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All that follows on this page takes the form of post-race comments originally posted to F1CHATLIST, If this occasionally spoils the flow of the column, I apologise. Unfortunately I don't have time to write a regular column, I hope this is better than nothing.

Here are some thoughts on the Brazilian GP, as originally posted to F1CHATLIST

> Well, it seemed like a bit of deja vu with Schuey chasing Mika in the final

> stages and just not being able to do anything about it. Full credit to the

> McLaren pit crew who really made the difference for Mika.

Yet more evidence of the futility of the whole fuel stops thing in F1. Back in the days before refuelling, I should think Schumacher could have run the whole race on one set of tyres and won the thing. Certainly Hakkinen would have been made to work harder for his win

Other thoughts on Brazil...Good to see Barrichello doing so well. Despite his qualifying performance, I don't think he's quyite got the legs of Schumacher (he was on softs for the w/end, after all) but he appears to be the 'best of the rest' by some distance.

Coulthard is somehow contriving to make an even worse start to 99 than he did to 98, but his qualifying performance suggests he's a lot closer to Hakkinen than he was for most of last season, and may even go quicker than him in Imola, if Ron allows him.

The BAR team continue to alarm me a little with their whole approach to F1...The Zonta accident occured in a place where I find it hard to believe it could have been a driver error, and yet there they were, confidently denying that there was a car failure on Sunday. That and Villeneuve's illegal fuel suggests a certain degree of amateurism, or at least incompetence. Still, at least no wings flew off anything this weekend, now that the FIA are keeping more of an eye on what the F1 teams are doing.

Asides from Barrichello, the other surprise performance of the weekend for me was Stephane Sarrazan's pace in the Minardi. Sure, he stuck it in a wall in the end, but the guy was only 3.5 secs slower than Hakkinen, in his first race, and in a Minardi, in qualifying. Of courwe, I suppose it's possible that Giancarlo's mobile chicanes are a little better assembled this year.


> Does anyone really think those 4 groove tyres are making a difference?

> There was some overtaking but that's just Interlagos, right? And hey while

> we're at it what about some Politics? Should F1, the ultimate in

> (motor)sports be the personal cash cow of one man? I don't think so... My major concern with the changes Ecclestone is making (asides from his obvious long term aim of introducing pay-per-view to F1, is the new rule limiting the number of F1 teams to twelve. As far as I'm conccerned, anybody who can build a lega F1 car, that gets inside the 107% rule should be allowed to enter F1....the continued failure of the worst teams to qualify will ensure that Darwinism kills off any real amateurs quickly enough. I don't know about anyone else, but I want to see Honda and Toyota have a crack....

Patrick Down Apr 13th 1999

On Mon, 3 May 1999 wrote:

> Go the Red Cars!!!


> Here's my 2 cents worth...


> Hakkinen: Incredibly quick, unlucky to make such an error and lose it like

> that (but good for Ferrari)

A silly mistake to make when you've got a fifteen sec lead coming out of a first gear corner I'm afraid. Unless he was on a three stop strategy he had the race in the bag.

> Coulthard: Doesn't seem to be up to it mentally... a bit sour on the

> podium...

Would have won but for incomprehensible decision to run a one-stop strategy. Probably would have won anyway if he hadn't lost it a couple of times at Rivazza. Surprised that McLaren and Coulthard seemed caught unawares by the fact that Schuey was two-stopping. If anyone had been watching the coverage on TV they'd know he only stopped for six secs...not enough to put in 30 laps of fuel.

> Schumacher: Brilliant tactics paid off when Mika crashed... Always good to

> see a driver who enjoys and appreciates winning

Impressive drive. As ever. Whate else is there to say.

> Irvine: Unlucky mechanical event... maybe a bit slow (or was that pit stop

> strategy?)

I think Irvine probably gives a fairer reflection of where Ferrari are at than Schumacher. Was set for third place before his engine went though.

> Barrichelo: Good for Rubens! Great to see him in a car that goes...

> Herbert: The unluckiest man in F1 (although admittedly he was pretty

> slow)...

Herbert was way off the pace in qualifying, but wasn't running so far behind Barrichello in the race. Still looks very much the no.2 at Stewart though. Shame Barrichello looked unable to stay with Irvine....Stewart still have the third fastest cars in F1 though....if they can only get them to finish regularly.

> Hill/Frentzen: A good showing by the Jordans, my pick for 3rd place in the

> Constructors...

Almost certainly. There's not much between those two. Surprisingly, Frentzen seems marginally the quicker of the two at this stage. Early days though.

Yes. Shame Murray seemed to hog so much of the commentary time and discount what Jody was saying. Guess its not fair to expect them to work so well together from the start.

Other thoughts.

Prost are really in trouble aren't they. The new car is not the leap forward from the AP01 that they were hoping for, and both the drivers seem utterly disillusioned with the team's management (though Panis has never driven for anyone else, and Trulli's only previous experience is with Minardi). The cars were not only slow but unreliable too. Panis at least seems to have regained some of his old form though

Zanardi seems to be coming closer to the pace at last. Still very much Schumacher's number two, but at least within half a second of him in qualifying now. Would have been in the points if he hadn't been following Herbert when his engine dumped its contents onto the track. Supertec engines are a dead loss though. Not only slow (judging by speed trap times, slower than the Fords sitting in the back of the Minardis at that) but unreliable too...You never saw Renaults exploding at the rate the Supertecs are now.

BAR almost got a car to the finish. And Villeneuve was really flying in qualifying. That must be some car when it's going right. They were running next to no wing though...presumably to compensate for Supertec shortcomings.

Arrows were mixing it with the Benetton boys, which was kind of impressive. Its my reckoning that Minardi have built a half way competitive car, which, with the right drivers, might be able to get off the back of the grid. The gap between Gene and the McLarens in qualifying was less than four seconds, which is reasonably impressive, compared to their form in past years.


Patrick Down, May 3 1999.

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