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GP Week : Issue 63
The media has a lot to answer for. What went on at and after Repco Rally Australia involved a small minority, but looking at the printed media coverage, it seems that their protests were the only activities that mattered. And the strangest thing was that the protesters had no common cause except their anger; they seemed to be disgruntled people for the sake of being disgruntled. There was no cohesive opinion among them. They were angry at their local governing authorities. They demonstrated against the effect of the rally on ecological issues and emissions issues. Complaints covered risk to wildlife and the encouragement of furious driving or vehicular hooliganism (called 'hooning') on the roads. There were even complaints that the interests of local people were being sold down the river to commercialism. Everyone seemed to have their own agenda and the rally seemed to be the time and place to vent them. The morning after the rally the Gold Coast Bulletin newspaper splashed a headline: "We Won't be Back". It followed what Sebastien Loeb had discussed at the post-rally press conference but the headline was twisted. Sebastien actually said he did not want to come back if he wasn't wanted, which is quite another thing. Unfortunately the FIA press conference transcript ignored the question and answer altogether, and that summed everything up. It was like the issues were being swept under the carpet. It looked like an admission that the protests were right. Rally promoter Garry Connelly spoke after the event to the journalists who MotoGP has a strong feeling of superiority to F1. The bike paddock deplores the lack of overtaking and human combat, and that races are decided not only by the combined strength of machine and rider, but also by better pit strategy. On the other, there is rampant envy of the professionalism, the massive cash turnover, and the mass-audience appeal. And the sponsorship. And maybe also for the fact that a driver can choose to crash deliberately for tactical reasons, confident he is unlikely to suffer physical damage. If only that were so in motorcycling, we might see some spectacular stuff ... Actually, there was such an incident, in Argentina, at the last round of 1998. The 250 title was in the balance between Aprilia team-mates Loris Capirossi and Tetsuya Harada. It was decided on the final corner, with an insane outbraking attempt by Capirossi. He butt-packed Harada's Aprilia, and knocked him off. Harada's protest was upheld; two weeks later the decision was upturned on appeal. Capirossi's second place was re-instated. But since Harada had zero points, the title went to the Italian anyway. This is only by the way -- tit for tat with F1. For there is another greening of F1 envy in the paddock: not of the present Media, not prot Formula 1 envy MICHAEL SCOTT MotoGP Editor opinion Letters email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Dumb and dumber So Nelson Piquet Jnr's claims that he crashed deliberately to bring out a Safety Car has resulted in Renault being accused of " xing" the Singapore GP. and it is being treated as a horrendous " rst". Did not the great Schumacher 'park' his Ferrari in the wall, on the racing line at Monaco to disrupt the nal moments of qualifying? Just as much a " x" and he just got sent to the back of the grid. Yet they are talking of Renault being banned. Double standards, not for the rst time in F1. And if Piquet Junior was dumb enough to try to do the same thing, then more fool him. His career is certainly over. The sad thing is, his incompetence resulted in the car being pretty much a write-o , when simply grazing the wall would have been su cient! This is just another case of a disgruntled ex- employee (and his Dad) trying to get even. It is sad and pathetic, but hardly cause to suspend the team. Matthew K Patterson Spring eld Illinois (US) Take them as they come, Vale While it is possible to sympathise with Valentino Rossi having to share his testing work with a competitive team-mate, it will be upsetting for his fans to read that he may leave Yamaha because of it (GPWEEK Sept 7). Keeping potential challengers out of his team may have been the way Ayrton Senna and others (F1) and Mick Doohan (MotoGP) worked, but without Lorenzo's contests with Rossi, this year's MotoGP series would have only been half as exciting as it has been. You're the man Valentino -- you don't need to win that way! Roger Thistlethwaite Bedford (UK) Planning a party ... Thanks again for a great magazine. Would someone please tell me when in October is Mugabe ... err I mean Max retiring. I can't stop counting. I want to plan a big party in October, and I gured it should at least be a special occasion. He has been quiet for sometime and that is never good news coming from a fox like Max. By the way, did Lucas really think that the press cost him the Ferrari drive? Can someone give him the tapes of the two races he did? Belarmino Almeida, Luanda (Angola) email@example.com MARTIN HOLMES Rallies Editor opinion 20