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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » 'Michael should just keep racing'

'Michael should just keep racing'

August 02, 2006 20:24 IST

It was a Ferrari fan's dream.

Not just did the scarlet cars effortlessly dominate the German Grand Prix, but Fernando Alonso could only make it to 5th place, making the Championship race unbelievably tight.

Is Ferrari ready to rock? Here's what YOU had to say on our Formula One Chat, with Rediff race-nuts Sumit Rajwade and Raja Sen:

Raja Sen says, Hi guys.. sorry for behaving like a mclaren but my delay was due to technical difficulties.. anyway, lets get on with the chat! :D

Nithin asked, one more 1-2 finish for ferrari and it is sure for schumacher and ferrari to win both the titles. What is your view on this? BTW where is Raja Sen?
Raja Sen answers, well it looks very good for the reds.. all Ferrari needs is to keep Alonso off the podium for one more race!

Sumit Rajwade says, Hi! all, I am sure that you all must have enjoyed the "Return of Ferrari". Lets have a good discussion .. questions please.

veeyess asked, 6 races to go ... 11 points difference summer testing ban in place...looks like the season is in for a grandstand finish
Raja Sen answers, you said it! We're looking at one of the best season finishes ever!

Manny asked, There is widespread speculation that Banning of the dampers (the stuff that is supposed to improve the aerodynamics, and improve Kerb Handling) at short notice by the FIA, is a major setback for Renault, and this is reflective of their performance y/day - your comment
Raja Sen answers, Extremely true. It's a peculiar time for the ruling, to say the least. Renault has been using the dampers for over a year now, and to ban it at this point is very strange indeed.. Charlie Whiting, the technical delegate, is a good friend of Ferrari's Ross Brawn, by the way.

SKA asked, @ Raja Sen...the testing ban is going to work for Ferrari
Raja Sen answers, completely. it comes into effect after the Hungarian GP, and the teams on top now will benefit hugely by the others lack to catch up. The Ferraris are suddenly far ahead of the pack. McLarens and Hondas have great straightline too.

Webber asked, can renaults perform better despite the summer testing ban?
Sumit Rajwade answers, It can. I think they had the combination right in the start of the season, but the idea of being on top is being improving always .. which Ferrari demonstrated

Nishit asked, IMHO, this is the best season after Schumacher-Hakkinen battle. What say Raja?
Raja Sen answers, Nishit, my friend, I completely agree. It's been ages of one-sided seasons, and while Alonso and Kimi ran Schumi close a couple of years ago, this is a true battle! Awesome stuff!

Webber asked, can renaults perform better despite the summer testing ban?
Raja Sen answers, I don't think its wise to write off the Renaults. The dampers have cost them dearly but the FIA ruling might be changed following a hearing before the Italian GP.

Ferrari_kills asked, Raja there has been no overtaking other than pitlane overtaking this season, will it change in 2007 with promise of "more wheel to wheel racing"
Raja Sen answers, my friend, if you missed Button swooshing past Alonso yesterday (my 'move of the race') and Kimi later taking Button, you have my condolences :)

SKA asked, @Sumit, i dont think Ren can improve without testing. their entire set up and trye choices are pulling them back
Sumit Rajwade answers, Agreed. See, Renault has changed upswept rear wing, its rear and its areo dynamic body front .. Also improvements in the Engine. Point taken

subu asked, Hi Raja, I feel Schumi has it in him to go on for at least 3 more years. I am not sure why people are after him to retire. The sport would surely look dull without him. It looks dull already without Montoya even though he was just a passenger on the circuit.
Raja Sen answers, it's a valid question, Subu.. But would you want him to leave AFTER he actually starts looking past his prime?

Webber asked, can raikkonen outpace the renaults once again?
Raja Sen answers, I hope so, Webber. It's really good to see Kimi on the podium.

Webber asked, if alonso is really so good, how come he was outpaced by his much lowly rated team mate?
Sumit Rajwade answers, Somehow I was not convinced that Alonso was his 100% in this race. He overshot a turn .. took wild and wide turns. He is not the one who does that often. The track was not bad either except for being very hot

Klever asked, Hi Raja. What's your take on MS's carrer plans now? There were speculations that he might stay with Ferrari in 2007. Now, if he wins the title, do you think he will retire?
Raja Sen answers, Hi Klever. The fact is that he's at the height of his powers. He's relishing the Alonso challenge, and yes, while it's likely he'll retire, a silly optimism at the back of my head keeps saying he'll go for 100 race wins ;)

veeyess asked, its very easy to start deriding alonso now...but remember that he has been on damage limitation mode for the last 3 races and he has done a good DNF and the lead would have been down by another 5-6 points
Raja Sen answers, very very true.. he's done very well to keep picking up the points.

SKA asked, @Raja sen, Monza is two races away. the advantage would be lost by then
Raja Sen answers, true. and come monza, we know whose in control. :)

veeyess asked, apparently schumi's PR manager has advised that he should retire if he wins the WC for drivers
Raja Sen answers, Yes, Willi Weber has officially given MS that advice.. but as long as he wants to keep racing..

rajan asked, There is even a better argument to show that the mass damper is not the cause of the Renault slump. The Renaults were struggling y/day because they were blistering rear tyres. The front tyres were fine. If in effect the mass damper was there for mechanical grip reasons as Renault claims, don't you think removing it would have affected the fronts more? This shows that their argument that it is there for mechanical reasons is bogus. Raja, Sumit, your views ?
Raja Sen answers, Great point, Rajan. The Renault argument is weak, I agree, but that still does not justify the late (and sudden) implementation of the ban.

Webber asked, can we expect the red cars to be strong in hungary as well?
Raja Sen answers, Heading on current form, yes. They didn't even have to floor it yesterday.. MS looked like he was cruising.

rajan asked, There is even a better argument to show that the mass damper is not the cause of the Renault slump. The Renaults were struggling y/day because they were blistering rear tyres. The front tyres were fine. If in effect the mass damper was there for mechanical grip reasons as Renault claims, don't you think removing it would have affected the fronts more? This shows that their argument that it is there for mechanical reasons is bogus. Raja, Sumit, your views ?
Sumit Rajwade answers, Well put. All I can say is that there is no specific regulation for removing it .. neither there are enough test reports and evidences that they actually affect areodynamic system for the cars

Nishit asked, @Raja : Totally agree with you when you say about 100 races. I have nurtured this dream ever since he broke Alan Prost's record. It would be glorious. now wouldn't it? :)
Raja Sen answers, :)

SKA asked, Alonso needs a blue flag to get past people
Raja Sen answers, hehehe.

Ferrari_kills asked, I feel MSC should do what he feels, people say they want him to retire. It is his life and let him race as long as he wants
Raja Sen answers, I agree. He's fit and enjoying himself.

McLarenF1 asked, I think Renault's horrific performance was a one off. It was a case of bad tires courtesy the new Michelin compound combined with Charlie Whiting's banning the mass dampers.
Raja Sen answers, but even in the last race McLaren was faster than the renaults.

veeyess asked, if schumi wins this year, he should step down from ferrari and join a smaller team ...and take his money on a win basis (a la' DC) ..that may give hope to all those also ran manufacturers (tongue firmly in cheek) ;)
Sumit Rajwade answers, Veeyees, I think he should retire from racing and be a brand man for F1. He should go places and promote F1

johnson asked, hi raja..Alonso complianed abt tyres that put him to the 5th place? wht do u think.?
Raja Sen answers, The michelins were certainly blistering heavily.. but I think Alonso was LUCKY to make it to 5th place.. webber's retirement and fisichella's braking aside, Fernando would have finished 8th!

rajan asked, My take is there is a lot of part being played by the weather on the Michelean compounds. Renault wins everything in sight in colder weather and then in the heat of summer its the Prancing horses painting the towns red.
Sumit Rajwade answers, Point t be noted! Nice observation of the past races. However, the earlier couple of races were not on such a Hot track. But I'm sure, Mich. team is working on the tyres for heated trackes

Nishit asked, @Raja : Is there any place where you respond to your fans personally? I have tried various means your blog, your articles, but never got a reply. Please let us know
Raja Sen answers, Nishit, I read all that you write -- and am glad you're such a fervent contributor to the blog. It's been a really hectic last couple of months, but promise you I'll respond soon. I swear!

zaki asked, Raja You seems to be partial towards the "Schumi" and the Ferrari Team
Raja Sen answers, what can i say? I like calling the best the best :)

veeyess asked, Ok sumit...thats a great F1 and how can one ignore schumi? love him hate him but one can't just ignore him!
Sumit Rajwade answers, :) .. Imagine F1 in Hyderabad or Poona ... what fun!

abhimanyu asked, i see a lot of questions regarding schumi's retirement....guys, AM I IN THE WRONG CHAT ROOM?
Raja Sen answers, was just thinking the exact same thing, Abhimanyu. what's on your mind?

McLarenF1 asked, It's just looking like 2003 again, Renault are running away with the championship and falter in 1 race, FIA knowing well that Schumi can't win even if he wins the remaining races change the rules for him. These dampers have been used for a year now, when the delegates had no reason to ban it before, why did Charlie Whiting ban them now? Also it's well known that Ross Brawn and Charlie are drinking buddies. So one plus one......
Sumit Rajwade answers, Hmmm. You should be in "F1 unleashed" of "F1 - behind the scenes" coverage. But my friend, there are no evidences of these changes affecting the race. And speak about the mass dampers, what happened in past 3- 4 races?

Klever asked, To me Alonoso is loosing his nerve now. He was complining about not getting adequate support from fisichella and surprisingly,He also commented that compared to this year, he faced stiffer opposition last year. Boy, I hope MS will make him eat his words.comments like this tell me that he's pressed the panick button. Do you agree?
Raja Sen answers, yes he definitely seems to be cracking under the pressure.. he's soaked it up impressively so far but with the lead now down to 11, he's alarmed -- and it shows.. Did you see how he lost control yesterday, when Fisi had to brake hard to avoid taking the lead?? Not exactly how you expect the world champion to drive..

Ferrari_kills asked, There has hardly been any race in rains, which is an important measure to compare drivers on both wet and dry surfaces
Raja Sen answers, oh yeah I miss the rains this year.. I bet Villeneuve (and MS) feels the same ;)

venki asked, can u tell me what stratagies benfited ferrari
Sumit Rajwade answers, 1. Fantastic change in the car to regain the speed. 2. Elimination of running high on fuel -- which used to lower their speed 3. Tyre improvements 4. Amazing , as always Pit stop strategy

AMG asked, Wat do u think abt Hungarian GP. Fernando who won it in 2003 came 11th in 2005.. How wud be his chances this time ?
Raja Sen answers, I think if he comes 11th this Sunday, we should all hoist bright red flags!

Webber asked,  truli had outqualified alonso nearly half the times in 2003, doent that mean that trulli alos has the potential to be world champion?
Raja Sen answers, his toyota is intermittently looking promising, and he's signed a three year deal with them.. lets see.

Webber asked,  Do the BMW/Heidfeld package have the potential to be world champion in the coming years?
Sumit Rajwade answers, BMW has a basic flow in the car. Speed. They will need a major name on their team to drive it to championship. In summary, not at preset

SKA asked, @Raja..Villenenuve is headed to Nascar also
Raja Sen answers, that'd be a shame.. F1 needs characters.

zaki asked, Sumit., Are you a part of the Designing Team of Ferrari ?
Sumit Rajwade answers, Nop! But I love studying F1 engine specs and changes

abhimanyu asked, i think another change was the acclamatization of massa at ferrari...he was new and unaccustomed in the beginning on how to play the ferarri....he is a genuine fast driver...but the ferrari needs some handling....barichhelo khows what i am talking about....
Raja Sen answers, finally, someone brought up Felipe! :) I'm extremely impressed with the young brazilian, and I must admit, he's been a really pleasant surprise -- I had my doubts about signing him up, but BrawnTodt proved me wrong, thankfully.

rajvid asked, Going by yesterday's race you think Renualt will find it difficult to match kimi or also button
Sumit Rajwade answers, Its the first podium for Kimi. Button has not shown it yet. Did you see the fire in Kimi's car? They really need to watch their engines or else yesterday we would have seen repeat of the Button who crashed few yards before the chequered flag :)

McLarenF1 asked, Looks like most people here are Ferrari fanboys. /just an observation.
Raja Sen answers, It's true.. things look one-sided in terms of F1 fans in India.. wish there were some Renault hotheads around right now.

jigar asked, Who is taking Alonso's place next year with renault..??? and alonso joining with kimi next year, what do you think the outcome will be..? KIMI or ALONSO???
Raja Sen answers, He won't join with kimi. Kimi's going to leave McLaren, FOR SURE.

rajvid asked, Going by yesterday's race you think Renualt will find it difficult to match kimi or also button
Raja Sen answers, Button should be a challenge. The Honda has great straightline, and the fear for the Renaults is that these teams they have written off might slot ahead of them and behind the ferraris, trumping their championship attack.

Webber asked, button is rated as the next big thing, but how come he gets outpaced by his not so highly rated team mate so often? Is he really as good as he is claimed to be by the british media?
Raja Sen answers, no :) the british media goes understandably overboard. Button's a fine racer, but I just don't see champ material. I'd rather have Rosberg.

zaki asked, Then Sumit Do you Think Any of the Outsiders (Manufacturers) apart from the one now involved in the Race coming into picture Next Season.,
Sumit Rajwade answers, I think next year you have Renault, Mercedes, Ferrari, Honda, Toyota, BMW and neely entered TBA (Red Bull ,toro Rosso) chasing

zaki asked, Why Do Think Alonso going to McLaren, after all these races KIMI failed because of the engine is justified
Raja Sen answers, it's not, but he decided too hastily and is likely to regret it.

McLarenFOne asked, Alonso's not Schumi, I bet he wouldn't mind Kimi being in McLaren.
Raja Sen answers, yes but do you think Kimi'll actually hang around in The Most Unreliable Team Ever?

rajvid asked, Sumit why is it that Alonso is finding it suddenly difficult even to match fisichella, because for sure Alonso is better than Fisi
Sumit Rajwade answers, Well, he is. I will have to review and read up a bit in future to understand why. But, for sure, in the last race, he was not 100% there. The first sign of pressure building on him was clearly shown. It takes a nerve to stand that kind of pressure. Look at the gap and the way its bridged.

Webber asked, who is according to you the best of the rest? I mean the best after the top three drivers?
Raja Sen answers, Currently, Massa's being impressive. Moreso than Fisi, anyway. I think Webber can be very competitive, as can Trulli, given the right wheels. Rosberg shows a lot of promise. And David Coulthard's racing finer than he's ever raced.

zaki asked, Which Machine do you think KIMI will be suited For his face
Sumit Rajwade answers, I think Kimi should definitely ride Ferrari. the main reason is, it will be interesting to see how he will drive where the car is not burnt and pit stops are prefect. The core skill of a driver demonstrated :)

The Red Bullet asked, Raja - It was a very RED Sunday at Hockenheim yesterday :) If Kimi moves to Ferrari next year do you think he would be able to take on from where MS left in case MS wins the WC and decides to quit.
Raja Sen answers, In that situation, I assume Kimi'd take a couple of races to adjust to a car that can actually go the entire race distance flat out without burning its engine.. after that, it'll be a vengeful redwash.

Nishit asked, A little on qualifying system. I think this year's qualifying system is one of the best in recent years. It offers enough chances for everyone unlike previous years' "play-for-all-in-one" system
Sumit Rajwade answers, Yes. very much. The only loophole (which is bridged now) is a driver can wait at an odd turn to make you slow down or take a longer curve. Schumi's scar on his this year's performance.

Ferrari_kills asked, Baritore is asking Alonso to violate the contract with McLaren do you think he will?
Raja Sen answers, No. Briatore has now said that we'll work 100% to make Alonso win this year and a 100% to beat him next year.

abhimanyu asked, lets see...i am looking forward to the final 6 me hungary, china and japan look certainties for schumi....massa could spring an upset....but i am sure FA would take 1-2...would be tight
Raja Sen answers, oh yeah it's a very tight set. lets see how long Schumi can continue the effortless dominance we saw yesterday..

AJ asked, Isn't it suicidal for Alonso to join McLaren next season?
Sumit Rajwade answers, He he ... seems like right? If he loses this year, he drives harder next year, that too in a car that gets burnt often. Well, I answered it on a lighter note:)

McLarenFOne asked, @Raja: That's what's playing on my mind, but they do make some brilliant cars on their day.
Raja Sen answers, Agreed bro.. :) great lookers too. And the Mika seasons were stunning in terms of engine power.

rajvid asked, Sumit, if Schumi , Alonso, Kimi would have the same car, same tyres everything same who would come first, second and third in that order?
Sumit Rajwade answers, Tell me how have they started? Who is 1st, 2nd and 3rd? .. Matters a lot to answer

Nishit asked, A little on qualifying system. I think this year's qualifying system is one of the best in recent years. It offers enough chances for everyone unlike previous years' "play-for-all-in-one" system, but the best still is "run for your life" qualifying I think. Just keep running for an hour without any fuel restriction. What are your opinions Raja, Sumit?
Raja Sen answers, yeah the classic go for it qualifying was the best, sure. now there are periods of very inconsequential qualifying, which is a drag. but at least its much fairer than last year!

Webber asked, Is it likely that GM, Ford or VW some of the biggest carmakers in the world,join f1 in the near future?
Raja Sen answers, who knows? there's even a massive rumour that Coca-cola could enter the sport, which would bring in massive money to F1. After the kind of money Red Bull brought to buy two teams, Coke could comfortably supplant Marlboro as the biggest f1 sponsor.

Webber asked, Is it likely that GM, Ford or VW some of the biggest carmakers in the world,join f1 in the near future?
Sumit Rajwade answers, Strong chance that GM might. I'm not sure. You have Opel in F3, then why not GM in F1?

Webber asked, Who do you think is best of the rest? who is best among trulli, webber, roseberg, barrichello, massa, heidfeld, JV?
Raja Sen answers, my money's on Nico Rosberg, but please lets give him two good years of finding his way around before expecting the earth from him. He'll deliver, give him time.

Nishit asked, @Sumit : I still think it was very harsh on FIA's part to push Schumi to the end of the grid. It didn't look deliberate, did it? They should have given him 4-5 places penalty or something like that
Sumit Rajwade answers, Nishit, you are 50% right in saying that. But as a race oberving body, the decision put all the future similar attempts to "cheat" to rest. Its best that a suspectd crime is punished well enough to not to have such a thing repeated again

McLarenFOne asked, @Raja Sen: Ah, Mika, what would I give to have him back! /wistful
Raja Sen answers, amen man. he was so fabulous. was a shame his last season was such an unlucky one. what a champ.

Ferrari_kills asked, Williams are looking Good. Next year if they happen to buy engine from Toyota would they be faster than them?
Raja Sen answers, it's a possibility, but with the budget Toyota is pumping into F1, that's definitely a team on the rise.

Webber asked, wont the qualifying show improve if the cars are allowed to be refueled after the race?
Sumit Rajwade answers, The game will become even more uneventful. All cars will fill 5 laps worth of fuel and fill the tank later. no fun dude. the true fun is drive light, enter pits early, drive loaded, enter fewer pits

McLarenFOne asked, @Sumit GM is going bankrupt here, hardly a couple of their brands are considered worthwhile outside the States, I don't think they'd spend a lot on F1 when these days F1 has very little to do with passenger car tech.
Sumit Rajwade answers, I meant the Engine partnership. Did you know Renault was off F1 for over 10 years, still their Engine used to run. They will get a brand sponsorer and then whay not?

SchumiFan asked, Hi Raja, Sumit I see you've answered a lot of queries. So I'll just sit back and read your responses.
Raja Sen answers, hey sure. but feel free to shoot in more Qs anytime.

McLarenFOne asked, @Sumit: As much as I would like to believe that he didn't cheat, the fact is Schumi cheated in Monaco by parking his car, but I'm stunned that he even managed to think of it under that kind of pressure. :)
Sumit Rajwade answers, Pressure game my friend. It will make the best ones to crash, to cheat, to dash into others, to play games by sacrificing #2 in the team to push the lead. We all witness this every year

Jaison asked, What kind of a future do you think villeneuve has in F1 now. After winning the 1997 driver's championship, he has kept going down...
Raja Sen answers, British American Racing was a bad career move for him. He's nowhere near the frontline now, but is one of the most naturally talented drivers and can definitely put on quite a show even today.

McLarenFOne asked, @Sumit: If you mean one of their sister brands like Aston Martin or the Jag, yeah, that's possible. Otherwise mostly no. Renault have a much checkered history in F1, GM never did.
Sumit Rajwade answers, Jag -- that the good marriage. Coming to think about it, nice combo

SchumiFan asked, I have a strong feeling that Michael is giving his best shot to grab the championship for the 8th time. Any supporters?
Sumit Rajwade answers, Both hands and thumbs up!

abhimanyu asked, Raja any ideas what Mika is doing now?...i mean is he still racing sometype?...any chances of a comeback?
Raja Sen answers, I think he's driving in the DTM.. I know at the GOodwood festival earlier in 06, he drove the new McLaren.. boy did that bring back memories :)

McLarenFOne asked, @Sumit: But the Jags sunk like rocks in a pond when they were there. Probably budget strings. Certainly didn't help having Irvine there.
Sumit Rajwade answers, Renault made it big in 2nd comeback

SchumiFan asked, I have a strong feeling that Michael is giving his best shot to grab the championship for the 8th time. Any supporters?
Raja Sen answers, oh, he's definitely going for it. Never-say-die reaches a new level with guys like Schumi.

Sumit Rajwade says, All right friends. Its time to say goodbye for now. Will be in touch next Monday after Hungarian race. Till then .. have a happy week.

Nishit asked, @Raja : What does Karthikeyan's future look like in F1? I don't think he has bright future now in F1, except of course in writing columns of F1 for Indian dailies
Raja Sen answers, Unfortunately age is not on his side..

rajan asked, The Toro Rosso's were actually pretty quick, Liuzzi and Scott Speed actually set the 10th and 11th best lap times. In fact they held off the red bulls pretty comfortably and were impressive. What is your reading of this team ?
Raja Sen answers, Indeed they were pretty zippy. Liuzzi's overtake on DC was a joy. It's too soon to expect great things from them, but almost every race provides a great battle between one of the TRs and one of the RBs.

Webber asked, Schumi still celebrates his victories like he would have celebrate his maiden victory, he is still higly motivated and at the top of his game. I guess in all probability he will continue for another year.
Raja Sen answers, amen. may the jumps atop the podium continue :)

Raja Sen says, Five minutes more, guys .. before we wrap up for today, lets have a podium prediction for Sunday's race. Go on, shoot!

mp123 asked, alonso go home ...
Raja Sen answers, then there'd be nothing to fight, mp!

Nishit asked, @RAJA,SUMIT : A request. please put transcript of this on rediff
Raja Sen answers, yes, sir. will do.

Anand asked, I have a strong belief that the Champion on the wheels is back with a bang. Tremendous display of Three wins in row-- A perfect clinical demolition of Alonso by the great Schumi. Any disparity in views
Raja Sen answers, Oh, Schumis definitely up for Title 8. It should be a brilliant climax to the season.

Nishit asked, @Raja : If you are watching race on star sports, I feel Chris Goodwin is biased towards Schumi. When Schumi is on victory, Chris describes his penultimate and ultimate laps in extermely fascinating fashion.
Raja Sen answers, hehehe.. I think you mean Steve Slater.. Chris has a McLaren bias... there's a lot more 'Schumacher magic' yelling, sure, but come on.. it's still amazing to see him win the way he does..

Nishit asked, Hungary : Schumi, Alonso, Massa
Raja Sen answers, ah, Briatore would kiss you. I have a feeling we'll see Kimi, MS, Massa, Button.

Shekar asked, Alonso has a excellent car, unless there is some engine failure, its very difficult for MS to win the championship.
Raja Sen answers, unless alonso manages podiums over the next 6 races, his title is slipping away..

Anand asked, Schumi will surely go to make on the record of 100 Grand Prix victories which no driver will ever be able to beat. Schumi is unbeaten on 89. Do you agree
Raja Sen answers, Oh I don't really see any driver managing 89 wins either, especially as now its more about consistency than wins -- like Alonso last year.

Raja Sen says, Alright guys! Was a super sunday for Ferrari in Germany, and lets see what happens next week at Hungary! Catch you all after the race, next monday -- same chat time, same chat channel! :) Cheers!

Chat transcript of Spanish GP: 'Alonso needs an engine failure'
Chat transcript of San Marino GP: 'Will Schumi go to Renault?'
Chat transcript of Australian GP: 'Kimi should leave McLaren'