Posted on May 6, 2009
Raikkonen in London ahead of huge weekend | James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1

Kimi Raikkonen will be in Regents Street, London this morning, opening the new Ferrari store. It’s a big site, I went past it yesterday and it’s full of Ferrari branded goodies.
kimi-a1

It’s amazing to think that it’s a year since Raikkonen last won a Grand Prix. He dominated the Spanish GP last season from pole, but since then he’s failed to make the top step. He would probably have won in Canada if he had not been hit in the pit lane by Lewis Hamilton and he was on target in France until his exhaust started burning a hole in the bodywork of his car.

“It was one of my best weekends with Ferrari, ” he says on the Ferrari website. “Pole, win and fastest lap. A driver never loses his taste for victory and I want to try it again as soon as possible.”

Raikkonen did a great job in Bahrain, squeezing the absolute maximum out of the Ferrari there, putting to rest any doubts about whether he still has the motivation. He was unlucky at the end not to nick fifth place off Rubens Barrichello.

There is the spectre of Alonso in the background, with well-informed Italian colleagues assuring me that an agreement is in place with the Spaniard, just as it was with Kimi for almost a year before it became public in late 2006. The deal is for 2011, but may be brought forward to 2010 if Kimi underperforms or wants out early. The president of Santander bank was very high profile in Bahrain, spending a lot of time around the Ferrari area. The Spanish bank is due to come on stream as a sponsor of Ferrari next year, having left McLaren following the failure of their relationship with Alonso.

Spain will be a important weekend for Ferrari, with the updated car expected to give them more of the kind of performance the front-runners have had so far. A quarter of the season has gone already, however.

Some Italian papers are saying that based on the performance this weekend, Ferrari will decide whether to press on with development of this car or throw more effort into 2010, as Brawn did last year. But I’m not so sure about that. For a start, the scale of the aerodynamic rule changes for next year is nothing like what it was for this year. But also team boss Stefano Domenicali pointed out after the race in Bahrain that when you are Ferrari, “You don’t write off a season, ” however badly it might be going.

Meanwhile Felipe Massa is keeping the faith. He was in Rome the other day doing a road safety campaign, following in the steps of his mentor Michael Schumacher,

“I hope things will improve, ” said Massa. “I hope we can have a different championship now. We have to keep working, things don’t come to you for free. In the team there is still a lot of faith. The team is very united.”

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Raikkonen in London ahead of huge weekend
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  1.   1. Posted By: jed
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 7:58 am 

    someone made a comment on another website that schumaacher was a leader while raikkonen is a drinker and that’s why ferrari cannot develop a car. Is there any truth to this?
    I thought that if one had any vice he would have no chance of becoming a top driver in f1. I dont’ think ferrari would be stupid enough to replace the fittest driver in f1 with a drunk. right?

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  2.   2. Posted By: Chris Hill
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 8:15 am 

    James there is also another reason to believe Ferrari wont start development of next years car in earnest. which set of rules do they develop for??? The uncapped regulatiions (a known quantity as they are roughly the same as this year with the exception of the ban on refueling) or the Capped rules. These will allow technical freedoms however the extent of these freedoms has not been written into the regulations as yet so how could oyu develop for them??

    I would be very surprised this weekend if Ferrari make a big enough step that they are up with the front runners though it would be great to see 4 or 5 teams regularly battling for the win

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  3.   3. Posted By: Jake Pattison
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 8:27 am 

    Poor Ferrari. What they need is another Michael Schumacher.

    Hang on, that’s what all the teams need but nobody has (except maybe McLaren) :D

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  4.   4. Posted By: ragonte
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 9:03 am 

    Mr. Allen,

    Let me just tell you that your blog is, among all of the ones I know, the best one in ‘what´s going on around F1′. I find it accurate, with lots and constant entries, objetive and always full of interesting and well documented facts.

    I am spanish and big-big fan of Alonso, and it is great to find english press or reporters not trying to destroy him all the time, as it is great (an also not so easy) finding spanish press or reporters not doing the same with Hamilton.

    Great drivers, for sure great guys and as it happens everywhere they make mistakes and maybe some times have things to regret.

    Keep the good work!

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  5.   5. Posted By: Treebeard
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 9:20 am 

    My first comment here and I must say this is an excellent website and one of the first I check now for my F1 info.

    My question is regarding Canada last year where you stat that Raikkonen would have probabely won at Canada last year. Im curious as to what makes you think this, as although he was ahead of Hamilton and Kubica in the pit lane didnt Hamilton have a longer stop and hence my fuel and also did appear to have a faster pace than the Ferrari.

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  6.   6. Posted By: Ronnie Mirza
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 9:50 am 

    I don’t see Ferrari returning to the dominance enjoyed during the Schumacher/Todt/Brawn era. It is evident from the outside that the discipline and killer edge which once personified the Italian Marque is now missing.

    Even though presently Alonso is the most complete driver on the grid he is no Schumacher. Further more the potential line up of Massa/Alonso will lead to divisions in the Italian team. Massa has demonstrated over the last two seasons that he is more than a match for Raikonnen and if Alonso thinks he can dominate Massa like he does to Piquet then he is going to be in for a real surprise!!

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  7.   7. Posted By: nick
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 10:16 am 

    James, if Alonso replaces Kimi, will Kimi call it a day or move to another team?

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  8.   8. Posted By: Peter Freeman
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 11:58 am 

    James can we have a perspective article on winner-takes-all system the FIA has forced on everyone. From where I am standing it makes a team like Ferrari unable to hire two competitive drivers to win the championship. That or it makes team orders mandatory.

    Where does this leave Kimmi or Massa? Perhaps Ferrari now have to hire Alonso and the team bus driver?

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  9.   9. Posted By: Suzy
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 12:36 pm 

    I really think that these “Alonso to Ferrari” rumours are tiring and boring already. It seems like the media brings it up every time when there is nothing else to talk about to keep the public talking about F1.

    I’m not saying it won’t happen. It may happen, of course and as Santander will join Ferrari I’m sure they are trying to make it happen. But this is rumoured for almost two years now (remember, first the rumour was Alonso joins Ferrari in 2008. When it didn’t happen it was 2009. When it didn’t happen it’s 2010 or 2011). So I think it would be great if the media stopped speculating and they would next bring it up only if it happens and it is officially announced. Because otherwise the rumours are a bit tedious.

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  10.   10. Posted By: Sparhawk
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 2:56 pm 

    I wish all the best to Kimi. I’d love a battle between him and Jenson!

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  11.   11. Posted By: James Allen
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 3:32 pm 

    I will be looking at this again, certainly. But little has changed since the start of the season, really. It was voted in at the March world council, then dropped because the teams’ vote was needed for 2009, but it was made clear then that the winner takes all system would be introduced in 2010, so this is just a rubber stamping of that.

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  12.   12. Posted By: James Allen
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 3:33 pm 

    No, he’s more likely to go rallying or something like that.

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  13.   13. Posted By: James Allen
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 3:34 pm 

    He was flying in the run up to the stops, certainly looked like he was on to me.

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  14.   14. Posted By: James Allen
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 3:36 pm 

    I couldn’t possibly comment

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  15.   15. Posted By: nick
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 3:40 pm 

    This winner takes all is a brilliant idea. Last year Liar Lewis won the championship by 1 point while crusing to fifth place.
    The year before he would have won it by cruising to sixth had he not pressed the wrong button on his steering wheel.
    This system rewards succesful drivers, not consistent ones, which is how any other sport decides a championship.

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  16.   16. Posted By: tarun
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 3:41 pm 

    I dont understand why ferrari have to replace Raikonenn with Alonso, they should let massa vacat the seat instead
    a kimi/alonso ferrari starting lineup would go ballistic if they produce the right car
    I dont think kimi has underachieved here at ferrari he won the championship and last year was dissapointing due to lack of support in the team on his side and his poor bad luck where he was clearly left out of any option of winning the championship during the end of season races
    which are mostly kimi’s stronger races largely
    kimi is a great driver and he should stay in f1 if not in ferrari then may be he could go to renault the seat vacated by alonso
    I am sure we will see more stronger races by kimi and better performance than massa as the ferrari grow stronger.. massa seems to me a big time complainer and doesnt have to capacity to come from behind and fight his way through i.e lack of racing skills
    but lets see how it goes in spain expect kimi to perform if ferrari is good on the speed there

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  17.   17. Posted By: Peter Freeman
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 3:43 pm 

    Yes I understand, but there are consequences here that have not been discussed or considered. Most certainly all teams will have to run a No1 and a No2 driver. That means a driver is going to be categorized as a No1 or No2 driver and that is not so good for No2 drivers.

    For example last year Massa would have been ordered not to beat Kimmi from the very start of the season. Kimmi would have been fed all the best pit stop strategies, newest updates etc and Massa would never have had a chance to run for the championship. In fact would we know how good Massa is today? I think not.

    I for one do not relish the thought of a two tier driver F1, an F1 in which teams are forced to actively hunt for second rate drivers to back their ‘real’ driver.

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  18.   18. Posted By: Charlie F Smith
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 4:36 pm 

    Hey James,

    Can I just say that it was SO nice to see a positive evaluation of Kimi’s performance in Bahrain. Your review was the only one that mentioned how good Kimi was last week. It’s funny, as you point out it’s a year that Kimi has not won. But as you also noted (which nobody else in the media seems to have done) Kimi was completely all over Montreal and then France. The problems came in after that, and let us not forget that he was not too far off until Spa when the weather did for him. So far this season he’s outpaced Massa – it doesn’t take a statistics degree to see that. It’s clear that he’s more suited to this car than the F2008.

    So why all the media nonsense? He’s had one bad half a season in 8 years of F1. He’s always been rapid. Can it really be that with one instance of incompatibility with the car Ferrari would seriously consider getting rid of a driver who many many F1 pundits considered the fastest driver in the world for MANY years, just because of media rumblings about nonsense such as lack of motivation etc?

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  19.   19. Posted By: mingojo
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 4:41 pm 

    What’s his name? I can’t remenber. Oh yeah! Fernando Alonso

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  20.   20. Posted By: F1 fan
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 4:57 pm 

    Kimi got the fastest lap, and he was only on the track for a little because of Lewis. With the track improving every lap, that just shows how quick he was.

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  21.   21. Posted By: F1 fan
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 5:03 pm 

    Kimi said that Ferrari will probably be his last team. So he could go somewhere else…but where? McLaren? No. Renault? Maybe. Brawn? Maybe. I expect he’ll go rallying, maybe just for fun, maybe full time.

    Also about Kimi’s leadership skills, he’s not that guy, but Massa is no Schumacher. Kimi is a Racer, he lets the engineers to their job, and he does his (and he does it very well).

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  22.   22. Posted By: rpaco
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 5:30 pm 

    Jed
    They repeated the very good documentary on Graham ~Hill on BBC4 recently, it may well still be on the BBC iPlayer site.
    In those days every one smoked and drank and went out on the razz the night before the race.
    Developing the car is a great art which many drivers do not have, they cannot feel what is likely to happen if something is changed, therefore the team have to change it and try it in tiny steps. Some drivers like Schumi have it as a 7th or 8th sense.
    It can be that the two abilities do not necessarily go together ie the fastest driver may not be able to set up the car, while the guy with the setup/development ability may be much slower in a race.

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  23.   23. Posted By: rpaco
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 5:52 pm 

    Just seen that Max’s son has died.
    In spite most boggers here opinion of Max it is a terrible tragedy for anyone to face.

    James could you send a message of sympathy from all of us please.

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  24.   24. Posted By: KAV
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 5:56 pm 

    If Raikkonen was not waiting at the lights, Hamilton would have either hit Kubica or have passed the lights and would have been disqualified. So it is safe to say that Raikkonen would have won.

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  25.   25. Posted By: Stephen Kellett
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 5:59 pm 

    James is a fan of “House of Cards”.

    Good programme.

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  26.   26. Posted By: Stephen Singh
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 6:17 pm 

    Also worth mentioning Kimi’s superb drive in Spa last season, really was worthy of the race win, though spun into the wall unfortunatley on his way to the pits. In hindsight, he would have won that race even if he didn’t push so hard to race against Hamilton on the changing conditions, due to Lewis’ penalty for an illegal overtake.

    His 2007 world championship was so unexpected, that I don’t think he gets the credit a normal world champion merits due to coming from so far behind with 2 races left. The main story of the year was Alonso vs Hamilton.

    I wouldn’t like to see him exit Formula 1, I think he still has what it takes to win a world championship, but it seems like he would be the one leaving as opposed to Massa, and it would be difficult to ever see him in another team like Williams or BMW.

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  27.   27. Posted By: Richard
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 7:53 pm 

    Please stop reporting the Alonso to Ferrari rumours as FACT without any proof of evidence, you wouldn’t want to up the hopes of Alonso’s fans or look like a poor journalist. Ferrari will be looking to the future, maybe it could be Vettel, Kubica, or Alonso, but we don’t know till they announce it.

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  28.   28. Posted By: Steve Evans
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 7:54 pm 

    It’s been a while since we had a good old F1 musical chairs! Next year I fancy Raikkonen/Button at Brawn, Senna/Hamilton at McLaren and Alonso/Massa at Ferrari. Followed by Rosberg/Piquet at Renault (yes I think Piquet will get his act together this year)

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  29.   29. Posted By: Jose Arellano
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 8:42 pm 

    remember ross brawn speaks very high about alonso, and he wanted him for honda… so i think its possible that alonso goes to brawn if they keep dominating dont you think??

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  30.   30. Posted By: Dudu
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 8:59 pm 

    Dear James,

    is it true that Raikkonen will have a new lighter chassis and Massa won’t?????????????

    How is this fair??? How can Massa and Smedley accept that??

    Are they gonna get one???

    Thanks James, love your work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  31.   31. Posted By: James Allen
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 9:48 pm 

    Not reporting them as fact, saying that well informed colleagues in Italy say it’s done. There’s a big difference.

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  32.   32. Posted By: atata
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 10:21 pm 

    “well informed colleagues”

    “well informed colleagues” knew that Alonso will move to Ferrari for the 2008 season – oh wait it didn’t happen.

    “well informed colleagues” knew that Alonso will move to Ferrari for the 2009 season – oh wait it didn’t happen.

    At Monza 2008 the behaviour of some in the media was absoultely ridiculous! They were devastated by the news that Ferrari has signed a contract extension with Kimi! And that didn’t change anything for 2009, but some sorry “journalists” didn’t pay much attention to that – as they were disappointed by the news that Kimi signed a contract extension for 2010 which in their minds meant that Alonso to Ferrari in 2009 was ruined at that point.

    Of course it is possible that it will happen that Alonso will go to Ferrari. But I would expect from people who call themselves “journalists” to not present rumours as facts (not saying Allen did it here). It is very very annoying when they do so, and I cannot take them seriously if they do so. Following F1 news closely has been an eye-opener for me – to notice in how bad state sports journalism is in some places. I just try to make sure I don’t pay them anything, that’s what I can do.

    This here is just a blog – it is “ok” if you present rumours as facts here, or if you keep the rumour mill going, go for it if you like. If that’s what you really want to do. But do notice that many take your words seriously (unfortunately), so you do have some responsibility due to your role in the media.

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  33.   33. Posted By: Pete
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 10:46 pm 

    Hi James, great blog. Just wondering, do any of your italian colleagues believe Kimi will stay on beyond his 2010 contract?

    Also, to answer Dude, I believe the reason that Kimi is getting a lighter chassis is because he weighs more than Massa, so carrying KERS incurs a greater penalty. As Massa is lighter, he does not have this problem to Kimi’s extent.

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  34.   34. Posted By: Mav
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 11:20 pm 

    I’d show a little more respect, and a little less fanboy Richard. Don’t cock it up for us F1 fans who reguard this blog as an excellent source of information, and a driver for further, sensible debate.

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  35.   35. Posted By: Peter
        Date: May 6th, 2009 @ 11:31 pm 

    Kimi – Fernando to Ferrari and than Vettel. Why would be Massa who stays?

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  36.   36. Posted By: Fausto Cunha
        Date: May 7th, 2009 @ 12:17 am 

    I´m Kimi fan and really like see him win , it´s a happy weekend for me when he wins a race.

    His the same guy that won the title in 2007 and i don´t remember that his aproaching to racing was any diferent.

    I think he is to honest when e talks about F1 e says things like he doesn´t like testing, marketing , talking to the media and those things led people to believe that he doesn´t care and that he is not commited.

    In two years with Ferrari he won a world title and this year it´s not over…let ´s wait and see.

    Thanks James for this great space of opinion, i don´t write much but i read almost everything

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  37.   37. Posted By: Top Posts « WordPress.com
        Date: May 7th, 2009 @ 12:34 am 

    [...] Raikkonen in London ahead of huge weekend Kimi Raikkonen will be in Regents Street, London this morning, opening the new Ferrari store. It’s a big site, I [...] [...]


  38.   38. Posted By: PaulL
        Date: May 7th, 2009 @ 3:38 am 

    Freeman I don’t get it. Obviously it is your impression and that’s fine, but I don’t see any reason why winner-takes-all will impact on team role positions in contrast to how it is now. Why would that be bad anyway? I only care about the best, if one driver is better and wins more he deserves a shot at the title.

    There’s a few good arguments to refute winner-takes-all but there’s more rubbish ones which takes extremes like “what if [insert driver] wins the first 5 races and then fails to finish any other races and nobody else wins more than 4?”.
    Well what if some consistent ‘loser’ finishes 2nd twelve times in the season? That person isn’t the champion in my view either.

    Keep winner-takes-all.

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  39.   39. Posted By: Philip
        Date: May 7th, 2009 @ 8:05 am 

    I think Lewis (and any other driver who didn’t need to win the last race) deserves a bit more credit than that. They were racing to a different system. Ferrari has always been brilliant in Brazil so winning was going to be very difficult for Hamilton, as indeed it was for Alonso in 2007.

    For that reason, it is very hard to say, “Oh, he would’ve won the title if it had been on race wins” – I mean we wouldn’t even have had this debate if the stewards hadn’t messed about at Spa!

    I’m still caught in two minds about the race wins thing. The team orders thing is a very good argument and one that makes me very, very sceptical about it.

    Having said that, maybe we need to do it for a season so there is proof that it works or it doesn’t? It’d be interesting to hear what James thinks on that. Is it worth sacrificing a season to test it? It’s no use looking at past seasons and saying “Prost would’ve won that… Mansell should’ve won that one”

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  40.   40. Posted By: Peter Freeman
        Date: May 7th, 2009 @ 9:02 am 

    Nick I am interested to know which Ferrari driver you think should be told to give way to the other, for the entire season! After all since wins alone count, each team can’t afford to give even one win to their No2 driver. So this season, which would it be, Massa or Raikkonen?

    Do you think at the beginning of last season Ferrari would have made (2007 World Champion) Raikkonen, or Massa their No1 driver?

    Do you think it is likely that the No2 driver could be given standing orders to hold up the opposition instead of trying to win? Maybe even have an ‘accident’ or two involving the No1 driver from another championship rival team?

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  41.   41. Posted By: ani
        Date: May 7th, 2009 @ 5:00 pm 

    hey … the only thing i dont quite like about the ‘rumour’ is … they always say he is gonna replace Kimi. ( i dont think that is a fact )

    as for him having a deal for 2011 , i think its fairly clear from his comments . In some interview after monza 2008 . he said he was waiting for Kimi’s decision on 2010
    . ( something like , he knew he didnt have a seat for 2009 for sure , but was looking at 2010 )

    anyways i hope Kimi stays longer at Ferrari … :)

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  42.   42. Posted By: F1James
        Date: May 7th, 2009 @ 9:05 pm 

    Simple fact. Hamiton was much faster at Spa once it rained. He would have passed Kimi sooner or later, probably sooner. No way he would have won the race. The fact he went into the wall surely proves that!

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  43.   43. Posted By: Peter Freeman
        Date: May 8th, 2009 @ 9:53 am 

    PaulL you don’t think teams would feel the need to prevent their own drivers scoring wins off of each other? You think in a 1-2 situation that a team like Ferrari would be happy to have both driver scoring wins while a team like Renault concentrates only on one driver and may be scoring EVERY win just for that driver and thereby getting ahead and winning the championship?

    Interesting.

    Whats wrong with team orders or ‘roles’ as you put it? They are illegal…

    So why then are the FIA implementing rules that make team orders a necessary part of racing for the championship? No this is a rule that is not about racing, its a rule that is being brought in to demonstrate political power. FOTA asked for more points for winning, an overall system that has gained approval from pretty much everyone, but the FIA and FOM has forced winner-takes-all just to prove who is in charge.

    [Reply]

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