Seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher is still in a critical condition after his skiing accident on Sunday morning.
The surgeon at Grenoble University Hospital Center, where Schumacher is being treated said: “He is fighting for his life, we judge him to be in a very serious condition, we cannot tell you what the outcome will be yet.
“He was the victim of very serious trauma. He was very agitated when he arrived and we decided he was in a critical situation and he quickly went into a coma.”
The former F1 driver is currently in an artificial coma after having surgery on the right side of his head, “he is still in a coma and will be kept in a coma. Everything that has needed to be done is being done.
“He is undergoing some treatments which are limiting the damage to his brain and we are trying to release pressure in his head. He situation is critical.”
The surgeon also said that Schumacher’s life was potentially saved by the helmet he was wearing, “without the helmet he wouldn’t be here now.”
A spokesperson at the hospital confirmed that his family are by his bedside and that the hospital was unwilling to give any further medical prognosis.
18 – Kimi Raikkonen is looking to extent his consecutive points scoring run to 18, going back to Bahrain last season.
18 – It’s the 18th time F1 has been held at the Albert Park circuit, the first being in 1996.
4 – An Australian has never won the Australian Grand Prix, the best results was Mark Webber’s 4th place in 2012.
2 – This weekend will see Sergio Perez and Esteban Guitterez on the grid, the last time at least two Mexicans were on the grid was the 1968 Mexican GP.
150 – Jenson Button has lead most laps of the Australian Grand Prix of the current crop – with 150 laps.
11 – McLaren are the most successful constructor at the Australian Grand Prix. They have 11 wins and 13 further podiums.
6 – The record number of Australian Pole Positions Ayrton Senna gained, all at Adelaide.
4 – Jenson Button has won three Australian Grands Prix, Michael Schumacher however has won the most, with four wins In 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004.
4 – Mercedes engines have powered four of the last five Australian Grand Prix winners.
4 – There will be four French drivers on the grid for this seasons opener (Romain Grosjean, Jean-Eric Vergne, Jules Bianchi and Charles Pic) The last time there were at least four French drivers was 1994. They were Jean Alesi, Erik Comas, Olivier Panis, Eric Bernard, and Luxembourg-born racer Bertrand Gachot.
4 – Great Britain will have four drivers (Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Max Chilton, Paul di Resta) on the grid for the season-opening Grand Prix for the first time since 2008 (David Coulthard, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Anthony Davidson).
Ever since the Italian tyre manufacturer Pirelli was drawn into the sport at the start of last season, they have either been lauded or critisised for creating a confusing and highly complex tyre, which evolves and degrades in abnormal patterns.
Praise tends to come from the Team Principles, the FIA, Bernie Ecclestone and of course the fans, as the tyres allow for unpredictable races and results, none more so than this year, with 4 different drivers from 4 different teams winning the first 4 races. This increasing unpredictability allows for a much highers global TV audiences as well. More racing, more fans. I mean who wants to remember the US Grand Prix in 2005?!
However the criticisms are slowly beginning to creep in, and mainly from the drivers. Many of which, welcome unusual results, but not at the cost of actual driving ability. The problem that has become apparent this year is that to make a soft tyre go a few laps longer on the first stint, you have to drive off the limit, taking every corner smoothly and sacrifice perhaps up to 2 seconds per lap. Thats not racing now is it?
As Fernando Alonso rightly put it last week, “It’s like Real Madrid, Barcelona and AC Milan suddenly playing with the budget of Cesena.”
Normally racing in a 60 lap Formula One race should consist of 60 laps of F1 drivers, proving their worth as the finest in the world and driving the cars on the absolute limit of adhesion. But today’s Formula One consists of a driver trying to preserve a tyre and run around slightly conservatively so he wont have to make an extra pit stop during the race. It appears that losing 15 seconds saving a tyre is better than losing 20 seconds in the pit lane.
But Pirelli are only doing the job they were asked to do. It is not their fault, it is now up to the drivers to determine whether to run at maximum race pace or to run conservatively. No one can argue that the first 4 races, which have offered up to 4 different winners and results are great for the sport. But has it become somewhat artificial?
Another issue with the Pirelli’s is the sheer amount of marbles going off-line on the track throughout a race. It is ruining the racing. Drivers are now no longer wanting to overtake in certain areas, in fear that they will damage their tyres by going over the marbles. We saw it in Bahrain, where Kimi Raikkonen decided not to take to the inside of Sebastian Vettel at Turn One for the victory, as it was too slippery due to the excessive marbles on the track.
Paul Hembery of Pirelli summed it all up perfectly, “Racers are winners; they’re not happy unless they’re winning.”