Monaco. What a kerfuffle that was! A less than exciting race followed by a ridiculous investigation into McLaren for rule-breaking followed by the FIA admitting the Mercedes-powered team did no wrong. On top of all that Anthony Davidson moaned about his drive-through penalty and Kimi Raikkonen and Ralf Schumacher had terrible weekends that could have consequences later on this year. Here’s a brief summary of the big news.
I’m not going to regurgitate the whole Lewis Hamilton/McLaren/Team Orders fiasco, but suffice to say the FIA actually made a good decision on Wednesday. More often than not, Formula One’s governing body screw up a decision which leads to further damage to the sport and results in widespread condemnation of the organisation. But not this time, as Max Mosley and his committees of people showed common sense and understanding this time. You won’t hear this often, but well done Max. Keep it up.
Ralf Schumacher. Oh Ralfie, poor Ralfie. Once again, the German is in the media again, and while it probably is nonsensical hype, the headlines could be damaging for the younger brother of Michael. Bild, a German publication that is known to unnecessarily hype stories out of context, has suggested that Ralf Schumacher is on a two race probation. That is, if he doesn’t improve his form in Canada and Indianapolis, Toyota will draft in Williams test driver Kazuki Nakajima as a replacement.
I’ve posted about Schumacher’s abilities before, and while the post centred around his absurd salary-vs-result tally, I will say one thing in his defense: The Toyota TF107 isn’t exactly a great car to drive. Given the cash that’s thrown at it, one is right to be surprised at its poor performance. But looking at the points accrued so far (a mere five), Schumacher’s one point to team mate Jarno Trulli’s total of four, it isn’t all Schumacher’s fault.
But he costs way to much, spouts off too many times that he is “one of the top three drivers on the grid” and moans when things aren’t going right. I’m not saying Nakajima will fair any better, but I do think a change is needed at Toyota. If the Bild article is true, then it is about time the squad shook everything and everyone up a little. If Ralfie left the team mid-season though, where would he go?
Magny Cours will host its final race this year. Bernie Ecclestone has officially confirmed that the event will not feature on the 2008 calendar, and the French Grand Prix will be dropped until a more suitable circuit is found. It’s worth noting that Bernie actually owns Paul Ricard, self-titled France’s ‘Hi-Tech Test Track’, and it would be nice to see racing return to the Cote d’Azur. However, it appears Ecclestone has ideas about hosting a street race in Paris. Something tells me I’m going to get bored of hearing that term soon.
It’s a little bit disappointing because we organised this Grand Prix and it has never developed in the way that we would have liked it to.
And finally, Raikkonen’s poor showing in Monaco leaves him ten points down on his team mate in fourth, and 15 behind championship leaders Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton. Ferrari traditionally back one driver as the season progresses in an attempt to secure at least one of the titles. If Felipe Massa continues to outperform Kimi, it won’t be long before the Scuderia are questioning why they are paying the ‘Iceman’ so much money.