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GP Week : Issue 59
letters email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Testing Idiocy Will Buxton's column is spot-on. A testing ban based on financial considerations may have some merit (emphasis on "some"), but F1's increasingly ludicrous in-fighting over issues such as refusing to allow an inexperienced 19-year old to spend some time behind the wheel prior to his first race does nothing but make the whole Circus appear to have its collective heads buried not in sand, but cement. The Michael Schumacher situation is no different. As terrific as this man was (emphasis on 'was' because we don't yet know [ED: and now may not get to know] if it will be 'is'), he hasn't driven in some time, and the cars are somewhat different now than they were when he retired. These aren't issues about someone gaining an advantage, they're safety issues. If you held an F1 Super Licence, would you want to come to the grid next to someone who'd never driven an F1 car before? Would you want to start next to a former superstar who might inadvertently make an egregious driving error simply because of his unfamiliarity with today's car? If sponsors wonder why fans worldwide often throw up their hands in disgust over the way the series operates, these incidents should help explain their frustration. Does F1 really want fans tuning in just to see another horrendous crash? Well, maybe they do. Maybe their attitude is Ratings At All Costs, because the old farts wearing the $3,000 suits aren't the ones driving the cars. Clearly, to them money means more than driver safety. Jon Asher – Glorieta, New Mexico, USA email@example.com Wrong men on the podium? After reading Will Buxton’s column on “The Curse of the Coming Men”, I realised that he was saying in other words what I have been thinking for some time. For example :- Schumacher wins everything for some years, then in a new car is fighting for sixth place. Hamilton wins everything for a year, then in a new car is fighting for eighth place. Button, who has been fighting for eighth place for years, gets a new car, and suddenly wins everything. Webber, who was desperately trying not to be last, gets a new car, and wins. The wrong people are on the podium spraying the champagne – the engineers and aerodynamicists should be up there! The drivers do not suddenly forget how to drive. They just get to drive the winning car. Alan Wheeley. firstname.lastname@example.org 0 The Italian Job WIll Buxton GPWeek Editor The news this week that Michael Schumacher is not to make the comeback we’d all hoped was, of course, a huge disappointment. Factor in the fact that Renault might not be showing up either, and there may well be quite a few pissed off fans in Valencia this weekend. But there’s one guy who will be pleased as punch – and I have to say I’m pretty pleased for him too. I first met Luca Badoer about six years ago on a flight back from a test. I forget where we were, possibly Valencia or Barcelona, but Luca had been handed the ill fortune of a seat next to me on the flight and we chatted for most of the journey home. We spoke of how strange it was for him to know that for all the laps he was running, he’d probably never get to actually race for Ferrari. Just being a part of the team, he said, was enough for him. As an Italian, there wasn’t a greater honour than being employed by the mighty Ferrari and trusted by them to develop the car that would race for World Championship honours. But the way the team was run at that time, and for the last few decades, the chances of an Italian ever actually being handed a shot at racing for Ferrari was pretty slim. I liked Luca immediately, and his simple and humble approach to his job was both impressive and romantically old-fashioned. When Luca steps into his Ferrari on Sunday afternoon and the lights go out for the start of the European Grand Prix, he will become the first Italian for 15 years to race in F1 for the team. Nicola Larini’s two Grands Prix in 1994 in place of Jean Alesi was the last time an Italian drove for the Scuderia, so Badoer’s call up has some pretty hefty historic relevance to it. Okay, so Felipe Massa’s replacement isn’t the one we’d been hoping for. But if there’s another driver that deserves the chance more than Luca, I don’t know who he is. He’s been a dutiful and hard- When will Stoner re MIchaEl Scott MotoGP Editor CASEY Stoner missed the Czech Republic GP. The 2006 World Champion and 25-times race winner will miss the next two rounds as well. That much is known. And after that? Well, that was the big question at Brno. I arrived full of confidence that the Stoner I have got to know – an admirably awkward cuss who likes to make it quite clear where he stands – will not be stopped for long. Determination is not in short supply. Nor do I buy the line that his head has gone: that he is so stricken by being beaten by the Yamahas that his spirit has collapsed. I just don’t think he’s like that. Three days in the paddock at Brno, and my faith in his psychological strength remains unshaken. But examination of history, conversation with his rivals and a modicum of medical research changed my mind somewhat concerning the date of his return. If what Casey has is post-viral fatigue syndrome – and it is the only diagnosis that seems to make any sense – then he could be out of racing for a lot longer opinion opinion