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Webmaster in Chinese GP 2004
We Never Forget Suzuka 90!
The Waiting was over. I have accused Chinese media of never reporting a single piece of F1 news correctly. They still do not. But time will come when they do. Because F1 has arrived in China.
I made sure that I brought to the Shanghai track a "We Never Forget Suzuka 90" flag. I would not allow in China a dirty F1. The stain Ayrton Senna made on F1, by so nearly killing Alain Prost in Suzuka to win the 1990 World Championship, is still there. But while Senna and F1 money makers can fool a lot of fools, they cannot fool a 5000 year long civilization. The first ever Chinese GP marks the day starting from which the 1990 Suzuka violence will forever be condemned.
Former Prost drivers, Nick Heidfeld and Olivier Panis, finished in 13th and 14th positions respectively. Olivier suffered from a slow start after doing very well in qualifying. Originally he was 8th on the grid.
I feel very sorry that another former Prost driver, Jarno Trulli, did not race in China. His place in Renault was taken by Jacques Villeneuve. When Renault decided to replace Jarno with Giancarlo Fisichella for 2005, team boss Flavio Briatore gave a ridiculous reason, which is that Jarno had too good relationship with teammate Fernando Alonso! Later, he blamed Jarno for Renault's losing ground to BAR in their fight for second place in the Constructors' Championship. The fact is, it was Jarno who had won a race for Renault this season and he had scored more championship points than Alonso did before the Chinese GP. Not taking anything away from Villeneuve, if it were Jarno in the car, BAR's Jenson Button probably wouldn't come so close to almost lap the #7 Renault. Don't get me wrong, I respect Jacques very much and I am sure he will soon do very well. But he had been out of action for a year. You cannot expect him to do what Alain Prost did in Kyalami'93 - Alain won his first race after a sabbatical year.
Then, of course, if "Renault" as a team has ever been any wiser, they would probably have won the world championship as early as in 1984 - with Alain Prost. Renault sacked Prost after he narrowly lost the 1983 world title because, and only because, of a mechanical failure. Alain then joined McLaren and won his first 3 titles there.
Most eyes were on Michael Schumacher though. You would have thought that a 7-time world champion should show some "class" in his profession. But Michael span in qualifying and in the race he hit Christian Klien. (The way Ayrton Senna hit Alain Prost in Suzuka'89, except that he didn't put half his car over the kerb like Senna did.) Planet-F1.com Editorial said Klien should have expected the overtaking because "the World Champion" was closing fast approaching an obvious overtaking spot.
World Champion - SO WHAT. Michael was behind and still behind when Christian made the apex. Michael was not even half alongside. He made a wrong judgment and Christian had to pay for it? What stupid logic it is from Planet-F1.com!
Unfortunately Michael Schumacher was not the craziest driver of the day. The "glory" went to David Coulthard. I gave him a thumb up when he resisted Michael's overtaking by outbraking him into the hairpin. He tried to repeat it a lap or two later, totally missed the braking point and went wide. Michael was through. On lap 37 he tried to pass Ralf Schumacher at the same place but he hit Ralf. Of course he did. He started it so far back that it was like he was firing a McLaren missile at the Williams! No better word than "stupid" and "reckless" can describe such kind of irresponsible driving. David did say sorry after the race. Next time, learn not to do it.
Star of the race, from where I saw, is Kimi Raikkonen. He was only third on the podium though, as 1st and 2nd went to Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button. Rubens wisely backed off in the closing stages. He couldn't afford to lose the race, because Ferrari President would be there to collect the Constructor's trophy - and to get soaked in champagne, inside-out!
After all it was a very good race. And the track is excellent. I like the roofs of the spectator stands which resemble lotus leaves. I can have no complaint except that I don't understand why better food was sold only outside the entrance, and it was written in big Chinese characters that you could not re-enter after going out! Lucky that my tongue and stomach are usually less demanding during an F1 race.