Grapevine: News from the Paddock - Italian GP

Slow Schu Scooter Shuffle

Grapevine: News from the Paddock - Italian GP

Slow Schu Scooter Shuffle

World Champion Michael Schumacher courted controversy again on Thursday when he staged the finish of a race in Monza. The German driver, whose teammate Rubens Barrichello slowed to hand him victory in the Austrian Grand Prix last year and who accidentally handed the Brazilian victory in the United States later in the season, was at it again although this time it came in the build-up to the Grand Prix and it was all for a joke. The pair were competing in the inaugural Italian Scooter Challenge, presented by Ferrari sponsors Vodafone, in which teams of journalists joined them to race small motorised stand-on scooters around a tight and twisty kart-style track.

Schumacher's team gained a healthy lead after two laps when Barrichello forgot to stop to hand his scooter over to the next member of his team and despite some desperate 'non-regulation' tactics from the Brazilian's squad they looked out of contention as the race came to a close. But Schumacher, who had fixed an earlier problem with his scooter while on the track, was desperate for a close finish once again and slowed as he entered the final corner.

Barrichello quickly closed but, as had happened in the United States Grand Prix last year, Schumacher failed to time his attempt at a dead heat finish to perfection and handed his teammate the win. "It is good to have these kind of events," Schumacher said. "They provide a bit of fun...but we were the moral winners." The pair will be hoping for a similarly dominant performance on the full-size track this weekend.

E-Mail Orders

It was a tough decision for English Formula One journalists to fly out to Italy on the Wednesday evening that their country expected to grab a hat-full of goals in a 2004 European Championships qualifier match against Liechtenstein, but for some it had to be done. The saving grace looked to have come in an Australian bar in Milan, where the match was being shown live. But was then turned off in favour of the Italy v Serbia Montenegro match and although that was fair enough, considering the location, what was more hard to swallow was the decision to show Scotland v Germany on the pub's big screen - because the Scottish fans had e-mailed ahead to bag the television. It was little consolation that England were reported to have played badly and only scored twice on their way to victory.

Watchful Eye

Bridgestone appeared very keen to keep a close eye on Michelin this weekend after the tyre controversy that engulfed their competitors over the last week. Assured that the French company had made a new 'legal' tyre, the sport's governing body, the FIA, were confident there would be no more 'mischievous' goings on at Monza. Bridgestone, it seemed, were not so sure, however, and posted one man with a clipboard outside each of the top Michelin runners' garages to keep the pressure on their rivals. Reports that they were holding tape measures, however, remained unfounded and closer observers said that they have actually been inspecting things that closely all season.

Slow Moving Copy Cats

The new Media Centre constructed for this year's race makes the paddock at Monza look impressive - or at least it will do once it is finished. The grey metal-clad building, which looks like a copy of McLaren's Communications Centre with the addition of some odd trumpets on the roof, stands proud above the neatly laid-out motorhomes but as is typical in Italy, it appeared the organisers had forgotten that the race was actually taking place this weekend. The Paddock Club remained incomplete on Thursday and journalists were forced to walk around the exit gate as they left the circuit in the evening because the organisers had blocked it with a truck as they were still putting up the paddock signs.

shares
comments
Renault confirms engine upgrade
Previous article

Renault confirms engine upgrade

Next article

Qualifying 1: Montoya in control

Qualifying 1: Montoya in control
Why new look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era Plus

Why new look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era

OPINION: With teams outside the top three having struggled in Formula 1 in recent seasons, the rules changes introduced in 2022 should have more of an impact this season. How well Haas does, as the poster child for the kind of team that F1 wanted to be able to challenge at the front, is crucial

The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff Plus

The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff

OPINION: Although the central building blocks for Mercedes’ recent, long-lasting Formula 1 success were installed before he joined the team, Toto Wolff has been instrumental in ensuring it maximised its finally-realised potential after years of underachievement. The 10-year anniversary of Wolff joining Mercedes marks the perfect time to assess his work

Formula 1
Feb 1, 2023
The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate Plus

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate

Alpine’s signing of Pierre Gasly alongside Esteban Ocon revives memories of a famous all-French line-up, albeit in the red of Ferrari, for BEN EDWARDS. Can the former AlphaTauri man's arrival help the French team on its path back to winning ways in a tribute act to the Prancing Horse's title-winning 1983?

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021? Plus

How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021?

OPINION: A system to score all the grands prix from the past two seasons produces some interesting results and sets a standard that 2023 should surely exceed

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022? Plus

Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022?

Who was the fastest driver in 2022? Everyone has an opinion, but what does the stopwatch say? Obviously, differing car performance has an effect on ultimate laptime – but it’s the relative speed of each car/driver package that’s fascinating and enlightening says ALEX KALINAUCKAS

Formula 1
Jan 30, 2023
Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return Plus

Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return

He has more starts without a podium than anyone else in Formula 1 world championship history, but Nico Hulkenberg is back for one more shot with Haas. After spending three years on the sidelines, the revitalised German is aiming to prove to his new team what the F1 grid has been missing

Formula 1
Jan 29, 2023
The potential-laden F1 car that Ferrari neglected Plus

The potential-laden F1 car that Ferrari neglected

The late Mauro Forghieri played a key role in Ferrari’s mid-1960s turnaround, says STUART CODLING, and his pretty, intricate 1512 was among the most evocative cars of the 1.5-litre era. But a victim of priorities as Formula 1 was deemed less lucrative than success in sportscars, its true potential was never seen in period

Formula 1
Jan 28, 2023
Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss Plus

Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss

OPINION: Fred Vasseur has spent only a few weeks as team principal for the Ferrari Formula 1 team, but is already intent on taking the Scuderia back to the very top. And despite it being arguably the most demanding job in motorsport, the Frenchman is relishing the challenge

Formula 1
Jan 27, 2023