The Drood Report

Nick Fry is a jerk.

A Drood Report Primer: Who We Like

Despite being negative and critical about F1 a lot of the time (it’s hard to take so much abuse from something you love so much), there are a fair few people and teams to put on this list.

1) Fernando Alonso: This guy largely saved F1 for me. By the end of 2004 I was burnt out severely on F1. Sick of it. The German had just won his 97th straight title, or at least that’s what it felt like. Alonso had won one race, where he lapped The German. This led to Ferrari running crying to Daddy at the FIA and generally acting like the spoiled little brats they are and getting Michelin to nuke their tyres. In short, I was dangerously sick of F1 and on the verge of giving up.

Then Fernando started winning. It was about mid 2005 when I went from being merely interested in Fernando to being a fan. He, along with number 2 on my list, represent why I started watching F1 in the first place. Real chargers who raced hard, but fair. Actual RACERS up the front of the field rather than what we’d had before. (Cheaters and whores.) The essence of the sport had been recaptured in Alonso and my number 2 on the list. My appreciation of Alonso took a hit last year with his behaviour at Hungary during qualifying, but rightly or wrongly, he was just balancing the scales after Lewis didn’t listen to what he was told earlier in the session by the team. Does that excuse Alonso? No, because I don’t believe you should sink to your oppositions level if they act like jerks. However, it was mitigating circumstances, and while it took some of the shine of my appreciation of the guy, I am still an Alonso fan, and very happy to see him back where he belongs, away from the corporate nightmare that is McLaren.

2) Kimi Raikkonen: I’ve liked Kimi from day one. I really enjoyed it when the FIA said “Well you’re a bit of a newbie, you can have your license for a probationary period” and he went out and kicked ass showing he well and truly deserved to be in Formula One. He has not disappointed since. I believe Kimi is a bit of a car killer. He’s certainly had his share of reliability issues over the years. He’s also lost at least one championship due to this. He’s never given up though. I went from “I like this guy” to “Holy crap this guy is awesome” with his amazing 2005 Japanese Grand Prix. Both he and Alonso shone in that race. Kimi’s race winning move on Fisichella on the last lap was the stuff movies are made of.

It was disappointing to learn that Kimi was moving to The Scarlet Menace. However he hasn’t become one of their minions. He still seems to be his own man, and if Alonso couldn’t be 2007 champion, I was very happy to see Kimi finally make it. He deserved it, and despite loathing Ferrari, my hetero manlove for the Kimster continues, and even though he’s driving for the enemy now, dammit, I still love to watch the guy race.

3) Nick Heidfeld: For years he raced in the shadow of the Teutonic Terror, and quietly plied his trade. I’ve always liked Nick. Not sure why. There’s just something about the guy I like. His attitude in interviews. His ability on track. I like a driver who goes about his business with the minimum of fuss and let’s his driving do the talking.

4) BMW: I was not a fan of BMW when they split with Williams. I have, and will always be a massive Williams fan. They’re one of the only teams in F1 to hold onto the sporting ethos of F1 while it becomes more and more about business. I was very angry when BMW ditched them. However the BMW have impressed me. They’re slowly moving up. They make good looking, quick F1 cars. They have likeable guys driving them. In short I wish BMW nothing but good things, and enjoy seeing them move forward. That first race win cannot be far away, and I’ll be very happy to see it. Especially if Heidfeld is the one driving the winning car. I think I may very well go a bit nuts if that happens!

5) Jarno Trulli: One of the good guys. Every time I read an interview with him, I like him a bit more. I feel sorry for him that he’s been lumbered with such a deadbeat team for so long. He’s a good driver, and deserves more ticks in his “Win” column than he has. Seems to have spent a lot of time in the wrong place at the wrong time. Rather like Martin Brundle actually. Brundle was in Benetton and left before they hit their success, drove for McLaren when they sunk down the grid etc… Trulli drove for Renault before they really hit their stride. Went to Toyota where it was not unrealistic to expect success. It’s a shame, but I will always have a soft spot for Jarno, whether he’s bothering the boys up front, or fighting to keep a Super Aguri behind him.

6) Williams: See above in the BMW comments. Been a fan of the team for two decades, even if they did give my favourite driver of the last 20 years the shaft. (Damon Hill) Team deserves to be up the front. Toyota power has not moved them up as far as I hoped, but in testing they’ve been quick, so hopefully a podium or two is not out of the question this year. I like Nico Rosberg too. He’s stayed loyal to Williams when he could have easily run for the hills like a certain English driver a few years back. Both Nico and Williams deserve more success. Have no real opinion on Nakajima as I don’t know much about him. All I know is the great comedy value his Dad provided in the early onboard camera days where it was guaranteed he’d spin or crash within mere seconds of them switching to his camera.

7) Takuma Sato: He has a reputation for being a bit of a loose cannon and crashing a lot, though after giving it some thought I really don’t think that reputation is deserved as he really doesn’t crash more than any other driver around the same position. And even if he does, it would stand to reason as he quite often fights his way through the field. You pass 5-10 cars every race, you’re going to have more accidents than the driver who passes only a couple of cars per race. That stands to reason. I’ve liked Takuma since he debuted in the sport. Won my undying affection and loyalty forever when, after passing Coulthard at the Nurburgring, DC said something like “I would never have done that” and Takuma said “I know”. Wish he’d be in a better team, but seeing the lowly Aguri passing Alonso at Montreal last year was one of the highlights of the season.

8) Heikki Kovalainen: I like Finnish drivers it would seem. See my season preview for pretty much all the reasons I like Heikki.

Anyone who has appeared on neither list, I am largely indifferent too. I have no time for or interest in Force India. It’s an embarrassment to the sport for that team to be changing hands yet again for the third time in as many years. And for the owner to claim their car would be on the podium at the inaugural Indian GP is a bad joke, if for no other reason than I fully expect the team to have changed hands at least one more time before then.

Needless to say everything is subject to change. If, say, Alonso deliberately takes out Kimi, he’ll be onto the “Dislike” list so fast his head will spin. I am, above all else, a fan of the SPORT of Formula One, before I’m a fan of any drivers or teams. I watch Formula One because I love the sport more than anything else. The drivers and teams are just players on a larger stage.

The actors change. The play endures.

Cars roll off in less than 24 hours. BRING IT ON!

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March 13, 2008 - Posted by | f1 | ,

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