Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Dharam Sankats and supping with Lucifer

Formula1 took the most fun twist I've seen it take in the past few years. Michael Schumacher ensured that Formula1 was never dull, and the past few years have been intense - racing-wise or otherwise. As he hangs up his helmet and racing gloves, Kimi Raikkonen moves into the hot seat at Ferrari.

With Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya leaving, Kimi's a personal favorite among the drivers left in Formula1. Ice Man to Michael's Maverick*, the blue-eyed Finn has always impressed me for his coolness and the impressive results he nursed out of a pathetic McLaren (pathetic in terms of reliability, that is). I've rarely seen him make the kind of mistakes that took out the mercurial Montoya (another favorite, if only for the fact that I see a bit of my earlier devil-may-care attitude in him). Moving to Ferrari is a good move, especially since he doesn't have to contend with playing second fiddle to Schumacher, something that probably drove Barrichelo to tears.

The problem is with the fans. McLaren has its set of rabid fans (less than Ferrari surely, but lots), and at least a few of them are fans because they are the anti-Ferrari. Raikkonen is the anti-Schumi, the prodigy who made it to F1 on sheer talent and wins only on that basis. People supporting Raikkonen and McLaren found a happy union of their loyalties.

What now? For techies, it's almost like Linus Torvalds working on Windows for Microsoft. They'd want to support Torvalds, but that would mean supporting Microsoft. Conflicted? Hell, yes.

Raikkonen's supping with the Devil Incarnate of F1, and I'm happy. My loyalties are towards driver skills, and I want Raikkonen to get a good car.

Schumacher and Raikkonen on the same Ferrari team would've been a darn fine sight to see, but two star drivers on a team do not a great team necessarily make ( case in point: McLaren early this season) and a strong team may elevate drivers and the team to really good levels (Williams-BMW with Schumacher Jr. and Montoya from the 2002-03 season). I only hope Raikkonen's luck turns, and he doesn't drag Ferrari down with his blighted fortune.

*Kimi's nickname is Ice Man, but Maverick's from Top Gun.

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