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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:

Drivers

10pts Raikkonen
8pts Schumacher
6pts Webber
5pts Coulthard
4pts Monteiro
3pts Massa
2pts Klien
1pt Alonso
-2pts Barrichello
-3pts Ralf
-5pts Heidfeld
-6pts Villeneuve
-8pts Sato
-10pts Fisichella

Drivers Standings

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.

47pts Alonso
43pts Raikkonen
42pts Webber
37pts Coulthard
36pts Klien
30pts Schumacher
30pts Heidfeld
24pts Montoya
22pts Trulli
22pts Albers
21pts Fisichella
14pts Doornbos
12pts Button
12pts Massa
10pts Karthikeyan
9pts de la Tosa
8pts Monteiro
6pts Friesacher
5pts Pizzonia
2pts Liuzzi
-6pts Barrichello
-9pts Ralf
-10pts Sato
-35pts Villeneuve

Constructors

I never got round to blogging the constructors points from Brazil. Whoops. It's not as though anyone cares anyway but here we go:

10pts Renault
8pts Jordan
6pts Ferrari
5pts McLaren
4pts Red Bull
2pts Minardi
1pt Sauber
-2pts Toyota
-3pts BAR:
5pts Williams

And the points from Japan are:

10pts Williams
8pts McLaren
6pts Renault
5pts Red Bull
3pts Jordan
2pts Minardi
1pt Ferrari
-1pt Toyota
-2pts BAR
-8pts Sauber

Constructors Standings

69pts McLaren
67pts Red Bull
64pts Renault
60pts Minardi
50pts Toyota
18pts Sauber
10pts BAR
-2pts Williams
-7pts Ferrari
-8pts Jordan


September 25, 2005

Formula Blog: Round 17 – Brazilian Grand Prix (Drivers)

Drivers Points

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:
Brilliant
Fantastic
Mega
Incredible
Astronomic
Awesome
Supercallyfragilisticexpealladoscious (sp?)
Schumacher
Other worldly
Mind-blowingly fast

Good…

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

Drivers Standings

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

Drivers

10pts Jenson Button: Anyone who overtakes is okay in my book. A dubious performance in qualifying Ė not that I saw it, I sat in a cafť 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 donít suppose ironing a racing track to speed up the process would be much help.

6pts Jacques Villeneuve: I hadít 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 heís 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 heís now scored some real points, you canít help but be impressed.

4pts Giancarlo Fisichella: After his qualifying third and then making great progress in the race after an engine change, you couldnít help but wonder if the old ďfisiĒ 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 thereís only one real clown (okay, two real clowns Ė I was forgetting Montoya) in F1. Iíd 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. Itís the sort of bug that ruins otherwise good computer games, maybe itís a case of real life imitating (electronic) arts.

2pts Fernando Alonso: Heís 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: Iíve 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 heís surely got a drive at one of the Red Bull teams.

-3pts Rubens Barrichello: Rubens seems to have entered the zone of ďgot a drive for next year, canít be arsed with Ferrari anymoreĒ.

-5pts Antonio Pizzonia: What was he thinking? You have to wonder if thereís some sort of pact between the drivers to punt Montoya off when theyíre being lapped by him. Pizzonia and Monteiro would do well to top Verstappenís effort in Brazil 2001 Ė that sort of idiocy takes some beating. To Pizzoniaís 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 donít 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 Raikkonenís diet, they missed out the beer! I bet he has cheeky fry ups when Ronís not looking too. In all fairness a ďwildĒ lifestyle doesnít seem to slow him down.

_-10pts Takuma Sato: It just gets worse and worse for Sato. The phrase ďit ainít happeningĒ springs to mind, along with ďhereís your P45Ē.

Drivers Standings

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 weíre 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 Iím wrong (Iím not by the way, itís just a turn of phrase) but isnít the last round in China? Poor bloke doesnít even know which race to go to next, I do hope he doesnít 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

Constructors

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. Itís 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? Iím surprised the manufacturers havenít cottoned onto this yet, though apparently McLaren are considering running a ďB-teamĒ in 2007, Maccy Bs perhaps? What next, the prancing ponies? Oh, Iím 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 donít need Raikkonen spoiling it by exposing more flesh than is absolutely necessary. Thatís not what companies like Mercedes, Johnnie Walker and Hilton hotels are about. Hmm, the name Hilton and nudity? Nope, canít 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 youíd have thought Ferrariís 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 Satoís assault on Schumacherís gearbox then maybe it could have been a bit better.

Constructors Standings

58pts Red Bull
56pts McLaren
56pts Minardi
53pts Toyota
48pts Renault
25pts Sauber
15pts BAR
-7pts Williams
-14pts Ferrari
-19pts Jordan


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