StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11901509239757.jpg’, ‘Photos by Brian Livingston’, ‘2007 Formula One race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis, Ind.‘);
Formula One (F1) is well into the 2007 season. The U.S. Grand Prix race will not be returning to Indianapolis in 2008 because F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone raised the buy-in from $15 million to $30 million.
Many pundits have questioned whether the sport of open-wheel racing will survive or change in the U.S. without a U.S. race and without seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.
Schumacher was a dominant force in F1 with his entry to the Jordan team in 1991. Before the 1991 season had ended, he joined the Benetton Ford team. Schumacher was with the Bennetton team until 1995, before moving to Ferrari. His world championships were in 1994-1995 and 2000-2004. During his career, Schumacher posted 91 wins and 154 podiums. To gain a spot on the podium, a driver must finish in the top three positions.
So the question is, can F1 find a replacement, or will the 2007 season become just another boring year in motor sports?
With a series of races beyond the U.S. Grand Prix ending with the Hungarian Grand Prix Aug. 5, the answer is yes, there is life after Michael Schumacher. F1 does have an exciting future with drivers such as Lewis Hamilton, two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen.
With only three races left in the 2007 season, only four drivers still have a chance to be world champion. The drivers for McLaren MercedesHamilton (97 points) and Alonso (95 points)are only 2 points apart, while Raikkonen and Massa of Ferrari are in third and fourth place with 84 and 77 points, respectively.
The season is still up for grabs.
A driver receives 10 points for a win. The second- and third-place finishers receive 8 points and 6 points, respectively.
While talking about points in F1, the teamsof which there are 11receive points for their finishing positions. Each point is valuable because of the reimbursements the teams receive to help offset their travel expenses. The point system is the same for the teams as it is for the drivers championshipsfirst place 10 points, second 8 points, third 6 points, fourth 5 points, fifth 4 points, sixth 3 points, seventh 2 points and eighth 1 point.
So, with only three races left on the 2007 calendar, only two teamsFerrari with 161 points and BMW with 90 pointsare in the running for the Constructors championship. The 2005 and 2006 Constructors champion Renault with 39 points and Williams-Toyota with 28, are well off the pace, and will have to wait until next year.
Brian Livingston is a Rockford resident with an interest in Formula One racing.
from the Sept. 19 – 25, 2007, issue