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08-16-2004 10:24 PM #1
08-16-2004 10:57 PM #2
08-23-2004 12:10 PM #3
It is impossible to say because Ferrari's rigid 1-2 structure tends to strand RB in some pretty ridiculous positions, like running hard tires and a 2-stop when soft tires and a 3-stop are the obvious way to go.
Its been claimed that RB lack luster showings when so handicapped prove that the F2004 isn't that great and its MS that is pushing Ferrari to the championship. Since I don't believe ANY driver has THAT much input into the performance of a modern F1 "robot car," I've had to look for alternate explanations.
I used to argue that the theory of Ferrari deliberately handicapping RB was silly. Now I'm going the other way. With team orders gone, it almost seems like they've deliberately separated MS and RB on the grid to minimize any racing between the two. It is claimed that RB is choosing these suboptimal strategies, but I find it very difficult to believe that a team manager would hand a number two driver that much discretion.
I've joked that once MS has satiated his ego by grabbing all the records available this year, RB will be put back on a sensible race strategy and allowed to provide some semblence of competition. And at Hungary he was. If from this point forward RB is on the same strategy as MS, my disappointment with Ferrari's mistreatment of the fans will reach a new low (which, after 2002, was pretty much at rock bottom).
It's a new form of team orders, but they're just implemented prior to the race.
You have to be pretty cynical to read the tea leaves this way, but I'm getting pretty cynical.
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