Monday, October 09, 2006

All Blown Away

I hate to be repetitive but I just have been so absorbed by the formula 1 championship that I just couldn’t help myself from blogging about it . . .
Michael Schumacher retired from the Japanese Grand Prix due to an engine failure, in a race that he would have most definitely won, had fate not intervened. . . . Bitter Bitter disappointment. To understand the extent of disappointment of Schumacher’s exit from the race, one needs to know the situation.
2004 – Schumacher wins 13 out of 16 races – he showed unbelievable consistency, absolutely no one came close.
2005 – The ground below Schumacher’s feet slipped giving him no time to react! He slumped to a miserable finish at 3rd position in the championship. Alonso’s great driving and McLaren Mercedes’ bad luck narrowly snatched away the championship from Raikkonen’s grasp.
2006 – Everyone expected Alonso to steam roll the competition into submission, but guess who’s back in form – The man in scarlet – Michael Schumacher. Now 2006 was an uphill task for Schumacher because he not only had to regain his lost fire but he also had to catch up with the flying Spaniard.
The season after the US grand prix swung heavily in favour of Michael Schumacher and Ferrari, with the German showing why he is the undisputed king of the track. Simultaneously the cracks in Renault started up – an engine failure at Monza for Alonso and he lashed out in the press, blasting off his own team for lack of support, He then went on and blamed the FIA (Federation Internationale d’Automobile) the regulatory body of F1, alleging them of “rigging” formula one, of fixing results and of manipulating the rules and regulations to help Michael Schumacher.
Now Monza (Italian Grand Prix) was even more poignant and historic because Michael Schumacher after much speculation declared his intentions of retiring at the end of the season. Cut to Shanghai, Michael Schumacher overtook Alonso on the track – fair and square; yet Fernando went on record saying that Renault was deliberately botching up his championship chances. This surely was not the way a true champion would react to failure. A true champion is one who after victory, rejoices, celebrates but begins his quest for the next win; and at the same time, takes defeat in his stride, not looking for scapegoats for his failure.
The Scenario before Suzuka (Japanese Grand Prix) – Alonso and Schumacher – both were tied at the top of the championship table with 116 points a piece.
As the race progressed, Schumacher stamped his authority all over the race by overtaking Massa, albeit in a preplanned move, and running off at the head of the pack of cars. Alonso, too, to his credit splendidly overtook Trulli and then tactically, in an engrossing game of pit-lane poker came in front of Ferrari’s Felipe Massa after the first round of pit stops.
The stage was all set for an epic battle to the finish – The Grand Master versus the New kid on the block.
Sadly, it was not to be. In an unfortunate twist to the tale, Schumacher’s engine blew up, a mere 17 laps from the chequered flag, leaving Alonso to take the lead. Alonso, now in 1st place, drove a flawless race after that to finish the race, which in all probability is his championship clinching race.
But what happened after that was truly special. Schumacher stepped out of his, now defunct car, waved out to his fans – not the most common thing you would see a driver do, after having to retire from the lead position of a grand prix. He walked all the way back to the pit lane; into the Ferrari garage, with a smile on his face. He met each and every member of the pit-crew. Hugging and shaking hands with them , thanking them for the unflinching support he had received from them .He walked across to the Ferrari think tank – Jean Todt and Ross Brawn , embraced both of them and sat down with them to watch the remainder of the race; all without showing any disappointment or anger.
Was he not disappointed? Of course he was, and why not? It was his penultimate grand prix. He was leaving the job he loved doing the most. It was his only chance at winning his 8th Championship but now it was all over. Which driver wouldn’t feel aggrieved? But here was a true champion. And here in lies the difference between Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso.A driver who has won 92 times and one who has raced 85 times. I am sure Alonso will go on to be an illustrious driver with a great record. But he has lots to learn from Michael. Schumi had demonstrated his ability to ruthlessly strive to win but to also accept defeat gracefully, something a certain hot headed Spaniard has yet to learn. The wizened old man of Formula one isn’t the most revered person in F1 for nothing. His track record speaks for itself. But his true character shone through in the most unlikely of times.

© 2006 .No part of this article may be reproduced or quoted without the expressed permission of Akshay Gopinathan Nair .


random_musings said...


gr8 blog...not just coz it brings out the passion for F1 in u...but also sine its a gr8 piece of writing and shows that you really can convey things very well...

Kaushik said...

You have good and convincing way of writing.

For a consistent winner like him at that level of pressure, it must have been really hard to contain ones emotions. A true champion, a sports star, a legend.

Dr Indumati said...

Written from the heart by an ardent worshipper of F1 and Schumi,I could feel a lump in my throat as I finished reading the passionate write up!!

Dr. Neha said...

i'm not a F1 aficiando but have seen the victor's smile and the flowing bubbly, the joy of victory and an uncontainable smile on the face of great champion or should i say consistent champion, for i've seen his snap; each like a replica of the previous one which appeared after he won his previous grand prix in every newspaper worth it's print!
well written insight into schumi's winning streak. guess i'm going to follow more of F1 now and in retrospect schumi's carrer too.should definitely be inspiring!

B0$$ said...

Hey.. i am a schumi fan as u do.. It seems engine blown away but not his talent or his heart, although it was not his.. For the second time in history ALonso won the championship out of pure luck(i have no other word) :)

Instead of all this unfortunate events schumi showed his stunning drivein the last race, though his bad luck continued in qualifying and in Race.. The way he overtook Kimi, i think nobody has done it so far..

Whatever Happens schumi will be rememberd as the greatest driver in the history of F1.

My Next bet will be Kubica and Massa :)