Formula 1 Insight

Thoughts Before Fuji
Although we all wish the Japanese GP was at Suzuka this year, the fact that it is at Fuji does add a little spice to the championship at this stage, purely because it is an unknown to the majority of the drivers. It being a Toyota circuit, Ralf and Jarno will have some knowledge of it but I doubt that this will give them much of an advantage. Certainly, Kimi seems quite confident that he can learn the track very quickly and Hamilton is unconcerned too. Alonso has done his world champion thing and walked the circuit this morning; Massa looks to be settling for his support role for Raikkonen from now on and so has no pressure this weekend - and that will surely bring the best from him.


The layout of the circuit resembles Indianapolis more than anywhere else, with a long straight followed by a series of bends, both tight and more open. If it behaves in the same way, the McLarens should be good, just as they were at Indy. But that is an imponderable - very often tracks that look similar behave in completely different ways when raced upon.

Ferrari are expecting to have an advantage in China and Brazil so McLaren must be hoping for a really good result at Fuji to put one of their drivers out of reach. The question remains: which one?

No doubt the smart money is on Alonso; of late, he has had a slight edge over his team mate and, considering the controversies of the season, he seems surprisingly cool at this stage, even stating that he will still be with the team next year. I can't help but think that remains to be seen, given the strained relationship between him and Ron Dennis, but for the moment he is in the situation that suits him so well - in the run-in to the championship and with his goals simplified and clear.

Hamilton is talking about having a chat with the Spaniard to sort out their differences and I'm sure Alonso will agree and say all the right things. But on the track there is a strong possibility that it will all be forgotten; if the circumstances occur, I can see a Senna/Prost incident happening again. In fact, I almost hope that it does. As much as I dislike Ferrari's tactics, the plain fact is that I like Kimi's attitude and driving style. He is driving for the wrong team in my opinion but, given the choice between a surly and selfish champion, a rookie who would break all records in media frenzy were he to win, and the Ice Man who has been so close so many times, it's Raikkonen I want to be champion.

That would be the real fairy tale ending to an unpleasant season. Although the battle between four drivers has been close, the racing has been almost non-existent and off-track scandals have ruined the enjoyment we expected from this year. We need to get it over and done with quickly so that Max and Ferrari can stop crowing about a dubious victory in committee, whoever becomes champion can receive his trophy and go into the record books, there to gather dust, and all thoughts turn to next year. I never thought I would be so eager for a season to end but 2007 has reached depths of despair for the sport as no other.

It would be nice if the race at Fuji were to rekindle some interest, perhaps with some good dicing on track or a finish that leaves the championship still hovering between three drivers. But, in a season that managed to kill even Spa's attractions, I doubt it.

Roll on next year and a new start. Nick Heidfeld for champion!


I wouldn't say that the off-track events have ruined the enjoyment of this season - the on-track action (or lack of) has done that job fairly well on it's own!

Without the off-track stuff then this year would have been a total non-event - apart from the whole Lewis Hamilton malarkey of course.

I am trying to put that out of my mind, and start to look forward to these final few races. All I ask is that at least 2 people still have a realistic chance of being champion come time to head for Brazil - ie, there are only a couple of points between them.

In that case, I can see a Senna/Prost scenario taking place again! If something like that happens then there's a chance it will overshadow the spy stuff to be the thing people remember of this year - but that's quite some ask!
Date Added: 27/09/2007

It's true that the off-track stuff has given us something to talk about but the trouble is that it has spilled over to affect the races themselves. The constructors championship has been decided by it and that spoils it in my view. But I suppose I'd feel even worse if the races had been anything to write home about; generally, they've been even more boring than in previous seasons.

I approve of your prescription for the final race, however, Craig. Let's have some good old argy-bargy!
Date Added: 27/09/2007

Hey, never mind Heidfeld, in an ideal world, Nico Rosberg sweeps to the title next year in the devastatingly fast new Williams!
Date Added: 27/09/2007

Argy-bargy..., mmm? I like that.
I agree, racing used to be about such things. Cars and drivers at the peak of their performance, neck and neck.
And you mention the two drivers that would surely appear high on anyones list of 'Top Drivers.'
I have been wracking the brain... Is this a new circuit for F1?
On an older PC, I had one of those Grand Prix games (alas it will not run on this newer model. (Whatever happened to Full Compatability as expoused by Mr. Gates?)) ..It was a joy to use a bit of the old argy-bargy stuff to work ones way through the pack and hunt down the lead position. Anyway, I seem to remember that it only had the figure-of-eight circuit that was the Japanese GP. I am sure I would have remembered seeing Fuji...? Good idea to use new tracks in my view, keep the drivers on their toes and all that.
Delighted though I am that young Hamilton has done so well, I have found myself urging Kimi on throughout. I like his attitude (does he have one?), I like his driving, it could easily be missed because he does it well and without drama. I have never really been a Ferrari fan, I have tried to put my trust in the Brits and keep up that old tradition of support. Kimi has given me a nudge and made me look again. I was hopeful for McLaren but I will have no truck with the Prima Dona that is Alonso. Having said that I wonder if he might knuckle down and do his job and keep the whinging to a minimum. Maybe even get to talk with Ron. He might learn a thing or two.
Next year I look forward to a resurgent Williams Team. I doubt it will happen but they (historically) have been the Team for me; mainly because of the dull Mansell.
I can hear you chuckling..
Well there we are. Another season draws to an end and we anticipate another and I hope that the next will be fought on the field and NOT in the office/.
Keep up the good stuff and thanks for all the links along the way. I fully realise how much time and research a blog such as this must devour; Nevertheless, don't forget the other one... I like that too.

Date Added: 27/09/2007

In an ideal world, yes, but in this one I think the BMW guys will get it right next year and Quick Nick will get the title he's worked so hard for over the years. Rosberg and Williams, maybe 2009. ;)
Date Added: 27/09/2007

Fractal, the Gone Away blog nags at me all the time but also requires a degree of concentration and more time than I often have space for these days. But it is overdue for updating, just as you say, and I must get to it soon. I would promise but that would only increase the pressure!

The figure-8 circuit you mention is Suzuka, home to the Japanese GP for over twenty years but dropped in favor of Fuji at the end of last year, much to everyone's dismay. They have arranged a deal, however, and from now on Fuji and Suzuka will alternate.

Fuji has been the venue for the Japanese GP on two occasions, 1976 and 1977, the first time the memorable race where the rain was so heavy that Niki Lauda stopped and refused to continue, thereby handing the championship to James Hunt. In 1977 there was a nasty accident in which a spectator and a steward were killed and F1 stopped going there as a result.

The track has been updated and changed since those days, hence its return to the calendar. And as for the three vying for the championship, I was supporting Alonso , like you, but his recent attitude has turned me off and I now hope that Kimi manages to come through at the last. Pity he's in the wrong team... ;)

And you're not alone in hoping for a Williams resurgence, as Patrick's comment shows!
Date Added: 27/09/2007

Alianora La Canta
Fractal, the figure-of-eight track is Suzuka - Fuji was last used in 1977, and was really long back then. The venue is old, but the track is brand-new.

I agree that Bill Gates does not understand "Full Compatibility" - this is why I have a dual-boot 90/XP system.

And in my ideal world, Adrian Sutil would be 2008 world champion in a fantastically quick Orange India car - but there is no way that's ever going to happen...
Date Added: 27/09/2007

The stuff that dreams are made of, Alianora... :D
Date Added: 27/09/2007

I did a bit of research following on from the above and found a delightful piece that covered the 1976 race.
Nikki Lauda, back from the horrible burns he had sustained, was three points clear of one James Hunt. The rain caused Lauda to pull in after only one lap. It was expected by Ferrari that the other drivers would follow suit...
James went on to finish the race; The points to took him and Mclaren to victory for the year.
McLaren v Ferrari...? Now there's a familiar ring..

Date Added: 29/09/2007

Indeed, very familiar, Fractal. For thirty years they've been fighting each other...
Date Added: 30/09/2007

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