F1 Europe 2007: Back to form!

The Nürburgring race this year was phenomenal by recent Formula 1 standards. It is probably the most impressive race I can remember in the 21st century to date. At times it was reminiscent of the battles between Hakkinen and Schumacher in the late 1990s or Prost and Senna about a decade earlier. It goes a long way to show how the weather can highlight some of the less obvious abilities of the drivers and design decisions, how tyre strategies can make or break a team’s race and how different cars’ aerodynamics work for and against the driver under different tyres.

The intermittent rain was perhaps the main reason for which the race developed as bizarrely as it did: Raikonnen retired early, Hamilton managed an impressive climb from P17 to P10 and of course the amazing duel between Alonso (who eventually got a much needed and clear win) and Felippe Massa (2nd) who couldn’t fight the McLaren assault in wet conditions, despite having a faster car overall; Alonso’s impressive overtaking of Massa in the last laps was sensational as the cars touched twice; Fernando Alonso just after the 2007 F1 Europe racetensions obviously ran high and the race was followed by a bitter exchange of words between Alonso and Massa, although Alonso apologised for his remarks to Massa during the press conference. The changing weather conditions were also contributing factors to Mark Webber’s first podium (3rd place) with Red Bull. Alonso’s win is a return to form for both the driver, McLaren and — arguably — the championship. Renault continued its mediocre overall performance despite Kovalainen’s demonstration of his talent and continuing development — he would have finished fifth if it weren’t for a tyre puncture. Fisichella again proved that he’s an excellent driver under rain, but a mediocre driver overall, not managing to finish within the points.

While there is no doubt that Formula 1 regulations and the importance of strategy and engineering have reduced the sport to an engineering research and demonstration contest and relatively boring, uninviting races, the 2007 season continues to impress with four excellent drivers and their McLarens and Ferraris as well as the four top teams constantly improving their cars and engines. If Europe GP is any indication, things are getting better indeed. It’s only a shame that those driver and car combinations were missing in the 5 years of total Michael Schumacher domination.

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9 Responses to “F1 Europe 2007: Back to form!”

  1. papo says:

    Alonso’s overtaking was fair – go go McLaren!

  2. cosmix says:

    Yes, I agree. Alonso’s overtaking was fair and very impressive. His comments to Massa just after the race weren’t. What’s probably going to affect his position is the incident in the pits between him and Fisico.

    P.S.: It’s not your day today is it, Papo? I translated your comment this time, but I won’t do it again. It’s written clearly in red: “Write in the language of the post”. :)

  3. papo says:

    oops i did not notice..sorry. It was not on purpose!

    in general I dislike alonso and his attitude in general – I used to like Kimi but it seems that he has the talent of breaking cars – something that everyone was afraid @ McLaren but nobody would dare to tell! Still trying to find a driver that fits to the profile of Mikka …..

    Anyway I love to hate Ferrari! :)

  4. cosmix says:

    Don’t worry. I didn’t think you did it on purpose. :)

    I generally share your sentiments: I never liked Ferrari too much — they are too arrogant although they did dominate F1 for many years. I really like Renault, because they were the underdogs and managed to rise to the top quickly without much fanfare, but unfortunately they really messed up this year. As for Alonso, well, I am not sure. While he was at Renault I generally liked him, although he was also exhibiting lack of maturity in his behaviour and signs of arrogance at times; since he moved to McLaren he’s obviously been annoyed by the frantic exposure Hamilton has been getting lately and his response to it has been quite decent; I believe he is undoubtedly one of the great drivers of his generation. Sadly, I cannot say this about Kimi; there’s more to racing than being fast.

  5. aspulido says:

    Great race! Wonderful victory with some luck. May be you didn’t noticed but Ferrari was not faster at all than McLaren, Alonso’s car was malfunctioning after the first stop so the car behaved strangely moving in all turns. After the second stop, they fixed this so he could manage to come closer and overtake Massa.

    In Spain, Hamilton is now the number one enemy. Neither Massa nor Kimi (!). It has been publicly criticised how Hamilton’s car came back to the race after the multiple accident.

    According to Spanish press, Alonso is considered the best pilot for improving the car and they say that Hamilton is taking advantage of this and of all adjusts (telemetry) made by Alonso. Just to give you another point of view.

    In any case, Alonso is a very very good pilot.

  6. cosmix says:

    I don’t recall noticing any malfunction on Alonso’s car; perhaps you’re confusing it with wrong tyre selection?

    I also don’t think that the McLarens were faster than the Ferraris. Alonso himself stated that his car had a slower pace than the Ferrari, except for the last few laps of course when rain clearly affected Massa’s performance. It’s amazing how rain manages to change everything in F1.

    Finally, I do not agree with any of the nationalistic statements by Brits or Spanish reporters. Each country wants their driver to win; the British press is crazy about Hamilton and I presume the Spanish press is the same with Alonso. I don’t know if Hamilton is taking advantage of Alonso’s tuning and telemetry data, what I do know is that both drivers are exceptionally good and Hamilton is an extremely impressive driver on his first year with vast experience in the McLaren car (he’s been with the team for several years and has spent a lot of time using their simulators from what I’ve read). I believe the switch to Bridgestone tyres and the change of environment between Renault F1 and McLaren have definitely affected Alonso’s performance this year. Still, Alonso’s comments that any of the four leading drivers can win the championship ring very true to me; it’s too early to dismiss Kimi or Massa.

  7. atma says:

    Hi there, I’m a Ferrari fan for a change. I’m Italian so it’s the natural choice. For Italian fans not having an Italian driver on a Ferrari is a reason to be angry. However, this year due to my military service I didn’t manage to see the race. I like the fact that F1 changed in this After-Shumacher era and that there are more than 2 competitors for the title. Hamilton cannot possibly be mediocre or bad pilot, the boy is a phenomenon. I believe that Kimi can manage to take over the McLaren’s even if he is a bit too much behind them.
    However I hate the fact that I didn’t see Sena vs Prost live. According to everyone Sena was above all drivers, because of his aggressive style.
    I'[ll download the race and watch it tomorrow in the military base.
    Go Ferrari, Go!

  8. aspulido says:

    Hey! Any comments on what happened last weekend? According to Spanish press, Spain’s going to declare the war to UK because of the penalty to Fernando Alonso. Hamilton is number one public enemy and Ferrari left to exist. According to UK press, Alonso’s responsible for all what happened while Hamilton’s a nice boy threatened by envious Alonso.

    One thing is sure, I will not miss the next races. And I recommend you to do the same.

  9. cosmix says:

    Hello Antonio. To be honest I’m not sure what to make of it as I don’t have all the facts. I guess the time was ripe for the frail relationship between Alonso and Hamilton to collapse. Yet, I am not sure what exactly happened. The only thing certain is that Hamilton made a huge mistake by disobeying team orders. He was lucky enough to get out of this unscathed as he’s the current darling of the British press and by extension the largest part of the F1 establishment. Still I am sure Alonso is not innocent either. Either way I don’t really care what the British or Spanish press write; whatever it is, it’s bound to be biased and unfair, especially if it’s coming from low quality publications (e.g. tabloids). My concern is whether those that govern the sport at one level or another (viz. the teams, FIA etc.) are fair and accountable for their actions; Specifically, I’m not sure Alonso’s behaviour — no matter what he did — called for such a demotion. In any case, without the whole facts I can’t really opine on this.

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