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GP Week : Issue 58
letters email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Race of Champions The return of Michael Schumacher to the cockpit sets up a fascinating few races, until Felipe Massa returns from is injury. While a lot of interest will centre on Michael's performance alone, there will inevitiably be comparisons between him and Kimi Raikkonen, on whom opinion is divided as to his worth. If Michael were to, after so long away, get near Kimi, or even beat him, it would pretty much wipe out Ralkkonen's reputation as a speed merchant. At a time when there is talk of whether he will in fact be at Ferrari next year, it is very surprising that Ferrari would let him take part in one of the world's most dangerous motor sports, the WRC round in Finland. Was Ferrari concerned that he might get hurt if he (as he did) crash out? Maybe they are not worried. Like I said, interesting times ahead. PS: Keep up the great product. It is so different from any other magazine, and delivered at F1 speed! Malcolm J Bright Cincinnati, USA Sad to be leaving Despite your writer Michael Scott's view that many will not mourn MotoGP's departure from Donington Park, it is a shame that the bikes are leaving. In my view, it is one of the last great race tracks left in the UK, with its up and downhill, unique corners, and atmosphere. I too wish they hadn't added the 'loop', but apart from that it is a great track, with great viewing. I shall miss it, and hope that the 'conversion' to F1 track doesn't destroy it. At the same time, MotoGP swaps venues with F1 and goes to Silverstone. In its original form, a great bike track, but now just another Mickey Mouse, contrived series of mid-speed corners. Yawn. I won't be there. Roger Braithwaite email@example.com And the polls say? I read an internet vote recently which had Ari Vatanen as around 80:20 favourite against Jean Todt for the FIA Presidency. It will therefore be fascinating to see how the actual voting, by member countries, ends up. In national government elections, polling is often quite accurate, but in this case I have this feeling that the huge gap between the public and the people who represent them on the FIA may well produce a wildly different result. Andrew Murchison Durban, South Africa Testing Idiocy WIll Buxton GPWeek Editor THE furore surrounding Ferrari’s failed attempt to land Michael Schumacher a special test in the F60 has raised a pertinent question to the fore – what the hell use is this testing ban anyway? It’s intentions were noble enough as Formula 1 embarked on a path of cost reduction, but from the off it had been met with reservation, not least from F1’s aspiring hopefuls who were only too aware that their chances of being picked up by a team in the next few years were now even smaller than before. With no in-season testing, and severely limited testing over the winter, teams would be given three days at the end of an F1 season to evaluate new talent. Three poxy days. And everyone knew that a team’s existing tester would get the mileage anyway. So what use was it? In Hungary we had the frankly insane situation of throwing a 19-year-old kid into an F1 car to compete his first F1 weekend without ever having turned a corner in one. Straight line tests were all poor old Jaime Alguersuari was permitted to do. And so he turned up at the Hungaroring as not only the youngest F1 driver in history, but also probably the least prepared. That a seven-time world champion considers it necessary to have a day’s run in the car, you can see the dilemma. If the great Schumacher needs to get up to speed, then so too did Alguersuari, and so too will Romain Grosjean, if and when he steps into Nelson Piquet’s seat. This testing ban is doing nobody any good at all. Speaking with Felipe Massa 48 hours before his crash in Hungary, he told me that he wanted the testing ban reversed as soon as possible. His reasoning wasn’t just about preparation, but about safety. As he so rightly, and ultimately ironically, pointed out, with a reduction in testing comes an increase in safety risks as people are taking out untried and untested cars to practice, qualify, and race. We live in an era where safety is quite The slowest possible MIchaEl Scott MotoGP Editor IT was Valentino Rossi’s marvellous season that triggered the debate over who was the first rider to articulate the important principle – that one should win at the slowest possible speed. Mike Hailwood was the initial reply. Mike is credited with almost all the sage sayings from the past – if he didn’t say it, suggested a colleague, it sounded like the sort of thing he would say, so it might as well be attributed to him. In the same way, Mike is thought to have originated other sayings: such as “There are no points for practice”, “You only need to lead on the last lap”, and “It’s only a motorbike race.” Actually that last one I first heard from a wonderfully laconic Mick Doohan, when he was besieged by people making an awful fuss about a few tenths of a second. And the one statement that most definitely was Mike’s was his reply when asked what type of tyres he had been using. “Round black ones,” said Hailwood. We chased “the slowest possible speed” concept ever further back in history. One nominee, from contemporary racing opinion opinion