May 30, 2005

The F411 Championship: Round 7 – European Grand Prix

First of all a mention on the rebranding of the championship. After performing a highly detailed marketing analysis we (me and my Pot Plant which grimly overlooks me as I blog) concluded that such exercises were pointless. However I also concluded that "Mike's F1 championship" sounds like a description of the 2000–2004 seasons. ie. Mike Schumacher's F1 championship. After thinking for about three seconds I came up with a new name and F411 was born.

I guess one of the main things to say is how happy I am that I was able to watch the critical part of qualifying. And what a session it was! Nick Heidfeld you beauty! Though it was tempered by James Allen's quote of "And Quick Nick has proved today that he is… quick." Um, right-o James.

Danger seems to be the big debate after Raikkonen's troubles. I could spend a long time constructing a well thought out, well worded argument about why I'm right and everyone should listen to me, but I'm no good at that so I'll just link and let someone else do it. As ever Pitpass is right on the money. Naturally there's lots of fuss about the single tyre rule and Paul Stoddart is calling for a control tyre to avoid a repeat incident. Now which team was it that stood in the way of that because they wanted to preserve a tyre advantage? A certain team in red perhaps? hmmm, looks like that came round and bit them from behind.

One of the things in the post-qualifying show that got me thinking was what Jim Rosenthal has on his clipboard. I have to admit I'd never noticed it before Saturday, but I presume he's always had it. Perhaps it has lots of statistics about the drivers, teams and tracks, all the information he needs to appear erudite and professional. Now, I think Jim Rosenthal is a pretty good host for the show, but god he talks crap sometimes. I'm prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt and suggest that, perhaps, ITV are to blame for how they pitch the programme. Anyway I strapped on my jet pack, flew to the Nurburgring and stole the clipboard whilst Jim was worshipping the short grey haired ringmaster, or as he is more commonly known, Satan. Here's what I found:

And after such a long preamble we finally reach the all important points.


10pts Mark Webber: I thought most of the drivers who made it past turn one did pretty shitty jobs. They were either too slow or kept throwing it off the track. Mark gets points for not committing either of the two previously mentioned crimes, even if he didn't get the chance. But he also gets points for being so honest. As a general rule in life I have a lot of respect for people who can admit when they messed up, though did Mark really mess up anyway? He's proven himself to be great in this regard before, such a Malaysia last year when he 'fessed up to trying too hard and throwing it in the gravel. Top bloke.

8pts Nick Heidfeld: Did you know, Nick Heidfeld is the top German drivers in the championship standings? You'd have thought ITV might have mentioned that, say, three thousand two hundred and twentyeight times. He's mega at the moment.

6pts Rubens Barrichello: After disappearing (according to James Allen) Rubens is back in existence! The Ferrari revival may have been postponed but he gave it his best anyway.

5pts Giancarlo Fisichella: Oh if only he hadn't stalled on the grid! It's going to start coming right for him soon, I really do reckon he's capable of matching Alonso.

4pts David Coulthard: A great drive and the best incredible start. Okay, well it was more that everyone drove off the track to get out of his way but nevertheless and he did do well to get a fourth place. So, clearly he can start well and race well, so why on earth can't he do something a simple thing like pressing a button?

3pts Christijan Albers: For the best pit exit I've seen in years. That's how it used to be done, slam the power on and off you go. Of course that was usually to get the car to slide out past some mechanics in the next garage (remember these things having a turning circle the length of the M1, or is that width?) Seeing as the Minardi garage is at the end anyway I'm not entirely sure what he was up to but it was good to see anyway.

2pts Vitantonio Liuzzi: For giving it some welly. Did you see that massive slide out of the last corner he had? I always like it when drivers try hard.

1pt Tiago Monteiro: He also gave it some, he even qualified quite well, which for a Jordan driver these days means being ahead of the Minardis.

-1pt Jarno Trulli: After driving so well so far this season he's gone back to his old ways. It's a shame, I guess it was to do with tyres but we've come to expect a bit more from Jarno.

-2pts Fernando Alonso: After crediting Liuzzi and Monteiro for going for it I'm going to totally contradict myself now and take points off Fernando for going off the track. Hey, I make the rules round here.

-3pts Kimi Raikkonen: He actually drove the wheels off his car, well excepting the tethers he did at least. If sporting cliches are becoming occurances perhaps Paula Radcliffe ought to start tieing her socks to her ankles, Rocket Ronnie O'Sullivan should wear Kevlar wasitcoats and Alex Ferguson should buy some parrot medicine.

-4pts Jenson Button: He didn't do anything on Sunday so I'm not going to write anything about him today.

-5pts Ralf Schumacher: I sometimes forget how pathetic Ralf is. He's just sappy and dull, I don't think I need anymore reasons.

-6pts Juan Pablo Montoya: Just get on with it already! He couldn't even overtake on Sunday. If he can't manage that then where's the point of the guy?

-8pts Jacques Villeneuve: I think helping Kimi gain a flat spotted tyre may be the biggest impact Jacques has on the higher order this year. He really is doing an appalling job, there's just no way around it. He can't even get lapped right, how hard can it be?

-10pts Michael Schumacher: There was something very Mika Hakkinen 2001-spec/Damon Hill 1999-spec about that drive. In short it was like he couldn't be arsed. I'm not convinced by suggestions that he might retire at the end of the year, but what the heck do I know about it?


10pts Red Bull: Shock Horror! They actually led a lap. I was impressed, it's gotta be said they're doing a superb job, though at this race they benefitted from everyone else being a bit shit frankly.

8pts Williams: Another decent showing. It's weird isn't it. Heidfeld inheritting a second place is a good result for them, but really they should be getting slaughtered for not keeping pace with McLaren and Renault. Williams as much as anyone have been the team to have suffered most because of Ferrari dominance, they certainly had the next fastest car between 2001–2003, possibly even the fastest during 2003, but now Ferrari are struggling they're not on it. It's a shame really.

6pts McLaren: It's not their fault Montoya seems reluctant to drive and Raikkonen seems intent on over driving. Perhaps Kimi's trying to compensate for his team mate's lethargy. Was it dangerous to not bring Kimi in? (Would he have come in anyway?) Of course it was, but motorracing is dangerous, it even tells you on the tickets! The logical conclusion is that the teams should tell the drivers to go slower because driving fast is dangerous. The teams are there to try and get the most out of the rules, so in this case is the single tyre rule to blame?

5pts Renault: You've gotta love Flavio Briatore. Regardless of how much they got their arses kicked by McLaren he was as bullish as ever. His point was that the race isn't over until it's over and at the end it was Alonso leading. And I suppose ultimately he's right. Though, I guess if you look at it that simplistically then I really shouldn't bother writing all this crap (if?) seeing as how the point to all this is redressing the balance.

4pts Minardi: Mixing it with the Jordans again, though have you noticed that they're still way off in the race? Bit mysterious that one.

-2pts Toyota They're at risk of losing their way. I suppose they're still doing okay but there's got to be big expectations now.

-5pts BAR: Frankly that was pathetic. Put it down to concerns over engines, put it down to going out first in qualifying, put it down to whatever you like, but for a team who finished second in the constructors championship last year to be down in ninth after seven (or should I say five? four? er..) rounds. Whatever, it's not good enough.

-6pts Ferrari: Not another nothing race? Well they did manage their third podium of the year so at least they got something from it, but it's not really enough is it? If you check out the fastest race laps you'll see Schumacher was only 1.8seconds faster than the quickest Jordan, which isn't that big. Admittedly Jordan had a good race pace (by their standards), but well, you'd have assumed that it was due to tyres, but then why were Ferrari slow? You could keep going round in circles with that one forever, which is appropriate for a discussion about motorracing.

-8pts Sauber: What a mess. As if they weren't having enough problems with Villeneuve they end up with this situation with Massa. Shades of Antonio Pizzonia anyone? Actually how many F1 drivers haven't crashed a road car in similar circumstances at some point, I believe Gerhard Berger had quite a record.

-10pts Jordan: They're in danger of making Martin Brundle redundant. Previously we've needed his expert views to be able to tell which cars are handling well and which are handling badly. Because ultimately all F1 cars look more or less the same as they corner to the untrained eye, so you need someone like Martin to explain whats going on. But the Jordan is so obviously bad, even whilst watching qualifying hungover after Friday night I could see that! For crying out loud, poor Narain and Tiago would probably do just aswell if they turned left for right handers. James Allen said that they had a new aero package on the way but I think he was jumping he gun a bit. A new aero package, I didn't think they had one to start with.

Special Cases

10pts Jenson Button: I forgot to mention in the previous round how good a job he did commentating at Monaco. No I mean it! Certainly compared with expectations at least. I mean, the guy sometimes comes across as a bit of a twit in interviews, he doesn't make the intelligent comments that, say, David Coulthard does. So I didn't expect much but I thought he sounded pretty good at Monaco.

10pts Heikki Kovalainen: He's just so good. I can't believe nobody signed him up over the winter. Given the problems Sauber are having and how much they're paying Jacques Villeneuve you have to wonder what the hell they were thinking. I remember watching Kovalainen racing in Formula Renault in 2001 and thinking he looked really quick. Before anyone starts to think that I'm really good at predicting who's the next big thing, I also thought Giorgio Pantano, Antonio Pizzonia and Tomas Enge were pretty special, so clearly I'm full of it. Here's a quick bit of trivia. As you know, Kovalainen beat Schumacher to win the race of champions last December, and of course Jacques Villeneuve beat him to the championship in 1997. But which other current F1 driver has beaten Schumacher to a championship? Answers on a postcard kids.

1pt Chelsea Reay, Thomas Hourigan, David Kelly, Simon Young, James Lewis, Mathew Mannion, Bruce Davies: F1 fan bloggers are okay by me. Though clearly your opinions are all wrong, unless you happen to agree with me that is.

-10pts Me: For being rude to someone on blogs regarding a comment they made about F1. I then apologised saying I might have misinterperated them. I have no idea how you misinterperate someone but it doesn't sound particularly pleasant.

10pts Sheffield Wednesday: Definitely not a Formula One constructor, prior to this season we couldn't construct a decent scoring chance let alone a highly sophisticated racing car. But, we've made it back into the Championship now. Hurray!

Drivers Standings
30pts Fernando Alonso
29pts Nick Heidfeld
23pts Giancarlo Fisichella
23pts Mark Webber
20pts Jarno Trulli
18pts Kimi Raikkonen
13pts Simon Young
13pts Mathew Mannion
11pts Christian Klien
11pts David Coulthard
10pts Rob Margeit
10pts Glen Crompton
10pts Heikki Kovalainen
10pts Martin Brundle
10pts Mika Hakkinen
8pts Felipe Massa
8pts Pedro de la Rosa
8pts Christijan Albers
7pts Patrick Friesacher
6pts Narain Karthikeyan
5pts Takuma Sato
5pts Jenson Button
4pts Rubens Barrichello
2pts Michael Schumacher
2pts Joseph Long
2pts Vitantonio Liuzzi
1pt Chelsea Reay
1pt Thomas Hourigan
1pt David Kelly
1pt James Lewis
1pt Bruce Davies
0pts Alexander Wurz
0pts Anthony Davidson
-3pts Juaan Pablo Montoya
-8pts Tiago Monteiro
-16pts Ralf Schumacher
-31pts The twat writing this nonsense
-36pts Jacques Villeneuve

Constructors Standings
33pts Red Bull
32pts Minardi
31pts Renault
27pts McLaren
11pts Toyota
10pts Warwick BUKC
10pts Pitpass
10pts Warwick Blogs
10pts Sheffield Wednesday
-3pts Sauber
-4pts Jordan
-5pts Williams
-15pts BAR
-27pts Ferrari
-1026pts ITV

- 5 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Another great blog entry. Have to admit, Jim Rosenthal really annoyed me (more than usual) this week. Yeah, I think you pretty much got everything on his clipboard, apart from his really obvious statements he makes. Oh and did you hear him last week when he was making a link between Finland's Kimi Raikkonen and Finland's Sami Hyypia playing for Liverpool live on itv. It just made me cringe. Apart from the blonde hair and nationality they have nothing else in common.

    Anyway, thought you were a bit harsh on Trulli. His drive-through really screwed up his race and when you compare what he does to Ralf Schumacher I think he did ok. Although surely Ralf has to be the most overrated driver in F1? Also I think Montoya did ok, particularly as Webber hit him quite hard, but Webber deserves the 10pts for the great honesty. I love the way Brundle was saying that he was wrong, when Webber was trying to say he desered all the blame.

    As for beating Michael Schumacher in a world championship, I'm pretty sure it was Vitantionio Liuzzi in world karting championship in 2001 or something. I think I remember reading it in ever so trusty F1 racing a few months ago or something. Can't wait for exams to finish I have a 3 month backlog of F1 Racing to go through!

    30 May 2005, 22:12

  2. Whenever Jim Rosenthal says "I think" or "In my opinion" before reading something off his clipboard (which has clearly been snipped out of Motorsport News) I laugh. And cry.

    30 May 2005, 22:52

  3. Thanks Joseph, I try my best. Yeah national stereotypes are really silly. Kimi's just not an ice man at all and the main Italians in F1 are both really laid back! I probably was a bit harsh on some of the drivers, it's snap judgements here I'm afraid. I was going for Liuzzi, yeah. As a fellow F1 Racing reader, do you reckon it's gone seriously down hill the past couple of years? Though to be fair it is showing signs of improvement and it can't be easy to think of seven or eight decent articles when there's only twenty current drivers to go at.

    TV presenters do have a habit of making you laugh and cry. I maintain that Rosenthal's pretty good in his role, though I can see where you're coming from. What about Angus Scott on WRC? He's really growing on me, I thought he was just an idiot at first but he's almost as silly as Jon Desborough sometimes, It's great!

    31 May 2005, 19:10

  4. Yay, just managed to convince my housemate to take me to Silverstone on Thursday for the test. I went a couple of years ago in my first year and saw Montoya, McNish and Firman but according to itv-f1 website there will be seven teams there- great. Yeah, I do think F1 Racing may have deteriated a little, I don't like the new format of the articles that they have had for about the last six months. Apparently there is a re-vamped news section next month, which I thought was kind of ok in the first place. I'm glad Anthony Rawlinson doesn't wrtie for them anymore, he kind of irritated me. But I don't think it was as good as a few years ago. I think they may have pissed a few too many teams of recently eg Darren Heath's McLaren second brake photos or their criticism of Ferrari's team orders. At the moment it is just a constant stream of Toyota and Renault articles. Although I was pleased to read Peter Windsor's defence of BAR, I thought it was a great piece of journalism.

    As for the rallying, Angus Scott is getting better I think. Although I do really like John Desborough! I can remember when he used to do the sports news on sky news and looked so fed up reading football stories but perked up every time motor racing came on. Since then I have quite liked him. Although the worst commentator in motor sport has to be Charlie Cox. He's doing Moto GP at the moment which he clearly knows absolutely nothing about as he is a car racer, and the way he calls the start-finish line "the stripe" in his aussie twang is so annoying! Where as Toby Moody and Julian Ryder on Eurosport are really knowledgeable and passionate and basically what ITV need.

    On another note, your cycling to Stratford has inspired me. Usually my bike makes it about as far to Cannon Park, but after exams, on a nice day, I will try and cycle a bit further. Although I'll hope to avoid white vans!

    31 May 2005, 23:35

  5. Joe: Warwick Motorsport will be there; say hi if you see us!

    01 Jun 2005, 15:07

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