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GP Week : Issue 6
reflection on Mecachrome, the championship’s technical partner. Note that Renault took its name away from the engine covers for the Asian series, and the extent to which the embarrassment over Mecachrome’s repeated failures hits home. The rule regarding Asian drivers was quietly sidelined as it emerged that the talent pool simply wasn’t big enough to merit a 50:50 split. Then there was all the talk of Grosjean receiving special treatment. Personally, I don’t buy it. GP2 has always been ruthlessly fair in its upkeep of regulations. Grosjean just did a very good job, and, not to put too fine a point on it, was enormously flattered by his rivals either tripping themselves up, taking each other out, or succumbing to the reliability issues which we have already said should be a thing of the past with this particular car. Grosjean will have a far tougher time in the main series, but if the GP2 Asia series has proved its worth in any one area, it is in preparing F3 drivers for life in GP2. It used to be said that it could take a driver anywhere up to six months to get used to the GP2 machinery, so limited was testing and practice in the series. With the Asia series providing a very sensible step between F3 and GP2, Grosjean (and the likes of Kobayashi and Buemi) have been able to spend the last few months getting used to increased horsepower and torque. The step from the Asia series to the main series will be all the smaller for them, and could reward them in the long run as they attempt to battle against drivers who have already established their names in the F1 feeder series. If nothing else, GP2 Asia, in its preparation of young drivers for the rigours of GP2 proper, may just have set up the closest and most exciting GP2 season yet. GPWEEK OPINION >> mind, given his penchant for increasingly cheesy track- race pantomime were rather frivolous. What form would his protest take … his fan club dressed up as lamas? With a contingent as Chinese policemen, enacting the quelling of a street riot with joke-shop inflatable cudgels? It’s no joke, however. As precursors to the Olympic athletes themselves, the actions of the MotoGP riders will be closely monitored by all sides. And now the cat is out of the bag, Capirossi’s refreshingly guileless reply has put Rossi and all other riders on the spot. Where will they move from here – apart from backwards, or into even more trouble? For one, Marlboro aren’t going to be very pleased if a rider of theirs starts politicising against the host country while wearing the corporate chevron (China, a country of heavy smokers, is one of very few ‘branded’ GPs). No more would such protest please the Japanese motorcycle companies, already worried about the growing commercial power of the Chinese factories, and anxious to create alliances rather than further deepen the historic enmity. One suspects that men with expensive haircuts are even now advising the individual riders to play carefully. It’s a case of integrity versus income and the income, in some cases, is rather large. Casey Stoner, asked the same question, gave a reply tempered by wisdom, or pragmatism, or maybe just self-absorption: “It’s not my business, and, you know, maybe too many people have opinions on this, and this is why it’s a bigger problem,” he said. If nothing else, it was spoken like a racer. 17