Formula 1: News, Opinions, and Rants

Victor GenovaContributor IDecember 12, 2010

YEONGAM GUN, SOUTH KOREA - OCTOBER 24:  F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is seen in the paddock before the Korean Formula One Grand Prix at the Korea International Circuit on October 24, 2010 in Yeongam-gun, South Korea.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

This is the first time in many years where the Formula 1 offseason hasn’t provided us with more excitement than the actual racing season.

This is a good thing. It means we had a season to remember. It also means there won’t be many changes.

I, for one, am in favor of this.

We get to see Mark Webber take a second crack at Sebastian Vettel—presumably on equal terms.

We get to see if Jenson Button can win for McLaren on speed—and not just strategy.

But we also get to see, or, in my case hope, that Felipe Massa obliterates Fernando Alonso.

I have no love for Alonso, which I have joyfully made clear in a number of my articles. Alonso is the type of driver that when he speaks, he doesn’t seem to say anything sensible.

A recent example of how his mouth and brain are unsynchronized occurred last week when he delivered a statement about besting teammates both past and present.

This of course was directed at Felipe Massa, who is coming off a dismal season.

Alonso can talk himself up as much as he wants, but I think someone needs to remind him that a good chunk of the public doesn’t view Massa as second rate.

He’s a top-notch driver that only missed the Drivers Championship by a hair in 2008. He is also the same unfortunate soul that took a five pound spring to the head at 180mph in 2009.

Massa should not be judged on speed alone but on resilience, determination and how he has brilliantly bounced back from injury. Someone should remind Alonso that his teammate was inches from death on July 25, 2009, and then, leading points only nine months later after the 2010 Malaysian Grand Prix.

Speaking of Ferrari, the FIA has announced they will remove the team orders ban for 2011. This is great news for the fans because it will remove some element of controversy, as was the case with the prancing horse in the German Grand Prix. But it will also take the element of unpredictability that we were spoiled with and make it, well, predictable.

Nico Rosberg, Felipe Massa and Mark Webber, I hope you all grow very heavy right feet in the offseason…

The most unusual bit of news of recent has been Bernie Eccelstone, but not in the way you think.

No, no, Bernie isn’t back in the media pitching his ridiculous "medal-based" points system. The Formula 1 commercial god was assaulted and robbed of £200,000 worth of jewelry in London.

Rather than let villainy get the best of his wallet and dignity, Eccelstone wisely found a way to monetize the situation. He sent the gruesome picture detailing his injuries to Hublot—the Swiss company that made the watch that was lifted from him, which was then turned into an advert with the quote “See what anyone will do for a Hublot.”

This is why Bernie is brilliant, and why he controls Formula 1. Not only will insurance cover everything he lost, but he has found a way to profit in the end.

The Team Lotus (see Lotus Racing) vs. Group Lotus battle keeps getting more confusing by the moment. You’ll remember I noted weeks ago that Lotus Racing had announced it is was switching to the historic gold and yellow John Players scheme from the 1970s.

It was obvious this was a plan to stay true to Lotus heritage in the instance that Group Lotus should enter the 2011 championship in some capacity.

According to this recent announcement, Group Lotus will be on the grid for 2011, and they’ve done so by buying into the factory Renault team.

Want to guess what color their cars will be next season?

Mike Gascoyne’s Twitter account was in damage control after the picture of the Renault in the mighty black & gold surfaced.

Here’s the irony—Renault will also supply engines to Team Lotus in 2011.

This is turning into a bad British soap opera. Both Lotus teams get themselves in a pissing match, which, to be honest, should move them both farther up the grid, while Renault sits back and profits from their duel!

Unfortunately, I have to close this column with some sad news.

Tom Walkinshaw, former engineering director for Benetton and owner of the former Arrows Formula 1 team, passed away this weekend from cancer.

Walkinshaw’s racing interests extended beyond Formula 1 and included international touring and sports car racing.

Many in the Formula 1 world will no doubt remember it was Walkinshaw who was instrumental in bringing a young Michael Schumacher over from Jordan to Benetton.

For this column I’d like to leave the ranting and raving in the comments section about Alonso, Eccelstone and Lotus vs. Lotus aside, and instead, have you the reader fill them with your favorite memories of Tom Walkinshaw.

My favorite memory, in particular, was Damon Hill’s second place at the 1997 Hungarian Grand Prix. 

What is your favorite moment? Share it below.

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