Friday, July 31, 2009

The Strangest Week In F1....Evar!

I've only been watching F1 a few short years but this has probably been one of the strangest/surprising in the history of F1 - let alone how this season has played out.

The season was off to a crazy start with the Honda factory team losing corporate sponsorship and then within a month becoming Brawn GP - only to then go on and dominate the first 6 or so races of the season followed by a strong showing by the Red Bulls of Vettel and Webber. Frankly, it's the near antithesis of last season with second-tier teams in the lead and tier-one teams at the back of the grid. Things continued to be turned on their head this week as Ferrari's Felipe Massa was struck in the skull by a spring that had fallen from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn GP during Qualifying 2 on Saturday before the Grand Prix at the Hungaroring. Many were floored as this was the scariest moment of F1 in recent memory, maybe worse was the crash of Robert Kubica and his 75g crash at the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix. Thankfully, Massa has received corrective surgery for his skull and has received a prognosis of making a full recovery.
Speaking of BMW, in other deeply saddening news to me personally, the boys from Munich pulled the plug on what could have been an excellent program. After only 3 years as a constructor and partner to the Sauber group, BMW is bowing out of Formula One as they can no longer justify the money and luke-warm performance given the poor situation the world economy finds itself in. This news came as a shock to both BMW drivers Kubica and Heidfeld, probably shocking as a company that carries a strong motorsport history is giving up so early in a campaign in F1. Without getting too far into my own personal feelings of BMW and its current direction, I think this is a poor move. For example, look at Ferrari's very limited success in the 1980's after Jody Scheckter's 1979 World Championship. What could have happened if they'd given up after 3 seasons of mixed results?

Oh and with Ferrari did I mention that Michael Schumacher is a driver for Scuderia Ferrari - again? Yes, I had to read the title of the article on Jalopnik twice after Wednesday's announcement of BMW leaving F1. So, the 7 times World Champion 40 year old former driver is now returning to the team that gave him so much success. As a "temporary" stand-in driver for the injured Felipe Massa for the rest of the season, Schumacher should definitely mix things up with Brawn reeling from Red Bull's successes and Hamilton winning the last GP, things are most certainly off kilter. I personally think that this could lead to one of a season finale possibly more exciting than last year. With Schumi holding more World titles than most of the field combined, it should be very interesting to finally see Hamilton and Schumi go toe-to-toe.

One thing is for sure, Rubens is certainly kicking himself for essentially providing Schumacher a way to easily reenter F1 and likely be the source of all of Rubens problems for the rest of the season. I'm sure Brawn GP's engineers will appreciate not taking the blame for everything.

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