Formula 1 Insight

Bahrain GP and Monday Musings

Well, I say the Bahrain GP but there is nothing to report that has not been said already, I think. Once Massa surged ahead at the start and grabbed the first corner, the race was as good as won. We hoped that there might be some clever pitstop strategy to enable Raikkonen to get ahead (which would have been better for Ferrari long term too) but no such luck; Felipe had a point to prove and did so.

Robert Kubica
Robert Kubica and shut lines

One unexpected outcome of BMW's success so far this season has been the emergence of BMW supporters where there appeared to be only caution and doubt before. Suddenly it appears that half the blogs on the net are BMW fans and want them to get that GP win Dr Theissen is aiming at this year. I must be magnanimous in welcoming them aboard (it is always good to see true class being recognized at last) but cannot resist pointing out that a few of us have been believers for a long time. More courage in convictions needed, ladies and gentlemen!

It is not enough to nod sagely at this stage and talk of a third team in contention for honors; that is obvious now and the time to be saying it was before the year began. The test now is whether you can believe for the season. There are aspects of BMW's form that can assist in this - the quiet and efficient handling of the team by Dr Theissen, the solid realism of the drivers, the impeccable turn-out of the cars (have a close look at the detail work on the cars and see the tight and regular shut lines*) and the fact that they are now leading the Constructors' Championship.

Some faith is still required in BMW's ability to stay with the leaders all season and to win the races they will need if a championship is really possible. And that is where the rubber hits the road. Brave souls might begin to see that the Constructors' trophy is not an impossible dream. Courageous optimists might even go so far as to predict the WDC for Robert Kubica. But who will join me in going out on the limb that is the belief in Nick Heidfeld as Champion? Ah, that is where I see fewer hands going up...

It is a demanding life, being a BMW supporter. But not as hard as sticking with Max Mosley, it seems. When even your close compadres keep their distance, it is time to admit that the deodorant is not working.

And it is the sex scandal that gives rise to one claim for quote of the week, delivered with characteristic Australian tact:

"This arsehole has got to go for the sake of the sport" - Paul Stoddart's comment on Max to the Australian magazine, Weekend.

It's a good one, I admit but I think I prefer something Alonso said after the Bahrain GP:

" could say that Fisichella made the better move (for 2008)".

Dare we guess that there might be a certain amount of Heikki-envy mixed up in that too? But Fernando is right in a way to point at Fizzy - the Renault reject is carving out a new reputation for himself at Force India, taking the fight to established teams and shaming his team mate in the process. Vijay Mallya must be pleased with such an acquisition, a bargain basement price for a talent that has plenty of mileage left.

To be honest, I think Alonso is doing his reputation no harm by this season with Renault. In hauling an obviously uncompetitive car up the order, he is showing us the extent of his considerable ability and proving that he can cope with adversity too. Our perception of his character may have been changed by the squabbles of 2007 but there is no denying the fact that he earned his two championships through outstanding talent.

And that is about it for Bahrain - not a hugely exciting race but interesting in its pointers for the future. My final question is this: Can Mclaren scramble their way back to number two status this year?

* Shut lines are those lines between adjoining pieces of bodywork - so visible and inconsistent on a poorly-built car and almost invisible on the best.


I was going to chime in with that Stoddy quote where appropriate. but you beat me to it. Not one to mince words, that one.

Not much to get excited about in the race, but I wouldn't count McLaren out.
Date Added: 07/04/2008

I don't count McLaren out yet, Arnet, but I think they will find it much harder to win races this year than they did last year. Mind you, I also think that of Ferrari... :)

Going to Barcelona in 2007, Ferrari were in much the same position - leading and with an apparently unbeatable car. Things became a little more difficult after that and they never managed to get back to their early season form. This year will be worse for them, I think.
Date Added: 07/04/2008

John Beamer
The next race is critical for McLaren. If they aren't in the mix then I think it will be a long old season for the team ... if BMW beat them, then well, we can officially declare a changing of the guard.

I definitely wouldn't count them out. I must say I was disappointed with Kovalainen this weekend. I know Hamilton made an error or two, I don't think he would have finished a distant fifth had he gotten away cleanly.

I actually thought Ferrari would have been faster than they actually were. In fact Kimi was no quicker really than the Beemers.
Date Added: 07/04/2008

I thought Ferrari had a big advantage in Bahrain, John, and just went no faster than they had to. BMW are close to them, however, and on tracks less suited to the Ferrari car, you can reckon on them being the team to beat. McLaren should be up there too and it will be interesting to see how long it will be (not if) BMW starts beating them on traditionally McLaren circuits.
Date Added: 07/04/2008

So, Stoddart will return to F1 after the stud departs to, “spend more time with his fleshy quintet.” Now, where would Paul fit in best? The PR man for BMW I think, he and Mario Thiessen share so many behavioral traits ... competent, quiet, unassuming, personable, presentable, class, - I could go on.

Much as I would like to see the Iceman take another title before Ferrari’s inevitable departure from the top step, I’ll support your Heidfeld position. That’s not a criticism of Kubica’s ability either, just an acceptance that Heidfeld’s history of consistency - minus a wild streak - makes him a more likely candidate.

Indeed, whatever we may think of Alonso personally, his cockpit competence cannot be faulted by any reasonable thinking person. After all, few would argue that he dealt to Schumacher during his last two years on track.

Date Added: 07/04/2008

Absolutely, David - Alonso will always be the man who beat Schumacher. But how about if Stoddart returns to F1 in another role entirely? My spies tell me that the post of FIA President should be available shortly and you have already listed Stoddy's exceptional qualifications for the job... ;)
Date Added: 07/04/2008

Dan M
I heard a funny Max Mosley Joke on SpeedTV, paraphrasing becuase I dont know the original origin.

Cut Max some slack hes a busy man. I tried to get clarification on a rule the other day so I called the FiA. All i got was his secratary she said "Max can not come to the phone right now, hes all tied up"
Date Added: 07/04/2008

Ah, the first Max joke. That was bound to happen - in fact, I'll bet the jokemakers were whipped into a frenzy by these latest events.
Date Added: 07/04/2008

Pink Peril
Stoddy for FIA President !

Now that would shake a few people up ! Bernie would never go for it though, so not going to happen.

I think this move back to Renault is just what the doctor ordered for Alonso. A chance to sharpen his skills in an uncompetitive car, and a bit of an ego/reality check. I think we have yet to see the best of Alonso.
Date Added: 08/04/2008

Yes, I can't see Stoddart being nominated, let alone elected. It's a pity, though - he'd make the FIA much more fun.
Date Added: 08/04/2008

Björn Svensson
That Alonso are a gifted driver, i don't think that anyone can doubt. But as the McLaren-fan i am i really think he deserves what he is going through right now.

And all that wishful thinking that he does about going to Ferrari. Well, i am still having a hard time to see any other than Renault wanting to employ him, just because of his ego and tempered outbursts from time to time.
I would think that what we get to see of him, is just a small part of what goes on behind the scenes.

And then, if he thinks that the right way to make his team willing to work hard is to say to them that he will go if they don't, i really think that he's on the wrong track.

And i'm a little surprised that no one here have mentioned Coulthard's performance in the first three races. He have really been one of the biggest dissapointments to me, allways managing to be in the way of someone during the races. I think that him going to be a commenter on BBC next season could be a guite easy bet. At least if he continues in the way he have started.

About stoddart, i read yesterday that he said that it is first after Max's departure from F1 that he will return to F1 as an F1-teamowner. He never said anything about working for another team, so i think next season could be really interesting. He might even buy STR from Dietrich Mateschitz when it is now decided that the team will be released due to the new regulations.
Date Added: 08/04/2008

Björn Svensson
I'm sorry for double-posting, but i just found this over at Planet-F1. Follow the link, anr read under the subject "Max Has Already Wrecked His Own Defence".,18954,3265_3393905,00.html

This tells exactly the way Max sees things. I believe he thinks he can do what ever fits him, and just reject what anyone else thinks. That alone should make for a quick rejection by the FIA leaderboard.
Date Added: 08/04/2008

The thing about Alonso is that, regardless of his temperament and character, the guy can drive - he is still one of the three fastest in F1. No team owner can ignore that completely and there will always be those who think, like Briatore, they can manage the unpredictable side of him.

Like you, Björn, I cannot see Ferrari taking him on but BMW might be willing to try. I hope not but, if BMW do not win something this year, the temptation will be to bring in Mr Alonso as a quick way to that "extra six tenths".

A few writers on the net have commented on DC's poor performance this season and it has to be admitted that he is doing himself no favors if he wants to continue in F1 next year. I think we might see David in the commentator's role quite soon, in fact.

But not Stoddart. It is nice to imagine him returning to F1 by buying back his old team but I don't think it will happen. As I have mentioned before, whoever buys STR will have to be extremely rich and prepared to sink a lot of money into making the team a constructor. Stoddart had enough financial trouble keeping Minardi going before and I don't see that changing.
Date Added: 08/04/2008

Never worry about double posting - the more, the merrier!

That's a good article, Björn - all of it, not just the Mosley bit. The matter of Max's self-contradiction has been pointed out before, however, and will hve absolutely no effect on him, unfortunately. He has indeed demonstrated that he intends to hang on to power in spite of the damage he is doing the sport.
Date Added: 08/04/2008

Never worry about double posting - the more, the merrier!

That's a good article, Björn - all of it, not just the Mosley bit. The matter of Max's self-contradiction has been pointed out before, however, and will have absolutely no effect on him, unfortunately. He has indeed demonstrated that he intends to hang on to power in spite of the damage he is doing the sport.
Date Added: 08/04/2008

RSS feed icon RSS comments feed

Back to the main blog

Have your say

You may use some HTML in comments. For bold text use <strong></strong> and for italic text use <em></em>. If you know what you're doing feel free to use more complex mark-up but please no deprecated tags, break tags or JavaScript.

Enter the code shown above:

Name *

Comment *

Email *


Copyright disclaimers XHTML 1.0 CCS2 RSS feed Icon