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GP Week : Issue 85
GPWEEK OPINION >> Will he or won't he? Instead, the battle for goodwill was won by Mark Webber, who released a video statement on the Monday explaining his thoughts on the situation in the most positive light he could muster. If the championship were won on PR power alone, Mark would be the victor. To a team like Red Bull -- a team that exists to sell energy drinks -- that currency is as valuable as horsepower and Seb can only do so much to rebuild his status as an F1 good guy, he needs Red Bull's help. For all the suspicion out there that the company is favouring the younger German- speaking Marko-discovered driver over the elder statesman, if Vettel wins without his image restored it will all be for nothing. And that means Seb must go on a charm offensive in Canada -- something that shouldn't be too difficult, given his genuine personality. He can't do a Tiger Woods and refuse to come out of the motorhome. He mustn't do a Bill Clinton and deny he's done anything wrong. Follow the lead of David Letterman, Seb. Go on TV, and say you fucked up. The difference is, those gentlemen were all embroiled in sex scandals. Seb was just doing his job. But without FIA orgies to report on this summer, Turkey has become the biggest story of the year. o win his audience back suffered not only in 15 years of GP racing, but ever in his life. And it is a nasty injury. He was already riding hampered with a slow-healing shoulder injury sustained earlier this year. Although he has never before missed a GP, he has had to get used to accepting defeat by team-mate Lorenzo at the two races since that injury. He has never been under as much peer pressure as this year, with not only Stoner and Pedrosa able to push him to the limit, but more annoyingly still his own team- mate doing the same. He is 31, as rich as Croesus, and his hunger for winning has already been satisfied so many times. He has explained frequently that he plans to retire while still at the top of his game. He might feel that his legendary luck is running out. Add them all up, and right now might seem like a good time to call it a day. Of course, the opposite could be the case. It might strengthen his resolve, as happened to Mick Doohan, with a not dissimilar injury in 1992. But Mick was at the other end of his career, and still ravenously hungry. If Rossi does come back fighting, all of racing will breathe a massive sigh of relief. Although it would only defer the dreadful day. In the meantime, everyone will have a chance to become accustomed to life without Rossi over the coming weeks. Race promoters will face falling crowds, TV audiences will shrink, and the championship will be disputed between Rossi's junior partners. I don't believe it is going to be much fun. * Lewis Hamilton's Top 5 PR cock-ups 1. The PR stunt which saw Lewis harnessed above a stage in a re-enactment of Troy, and come in for photographic ridicule (above). 2. Moving to Switzerland for tax reasons, but insisting it was to escape the British paparrazi. 3. Ignoring team orders in Hungary in 2007 and passing his team-mate in qualifying. 4. Liargate. 5. Getting charged in Australia this year for 'hooning'. 25