Ten years ago, no less than 14 teams - that's 28 drivers - were entered for the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. In the ensuing period, at least half a dozen teams have fallen by the wayside and Formula One's exclusivity is now threatening to disappear up its own fundament. It has been obvious for all to see over the last couple of years - with the demise of Prost and Arrows, as well as the constant instability of Jordan and Minardi - that something needs to be done. Urgently. Unlike in previous years, there's no one outside looking to come into Formula One under the present conditions, but should things change, one man is ready, willing and able to take on the challenge of forming a new Formula One team.
To make anything from a Minardi drive you have to be a realist about your situation. Mark Webber had some backing from Renault, but he knew that he would have to impress in his year with the team in black to continue his career. Fernando Alonso knew likewise, but had a Renault test drive to fall back on. Jarno Trulli impressed, and secured his future when he was loaned to Prost to replace Olivier Panis after the Frenchman's accident in Canada. Giancarlo Fisichella worked and worked and scored a Jordan drive; Justin Wilson did similarly but the Jaguar drive didn't stick.
Gianmaria Bruni knows his place in the pecking order. Continue
The biggest threat to the Bahrain Grand Prix wasn't terrorism; it was British Formula One journalists.
"They'll never run it," said one in Melbourne, "it's just too dangerous."
"Yeah, I agree," continued another, "what the hell were they thinking when they put a race in the Middle East? It's asking for trouble; they might as well have painted a large target and erected a sign saying 'aim here'."
"Your boss isn't coming, is she?" another asked me. "Having an Israeli there will make us all targets." Continue
When Mike Gascoyne finally announced his move to Toyota last year, no one was overly surprised - least of all, his successor as the Renault Technical Director, Bob Bell. "I was aware of his desire at the time to move on when it came to light that he was having discussions with Toyota," Bell acknowledged in the Renault offices in Bahrain. "Mike's an ambitious person, so it didn't come as a huge surprise." What did come as a surprise to most people was the announcement that Bell was to assume Gascoyne's position at the top of the technical tree, mostly because few people outside of the team had actually heard of the new boss
"I do not want to talk about anything to do with Ayrton's accident, or anything to do with the legal processes that followed it, or anything to do with the Williams organisation or any of its people." Those were the ground rules Ron Dennis laid out on Sunday morning of the Bahrain Grand Prix, as a select group of journalists gathered around the McLaren team principal for a rather unusual media briefing. "The way I handled [Senna's death] was to think about it extensively, compartmentalize it, put it in a special place in my own mind, and then focus on life," Dennis said of that fateful day ten years ago.
What follows is the full account of Dennis's story, word for word.
"There are only two drivers in this paddock who are the total package," Minardi's Paul Stoddart states. One of them is, of course, Michael Schumacher – "clearly the greatest of all times – whether people want to believe it or not, it's a simple fact of life."
And the other? "And the only other person who is 110%, who lives, breathes and thinks Formula One, Formula One, Formula One is Mark Webber."
Juan Pablo Montoya doesn't give a fuck if you or I think his season is already over this year.
But don't just take my word for it, take his: "I don't give a fuck. Sorry about that word, but I don't really care; that's what the media is all about." Continue
Few drivers have had a career come to them as seemingly easily as Jenson Button. Starting his karting career in 1988, he won the British Cadet Championship at the age of ten before going on to win effectively every British karting championship there was to win. A move into the European championships continued his long run of victories: he won the Senior ICA Italian Championship against drivers with far more experience, was the youngest ever runner up in the Formula A World Championship (and was denied a title through a broken chain in the final) and the youngest winner of the European Super A Championship.
There is a story about the career path of Takuma Sato that says he needs two years to succeed in a series; the first year will consist of a lot of crashes as he goes over the limit of his car to find it, and the second year he will take the lessons learnt and dominate. This is unlikely to happen in Formula One, but considering his undoubted speed the other drivers have good reason to look over their shoulders. Sato has always had a keen interest in cycling, and as a youth he dreamt of success on two wheels. His first taste of karting changed that, and he scraped together the money to buy his first kart. In 1997 he was the karting champion in Honda's Suzuka Racing School Scholarship and was handed the prize of a fully paid season in the Japanese Formula Three Championship. He chose not to accept it, turning his attention instead towards Europe.