Michael Schumacher's engine failure in Japan all but served the title to Fernando Alonso on a silver platter. Not only that, but it set the scene for an anticlimactic end to the championship and the seven-time champion's career. Richard Barnes reflects on the Japanese GP and its consequences
When Sunday dawned bright and sunny at Suzuka for the 2006 Japanese Grand Prix, it seemed that Renault had lost their only trump card in the increasingly desperate challenge to stop Ferrari's Michael Schumacher snatching away a title that had, for most of the season, seemed like Fernando Alonso's. With the barometer rising, Michelin's wet weather advantage nullified and Alonso stranded behind the Toyota pairing on the grid, it mattered little that Alonso and Schumacher were level on points.
Nor did it matter that Schumacher had qualified behind teammate Felipe Massa on the grid. The Ferraris had been so dominant in qualifying that, especially with the Toyota buffer between them and rivals Renault, they'd be able to control the race effortlessly at their own pace.
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The iconic Lola name is being relaunched after it was taken over by new ownership. Part of that reboot is a planned return to racing, though the exact details of this are still to be finalised - though its new owner does have a desire to bring the brand back to the Le Mans 24 Hours. But romanticism doesn't appear to be the driving force behind this renewed project...
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It’s rarely mentioned when it comes to assessing the best national contests, but the Brazilian Stock Car series that reaches its climax this weekend has an ever-growing appeal. Its expanding roster of ex-Formula 1 names has helped to draw in new fans, but it's the closeness of competition that keeps them watching
The Suzuka Roller Coaster: Interview with Pat Symonds
2006 Japanese GP Technical Review
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