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McLAREN, FERRARI, ... and the rest


McLAREN - FERRARI    ..............  and the rest

Now, sitting at this table, and with the 2008 F1 Championship finished, it is a good time to observe what has happened during this year. The first idea is that the F1 has a fair winner in Lewis Hamilton, the youngest champion ever.- The second concept arises in the runner up, Felipe Massa.- Having the Ferrari potential in full and Kimi Raikkonen's, the 2007 F1 Champion, help; it seems more a failure than a success.- Then, it is interesting to focus our attention on the teams.- Some of them moved from minor to major, others moved back in their performance.- And to round up, some measurements by FIA were a real shame.-
Lewis Hamilton is the 2008 Champion. Being the 2007 runner up and rookie of the year, the Briton faced this year with a clear objective: to become the 2008  champion. After the Dennis-Alonso conflict which could be only solved by the  Alonso-Kovalainen's "castling", Lewis began this season as McLaren Nª 1 driver.  He answered to this responsability with 6 victories (even though Lewis was stripped off his enormous victory in Spa), though the omnipotent FIA recognized "only" 5 wins (Australia, Monaco, Great Britain, Germany and China) and 7 pole positions. This performance allowed Hamilton to win the Championship with 98 points -defeating Brazilian Massa by a single and bitter point. Though all these numbers are impressive, what has been even more impressive is the Briton's driving. In each one of the circuits, this McLaren driving star gave examples of what driving should be. And even his detractors saw more flaws than best movements on the tracks, in more than twenty years I have seen no flawless drivers, nor the same M. Schumacher, as winners of first championships.
The other side of the coin has been Felipe Massa. Incredibly fast being in first position, strongly supported by the almighty Ferrari and by his team mate, K. Raikkonen, the Brazilian was a display of mistakes and errors. Rainy days and night races screened a number of mistakes, either by the same Massa or by Ferrari. Let's remember the "collection" of mistakes that happened in Singapore, when Massa rushed out the box still having the fueling hose connected on or, and later, in the same race, the Brazilian spun and when he returned, he blocked the track and obliged Sutil to crash against tha guard rail.
Felipe Massa, winner of 6 races, is a driver who should improve a lot in order to be consider a first class F1 driver (this opinion is absolutely personal). If what Massa showed during the 2008 is everything he has at a F1 wheel, Ferrari should be considering to replace him. Perhaps next year, Massa will finally become a F1 champion and I should literally "eat" these words; but for the time being, "Please Schumi, come back".-
About teams, as it happens yearly, there were teams whose performance greatly went beyond what everybody expected from them; meanwhile huge budgets and incredible human efforts and resources were not enough to reach pre-season objetives. In the first group, the real winner was Toro Rosso. This Faenza based team, which picked up Minardi's baton almost in silence, achieved an outstanding performance which was crowned by Vettel's maiden victory in a soaked Monza. If Toro Rosso's performance was not better, it was due to Bourdais's bad luck. The French driver could have obtained many more points than the ones he got, but mechanichal problems, penalties deprived him of a better position in the drivers' championship. (N of A: We are proud to have forecast Toro Rosso's line up as one of the best in the 2008 F1 Championship). Two promises, a sensible team and an experienced director blended together scaffolded this F1 Cinderella's ambitions.
A bigger budgeted team, Toyota, has faced a promising 2008.  Jarno Trulli and the 27 year-old Timo Glock had a reasonable season, included Glock's crash in the German GP.  Toyota has been investing lots of money in their F1 project. Up to this moment, all the money invested is following a rewardless path. The only satisfaction this Japanese-born, Germany-based team has is that it became the best F1 Japanese team during 2008.
As stated above, Toyota clearly defeated Honda. The Brackley based team, Honda, is a real case, Having two good and experienced drivers like Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button; Ross Brawn, the experienced technical director, behind the monitors, and envidiable history are not enough to obtain, if not good, acceptable results. It hurts to see how the two RA 108 hardly reached Q2 and crawled during each one of the races. They seemed penitents kneeling on a pilgrimage in order to earn one point. Furthermore, Honda's ambitious plan on having two teams in F1 was a nightmare. Fortunately for them, and unfortunately for Aguri Suzuki, Super Aguri's adventure, ended after four races, leaving Takuma Sato and A. Davidson without a car to race. The Super Aguri-Honda lost the budget to go on competing in F1. But only one positive aspect could be rescued in all this havoc, it is impossible Honda could go worse. Focussing their attention on one team, the Brackley based team only path should take them up in results.
BMW divided the Championship in two. The first part reached the GP of Canada when Kubica reached the top of the F1 Driver's Championship. The Polish got 42 points, defeating Hamilton and Massa by four. The second part of the season wasn't so good and they fell from the summit. In numbers BMW obtained 70 points   until the Canadian GP (7 races) and from that moment (10 races) they only got 65 points. Their main problem was the lack of speed in the car, something that Dr. Mario  Theissen should be working on. This year the Munchen based team comfortably claimed the third position in the Constructor's Championship. But that place will be surely in danger. Renault has waken up. An any F1 fan knows that the trio Briatore-Alonso-Renault can threaten anybody at any time.
This threat will also surely reach Ferrari. Too much potential, too much investment, too many mistakes. Sometimes I think That Hamilton's best ally to win tha Championship was the trio Massa-Ferrari-Raikkonen (in that order).
Skipping the 2008 runner up, the attention is focussed on Ferrari. The number of errors and bloopers performed by the Italian team reached its maximun in the Singapore GP. Massa was being refuelled while Raikkonen was patiently waiting -Oh God! the Finnish coldness- only to allow Massa drag off the boxes with the hose still  connected. Perhaps their tactic was to avoid a second pit stop by a constant Ferrari Nº2 refuelling. Luckily nothing bad happened in the box, except a drive-through for Massa and the losing of, let's say, some minutes for Kimi.
Kimi, on his side, is known as "Iceman". The Finnish goes for "natural" limits. When bad luck stroke him (it would be interesting to talk about the Canadian incident) or when conditions betrayed him -such as it happened during the Belgian GP- and left him without posibilities for fighting back for the title, he clamly helped Massa and mentally shifted from F1. His only incentive were lap records. Perhaps, the Champion's parable stated by the Commendatore Enzo Ferrari is affecting Kimi. For the F1's sake, let's hope that Kimi recovers his winning desire.
To start the last lap of this article, a word for the FIA. It is common that some of its judgements are controversial and weird. But what they did in Belgium reaches the limits of absurdity. Hamilton's 25-second penalty because he allowed Kimi to recover his position after crossing a chicane is absurd. Hamilton's Championship avoided some biased comments on this subject.
The F1 Championship is over. There is a new King behind the wheel. Hamilton is the first Briton to be crowned since Damon Hill in 1996. Lewis reached this title beign 23, and with an enormous future in front of him. Mike Hawthrone, Graham and Damon Hill, Jim Clark, John Surtess, Jackie Stewart, James Hunt and the "Lion" Nigel Mansell welcome him, "Young Braveheart".-

by Estefanía & Edgardo Berg

Vínculos externos  
  Fundación Destellos

Grupo de Investigaciones Estéticas
(Univ. Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina)

La Radio

Páginas de Tango

Páginas de Edgardo y Steffi Berg sobre Fórmula 1 y sobre su proyecto educativo en inglés
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