The Formula One Insider

By Mitch McCann, USA
Atlas F1 Magazine Writer


First of all, let me apologize for my absence from the post-Imola edition. While I was actually away on vacation doing the Disney thing with the family, a more important reason was that I figured that there was a much better chance that two races would provide enough material for a single report. I should have known better.

I normally watch each race twice and then put it on again as background noise while I'm actually writing. I couldn't even bear to do that this week and so I am writing this report to the accompaniment of Driven. Having only seen Driven once before, at least the ending will be less predictable than any of the F1 races this season. (Oh look at that. Sylvester's trying to act. It's so cute!)

So I'm left with a quandary. I could try and write about the race or I could invite you all over to look at my holiday pictures. Which do you think would be less boring? How about we combine the two?


So, I packed up the wife and kids and drove down to Orlando to see Mickey. From here in Massachusetts that's about 1,300 miles. We did it in a little over 24 hours at a higher average speed than McLaren have managed over the course of the season. And that's not bad if you consider that we had to stop for tolls every three miles between here and the Virginia line. I must admit our pit stops left a little to be desired but were probably just a shade slower than Minardi's.

We rented a nice house five minutes from DisneyWorld and so of course we spent most of our time at Universal. (Advance planning for our trip was done by Max Mosley. He expects to finalize the plans for next years trip no later than 2006).

Now I'm a big kid when it comes to the rides at the theme parks. My favourite was the Incredible Hulk roller coaster, which accelerates from zero to 40 mph in two seconds. I thought I saw Ron Dennis trying to sneak a peek at the underside of the cars. I think this would also be Montoya's favourite ride as it could easily be re-named the Incredible Sulk.

By the way, if David Coulthard is reading this, I'd be more than happy to show you around Orlando this time next year. There are plenty of rides available there. Of course, you do have to pay for all the rides. (I did see Jos Verstappen while I was there - he was at the ticket booth trying to negotiate the price).

When we weren't at the parks, we rented a couple of airboats - you know those weird looking boats with the huge fans on the back. With my 9-year-old son driving one and my 6-year-old daughter the other, I haven't seen so much mis-directed hot air outside of a Formula One press conference.

All too soon it was time to come home and knowing that awaiting my return was a tape of the Imola race, I impressed myself by managing the return journey (funnily enough also about 1300 miles) in a little over 4 days, 15 hours.


NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon was on hand at the track this week. He has of course previously tested an F1 car and expressed his greatest shock at the amazing braking performance of these cars. That and the fact that the steering wheel goes both ways. (Incidentally, this is NASCAR's first week off since 1992).

One of the least useful commentator comments this weekend was Bob Varsha on Speed TV. As we came back from a commercial break he said, "You missed nothing while in break." Who'd have thunk it! Two minutes of an F1 race where nothing happened!!

Talking of TV coverage, why do they insist on counting lead changes? (There were "5" in this race). Now this is obviously not an official, Siemens monitored statistic (if it was it would appear on the screen in text far to small to actually read) but why does anybody bother counting these theoretical lead changes? They all happened in the pits and most of them were only due to the fact that not everybody pits on the same lap. This statistic is about as useful as the number of tear offs deposited on the front straight, the gross weight of Bernie Ecclestone's wallet or the number of cars on the grid that are not Ferraris.

Strange how much attention was given to Sato setting a lap record this weekend. The track has been shortened since last year so maybe that was not such an earth-shattering event after all.

Olivier Panis received a drive through penalty for speeding in the pit lane. How ironic that Toyota should be penalized for going too fast.


Do you think there's any chance of me booking another vacation to coincide with the next race?

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Volume 10, Issue 19
May 12th 2004

Atlas F1 Exclusive

Exclusive Interview with Mike Gascoyne
by Biranit Goren

Bjorn Wirdheim: Going Places
by Bjorn Wirdheim

Ann Bradshaw: Point of View
by Ann Bradshaw

2004 Spanish GP Review

2004 Spanish GP Review
by Pablo Elizalde

Technical Review: Spain 2004
by Craig Scarborough

Full House
by Richard Barnes

Stats Center

Qualifying Differentials
by Marcel Borsboom

by David Wright

Charts Center
by Michele Lostia


The F1 Insider
by Mitch McCann

Season Strokes
by Bruce Thomson

Elsewhere in Racing
by David Wright & Mark Alan Jones

The Weekly Grapevine
by Dieter Rencken

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