F1: gearing up for Monaco

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarTuesday, May 13th, 2008

 
 

The Monte Carlo Grand Prix remains our favourite race of the year – and we know that we’re hardly very original in our choice. Small wonder then that, with the Monaco event less than two weeks away, the sport is already gearing up for its showcase fixture.

Over at BBC Sport Lewis Hamilton is reported to be approaching the race with caution. Although keen to end Ferrari’s current winning streak he says he is not expecting McLaren to have the dominance it enjoyed last year, thanks to an Alonso-Hamilton one-two.

He said: “Monaco is the dream Grand Prix to win, the most important race to win personally. If I feel I can win anywhere, it is definitely Monaco, but you have to be in the right place at the right time.

“And it is difficult to know exactly how we will do at Monaco because there are so many differences to Istanbul.”

And, as has been fairly widely reported, he also called for the team to maintain driver equality in the face of the 14-point drivers’ championship lead that he currently enjoys over colleague Heikki Kovalainen.

“It would not be right for the team to push me ahead of him. If I am not winning then I wish he was and it is the same feeling vice-versa, so I want it to continue as it is, fair and square.

“We are a team and I felt sorry for him that he was not able to compete in Turkey. I have no doubts he will be up at the front next time out.”

* Meanwhile, some intriguing noises are coming from the direction of Ferrari, even without this jaw-dropping statement from Luca Baldisserri that the team is unhappy with Massa for failing to bring Raikkonen home second at Istanbul.

According to ITV F1, Stefano Domenicali is suggesting on the team’s behalf that BMW and Renault could be major players in this year’s race.

He emphasises that Ferrari will be paying special attention to its qualifying strategy to try to safeguard the front row. Read the full story here.

Call us suspicious, but we are wondering what the aim of this statement is.

A pot shot at McLaren? An attempt to prepare the ground for the team’s first loss in five races? Painting things as blacker than they are so Ferrari can claim a glorious victory and foster the belief that actual racing is taking place?

Or maybe we are just very cynical and the man is saying what he thinks. Time will tell…

* A third interesting story that has started doing the rounds is the scheduled descent back to earth of FIA president Max Mosley who lives in the Principality.

Several sources, including The Times and Sky Sports (oh, hang on. That’s one source, really, isn’t it?) are reporting that the sport’s most celebrated BDSM fan is not likely to be terribly welcome in the paddock.

Here’s what The Times’ motor racing correspondent Ed Gorman has to say:

Mosley avoidance strategies

Many senior figures in the paddock have admitted privately that they would like Mosley to resign, but few have had the courage to air their views publicly.

Now they are wondering how to avoid meeting Mosley or being photographed with him on the sport’s most prestigious stage. The same concerns are afflicting senior corporate executives representing companies sponsoring Formula One teams, many of whom use the Monaco Grand Prix weekend for corporate entertaining.

One principal told The Times that his team will keep an eye on Mosley so they can avoid him and have even considered an informal scouting system around the Monte Carlo paddock to warn them of his presence. Another team source said almost all the teams were making preparations to avoid Mosley.

The source, who added that “furtive conversations” on this issue between teams had taken place at Istanbul Park last weekend, said: “The safe majority of teams are considering what they should do about their important people in terms of interaction with the president of the FIA at Monaco.” Read full piece here…

Mosley may be beyond embarrassment but this just goes to show how respect for the man within the sport is in tatters. The idea that he could credibly discipline any of the team bosses who are discussing posting flunkies around the paddock to warn of his impending presence is just ridiculous.

He’s got to go. Is he the only one left who doesn’t realise?

And will events at Monaco bring it home to him?

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