The Old Rumour Mill: July

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From the archives this month: Qualifying to be replaced by a race shoot-out and Fernando Alonso replacing Michael Schumacher at Ferrari.

Plus the United States Grand Prix that never happened – on the streets of the nation’s capital.

Qualifying races from 1987
Autosport, 3rd July 1986

We’ve grown accustomed to radical changes to the qualifying session in recent years. But FISA’s (now FIA) plans for 1987 were even more surprising.

Instead of qualifying a race of one quarter Grand Prix distance was to be run. It would count 30% of the way towards determining the drivers’ starting positions for Sunday’s race – the rest being based on their championship positions and previous race results.

Happily it never came to pass. That bonkers set up would be even worse than the present exercise of spending part of qualifying deliberately wasting fuel.

Alonso to replace Schumacher
Autosport, July 29th 2004

Despite Fernando Alonso winning the last two championships it’s never really looked likely that he might join the most successful team of this decade – Ferrari.

Rumours three years ago linked him with a move to Ferrari to replace Michael Schumacher. Alonso, it was said, was not happy to join Ferrari as Schumacher’s team mate.

Did their fateful run-in at Silverstone in 2003 have anything to do with it? Or did Alonso just not want to play second fiddle?

Washington set for 1994 US GP
Autosport, 8th July 1993

A recent debate on this site on where the United States Grand Prix should be held attracted dozens of comments. There has never been any shortage of potential venues, as this story from 1993 shows.

Before 1994 the last American Grand Prix had been at unloved Pheonix in 1991. That was the third race of a five year contract and although the race was not held in 1992 or 1993 it prevented any further events from being possible elsewhere until 1994.

Rumours suggested F1 could race on the streets of West Potomac Park in 1994. Although a street course in Washington later held sports car races F1 has never visited the American capital.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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7 comments on “The Old Rumour Mill: July”

  1. Robert Mckay
    3rd July 2007, 10:55

    “Qualifying races from 1987” – this does beg the question, how did they intend to establish the grid for the race that would decide the grid for the actual Grand Prix race? Another race, 15% of the length of a GP?!

  2. I believe the starting positions for that race were to be determined by championship results.

    It was a terrible idea and just goes to show that it’s not just Max Mosley who conjures up bonkers plans. In fact a couple of years ago F1 Racing magazine proposed doing something very similar. But it’s still a lousy idea.

    People want to see drivers lapping the track as quickly as possible in qualifying and the problem with the current system is that, with race fuel qualifying, that’s not what happens any more.

  3. The reason they do racefuel-quali is that if the fastest cars are at the front, they can just run away and hide (ala 2002 Ferrari). Race-fuel quali was first perceived to be better because a team can run super-light and be on pole.

    It wasn’t that much better, was it?

  4. Pardon me but do you have these Autosport issues yourself?

    Many thanks.

  5. Sorry for asking again but did you get the 1986 issue from ebay?


  6. EBay’s a good source but I’ve got a few mates who know a few mates who occasionally throw these things out. I think I got the ’86 one from there, yes. However my girlfriend has banned me for acquiring any more for the meantime…

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