He really is quite terrible, isn’t he?

The hapless Luca.The hapless Luca Badoer decides to park his Ferrari by the side of the road
at Spa-Francorchamps, notepad at the ready,  to check  what line
the other drivers are taking through a corner.

Picture courtesy AP/Michel Spingler

Schumi“Corinna hit me . . yes, about four times, so now I can’t come out
and play,” says Michael Schumacher, who is now not
coming to a track near you.

Picture courtesy Reuters/Max Rossi

– el kapitan

So a recent conversation with a friend revolved around the following question:

Which is less forgiving, golf or F1?

The friend in question, who will be known as Kitty for the purposes of this post, argued that golf, was, in fact, less forgiving because every stroke has to be perfectly executed, whereas in F1 you can ‘drive to your speed’, so to speak. Some people will never reach the heady heights of ever being able to drive an F1 car flat out through the corners of, to pick a circuit at random, Silverstone, but they will be able to drive according to the limit that they feel comfortable with. As they get better, the argument goes, that limit gets pushed further and further, until it can go no further, and if at the culmination of this process they are quick enough, they could drive in a GP.

Golf, he argued, was completely different, as each stroke was independent, and had to be executed perfectly, or it may as well not be executed at all. One wrong move, and the ball goes flying off in some completely random direction. “You don’t have the option of going slowly,” he said.

Thoughts? Concerns? Indecent proposals?

To this I will add only the inimitable words of Winston Churchill (at least I believe it was him, though some, incredibly, insist it was Lee Trevino): “Golf is a game whose aim is to hit a very small ball into an even smaller hole, with weapons singularly ill-designed for the purpose.”

TigerPictured: Tiger Woods, hard at work in a truly ridiculous tshirt. This is
more difficult than taking Eau Rouge at 300km/h. Clearly.

Picture courtesy Chris Graythen/AFP

– el kapitan

Are you bloody kidding me?

So July has brought to the sporting world:

A re-run of the Chelsea takeover and buying spree in the form of Manchester City

Credible evidence that Patrick Vieira will be playing at Arsenal again

Real Madrid forming the Galactico’s Mark II

Micheal Schumacher back in the Ferrari and racing in F1

Arsene Wenger making a solid 40 odd Million for the Gunners and rebuilding his team

The sporting world is starting to sound like an introduction to a Robert Jordan novel with some crap about how the wheel of time turns and a new age begins but it was very much like the last one but it was indeed a new beginning.

This is folly, no one ever learns their lesson in the sporting world where apparently Historical lesson learning is just not a well established school of thought. Predictions should follow, even though they are technically worthless, right?

A re-run of the Chelsea takeover and buying spree in Manchester City

They won’t win it. Shut up. They won’t win it. 4th at best. Good luck with making the UEFA Cup Everton! Hope you enjoy the UEFA Cup Aston Villa.

Credible evidence that Patrick Vieira will be playing at Arsenal again

He’ll come back, but if he does he will probably play in the center of the defence. No point in screwing with the development of Denilson and if Yayah Toure can become God for a night in the back four, Patrick Viera is well qualified to play in the Defence for part of the season. He is one of the greatest holding mid fielders of all time. Don’t you remember when you could barely find an alternative to him, so much so that you blurted out the name Essien? He isn’t quick enough to play defensive midfielder, he is fast enough to be a defender and god knows he’s strong enough. Besides he can’t possible be worse than the central defenders last year that remain. I think Patrick can outshine Hoyte, Djuru (get a real name, seriously), Silvestre (I want to be named after a WB Cartoon too!) and William “I hate but also fall back in love with Aresenal Gallas.

At this rate, the Emirates stadium will be up for sale soon and once Arsene makes a massive profit on that, he will engage in a sharing deal with Fullham to use Craven Cottage on alternate weekends! What an awesome name for a stadium. It sounds so cozy.

Real Madrid forming the Galactico’s Mark II

They cannot beat Barcelona for the title. Even if they persuaded Pele out of retirement with a 150 Million Euro offer, it cannot be done. Especially without Ramos. You morons, why would you get rid of him after last season could have won the league in any other year. Please don’t win and screw up my prediction accuracy.

Micheal Schumacher back in the Ferrari and racing in F1

6 Points, thats the maximum he is capable of and that includes one podium. The great majority will be picked up while he is in the dying races of a season already decided and the last race is irrelevant to the winner overall of the championship. Plus people will fear him. If you see him in your rear view mirror, I don’t give a damn who you are, you are going to shit yourself. I’m curious to see how well he uses that kinetic Turbo Afterburner thingy though. I know it has a real name…..

Arsene Wenger making a solid 40 odd Million for the Gunners and rebuilding his team

Not only has this happened it again, it always bloody well happens. Something Something, young squad, something something more experience, something someting better chance next years, something something very dissapointed but are focusing on next year. Will be the vulture look alike Arsene Wengers response. Except it will be in a lifeless french accent. You will all still love or hate him just as much. They will look to oust him next season and you will stop them even though you know he probably should be sacked for lack of success, except you can’t fire him.

Look foward to either Cesc or RVP leaving the club next year if they are without silverware. Pray for Huntellar.

It’s enough to make a fan go weak at the knees.

And yet, in a way, it was inevitable. Particularly considering that this is Ferrari we’re talking about, and not McLaren or BMW. If Martin Whitmarsh had been calling the shots, Massa would, of course, have been, very logically, replaced by some young driver the team was attempting to blood, a Doornbos or some kid from GP2, to give them Grand Prix experience.

Italians, however, are known for taking logic out for a few drinks, showing it the town and then shoving it in the river when no-one’s looking. It’s just not their way.

Instead, we will see the return of a legend, doing a personal favour to the team he gave his heart to, replacing his friend and former teammate as he recovers in hospital. As I argued to SP last night, Schumacher has nothing to lose, and neither has the team. The car, I think we’ll agree, isn’t the quickest, and instead of going with Marc Gene or Luca Badoer, neither of whom, really, are very good Grand Prix drivers (though they may be excellent test drivers – yes, there is a difference), Ferrari have brought back one of the greatest drivers in the sport just when people were about to turn the television off.


The car, of course, still handles like a bucket of bolts. A bucket of bolts with KERS, but a bucket of bolts nonetheless.

schumi “You want me to drive that? What do you mean it’s only got three gears?
Achtung, this will not do at all. Stand back, I will have to rebuild
this thing from scratch.”

Photo courtesy Reuters

– el kapitan

Alright, first off, all this talk of Mark Webber’s first Grand Prix win being “a long time coming” needs to be done away with. Webber is an excellent, determined driver who has been plagued with more gremlins than Heikki Kovaleinen’s 2008 McLaren, but it has only been this year that he’s really stepped up his game.

In previous races this year he’s occasionally outshone Seb Vettel (by far the better driver, in my opinion) both on the track and with his race strategies, showing that he’s not going to be a No. 2 at Red Bull.

The season, meanwhile, is working out quite nicely, with the Red Bulls coming into their own, and chinks in the armour of the previously bulletproof BrawnGP cars beginning to show. Apparently they don’t like the low temperatures, with the front ends sliding about as if there were skates and not slicks on. Button was actually weaving during his hot laps just to work some temperature into his tyres.

McLaren’s aero updates seem to be doing the trick, too, but Lewis Hamilton, like the terrier on crack that he is, got a little carried away with his KERS-assisted start, and ended up shunting his race to hell. Heikki drove well, though – I was impressed with the determination he showed in a car which has, historically, handled like an overloaded shopping cart (remember, he didn’t have the aero updates that Hamilton was given, and was driving the same car that has become such a common fixture at the back of the grid).

The Ferraris, meanwhile, continue to be enigmatic – Massa got a fine 3rd, after keeping faster cars bottled up behind him and succeeding through strategy where he was failing through speed. Raikonnen, however, drove an indifferent race and retired when the prancing horses in the back of his Ferrari gave up a puff of blue smoke and decided to call it a day.

On cricket, briefly:

The English seem to be back to their old ways . . . battling to draw test matches they should be putting out of sight early on in the piece. If they manage to salvage a draw at Cardiff (as I type they’re 194-7, with about two hours to play), it’ll be little consolation. They just weren’t good enough against this Australian side, regardless of the result (and I fully expect Siddle, Hauritz and Johnson to mop them up over the next 120 minutes).

Pakistan is back to its best. Oh. Wait. No, that’s right, I meant it’s worst. Sorry . . . 90 all out in the first innings, and then letting the Sri Lankans get away to 150 odd for 3. Not a great day, no. Normal service, it would seem, has resumed.

Also: Khurram Manzoor and Fawad Alam to open the innings? Really?

– el kapitan

Webber winsFerrari’s Felipe Massa attempts to kill German GP winner Mark Webber by drowning
him, in a bid to bring the Ferraris back into contention for this year’s
championship. Not pictured: Mark Webber’s gremlins, who
took the weekend off.

Picture courtesy Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay

So, peace has broken out in F1, as the FIA and FOTA (the team’s association) have agreed to make nice and put to rest all talk of a possible split. And after all the arguing about budget cuts, ad revenue, the power to make technical rules, what it all came down to was everyone’s favourite Nazi fetishist, Max Mosley.

Namely, his exit. With Max’s promise that he won’t stand for re-election later this year, the teams’ issues are instantly assuaged, as they know it is far, far easier to negotiate with a brick wall as compared to Max Mosley when he’s adamant about something. Brick walls tend to be more reasonable, too.

Now let’s get this straight: I’m all for cutting costs in F1 and bringing teams closer together. I abhorred, however, the dictatorial manner in which Mosley decided to enforce the new rules which he had just that instant made up.

To be honest, the split had come perilously close, but the most likely result was always going to be some sort of compromise, particularly bearing in mind how much money CVC (the company Bernie Ecclestone represents) stood to lose if it was Campos vs USF1 battling it out for the F1 crown while Ferrari went head-to-head to McLaren over in the FOTA series.

So what happens next? Well, so far the 2010 rules are to remain more or less the same as the 2009 rules, while the teams have pledged to reduce costs to 1990s-levels over the next three years. FOTA will likely get more control over making technical regulations, and will also demand a larger slice of the TV revenue pie (right now they get only 50 per cent of total revenue, which is ludicrous considering that they’re the ones who actually make the sport work. Then again, all F1 is ludicrous.).

In other news, I think I spotted a pig flying late last night. Sources say it took off in Bloemfontein, after watching the Spain v US game. Then again, if this is the price we have to pay for Pakistan winning the World Cup, I say keh jaiz he (it’s justified).

-el kapitan

F1The drivers were on their way to a rival series, but a cunning
series of detours meant they found themselves at
Silverstone, at the British GP, instead.

Picture courtesy Reuters/Stephen Hird

P.S. Read this brilliant article on the Brazilian team. The Guardian makes my life worth living, I swear to Bob (Bob being my chosen omnipotent entity of the week).