Archive for the ‘Formula 1’ Category

h1

Nelsongate

September 21, 2009

birthday-580x530

When has this sport every really been clean?

Perhaps in the days where people had no need to cheat. Cheating and sport go hand in hand, never more so than in the modern world where greed takes precedence and millions upon millions of dollars change hands in lucrative deals that can either make or break a team.

Cheating wasn’t nearly as common in the earlier days of F1 simply because people didn’t need to cheat. There wasn’t nearly as much money being thrown around and people were in it to win it; except, not at all costs. These were the days where people in the sport had integrity and dignity.

The saddest part of the sport today is exactly the same thing that drives it forward.

Money.

Not content with being the root of all evil, money is even attacking the very reason for a sports existence. It is not enough these days to just be involved: you have to be involved to make the piles of money and that was never a part of the way things were done when F1 wasn’t a multi-national global colossus money making enterprise. Bernie Ecclestone is the sports worst nightmare, taking his self proclaimed “circus”, selling out to the highest bidder and happy to let the sport turn on itself – a person who appears to enjoy the fact that people within the sport are ripping each other apart.

The only thing he is sad about over the whole Nelsongate situation is the fact that it might effect him personally and more importantly; financially.

He doesn’t appear to care about the well being of the sport any more and is more interested in protecting his own interests.

Bernie Ecclestone is a perfect example of why the sport is dying. A self absorbed, disingenuous, impassionate, double dealing, facade for the trauma underneath. As a man who helped the sport to get where it is, it is reprehensible that he is allowing it to tear itself to pieces in this way.

It’s not a matter of engine freezes and budget cuts any more – something is critically wrong with the sport on a moral level. More and more teams and individuals within those teams are brazenly willing to cheat and steal and put at risk the lives of others to get whatever it is they want and that always invariably comes down to money.

It truly is the root of all evil for mankind. Make no mistake.

Whatever the outcome of today’s events, I am certain the sport and those that are supposed to be looking after it will try and sweep the whole mess under the rug and attempt to continue on doing what they do best; making their piles of money.

F1 was never a sport based on piles of money. It was an honourable sport – one with integrity and dignity. A sport where risk and bravery were rewarded – not with millions and billions but with adoration, wreaths, recognition, revere and champagne…

People keep banging on about how the sport is losing credibility and that is utter bullshit – the sport lost all credibility years ago.

What keeps me tuning in is not what happens off the track but what happens on it so you can imagine my disgust as a true F1 fan, the news that Renault forged a plan to get the win in Singapore last year by putting another driver and countless other people at risk.

I do not doubt that Alonso knew about this plan despite him lying through his teeth about having no idea. How could he not know the reason why the team put him on a ludicrous 2 stop with fumes to get him to the first stop – all the way from the back in 14th? Did he forget to ask?

Alonso…playing by the rules? That’s a good one!

We also know that Flavio Briatore, the man who personifies arrogance and pig headed-ness, is also gone and very well masterminded the whole affair – not to mention the disgraced engineer Symonds who “engineered” the disgraceful events.

I feel less animosity toward Piquet Jr. purely because he was nothing more than a pawn being sacrificed on the chessboard to facilitate a mating move.

If anything, he is least to blame – despite the fact that he was driving the car. You may not agree with me but if you were faced with death by firing squad ( believe me, losing a job has felt sickening enough to be likened to death many times. Why do people still kill themselves when they lose their jobs? ), then one cannot really blame Junior for going along with the demands of his employers. Not only was Briatore his boss but he was also his “manager” although I am stunned to think about what it is he actually manages besides his own interests.

Yes, Nelsongate will all be over soon – we await the news as I write this but the stains left over from this debacle will not come out in the wash.

F1 has been going down the toilet not because of viewer numbers or sponsorship deals but because the people who are holding power are irresponsible, corrupt, self serving and manipulative.

People watch F1 for all the reasons F1 is not these days.

That is a tragic thing to consider.

Advertisements
h1

A Pain in the Neck for Michael Schumacher

August 11, 2009

Michael_Schumacher,_Formula_1_Racing

No doubt I am not the only one that is very disappointed by the 7 times champ’s decision to pull the pin on his F1 return as a stand-in for the injured Felipe Massa.

It would have been an amazing thing to watch but sadly, Michael Schumacher is not going to be on the grid in Valencia, citing neck pain from a previous motorbike accident.

M.S went on to say that, Yesterday evening, I had to inform Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo and team principal Stefano Domenicali that unfortunately I’m not able to step in for Felipe.”

“I really tried everything to make that temporary comeback possible, however, much to my regret it didn’t work out. Unfortunately we did not manage to get a grip on the pain in the neck which occurred after the private F1-day in Mugello, even if medically or therapeutically we tried everything possible. The consequences of the injuries caused by the bike-accident in February, fractures in the area of head and neck, unfortunately have turned out to be still too severe. That is why my neck cannot stand the extreme stresses caused by Formula One yet.”

“This are the clear results of the examinations we did on the course of the past two weeks and the final examination yesterday afternoon. As there were no improvements after the day in Mugello, I decided at short notice on Sunday to do that thorough examination already yesterday. I am disappointed to the core. I am awfully sorry for the guys of Ferrari and for all the fans which crossed fingers for me. I can only repeat that I tried everything that was within my power. All I can do now is to keep my fingers crossed for the whole team for the coming races.”

Disappointing news but what is done is done.

Ferrari will be in chaos right now trying to decide on who will stand in for Massa but they are spoiled for choice – they have Mark Gene and the incumbent Luca Badoer.

Both of them will do a fine job and are definitely more race ready but wouldnt it be great to see Kubica in the seat, now that he is on the market. for a one race special deal?

That would be a sure fire way to kick Raikonnen in the ass and get him moving again, wouldn’t it!¿

*EDIT*

It has just been announced that Luca Badoer will stand in for Massa in Valencia

h1

BMW Quit Formula 1

July 29, 2009

mario-theissen-pk-ausstieg-12969870__MBQF,templateId=renderScaled,property=Bild,height=349

In a move that is sure to spark a turmoil in the pitlane, BMW have just announced their decision to quit F1. Again.

http://www.planetf1.com/story/0,18954,3213_5459257,00.html

The German manufacturer will see out the 2009 season but will not be present on the grid for the start of the 2010 season. This is sure to raise questions regarding the sale of the teams infrastructure and movement of its staff but just as importantly, the locations of its current drivers.

I believe this decision may have just signaled the end to Nick “The Pikey” Heidfeld’s F1 career. There is no word of him replacing Massa at Ferrari and it is highly unlikely he will get the seat at Renault when they sack Nelson Piquet Jr. So where does it leave the quiet achiever? With limited options; that is where.

According to the hairy chested German, this came as a total back door raid to his F1 party; BMW’s decision no longer to compete in Formula One was totally unexpected. I feel very sorry for the members of the team with whom it has been my privilege to work over the years. I would like to thank all of them for their tremendous support and for everything we have achieved together.”

Robert Kubica has a much better position as he is currently still in the embrace of Formula 1 as one of its darling speed stars. Offers are sure to come in thick and fast for the under-performing Pole.

Personally, I am very disappointed BMW has yet again pulled the pin on its F1 program. It is not the first time BMW has done this and you have to wonder when they will be back. History tells me it is only a matter of time before they return again.Historically, BMW has always shown a great aptitude and ability for getting in to the sport when it is at a peak and leaving it when it is in the dumps. Quite the opposite of Ferrari who is there regardless of the outcome. It shows BMW lacks the spine and wherewithall to weather the current climate. It also shows BMW’s motives. True racers like Sir Frank Williams and the Williams team do not quit when the going gets tough. BMW were always a financial operation – in it for the money and the glory but mostly from a corporate perspective; nothing more.

That is deplorable to anyone who truly calls themselves a racer.

No one can call in a plumber because their sink is broken and then as it’s getting fixed, tell the plumber how to do his job.

With BMW now on their way out the door, questions must be asked as to who will replace them. The FIA drew fierce criticism over its selection process regarding the grid for 2010 but with the exit of BMW, the door may have just been kicked open for the operations from Prodrive and Lola to recommence.

The FIA has also released a press statement saying that they saw this coming a mile off and even saw fit to have a stab at the FOTA alliance:

http://www.planetf1.com/story/0,18954,3213_5459581,00.html

More to come.

h1

Like Father, Not Like Son

July 28, 2009

Say goodnight to Nelsinho Piquet Jr.

It seems that Flavio Briatore, a man who led Fernando Alonso; one of the greatest drivers in the modern era, and Renault to championship success in 2005 and 2006 doesn’t know **** about F1.

Well, according to a talentless whining son of a gun, that is. Nelson Piquet Sr. is probably having kittens – right at this moment.

http://www.planetf1.com/story/0,18954,3213_5457601,00.html

What a way to get fired!

h1

Complications for Massa

July 27, 2009

Sadly, it appears that things have gone from bad to worse in a major way for Felipe.

While we all breathed a heavy sigh of relief after hearing the news that he was alive and able to pull through the horrifying accident that hospitalized him in the intensive care ward of Hungary’s top brain hospital, complications and conflicting reports have surfaced regarding his true condition.

Ferrari started with a blanketing press release, basically saying that there was no serious damage and that everything was fine; Massa only suffered concussion. This was an utterly senseless press release from Ferrari to be honest – we could all see that this was no simple shunt with minor repercussions.

And so it transpired that Massa had indeed been hospitalized with a fractured skull – quite the more significant injury compared to concussion – and an injury that carried with it far reaching and potentially fatal consequences if not treated correctly.

To bring things back to the point, Felipe Massa is now currently around 24 hours into a 48 hour induced coma.

Such was the desperation of the situation and the extent of Massas injuries that the cranial team at the AEK Military hospital in Budapest had to induce a coma; a very extreme measure, make no mistake. The positive upshot amongst all this is that the procedure is necessary and highly beneficial allowing the doctors to monitor him in a state where the body has effectively shut down or gone to sleep; putting Massa in a deep sleep is helping to ease and aid the body in dealing with the blunt trauma that is causing his brain to swell. Inducing a coma, in this instance,  actually has the effect of acting like a pressure release valve for the brain.

The news though, does get rough again.

According to Professor Robert Veres of AEK hospital Budapest, Massa, ” …has suffered some damage to the eye. We don’t know if he’ll be able to race again. I don’t know if he can return. It’s too early to say about his future. We don’t know the extent of the damage. Without an operation it’s very hard to evaluate its function.”

So, it appears certain that Massa has suffered a serious left eye injury and although reports at this time are scant and cagey to say the least there is speculation that the Brazilians career may be over due to this injury.

I for one certainly hope this is not the case and that Felipe makes a strong return to the cockpit but the stark reality is that without proper vision Massa cannot race and this will indeed mean that his career in F1 will be over.

Let us all hope he pulls through for a full recovery.

The sport needs him.

h1

Massa Dodges a Bullet

July 25, 2009

He should be dead, Felipe, you know? The reaper has nothing on the Ferrari driver. God waved his hand and Massa lived. That he lived is a divine miracle and one I am obviously grateful for.  The mere centimeters between Felipe Massa and death today were frighteningly, excruciatingly close – that much is true for all to see.

Observe this photo if you will.

OMFG!

Them observe this screen shot from the video below…

Massa’s face was almost smashed in from the impact – now suffering a cut, blackened, swollen and bleeding left eye, not to mention a fractured skull –  you can see the massive chunk of carbon kevlar that has been gouged out of the helmet when the debris hit him at more than 200kph.

A single solitary centimeter in virtually any direction and we would all have to be burying and mourning for another beloved Brazilian.

That is a terrifying photo and Felipe Massa is one of the luckiest individuals currently living. Make no mistake about it.

The video is just as sobering.

At 23 seconds the cylindrical object has struck Massa in the head, knocking him out cold. This was vision slowed down as well. Think about that. In all honesty, when people tell me to buy helmets based on appearance over safety I have to question whether or not these people have anything up there to protect.

I can inform you all now that the object was a 5 INCH LONG  METAL SPRING from the rear suspension of the Brawn F1 cars.

According to James Allen, he reported; ‘I’ve spoken to someone who has held the spring in question and it is around five inches long, coiled metal and quite heavy. Massa is incredibly lucky to have survived an impact like that with only light injuries.

In a world where danger for racing drivers is always as close as the next bend, the whole world got another frightening reminder this afternoon as to why motor sport can potentially prove fatal for every one that is involved.

In Q3 for the Hungary F1 GP,  Felipe Massa was on his first hot lap just after the session had started when he mysteriously and inexplicably left the road at full speed, hitting the barriers head on at over 230kph.

At first, it looked like a totally bizarre and confusing accident. Watching it happen live, I wondered what would cause Massa to miss the sequence of corners and make a dead straight line for the barriers at that speed. The front tyres were on full lock and yet he was hard on the gas. On-screen graphs proved as much.

Massa slammed into the tires and chaos ensued. Rescue teams took a long while to stabilize Massa and extricate him from the wreck.

OMFG2

The mangled bent Ferrari was eventually removed allowing the marshals to rebuild the damaged tyre wall.

OMFG3

Boards and forums around the world lit up with messages of idiocy and truth, mixed with speculation and ignorance. No one knew what had happened.

Then, finally, after 10 minutes, the replay was shown. And it all became horrifyingly clear that this was no ordinary accident.

This was the same type of freak occurrence that had tragically and cruelly cut short the life of 18 year old Henry Surtees. The type of accident that no one can do anything about. The type of accident that reminds us all that the sport we all love can be fatal for your health.

Like I said – Felipe Massa is extraordinarily lucky to be alive.

Ferrari released this statement moments ago…

“After the accident during the qualifying session of the Grand Prix of Hungary, Felipe Massa was airlifted to the AEK hospital in Budapest. Felipe was conscious at the arrival at the hospital and his general conditions remain stable. Following a complete medical examination it emerged that he had suffered a cut on his forehead, a bone damage of his skull and a brain concussion. These conditions need to be operated on after which he will remain under observation in intensive care.”

I wish Felipe the speediest of recoveries and want to see him back in the saddle as soon as possible. I also wish to extend my condolences to the Massa family for this shocking accident.

He’s still with us and that is the main thing.

When we will see Massa behind the wheel again is a mystery but we all hope it is sooner rather than later. Let us all just hope this freak accident doesn’t ruin his racing career for good.

h1

F1 Breakaway Is Go!

June 19, 2009

It is actually going to happen!

Everyone should be opening champagne to celebrate this monumental occasion.

In an historic decision Thusday night, the teams that comprise FOTA ( Ferrari, McLaren, Toyota, Red Bull, Torro Rosso, Renault, BMW and Brawn GP ), unanimously agreed to leave F1 and start their own breakaway series.

Never in my wildest dreams did I envision the breakaway was going to become a reality but the reality of it is that people are sick and tired of the politics that have dogged the sport for decades and that includes not just the millions of people that watch the sport worldwide but quite obviously the teams as well.

Anyone worth his F1 salt will know that the puppetmaster FIA and Formula 1 itself was only ever an organization that was ruled by one megalomanical S&M tyrant along with one ringmaster extortionist extraordinaire.

Now, finally, after years of bitter politiking, the sport can resume its natural course where technological innovation is combined with razor sharp drivers to produce a heady mix of television ecstasy. If FOTA can produce even 1/10th of the magic of the 80’s and 90’s then we are all going to be in for a massive treat.

Now that the ringmaster and the whipping boy are toast, the FIA and FOM are left with a bunch of half-baked F3 and GP2 teams with no brand drivers along with a couple of disappointingly mutinous F1 teams that decided FOTA and the new series wasn’t where the grass was going to be greener.

Sadly, Williams is one of them. Force India the other. Both cited contractual obligations and after reading the statements from both teams, one can see the points being addressed and both teams appear to have valid and logical reasons to jump the FOTA ship. Nevertheless, its such a shame to see the big Williams branch absent from the FOTA tree.

Speaking of teams, it struck me as odd that the famous Lola had decided to withdraw its application for the 2010 FIA championship just a couple of days prior to the announcement by FOTA of the breakaway series. It seemed to me at the time that perhaps this was a preemptive move to join FOTA and the new series and this seems to be playing out as I thought it would. Good to see them back in the frame. Two other teams including Dave Richards Prodrive outfit were also left out in the cold by the FIA when the 2010 grid was being chosen and it is likely that we will be hearing more from them in relation to the new series in days, weeks and months to come.

Some incisive commentary from the always informative Martin Brundle

One team who the FIA may attempt to draw and quarter is Ferrari, who the FIA claims has a contract in place that binds the Italian team to the FIA and FOM until 2012. Ferrari on the other hand has stated that the FIA has breached this contract and as such, believe they are no longer legally bound to do anything the FIA tells them to do.

Whatever is the case here, we will undoubtedly be seeing a colossal legal battle take place as Ferrari attempts to wrestle free from the FIA’s grasp. Bernie Ecclestone has also been quoted as saying that if a breakaway were to happen, he would sue for hundreds of millions.

And as posted here on Joe Sawards blog ( Joe is a regular on Grandprix.com ), it seems the FIA legal juggernaut has just fired up its engines…

Regardless of the outcome, this is a day to remember. The 18th of June, 2009 will be remembered for years and years to come as the day the teams that make the sport what it is, decided to stand up, be counted and tell Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone where to shove their series and their tyrannical governance.

This is a collosal development in the sport and one to surely send shockwave after shockwave of attack and counter attack as the teams and the FIA and FOM slug it out to see whats is what and who is who. It will be more a battle of personality than prudence and egos are bound to be shattered.

Breakaway.

Has such a lovely ring to it, wouldn’t you agree?