate so the logo on Wurz's noggin was thankfully reduced to just K&P.

One of Arrows main sponsors is of course I wonder how much they raked in for that one. A couple of bucks more than they got from T-minus no doubt. And most interestingly perhaps, Ralf Schumacher's end-plates are sponsored by Brother. I guess that explains how he got his ride.

And talking of Arrows, the battle between the backmarkers for sponsorship superiority goes on. After Arrows' masterly job at Monza, Minardi resorted to the tried and trusted technique of trying to qualify while everybody else was spending their time much more productively somewhere else. While everybody who knew that water was wet was frantically changing their cars' set-ups, Marc Gene went out for a leisurely drive around the German, sorry European, countryside. As broadcasters the world over rubbed their hands with glee at the prospect of running their commercials while nobody would mind, Gene kept going round and round until the commentators were forced to talk about him. I'm not sure anybody, anywhere said anything good about him or Telefonica.


Now that Todt's brilliant 2 year plan has turned into a 5 year 'what are we gonna do next' kind of thing, it's interesting to note Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo's presence at the Nurburgring. Apparently, running the company does not guarantee one a seat at the pit-wall so Luca contented himself with standing very closely behind Jean Todt no doubt reminding the hapless Frenchman that the feeling in the pit of his stomach had nothing to do with the local water but was probably the initial stages of Montezemolo's revenge.


Alright, guys. Enough already. Some of you wrote to protest my digs at Hakkinen's little emotional breakdown but now look what he's gotten us into. Now we've got half the paddock doing it - Fisichella, Badoer, Paul Stewart, the guy in charge of Irvine's tyres. It's worse than watching 'Its A Wonderful Life' in a sorority house.

Talking of deja-vu, when people say "It's deja-vu all over again" do you get the feeling that you've heard that before?

Where was I? Oh yeah. Speedvision dug up a little bit of interesting footage in their pre-race show. I don't know if you saw this all round the world, but they showed a clip of Mika Hakkinen from his F3 days. At the Macau race he drove up the back of Michael Schumacher and was forced to retire. Jumping out of the car in frustration he did that cute little this-isn't-how-you-bowl-a-bouncer toss with his driving glove and then hunkered down and had a nice little tete-a-tete with his feminine side. No I don't know what that proves - Speedvision didn't either - but I thought it was interesting. Besides, I don't get enough abusive e-mail from my female readers but when I do it's always so much more interesting than the medical suggestions that I receive from the hairier half of my audience.


As you well know, the Insider represents the pinnacle of journalistic integrity and the staff here at Insider Corp Inc. is fastidious in ensuring that all articles are factually accurate (or is it actually facturate?) However, on this rare occasion I have to admit to an error in my last column.

Residents of Walloon are not, of course, called Wallies but rather Walloonists as in the famous limerick:

A young man who was a Walloonist
Went out for a drink and was soon pissed
The beer gave him gas
Which he lit from his ass
He's a self-powered Walloonist balloonist.

The wally who fact-checked that article has been forced to take up smoking.

My apologies to wallies everywhere.

Mitch McCann© 1999 Atlas Formula One Journal.
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