Sunday, July 26, 2009

Senna Massa Surtees

Bear with me I'm a little freaked and am having a weird, join-the-dots moment.

I was watching my beloved F1 at Hungary on Saturday pm. For my past ponderings on F1, go here.

I suspected that the crash involving Brazilian Felipe Massa, where the car seemed to just drive off into the wall with little or no input from the driver, was not actually a car problem, but a driver problem. It was almost as if he just lost consciousness.

Of course, I had no-one to explain this theory to as I was all alone, which I mostly am when I watch F1. Funny about that. Well, Sharon was away for the weekend at a scrapbooking boot camp, where hopefully she will finish the wedding photo album.

Anyhoo, my theory was proven correct when replays showed a suspension spring bouncing down the track and hitting poor Felipe (who I affectionately call "FES", for fans of That 70's Show) in the face. As good as carbon fibre helmets are, they can't stop a metal spring from penetrating and lacerating one's face.

As a diversion from the hard reality of it all, commentators waxed bafflingly over how the spring had bounced into Fes's path when there were no cars immediately ahead to kick it up. Well, I thought. It's a spring. It bounced. That's what they do. It could have been bouncing around for hours before poor Fes came along. But again of course, no-one was there to hear my brilliance.

Brawn GP driver Rubens Barrichello, a fellow Brazilian, had visited Fes at his bedside.

The next morning at little league footy, where, incidentally, Sammy's team won, I met a Pommy guy who had raced formula Ford in the UK and once worked on the car of Roland Ratzenberger.

For the uninitiated, Ratzenberger was the Austrian who was tragically killed on the Saturday practice at the Imola Grand Prix of May 1st, 1994. The Sunday race was then made infamous by the death of Brazilian Ayrton Senna, where a piece of suspension had peirced Senna's helmet. Besides visiting Ratzenberger's crash, Senna had also been to the hospital bedside of his Brazlian friend, the young hotshoe Rubens Barrichello, who had survived a horror crash two days earlier. It had all happened, one big ugly mass of incidents, in the one weekend. They say things happen in threes.

Back at the footy; we also discussed the timing of it all. A week ago, Henry Surtees, son of the great world champion of both motorbikes and cars, John Surtees, died in a Formula 2 race. 18 year-old Henry Surtees, driving a Renault, was hit in the head by a loose wheel. The race contained other second-generation F1 drivers Jolyone Palmer and Alex Brundle.

So that night I watched the Hungarian GP. Early in the race, a pitstop error by the Renault team lead to a wheel coming loose and bouncing, as wheels do, down the track for quite a distance. I haven't seen a loose wheel in F1 for a long time. This season is particularly interesting for my age group of F1 tragics, as there are three second-generation F1 drivers in Piquet, Nakajima and Rosberg. All of whose dads drove in my era.

I love F1, but learning to put it into it's proper place has been quite a journey for me. I pray that Fes will be okay. I also pray that the delightful Rubens Barrichello will quit at the end of this year. Sharon and I both love him as an F1 driver, but wife Silvania and his new munchkins Fernando and Eduardo love him even more as a hubby and dad.


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