Modern Times

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Every so often, Formula One delivers up a special moment At the time it may merely be part of the general excitement But, as the dust settles, you decipher a greater historical significance, and you realise you’ve been shown a glimpse of the future.

When Juan Pablo Montoya dived inside Michael Schumacher at the end of that bumpy, undulating 190mph straight at Interlagos into the plunging second-gear Senna S, we witnessed such a moment On the third lap of only his third grand prix, the young Colombian was elbowing through to take the lead, rubbing wheels with the Ferrari and edging it briefly onto the grass. And there was nothing that Schumacher, so talented, so experienced, so hard, could do about it.

Afterwards — sinprisingly for today’s F1 — there was no acrimony, for Schumacher realised here was a new rival he had to respect. “He got it right,” said the world champion. “He braked very late, he pushed me wide, we touched. It is not a problem. It is normal racing.” Reading between the lines, that says Schuey is relishing further battles with Montoya, and on the track rather than in the press room. In Formula One, the pendulum swings slowly: but it is certainly swinging up now for Williams and for BMW, who are generally believed to have produced the most powerful engine on the grid. Nevertheless, a mass of power in a chassis that needs lots of wing to get around the corners isn’t going to win races, and it’s clear that the Michelin-shod 2001 Williams makes up an excellent package.

And Montoya is making wonderful use of it Almost more impressive than his race performance was his wild qualifying session. It isn’t in Juan Pablo’s nature to be daunted by an Fl car, as his opposite-lock slides around Turn Eight at Interlagos bear witness. On his first flyer in qualifying, he got out of shape at Mergulho, a 120mph left. Rather than aborting the lap, he kept his right foot buried and fought the car. After a tank-slapper of heroic proportions, the car won, and on his pits TV, Patrick Head saw the upsetting sight of the Williams in the barriers. Expletives deleted.

But Montoya redeemed himself by pounding back up the hillside in the heat — the accident had happened far away on the other side of the circuit — to be strapped into the spare can That he followed all this by qualifying it on the second row shows we are dealing with someone special.

The next day, as Montoya drew away from Schumacher, we all surmised that the Williams had to be carrying less fuel than the Ferrari, and was on a two-stopper. Actually it was the other way round. Montoya had 40kg more fuel on board than did Schumacher, as we realised when the Ferrari came in atone-third distance, and the Williams sailed serenely on.

The ridiculous incident when the lapped Jos Verstappen missed his braking point and slammed into the back of the Williams leaves us guessing how Montoya and the Michelin wets would have dealt with the rain, let alone an inspired Coulthard in a McLaren set up for a wet track. As it was, the shunt brought more proof of Montoya’s mental strength: back at the pits afterwards he was relaxed and good-humoured. “In racing,” he said, “I have learned to be patient” I don’t think he’ll have to be patient for long before he’s an F1 winner.

If Juan Pablo had won his third grand prix, he’d have been — apart from Giancarlo Baghetti’s freak 1961 Reims win — a record-breaker.

Emerson Fittipaldi, won his fourth, the 1970 United States Grand Prix. It was a moving day for Colin Chapman, whose Team Lotus had been devastated by the death of Jochen Rindt four weeks before. That, plus the departure ofJohn Miles, had abruptly elevated the 23-year-old Brazilian from apprentice to team leader, and the Watkins Glen win did a lot to put Lotus morale back together — not unlike Damon Hill’s 1994 Barcelona win for Williams, four weeks after Senna’s death.

Jacques Villeneuve, like Montoya a ChampCar champion, equalled Emerson’s mark when he won his fourth F1 race, the 1996 European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.

Equally impressive in its way was the achievement of Clay Regazzoni. The moustachioed Swiss started his F1 career in 1970 at the ripe old age of 30, finished third in that year’s championship behind Rindt and Ferrari team-mate Icloc, and won his fifthever grand prix, in front of the ecstatic tifosi at Monza. Watching Montoya pulling away from Schumacher in Brazil, my mind was rewinding some special moments of the past.

Senna, in the lorry-like Toleman, closing in on Proses McLaren in the wet at Monte Carlo in 1984. It was his fifth grand prix; but, unlike Montoya, he was in an uncompetitive car. Mike Hawthorn outfumbling Fangio to win the French Grand Prix at Reims in 1953 — he’d done a handful of grands prix the year before in an F2 Cooper-Bristol, but it was only his fourth Ferrari drive. Jochen Rindt coming alive in the closing laps of the 1970 Monaco GP, his Lotus 49C bearing down on Jack Brabham’s leading BT33 and pressuring him into a mistake on the final comer of the race. But that was Jochen’s 54th grand prix, and only his second victory. The man of whom Jenks said: “If he ever wins a grand prix, I’ll shave off my beard” drove only six more grands prix. He won four of them, and by the time we were mourning his loss, he was champion.

And I thought of other moments that marked a change in F1’s direction. Stirling Moss in Argentina in 1958, of course, beating the Ferraris on threadbare tyres and heralding the coming of the rear-engined revolution. But also Jackie Stewart in the rain at Zandvoort 10 years later, using Dunlop’s latest wet-weather tyre on the Matra-Ford to score the first of 25 grand prix victories for Ken Tyrrell. And the maiden Williams win, ironically for Regazzoni after Williams’ main man Alan Jones had retired with water pump failure, at Silverstone in 1979. It had taken Frank 88 hard and rocky grands prix to get to that first win, but of the next 290 his cars won an extraordinary 102. That was a change of direction right enough.

There hasn’t been a Williams win since they lost the Renault engine at the end of 1997,54 races ago; but now the BMW engine deal is bearing fruit And while we fete Montoya, let’s remember that Ralf Schumacher qualified on the front row and, after being another victim of Barrichello’s earlylap enthusiasms, restarted after repairs and conclusively set fastest lap. But most of all, seeing Montoya lead Michael Schumacher put me in mind of another seminal moment on the same circuit seven years ago, when the young Michael Schumacher in a Benetton was outpacing three-times world champion Ayrton Senna in his Williams — until Senna spun off.

Most people think of Alain Prost as the major rival of Senna’s career, but the man a top driver most fears is the one on the way up who shows he can beat him. (It’s no coincidence that the wily Fangio was keen to have Stirling Moss join him at Mercedes in 1955.) Senna’s tragic death robbed us of mighy battles to come between the greatest driver of his era and the young pretender. Now Michael is where Senna was, the greatest driver of his era. After Brazil, he may well see Montoya, in terms of aggressiveness and threat, as the young pretender.

Usually, Michael will acknowledge only Mika Haltinen as a rival whose talent he takes seriously — although this may have something to do with winding up David Coulthard. And David certainly did the job in Brazil.

In Malaysia, Ferrari had the luck — both cars off the track meant they were slightly later in the pits for their change to rain tyres than were the McLarens, and those vital few extra seconds were enough to tell Ross Brawn that the Safety Car was coming out and that intermediates would therefore be a better bet.

In Brazil, by contrast, David’s insistence on going for a wet-weather chassis set-up played a major part in his win — and it makes his aggressive charge in the early laps all the more impressive, for his McLaren can’t have been nice to drive during the majority of the race, when it was dry. It was perhaps the strongest and most mature of David’s 10 victories, and it was water in the desert for the beleaguered McLaren team.

But Schumacher’s defeat in Brazil, initially by Montoya and ultimately by Coulthard, doesn’t mean the end of Ferrari’s superiority quite yet. Schumacher’s car wasn’t handling as he wanted over the Interlagos bumps, and the degree of wing needed on this circuit meant that the lack of balance the McLarens had shown in Australia and Malaysia was less in evidence. So, while Coulthard has put a stop to Schumacher’s run of wins, Michael has to remain favourite for the championship. It’s just great news that, thanks to McLaren’s recovery, the rebirth of Williams, and a sparkling new recruit to the ranks of the world’s real racers, he may have to work alit debit harder for it.

You may also like

Related products