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GP Week : Issue 40
>>F1MALAYSIA Change? Or short change? LAST year in Malaysia, a taxi driver told me that to buy a ticket for the Grand Prix would cost him about three months of his salary. As he implored at the time, how could he afford to take his family to the race, if it was to cost him a year’s wages? Just think about that for a minute. The Grand Prix is supposed to be a crowning glory in a country’s sporting portfolio; a chance for people around the world to get to see their heroes in the flesh. Every year we go further and further afield, to new and fascinating countries, to share this wonderful sport with new fans. And yet this year’s Malaysian Grand Prix left them short-changed. Everyone knew the rain was going to come. From the first moment we arrived, the rainstorms had hit at about 5pm. And they weren’t just small rain showers. They were full on tropical storms. The paddock stayed empty. Everyone took cover. You couldn’t walk in the rain, let alone race. But it wasn’t so much the rain that was the issue, it was the sheer speed with which the darkness of night set in soon after the rains came. By 7pm it was pitch black. If the rains came, everyone was agreed that the race could not be finished. Hell, even the good readers of our magazine knew it was going to happen. Our letters page told us so. Paul Russell wrote to us from Malaysia, telling us that at the time the race was set to start it was chucking it down with rain and the skies had turned dark. In his words, “if my predictions are right, the race will certainly be a spectacle, but not one of the TV viewers are likely to see unless the cameras are fitted with night vision technology.” Paul was half way there. We did see a great race; a superb WILL BUxtOn GPWeek Editor race. The weather made it fascinating, with some great moves, some brilliant racing. It was a wonderful spectacle. But it was only half as long as it should have been. The warning signs had been there for some time. Sure, the race time had been changed to suit the European viewers, but what of those who paid to see only half a race in the grandstands? And for those viewers in Europe – how disappointing to enjoy only half a race over their cornflakes. It’s been a decade since Malaysia made its debut on the F1 calendar, and it has always attracted many viewers and provided a lot of action. It just seems a shame that this year, the times were changed and the race, the sport, and the fans all suffered. And, above it all, I wondered if my taxi driver friend had saved his hard earned money and come to the race … alone, or with his family. We take for granted that people can come and watch the races which we fly around the world to report on. And we shouldn’t. Because they are the lifeblood of this sport. They are the ones whose hard earned cash goes on the ticket sales that keep this sport alive. And Formula 1 should never knowingly put itself in a position where it could short change them. Pos # Driver FORMULA 1 Round 2 MALAYSIA Team 1 22 Jenson Button 2 6 Nick Heidfeld 3 10 Timo Glock 4 9 Jarno Trulli 5 23 Rubens Barrichello 6 14 Mark Webber 7 1 Lewis Hamilton 8 16 Nico Rosberg 9 3 Felipe Massa Fernando Alonso Brawn-Mercedes BMW Sauber Toyota Toyota Brawn-Mercedes RBR-Renault Laps 31 31 31 31 31 31 McLaren-Mercedes 31 Williams-Toyota Ferrari 10 11 Sebastien Bourdais STR-Ferrari 11 7 Renault 12 17 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 13 8 14 4 Nelson Piquet Kimi Räikkönen 15 15 Sebastian Vettel 16 12 Sebastien Buemi 17 20 Adrian Sutil Robert Kubica Renault Ferrari RBR-Renault STR-Ferrari BMW Sauber 31 31 31 31 31 31 31 30 30 Force India-Mercedes 30 18 21 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 29 Ret 5 Ret 2 1 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 0 Time 55:30.62 +22.7s +23.5s +46.1s +47.3s +52.3s +60.7s +71.5s +76.9s +102.164s +109.422s +116.130s +116.713s +142.841s Spin Spin +1 Lap Spin Engine Spin Points – Drivers: Button 15, Barrichello 10, Trulli 8.5, Glock 8, Heidfeld 4, Alonso 4, Rosberg 3.5, Buemi 2, Webber 1.5. Manufacturers: Brawn 25, Toyota 16.5, BMW Sauber 4, Renault 4, Williams- Toyota 3.5, Toro Rosso 3. 35 Grid 1 10 3 2 8 5 12 4 16 15 9 11 17 7 13 20 19 18 6 14 opinion