Montoya wins at Silverstone while Alonso strengthens his position
Enthralling: this Grand Prix was everything but this. After a 1-minute silence in memory of Thursday’s victims in London, Montoya passed Button and Alonso at the start while Sato’s BAR stalled. This caused the safety car to come out, for 2 laps, but that’s about it. Sato went back to pit and re-started one lap behind. Alonso remained very close to Montoya during the entire race without managing to pass him, especially as he lost precious seconds behind Trulli, who was one lap behind, before the second wave of pit stops. Indeed, Trulli did not confirm his good position on the grid while once again Raikkonen managed something great reaching the 3rd position after leaving from the 13th, for his engine had broken down during tests. Barrichello gradually lost pace and lost positions during his pit stops and finished 7th . Michael Schumacher managed exactly the opposite and finished 6th while he had started 10th on the grid. But then, they were more than one minute behind the leader when the race finished, which is not particularly encouraging. Michael reckons he’s out of the race for the championship. Fisichella, on the second Renault could have been on the podium if his car had not stalled after the second refuelling, which made his team manager Flavio Briatore a bit angry. He finished 4th, right before Button who did a solid race. 8th position went to Ralf Schumacher driving a Toyota.
Next race in two weeks in Hockenheim.
1 JP. Montoya McLaren
2 F. Alonso Renault
3 K. Räikkönen McLaren
4 G. Fisichella Renault
5 J. Button BAR
6 M. Schumacher Ferrari
7 R. Barrichello Ferrari
8 R. Schumacher Toyota
Alonso wins Grand Prix de France one lap ahead of team-mate Fisichella
Alonso started the Grand Prix on pole position and won it without any disturbance. None of his opponents could even threaten him, for he was at least one second faster per lap than anybody else, his team mate Fisichella included. The latter was incredibly unlucky once again, losing precious seconds because of the fuel hose or because his engine stalled on the last pit stop. He finished 6th.
Second on the grid, Trulli did not manage to keep his position and finished 5th while starting from the 13th position, Raikkonen managed to make the most of his 2-stop strategy, finishing 2nd, 16 seconds behind Alonso. Montoya was not quite as successful in the other McLaren for he was forced to abandon because of a hydraulic breakdown.
FIA postpones sanctions
After Wednesday’s council, the FIA decided not to apply sanctions to the teams incriminated in the Indianapolis affair before September 14. These 7 teams are more likely to have to pay a fine than to lose points. 2 charges out 5 were held against them:
- They were found guilty of not having made sure they had suitable tyres, but with mitigating circumstances
- They were also found guilty of refusing to start the race.
Max Mosley declared he’d pay attention to how the teams will compensate the fans and that the Council would take a decision concerning the penalties in the extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on September 14. Team managers kept a low profile during the meeting, which might have pleased Mr. Mosley. Some of them even declared President Mosley liked to humiliate people.
As for Michelin, which was not summoned at the hearing, the FIA can’t impose a penalty on them. Anyway, the company had previously decided the refund the spectators.
Postponing the decision until September 14 is a smart idea actually. Firstly, the FIA keeps the teams under control, secondly, the organisation adds some suspense for the public. One day, maybe, someone will understand Formula 1 is a matter of motorsport rather than politics.
Michelin will refund US spectators
On the eve of the FIA World Motor Sport Council to be held on Wednesday in Paris, where harsh sanctions could be taken against Michelin and the teams that refused to race in Indianapolis, the French tyre maker publishes this press release.
One week after the Indianapolis Grand Prix, Michelin wishes to make a sincere gesture of goodwill towards the people present at the GP, a group whose passion for F1 is encouraging in the development of this sport in the United States. Therefore, on our own initiative and in total solidarity with our partners, we have taken two decisions:
• 1. Michelin has decided to contribute to the costs incurred by the spectators present at the circuit on Sunday June 19th 2005 by offering to refund their tickets. This is an important decision, since Michelin is not at all legally bound to do this. Michelin deeply regrets that the public was deprived of an exciting race and therefore wishes to be the first, among the different groups involved in the Indianapolis race, to make a strong gesture towards the spectators.
• 2. Michelin also offers to buy 20,000 tickets for the 2006 U.S. Grand Prix to be given to spectators who were present at the Indianapolis race in 2005. We are offering this to promote further Formula 1 interest in the United States. We would also like to take this opportunity to underline the fact that it is unacceptable that our partner teams have been accused by the FIA of having boycotted the Indianapolis Grand Prix. The reality is that together, Michelin and its partners have done everything possible to assure that the race could take place in total safety. We are extremely disappointed that the proposals made with all our teams were not accepted. These proposals, including a chicane, were technically viable and totally met all safety requirements. On Sunday morning, June 19, the sporting authority had all the means necessary to preserve the interest of the race. And yet, the sporting authority rejected the proposed solutions.
Why? In our view this is totally incomprehensible and reflects a lack of respect for the spectators. It is the spirit of respect for the spectators that brought us, with our partners, to propose solutions to allow the race to take place in total safety. It is this same spirit that leads us today to make this gesture."
Michelin still holds the FIA responsible for what happened in Indianapolis and yet offers to refund the spectators. Putting the pressure on the FIA with this highly political text, Michelin might think Max Mosley could hardly account for severe sanctions against them and the teams that withdrew from the race. Let’s wait for FIA’s reply.
F1's battle still running… but not on track
Max Mosley strongly recalls he is the boss and asserts he’s not been moved by remarks after Indianapolis’s fiasco. He has summoned the 7 teams using Michelin tyres to the FIA world Motorsport Council to be held on June 29, in Paris. Minardi Boss Paul Stoddart warned if the sanctions turned out to be out of proportion, the teams would boycott the Grand Prix de France next Sunday. What could sanctions be? A simple warning, a loss of points or, more likely, a series of bans. Stoddart puts the pressure on Max Mosley more particularly, accusing him of not having found a good compromise in Indianapolis. Mosley retorts he had previously prevented Stoddard from being stolen his money by other teams some time ago and that he must have forgotten to take his medication.
Besides, Mosley bears a grudge against Michelin and the teams running on their tyres: he asserts their behaviour was totally stupid and thinks the tyres were not that faulty… Eventually, in his mind, Michelin and the incriminated teams should give the Indianapolis Grand-Prix organizers a compensation they would fairly distribute to the spectators. Thus, the French tyre maker and the 7 teams could avoid severe sanctions.
Mosley wants to apply the F1 rules as fairly as possible, without any consideration of profit as he puts it. He reckons that, being the leader, his aim is not to be popular.
Kristensen’s seventh victory in a row in Le Mans
Even if the Audi R8s were not the fastest cars on a lap – they were compelled to carry ballast and reduce their power– , one of those engaged by American Champion Racing team won the race thanks to their consistency. Bearing in mind the Pescarolos were quicker, they paid great attention to reliability and the pilots did the rest, committing no fault. Champion Racing team drivers Kristensen, Werner and Lehto led the Audi R8 number 3 to victory. It’s the seventh for Danish Tom Kristensen, who thus surpassed Jacky Ickx.
World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb was on the Pescarolo number 17, but a flat tyre on hour 20 caused the car to crash, preventing it from finishing the race. The Pescarolo number 16, driven by Collard, Bouillon and Collard, was on pole position but the, after 2 hours, the gearbox broke down, forcing it to stop for 30 minutes. Despite a fantastic recovery during the night, the three French pilots were not able to make up for their lost time, staying behind 2 Audis, because of a coolant leak. The Audi that was second crashed, allowing the French team to finish on second position, ahead of 2 other Audis, respectively driven by Champion Racing team pilots Pirro, Biela and McNish and by Oreca team pilots Montagny, Ortelli and Gounon.
On the fifth position we find the Corvette C6.R that won in the LMGT1 category, after a tough struggle against the Aston-Martin DBRS9, while a Lola won in the LMP2.
Anything rotten in the kingdom of F1?
One might wonder indeed. It was an unbelievable sight: after the formation lap, all the cars using Michelin tyres headed to the pits. Only six that were supplied for by Bridgestone remained on track and ran the race: 2 Ferraris, 2 Minardis and 2 Jordans.
How was such a situation made possible? First, last Friday, Ralf Schumacher crashed his car in Turn 13, a fast banked curve, presumably because of a faulty tyre. Given the violence of the shock, his doctor advised him not to run the GP two days after. On Saturday, replacing Ralf in the Toyota team, Ricardo Zonta met the same problem and had an accident too. Soon, Michelin agreed to say their tyres were not safe on this track and stated teams using them should not race unless they were allowed to use brand new tyres coming from Franceovernight. Arguing it was against the rules, the FIA said, no.
Then, Michelin claimed that speed should be reduced, by means of a chicane laid before Turn 13, to ensure certain level of safety. 9 teams agreed on this proposal, but once again, the FIA turned it down, say it’d be unfair for the teams running on Bridgestone tyres.
What was to happen happened: Michelin runners did not take part in the race. 14 cars quit the track and then, to the woos of the crowd, began the most ridiculous Formula 1 grand-prix in all times. Schumacher won, Barrichello came a close second. So close that the Ferrari drivers nearly had an accident. The next four are, by order of arrival, Monteiro, Karthikeyan, Albers and Friesachier. Bridgestone and these 3 teams got the job done: was it that difficult? There’s one positive element though: Jordan and Minardi scored points, which will ensure them a financial income.
Speaking of money, will the 150,000 spectators be given theirs back? They widely incriminated Michelin and remarked they had not made it to Indianapolis just to see Ferrari testing their cars.
Formula 1 was already struggling for a good image in America, now, what shifted from a safety to a political issue made it look contemptible even in Europe.
Trulli emerges first from an odd qualifying session
Last Friday, during a practice session, Ralf Schumacher violently hit a wall, because of his tyres as it seems. Replacing him, Ricardo Zonta met the same problem and crashed his car too. Fortunately, they were not injured. Nevertheless, Michelin confess they don’t exactly know what happened and thus, want to be allowed to fit new tyres on all the cars they provide – as a precaution–, which is prohibited by F1 rules. The authorities have yet to take a decision concerning Michelin. They are under a very high pressure for the teams provided by Michelin have threatened to pull out the race if the French tyre manufacturer advised them to. In this case, the race would be cancelled, which remains unlikely given all the money involved.
All the pilots pushed very hard to be in pole position and eventually, Italian driver Jarno Trulli turned out to be the quickest on track, in spite of what happened to his team mate, posting an impressive 1m10.625 in his Toyota.
In his McLaren, Kimi Raikkonen is very close behind, only 0.069 slower. Then we find Button (BAR), Fisichella (Renault), Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), Alonso (Renault), Barrichello (Ferrari), Sato (BAR), Webber (Williams), Massa (Sauber), Montoya (McLaren), Villeneuve (Sauber), Zonta (Toyota), Klien (Red Bull), Heidfeld (Williams), Coulthard (Red Bull), Monteiro (Jordan), Albers (Minardi), Karthikeyan (Jordan) and Friesachier (Minardi).
McLaren, Renault and Ferrari did not meet many problems during the session and say they feel confident. On the contrary, WilliamsGP were not satisfied at all but they hope their strategy wil help them.
Of course, strategies will be a big concern: in a same team, 2 pilots may have different ones, which explains why Raikkonen is second while Montoya is only eleventh. Many pilots complained about the lack of grip, so tyres will play a key-role. How will Bridgestone react if Michelin is allowed to bring new tyres in?
F1 to take a great step… backwards in 2008
Last Friday, the FIA issued a proposal for new F1 rules to come to application in 2008. Max Mosley wants to reduce manufacturers’ costs by 90% so as to reduce the gap between top teams and less performing ones he’s afraid to see leave the championship. Moreover, he takes it for granted there’s no need of advanced and costly technology to ensure a good show. “It may fascinate the relevant engineers that by spending millions of euros they can build a new gearbox with ratios that are 0.25mm thinner, but no-one else knows or cares. There is no additional value for the watching public who, ultimately, pay for the whole thing” Mosley says. Besides, to him, the cars go too fast, which endangers pilots and marshals and compels race organizers to spend more and more money upgrading the safety of the circuits.
As a consequence, cars should lose power (engines should receive an FIA-made ECU), downforces be reduced by 10%, electronic helps almost suppressed and all the cars be fitted with a clutch pedal and a fully manual gearbox. There would be only one tyre manufacturer appointed by the FIA while wheels could become wider and slicks tyres be allowed again. Besides, gear ratios, differentials, and brakes should be provided by an FIA-approved supplier. No more spare cars, no more telemetry between pits and cars. Eventually, tests should be reduced to 30,000kms over a year.
The new rules must be finalized by the end of September.
Back to Fangio’s time…
Iceman wins hot Montreal grand-prix
The grand-prix of Canada did not betray its reputation: it was enthralling from start to finish. It began at the beginning of this 70-lap race: Fisichella jumped from the fourth to the first position while Alonso stole the second position from M.Schumacher, who completely missed his start. He was also passed by Montoya and Raikkonen. Button was third then.
Villeneuve probably hit Takuma Sato and was soon obliged to have the front wing of his car replaced. This cost him 50 seconds and definitively pushed him to the back of the race.
Barrichello decided to start from the pits.
It was only after the first wave of pit stops, initiated by Michael Schumacher on lap 12, that the story met new developments. Fisichella was caught back by misfortune on lap 32: a hydraulic failure on his car forced him to resign, after managing to drive his car back to the pits. Alonso became an uncomfortable leader for he was being hunted by 2 McLarens. After M.Schumacher and Jenson button’s second stop, Alonso hit a wall, not harshly but strongly enough to leave the race.
At that moment the 2 McLarens began leading the race. Shortly after, Heidfleld’s engine exploded, and on lap 46, Button brushed against the tyres in front of the champions’ wall. He stopped his BAR-Honda in the middle of the track, which caused the Safety Car to neutralize the race. Then, confusion invaded the race. Raikkonen, Barrichello, Coulthard, Michael Schumacher, Klien, Villeneuve, Massa, Webber, and Trulli seized the occasion to stop for refuelling. Montoya had to wait the following lap to refuel, but, he made 2 fatal mistakes. First, he quit the pits despite the red light an then he passed a Redbull while the Safety Car was still on track. He was blackflagged and disqualified a few laps later.
Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher kept their respective 1st and 2nd positions, ahead of Trulli and Barrichello.
On lap 63, Trulli resigned, because of his brakes, and Rubens took over the third position. This was not to change until the end of the race.
This race was a mere deception for both Renault and Williams-BMW, while Ferrari could hardly expect to put 2 pilots on the podium.
With his deserved victory, Raikkonen has given the championship a new start, now only 22 points behind Alonso.
Who said Formula 1 had become boring and predictable?
Unexpected pole position for Button
After a rough qualifying session, Button has taken the first position in his BAR, on the overheated dusty Canadian track of Montreal, in 1:15,217. 2 tenths behind, we find Michael Schumacher, who didn’t expect such a good position after his slow practice sessions. Some had forgotten how talented and experienced he is, which helped him make a good time on the patchy track. In 3rd and 4th position there are the 2 Renaults, driven by Alonso and Fisichella. The former, even if a little disappointed, remains thrilled to see Raikkonen, his closest rival, back on the seventh position, for he seeks to extend his championship advantage. Nevertheless, he’ll have to be even luckier than at the end of the last race, on the Nurburgring track if he wants to score a 5th victory.
Behind them, on the 5th position, the McLaren driven by Montoya arrives before the second BAR, driven by Takuma Sato, who didn’t manage to remain faster than his team mate when it was important to.
Raikkonen did not manage to get better than a seventh position for his McLaren, with a revved-up Villeneuve in his Sauber-Petronas right behind him, boosted by the public’s cheers.
9th and 10th are the 2 Toyota drivers, Trulli and Ralf Schumacher.
Felipe Massa qualified his Sauber in 11th position, just ahead of David Coulthard in his Redbull.
13th and 14th positions go for…the 2 Williams-BMWs, respectively driven by Heidfeld and Webber, who committed a few mistakes on the tricky track.
A solid 15th is Albers in his Minardi-Cosworth, who did a good job to keep Kline, driving the 2nd Redbull, behind him. 17th and 18th are the Indian pilot Karthikeyan and Monteiro, both driving a Jordan Toyota.
Patrick Friesachier comes 19th on the second Minardi, while the last pilot to start on the grid will be Rubens Barichello, who was unable to finish a full qualifying lap because of technical problems.
2 unexpected pilot on the fist 2 positions, varied strategies in terms of fuel load and a rough track: all this show that Formula I is now really unpredictable. We can expect a enthralling race tomorrow.
Heidfeld in the big boys club
Nick Heidfeld who was once Ron Dennis' star of the futre has had a tough time in F1 compared to his previous days in F3000. A podium in Monaco was a good sign of better times coming, a pole position in Hungary is certainly showing he won't be a pushover with the right car in hand. Heidfeld made the most of the new rules of one qualifying session on saturday after a morning session dominated by Alonso and Räikkönen. The little guy who is almost a local did not take any prisoners, whilst everyone there had their eyes on Schumacher and a 10th position on the grid, Germany may have found its new star... After the pope's election, its definitely Germany's year...