Consulting|Technology|International business

The zing has gone out of F1

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F1 or Formula1 is not a sport new to me – my interest in this sport goes back to the 1980’s and live on television since the early 1990’s.

Some observations: Is this only my feel or is this a universal feel that the zing has gone out of F1? I don’t see an incentive to watch F1 anymore. Its not anything to do with Schumacher’s exit but I can vouch for the fact that coupled with the others, Schumacher did bring an element of uncertainty to this sport. One could never say what was up his sleeve when he entered the racing track.

You thought you heard the last of it about a Schumi taking Jacques Villeneuve off the track at Jerez, Spain (1998) in an unsportive gesture still being debated as one of the most controversial moves made by the German superstar and he has another surprise up his sleeve – the now infamous abrupt halt of his Ferrari on the approach to the Start-Finish strait at the 2006 Monaco GP chicane preventing Fernando Alonso from outqualifiying him. The result: Schumacher sent to the back of the grid by the Race Marshals.

Other infamous escapades of this maverick superstar that I have seen on television personally include:

– The ‘running Damon Hill off the track’ episode with a destroyed car that earned Schumi his 1995 championship title.

– The overtaking of Rubens Barrichello on the last lap seconds away from the Finish line at the second last GP at Austria (in 2002) where team orders prevented the Brazilian from taking the top step of the podium.

– The rat race with Damon Hill and Heinz Harald Frentzen at the Canadian GP in 1998 when they were hurtling at over 200 mph on the strait and Schumacher nearly collided with Hill and took Frentzen out of the race.

– The controversial rain affected Belgian GP at Spa Francorchamps race in 1998 when ‘Rainmaster’ Schumacher collided with David Coulthard leaving his Ferrari with three wheels and him out of the race though he was about to lap Coulthard and Schumacher was leading the race!

– The last lap pit stop/subsequent victory from the pit lane of the British GP in 1998 when Schumacher had never won a British GP before that – – this was another rain affected race.

I remember watching Schumacher way back in 1994 when the sad Ayrton Senna episode occured that cost Senna his life at the San Marino Italian GP where he was being chased by a young Michael Schumacher – this was live on television on the first beam to India via a government channel (DD2). There was something special about this chap – be it his colliding with Mika Hakkinen in the Macau GP in 1991 or the breaking of his legs in the 1999 British GP. 

Unknown to Schumacher at that point in time in 1991, Hakkinen would later challenge Schumacher to the throne twice in two subsequent championchips in 1998 and 1999. In 1998, Schumacher was on Pole at the title deciding round and he had narrowed down the gap in terms of points to Hakkinen’s superior Mclaren Mercedes Benz and his car stopped on the starting grid seconds before the race could commence! Despite this, the superstar known for his never say die attitude, started from dead last on the starting grid and with a frankly superior Ferrari overtook all cars to later retire from the 3rd position with a punctured tire!

– The ‘strategic Schumacher’ when Ross Brawn, Jean Todt and himself took the stage at the 1998 Hungarian GP when they were the only team to do 3 pit stops and they clinched the race!

– The ever dominant position that Schumacher held at Ferrari and his close association with Bernie Ecclestone (Boss of Formula 1) and Max. Mosley (President of the FIA) and the team orders that people such as Eddie Irvine, Rubens Barrichello had to face!

F1 will never be the same again in the absence of my true hero – Michael Schumacher and my old hero – Ayrton Senna. Yes, the new breed of talent is good. Fernando Alonso holds promise yet he has a lot to prove in terms of consistency in the years to come, ‘Iceman’ Kimi Raikkonen is a good contendor to Alonso’s dominant position, Mclaren’s Lewis Hamilton, BMW’s Robert Kubica hold tremendous promise.

There is a good book on Schumacher written by James Allen that I had read way back in 2003. The title of the book – Driven to Extremes.


Written by Naveen Athresh

April 10, 2007 at 1:38 pm

Posted in Sports

2 Responses

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  1. I realized once the hard way that Shumi was the best. Some of my friends and self had met up at Harley Davidson cafe in Makati City, Philippines and we had bet on one of the F1 races, dont remember which one. I was gung ho abt Alonso then and had bet against Sumi as for some reason Shmi was behind in the qualifiers. Shumi won that race I think by a novel pitstop strategy and I lost the money, I had to foot a treat bill actually…it was expensive (owch), what race was it do you remember.


    April 12, 2007 at 8:30 am

  2. DN, it was the French GP of 2004 where Schumacher/Jean Todt and Ross Brawn outclassed Alonso and Flavio Briatore of Renault with a 4 pit-stop strategy. The complete link to that GP is here:


    Naveen Athresh

    April 12, 2007 at 11:46 am

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