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THIS WEEK IN F1

All the facts, fiction, rumour and innuendo….

 

  This week in F1 it rained. Then it rained some more. And then it rained really hard. In this case the rain on the plain fell mainly on the Spaniard. Alonso’s hopes of three titles in a row took a bit of a soaking as he planted the McLaren arse first into the tyre wall at turn six of the Fuji International Raceway handing team-mate (and I use the word in it’s loosest possible context) another win and a twelve point lead in the championship with just two races to go.

 

  Hamilton had the edge over Alonso all weekend at Fuji and came away with the championship all but wrapped up. Even if Fernando wins both of the remaining races Lewis needs just nine points (second & eighth place, third & sixth or fourth & fifth) to become the sports only rookie champion. With his current form and the reliability that McLaren has shown thus far, it seems pretty unlikely that he could lose it from here. Still, stranger things have happened…

 

  Hamilton nicked pole at the very end of qualifying by just 7/100s of a second and apart from the tyre stop period, led the entire race. Or should I say apart from the tyre stop period and the lengthy periods behind the safety car. The race was 19 laps old when Hamilton finally became the first car on the road and by this time some fairly significant things had occurred. Ferrari for example had made a complete cock-up of its tyre choice sending both cars out on intermediates. After just three laps behind the safety car Felipe Massa had already shun, dropped to the back of the field and then made up the places, which is not allowed under yellow flags. A drive through penalty was awarded. It was then discovered that Ferrari had made an even bigger blunder. All teams had been advised that they actually didn’t have any choice when it came to their tyres at the start of the race and as the race was being started behind the safety car, all cars had to be on full wets. Both Ferraris had to pit to change onto the correct tyres and this left them at the rear of the field.

 

  They, along with several other cars, then pitted later in the safety car period to top up with fuel but for some reason did not take on enough to get them to the end of the race. The upshot was that when the green flag finally came out and the first four cars vanished into the distance, the Ferraris were wallowing about on heavy fuel loads with the same amount of pit stops to make as the front runners.

 

  The four cars vanishing into the distance was an unusual combination as well. Although the first two were McLarens, no great surprise there, the next two were Vettel in the Toro Rosso and Webber in the Red Bull. Doing a great job at holding up the following pack was Jenson Button in the Honda. Poor old Alex Wurz did his further career prospects no good at all losing it, and his front left wheel on the very first corner after the green flag was shown. Amazingly he didn’t take Massa with him despite clouting the Ferrari on the way through although that would not have made a huge difference to Felipe’s result on the day. It would, though, have robbed us of an excellent scrap between Massa and Robert Kubica over the final lap that was reminiscent of the Villeneuve/Arnoux wheel banging battle at Dijon in 1979. Like then too, Kubica said he thought it was great fun. Wonder what Massa thought about it, haven’t heard a quote from him yet.

 

  Alonso was the first to pit and came back out in traffic. Hamilton was next, and he did not, although he was behind both Renaults. This left us with the strange sight of Vettel in the Toro Rosso in the lead from Webber. A lead he held for four laps until pitting himself. Then it was Webber’s turn for glory and he spent five laps at the front before coming in. Those extra laps and an excellent turn around by the Red Bull pit crew meant that Webber emerged in fourth place and when the Renaults came in a few laps later it was Hamilton leading by just a few seconds from Webber, Vettel and Alonso in fourth. Webber then began applying the pressure and the gap dropped down to just two seconds before Alonso did his dance with the wall.

 

  Once again the safety car came out and with the gap now down to a matter of feet, Webber must have believed that here was his best ever chance of winning a Grand Prix so far. That is until he was clobbered from behind by Vettel who had been a bit erratic behind the safety car all day. The result was that Webber was out on the spot with only three wheels on his wagon and Vettel only made it back to the pits before retiring. The two Red Bull stable mates had just thrown away a pair of likely podium spots and a possible win. Vettel was inconsolable crying in the pits. Mark, understandably, was uncontrollably livid to have been taken out in such a stupid fashion. Naughty words were said in his interview. It’s probably a good thing that he had already thrown up in his helmet earlier in the race as this piece of bad luck would have been enough to make anyone sick, and chundering in front of a TV audience of millions may have been a bit embarrassing.

 

  In the end Hamilton had a comfortable win from the Renault of Heikki Kovalainen who just held off the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen who had put in one of those drives that only he is capable of, to come from the back of the field to third place. It was just enough to keep him in the title chase, but really only mathematically. David Coulthard salvaged what could have been a miserable day for Red Bull with a fine fourth place ahead of Fisichella in the other Renault. In sixth and seventh were Massa and Kubica after their titanic last lap duel and Vitantonio Liuzzi would have taken the final point for Toro Rosso had he not passed Adrian Sutil under yellow flags. The resultant 20 second penalty meant that Sutil and Spyker scored their first point of their respective careers.

 

  There may have been a lot of tooling about behind the safety car but there was an awful lot of action in the other forty odd laps. Didn’t get to see much of Mount Fuji though, unless you were there on Friday morning. There was a rumour going about that Toyota, who own the track, were going to have artificial snow pumped onto the peak to make it look more like the post cards. Not much point in the end. Oh, and here's a surprise, Ralf Schumacher has lost his Toyota drive for next year. One can’t see too many takers for his services in the future. The end of an era? It would be the first year since 1990 without a Schumacher on the grid.

 

Sam Snape

 

3-10-07

BARRY SHEENE MEMORIAL TROPHY PREVIEW

STAR LINE UP OF TOP MOTORCYCLISTS SET TO RACE AT THE GOODWOOD REVIVAL

Legendary motorcycles and top riders are set to star in this year’s Goodwood Revival meeting, taking place at the Goodwood Motor Circuit near Chichester from 31 August to 2 September.

The ever-popular Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy motorcycle race is always one of the most exciting and competitive events at the Goodwood Revival. This is the only historic motorcycle race in the world that regularly attracts Italian exotics such as Benelli, Ducati and Moto Guzzi in significant numbers. Battling against them will be British Manx Norton and Matchless machinery as well as early Hondas from the land of the rising sun.

 

Goodwood has lined up a host of famous motorcycle riders to race, including Isle of Man TT hero, John McGuiness, the first rider to break the outright TT lap record at over 130 mph per lap. He will compete against Moto GP rider Jeremy McWilliams, and BSB rider and fast man of road racing Michael Rutter, along with legendary champions of the sport Niall MacKenzie and Wayne Gardner. They will be joined by an array of racing heroes of yesteryear, including Stan Woods, Ron Chandler, Trevor Nation, and Eric Saul.

THE REVIVAL CAR SHOW

CAR PARKS BECOME PLEASURE PARKS AT THE GOODWOOD REVIVAL

The Goodwood Revival, due to be held from 31 August to 2 September this year, is world-renowned for the high calibre of its historic motor racing and nostalgic ‘magical step back in time’ atmosphere. To many of the expected 110,000 spectators, arriving at the event and parking up in an appropriate classic vehicle is as much a savoured part of the visiting this unique event as watching the close wheel-to-wheel motor racing, strolling through the paddocks, admiring the period fashions or enjoying the live music and entertainment.

Alongside the main Revival car parks, a highlight for many visitors is the stunning Revival Car Show, featuring over 1,000 pre-1966 cars driven to the event by spectators and guests. Presented in association with Classic and Sportscar magazine, the show is a major part of the Revival weekend, displaying a sensational selection of extraordinary cars that informed observers often say is better than many expensive, organised classic car shows. The variety of vehicles parked up is simply staggering, with something to satisfy every taste or dream. From familiar pre-War Austin 7s and Blower Bentleys, to post-War family saloons, ranging from Morris Minors to Rolls- Royce Phantoms, and all points in between, nostalgic memories come flooding back wherever you look. Visitors can expect to see many rare and exciting sports cars, such as the Ferrari 250 California Spyder and Jaguar XKSS, still as exotic today as they were back in their heyday.

 

Classic and Sportscar offer prizes for the best presented equipe at the Revival car Show, combining the perfect pre-1966 car with the correct period fashions, picnic rugs, hamper, champagne, cold scotch eggs and all the trimmings. All in all, it’s the perfect way to spend a late summer’s day in the English countryside, with Spitfires flying overhead, and the distant thrum of a motor race in full chat.

 

AIGP CALENDAR ANNOUNCED

A1GP WORLD CUP OF MOTORSPORT
2007/08 SEASON

A1GP World Cup of Motorsport is pleased to confirm the following race dates for its 2007/08 season.

Date

Event

1)  30 September 2007

A1GP Zandvoort, The Netherlands

2)  14 October 2007

A1GP Brno, Czech Republic

3) 4 November 2007

A1GP Asia – venue TBC

4)  25 November 2007

A1GP Sepang, Malaysia

5)  16 December 2007

A1GP Zhuhai, China

6)  20 January 2008

A1GP Taupo, New Zealand

7)  3 February 2008

A1GP Sydney, Australia

8)  24 February 2008

A1GP Durban, South Africa

9)  16 March 2008

A1GP Mexico City, Mexico

10) 6 April 2008

A1GP Shanghai, China

11) 4 May 2008

A1GP Brands Hatch, Great Britain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commenting on the third season’s race calendar, A1GP chief executive officer, Pete da Silva said: ‘This year’s race calendar sees a few changes and the addition of one new venue which I feel reflects the evolution of this fantastic racing series.

‘A1GP is growing throughout its markets, developing an exceptionally strong fan base across Asia. Our provisional television ratings clearly demonstrate that we have created a firm foothold in one of the biggest emerging markets in the world and it is for this reason that we are delighted to have the opportunity to return to China twice again this season. 2007/08 is going to be a bigger and better season with so much to look forward to.’

The venue for the 4 November event will be confirmed in due course following the conclusion of negotiations with the relevant parties.

LADIES DAY AT GOODWOOD

 

CHANGING GEAR TAKES ON A NOSTALGIC TWIST AS GOODWOOD INTRODUCES THE WORLD’S FIRST LADIES DAY AT A MOTOR SPORT EVENT

Elegant and smartly-dressed ladies visiting this year’s Goodwood Revival on Saturday 1 September stand a good chance of taking home flowers and bottles of champagne – traditionally the reserve of victorious racing drivers – as Goodwood introduces motor sport’s first, and only, Ladies Day. Throughout the day a leading team of fashion gurus, possibly including style-leaders such as Twiggy, will be looking out for the most immaculately-groomed ladies in the crowds, and awarding spot prizes of finest Veuve Clicquot champagne and flowers to the lucky few.

The Goodwood Revival is the only meeting in the world set entirely to a period theme, with every detail faithful to that golden age of style, grace and glamour:
1948-1966. No other vintage fashion event anywhere takes place on such a vast scale: the event is usually attended by over 110,000 visitors, the overwhelming majority of whom are suited, booted and groomed from the tips of their ‘femme fatale’ red fingernails to their stilettoed toes, proving that the Revival is far more than a series of races for historic vehicles.

 

Mini adventures, maxi style and a ‘New Look’ at fashion will be on the cards from 31 August – 2 September, as tens of thousands of stylish boys and girls once more raid their wardrobes and adopt the glamorous dress of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, a time when men were men and women were glad of it.

 

"Finding the perfect outfit to do justice to the theatre of the surroundings is a key part of the fun of coming to the Goodwood Revival. While there isn’t a specific dress code at Goodwood, the venue seems to encourage visitors to make a welcome effort," says the Revival’s founder Lord March.

 

Many of the leading vintage clothes suppliers across the UK bring their wares to the Revival Market – a unique shopping village dedicated solely and strictly to the design sensibilities of the pre-1966 period. The Market has become a great fashion network opportunity with fashionistas and serious vintage devotees meeting up to exchange tips, upgrade costumes from last year and even buy a better hat or foxier fur wrap for the event the next day.

The period of 1948 to 1966 – during which time Goodwood Motor Circuit was an active venue for top-class international racing – offers tremendous scope for choosing a ‘look’ to adopt for the event. Gentlemen can make women swoon in a tightly tailored Forces uniform; or adopt the debonair urbanity of Cary Grant; the country casual look of a James Herriot is always popular, as is the unashamedly mean and moody leather and denim of a Marlon Brando or a pre-army Elvis.

 

Women, too, have remarkable style icons to emulate: the sultry, smouldering glamour of Forties silver screen sirens Rita Hayworth or Ava Gardner; the voluptuous goddess dresses of Marilyn Monroe; the timeless classicism, grace and beauty of Audrey Hepburn; the perfect little suits and accessories of Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly; or the sheer mini-skirted, swinging joie de vivre of Twiggy. So much fashion, and only three days to dress up for!