Formula 1: The season so far
Posted by Sports Snob on August 25, 2006
Four Five races left in the calendar year and only eleven points (when the post was written, now ten) separate the leader(Fernando Alonso) and number two(Michael Schumacher) in the World Drivers Championship. Now that’s the sort of Formula One season that brings back the fans that abandoned the sport during the years of Michael Schumacher’s absolute domination. The reliability of Alonso and Renault pitted against a Ferrari resurgence and Michael Schumacher’s desperate need to win.
Two Horse Race:
The season began well in Bahrain with a tight finish for the first spot between Alonso and Michael after which Ferrari slipped in Malaysia and Australia. Thereafter it turned into a two-horse race as the two of them together won eleven of the thirteen races; Fisichella, in a rare drive surpassing his team mate in Malaysia and Button, winning for the first time on a wet track in Hungary, were the other two victors. In the other Ferrari car, Massa did a good job of helping Schumi along the way, taking valuable points off Alonso in a couple of races and managing (sometimes) to keep pace with his illustrious team mate. Fisichella, on the other hand, seemed largely uninterested in the ongoing season but for the one brilliant race in Malaysia and all the points he acquired can be attributed to Renault’s unfailing car -a sad declaration to make about a prodigiously talented driver who everyone expected would achieve much once he got an opportunity to handle a decent car.
Mclaren and Montoya
Mclaren were unchallenged as the third best car on track with Raikkonen occasionally beating his rotten luck and scoring some points. With Mclaren already having contracted Alonso for 2007, Montoya looked ready to quit F1 at the start of the season and most of his drives spoke of the same intent, until he finally did chose to leave F1 for NASCAR after causing a seven car pile-up at Indy- a “fitting” end to one of the more “exciting” drivers in the past few F1 seasons (read hasty dingus who too often pushed his car too far). In all seriousness, Montoya was one of the only things tolerable about F1 in the afore-mentioned Michael dominated years. He was not very consistent, but he fought hard and for every F1 fan, there will be many a brilliant Montoya maneuver, imprinted in your head forever.
Honda led the midfield pack, with a few good drives from Button and points from the practically invisible Barrichello, followed by BMW-Sauber and Toyota.
As always, F1 offers as much controversy and transfers as on track brilliance and this season was no different, with Toyota suddenly dropping sought after technical director, Mike Gascoyne, and Geoff Willis parting ways with Honda. Once again, Michael was universally berated for his disregard for rules and sportsmanship as he stalled in front of Alonso during Fernando’s final qualifying run at Monaco. He protested innocence of course but no one was really willing to believe him anymore and so he started from the pits, finishing fifth with a typically competent drive aided by a little luck. And of course, the latest of Jacques Villeneuve’s verbal attacks on Michael (there’s one every five minutes) – “He’s a racer – but a pure racer, nothing but a racer and, because of that, I think the day he hangs up his helmet people will just forget him.” Oh, and Schumi’s not a great human being and Senna played dirty tricks with greater style and will hence be remembered better than him. Really, Jacques! Even you ought to know that just sounds bitter. The man who won five continuous seasons, who battled the likes of Senna,
Prost and Mansell to win his first world driver’s championship, who’s beaten Mika Hakkinen, who’s broken practically every record in the F1 books is NOT going to be forgotten. Jacques Villeneuve, proving once again that his prodigious talent deserves a better behaved vessel.
With a close fight at the top, both in the drivers and construction titles, numerous verbal battles, and even Michael, Kimi and Massa undecided as to where they’re driving next year (In Michael’s case, if…), everyone should do their best to catch the remaining of the season. Alonso will no doubt give it his best shot but I expect Michael and Ferrari to emerge triumphant, simply because their car has looked better since France, and also because Michael, though the oldest on the track, still remains the man with the greatest will to win…
PS: MR is a good friend of ours. She is an engineering student in Chennai, who loves sports. She might be posting more regularly henceforth.