Frantic F1 ~ Hindsight

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The future. Not the easiest thing to predict. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you get it wrong. At other times, you wonder what on earth you were thinking when you wrote that!

Frantic F1 hindsight
So, between the collection of Ferrari models (mine), posters of favourite bands (mine again), and the large collection of Tiggers in the house (girlfriend’s, not mine, but I have noticed the Tigger vs. Ferrari ratio is on her side at the moment. This needs addressing.) there are a few shelves full of motor sport magazines. Now, I decided to re-read some of these and compare them to what they said, and what actually happened plus select quotes throughout, which – when you read them – make you think, in the words of Todd, “huh, Ill be damned”, or in my case, “oh dear”.
The magazine issue of choice for this first offering is F1 Racing’s September 2001 issue. Firstly, let’s just point out one thing here. It’s not really the September issue. This was brought out in mid July, and covers events in June and early July when it came out, but for some reason that I don’t know (neither do I really care, so don’t email me!) we have to be a month ahead. As far as I am concerned, it’s July so it’s the July issue, ok? This isn’t as bad as I make out, I know. Usually it comes out at the start of the month, labelled for said month, but still. Anyway, let’s get started properly:
The front cover: Now with the main picture being of Ralf and Juan Pablo Montoya with what is either a smug look, or a look of pain, on their faces. But the headline is great: “Juan V Ralf, They’re mega. They’re mean. Now watch them carve up the rest of 2001!” Carve up the second half of 2001 you say? Ummm oh dear. You have to question how they are going “carve up the rest of 2001”, when just below that the other feature is “Schuey: Breaking all records”? And without trying to get ahead of ourselves, here is an article on how many records Schumi will (probably) break by the end of the year and during his career, which he thinks will end after 2004. Close, but no.
The news at this time was actually a case of history repeating itself, and in one case it would do so again and again in years to come. At the time, it looked like Alesi was going to replace the sacked Heinz Harald Frentzen – rejoining Eddie Jordan after wining the 1989 F3000 title with him. Also in the news was the fact that David Coulthard’s title dreams appeared over after his DNF at the German GP, but more importantly, that a fed up Mercedes – whose 2001 engine was below standards – may pull the plug!  According to F1 Racing, though, all was not lost, as Ron Dennis was keeping in touch with Honda still. So a McLaren-Honda was a possibility for 2004! “Stranger things have happened…” the story claims. But seriously, Mercedes have apparently been leaving McLaren these past 10 years almost as many times as Bernie has had a pop at Silverstone. (Ok, maybe it’s not that bad.) The story after DC’s 2001 disaster is that “Ralf Schumacher is almost certain to beat David Coulthard into 2nd place in the 2001 championship.” That’s pretty optimistic, as 2nd didn’t happen for Ralf, nor did 3rd – actually – as Rubens Barrichello got that one. The “almost certain” 2nd turned out to be a definite 4th come season end. Ummm, oops?
Well, that leads to the 17-page feature on Williams and its drivers. It compares the two Williams drivers to Mansell (read Ralf) and Piquet (read Montoya). Apparently, Ralf hustles his car and Montoya is smooth like Piquet. But for all the stories the ultimate prediction is this: “Its very probable that both will win world championships over the next four years and BOTH will in time be remembered amongst the greatest- amongst the Michaels, Prosts and Sennas.”  Huh, Ill be damned.
But where do we go from here? There is no way I can top that. Ralf Schumacher on the same level as Senna, Prost or his brother? Well after that we spend some time with the two drivers. Montoya’s feature is an RAF ride in a Tornado – as you do – in which he describes it in the plane like so: “Whoaa!! Bloody hell, its brilliant I don’t know how you do it, arrrgh!” If he had just said “Senna-esque” he could have replaced James Allen. Shame. Ralf Schumacher’s feature is all his former racecars he has bought from his first “winged” car in the ADAC-BMW Formula Junior (wow mouthful or what?) in 1993 all the way to his 2000 FW22 Williams that he had bought at that time. (I wonder if he really wanted to buy his Toyota’s later on?)
Now we have learnt that predictions are not the strong part of this issue.  So maybe we should lay off and go for some select quotes for instance on an article about the Benetton and its 111-degree V10 engine, in which Mike Gascoyne describes the Bennetton B201 as “not the best car Benetton have ever produced.” No? Really, you don’t say! Apart from one 10th on the grid at Monaco the car was usually 18th to last on the grid and had only 1 point coming into round 12 at Hockenhiem, where attrition of the rest finally allowed another 5 points, before the car finally seemed to look half decent as Fisichella dragged it to 3rd in Spa. Flavio Briatore is asked if heads role if they have a 2002 season like this one, his reply, “They certainly should do mine included”. Good old Flavio – no mincing words from him. What ever happened to him I wonder?
Moving on, we have a nice interview with Max Mosley conducted by Damon Hill, where Damon’s first remark is: “I typed Max Mosley on the internet the other day…” Max Mosley: “Oh Christ! What did you find? Anything interesting?” Well, try that today, people, and you will find more than Mr Hill did. What he found was the Scientific Investigation of Subterranean biology Because the website was originated by another Max Mosley. Even Max himself says: “There’s also the ‘I hate Max Mosley’ page”, adding, “My family printed it out for me once – it was great.” Nice family treats at that house then.  The final question is interesting when Hill asks: “You have a network of spies?” The reply: “Not really, and most of the time, they’re wrong. There was a fascinating piece of information about one of the top teams at the end of last season and it would have been devastating had it been true, but we immediately opened the relevant engines had a look and happily found nothing.” And that’s it. End of interview. Ooooooooooo you couldn’t have pushed on that one Damon? Like got a few more details. I know Max would have stayed quiet, but you can’t print a bit of gossip like that and then never expand on it. After all, Max doesn’t want to drag F1 into controversy, does he? Does he?
After that there are some nice features, but I’m not documenting the whole thing here, I just want the bits that did or didn’t turn out so well. So, on that note, the final piece I will comment on is an interview with some Minardi driver called Fernando Alonso. And what a nice guy he is he describes Tarso Marques as “quick, with good experience…” He also says that F1 cars are “much easier than I expected (to drive) because there are only 2 pedals.” Though he says that finding the last few tenths is harder because of the grooved tyres. He gets on alright with Michael Schumacher, and they chat sometimes during Sunday’s driver parade, which is nice, isn’t it? He also says he would like to see normal brakes on a car to make the racing more exciting “High-tech carbon brakes make races boring because you brake so late that it’s impossible to overtake. Where we brake at 60 meters it would be 180 metres with normal brakes. I’m a racer at heart”, now how sweet is that? He sees his young age as no disadvantage, in fact, he says: “I’m only 19, so I have a lot of time on my side to achieve my objective; to be champion one day”. Now that’s really sweet and it’s nice to have dreams isn’t it? But, as we all know, being in a Minardi, it’s going to be hard to get anywhere in the future. Unless you had someone like that Flavio Briatore as your manager, you’re going to have trouble going places. After all, as we all know, the future lies with – and this magazine says so – Ralf and Juan. BMW-Williams will conquer all, so Juan and Ralf can put their names amongst the greats. I’m Sorry Mr Alonso but with that outlook I doubt you will fulfill your dream of being world champion, let alone becoming the youngest world champion in history if you did win. And youngest ever-double world champion? Nahhhh! What are the chances of that?


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