Saturday, January 3, 2015

RETRO: Schuey Bookends filled with Senna Sadness, while Jules Bianchi lies in Hospital...



Vintage Ford Telemetry brochure, circa 1994. (The Tomaso Collection)
As I typically like to do at year's end, here's my nostalgic yarn over Formula 1's past two decades ago 'N beyond...

The last Yank Formula 1 runner (pre-Scott Speed) Mikey Andretti had just returned to Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) racing on this side of thy pond for Cheep' Ganassi's burgeoning Target IndyCar operation, winning first time out Down Under at Surfers Paradise in what was Reynard's debutant IndyCar outing.

Meanwhile, the USGP was in its third year of its sabbatical from the F1 calendar, after leaving The Valley of the Sun, aka Phoenix, Arizona, Which was but a fleeting memory to most F1 Fans...


And as we all know, 1994 was a very sad year in Formula One, most notably with the staggering deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger, not to mention Karl Wendlinger, Mika Hakkinen and Rubens Barrichello's close scrapes with the "Grim Reaper!"

While I along with every "Dog, Word Hack and Keyboard Warrior" scribbled about this year's 20th Anniversary of what I tend to call Black Sunday in;


While sadly for Mwah, this year's biggest story is Jules Bianchi's horrific shunt at Suzuka, as the 25yr old Frenchman struggles to survive and regain a semi-normal life...


And instead of reinventing thy squeaky wheel here in Nofendersville, as I've scribbled countless times my past exploits of 'DER TERMINATOR, nee Michael Schumacher, I'll revert back to a previous post when I tried capturing my past euphoria from that season in;


As regardless to the controversy over the mysterious "Option-13" software, I seem to recall initially feeling that Michael got a bum steer when being excluded from two-races along with a Grand Prix win being thrown out at Spa-Francorchamps over thee totally farcical "Plank Gate" affair!

The German 'Vunderkin started off the season literally "On Fire," winning the first four races, before the amazing second place finish at Barcelona upon his Benetton-Ford becoming stuck in 5th gear!

After winning again at Il Notre Dam's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and Magny Cours, tallying six wins in the season's first seven races, Schumacher did the unthinkable, passing arch nemesis Damon Hill not once, but  twice upon the formation lap at Silverstone, as I can still vaguely recall being mystified over his behaviour whilst screaming at thee  Telescreen; WTF!

As I rightly mused out-loud; Y'all can't do that! As incredulously, Michael and Benetton simply ignored their initial five second Stop-Go penalty and then serenely carried on by totally ignoring the Black flag  for multiple laps - before being convinced by FIA officials who had to  go to their Pit box to finally serve the penalty! For which Michael was extremely lucky to finish the race as runner-up...

Thus, I tend to recall that Schumacher and Benetton entered the following race, Michael's home race no less, the German Grand Prix under a cloud 'O controversy, as my memory banks say that Schuey raced at Hockenheim under appeal of his two-race ban from Silverstone, albeit I cannot seem to find anything  refuting this memory...

Hockenheim was the sight of that ultra scary Pitlane fire that "Professor" Steve Matchett was involved in,  when Jos "THE BOSS" Verstappen's Benetton erupted in a fireball during its refueling!

Then after a dominating victory at Spa, Schuey was ultimately DQ'ed, due to having worn too much Jabrock off of his car's underside plank, with the team claiming it was worn due to his race spin to no avail.

Thus, rightly so, as I have NO tolerance these day's for ignoring  black flags, rules infringements, etc, the German sat out the next two races at Monza and Estoril, where J.J. Letho substituted for him, with Schumacher returning at Jerez, and promptly winning the European Grand Prix, with two races remaining.

And finally, there was the showdown in Adelaide, where Michael played "ricochet Rabbit" off of the guardrail, collecting Damon Hill's Williams and ensuring his first world championship by one solitary point!

Alas, it seems somewhat ironic that ten years ago Schuey was celebrating his seventh and final world championship with la Scuderia, when Ferrari celebrated its final "Double," i.e.; winning both the Constructors and Drivers title's, being the sixth consecutive Constructors trophy along with Michael's fifth in-a-row, as he's the only driver to do  so in F1 history!

as Michael, with the help of Jean Todt, Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne, Nigel Stepney and I'm sure countless others who haven't gotten their justified dues...


Hmm? Like I dunno, somebody named John Wheatley? Ok, so Wheatley probably didn't follow the Schuey "Dream Team" to Maranello, but nonetheless, I'm pretty certain he was Michael's Chief Mechanic at Benetton, since that's what I recall "Professor" Steve Matchett implored in his books, of which I've managed to read two-thirds of the trilogy.


As we also know that Jean Todt has gone onto replace MAD Max Mosley, where he masquerades as the current figurehead of the FIA, while Ross Brawn won another pair  'O trophies five years ago with Bloody 'JENSE (Button) at the controls of the lead "Bee Gee" (Brawn BGP01) machine, where ironically Michael's ex-Wingman 'Rubino (Rubens Barrichello) notched up his final two Grand Prix victories!

As Brawn, whose name is  bandied about is currently on "Fishing Holiday," having retired from Mercedes Grand Prix, but don't feel too sorry for him, as the German Auto Giant paid him handsomely for the keys to Brawn GP.

Rory Byrne, F1 Designer Extraordinaire, reputedly the third most successful F1 Designer behind Adrian Newey and Colin Chapman seemingly retired to Thailand in order to go wind surfing, although he  was later lured back to Maranello as a consultant. While Nigel Stepney's latter motor racing career was overshadowed by "Stepney Gate" before his untimely death this past May on a British Motorway...


As your humble No Fenders scribe Tomaso was once one of 'DER TERMINATOR's biggest supporters, even being so brazen to proclaim being the first Warshintonion' to visit Der 'Vurld de Schuey, Michael Schumacher's museum in Kerpen 'Wayback in 2002 when the German was en route to his fifth world championship, tying the then legendous' Juan Manuel Fangio's impressive feat that seemed pretty invincible,...

Yet Schumacher would surpass Fangio's record five  driver's crowns the following season at Suzuka, where your humble No Fenders scribe just so happened to be present, 45-years after the Argentinean's final title in 1957.

 Michael then crushed the opposition one final time, winning 13-races in his 2004 championship cakewalk, clinching his record seventh, and final world championship  before the Ferrari Dynasty crumbled ironically at the hands of his past Formula 1 team Benetton and ex-boss 'Flavour Flav, nee HMS Monogram, aka Flavio Briatore and his new charge "Fredrico Suave" (Fernando Alonso) for Renault with the help of Michelin tyres, and that mysterious "J-Damper..."

Hence-fore twenty years ago, Michael Schumacher became the sport's  debutant German to win the Formula 1 world championship, albeit fairly controversially, while another German known here at No Fenders simply as "TWINKIEBOY!" (Seb' Vettel) was just a sparkle in Schuey's eye... Before Michael ran off to la Scuderia to revive the sagging fortunes of Maranello's race team - ultimately blanked from championship titles for 21-years.

As it seems somewhat  symbiotic that Vettel's now seeking to repeat history for Ferrari, who haven't won the Driver's world championship since 2007 and the Constructor's crown since 2008, along with having gone winless for the first time since 1993! While Michael's still "Asleep at The Wheel" in Geneva...

For last year's Quasi' retrospective, see; RETRO: “Mansell Mania”invades the Speedway...

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