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November 01, 2005
Formula Blog: Post Season Detox
9pts, 15th Place: Pedro de la Rosa: Arguably the most memorable performance fo the year was de la Rosa's in Bahrain. The amount of time he spent swerving around the back of Mark Webber's Williams meant he probably covered a complete race distance before Alonso took the chequered flag.
12pts, 14th Place: Narain Karthikeyan He made a terrific start to the season looking as though he'd be more suited to rallying. This meant he almost became the new Sato, but then Sato became the new de Cesaris and Karthikeyan nearly became the new Frentzen after he fell out with his team. Once the season was properly underway Monteiro made him look slightly amateurish and his season petered out to nothingness.
14pts, 13th Place: Robert Doornbos He immediately went into the Minardi team and looked a match for Albers. Of course, the best thing about him getting the drive were the obvious "Double Dutch" jokes. He produced some strong drives and certainly looked a deserved F1 driver.
20pts, 12th Place: Felipe Massa On occasion he showed glimpes of real class, unfortunately most of the season he looked very average. At least he seems to have more or less overcome his addiction to spinning wildly every third corner. And he must have done something right to get a Ferrari drive, though that something may just be his choice of manager (Jean Todt's son Nicholas Todt). It's hard to predict anything for him next year other than being trounced by Schumacher. Presuming Ferrari produce a decent car he might be able to stand on a few podiums though.
22pts, 11th Place: Giancarlo Fisichella: Every bit as good as Alonso is there was no way you'd have predicted Fisichella would be shown the way quite so comprehensively by the young Spaniard. You'd have thought he'd have managed more than three podiums for a start. His finishing position in this championship would have been much lower if it weren't for a pro-Fisi bias from the author. Sadly this bias has gradually slipped away over the course of the season after mediocre performance after mediocre performance, culminating with things being thrown at said Author's television during the last lap of the Japanese Grand Prix. Hopefully next season Fisichella will recover his form, you can't help but feel that without that bad run of DNFs in Malaysia, Bahrain and San Marino his whole year would have been much more impressive. And he had the edge over Alonso at Barcelona and Silverstone but was let down in the pit lane.
22pts, 10th Place: Christijan Albers In my opinion he's the rookie of the year. He generally had the measure of his teammates, he was sooner on the pace than Monteiro, drove enough races to be properly judged (unlike Liuzzi) and wasn't so mind bogglingly wild as Karthikeyan. Thankfully Midland have actually managed to do soemthing good by signing him up for next season.
22pts, 9th Place: Jarno Trulli Perhaps he deserves to be higher. He's been pretty fantastic. The only trouble is that he always looks so amazing in qualifying that his race results are disappointing by comparison so you never get the feeling he's done a good job. Also he needs a haircut.
24pts, 8th Place: Juan Pablo Montoya It took a while for Montoya to recover from his "tennis injury" (possibly the worst excuse ever) but when he did he was spectacular, though not necessarily in a good way. Brazil was an incredible drive, for the second year running he beat Raikkonen in a duel. Trouble was the other eighteen (sorry, sixteen) races where Raikkonen was leagues ahead, not to mention ridiculous moments such as: that stupid pile up in Monaco during practise, running a red light in Canada, spinning off during qualifying in Germany, swiping Pizzonia at Spa. And other incidents such as the Suzuka crash (probably not his fault in the most part), being clobbered by Webber at the Nurburgring and being the driver to find the errant drain cover with his sidepod at Shanghai.
At least so far in his McLaren career he doesn't seem to have called his team "a bunch of wxxxers" as he famously did during the 2003 French Grand Prix when they robbed him of his chance to beat Ralf Schumacher. But then, at McLaren they wouldn't use the term "wxxxer", they'd probably go for something like "one who participates in an activity using their right hand to stimulate their reproductive organ to a state of orgasm".
October 15, 2005
Formula Blog: Round 18 – Japanese Grand Prix
Oh no! Now the championship (the real one that is) has been sewn up I've lost all enthusiasm for an extra one. Well for the sake of completeness here are some points:
With one round to go six drivers have a chance of taking the title (strange how that worked out), but let's face it: it's gonna be Alonso or Raikkonen. As for who's the biggest chump: Villeneuve's taken it with great aplomb.
9pts de la Tosa
I never got round to blogging the constructors points from Brazil. Whoops. It's not as though anyone cares anyway but here we go:
4pts Red Bull
And the points from Japan are:
5pts Red Bull
67pts Red Bull
September 25, 2005
Formula Blog: Round 17 – Brazilian Grand Prix (Drivers)
10pts Fernando Alonso: Well it had to be, didn't it? What can you say about him that ITV haven't already repeated three million times before? I'm going to gazump F1 Racing with their tendency to hail drivers as giga-stars, Alonso is a tera-star! And surely one of the best icons in the sports. Not wild like Raikkonen, cool and aloof like Schumacher, shifty like Button, sulky like Montoya, Barrichello, Ralf, Villeneuve, Webber and Coulthard etc… Just an out and out hero. As F1 drivers go he's a great role model. If I were to be any of the current grid I'd want to be Alonso. I'm not sure what the best superlative is so here's a list of them:
Good? Oh yes, Ron Dennis's response to Alonso's drive. He seemed about to say "Alonso had a great drive", but he paused and we were left with "good". A touch of sour grapes. I'm not sure Dennis has any other kind.
The most incredible thing about his season is how difficult it is to pick out his best drive. Monaco, Canada and Hungary excluded he's been absolutely fantastic (ha! There it is). Overall I'd go for Australia because it was so gutsy and aggressive, but it seems rude to ignore his wins. France stands out because McLaren were really tightening the screws, personally I think he'd have beaten Raikkonen even without the Finn's engine penalty.
So what's the best description for him? How about "World Champion". It says it all.
8pts Christian Klien: A great qualifying performance and what must have been a great drive, even if we only saw all of ten seconds of it. I do hope James Allen is talking nonsense with his suggestion that Klien will end up in the Red Bullardi team because of his great performances this year.
6pts Juan Pablo Montoya: Hurray! All year long I've been half concealing my support for the driver at last I can rave about him without feeling (too) silly. It's an even better performance if his shoulder still gives him problems (though I doubt it. Old injuries are supposed to be worse in the cold, yet he won in Britain. Strange.) He didn't seem to suffer from going anti-clockwise, not like that wuss Raikkonen. That wuss Raikkonen who's fastest lap was four tenths quciker than Montoya's. hmmm.
5pts Tiago Monteiro: How incredible was that for a result in qualifying? Though given that he started from the pitlane (ie. a convenient chance to stop for some 4 star) you have to wonder how many fumes he actually qualified with. My best guess is two and half. An F1 team using qualifying as a chance to gain some publicity at the expense of race perfromance? Surely not!
4pts Michael Schumacher: Thinking back, this is only the second race Schumacher's managed to improve upon his 2004 result. It says more about the rest fo his year but he broke the dominance of the "big-two", which is no mean feat. And his battle with Fisichella was the best of the race. Talk about an aggressive first lap. He may only be a matter of months away from announcing his retirement but he ain't giving no quarter.
3pts Jacques Villeneuve: Say what you will about his driving (usually a negative thing) but his interviews make for great reading. In the latest F1 Racing he lays into Patrick Head (lots) F1 Racing itself (lots) David Richards (lots and lots and lots) and anyone else who happens to get in his way.
2pts Rubens Barrichello: A nice move on Button, even if maybe it took too long. He might not have had a great year, but at least Rubens hasn't forgotten hwo to overtake.
1pt Takuma Sato: A good drive, I think. As in "I think you need to take the A1 at some point to get to Newcastle" Rather than "I think Newcastle is a dive." The distinction comes from having seen nothing of him all weekend after he didn't set a time in qualifying. Given Sato's usual antics perhaps it's better we don't see what he gets up to.
-1pt Kimi Raikkonen: You sort of felt sorry for him, losing the race and the title all in one go. But his sulky demeanour on the podium was an abject display of how not to accept defeat. He should take a few tips from Mika Hakkinen and ask him about surrendering his crown to Schumacher in 2000. I suppose you can't reallly blame him but it wasn't a great display of sporting behaviour, and I'd rate it at the worst effort of champagne spraying for years.
-2pts Jarno Trulli: Even by Trulli's standards this was a poor race. It was almost as if he was trying to slip down the order without realising he was starting from the back anyway.
-3pts Jenson Button: Finally The issue of where Button drives has been resolved, with the driver dipping into his own pocket to buy out his contract. Except for the fact that it would appear that BAR have upped his wage, presumably by the same amount. On the issue of contracts there are rumours of Steve Ryder moving to ITV in spite of being contracted to the BBC. It's exciting stuff, what next? Fleetwood Mac being brought back for the theme music?
-4pts Mark Webber: For a driver who has achieved so little in a season and whinged so much he's very high up the order in my championship. This is a little bit of compensation
46pts Fernando Alonso
36pts Mark Webber
35pts Nick Heidfeld
34pts Christian Klien
33pts Kimi Raikkonen
32pts David Coulthard
31pts Giancarlo Fisichella
24pts Juan Pablo Montoya
22pts Jarno Trulli
22pts Christijan Albers
22pts Michael Schumacher
14pts Robert Doornbos
12pts Jenson Button
10pts Narain Karthikeyan
9pts Felipe Massa
9pts Pedro de la Rosa
6pts Patrick Friesacher
5pts Antonio Pizzonia
4pts Tiago Monteiro
2pts Vitantonio Liuzzi
-2pts Takuma Sato
-4pts Rubens Barrichello
-6pts Ralf Schumacher
-29pts Jacques Villeneuve
September 16, 2005
Formula Blog: Round 16 – Belgian Grand Prix
10pts Jenson Button: Anyone who overtakes is okay in my book. A dubious performance in qualifying – not that I saw it, I sat in a café in the Peak District at the time. If anything interesting happened like a herd of wilderbeast invading the track please let me know. But it meant he had to race hard and that was good for us the viewer.
8pts Mark Webber: It must have been a brave decision to go on to grooves when previous attempts by drivers to do so had resulted in pirouetting of the sort that would make a ballet dancer look on with envy of such abilities. It was odd how the track refused to dry. My best guess was that it was suffering from the same curse that my clothes have after being to the laundrette when I desperately want them to dry for the following day. I don’t suppose ironing a racing track to speed up the process would be much help.
6pts Jacques Villeneuve: I had’t realised how old Jacques Villeneuve was looking these days until he was offering his comments on Alonso. So credit (Suisse) where credit (Suisse) is due, the reputation of elderly drivers is not the best, Jacques may not seem as quick as he was but he’s still a damn sight quicker than the OAPs you follow at thirty miles an hour along country roads.
5pts Tiago Monteiro: F1s most improved rookie of the year showed again some real skill. Remember how utterly bad he seemed at the start of the year? Jordan would have been better off with Chanoch Nissany. Yet he’s now scored some real points, you can’t help but be impressed.
4pts Giancarlo Fisichella: After his qualifying third and then making great progress in the race after an engine change, you couldn’t help but wonder if the old “fisi” was back, alas for Eau Rouge, though I blame Renault for making him have to push harder to make his way up to somewhere useful.
3pts Michael Schumacher: He was making Rubens Barrichello look like a clown, unfortunately Sato showed us that there’s only one real clown (okay, two real clowns – I was forgetting Montoya) in F1. I’d like to know why there was such a huge gap in front of Schumacher after the safety car went in, there was another after the first six or so cars too. It’s the sort of bug that ruins otherwise good computer games, maybe it’s a case of real life imitating (electronic) arts.
2pts Fernando Alonso: He’s making the most of a points system that differentiates so little between finishing first and second. As early as seven rounds into the championship he could have finished second from then on and still been assured of the title. Though if you do the maths his lead at this stage would still be a commanding twenty points.
1pt Ralf Schumacher: For a while it looked like we were going to be treated to a show of brilliance by fast-Ralf (as opposed to sulky-let-his-teammate-do-all-the-work-Ralf). But then came that silly decision to put on slicks. Naturally if it had worked it would have been pure genius.
-1pt Christian Klien: I’ve been saying throughout the year how under-rated he is but then he puts in a performance every bit as damp as the Spa weather. On the plus side it proves my theory about his improved driving being related to the threat of losing his drive on account that he’s surely got a drive at one of the Red Bull teams.
-3pts Rubens Barrichello: Rubens seems to have entered the zone of “got a drive for next year, can’t be arsed with Ferrari anymore”.
-5pts Antonio Pizzonia: What was he thinking? You have to wonder if there’s some sort of pact between the drivers to punt Montoya off when they’re being lapped by him. Pizzonia and Monteiro would do well to top Verstappen’s effort in Brazil 2001 – that sort of idiocy takes some beating. To Pizzonia’s credit he did at least have the decency to say sorry.
-6pts Kimi Raikkonen: Not content with messing around with inflatable toys during the off season he was found half naked (I don’t know which half, the left?) in a garden near Monza and received a written warning from Ron Dennis. Rumours that this garden belonged to a taylor specialising in red racing overalls have yet to be confirmed. I had to laugh when on the ITV pre-race show there was a feature going through Raikkonen’s diet, they missed out the beer! I bet he has cheeky fry ups when Ron’s not looking too. In all fairness a “wild” lifestyle doesn’t seem to slow him down.
_-10pts Takuma Sato: It just gets worse and worse for Sato. The phrase “it ain’t happening” springs to mind, along with “here’s your P45”.
With just three rounds to go the alternative championship is much, much closer than the real one. The fact that Kimi Raikkonen, who looked likely to storm the title, had six points taken off for dubious reasons is of course not related to trying to fix the scores so the title is decided as late as possible, another difference from the real championship. And while we’re on the topic, is anyone else concerned about Bernie Ecclestone? What was that about him wanting the title to go as far as Japan? Correct me if I’m wrong (I’m not by the way, it’s just a turn of phrase) but isn’t the last round in China? Poor bloke doesn’t even know which race to go to next, I do hope he doesn’t end up in Adelaide in the middle of October.
40pts Mark Webber
36pts Fernando Alonso
35pts Nick Heidfeld
34pts Kimi Raikkonen
32pts David Coulthard
31pts Giancarlo Fisichella
26pts Christian Klien
24pts Jarno Trulli
22pts Christijan Albers
18pts Juan Pablo Montoya
18pts Michael Schumacher
15pts Jenson Button
14pts Robert Doornbos
10pts Narain Kathrikeyan
9pts Felipe Massa
9pts Pedro de la Rosa
6pts Patrick Friesacher
5pts Antonio Pizzonia
2pts Vitantonio Liuzzi
-1pt Tiago Monteiro
-3pts Takuma Sato
-6pts Rubens Barrichello
-6pts Ralf Schumacher
-32pts Jacques Villeneuve
10pts Toyota: I walked past a panasonic shop and in the window was a TV with a Toyota F1 car going round a track, finally this is a good thing, rather than an "Oh my God! Panasonic are associated with Toyota, bugger this I'm buying a Sony" type thing
8pts Diet Red Bull (aka Minardi): Oh come on, it was too easy a joke to leave out. It’s a sad day for Formula 1 with the last vestige of true independence leaving the sport, though with Dieter Mateschitz seemingly hell bent on buying the whole grid what chance did they have? I’m surprised the manufacturers haven’t cottoned onto this yet, though apparently McLaren are considering running a “B-team” in 2007, Maccy Bs perhaps? What next, the prancing ponies? Oh, I’m on fire today!
6pts Red Bull: There are rumours that Minardi will become Red Bull Team USA. Which is quite exciting if your name is Scott.
5pts McLaren: McLaren and their sponsors have a carefully thought out image they want to convey, they don’t need Raikkonen spoiling it by exposing more flesh than is absolutely necessary. That’s not what companies like Mercedes, Johnnie Walker and Hilton hotels are about. Hmm, the name Hilton and nudity? Nope, can’t think of any jokes there.
_4pts Sauber:_If it weren't for putting slicks on Massa's car they could have been on the podium, or at least maybe in fourth, which is Sauber's favourite best-result-of-the-year position.
3pts Williams: They might be very qucikly running out of sponsors but at least the on track performance is improving.
_2pts Jordan:_The team's first genuine points since Monaco last year at their "favourite" track. Maybe it's got something to do with chips. Belgians like chips. Chips are yellow, Jordans are yellow. I'm not sure where I'm going with this.
1pt BAR: Disappointing in qualifying, much better in the race. Given McLaren's performances in the first three races of the season this might bode very well, or it might mean bugger all. I know which I'm going for.
-2pts Ferrari: Before the Belgian Grand Prix you’d have thought Ferrari’s best chance of winning a real race would be if it were rain affected, preferably with as much as possible being run on intermediate tyres. Well, that appears to be nonsense, though without out Sato’s assault on Schumacher’s gearbox then maybe it could have been a bit better.
58pts Red Bull
September 08, 2005
Formula Blog: Round 15 – Italian Grand Prix
10pts Antonio Pizzonia: He hadn’t driven a Formula 1 car in three months, and by the looks of it hadn’t had a hair cut in that time either. Yet he finished in his usual seventh place. I believe the nickname pizzaman is a little out-dated, sure when he had to pop down to Dominoes’ to pick up Montoya’s meat feast in his Williams days it would have been okay, but with “super-fit” (teehee) Mark Webber driving perhaps lentil man would be more appropriate.
8pts Juan Pablo Montoya: His first pole position for McLaren (sort of) and a well driven win. Though the most notable thing about montoya in Italy is that he didn't mess up somewhere. For a whole weekened. Astonishing.
6pts Jarno Trulli: The Jarno Trulli school of racing: qualify well, make a good start, hold everyone up. He looked like he was going to adhere to this, but after dropping back to sixth he actually managed to gain places during the pit stops. Very odd.
5pts Giancarlo Fisichella: On the podium again at last. It was a sign of how desparate things had gotten for Fisichella when he almost got lost on the way to the rostrum. Well, it had been a while.
4pts Jacques Villeneuve: Kimi Raikkonen's "nemisis". Okay, so it was Villeneuve who caused Kimi to lock up at the Nurburgring but I doubt very much that he registers on the Finn's radar much, except for when he's getting lapped. It was a better performance at Monza, even if he still ended up behind Massa.
3pts Fernando Alonso: When he becomes champion he'll make history. That's right, the first Champion to do card tricks.
2pts Takuma Sato: Compared with some of Sato's other performances this season Monza was a big improvement. If only BAR hadn't put enough fuel in his car to get it back to Brackley.
1pt Kimi Raikkonen: Why on earth would he want to go to Ferrari? Supposedly he's signed something, but what exactly? An autograph for Jean Todt on a napkin, which the Ferrari boss had sneakily folded over so Kimi couldn't see the words above saying "I promise to drive for Ferrari"?
-1pt Christijan Albers: If he has a contract for 2006 in his briefcase (do F1 drivers have briefcases? I'd imagine the luggage capacity fo the Minardi is somewhat limited) he'd better sign it quickly before Doornbos starts showing him up.
-2pts Mark Webber: He didn't impress much, his efforts to overtake Coulthard were pretty pathetic. Added to that a "loser" who "couldn't do as well in races [as in testing]" was Williams' star driver in Italy.
-10pts Jenson Button: I'm completely bored of Button-gate II. You want some embellishment on that? I told you. I'm bored of it.
10pts Toyota: The most improved team of the year and aren't they getting close to Ferrari? If they beat them then maybe, just maybe, Toyota aren't the absolute most over-funded team in the pit lane.
8pts Williams: Where did that come from? They only came away with seventh place, but throughout the weekend (except unfortunately for qualifying) they were right on the pace. Given that they're using an engine that's fundamentally a year older than everyone elses it's nto bad going.
6pts McLaren: That car is fast. It's only taken three years of development from the MP4_18A to make one that works okay. Now for the reliability.
5pts Renault: If the McLaren wasn't so unreliable Kimi would be leading the championship. That's all well and good but if the Minardi was quicker than the rest then they'd be winning. Let's not get silly with Ifs and Buts, the F1 championship (these days) is for teams to build fast cars to last all weekend, er two weekends, not just for a couple of practise sessions. Renault have done this.
2pts Sauber: They beat their primary competition, which is, er, Red Bull and…
1pt Red Bull: I'm a (the?) fan of Christian Klien, but it's a bit curious that he's been given the nod ahead of Liuzzi for Spa. Only I'm not sure what it tells us: are they trying to beat BAR to sixth in the constructors championship? Are they going to drop Klien but want to be nice and give him a few more drives? (yeah right!) Does Liuzzi not know the way to Belgium? But then Red Bull are the people who brought you such ideas on driver selection as "No Peter don't sign that rubbish Finn who's only driven in Formula Renault, take Enrique Bernoldi on, oh go on!"
-1pt Minardi: A bunch of Russian business men represented by Eddie Irvine want to buy Minardi. Red Bull want to buy part of Minardi. Flavio Briatore used to co-own Minardi, Bernie Ecclestone "invested" in Minardi to save their butts. Wait for the "Schumacher to buy Minardi" rumours next year when the seven times champion announces his retirement next year.
-2pts Jordan: They did at least get the better of the Minardis, but what difference did the new car make? Bugger all by the looks of things. Following reports that Anthony Davidson might be on his way to the team next year Jordan relationship counciller (or whatever) Johnny Herbert made an interesting quote regarding Karthikeyan's and Monteiro's chances of driving next year: "I guess they are in the picture but of course we've got to look at what is out there at the same time." Roughly translated it sounds like they have next to no chance.
-3pts Ferrari: At the rate things are going Rossi might be better off adding stabilisers to his Yamaha and going F1 racing on that rather than signing for Ferrari.
-4pts BAR: For the aformentioned over-fill of Sato's car and generally not being good enough.
August 24, 2005
Formula Blog: Round 14 – Turkish Grand Prix
10pts Robert Doornbos: He finished ahead of the two Jordans, which for Alonso would be like beating the McLarens. And, there aren't any cars four seconds slower thant he Jordans to push them out of the way.
8pts Jenson Button: A huge mess in qualifying, even if he was in good company. He made up for it in the race by making lots of great overtaking moves which seemed to put him in the company of… pretty much just himself. It was interesting to hear that he'd wanted Barrichello as a team mate, which is a bit of a backhanded compliment as surely it means Button reckons he can trounce him.
6pts Christian Klien: Red Bull might be on to something. Last year Christian Klien did a steady but unspectacular job. But this year with the constant threat of losing his seat he's driven like a man on fire, or at least one stood next to a radiator.
5pts Kimi Raikkonen: Extra credit to Raikkonen for ignorng the press accusations of him having a bit of nudge, nudge, wink, wink with another woman. Who really cares? And quite why he'd want to do that is beyond me anyway. He's married to a former Miss Scandanavia. Without using frightening genetic modifications how exactly is he going to improve on that?
4pts Fernando Alonso: I'm not sure if anyone else noticed it, but Jim Rosenthal refered to him as "World Champion Fernando Alonso", maybe he'd picked up Bernie Ecclestone's clipboard instead of his own by mistake.
3pts David Coulthard: It all looked so simple.
2pts Giancarlo Fisichella: On the front row for the first time since Australia. It took a lot of effort too… from the other drivers; making sure they went off perhaps out of sympathy.
1pt Narain Karthikeyan: Unlike his team mate he managed to last the whole raace without shunting off one of the leaders.
-1pt Juan Pablo Montoya: So close to a McLaren one-two, yet so far.
-2pts Mark Webber: It's all well and good complaining about Schumacher turning in on him but he was a lap down. Anyone would think he did it on purpose to try to get out of having to drive the Williams any further.
-3pts Felipe Massa: "I did the race simulation on my PlayStation and I won! And I did on the difficult level, against all the other championship runners." Er, right, if only life were a computer game eh, Felipe. I nominate Minardi as Spyro the Dragon for Doornbos's brake fire and Ralf Schumacher as Super Mario for the astonishing amount of coins he collects.
-4pts Takuma Sato: Oh no! As if his qualifying lap wasn't bad enough, he even screwed up on his in-lap.
-5pts Ralf Schumacher: I should have known it. I sing his praises after a strong drive in Hungary, then what? It must have been difficult for Ralf to finish quite so low in the order.
-6pts Michael Schumacher: By his own admission the highlight of his weekend was gaining places over retirees for his qualifying slot. You can't really argue with that.
-8pts Jacques Villeneuve: Dear, oh dear Jacques. When Sauber signed him they must have hoped Felipe Massa would be able to learn from a World Champion team mate, unfortunately as Jacques' qualifying spins shows it must have worked the other way round. Respect to Villeneuve for talking up Massa – at least his record of getting along with colleagues has improved this year – though given how the young Brazilian has shown him the way he'd be a bit stupid to mouth of about him being slow.
-10pts Tiago Monteiro: All the Minardi and Jordan drivers really need to do is to not hit anybody when being lapped. If they can't even manage that then I don't see why the bother.
39pts Kimi Raikkonen
35pts Nick Heidfeld
34pts Mark Webber
32pts David Coulthard
31pts Fernando Alonso
27pts Christian Klien
23pts Christijan Albers
22pts Giancarlo Fisichella
18pts Jarno Trulli
15pts Michael Schumacher
15pts Jenson Button
14pts Robert Doornbos
10pts Juan Pablo Montoya
10pts Narain Karthikeyan
9pts Felipe Massa
9pts Pedro de la Rosa
6pts Patrick Friesacher
5pts Takuma Sato
2pts Vitantonio Liuzzi
-3pts Rubens Barrichello
-6pts Tiago Monteiro
-7pts Ralf Schumacher
-42pts Jacques Villeneuve
10pts McLaren: All credit to Ron Dennis for the diplomacy after the race, refusing to criticise Montoya. Imagine if Montoya had done that at Williams, you'd have heard Patrick Head screaming all the way from Turkey.
8pts Red Bull: Okay so they were out early in qualifying so had a dirty track, blah blah blah. But at least by going out early they managed to avoid the infectious cloud of craziness that fflicted the later runners, avoid a bit of confusion at the start come through and take a few points. Easy.
6pts Minardi: You have to laugh sometimes. There Robert Doornbos is, pulling into the pitlane during qualifying with rear brakes aflame. The marshalls rush out and spray CO~2~ to put them out. And which sponsor do we see adorning the Minardi rear wing? Why, it's www.CO2tv.com !
4pts Renault: They're sneaking towards the world championship so you have to give them some credit.
2pts Toyota: Another decent points finish – they're still too dull though. They don't have the sparkle of Jordan sticking it to the "big four" in the late nineties or Renault challenging Ferrari, McLaren and Williams in 2003 or BAR last year. Anyone would think Toyota made exceedingly bland cars or something, I just don't see how else you'd explain it.
-1pt BAR: Was this the deal that Nick Fry was offering Williams? "I'll only get Sato out of the way if you let us keep Button"
-2pts Sauber: A "typical" Sauber performance in Turkey as I can barely remember what happened to them.
-3pts Ferrari: "Definitely there was no light. It was very dark." So said Jean Todt about the metaphorical light at the end of the Ferrari tunnel that seemed to disappear in Turkey. I don't imagine Vodaphone liked that one much, was the Ferrari principal suggesting that their reception is particularly bad when going under tunnels. Tut tut.
-6pts Jordan: Properly beaten by Minardi at last, that new car can't some soon enough. Trouble is, that's been the situation since about May.
-10pts Williams: It really is a desperate situation when they can't even make wheel rimes that'll take tyres for more than ten laps at a time. And we all thought the rest of the car was bad.
51pts Red Bull
August 09, 2005
F411 Championship: Round 13 – Hungarian Grand Prix
10pts Ralf Schumacher: A first alternative win for the other Schumacher. Similarly to his performances in races, he’s notched up lots of minor points finishes, including four consecutive single pointers. The conclusion to be drawn from this is that he deserved a good score, but thanks to this blogger’s anti-Ralf prejudice he had to make do with one measly point. However, a podium and hunting down older brother was pretty impressive.
8pts Michael Schumacher: An incredible lap to take pole position. There was an almighty rave about Raikkonen’s lap, but even taking into account his qualifying slot I’d say Schumacher did a better job. But isn’t it strange to be so amazed at a Michael Schumacher pole position?
6pts Juan Pablo Montoya: He should have won. He thinks so at least. Mind you, he seems to think he should've won every race ever, Brazil 2001? Montoya's. Indianapolis 2003? Montoya's Monaco 96? Montoya's. Donington 93? Montoya's. etc…
5pts Nick Heidfeld: Another of Heidfeld’s sneaky performances where he somehow wrangles up in the points and ahead of Webber. It’s a mystery how he manages it so consistently.
4pts Kimi Raikkonen: Well, he did win the race after all. Though once Montoya had gone out he could have pushed it home, which given McLaren’s reliability record wouldn’t have been all that surprising to see.
3pts Christian Klien: Thankfully he’s got another crack at it. I know Red Bull are into extreme sports but allowing Klien’s last race to be a barrel roll wouldn’t be quite right.
2pts Mark Webber: Back in the points at last, though he did nearly cause an oil crisis by putting half the world’s petrol supply in for qualifying.
1pt Robert Doornbos: Didn't see him do anything wrong. Didn't see him at all but that's not the point.
-1pt Rubens Barrichello: Out of Ferrari and out of the points. He’d have been way behind Schumacher even without the problems at the start, I reckon he just pitted to draw attention away from what he knew would be a poor performance.
-2pts Jacques Villeneuve: Given his two most recent performances it must be concluded that Villeneuve’s looking to go back to America… in NASCAR where you practically get points for bashing into other cars.
-5pts Takuma Sato: His first points of the season, but all that did was to highlight to me how poor his performances have been.
-6pts Fernando Alonso: The incient at the first corner was probably Ralf's fault, but not terribly impressive. The championship is Alonso's to lose and if he keeps going like that he will lose it. Incidentally I was watching the IRL and the commentator drove me mad by repeating over and over the phrases "It's Wheldon's title to win" or "It's Herta's race to win". It was bad enough getting the phrase all wrong but he must've repeated it around seven times (no kidding). It makes you appreciate James Allen a little more.
-8pts Giancarlo Fisichella: It's testimony to the pooor directing of the coverage we receive that it was so hard to tell whether Fisi had gone off again or we were seeing a random replay.
-10pts Jenson Button: According to Button BAR are way ahead of Williams. Button finished about ten seconds ahead of Heidfeld. This is not way ahead. Ergo, his performance at the Hungaroring must have seriously sucked.
10pts Toyota: Anohter podium, though clearly they need the practice; the mechanics struggled to catch the champagne bottle Ralf dropped down from the podium, unlike the slick job Ferrari made of it. Mind you, Ferrari have probably got an R&D department specialising in champagne bottle dropping/catching.
8pts Ferrari: A better performance, though perhpa smore credit is due to the driver than the car. You have to wonder what they're thinking with signing Felipe Massa. You can imagine Jean Todt's thought process. Pros: Sometimes fast, manage by Nicolas. Cons: Erratic, looks like a little school boy, guaranteed to lose No Claims Bonus on Enzo. Can anyone else hear the words "Stop-gap" echoing in their ears?
5pts Williams: A strong performance in the race. Interesting that it was at a circuit where engine power isn't so important. Strange that.
4pts BAR: Both cars in the points for the first time this season (officially). The fightback continues.
3pts Jordan: The at least managed to get the better of Minardi… eventually.
2pts Minardi: Another strong weekend.
1pt Red Bull: Everything's spectacular about this team. Great big motorhome, flashy marketing campaign and they know how to retire from races too.
-1pt Sauber: They must have known Massa was off to Ferrari, why else would they set him on fire and then start adding fuel to the mix? Villeneuve was probably smart to park up on the track, I thin they were planning on doing the same to him.
-4pts McLaren: A McLaren leading the race pulls up and out of the race. Sorry, which race are we talking about here? Rumours that Fernando Alonso performed an ancient gypsy curse to make the "leading McLaren" retire have yet to be confirmed.
-10pts Renault: All of a sudden it looks like the early eighties again. Renault, with the best driver ever from a European country, make a great start to the season with the best car but manage to fuck it up somehow. Let's hope not.
July 26, 2005
F411 Championship: Round 12 – German Grand Prix
10pts Jenson Button: Should he stay or should he go? Button is clearly in the camp of "the grass is always greener on the other side". He has a contract with BAR and he tries to go to Williams. He has a contract with Williams and he wants to stay at BAR (apparently). Perhaps he's just staying true to his (little) British roots: "I want that one."
8pts Kimi Raikkonen: It all looked so easy, yet somehow it didn't work out. As it's often pointed out, if it weren't for all these retirements he'd be leading the championship. But by that logic if it weren't for the other nineteen cars Doornbos would have won his debut race. Makes you think, huh?
6pts Michael Schumacher: An impressive display, though he must have been wishing it'd rain. ITV spoilt that by giving Jim Rosethal and Tony Jardine umbrellas. Sod's law dictates that it only rains when you don't have one. I'm not sure what ITV were up to there, there wasn't anyone in the background with a brolly. It was almost as though they were trying to say to the viewers "Look! It might rain! Please keep watching, it'll be exciting. We promise." Rosenthal seemed to be loving it, but Jardine just looked embarrassed.
5pts Christijan Albers: He's now the clear lead driver at Minardi. Whatsmore he finished ahead of both Jordans, a Sauber and a Toyota. Admittedly there were good reasons for that, but thirteenth from a race with only one and half retirements is good going. And the fact that he's the best Dutch driver in F1 suddenly means something.
4pts David Coulthard: A fair response to Louise Goodman's questions about a possible strike. But having read this article I think it's all a little clearer. Oh, but he drive well though.
3pts Robert Doornbos: I do like how he's nicknamed Doorknobs. I'd stumbled across this before as a possible pseudonym after his name was run through a spellchecker. The only disappointment is that he replaced Patrick Firestarter, I wonder what Kim Reckoned (Go figure) to that?
2pts Fernando Alonso: As the commentary team noted, he does like to inform everyone how many races he's won. I wonder how he'd deal with a season like Schumacher had last year. Feet? If McLaren's reliability doesn't improve he might have to take yoga lessons.
1pt Ralf Schumacher: Everyone gives him a hard time, but he's starting to rack up a fair few points. Besides I felt sorry for him because my Dad (who watches all the Grands Prix) asked me Michael Schumacher and Nick Heidfeld were the only German drivers.
-1pt Giancarlo Fisichella: His latest tactic seems to be to hide in the Grands Prix so his bosses don't know what he's up to. They're not going to give him the boot if they don't know he's there to begin with.
-2pts Rubens Barrichello: Clearly Rubens got it all wrong at Hockenheim. Schumacher's strategy was to get in front and just hold everyone up at the end, and he got four points for it. The only people Barrichello seemed likely to hold up on those rock-like Bridgestones were the Jordans and the Minardis. For Chrissakes, he was battling with Villeneuve on the first lap!
-3pts Narain Karthikeyan: At first it was cute, all this sideways stuff, but now it's starting to get a bit sad. Monteiro's starting to make him look silly.
-4pts Tiago Monteiro: I know it was only Villeneuve he smashed into, but it was still clumsy.
-6pts Juan Pablo Montoya: No, no, no Juan Pablo! You could see Ron Dennis seething post-qualifying. It's not often you hear anything from Dennis that stays in your head on account of his extraordinary dullness, but "All he had to do was make it round the last corner and we'd have been one-two" will probably ring in Montoya's ears for a while.
-10pts Jacques Villeneuve: Villeneuve's clearly so pissed off with Sauber that he's just going to try and destroy as much bodywork as possible. He was like a little kid on a computer game trying to have as many big crashes as possible then spending hours watching the replays.
10pts BAR: Finally they're picking up where they left off last season, about time! Still can't get close to McLaren and Renault though.
6pts Red Bull: The miracles continue. After twelve rounds of the 2004 season in a McLaren, David Coulthard had nineteen points. After twelve rounds of the 2005 season in a Red Bull, David Coulthard has… nineteen points.
4pts Renault: As Fernando Alonso pointed out it's no good being quickest only in the first 30 laps. McLaren's well found unreliability seems to be handing Renault the championship on a plate, escargot 'n'all.
3pts Minardi: Seeing how this car has to last them until about 2023 they'd better make the most of being the second worst team, it's probably not going to last for very long.
2pts Sauber: I was most interested to hear about the mechanic hitting Villeneuve on the head. Two points just for that. Personally I wouldn't want the person in charge of gallons of fuel to be pissed off with me. Wonder what Jos Verstappen did in '94.
1pt Toyota: The only thing I can think of to say about Toyota's German Grand Prix was that they were there.
-1pt Ferrari: Barrichello was barely a second quicker than Albers in qualifying. What on earth is going on? The only sensible explanation I can think of is that the nine "rebel" teams have put sugar in the tanks.
-3pts Williams: Poor.
-4pts Jordan: I was watching the official review of the 2000 season (it's terrible, they don't put much action in, for instance they only show Hakkinen's move on Schumacher at Spa once. And my lord does the narrator have an annoying voice) and there was a bit about Jordan getting Honda engines for 2001 with Eddie Jordan saying if the team didn't win the world championship with Honda it would be a poor reflection on him. Ahem.
-10pts McLaren: They used to have it right in the old days. Give Mika Hakkinen the good car and Coulthard the duffer. You can almost imagine Montoya sneaking into the garages on Saturday nights and swapping the numbers over to make sure it works out okay for him.
July 11, 2005
F411 Championship: Round 11 – British Grand Prix
I don't understand why "they" knock Silverstone so much. I like it there. I don't understand the bemoaning of it's lack of facilities. Does it have burger vans? Yup. Does it have toilets? Yup. I don't see what else they need. Perhaps there's not enough luxury amenities for sponsors, but who gives a damn about them? It's not like they fund the sport or anything.
Actually, all Silverstone would need for me to be happy would be a water fountain to fill up a bottle taken from home and some appropriately placed trees to piss against. I ain't that fussy.
James Allen got the perfect opportunity to try out a new trick with the constant requesting scores out of ten for the drivers from Martin Brundle. I’m surprised Brundle didn’t punch him; he didn’t seem particularly enthusiastic about the whole rigmarole. And he kind of boxed himself in giving drivers seven, then eight, but then realising that the driver he was now scoring was better than the sevens, but not as good as the eights. Resulting in seven and a halves and eight and a halves. Good job it wasn’t like in the eighties with thirty plus drivers trying to qualify or we could have ended up with seven and three thirtysecondses.
I was disappointed by Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi’s flat, after the build up around the dock I thought we were going to see an F1 driver living in a boat, now that would have been worth watching. Clearly this would only suit the Takuma Satos or Nick Heidfelds as I imagine Alex Wurz might have a few difficulties. Actually I imagine Heidfeld feels a bit like he’s on sinking ship as it is.
Of the other features I enjoyed seeing Johnny Herbert interviewed. It must have made a nice change for him being interviewed by Louise Goodman not ten minutes after stepping out of a smoking Jaguar, afterall that’s what his last season in F1 pretty much consisted of.
Another dullish offering. F1’s getting back to normal. I thought it was a bit of a mess with the safety car at the start, even in America I doubt they’d have put it out. Actually, who am I kidding? They’d have to put it out because Luffield corner is too tight. Didn’t they once run a whole race behind the safety car for some reason? Being back with regular TV access at home I’ve caught some of the middle of the night motorsport action. I do enjoy the IRL (Go Dan Wheldon!) but my golly is NASCAR boring. Yeah they overtake but there’s nothing to it. They just go round for a bit swapping paintwork, someone smashes it into the wall – presumably because he’s a drunken redneck – safety car. Repeat twenty times over. Finish race. Thank goodness F1’s not that bad.
Other than that it was fairly un-noteworthy. Poor Louise Goodman didn't even have anyone bug after they'd retired. She managed to nab Connie Montoya – an unfortunate lack of a visual there I thought. Tut, tut, ITV not directing well – at the end and sounded rather desperate to talk to someone. She nearly had both Jordan drivers to accost according to James Allen, who then protested "we" thought he'd retired. I'm not sure who he meant because Brundle hadn't made any comment on it. At least he didn't try to blame him for rejoining.
10pts David Coulthard
_8pts Jacques Villeneuve_
6pts Christian Klien
They were having an almighty scrap over 12th, which probably makes them the only drivers out there doing so. They deserve the points that they perhaps should’ve got if only they weren’t going so slowly.
5pts Giancarlo Fisichella: He’s cursed at the moment. I’m not sure if Renault had already switched strategy for him and Alonso at the first stop, but it’s interesting that Fisichella pitted a few laps later than Alonso at the first round of stops but was brought in earlier at the second. It makes sense I suppose seeing how they wouldn’t want Fisichella to get ahead after the second stops. I do find the team order ban a bit ludicrous. What if a team needed to switch their drivers round in the final race to win the championship? There ought to be some sort of clause for situations where one driver needs to get past because they’ve got a blatantly better sot at the title.
4pts Juan Pablo Montoya: At last he wins for McLaren. It’s taken a while but he’s starting to show some good form. I though Jim Rosenthal was about to do some freestyling when he was going through the classifications: “Juan… the Man” I was almost expecting him to follow it up with “In the Mac-La-Ran”
3pts Kimi Raikkonen: Again he was denied by a penalty. It’s getting a bit frustrating just watching it unfold, god knows how he feels himself. And it’s not as though we get to watch him scything his way through the field because it’s all in the pit stops. As far I can work out he only actually passed Ralf Schumacher on the first lap, which is fairly normal, and Alonso when their fuel levels with different. It’s not thrilling stuff.
2pts Jenson Button: Poor Jenson, in his home country yet all on his own. He made for an exciting qualifying session, it's a shame his car wasn't quite quick enough in the race. I liked his comment about the (silly) rumours linking him to Ferrari. "If Ferrari are the sixth or seventh best team next year there is no reason to be with them except for a nice company car." I suppose it'd sure as hell beat a Honda Jazz.
1pt Ralf Schumacher: Again I give Ralf Schumacher a positive score. He managed to beat Trulli, though the circumstances sound perculiar.
-1pt Michael Schumacher: I thought it was "blah" kind of weekend for Schumacher. Ultimately he probably got the best possible result from the car, but there seemed to be an edge missing somewhere.
-2pts Rubens Barrichello: A brave strategy, but it was fairly hopeless. Again he ended up behind Schumacher, when really I think he should have beaten him.
-3pts Jarno Trulli: One of his dodgy races. Given the amount of stellar drives he's had this year I suppose he can be allowed a few off colour performances.
It’s rare that the result is quite so linear but we had such a race that it was so obvious who had the best car, right down to the back. Making exceptions for reliability and pit problems we could quite easily have seen them crossing the line two-by-two. Wouldn’t that have been dull? Regardless, I’ve awarded points accordingly.
10pts McLaren: Nice to see Ron Dennis didn't protest Bob McKenzie for wearing the shoes. Perhaps he's mellowing with age.
8pts Renault: I really don't like the advert for the Megane Scenic where the joke is that the car's a dog. It ccertainly iss to look at. I wonder if that's where the advertising execs got the idea from.
6pts BAR: Sounded a strange problem with Sato, a “theoretically impossible” problem. I’ll bet that made for an interesting radio conversation:
Sato: My car has a problem.
Team: Well theoretically it shouldn’t have so keep going.
5pts Ferrari: So Ferrari "misinterpreted the regulations"? Nah, BAR misinterpreted them, the F2005 is just slow.
4pts Toyota: I'm not sure what they're trying to achieve by using the same engine three races in a row for Trulli. Why they feel they specifically need a new engine at Hockenheim is a mystery. Have they not realised that Hockenheim doesn't haave the car breaking straights anymore. Coem to think of it, they never even raced on thaat configuration! I suppose if the engine didn't need replacing then why would they? But why not? That's the F1 way after all. Waste all, want all. It's not like Toyota are hard up.
3pts Sauber: A typical Sauber race, so I can't think of anything to say about them. Even if they won it'd be difficult.
2pts Williams: They could do with sorting out the engine deal soon. I guess that's merely an empty truism, but you have to wonder what they're going to do. I'd imagine Jenson Button's feeling relieved Buttongate turned out as it did, now about that 70%...
1pt Red Bull: It’s good that they’ve signed up Coulthard for another year, clearly they need someone with a little experience to sort the team out, but how many drivers do they need? They’ve got Klien and Liuzzi already (has anyone else noticed the crazy number of power taps they give each other? This is where someone pats the other person on the back. It’s supposed to be to do with power. Politicians do it all the time. I can’t blame them for trying to make themselves look more powerful than the other), plus have their fingers in Scott Speed’s best Apple Pie, and Heikki Kovalainen is with Christian Horner’s Arden team in GP2. I’m no mathematician – no wait, actually I am – but 5 in to 2 does not go.
-1pt Jordan: I read an article about Jurgen Kolles being nicknamed Chavski for his penchant for burberrry. If you didn't hate Jordan 2005 spec, I'm sure you do now.
-2pts Minardi: A vanishing weekend, not even mixing it with the Jordans, how disappointing.
34pts Mark Webber
31pts Fernando Alonso
30pts Nick Heidfeld
29pts Giancarlo Fisichella
25pts David Coulthard
22pts Kimi Raikkonen
18pts Jarno Trulli
18pts Christijan Albers
18pts Christian Klien
14pts Takuma Sato
12pts Felip Massa
12pts Narain Karthikeyan
11pts Juan Pablo Montoya
9pts Pedro de la Rosa
8pts Tiago Monteiro
7pts Michael Schumacher
7pts Jenson Button
9pts Patrick Friesacher
2pts Vitantonio Liuzzi
0pts Rubens Barrichello
-13pts Ralf Schumacher
-22pts Jacques Villeneuve
36pts Red Bull
July 08, 2005
F411 Championship: Round 10 – French Grand Prix
Well that was a bit dull to be honest. Alonso winning so much has gotten to the point where on the news they're calling it "predictable" and the word "procession" is being bandied about again. Perhaps that's a little harsh, especially on the back of three successive enthralling (proper) races, ie. Monaco, Nurburgring and Montreal. But then it's probably just backlash from Indianapolis.
10pts Mark Webber: He drove most of the race with his cockpit at 80 degrees… Celsius! All to try and get a better qualifying slot at Silverstone in a car which appears to be genuinely getting slower and not just standing still while everyone else goes faster. What an absolute legend.
8pts Takuma Sato: In a race where everyone else seemed fairly content to play follow the leader Taku, as usual, bucked the trend and went a bit crazy. If it weren’t for him I think I’d probably have fallen asleep.
6pts Narain Karthikeyan: Nice and sideways. He should give rallying a go.
5pts Chritijan Albers: Likewise.
4pts Tiago Monteiro: I suddenly have a highly irrational fondness for the guy. I have no idea where it’s come from but it started to appear _before Indianapolis so isn’t related to him getting on the podium. He gets points for the shocked expression he had on his face when Martin Brundle interviewed him on the grid. He probably rang up his mum after the race to say “I got interviewed today!”
3pts Jacues Villeneuve: He's sort of getting there. Though BMW buying Sauber may be bad news for him. They'll surely be able to pay him off.
2pts Juan Pablo Montoya: A better display, though some work needs to be done in qualifying. At least it wasn't his fault he retired.
1pt Ralf Schumacher: I have no idea how he ended up in the points in the race. The same goes for here.
-1pt Patrick Friesacher: For not getting Brundle’s joke on the grid. He seemed in a world of his own. Similarly to Monteiro I’m not entirely sure he knew what was going on. It was probably the first time he’d had a microphone stuck in front of him so might have been confused. Good job he didn’t think Brundle was offering him food and he’d tried to take a bite out of it.
-2pts Giancarlo Fisichella: It's not going well. I'm no expert on being a racing driver, but I'm pretty sure being lapped by your team mate isn't good.
-3pts Rubens Barrichello: A damp squib of a performance. That's why Schuey's numero uno.
10pts Sauber: A strong race, possibly unfortunate not to have got more out of it. And Peter Sauber has managed to sell up before his team went down the pan. I hope Eddie Jordan, Alain Prostand Tom Walkinshaw were paying attention.
8pts BAR: They were never going to repeat 1999 and score zero points again, but it was looking pretty bad for them. Yet, they're still last in the constructors race. At least Button's going to get a decent qualifying slot for Silverstone.
6pts Renault: An astonishing performance considering that, according to James Allen, the benchmark is the McLaren. It probably is, but anyone would think the MP4-20 (Note to self: Check numbering before publishing, if already published remember to proof-read blog entries before publishing in the future) was designed by Jesus Christ (or at least Colin Chapman) the way Allen goes on about it.
5pts Mclaren: For designing sliced bread on wheels (how cool would that be?)
4pts Minardi: Er, I'm sure they did something good.
3pts Toyota: For getting points by stealth. They're sneaky this team.
2pts Jordan: I have no idea why I decided to give them points. Perhaps that Kolles bloke hacked onto my blog and edited it in.
1pt Ferrari: Thought it was more of a plus day than a minus day for the team in red.
-1pt Red Bull: Were they slow? Um… Well, Klien retiring so early wasn't good.
-10pts Williams: I know Ferrari won last year after making four stops, but Williams seemed to grab the wrong end of the stick. Williams aren’t famed for great pit strategy but making pit stops over and over was never going to win them the race. The only way Williams on current form will win a race this year is if the rest of the big teams get zapped in a War of the Worlds styley. Even then they might have difficulty beating the Jordans. I'm a bit worried that they're going to end up like Brabham and Lotus soon, fingers crossed they sort out decent engines for next year. Not Judds, pur-lease!
10pts Damon Hill: I didn’t see it, but he took the best time on Top Gear’s “Star in a reasonably priced car”. Well, you’d certainly hope he’d be capable of doing so, but he’s a general superstar so gets points for it.