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A Few of My Favorite Things

When I started this site, I knew that I could not compete with the news sites. They have access to information much earlier than I do, some info sources only release news to “the accredited press”, and there are lots of writers working on most sites whereas I am just lil ol’ me.

Nelson

Nelson Piquet – one of the greats

So I had to offer something different and, cheekily enough, that had to be the only other thing I have to offer – my opinion. F1 fans love to debate the finer points of the sport, however, and so my approach has been to say what I think but allow plenty of room for others to disagree. At times we have had lively debates in the comments system as a result (and yes, I do drop everything else and hurry over to F1 Latest when I see a comment arrive).

The fact remains that I am still only one person, however, and Dan M has asked that I post more often. At times I do come across more than one item of interest in a day but time constraints usually prevent me writing more than one post daily. So I am going to continue with the regular posts but add snippets with perhaps a brief comment as they occur.

There are other sites that offer news and comment on F1, food for the ever-hungry fan, and I have my own list that I visit daily. Since I believe that we all offer something slightly different and are not in competition therefore, here’s a sneak peek at the ones I consider the best:

F1 Fanatic dot co dot uk. In my opinion, easily the best F1 blog on the net (with the possible exception of F1 Latest of course!), Keith Collantine does most of the articles but Ben Evans contributes his own occasional insights as well. More newsy than my own blog, it still offers plenty of scope for comment and discussion and the writers are extremely knowledgeable and fair. Lots of extra goodies available too.

Pitpass dot com. A really quirky but entertaining site, not really a blog since it has no comments system but has a forum (which I have never visited – I don’t usually “do” forums but more on that in a moment) where views can be expressed. The mix of news and humor is unique and highly effective, the writers well informed and authoritative. Again, there are plenty of extras provided.

Autosport. The best of the news magazine sites. If it’s not in Autosport, it’s usually not worth reading. Their format is the best, too – straightforward design, not too many graphics to slow down loading yet plenty to interest.

F1-Live dot com. Pretty much the same news as Autosport but occasionally they get something that’s been missed. Very comprehensive site but they come second in the news stakes because the heavy loading with graphics, animated advertising and inducements to other parts of the site make it slower to get where you want to be.

Grand Prix dot com. A news site with a difference. They pick and choose as to which stories they’ll run and often have stuff that the other sites don’t reach. Mike Doodson does occasional articles for them and he’s very good. And then there’s the Mole – very wry British humor but not updated often enough.

The Pitlane Club Forums. My first foray into forums. I picked this one because (a) they invited me, (b) it was new and looked to have potential and (c) the owner is doing everything he can to keep out the trolls. So far it has been very good with interesting topics and not too much silly invective thrown around. If you want to chat about F1, it’s worth a try.

Finally, there’s Patrick. His site is a straightforward blog, Motorsports Ramblings, and he doesn’t update nearly often enough. But when he does, he’s worth reading – writes well and very knowledgeable. I recommend taking a look and then going back occasionally to see if there’s anything new…

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The FIA Gods Challenged

There is no doubt about it, the FIA do not like to have their decisions questioned. Way back in October last year, David Coulthard was smacked down for daring to put forward the GPDA’s view on safety matters and there are many other examples of the governing body reacting angrily to criticism.

David

David Coulthard

Now I see that even mighty Autosport magazine has had to print a retraction of earlier FIA-related statements made in a column of theirs. The fuss revolved around just how many teams were unhappy with the FIA’s sudden reduction of the engine formula from 3 liter V10s to 2.4 liter V8s, although I find it hard to see what was wrong with Autosport‘s columnist pointing out that not all the manufacturers were in favor of the change. Perhaps the problem really lay in his earlier assertion that the FIA had yo-yoed a lot – to hint that the FIA might be a tad indecisive would definitely be heresy.

The whole episode illustrates the FIA’s increasing tendency to see itself as infallible and above criticism. Which is a silly attitude to strike in a sport as contentious and full of differing interests and opinions as F1. The governing body would do wonders for its image if it were to accept criticism gracefully and listen a bit more. No-one has ever said that their job is easy and it is only to be expected that some will disagree with whatever they do; you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

The FIA would like us to see it as a forward-looking body that prepares for the future – hence their sudden fascination with green issues and the interests of car manufacturers. But they seem to be missing something very important about the brave new world of tomorrow: that in the information age, everything becomes known and is examined ad infinitum. They may be able to prevent the traditional media from voicing any uncomfortable opinions but the internet is a different matter entirely. Even governments have failed in their efforts to keep a lid on that beastie.

So the FIA would do far better if it were to act with more consideration of the views of those involved in the sport (and that includes the fans) and to be a lot more transparent in their actions. Except, of course, it can’t. So many of its decisions are driven by financial considerations and shady deals that it dare not explain some of them.

You may think that is a rather wild assumption; but it seems that Michelin agree with me – they are taking the FIA to court over the way in which Pirelli was selected as the sole supplier of tires to the World Rally Championship. Which brings to mind the odd way in which Microsoft MES were chosen as the suppliers of ECUs and Magneti Marelli’s doubts over the process.

The love of money is the root of all evil…

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So What’s New?

Good old Kimi has been keeping the tabloid journalists in copy – F1-Live has the story of his latest adventures in a karaoke bar. Not only was he singing, apparently, but also (shock, horror) he autographed a bottle of Koskenkorva Viina (some form of Finnish booze). No doubt he was drowning his sorrow at everyone saying that Massa will beat him at Ferrari.

It’s all a fuss about nothing, of course. What does it matter if he relaxes in a rather robust way as long as his performances in racing continue at as high a level as they have been in the past? The fact is that Kimi is not worried about Massa’s testing form and is looking forward to the races – he knows that racing is the spur that brings the best from himself and that he’ll produce the goods when it matters. I have no doubt that he will beat Massa comprehensively in the coming season.

Kimi

Kimi in action

What remains to be seen is how well he will settle in the team. In previous posts I have wondered about this but this morning it occurred to me that he resembles another guy who once drove for Ferrari – Gilles Villeneuve. He has that same speed and cavalier approach to the sport that made Gilles so good to watch. Gilles also had his wild moments, all forgiven by the adoring tifosi because they knew he would always give of his best and never give up.

That was why Gilles became the darling of Ferrari and the fans – and Kimi could do the same if he has a few good races at the beginning of the season. Then will all the speculation about Massa cease.

The story does highlight the fact that there is a dearth of interesting news in F1 in these last few days before the Australian GP however. About the most exciting thing has been the expected announcement that Bridgestone will mark the different types of tires so that we can tell which each car is on – which is hardly earth-shattering news.

And that is why this article in Grand Prix dot com made me smile. If I may quote:

In terms of real news, there is currently very little and as we do not believe in manufacturing news stories we are keeping quiet for a few more days.

Now that is honest journalism!

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