What I don't understand is it takes six months for doctors and Michal to understand that he has some pain in the collar bone as was been found on monday's scan that it was a fracture. What are the chances that this fracture becomes evident because of Michal's Megullo test and his karting outing. Because under normal circumstances this is quite dangerous to allow a driver having such G-force experience after an injury like his motorcycle crash. And this also confirms one thing that Massa have to wait for more then we up until now are predicting that is not only this season but may be another 3 to 6 months before he will able to take the formula 1 car seat and I am predicting now that he will not be able to enter next season.
You are right in saying that Briatore used to build a team around one driver from the past and reminds me Ricardo Rosset who has drive for Tyrrell. This is why I am posting an interview of Ricardo Rosset in which He has talk about the inside politics of F1. This interview is been posted by a Plant F1 forum member and it is the English translation of the real interview:
[highlight]I thought I might as well shed some light over the subject and bring to you an extended interview with former Brazilian F1 driver Ricardo Rosset, who drove for Arrows, Lola and Tyrrell.
I think it's not fair to look at just one side of things and this interview can clear the sight of some F1 fans who know jack**** about the inner side of this sport.
I translated only the bits related to F1. He talks a lot about his other experiences in motor sports.
The interview was held on March 2008.
GP: How important was Rubens Barrichello at that point (F-3) of your career?
RR: Well, very important. He is a very technical driver, who I consider to be in a very high level, he knows the drill. We used to discuss setups a lot. He was British F-3 champion and gave me lots of tips. He helped me a lot.
GP: From then on your performance improved
RR: I was very devoted also. Of course, Rubinho helped me a lot and then, in the process, it became reciprocal. I am pretty technical too. Since I was 8 I used to disassemble carburators. I always liked the mechanics of a car. We always discussed a lot about setups, what to do in the races. When he practiced in a F1, I used to show up and help him a little. It was very cool, our camaraderie was good.
GP: What were your strong rivals back then?
RR: Of all of them, it was the one who was Rubinho’s teammate in Stewart, Jan Magnussen. There were strong competitors in British F3 back then: him, (Dario) Franchitti, (Pedro) de la Rosa… good drivers came out of there.
GP: You made yourself available for testing for Williams. Tell us more about that…
RR: Back then, there wasn’t this testing culture and that’s what I wanted. I wanted to get into F1 as a test-driver to acquire mileage and experience to be in other team’s main lineup. It occurs that Frank Williams signed (Jean-Cristophe) Boullion because of Renault and ran out of sits. I had to opt between F-Indy and F1 and I chose the latter.
GP: You did refuse an offer to have a F-Indy race-sit, didn't you?
RR: I tested for Walker. It was a good drive, I was quick at Homestead test, but in the road circuit, besides testing for F1. It was a milestone in my career. I knew that, if I went to F-Indy, first it wasn’t to my liking and second I’d be too old for F1, since I was relatively old. It was all or nothing. I said: “I can’t be a test-driver, teams are not open, I don’t want to go to F-Indy and if I go, I’m not coming back”, so I took what was ahead, and that was Arrows.
GP: Do you consider a mistake to have gone to Arrows instead of Minardi in 1996?
RR: Either were very weak, with financial difficulties… It was unfortunate. I came in a time, me and Rubinho, when established drivers didn’t switch teams. There were no vacancies, you had nowhere to go. Nowadays you see renovation with drivers going away and race-sits being available every time. That helps a new driver.
GP: Tell us about your difficulties with Arrows.
RR: Look at my pre-season: I had 30 laps worth of practice in Estoril, Portugal before the season start to learn how the car’s gearbox and mechanisms worked. I went straight to the first race. I mean, today, drivers have 10 thousand km before a race. It’s a different story. The car is very physical, hard to drive. To have 30 laps and finish 8th in Australia was all I could do. Then it started because we didn’t have money. In Monaco, it started to rain 15 minutes before the race and we hadn’t practiced in the wet.
They gave everyone 15 minutes to practice and when I was getting ready to go in, the crew told me: “ You can’t drive.” And I was “But how? Isn’t it going to be a wet race?” I asked. They answered: “We have only one front wing. If you crash, you don’t start”. I mean, a circuit like Monaco where I never drove in the wet, I would have to drive clueless. “That’s all we can do”, they said. So it was like this. This world no one sees. It was very difficult indeed. I thought it was very strange, because the scenario was worse than many F-3 and F-3000 teams. It was very bad.
GP: In 1997 it was worse, since you went to just one race and didn’t even do one start with Lola…
RR: That was sheer insanity from those involved. We came in a bit fooled by a dream that had a huge sponsor (Mastercard), a big structure. But there came the first race and the car wouldn’t switch gears. It’s not that it didn’t qualify for the race, it just really didn’t switch gears. You hit it and it didn’t change, didn’t go up or down. The car didn’t work in the first race. We went there simply for the record. Of course, the car didn’t qualify, we arrived in Brazil and the sponsor broke the contract. It was madness, an irresponsibility from all those involved.
GP: Was it painful to see the year through without a drive?
RR: It was very bad, because I was just starting in F1. It was hard to cope because you devote an entire life to get there, you give everything, face challenges… I was lost. I thought my career was over until Tyrrell came about.
GP: By the way, you managed a kind of “dribble” to stick yourself to Tyrrell signing with their new owner, Reynard. That generated some heat, innit? Since they had signed Norberto Fontana…
RR: It was a fight, that. I had all support from Reynard, whom I knew in England and I believed in my potential. Tyrrell had another option, but since Reynard had just bought the team, they opted for me and they started to boycott me and there were financial interests one over the other. It was a complete mess. It was also a tough year. I came to know afterwards that a great scheme was being plotted behind the Japanese, (Tora) Takagi, to convince everyone he was the man and that was the team to form Honda, what happened years later. With all that, I wasn’t qualifying to races and it was hard.
GP: Were the results really “fabricated”?
RR: Basically. They forced all the car development onto Takagi’s and I had to fight with an undriveable thing. When I started to drive ahead of others, the car didn’t deliver. It was a cheat.
GP: And what kind of cheat did they do to you?
RR: Ah, all kinds. It’s so easy to sabotage. They would drop three pounds off the tire’s pressure before qualifying. That happened a lot: I would measure my tire’s pressure and they were off. Then you found just about everything: the bar was wrong, the wing was wrong, all “coincidentally”. It’s too easy to take 3 to 4 tenths off a car.
GP: You would sometimes race with Takagi’s used equipment, right?
RR: It was a… Look, everything they could do to xxxxx me off, they did. Then, by the middle of the season, everything came clear. The Honda team was on the makes, but it was an internal fight between Tyrrell crew and Takagi to take Honda and, on the other side, Reynard to take Honda. Since I was a Reynard driver, they (Tyrrell) wanted to show their driver was better, stronger. Then, in the end, it was what it was.
GP: And how was it to deal with all that?
RR: Difficult, yeah? It was one of the reasons that made me not even try anymore after 1998, because you devote yourself, put your life at stake, and that was the year I risked myself the most, because I wouldn’t admit to trail the peck and would put the car on the edge, risking to crash. I would crash eventually.
But when the year came to an end, I sat down and thought: “Either I manage to be in a good environment, with an average team, or big, that provide me with the means to drive competitively, or I risk my life here. I will take a new path, because this ain’t taking me nowhere.” Then I decided to go back home, live my life and run my business and that was it.
GP: Your despair behind the wheel was clear in Monaco. From then on, a lot of people started to make fun of you. How was it to face all that?
RR: I never cared much to what the press says. I didn’t worry because no one could evaluate what was happening. In Monaco, people would make fun of me questioning how could I do that. Well, the car’s clutch didn’t work. The reverse didn’t work. Only the driver in the cockpit knows. And I also feel that for Rubinho when they made fun of him. Only the driver in the car knows what’s happening. People can say whatever they want, make fun, it doesn’t matter to me.
I knew what I was doing, the difficulties I was going through and I had nothing to do. How could you make the car move if it spins on the axis but the gear wouldn’t change? Who’s in there knows what’s going on. I had my family’s support, they loved me, I never lost my confidence I’d be a quick driver and I liked to drive. So, actually, I’m very comfortable about this, I never had any problems.
GP: Michael Schumacher came to your support back then, is it true?
RR: Yes, a lot. By the way, he’s a guy who always surprised me. There are people who surprise you and people who let you down. Schumacher, (Jean) Alesi, always when we met, they talked to me. Schumacher once gave me a ride to the Japan GP. I remember to this day. I was going away walking from the track to the hotel. The team didn’t have anything more and left me on the track and I was walking with my stuff. Then Schumacher and his manager stopped by and said: “Come on in, I’ll give you ride.”
When we were already in the car he asked: “What’s going on? Why are you walking?”. I answered: “Look, it’s a long story It’s a different world to that you are living in. It’s another world, a dirty one.” He went on: “You can’t stop, you can’t give up”. I said: “I wouldn’t like to, but it’s very hard, it’s hard to find a team who supports you.” He was always very helpful. They knew what was going on.
And there are jerks like (Jacques) Villeneuve who talk a lot of bullxxxx. The problem is the press sometimes listens. It’s hard because the press sometimes writes what it sees and doesn’t have any knowledge of what’s behind that. Monaco was an example of that.
GP: You described the people who surprised you. Who let you down?
RR: Several people. F1 circus as a whole was frustrating. It’s not pure sport. There are lots of interests. That’s very bad. Some drivers, like Villeneuve, don’t deserve an ounce of respect. He’s a very low, bad person. And he ended up like that. He was a champion by chance, because he had a good car. It’s even bad because of who he is son of (Gilles), a fantastic guy whose son thought too much of himself and even thought he was better than his father. Just an ugly guy.
GP: Not to mention 1998, when you had bad shunts, like Germany, Hungary and Belgium. Was Hockenheim the worst of them all?
RR: Yes, it was. It’s that problem of living on the edge. I ended up crashing, not much to do. On turn 1, before the old straight, I entered in the car’s maximum limit; it went over the kerbs and passed. When it passed, it whipped off and hit the wall very hard. They (paramedics) wouldn’t even let me race because my helmet was cracked. I came out walking, but the impact in my head reached 40G. That was my worst crash.
GP: Tell us how was that accident in Spa seen from your cockpit. What was the sight you had of that mega pile-up?
RR: I hadn’t any! All drivers were against that start. A lot was said on the grid, they called everyone to see if the start would be made under safety car. There was a lot of water on the track. It wasn’t only a matter of visibility, but also of aquaplaning. But they decided to start that way. Soon after the start, people even slowed down on the first corner. When I hit the gas, a huge water spray was raised and I couldn’t see anything. I was guiding myself using the side guard-rail. It was a huge spray.
Suddenly, I saw a wheel flying from inside the spray and hitting the fence. It was like fog on a mountain. I saw the wheel flying and lifted my foot. When I started seeing again, everyone was crashed. All I could do was hit the brakes, but aquaplaning, the car didn’t slow down and I saw Trulli crossing the track. Then I thought: “My goodness, I’ll kill the guy”, because I would hit his side. I was worried about him. I hit him right in the middle, but I didn’t have much to do. The car was blocked. Then I hit him, pushed him and the car stopped.
I hit the seatbelt, jumped out of the car and saw Rubinho, who stopped right by my side, coming out of the car with several red stains on his suit. He was screaming saying it was hurting, passed his hand and thought it was blood. But I saw it and said: “Calm down, it’s not blood”! It was oil from the rear wheel which sprayed and hit him. So much it must have hurt. “Stay calm because you’re not hurt”. Then I helped him and took him to the medical center. Thank God nothing happened. Those seconds were creepy.
GP: We know that in F1 several drivers pay to race. How much did these years took away from your pocket?
RR: From my pocket, nothing. It’s not that I had to pay. Any driver needed to help completing the teams’ budgets and some didn’t have the cash needed. Verstappen, Takagi… all of them needed to help, complement, bring in their sponsorship shares. Thank God I always had the support of my sponsors, who helped me to complete this share. So, from my pocket I never had to spend any money, it wasn’t possible anyway because of the general level.
GP: So, the decision to quit F1 was yours?
RR: It was mine. As a consequence of other decisions. There was this episode which disappointed me a lot and was very serious, made me thought if it was worth it. It happened with Arrows after the Belgium GP, where Verstappen crashed very hard because of the car losing direction and hitting the wall. We found out the wheels axis was broken. I didn’t know why, nor they did, and we went testing in Silverstone. Since he was recovering, I took his place.
In a sequences of high speed ‘S’s, my axis got broken. It was exactly the same thing. I went back to the workshop and questioned the mechanics what the problem was. Thank God there were mechanics supporting me and they said: “Look, no one knows. It’s breaking the axis”. I asked what would we do and they said: “Not much to do. The axis started to break and maybe we will have to deploy a steel axis. We don’t know if there’s enough time, because we’re on our way to Monza”. That surprised me: “You gotta be kidding. Two axis broken, you have no idea what it is and you’re going to Monza? What are you gonna do?” They said: “Not much to do.”
Back then, Tom Walkinshaw and others called me to talk and I said: “I’m not going to race. If you don’t discover why the axis are breaking, I’m not racing. I know you don’t know”. They tried to fool me: “No, we know, we tried to fix it…”. I went: “No, you don’t know. I got info from inside. I’m not telling who, but I know you haven’t got a clue of what’s going on”. Then, they pressured me. “If you don’t race, we’re bringing another driver to replace you”. I said: “Ok, you can put another driver, but I’ll report to FIA because if he dies, I know I did warn you that it would happen, because he is going to die. If he loses the axis at the end of Monza’s straight, he is going to die. And you don’t give a damn about his life”. And they came with the following answer: “If you are afraid to die, you shouldn’t even be in F1 to begin with”.
The funny thing is that it was the same personnel involved with Williams when Ayrton (Senna) died. I said: “You committed a mistake once, already killed a driver. Does it need a genius to know that a failure can kill a driver?”. That was two years later. And I went: “I’m not risking my neck. If you find out what it is, I race. If not, I’m not racing and I’ll report to FIA. You can say whataver you like, but I’ll go to Bernie (Ecclestone) and I’ll tell him what’s going on, because people will die”. They got kinda desperate. That was the level of disappointment. They didn’t give a xxxx about life, didn’t care. Go there and race. If you die, you died.
Then I went to Verstappen and said: “They didn’t find out and we’re heading to Monza”. Well, in the end, 3 or 4 days before the race, they found out it was a lot of wheels which wouldn’t fit the axis. As it was, the nuts were loosened and created a gap between the wheel and the axis, breaking it. But that was only discovered because I wanted to boycott the race. The level of irresponsibility that went through F1 back then, right after Ayrton’s crash, with the same people, it made you wonder if they were crazy. But they didn’t care. If you died, it was your problem. Then it started ringing in my head: “Either I race properly or don’t at all.”
GP: Do you consider F1 was unfair to you?
RR: I don’t. I just didn’t have the opportunity, actually. I didn’t have the chance in the right moment, at the right time. Prejudiced are those who don’t have any opportunity at all. I had and raced. A lot of good drivers didn’t make it… I did. It wasn’t the best thing ever, but whatever. Life doesn’t end there.
GP: Who is your idol?
RR: Ah, Ayrton, absolutely. I think Ayrton, not only as a driver, sharp, outstanding, but as a person. I always admired what he said, the way he lived his life, the focus he gave on the things he did. I was inspired by him because of his fairness. Not only the driver, but the person.
GP: Do you see any future for Brazilians in F1, excluding Barrichello-Massa-Piquet?
RR: There always will be surprising drivers. I think they just didn’t show up yet. Massa came recently and has a great career ahead. He’s a great driver. I don’t know for how many more years Rubinho will race. If you let him, he’ll race forever and he can do that. About Piquet, to me, he’s future is unknown. He’s very young. He has a great support, his father can help him and he has a great future ahead. The ones who are behind need that. But I don’t follow much.
GP: If you could go back in time and change anything, what would you change?
RR: I think I did everything the way it could be done. I wouldn’t try to change it in any way. I think that I always faced crossings in which I needed to turn left or right and I think I turned the right away for each moment. Not always the options were good and I always tried to take the best one. I don’t regret anything I’ve done. If I could, I’d have started at the age of eight. Then the story could be different. But I believe in faith. Maybe it happened the way it was meant to be.[/highlight][/highlight]