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Michael Schumacher (and others)

Whatever your opinion of Michael Schumacher as a man and as a driver, it has to be admitted that he has long been the champion when it comes to handling the press. No-one else is so expert at answering politely but never giving away anything that he doesn’t want to. Take these few quotes reported from Hungary, for instance:

“I know it is your job to speculate, but obviously it is my job not to get into all that.”

“It might go one way, it might go another way.”

“I don’t believe I have to comment.”

I have seen journalists construct an entire team strategy from one stray and innocent sentence buried in a driver’s comments (and rarely does it turn out to be true). But who can infer anything from Michael’s pronouncements? They state the obvious in clear and unambiguous terms.

And, if Michael says that we will have to wait until the Monza race before finding out his plans for next year, then that is exactly how long we will have to wait.

Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher

Two extraneous and unrelated items of news caught my attention this morning; the first, that Prodrive, due to enter Formula 1 in 2008, have been granted permission to build their factory on the site of Coventry’s Baginton Airport. Now, I’m a Coventry kid although I now live in the States, and I know exactly where they will be building. The airport is sited on a high plateau just southeast of the city and has been the home of an excellent air museum, as well as a cargo and leisure flights facility.

There is opposition to the factory from local “greens”, apparently, but I cannot see that they have a reasonable case. Apart from the fact that the airport has been there since before WWII, just across the road there is a developing industrial and commercial complex already. If there ever was an argument, it was lost years ago it seems.

I find it entirely appropriate that the Prodrive HQ should be in Coventry. The city was always the center of Britain’s car industry and lost that position only through idiotic government and corporate decisions in the seventies. Jaguar remain and Peugeot occupy the old Rootes factory, but otherwise everything has gone. Prodrive’s choice at least is a reminder of past glories.

And secondly, I see that Champ car driver, Christiano da Matta, has been seriously injured after colliding with a deer at Road America. Christiano had an emergency operation to remove a subdural hematoma and is now under observation in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

Naturally, I wish Christiano a speedy recovery and return to racing, but I am also intrigued by the nature of his accident. A deer? How did a deer manage to get onto the track? If nothing else, this is a reminder of how much of America is still wilderness and the wild, wild West is still there if we care to see it.

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