The F1 Week That Was (27 May 2012)

27 May

This is the first of a new ‘column’ on my blog which will look back at what has happened in the previous week in the world of F1. In Monaco Grand Prix week there is always plenty to talk about and this week certainly hasn’t disappointed.

The Return of the King

(Well I have to start with my favourite driver, don’t I?)

Michael Schumacher probably got more criticism over the last fortnight (after his incident with Bruno Senna in Barcelona) than he has at any other point in his 2nd career, but he answered his critics in the way he knows best; a thumping performance out on the track. The race itself may not have gone his way, but he proved himself to still be more than worthy of his seat at the track which requires the ultimate skill from a racing driver. What matters most is that everyone has more confidence in Schuey going in to Canada where the Mercedes should perform well again.

Other Monaco thoughts

There were some great performances today, both on the track and on the pit wall. Red Bull’s strategy for Sebastian Vettel paid off and finishing fourth was a great achievement for the team alongside Mark Webber’s win. It’s unbelievable that we’ve had six different winners so far. Felipe Massa put in a great performance and taking home those 8 points will hopefully curry favour with Ferrari. Both Force India drivers finishing in the points was a brilliant achievement for the team and it was great to see Bruno Senna score a point while his team-mate went from hero to zero in just 24 hours. Seeing a Caterham race so well today was just wonderful, especially with it being Heikki. Jenson Button inevitably complained about being held up by the Finn, but Heikki had every right to defend his position and did so brilliantly. Caterham boss Tony Fernandes described it as his best F1 moment.

Tyres

The tyres have been such a major talking point this season and have divided fans on the effect they’ve had on the racing. Michael Schumacher’s recent complaints have made headlines in the last week, but was he right? I can understand that everyone (except Vettel fans) was bored in 2011 and wanted something to change to prevent an era of Vettel/RBR dominance. The blown diffuser ban has clearly had quite an effect on the team and I suspect this on its own would’ve levelled the field out quite well. When it comes to the tyres I’m definitely old school: I want to see drivers racing and pushing themselves and their cars to the limit of skill and engineering, not driving to the limit of their tyre strategies. Pirelli’s Paul Hembery doggedly maintains their position on twitter: they were asked to mix things up and they have done so. Martin Brundle made an interesting referral earlier today to a briefing at McLaren where Martin Whitmarsh admitted they simply don’t know what is going on with the tyres. I can’t help but wonder if teams will ask for a regression back towards last year’s tyres for 2013. If they do, it may well diminish the victory of whoever wins the title in 2012 if it isn’t Sebastian Vettel.

The start of silly season

The rumours about race seats for the following season always start fairly early, but I think this week saw the start of silly season where rumours really start to fly. Some may be silly, some may not. The endless speculation certainly is and right now I don’t think anything is certain. It is anticipated that Ferrari will decide soon about Massa but it is possible they won’t name any replacement straight away. Here’s what we’ve seen so far:

– Massa to leave Ferrari (probably the only rumour with any serious credibility)

– Hamilton to Ferrari (now him and Alonso are being all chummy). I just don’t see this working.

– Hamilton to stay at McLaren with one of two outcomes 1) his salary halved, or 2) a 5 year £20 million a year contract.

– Webber to Ferrari for one year

– Vettel to Ferrari in 2014 if the car is up to it

– Schumacher to retire again (possible but hopefully unlikely)

– Di Resta to Mercedes if Schumi retires (possible when Schumi does go as he is a Mercedes boy and it would be a great move – I’d love to see him trump Rosberg).

– Di Resta to Ferrari

– Alguersuari to Force India

– Perez to Ferrari (either mid-season 2012 or 2o13)

Who knows what else will emerge in the coming weeks and months, but a shake up at the front next season would definitely be interesting and I would love it if Jaime Alguersuari came back.

Rush wraps filming

The much-anticipated film Rush, about the epic battle between James Hunt and Niki Lauda, wrapped filming this week and its director, Ron Howard, celebrated by attending the Monaco Grand Prix. Having been following Ron on twitter for some time it has been wonderful to see the photos he’s posted throughout filming and I can’t wait to see the film when it is released in Spring 2013. I know there’s some reluctance amongst some F1 fans about having actors playing F1 drivers but I think this is silly. The film is incredibly safe hands with Ron at the helm and he has clearly been aware that F1 fans area very tough crowd to please. It is really great to see a film being made about such an epic story in our beloved sport.

Williams Take Gold at Chelsea

You may have seen on twitter and amongst the F1 coverage that Williams F1 had an

The Williams Display at The Chelsea Flower Show

entry at the Chelsea Flower Show which won a gold medal. Their creation was some topiary shaped in to an F1 car with a pit crew around it. As you can see from the picture here it really was a great piece, and King & Co who created the piece for Williams should be congratulated on their work. It is really nice to see F1 being promoted in different ways and this is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time.

Record Deal for Griffin

Alistair Griffin, he behind the F1 anthem and Sky Sports F1 theme ‘Just Drive’, has got a new record contract. He has been signed by the Dramatico label and his new album, ‘Albion Sky’ will be released on 2 July.

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