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GP Week : Issue 32
Letters email us at email@example.com Another one bites the dust Okay, so let's get this straight. Yet another traditional and classic Grand Prix venue, the Circuit Gilles Velleneuve, is consigned to the scrap heap, while if there's a cliff-hanger in 2009, the decider will be held at that historically significant motorsport nation and world centre of motorsport excellence, Abu Dhabi. Formula 1 is really, really losing the plot. And yes, I'm a Canadian, and yes, I'm pissed off. Wouldn't you be? And reading the local press here, the Canadian organisers seem to have been taken by surpise also. So Bernie, put a line through North America – you are about to lose a truckload of fans. But I'm sure the good people of Abu Dhabi will more than make up for it ... in gold at least. Michael D Sampson Ontario, Canada Fight the good fight I enjoy your coverage of MotoGP racing (as well as the TV coverage), and in particular Michael Scott's no-nonsense approach to the controversial subjects, such as the 2009 one- tyre-brand decision. It is good to see a modern (motor) sports journalist prepared to call a spade a spade and not swallow the PR line delivered by those running the sport – who as he says seem determined to follow F1 down the path of elitism. Travis McLelleand Coogee (Sydney) Australia Snore Fest Is it me, or is Kimi getting worse. His post-race press conference (TV) was so monotone, I nearly dropped off to sleep ... Wake up, man, at least pretend to enjoy it! David McGee Bedford, UK 20 Schumaching for Schumacher MichaeL Scott MotoGP editor THE new season starts the day after the last race. Riders hang up their leathers after the last round at Valencia, and some even attend the reliably lunatic official end-of- season party late that night. And the next morning, they are back at the track to start testing for the next year. Those switching teams, tyres or bikes are traditionally given dispensation to go to the new brands prior to the actual date of their contracts; while prototype versions of next year’s bike are wheeled out to give race engineers some data to work with during the winter testing ban. Something else also takes place: the spectacle of the annual motorcycle Press tests of the GP machines. Anxious-looking road-testers from magazines world wide tentatively throw a leg over the race bikes, and as tentatively essay a couple of laps of the tortuous Spanish track. They look apprehensive before they go out, and come back looking mighty relieved, while the mechanics fettling the bikes try to stifle their laughter as they look at the lap times. Generally (and, to be fair, understandably, given the brief opportunity for familiarisation with bike and circuit) the riding is slow enough that engines barely get warm. Then they go home and write whatever they do write: commenting on the handling, weight distribution, power curve, steering response and gearing with as much fake expertise as they have the gall to inflict on their loyal – or should that be gullible? – readers. Some are honest enough to stick to: Wow, it’s fast; Gee the brakes are incredible; Gadzooks, I was scared out of my wits. This year, it seems the readers will be denied this opportunity, and said road- testers also the chance to sacrifice their dignity. A concerted move by teams is almost certain to cancel the whole process. Instead, only a handful of riders will get handed the keys: those with either enough talent to get some speed up (like Randy Mamola, and last year Kevin Schwantz) or freelancers with sufficient magazines in their portfolio to give worthwhile coverage (who shall be nameless). There is another name in the frame. One idea that might easily prevail is that only Michael Schumacher will be allowed out. He will thereafter give a press conference to all those disappointed road- testers expressing his opinion. One size fits all, for every magazine in the world. Hard to know what to think. Hats off to Schumie, who has the guts to go racing on two wheels to fulfil his own passion, and last year showed the ability to lap at definitely respectable pace, following closely behind mentor Mamola. But he’s not a great one for expansive chats to groups of journalists, being an expert in corporate no-speak. And he’s hardly an independent witness, being on the payroll of Ducati sponsors Marlboro. And it’s hardly journalism as we know it. Many readers might genuinely want to hear what their favourite road-testers think. Look at this way: Michael is only a seven-time World Champion. Rossi is an eight- timer. Would he be invited to drive all the F1 cars at a post- season test? Would anyone care about his opinion? Journalism for journalists, say I. And Schumaching for Schumacher. I’ll look forward to watching him go round and round. But I won’t particularly care about what he says afterwards. opinion