A constructors’ championship battle just isn’t as exciting as a drivers’ championship battle – so it was with the lacklustre Chinese race that got a lukewarm press response. Jim Rosenthal bade farewell to ITV after another year in which the broadcaster took a backward step.
The most disappointing omission from almost all of the race reports is any reference to the inanity at a race at one of the world’s most expensive racing circuits being ruined by a loose drain cover – or, for that matter, the recklessness of allowing the race to continue without checking all the kerbs on the circuit.
David Tremayne in The Independent is the only writer to really tackle the issue: “In June 2004 the Australian saloon car racer Mark Winterbottom had the bottom of his car torn out aftera similar problem, so the Shanghai International circuit owners clearly have some more work to do on the multi-million pound race facility.”
Many other journalists indulge in the dangerous practice of writing off Michael Schumacher. “Schumacher suffers final farce” dominates the back page of The Times, following up with a graph illustrating the stark difference between the former champion’s 14 2004 wins against his sole ’05 victorious in the infamous US Grand Prix.
“Schumacher managed to crash before he reched the starting grid,” begins Kevin Eason. “The Crown Prince of Formula One then compoundedthe felony by spinning off into early retirement.”
Continuing the regal theme, Kevin Garside in the Daily Telegraph proclaims, “All hail Alonso, new king of the track.” Surprisingly Garside is a sucker for the Renault PR line on the safety car ‘disadvantaging’ Alonso, when clearly the ability to snooker the heavier-fuelled McLarens during the safety car period helped him immensely, to say nothing of the forced retirement of Montoya.
The Sun gets the most fun out of Schumi-sniping. “Schuey goes screwy,” declares Charlie Wyatt. “Michael’s hell as he crashes TWO Ferraris.” Not at the same time, you understand. Not that they’re milking it, but the paper prints two very similar shots of the scarlet wreck in full-colour.
The Daily Mail, too, are in on the act, but strike a curiously mournful tone: “It could be a sad farewell for Schu… Michael Schumacher looked so lonely and forlorn on his hike back to the garage that observers were wondering if we have seen the last of Formula One’s most successful champion.” Aw. Makes you want to give him a big hug, doesn’t it?
Alan Henry in The Guardian and Byron Young in the Mirror are fulsome in their praise of new champion Alonso – but Henry does note that the Spaniard had the advantage of being able to run an engine that would only have to last for one race.
Young celebrates the final outing of the famed ‘Fernando fingers': “The Renault racer held up seven fingers – one for each of his wins – but it was the two on his left hand that said the most.” Nicely put.