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THE MARQUE OF SORROW; FORMULA ONE.

Byline: ZOG ZIEGLER

WE'VE been saying it for years, haven't we? F1, the so-called pinnacle of motorsport, has got boring.

Firstly they contrived to rid the `sport' of its raison d'etre - over- taking - and now one team, not to say driver, have become so dominant as to relieve the sport of any interest.

At least if old Muddly Talker was still around we'd have something to shout at, or for. Now all we have is the excruciating James Allen trying to talk the million- dollar bore up. Even the normally taciturn Martin Brundle appears to be running up the white flag.

And now, at last, ickle Bernie Ecclestone and his sidekick, son of Brownshirt Sir Oswald, Max Mosely, seem to have cottoned on.

Their global business is about as much fun to watch as a pub darts match - if that's not too harsh on the noble game of Arrows.

For nearly 25 years the world awaited a new Ferrari world championship, now we've seen enough - and so have Max `n' Bern.

Of course, being experts, they have a bottomless font of solutions. One idea was to slap a load of lead on Schumi's car every time it won. Another was to stick him in another car altogether.

Of course, it's all a load of niagaras. It's up to McLaren, Williams et al to play catch up.

Yet, the transformation seen at Maranello is quite unprecedented.

Michael Schumacher has planted his dinky size sevens on the podium 17 times out of 17 this season. Ferrari have won all but two of the races.

Hellfire, I thought these things were Italian. They're meant to go all Latin and blowy- uppy - just like their road cars.

There are almost no records left for the modest Hun to take.

Who's to bet against the remaining ones falling next year because, sure as eggs is eggs, Max and Bernie's plans won't come to much.

So here's a couple of ideas to balance the field out a bit. How's about making Schumacher's race a bit more like real driving?

PERHAPS he should be forced to carry a mobile phone, his number captioned on screen, so the first viewer to get through can tell him a few anti- Kraut jokes.

Others, such as brother Ralf and David Coulthard, would also have a better chance if Schumi had to get out and fill his own motor during pit stops, rushing to a kiosk to pay for the motion lotion he puts in.

And should he accidentally speed in the pit lane, instead of being forced in for a stop/go penalty, Schumi would be pulled over by Mr Plod who, while issuing a ticket, could lecture him on the dangers of smiting mechanics in excess of 80kph.

Or, perhaps, the `sport' could get real. Chances are, we're down to just 18 cars on the grid for 2003, against 22 at the start of this year.

Seems Tom Walkinshaw has failed to con, erm, convince anyone to save the ailing Arrows and poor old Minardi's game is almost over.

Let's get rid of all the hideously expensive hi-tech gizmology and stuff a big V8 in the cars and herald the return of the gearstick. In addition, pay these charmless prima-donna throttle-jockeys a lot less.

Roll on Ziegler's F1. We'll show those midgets and brownshirts.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 25, 2002
Words:555
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