It has seemed like an eternity since I last posted here, but in all reality there was nothing to post about. Most of the racing seemed to be happening behind the closed doors of FIA HQ, 6 Place de la Concorde, Paris, instead of the race track. The F1 season is at its mid point and due to the dynamics of the North American leg of the calendar, the following 4 races in July will be extremely important for the rest of the season. Magny-cours is a fantastic track to start some real racing. Tires: There will be tremendous pressure on Mr. Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin Director of Competition, to make sure that no tire failures occur for the remainder of the races regardless of performance. He will probably be reluctant to push the envelope any further. Make no mistake Michelin will be looking for a victory on French Soil. But this time they will bring an option for a safe tire and this time they will not hesitate to force teams to use the safe tire option. Bridgestone on the other hand will look to continue the momentum they have built up from North America. Hisao Suganuma is the Technical Manager of Bridgestone and his view of the upcoming race is as follows: Magny-Cours is a challenging circuit with several slow speed corners requiring good rear traction. The grip performance of our tyres will therefore be very important this weekend and we have chosen tyres from our medium to soft compound range. The key for the drivers will be to keep their speeds up through the slow corners such as the Adelaide Hairpin and chicane. The nature of the dark Magny-Cours tarmac, however, means that while we want medium to soft compound tyres, they need to have good heat durability because if it is sunny, we could experience track temperatures of approximately 50 degrees Celsius. We also need to be vigilant about rear tyre degradation. Because of these factors, we have been working hard with our teams on new compounds to increase levels of grip and after encouraging test results in Barcelona recently, we look forward to seeing the latest compound developments in action at Magny-Cours this weekend. Clearly Bridgestone sense this is their opportunity to go on the offensive, take some calculated risks and offer their teams a softer compound (potentially less reliable). Engine: The three Bridgestone teams that completed the USGP will be at a slight disadvantage. The Michelin teams did not complete the USGP and their engines were not utilized as much. Since engines must be used for two races in a row, the 7 Michelin teams can adopt a more aggresive setting at Magny-cours. This sentiment was echoed by Ferrari R&D Director, Gilles Simon. Magny Cours follows on from Indianapolis which is one of the toughest circuits on engines and ours have already done around 600 kilometers on a very tough track, continues Simon. Our rivals, who did not complete the last race, will therefore be able to adopt a more aggressive plan in terms of distance covered by the engines and engine revs at Magny Cours. I would class it as a tiny advantage for them as our engines will be on their second race. It will be a tiny advatange for Renault and McLaren but this will probably compensate for the defensive stance they take during tire selection. Driver dynamics: Just two races ago, Alonso had a commanding lead over the championship. He had won 4 races and finished in the points each time. He had a small error in judgment in Montreal and suffered the result of Michelin-gate at Indianapolish. Now starts the pressure from his French bosses to win at the home Grand prix. Adding to that is the pressure of disappointment from two races. This is compounded by the pressure from Kimi, who is growing in confidence and is looking very comfortable in the MP4-20. Can the young Spaniard win Magny-cours? Yes. Can he hold up under the mounting pressure? Only time will tell. So where does this leave Kimi. The iceman seems to be calm and composed. At Nurburgring he was certain of a victory, but a faulty right front Michelin tire prevented the victory. He took that in stride and did not show much concern. A win in Montreal showed that he was determined to succeed. The MP4-20 is one of the best cars I have seen to come out of McLaren for a long time. Incidents such as Michelin-gate do not bother Kimi. He will be out to win the French GP and get this second half of the F1 season started the right way. Michael Schumacher, 7 time world champion! He will be very cautious to down play the possibilities of an eight world championship. His first victory of the season was a shame because I really believe that he could have won without Michelin-gate occurring. None the less, when you have accomplished as much as Michael has in his career you do not hold back. Michael will be pushing as hard as he can in the F2005. He would like to secure a victory or a solid podium finish to secure his position in the standings and put him self within striking distance should Alonso falter along the way. Rubens Barrichello is now in fourth place in the standings and a switch away from the Scuderia seems more than likely for next season. He might have a point or two to prove before he leaves. One thing the Tifosi know is that Rubens has the heart of a lion. He is a passionate man and I would expect him to put in a few spirited drives in the F2005 before leaving. This will probably help Ferrari secure another constructors world championship. The constructors world championship: It takes two to tango! This is probably true when it comes to winning the constructors title. It is easy to secure the world championship if you have two consistent drivers rather than one star performer and one laggard. Just ask Flavio Briatore. Renault and Flavio are clearly losing their patience with Fisichella. At mcLaren, while Kimi seems to be performing miracles, Montoya seems to be having a hard time differentiating between the colors green and red. It will be hard to beat Ferrari, with both Michael and Rubens consistently scoring points and ending up on the podium. The Scuderia have sorted out most of the reliability issues of the F2005 and Bridgestone are banking on safety. Ferrari should be able to secure this years constructors title within the next 6 or 7 races. Silly Season: With the possibility of Jenson Button, Fisichella, Rubens and Massa moving to different teams the rumors are in full swing. This is just another distraction from the real racing. Button needs to score points for BAR. Fisichella could play a big factor in helping Alonso secure the drivers title. Rubens needs to continue to perform as the Ferrari number 2 to secure the constructors title. Massa needs to cup of coffee to wake up because he still needs to prove himself to the potential future masters at Maranello. So get on with real racing guys and stop worrying about future contracts! Let your driving do the talking. BMW Williams: The potential Cinderella story has turned sour. BMW wants to race as a factory outfit and have entered the F1 field by buying Sauber. Williams thought they had exclusivity and for a little while with Ralf and Montoya driving for them, things were not looking too bad. Ralf could not deliver and Montoya was too busy blaming everyone. Williams may return to Honda for engines next year, but what does that mean for this year. We have had success with WilliamsF1, but last year and at the beginning of this year we did not meet our common targets, BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen told the teams official web site. However, he is hoping for things to turn around, We want success, and we want it this year - we will pursue this target with no limits whatsoever. Our aim is still to win races this year. Nick Heidfeld is looking ready for a victory and he has shown Mark Webber who is number 1 at Williams. Paul Stoddart: Someone please hand this guy his medication. Show some class Mr. Stoddart. I think Michelin, FIA and Bernie understand that Michelin-gate was a disaster for F1. So let the officials handle the business. You have an opinion and everyone respects it. But a new press statement every 24 hours is just overkill. We know you want Maxs job and we know you could probably do it better then Max so calm down and concentrate on racing before some teams start requesting the 10% rule to come back. So how will the French Grand Prix turn out: MY PREDICTIONS: 1. Kimi Räikkönen 2. Michael Schumacher 3. Jenson Button 4. Fernando Alonso 5. Nick Heidfeld 6. Rubens Barrichello 7. Juan Pablo Montoya 8. Ralf Schumacher 9. David Coulthard MY HOPE as always: Ferrari 1 2! Nothing else matters!!! On a more personal note: 19th July, 2005 taught me a lot of things. It was hard to see people so pissed off at a sport I am so passionate about. There was no way to reason with them, they were fans just like me. Since no one had given them the right information, they were angry, angry at everybody! But some things really are more important than a 6 car parade. Fathers Day, coming home to warm meal and a comfortable bed, family, and great friends. Things go wrong once in a while but as wise man once told me Adversity does not reveal character, it builds character I would like to apologize sincerely about my comments on this forum in the past. I am mature enough to understand that words are like arrows. Once they are spoken they cannot be taken back. Bernardo66, Beast, Writerguy, Senna21, PSK, Turboflat, Tifosi12 and the many other I made a concerted effort to piss off sorry about being an a$$. In any case, I am not going to reveal my identity online. I will not post any personal photographs. I am adamant about that. So you can choose to ignore me but please lets show each other the dignity to refrain from calling names. I hope you all enjoy the Grand Prix of France in 5 days. We need some real racing and we need a Ferrari 1 2 under real racing conditions! I would to hear what you guys think. Does Ferrari stand a chance? Is Kimi going to win?