The Badgerometer is where we compile a Top 5 things from the previous grand prix (or anything else we fancy when there’s no race). Sometimes the racing is barely featured…
Jean Alesi vs. Nick Heidfeld
It’s one thing for team-mates to collide once, or even twice, but to do it in two consecutive races beggers belief. As if Prost Grand Prix didn’t have enough to worry about in 2000, it also had to contend with two drivers who argued almost as much as the team management. When “Quick” Nick (debatable nickname seeing how bad the AP03 was), tried to pass Alex Wurz on the team’s home turf at Magny Cours it all went wrong and Alesi caught the brunt of it. The Prost team were united briefly in the aftermath, but only to place the blame on everyone else bar their drivers!
Two weeks later, Austria became the battleground, this time with Alesi heading up the inside into turn one on Nick, only for both to end up in the gravel and put another nail in the coffin of France’s F1 effort.
Ralf Schumacher vs. Juan Pablo Montoya
Williams may be going through a torrid time at the moment, but at least their drivers are keeping well away from each other. Back in 2002, their hard driving pair of Ralf Schumacher and Juan-Pablo Montoya didn’t see eye to eye on and off the track, and it only became more exasperated when Ralf decided to go for a gap that really wasn’t there in the early laps of the US GP.
With Ralf being one-up, Juan waited a full two years before striking back, making a rookie mistake of outbraking himself into the first corner at the Nurburgring and having to avoid a Ferrari, skidding straight into his team-mate.
Needless to say, Frank Williams and Patrick Head weren’t impressed and both drivers had new homes by the start of 2005!
Christian Fittipaldi vs. Pierluigi Martini & Gravity
It’s not the most memorable in terms of the drivers involved or what they were fighting for, but in terms of eye-catching drama you’d be hatd pushed to beat the clash between Minardi team-mates Christian Fittipalid and Pierluigi Martini at the Italian Grand Prix of 1993. As they approached the line on the final lap Fittipaldi pulled out to pass his sister car, but got to close to the rear of Martini’s machine. The Brazilian launched off the back of his team-mate, backflipped, and landed pointing the right way.
Amazingly, despite his front-left wheel hanging off and a badly damaged rear wing, Fittipaldi was able to cross the line and finish behind his teammate in eighth position. Unfortunately for Christian these were the days when points were only awarded down to sixth, so he earned nothing for his acrobatic team-mate bashing display. However he did give the world this fantastic piece of footage – cheers, Christian!
Mika Hakkinen vs. David Coulthard
The experience of dealing with Aryton Senna and Alain Prost stood Ron Dennis in good stead when both these drivers came together in their first season together. At Estoril in 1996, Hakkinen nudged Coulthard out of the race and promptly declared that he wasn’t to blame. Both drivers were more harmonious in the following few seasons, but once McLaren built a decent racing car, the squabble for No.1 began to simmer again. In Austria in ’99, without the injured Michael Schumacher to contend with, both Silver Arrows were out in front when DC saw a gap heading into sharp Turn 2…
As if that wasn’t embarrasing enough, there was even more contact a few races later at Spa. Both McLarens were in a class of their own, but Mika had a boggy start from pole and DC saw his chance to pass heading into La Source. The Scot cut across the Finn’s nose and made slight contact, and the so called “damage” caused was Mika’s excuse for not beating Coulthard to the win.
Ayrton Senna vs. Alain Prost
Could there be any other number one on this list?
Ayrton and Alain had fought for the world championship the previous year, Senna coming out on top, but this one looked to be Prost’s. He held a 16 point advantage with just 20 to score when they arrived at the penultimate race in Japan, and after getting the jump on Senna at the start eked out a 5 second lead.
On lap 40 Senna sniffed an opportunity approaching the chicane – and he intended to take it. Neither man wanted to blink first and a collision was inevitable. Both slid down the escape road and, thinking Senna had taken them both out, Prost climbed from his car, the title presumably won. Senna however convinced the marshals to get him going again.
After pitting for a new nose the Brazilian drove a stunning succession of laps and went on to win the race, but was disqualified as soon as he stepped from the car for getting a push start. Having taken the chequered flag moments earlier Senna was now barred from making his way to the podium. The title was Prost’s and one of the most famous moments in F1 history had been made.
Ralf Schumacher vs. Giancarlo Fisichella & Common Sense
With his two young chargers right at the front of the 1997 Argentine Grand Prix Eddie Jordan was smiling but, as ever in this life, his happiness could not last forever.
Giancarlo Fisichella and Ralf Schumacher were running a hugely impressive second and third in Buenos Aries only for it to all to end in tears for the Italian. On lap 25 Fisi made a mistake coming on to the back straight, allowing Ralf to move right up behind him. At the following hairpin they collided as Ralf attempted a very ambitious move. Giancarlo was out on the spot.
But Ralf continued, happy as larry no doubt, and went on to pick up his maiden F1 podium with third at the flag. Eddie’s anger would have been tempered somewhat by the podium-scoring German, though we fear Fisichella wasn’t too chuffed. Ralf described the Italian’s feelings on the incident quite succinctly afterwards:
“He is very angry now,” Schumacher informed an unsurprised media.
Still, it was proof that team-mate collisions don’t always have to end in disaster for all concerned.