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GP Week : Issue 19
Letters email us at email@example.com One happy Aussie It was pleasing to hear that Australia will retain its Grand Prix. Australians have had a great influence on the world of Grand Prix racing. Either this season or next season definitely, Formula One will reach another milestone – the 800th Grand Prix driver will line up on the grid. At the completion of the current season there will have been 59 years of racing with 803 races. All this time F1 has always given us great entertainment, whether on track or off track. Go Lewis Scott Pryce firstname.lastname@example.org Massa fan? Not … One of the regular comments made in Formula One is that he is a “good driver in a bad car”. But you never hear a reporter suggesting that someone is “a bad driver in a good car”. The classic example is Jenson Button, a loyal driver who has given Honda some of his best years and was destined for the top when he entered the sport at the tender age of 20. He is eternally named as the talented driver in the “wrong car”. Eight years later, his only credentials are one GP win and under a dozen other podiums. Hardly what was expected of him all those years ago. So, if he is the ultimate good driver in a bad car, which driver could possibly be nominated as being the bad driver in a good car? Instantly we look to the good cars, particularly Ferrari. Kimi Raikkonen is a world champion, with 16 pole positions, 17 wins and 53 podium finishes. In his first year with Ferrari, he became world champion, yet team-mate Felipe Massa has been with Ferrari two extra years and does not have as nearly an impressive record of results. Why is this? Having eight wins under his belt and all of them with Ferrari shows that Ferrari clearly works well for him – but how well does he work out for Ferrari? Eight wins is impressive, but six of them were from pole and the other two from second following problems that the pole driver had during the race. Does this really make Felipe a good driver? Fast as he is (or as Ferrari is) does this make him worthy of his car? My reasoning for this thinking came at the British Grand Prix. Felipe fell from ninth to 13th being the last driver to pass the chequered flag after five big spins during the afternoon. Team-mate Raikkonnen managed a fourth place finish, so why was a car of the same team finishing much lower? It is clear that Felipe Massa is a fast driver, but the only time that this speed is seen is when he has pole. Obstacles that face F1 drivers during racing, such as over-taking, temperamental weather conditions and the ability to challenge other drivers on the circuit, all just seem to faze Felipe. I’m not convinced that Felipe has that high level of talent. Claire Lorenc email@example.com THE bombshell dropped early in the weekend, leaving pressmen and paddock insiders stunned. Doubtless, the same news will leave everyone else cold. It had to do with free lunch ... My colleagues and I know the world views our lives as one long international holiday, watching motorbike races, jotting down a few thoughts, then swanning off to the next via an exotic beach. The truth is different: constant stress, deadlines and competition, 18-hour work days, and gruelling economy-class journeys across uncomfortably juxtaposed time zones. I sense you’re losing interest. Bear with me: matters of far greater importance are involved! The news came from that most stalwart of all bike racing sponsors, Marlboro. The British- owned American brand has backed bike GPs since the 1970s. When all the tobacco companies made a gentleman’s agreement to pull out at the end of 2006, Marlboro smiled and nodded, but stayed on anyway. The cigarette business is no place to look for gentlemen. And thanks be. Marlboro has contributed generously to the coffers of riders from Agostini to Stoner, and many others. It has lent big-budget class to bike racing for almost 40 years. And laid on a groaningly good buffet lunch. Things have changed. In line with Dorna’s push to move MotoGP upmarket, Marlboro’s hospitality has done the same. The massive double- story ex-Ferrari unit has closed its push-button glass doors to all except invited VIPs. No more free lunch! Happily (you will doubtles be glad to hear) there are others: MichaeL Scott MotoGP editor o p in io n o p in io n WiLL Buxton GPWeek editor HANG on … it’s going to get bumpy. So here we are at the mid- point of the 2008 season and we have a three-way tie for the championship lead. If I didn’t know any better I’d think the whole thing had been choreographed. This year’s world championship battle is turning out to be an epic, and a title which either the championship protagonists all want to win, or maybe that nobody wants to win. The dynamic between the title protagonists seems cyclical. We started 20