Posted by Vinay MenonApril 7, 2007 at 10:08 pm
With the second race of the 17 race series about to start in two hours, this year’s Formula 1 Championship is shaping up to be the most interesting and dramatic season in ages. This is a direct result of last year’s departure of the winningest driver in F1 history.
At the end of the 2006 season, King Schumacher stepped out of his Ferrari with 91 race wins, SEVEN World Championships and over $800 Million in earnings. His retirement is analogous to removing the largest planet in a stable solar system, resulting in an immense rebalancing before any equilibrium returns. When the dust settled, we are left with a captivating reality-tv show featuring 3 fascinating characters, all starting brand new jobs this year:
Fernando Alonso is one of the most famous athletes on Earth. A national treasure in Spain, Fernando is arguably the best driver on the grid. Along with TWO World Championships, he also holds the distinction of being the youngest driver to win a race, and the youngest World Champion ever, winning his first title just shy of his 24th birthday.
Known as a polite and friendly celebrity, the dedicated, hard working and hyper-disciplined sportsman has been driving since the age of three. On the track, Fernando almost never makes a mistake. Snagging Alonso in 2007 was a giant win for McLaren, giving them a real chance to beat the all powerful Ferrari team.
The Rock Star
Kimi Raikkonen is the coolest dude in F1 today . The IceMan’s new office is the cockpit of the fastest car on the track – a shiny red Ferrari. He is also the highest paid driver on the track, earning a reported base salary of $51 million a year. That’s more than $1 million per hour when he’s racing!
Ian of SuitcaseOfCourage.com described him cleverly and aptly as the “driver that scores the most off-track” because “the Dude drives for Ferrari, likes to get absolutely hammered, and shows his trouser snake at strip clubs.”
When Ferrari forbade him from entering a dangerous endurance snow-mobile race way up near the north pole, he entered anyways, under a different name (and won.) After winning the first Grand Prix three weeks ago in Australia, he got a giant heavy metal themed tattoo on his forearm. No idea if he intends to continue wallpapering his frame as he racks up the trophys. 2007 could be the year Kimi gets his first World Championship!
Lewis Hamilton is the most heralded rookie to enter the sport in over a decade. At the age of eleven, Lewis, already an accomplished racer, approached Ron Dennis, owner of McLaren, and boldly stated that he intended to race in the McLaren F1 team one day. Three years later, Ron Dennis formally signed him up. He has been groomed by McLaren for the last eight years.
Lewis has kicked serious ass in every race series he’s been in while working his way up towards his F1 seat. He represents the highest level in Top Gun fighter pilot style training. This year he starts besides Fernando Alonso in the other McLaren car, as the first black driver in F1.
Along with trying to keep up with a teammate who is a two time world champion, this future household name also has to fight the two Ferraris. While a first or second place for the season may be unrealistic, a third place would be an awesome start to what will surely be a super illustrious F1 career.
At the end of the first race, this is how the podium looked:
1. Kimi Raikkonen
2. Fernando Alonso
3. Lewis Hamilton.
The question is, how will the final results look at the end of the season (Oct 21, Brazil.) We can safely speculate that the 2007 World Champion will be driving either a Ferrari or a McLaren but then again, reality television is notorious for its unscripted surprises.