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GP Week : Issue 44
>>GPWEEKOPINION as Formula Honda confirmed What the purists are asking now is whether this massive change in regulations should not be considered a sporting matter? It changes the fabric of the sport, after all. Long before Saturday’s official confirmation, everyone in the paddock had accepted that the new four-strokes will replace the 250s from the start of next year. But fears that there would not even be a transitional year were allayed: the two-stroke 250s will be eligible for next year to race against the four-stroke 600s. But with Honda promising 150 horsepower against some 110 for a 250, it is not an attractive prospect, and Aprilia is expected to walk away. The speed of this change infringes all established regulations, especially the one that requires at least two years e Smiling then. It does so still, just thinking about it. Adam’s the only driver to win the award for ‘Best GP2 Overtaking Manoeuvre of the Year’ three times … one year taking two awards because the jury couldn’t pick between his two best moves. His natural flair shone through so often, you sometimes forgot there was anyone else driving. And yet Adam has always struggled: struggled for budget, struggled to be in the right place at the right time … struggled somehow to get noticed. While those who rated him as their toughest opponent went on to race in Formula 1, Adam’s career stalled. No longer able to afford GP2, his career looked all but over … until he received a phone call from Mark Gallagher at A1 Team Ireland. Their first win together came on St Patrick’s Day last season. It notice for any technical change. If anyone should object, Dorna will simply cite a case of ‘force majeur’. The credit crisis can take the blame. Appeals to new FIM president Vito Ippolito made no difference, however. He was part of the two- man Permanent Bureau (along with Dorna’s chief Ezpeleta) that passed the new regs. Even if he had been able to mount and win a legal argument over whether this is a sporting matter or not, it’s all gone much too fast for him to do anything. In any case, there’s the small matter of $7-million per annum paid to the FIM by Dorna. Could the Federation afford to lose that? The steamroller is already under way, and is accelerating more like a sports bike. It’s just too late to stop it, no matter how pure your purism might be. culminated this weekend with two pole positions, two race wins and the A1GP Championship. When we spoke after the race there was a moment, a lovely moment, that will stick with me. Reflecting on the last few years he told me that I looked a lot older than when we’d first met. I agreed, and said so did he! He replied that it was little wonder, given the stress, the sacrifice and the emotional rollercoaster he’d been on over the last few years. But, he said, it had made him the man that he is. The man that he is; the man who takes time for his fans, who takes time for his team, takes time for the press and takes time for his friends, is a deserved champion. But, as a man, and as a driver, he is a man deserving of so much more. With three new teams possibly entering Formula 1 in 2010, there’s an A1GP champion who could do with a ride. And Formula 1 could do with him, too. 21