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Michael Schumacher’s New Engine

Michael Schumacher’s relegation to the back of the grid for the Monaco GP highlights an interesting twist on the two-races per engine rule. Since Michael was already beyond reach of any ten grid spots penalty for changing the engine, it made sense to put a new engine in the car for the race. Effectively, he goes to Silverstone with an engine that has done a race but not the practice and qualifying laps before it.

Michael Schumacher

This means that he can afford to put more practice miles on the car than usual before Sunday’s race. It’s a small advantage, but one that Schumacher and Ferrari are experts at maximizing. Over the years, we have become used to the effectiveness of the Italian team’s planning and race strategy; they are masters at the art.

This goes a long way to explaining Ferrari’s enormous success in recent years. Strategy and tactics are just as important to winning races as are good design and a quick driver. Indeed, it was Alain Prost’s expertise in race tactics that enabled him to post respectable results when teamed with a driver as massively talented as Ayrton Senna. There were good reasons for him being nicknamed “the Professor”.

So we should not despise strategy and tactics, nor bemoan the fate of those who are clearly fastest but lose through inferior thinking on race day. Bad luck does happen but, more often, it is the result of not seeing the race as a whole and being impatient to get to the front.

But I must admit that I prefer talent over careful planning. Give me a Senna over a Prost, a Raikkonen over a Schumacher, any day. There is drama in watching a truly talented driver overcome the dispassionate logic of a strategist.

Which brings me to my prediction for the winner of this year’s British Grand Prix. It just has to be Kimi Raikkonen. Surely it is time that his run of bad luck ended, that the McLaren came on song and lasted the race. And he deserves a decent result; after all, we all know that he’s the fastest driver out there, don’t we…?

2 Responses to “Michael Schumacher’s New Engine”

  1. If Prost was the Professor how come Rossi is the Doctor?

    Some drivers never lose their bad luck, just look at Piquet.

  2. I don’t know why Rossi is known as the Doctor. Perhaps he hasn’t been promoted to Professor yet…

    As for bad luck, Piquet was an amateur compared to some. Consider the case of Chris Amon who was always in the wrong car at the right time. His list of second places is as long as your arm yet he never won a Grand Prix. Whenever he hit the front, something (not of his making) would go wrong. Amon is still probably the best driver never to win a GP – now that’s bad luck. At least Piquet won many races and was World Champion three times.

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