Alonso leading by 4? – II

Apropos the earlier post (I know the stats-shy may have stopped reading by now), I came across some new information on the same at http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/statistics/. The most shocking of all was that Eddie Irvine would have been the champion in 1999 had the new points system been in effect. Actually, it should not be that surprising, considering Mika Hakkinen had won it over Irvine by a mere 2 points. Under the news points system, Irvine would have won by a 6-point margin.

Michael Schumacher may have won in 1997 with the new points system, but he also would have lost the 1994 title to Damon Hill. Under the old points, Schumacher piped Hill by a solitary point; the new one would have seen Hill being World Champion by a good 8 points.

Other statistical highlights courtesy http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/statistics/
1992- Michael Schumacher’s first season was so impressive that, had the 2003-specification points system been used that year, he would have tied for second with Riccardo Patrese.
1995 – Had the 2003 points system been used in 1995, Johnny Herbert would have been third overall, instead of David Coulthard.
1996 – To highlight how the post-2003 points system rewards consistent finishing in the lower places more than occasional finishes in the higher places, compare Jean Alesi and Michael Schumacher. Alesi (no wins) trailled Schumacher (three wins) by 12 points in real life, but under post-2003 points he would have been just two points behind.

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Of Raikonnen and unreliable cars

The jury’s out once again on Kimi Raikonnen following his retirement on lap nine in the Spanish GP with an alternator failure. What irked the critics even more was the fact that Raikonnen was perhaps already checking in at the airport while Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa crossed the finish line in first place. Former driver and team boss Jackie Stewart has already questioned the Finn’s commitment.

If you have been following Formula 1, you still must be wondering how Kimi is to blame for a technical snag. Yes, Ferrari has had reliability issues this season and Massa suffered in the first race of the season. However, Raikonnen is no stranger to unreliable cars. Non-finishes plagued his stint at McLaren, especially in the last two seasons. Moreover, if this trend continues at Ferrari, Kimi will be facing the heat.

After four races, the tables have surely turned this season. What started out as a Fernando Alonso v/s Kimi Raikonnen battle is now a four-way affair, with both Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton leading their more illustrious counterparts at Ferrari and McLaren respectively. Rookie Hamilton is at the head of the pack, with 30 points, followed by Alonso on 28, Massa on 27 and Raikonnen on 22. McLaren with 58 points lead next-best Ferrari by nine points.

While the talk about Hamilton is on, the Brazilian Massa has churned out two consecutive race wins in his Ferrari. If he wins the upcoming Monaco GP, will this mean that Ferrari will consider him as their top driver for the Drivers’ Championship? In addition, if that does happen over the next few races, will Raikonnen feel comfortable at Ferrari? After all, Raikonnen’s move from McLaren to Ferrari was in quest of that elusive World Championship.

Monaco Preview

The next race at Monaco would be a challenging one. Overtaking is next to impossible on the streets of Monte-Carlo, and we have seen how Alonso lost track position following the ‘racing incident’ with Massa at his home GP in Catalunya. Interestingly, in the last three seasons the drivers on pole have gone on to win the Monaco GP – Alonso in 2006, Raikonnen in 2005, and Italian Jarno Trulli in 2004.

A collision at the start could create havoc, and with the four frontrunners vying for the top slot, we could just witness one. If this indeed does happen, we could well see constructors other than Ferrari or McLaren make their presence felt on the podium. Team BMW has been closest to the podium, with four fourth place finishes in the four races held so far.

After the impressive fifth-place finish at Catalunya, Red Bull’s David Coulthard will be looking forward to Monaco. Incidentally, ‘DC’ – who had won at Monaco with McLaren in 2002 – finished third in the Red Bull last year. Many would be hoping that the 36-year old Scot repeats the performance this year and end the stranglehold that Ferrari and McLaren have had on the podium in 2007.

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