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The two Kimi Raikkonens

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Andrew Benson | 13:00 UK time, Monday, 19 March 2012

There are, it turns out, two Kimi Raikkonens.

The public face of the 2007 world champion, who has returned to Formula 1 this season after two years in rallying, is of a monosyllabic, monotone, unsmiling figure, energised only the moment he steps into a racing car.

The one who emerges in private is very different - a talkative, jocular man, who can happily sit and shoot the breeze like anyone else.

As Lotus trackside operations director, Alan Permane has worked closely with Raikkonen since he joined the team last November.

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen has been perceived as cold and uncommunicative. Photo: Getty

The 32-year-old Finn, Permane says, "is happy to sit and talk, not only about technical stuff, but laughing and joking and talking rubbish with his engineers about all sorts of stuff".

He is just not interested in any of his dealings with the media and, unlike his rivals, doesn't bother to hide it.

Permane worked with Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso through the title-winning years with the team formerly known as both Benetton and Renault. He has been impressed with Raikkonen from the start.

Raikkonen first drove one of the team's cars at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia in late January. Straightaway the team knew they had something special.

He had not driven an F1 car since the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and had no experience of the Pirelli tyres he was using. Yet, after a single installation lap to check the car's systems were working, his first flying lap was within a few 10ths of a second of the fastest lap he would do over the next two days.

The good impressions did not go away.

Permane said, "He has never driven a car with a full load of fuel in it.

"We went from 30-160kg [of fuel load in Valencia] to show him that's the sort of difference you can expect - certainly from qualifying to race it's even bigger than that.

"We calculate the lap time difference the fuel load will make and his first lap was absolutely spot on that difference. That is impressive."

After that, Raikkonen did another 20 laps, each one exactly 0.1secs slower than the last - the lap time lost by tyre degradation.

There is a widespread belief that Raikkonen is as unforthcoming in his technical debriefs as he is in public, but that, too, appears to be a fallacy.

Lotus have found his comments in debriefs to be not only lengthy but very perceptive, too.

He was slightly quicker than new team-mate Romain Grosjean throughout pre-season testing, so it was a surprise that he was about 0.2secs slower than the Franco-Swiss semi-novice in the practice sessions in Melbourne.

Equally, the errors Raikkonen made on his qualifying laps that left him down in 18th on the grid betrayed a certain ring-rustiness, as well as perhaps the pressure he was feeling from Grosjean's pace.

In the race, though, something of the old Raikkonen returned as he fought back up from his low starting position to take seventh place by the end.

Clearly, though, there is more to come.

Raikkonen is not entirely happy with the feel he is getting from the Lotus's steering, but Permane plays down the significance of the problem.

"He's very particular," Permane says. "He knows what he wants and it's not quite to his liking. It's not a million miles away, but we'll get it there."

Raikkonen can drive perfectly well with the steering as it is, but the problem probably does mean that he is driving a little below his maximum.

The question now is, at what level is his maximum?

The reason Raikkonen left F1 in the first place was because he performed for Ferrari for much of 2008 and 2009 way below the level expected of him.

Ferrari, in fact, terminated Raikkonen's contract a year early and paid him not to drive in 2010 so they could bring in Alonso.

The Spaniard has since out-performed Felipe Massa, the man who generally had the better of Raikkonen from the start of 2008 until fracturing his skull in an accident in Hungary in July 2009.

Does this mean Alonso is that much better than Raikkonen? Or that Raikkonen in 2008-9 was a long way below his best? Or that Massa is not the driver he was?

No one knows for sure, but for Raikkonen's comeback to be considered an unqualified success he will have to be able to match his new team-mate's pace.

The fact Lotus have regrouped over the winter and produced one of the year's fastest cars only increases the pressure - it's not so bad to be beaten by a team-mate when you're battling to get into the top 10; but a very different matter when you're fighting for the podium.

That, it appears, is what Lotus are in a position to do.

"We screwed up with the car last year," Permane says, "and we know we've done a lovely car this year, not only aerodynamically, but we've done a nice package mechanically."

So pleased are Lotus with the new E20 that Permane says he "dared to compare it with 2005", when Alonso won the first of his two titles.

That is not so much a measure of Lotus's realistic hopes as a reflection of how much the drivers like the car, and how well it responds to changes.

Nevertheless, the team are confident they can keep up with the break-neck development pace of the likes of McLaren and Red Bull and hold on to their position.

For Raikkonen, the requirement now is prove that he can go with them. So far, the signs are positive.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Great to have Kimi back in F1, regardless of which one shows up.

  • Comment number 2.

    why dont you wait until the middle of the season before you write this? one race a season does not make.

    I think the more important question that needs answering is that did the BBC really need to send so many people to cover this race? you want to reduce your costs yet cant seem to reduce your staffing levels?

    no that i can compare the sky tv version to your tv version, you guys need to pull out more than 3/10ths.................

    BTW, I dont care about being 1st on these blogs. Small things for small minds.

  • Comment number 3.

    It's a great thing having Kimi Raikkonen back on the grid, you couldn't manufacture that sort of character and personality. Then you have his driving ability on top of that, he's back where he belongs in F1. He's too good not to be driving here.

    Vote for driver of the aussie GP

  • Comment number 4.

    D'oh!! paragraph 3 should start with now not no.

  • Comment number 5.

    Personally I'm glad to see Kimi back. It's true his tone is monosyllabic, but it is clear that he knows what it's all about, finds the press tiresome, and has lost little if any of his racecraft. At Melbourne he was a little unlucky, but at the next race I expect him to be competing with Red Bull and Mercedes. Actually if you study Kimi's face when being questioned and the odd subtle smile drifts across, I think he's probably thinking more in the line of why do I have to answer these inane questions when it's clear to everybody what has happened.

  • Comment number 6.

    @2. Did you think Sky's coverage was better? I have to say I thought it was awful. MB and Crofty were both pretty good in the box, but otherwise the studio/trackside analysis was boring and felt very contrived and unnatural. And I found the decision to appoint a couple of airheaded blonde types as window dressing offensive to both women and the average F1 fan's intelligence.

    The real question here is, why has the Beeb allowed its award winning live coverage to go elsewhere in the first place?

  • Comment number 7.

    Wonder what he'd be hoping for as an end of season finish?
    Take away the 2 Mclaren's, 2 Red Bull's, Alonso and possibly both Mercs, what would he be aiming for? 8th place?

    If he's in the 5th best car on the grid, I think the best result he could hope for would be beating Massa from the top teams on raw pace alone.

  • Comment number 8.

    I do not watch Top Gear now, but I did pick up Kimi's drive on iPlayer in the "star in a reasonably priced car" feature recently and found him a totally different personality to that usually seen in his interviews either in F1 or WRC. He appeared genuinely relaxed and witty, trading silly repartie with Clarkson and finally showing what he is made of by recording the fastest time, in the wet, of the GP drivers so far. I think Renault - sorry , Lotus, have pulled a fast one on the rest of the field and I reckon we will see Kimi pulling them back into contention.

  • Comment number 9.

    Andrew Benson wrote:

    The Spaniard has since out-performed Felipe Massa, the man who generally had the better of Raikkonen from the start of 2008 until fracturing his skull in an accident in Hungary in July 2009.


    It's probably not fair, then, to use Massa as the yardstick for Raikonnen and Alonso. Massa was fast before his accident, and has certainly lost something after it. Alonso never raced with pre-injury Massa, and Raikonnen never raced with post-injury Massa, so you're comparing apples and oranges.

    Massa is stupidly slow these days - the fact Ferrari have kept him on is surely just because of the lack of standout alternatives (and perhaps an element of keeping Alonso happy by not putting him up against a strong team mate!). Kimi is quick - he proved that in the race - and still has his racecraft about him.

    Like post 2 says, it's too early for this article really.

  • Comment number 10.

    If you watch Top Gear you already know Kimi has a great personality.

  • Comment number 11.

    Joe Shef wrote

    The real question here is, why has the Beeb allowed its award winning live coverage to go elsewhere in the first place?

    Do you really not know the answer to this question after all this time?

  • Comment number 12.

    I agree with #6 - Sky's coverage was decent but nowhere near as good as the BBC's last year. The whole thing felt overblown and lacking the sense of honesty and fun (though still brilliantly informative) of the Beeb coverage.

  • Comment number 13.

    @12 Dont encourage him jane please, don't want another blog ruined by it!

  • Comment number 14.

    meant to be @11.

  • Comment number 15.

    I think Raikkonen is an uncut diamond in many ways - and needs a team around to extract his maximum. He's probably one of the most naturally talented of the last 20-30 years but this talent needs marshalling. His complaint about the steering weight on the E20 is an example - I think it's a by-product of his amazingly precise feel for the limit. Lotus need to pool their resources into making Kimi as comfortable in the car as possible and the results will come. Look at the heights Raikkonen achieved at McLaren when the team was moulded around him. He was denied two championships by mechanical faults, not by his driving.

    I don't think Ferrari gave him the same level of help that he had at McLaren. The F2008 was understeery and suited Massa's high energy style which uses lots of initial turn-in speed, generating more heat at the front end and quelling the understeer more quickly. Perversely Raikkonen's less violent initial steering inputs hampered his qualifying as he couldn't get the heat into the tyres. I don't think Ferrari helped Raikkonen as much as they could have - it was only in the final few races of the season that they specifically altered the aero on Raikkonen's car (removing the 'anvil' engine cover), and consequently Kimi was again quicker than Massa. If Ferrari had helped Kimi earlier and modified the car accordingly instead of expecting him to alter his driving style, 08 could have been very different.

    In 2009 Kimi actually had a bit of an advantage over Massa in quali before the accident and in the races he was very unlucky. In Malaysia the team made a ridiculous tyre choice when he was on course for points, at Silverstone his strategy was shot when he was stuck behind Nakajima for most of the race, at the Nurburgring he retired with mechanical failure, and at Turkey he collided with Kubica at the start despite outqualifying Massa with more fuel. I think the notion that he was way behind Felipe in 09 is false and belies quite lazy analysis of the finer details.

    In short, I think Raikkonen will be back and pushing the front this year. The team need to get behind him, sort out the steering issues and let his talent flourish in a way I don't think Ferrari really did. He's not a perfect driver - his lack of adaptability is certainly a flaw - but when all works well he can be nigh-on untouchable.

  • Comment number 16.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 17.

    The 'Ice-Man' returneth. Hooray, the sport has been a duller place without Kimi. The sport needs larger than life characters.

    Welcome back and let's see you at your best - your return is welcomed:)

  • Comment number 18.

    The BBC did have a good thing going with its Live Coverage last year, maybe they can make amends when they show the chinese GP live this time and put the Sky people to bed.

  • Comment number 19.


    ah.. never a wasted moment to have a go at Alonso.. bit of an Alonso-hater, obviously.. or is it pure lack of understanding of the sport?

    Your quote: "Massa is stupidly slow these days - the fact Ferrari have kept him on is surely just because of the lack of standout alternatives (and perhaps an element of keeping Alonso happy by not putting him up against a strong team mate!)"

    If you truly believe that a F1 team will sacrifice priceless reputation (you are talking Ferrari!) and valuable constructorship points for the sake of keeping sweet one of their drivers you are totally mistaken

  • Comment number 20.

    Kimi a great natural talent and exciting to watch like hamilton and alonso

  • Comment number 21.

    Sorry I can't really comment on the BBC's coverage too much as there was no point watching highlights when I watched it live....

  • Comment number 22.

    @13 True, thats my bad.

  • Comment number 23.

    "Ferrari, in fact, terminated Raikkonen's contract a year early and paid him not to drive in 2010 so they could bring in Alonso."

    Think you will find it was mostly Santandar paying Raikkonen not to drive.

  • Comment number 24.

    Why no F1 forum??

    Jake said at autosport awards there would be one after every race highlights or not.

    Great to have Kimi back!!

  • Comment number 25.

    No to sky.... joke! someone is bound to start!

    Didn't like Kimi (possibly due to the fact I despise ferrari) but I've immediately warmed to him...possibly due to the only reason I pay my licence fee ;)

  • Comment number 26.

    #8 - he was nowhere near Hamilton's wet time (nearly the quickest despite being wet) - about 2 seconds off.

    Kimi is the type of driver we need. I simply don't care about him hating the press, why shouldn't he? Necessary evil, nothing more.

    Sky coverage was quite good for a first attempt. Very pleased to see no sign of Tony Jardine, and much prefer Damon Hill to Coulthard. Nice to be creative and not have to pay the Murdoch swine for the privelege too. Still no credit on the BBC, and I see today that the overseer of the Beeb's asset-stripping is stepping down later in the year. Too late, ruined already, but you will NOT be missed.

  • Comment number 27.

    @19 re Massa

    I'm inclined to agree with FortressFratton...Massa makes a dependable (if not, currently, very quick) no.2 driver...and as seen in 2007 Alonso does not react well to having a feisty, competitve team mate
    ...and as Ferrari are hardly renowned for gambling on young, untried drivers (even ones with potential) sticking with Massa for 2012 was probably a straight forward decision, especially with the other top teams all opting for continuity with their driver line ups (they may have been waiting on Kubica too....)'s great to see Kimi back, let's hope he stays committed & motivated for all of the season, then we maybe we could see him on the podium from time to time

  • Comment number 28.

    Great to have Kimi back - I feel really sorry from GRO after his great Sat, and his dink also took away anything to compair the ice man to, but i think they will both be nibbling at Ferrari's heels next week.

    As for Sky, I thought they did a pretty good job. A few rough endes at the start of Sat, but they soon got into the flow. Although i have a great desire to shoot down the 'SkyPad' and those awful wooden co-people (dont know what their names are, or what they do apart from poke a TV and look anywhere except the camera)

    PS. well done Sky on picking up on Jake's "art of how to hold, but never use, an iPad"

  • Comment number 29.

    How good was Sky's coverage of the Grand Prix this weekend! I for one thought it was superb, shame to see simon leazby or what ever his name is no longer on the rugby club (another one of skys many superb programmes)

  • Comment number 30.

    @28 do you mean Georgie Thompson and Anthony Davidson, ie. the ex-F1 driver?

  • Comment number 31.

    Lol think we got away with it.

    Regarding Felipe Massa, isn't Sergio Perez part of the Ferrari young drivers programme? And a likely replacement for him should he carry on showing the promise he has in his first season + 1 race of 2012.

    Would be fitting if Massa's replacement came from the same team he came from, Ferrari using Sauber as a feeder club almost.

    I doubt they'd give Bianchi the seat unless he got a race drive somewhere else first.

  • Comment number 32.

    #28 At least Sky are probably being paid royalties to do so ;) As far as I'm aware BBC can't even take money for their iPad duties.

    Anthony Davidson was an F1 driver for shortish time so give him his fair due. He'll probably get better at analysis as the time goes by. Him pointing out what the numbers on the drivers dash mean in qualifying was actually useful information.

    Georgie Thompson on the other hand....yeah she either needs a bigger role or be trashed at the moment her entire role seams to consist of asking Davidson questions the main presenter could of done. Personally it has one presenter too many and you can drop either Thompson or Lazenby wouldn't make a blind difference to the coverage who and one will eventually learn the role better like Jake did. Personally I'd vote to keep Thompson purely on eye candy basis but that's not the brain talking ;)

  • Comment number 33.

    Chances are Ant's looking at Georgie...

  • Comment number 34.

    I like Kimmi's style and always have done. He's nobody's except his own and does'nt feel the need to justify that to anyone. The press hate him because like all other celebs, they think they own his life and his scandals. Kimmi has built an unbreakable barrier between himself and the media vultures and that I also like.

    It's like he wants to live life on his terms and not feeling like he has to explain anything to anyone. I respect him all the more for it, and SHOCK HORROR, he's actually a human being away from the spotlight and I bet the press HATE that because they cant get close enough to him to scandalise him and his life.

    I've always known he was a completely different person away from the sport and the camera's, yet you present that as some kind of shocking fact. The truth is, he comes across as cold and monosyllabic because he does'nt think you and people like you have any place poking your noses into his business. Thats what I love about him.

  • Comment number 35.

    I'd agree on the eye candy stakes...but I'm sure things will improve! I'm liking the fact it's a dedicated F1 channel, if you miss out anything you get another chance to watch it, and they seem to be able to spend a bit more time on stuff than ye olde beeb. I completely understand that they have the financial clout and programming flexibility to do so, but as has been said before, I can't believe the beeb passed the chance to keep the full rights, especially as they appear to be sending as many people around the globe anyway!

  • Comment number 36.

    Has anyone else noticed that Sky's live streaming quality is about 400 times better than the rubbish the BBC dished up last year? It was just about good enough to watch full screen when they first started, but after they started losing interest, and especially last year, the quality got worse and worse race after race, and even a small window looked like lego! It's about time the TV tax was abolished and even the BBC was subscription, then we'd not be ripped of for paying for a company that broadcasts nothing worth watching any more!

  • Comment number 37.

    Have always enjoyed your analysis, but now you have taken a shortcut.
    Put together a story based on what others have already written or said.
    In all the years in F1, you should if anyone knew what is was at Ferrari from 2008 to 2009, talk to the engineers who were responsible, then, ask them what they have to say about KIMI? To perform as he did the second half of the 2009 season, speaks for itself! Winning on the SPA in a car that did not measure, check out what GF performed in 2009 in the same car!
    Kimi is a very nice person, never brags about himself, admits mistakes, lets his driving speak, also a very nice and funny person

  • Comment number 38.

    BBC - stop throwing out blog after blog about F1 please, you no longer have exclusive rights to it so stop pretending otherwise.

    Sky care about sport and its the reason they have almost cornered the market completely. They fork out millions for its coverage and people ripping them are the one's without it. Go out and buy it and you will not be disappointed trust me.

  • Comment number 39.

    @34 great analysis and probably bang on, I also knew the type of person he was before he left F1 the last time so its no surprise to me either.

  • Comment number 40.

    @ 34 Riggadon - I agree with you. I like Kimi's driving style more then anything else. He is just brilliant to watch.

    The way he handles the media is very refreshing to see. He seems to be very honest and doesn't have any time for the bulls*it.

    I would be very happy for him if he manages to finish in the top 8 at the end of the season, beat his team mate and finish on the podium a few times. I will be over the moon if he actually wins a race but I don't want to be too optimistic.

  • Comment number 41.

    i have read your analysis since 2005, and you have always favoured alonso in your analysis against raikonnen stating alonso is the most complete driver.

    the only worry is that i am never going to get that 10 minutes i spent reading your blog.

    i will go as far to say its better to know when to quit... it is good for bbc to have a new blogger

  • Comment number 42.

    Great to see Raikkonen back.

    ...and a lot seems to be written by those opposing Sky.
    This can only be a good thing.

  • Comment number 43.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 44.

    Kimi Raikkonennnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 45.

    The best thing Kimi ever did was to tell Brundle where he was when Schumacher was receiving an award from Pele in Brazil.

    He is a breath of fresh air (excusing any puns)...welcome back.

  • Comment number 46.

    It looks as though the Lotus is the 5th fastest car in field (after Mclaren, Red bull, Mercedes and Ferrari respectively) so you would expect Kimi to finish at least 9th in the championship.

    However it is very early in the season and teams will be bringing in updates. The top 4 teams have a large budget so I expect them to pull away from Lotus as the season progresses. Kimi's best chance of getting good results are probably going to occur in the next 2-3 races.

  • Comment number 47.

    @38 - You are very naive or you're James Murdoch in disguise. SKY don't care about Sport. They like their main owner (Rupert Murdoch) only care about making money. Hence the high cost of a subscription. And also SKY's behaviour towards the ECB (they've asked for some of their money back) because cricket isn't making enough money for them.

    I like SKY's coverage of sport. But I'm not buying into the nonsense that they are some sort of sporting angels.

  • Comment number 48.

    It is good to see Kimi back and he appears to have lost none of his speed even though he had a troubled first weekend back.
    Just consider Kimi has been out of F1 for two years so it will take time for him to reach his peak performances but the signs are good.
    I felt the media have been overly critical of his Melbourne performance given the slack they cut Schumacher on his return with Mercedes.
    For some reason Kimi never gelled at Ferrari and his performances never scaled the heights he achieved at Mclaren even though he did win a championship at Ferrari.
    However there is no doubting his quality even though the media did question him during his time at Ferrari.
    It makes you wonder if the media vendetta against Kimi was always motivated by a dislike of his personality rather than his qualities as a racing driver?

  • Comment number 49.

    For an ex-pat Brit, here in Finland for the past 13 years, I have to say Kimi is the only reason I will be watching F1 this year.

    And apparently it doesn't matter how many Kimis there are - the consensus seems to be we're happy to have them back.

    But maybe someone should put a stopwatch in his cockpit for qualifying in future...

  • Comment number 50.

    @48 - Markj161 I agree. Even though he won the WDC with Ferrari I feel he was even better at McLaren. Anyway, It's great to have him back.

    Does anyone think that Kimi might get a drive with one of the big teams?

    Assuming Schumi retires at the end of the season then there may well be a drivers merry-go-round. Mercedes would be desperate to get Vettel. If Hamilton continues to have a frosty relationship with McLaren then he may join Red bull. That may leave the door open for Kimi to return to McLaren. I hope so!

  • Comment number 51.

    I like Kimi as a person and as a driver I think he is actually the most entertaining of the whole field. Although this is just one race, lets not say he is back to his best or anything - he needs to start out performing his team mate in qualifying first.

  • Comment number 52.

    The only reason why Kimi didn't get higher than 7th is because Lotus and he made a mistake on the time to get him out for the end of Q3 - Wonder where he would of finished if he had a better qualifying.

    These people who say Sky coverage was good - get a life. I mean their apparent new brilliant coverage only got around 250,000.

    Ant way looking forward to the next race in Malaysia, forcasted a thunder storm ( pritty epic it would be)

  • Comment number 53.

    It's good to have Kimi back but he needs a few more races under his belt before he approaches his best again.
    As to the Sky coverage is was good for a start but can improve but it is only the start.

    I would also like to congratulate Barbara Slater (BBC Director of Sport), she has manage to save the BBC more money by losing the rights to Horse Racing, "Channel 4 secures a four-year deal to broadcast the Grand National, the Derby and Royal Ascot from 2013". Well Done!!!

  • Comment number 54.

    @47 You don't have to pay anything above the lowest monthly HD cost for the F1 channel with Sky, currently at £30.25 a month. Now you may not see that as good value for money, but it's on a par with the other subscription options for HD, and if like me there is a complete and utter lack of other HD options in your area (freeview is dire, I get 11 channels including a couple of porn channels and some channels that only broadcast for a few hours each day) then I believe it's actually good value. Throw in the fact that you get a good recording option, a chance to get decent broadband and yes you pays your money and takes your pick. I'm completely happy with the service, it's by far and away my best and cheapest option to get a decent tv service and broadband, and with all this taken into account, F1 was one of the few things we as a family watched on the beeb.

    If you're lucky enough to get decent freeview coverage then perhaps it's not cost effective, but my options are seriously limited. I had this very discussion with a mate, and after he came and saw my options he agreed he would have gone down the Sky route and he's a well known tight ass....

  • Comment number 55.

    @52 It's a shame he made a mistake on his penultimate run in Q1 but I suppose it can be forgiven this time as it is his first F1 race in over 2 years. The minimum requirement for him is to comfortably beat his team mate.

  • Comment number 56.

    I'm sorry, but the whole "two Kimis" is ridiculous!

    There's only one Kimi, and he has no interest in talking to the media. Really, who can blame him? The F1 drivers are asked the same questions over and over, and those that can be bothered to answer give variations of the same (usually obvious) answers over and over again.

    I'm sure Kimi's all too aware of how much crap journalists write about the famous in order to justify their jobs. Perhaps he's one of the few people out there who doesn't care what other people get up to and only has an interest in the job people do as sportspeople or actors, whatever. I wish more famous people reacted as he did, or turned around and questioned the banality of some of the questions put to them.

    A note about the coverage... nice to see less waffle, filler-chat, and pointless opinions in the F1 coverage. However, it would be nice if the main commentator learnt a few more phrases rather than continually repeat the same stuff over and over again.

    Speaking of which, what is it with the BBC and 'pundits' and commentators with a limited vocabulary? I could understand if these people were employed because they were cheap, but seeing as most of them are ex-famous-whatevers, I imagine they're quite handsomely paid.

    Which reminds me; Eddie Jordon... what is the point of him on F1? A little money could be saved if the BBC didn't pay for a flight/hotel/wage for a long weekend in Australia for what probably amounted to less than eight minutes of 'speaking'.

    Perhaps the new director general will have a little more common sense and take more interest in the running of what is effectively a business paid for by every taxpayer!!!

  • Comment number 57.

    @56 I'm not a fan of Eddie either. However, he does have a good relationship with the people in the paddock so he can get a few good interviews. His opinions are very much reactionary though unlike DC who seems to be very analytical.

  • Comment number 58.

    @ 11

    I think Jeff is just as confused as the rest of us. How can the bbc be saving money when they are still paying for presenters to be at every race even when they are not showing it live. Would it not have made more sense to have them sitting in the new MOTD studio analysing what happened in the race. Seems a bit of a waste moving to this new facility to only use that room twice a week.

    Also @ 6, have to agree with your statement of "And I found the decision to appoint a couple of airheaded blonde types as window dressing offensive to both women and the average F1 fan's intelligence" because two Sundays ago there was a programme on Pick TV about the up coming f1 season and it seemed to me like whoever the female was didn't know what she was talking about. She classed Eau Rouge at Spa, Belguim as a "typical overtaking place" while reviewing Webber's overtake on Alonso last year which it clearly isn't. That was just a good move and very gutsy one at that.

    Also I see today that the bbc has given C4 the rights to the horse racing. How come F1 wasn't given this chance instead of just being given straight to Sky.

    Glad that man Thompson is standing down later this year as he just seems to be messing everything up on the bbc. I don't understand his reasoning behind doing this to the F1 coverage as it was the bbc's most popular programme. I read somewere that it takes £90 million to run bbc3 for a year wereas the contract for F1 was £45 million. (Don't know if this is true but that's what I read.) Now there is nothing on bbc3 or 4 for that matter worth watching so it would of made more sense to do away with those channels as viewing figures for those were no were near as high as for the F1. Also anybody could realise one year without bbc3 is enough to finance 2 years of F1.

  • Comment number 59.

    He left F1 on low which somehow seems wrong. Like Hamilton, if things are right, he is utterly unbeatable on his day. I reckon the lotus is even better than current hype suggests... watch this space

  • Comment number 60.

    To all of those tooting the Murdochs' horns - go away trolls. I'm glad you enjoyed Sky's coverage, so you can now justify giving your money to a truly vile group of people, but it's probably not a good idea to broadcast your poor taste to the world and his wife on the internet. From what I've seen their approach to F1 is cheesier than athlete's foot. "They really care about sport"? Really? They care about dominating the media and how we consume it, buying the rights to everything they can and forcing people to pay for something they once had for free (and please, right-wing nuts, don't start with all that licence fee 'tax' nonsense). The BBC has class, wit, and warmth on their side; their coverage is human, whereas Sky's m.o. is bombastic showbiz glitz, the televisual equivalent of a Michael Bay film. I think this weekend, with the great unedited presentation on 5 Live radio with the new team, the live 'Inside F1' programmes on the BBC News channel Fridays and Saturdays, through to the highlights shows themselves, the BBC have done a terrific job in difficult circumstances. To the commenter slamming the site for having "too many blogs and pretending to have exclusive coverage when they don't anymore" - what are you on about? They've gone to great lengths to point out that programmes are extended highlights, not live (when I honestly don't think they need to be so transparent as I can look at my watch to work that out, but that's just me) and the upswing in activity on the website with articles and videos is clearly a creative way to keep expanding and evolving their coverage of the sport within the constraints of their agreement Sky. Would you rather they didn't bother to report anything at all on the races they aren't screening every lap of? Everyone who doesn't have a subscription to a pay channel isn't allowed to be interested anymore? Dear oh dear. I thoroughly enjoyed all the programming across the weekend, and found the new additions to the team to be a breath of fresh air. Gary Anderson is a superior technical analyst to the departed pit lane experts, primarily because he has actually built Formula One cars rather than just talked to someone who has, and Ben Edwards was outstanding. He's the star acquisition to my mind - his positivity and enthusiasm and just pure niceness made me realise what an old moaner Brundle has become recently, and I can honestly say I don't miss him. The feature-length highlights show managed to both seamlessly condense the action and capture the excitement of a live broadcast - enhanced from my perspective because I had a nice lie-in and started watching without a clue as to what the outcome had been. Very easy to do on a Sunday. If the peerless Jake Humphrey wants our input as to how to improve the non-live programmes (as he requested on Twitter) I think, if it's possible within contractual restraints, they should have a 30 minute Inside F1 programme about the build-up to the race an hour or so prior to the broadcast of the main event; enough of a delay to placate the lawyers, but close enough to the format of the standard shows to keep the excitement bubbling. All in all, a great job, and I'm sure the millions of other people who watched on the Beeb alongside me would agree.

  • Comment number 61.

    @59 I think we all knew that Kimi was going to return. If he was winning rallies then I suppose he would have stayed at the WRC but F1 is where he belongs.

  • Comment number 62.

    @60 Trolls? Nope...just believe the beeb's lack of understanding on why I'd want to watch a highlights program when I'd already seen it live is off the mark. Also, I'm not bothered about if it's cheesy or not, I can choose using the red button what/who/how to watch via Sky and had more choice than I ever had before...
    I don't think you understand...I pay to watch my tv in high definition because it's not available by any other means, and that's my choice. Freeview completely sucks in my area, again not the beebs problem, but because of that I'm watching Sky coverage. I do however like to come and debate the argument here, as I have over the last couple of seasons...slating Sky because the beeb chopped the program because of mis management and/or cost cutting is petty, and I'm glad that they haven't censored out my comments here too because I'm not anti beeb whatsoever, they have just lost out on this particular sport for now...
    I would have still had Sky and watched it on BBC HD if they had kept it live, and possibly may do when the races are live but when I looked over the bbc sport website the main headline was Button wins dominant first race...hours before they themselves broadcast it. this is the problem, they are trying to be impartial and report stuff, and it's like the footy and other sports where they show highlights, I now have a choice where to watch and I choose the live version because that's how I like it. It's 2012 and the options are all available to you if you wish to pay for them, though in my case, as the freeview is so bad here (you wouldn't watch SD after HD believe me) my choice was a fairly easy one...

  • Comment number 63.

    3 things I Know...

    1)Kimi's a legend,

    2)BBC F1 is Supreme,

    3)Sky Sports F1 is a total load of crap!!!

    This is someone who watched both coverages from the race weekend.

    Sky's coverage is just a massive copy of the BBC, all the way to the ipad, it is practically the same in every way.

    The copy is a failed copy it just doesn't work, Damon Hill for David Coulthard, (every other word Hill says is errrmmm... and this is very annoying), Simon Lazenby doesn't know an earth what he's on about and the chemistry between himself and Hill is painful to watch.

    On the other hand, the BBC crew is far better. I watched half an hour of the Sky build up for the race, and I was shocked that people subscribed to sky and gave Murdock money, for all that rubbish they displayed live on a dedicated channel, I think it is a disgrace to the sport and should be fixed for the next race or the subscribers will want answers!

    The day before I watched the 15 minute qualifying build up on the BBC, and I found that not just better, it was on another level compared to my 30 minutes I experienced of Sky's pathetic attempt to put BBC's coverage to shame.
    In fact I would rate Sky's coverage a 2/10 and I'm being generous, and I think the BBC put sky's coverage to shame.

    The BBC's coverage was great and better, and this was a highlights show, just imagine what the live version will be like.
    Well you don't have too, just cast your minds back to 2009-2011 and let the good memories come flying back, instead of Sky's dribble that they've come up with.

    Of course I would rate the BBC 10/10 if they had the races live, but until they do they will get a 8/10, which is better than a 2.

    To prove how terrible Sky is at F1 check this out:

    No to Murdock's Empire!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 64.

    Ahh well whatever you feel! I'm of the opinion that whatever the coverage gained by having the beeb doing it was lost by the fact it was truncated and not live...each to their own though. And whilst Ben Edwards was enthusiastic, he also sounded like he'd had a massive chug of helium...

    It's difficult, and I understand we all have a difference of opinion...I'm a bit more laid back and will continue to take the live option everytime I'm Georgie Thompson and Natalie Pinkham are better looking than Lee McKenzie!

  • Comment number 65.

    PSST - and I'm being tongue in cheek before people complain...

  • Comment number 66.

    Ohh and I apologise for my off topic ramblings..again...

  • Comment number 67.

    Thanks for that link, liamdud - a great laugh and painfully truthful. As they say on Twitter - #bbcf1 #justpressone

  • Comment number 68.

    And 3dcandy? I respectfully disagree. Lee McKenzie's delightful Scottish burr makes me tingle in a way which would be unseemly to elaborate upon on a family website... ;)

  • Comment number 69.

    Glad Kimi is back.

    - Like his driving style,
    - like his refusual to be a patronising boring pro-corporate sponsor machine,
    - like his dead pan humour (@45 classic, 'I was taking a sh...'), reminds me of Hakkinen. (See you tube, searching for Mika Hakkinen teaches James May)

    Just watched the BBC coverage and must complement their F1 team, good job, further proof of the disasterous BBC management decision to ditch F1 early.
    DC was tremendous, Ben interrupted a few times but was generally good, but DC was spotting things so sharply such as Rosberg on Seb Vettel when Vettel ran wide, Rom Gro's suspension break, tyre strategies, laptimes etc.
    The post analysis was good as well with good incident analysis, good interviews, especially from DC but even Eddie on Webber's starting 'yips'.

    Crying shame it is not live as RTL TV with commentary was excellent, heck I'd watch F1 with Vettel doing his crazy frog tune for the whole race as long as it's Live BBC!

    Gary Anderson was good as well, maybe not perfect for TV but great for true F1 fans. Obviously well respected and great at analysing around the pitstops. His post race article on the website is great as well. McLaren really did blow it at the first pitstops by pitting too late allowing Vettel and particularly Alonso to catch up to Lewis. Though the undercut was not always quicker, as Alonso was mighty in jumping Rosberg who pitted a lap earlier than him.

  • Comment number 70.

    It must be the repetitive questions he has to answer to the world media in F1.

  • Comment number 71.

    Regarding Räikkönen - just watch the last Top Gear (on the BBC). Clearly a different personality to the one who is forced to answer questions in front of an incredibly slow moving interviewer and camera after having driven an F1 car at 200mph ... I wonder why that may be? It's nice to see an honest person in F1.

    Regarding the coverage this weekend - I watched both as I'm fortunate enough to have the Sky HD package already for different reasons and so did not have to pay extra this season. I realise that might change, and I'm prepared to make a tough decision if and when that happens.

    So, IMHO, where did Sky score over the BBC? Firstly, they have MB and Crofty doing the race commentary. Although Croft got a bit over-excited at times, the mix of Brundle's acerbic wit ("Webber's off doing a bit of gardening" as WEB took a short cut, churning up the grass in quali) and Croft's enthusiasm is very "familiar" (I watched practice on the red button over the last few seasons when I could) and it's almost like a seamless continuation from last season. In contrast, the BBC commentators seemed to miss so much of the action and didn't appear to be offering the same depth of analysis of the race. At one point - I think it was in the first couple of laps, Ben screamed "Wow! Just look at Alonso's car!". That was it. Was I supposed to be impressed by the way Alonso had taken some places, amazed at the geometry of the nose from a particular angle, or perhaps impressed at the particular redness that had been painted onto it? No idea, as he didn't follow up with any discussion as to WHY we should look at Alonso's car. I also found the BBC commentators to be talking over/interrupting each other a lot. I'm sure this will improve.

    Secondly, the footage was crisp. I felt like the BBC-HD footage had a lot of artifacts in comparison (even when it was the same FOM feed). I suspect that Sky have ensured the F1HD channel's bitrate is superior to the BBCHD channel. Anti-Sky people will call shenanigans on that, but if the BBC didn't bother to include a quality clause in the contract when they signed things over, what did they expect?

    Where have Sky slipped up (i.e., where has the BBC scored a win)?

    The presentation. While I don't particularly like the whole "shirt wars" aspect of the BBC coverage, there is undoubtably a chemistry between Jake, EJ and DC.
    Jake: reasonably knowledgeable these days, affable, a good anchor.
    EJ: knowledgeable at a team level, opinionated, a character.
    DC: knowledgeable at a driver level, technical, dry.
    That's a good mix, they bounce off each other well.

    On the other hand, Sky has managed to lead with Lazenby (not particularly knowledgeable, looks a bit uncomfortable) and Hill (dry, humourless). It just descends into a question and answer session where nobody queries the answers. Even when they add Brundle to that on rare occasions, there's an uncomfortableness (probably because the better broadcaster didn't win a WDC while the boring one did - MB needs to get over that and stamp his authority).

    To make matters worse, they have another double-act of Georgie and Ant in the "Skypad" room. Much like the Lazenby/Hill one-presenter-one-technical-person situation, we have ... one presenter and one technical person! Totally unnecessary to have a presenter there - the technical person could quite easily go through the segment presenting the "skypad" thing as a weather presenter does. They don't really need to have someone asking obvious questions.

    So, my verdict for now is that I think the BBC will win on the between-FOM-footage segments (but we need to see a live broadcast first - I will watch the BBC in preference), but Sky win on the race commentary and broadcast quality.

    My overall verdict? Even though I've had to pay no more this year, I wish it were all just as it was last season.

  • Comment number 72.

    Im lmao at the people that are saying the sky coverage was better my god are people really that blind? sky should keep MB Crofty and ted and sack everyone else it was a painful to watch sham of what the bbc have been doing for the last 3 years.

    As for bbc content I did not think much of that at all(BE and GA I dont think they are up to the task) both sides need to up their game and if you go by the viewer numbers both stations failed the fans.

    Glad kimi is back:) not sure what he can do in that car but I think it will take him awhile to start getting near the top of the pack(just look how long it took msc to do it).
    Besides its not f1 if its not got finn in it:)

  • Comment number 73.

    @6: I completely agree. I never missed a Free Practice last season because the coverage was superb, but now with Sky I won't even bother. It's too clinical. I also think Anthony Davidson's new job is quite pathetic. And don't even get me started on Simon Lazenby.

  • Comment number 74.

    By the way, Jaime Alguersuari was vague and kept repeating the same thing over and over. It was kind of annoying.

  • Comment number 75.

    Kimi's fight to 7th from 18th was stunning. Make no mistake, he will win polls and podium many times this year. The car will be fine, with Kimi driving.

  • Comment number 76.

    Yup there are 2 raikkonnens.One side of him is genuinely playful,relaxed and extremely talkative to journos like peter windsor,martin brundle etc.the other side of him people see when he deals with people like andrew benson who have zero credibility and thinks ferrari are faster than mclaren based on preseason testing.

  • Comment number 77.

    Well this is what I prefer to see on the Sky thing reasoned debate about the two's different coverage. Can those who are complaining people have Sky shut up? I know several people who don't just because they hate Murdoch and they don't feel the need to ram it down my throat every time I talk to them or it gets mentioned...

    A thing I'm interested in those who say the Sky coverage is rubbish do you pay for Sky? Equally those who say it's great how big a package do you buy? How many people here got Sky for F1 (I had it already for Cricket)?

    #71 probably summed it up best I'd rather it stayed on BBC but it hasn't. However as I mainly watch for the actual racing as the pictures are the same the commentary team is the most important aspect and that wins on Sk'ys side. For dual live races I can honestly see myself watching the build up on BBC then switching to Sky for the race.

  • Comment number 78.

    You think you have got problems what happens if you want football and motor racing FA Cup on ITV Premiership on the BeeB F! on BeeB on Sky footie on 5 Live it's all doing my head in choice my a...e.At least this Season David Coulthard is pronouncing Vettle now instead of Vettel maybe we shall hear John Motson say Drogba instead of Drogba if you kmow what I mean!Great race to kick off the new season Button still looks the more foccussed to me Lewis is back with Nicole more seperations since Bobby Charlton's comb over.Very impressed with Romain Grosjean may be a dark horse good to see Kimi back we may see some friction between Lewis and Jenson did I see Shumacher winking in the camera the world's gone mad!

  • Comment number 79.

    I have to say, Kimi really is the 'peoples' driver' isn’t he? He hates journalists and other media types asking dull, predictable questions just as much as the rest of us. For that he gets my respect (as well as for being a fantastically clinical driver).

    I have to say, the BBC show on Sunday was great. It really didn’t feel like I was watching highlights and although they must have edited out a bit of the race I didn’t notice. Plus, it meant they couldn’t waffle on for an hour pre-race – they just pretty much got straight on with it. I really cannot wait until the 1st live race on the BBC – Sky’s viewing figures will go the way of Hamilton’s rear tyres – off the cliff! It’s just a shame that DC has inherited MB’s desire to refer to everything as ‘mighty’. Seriously annoying, but it could be worse I suppose.

  • Comment number 80.

    I don't normally start every paragraph with 'I have to say'! Must proof read properly next time.

  • Comment number 81.

    On the subject of watching live races in HD, I enjoyed coverage from dub dub dub dot . Live Sky coverage of footie and F1 from my laptop :))

  • Comment number 82.

    "The F1 Forum will continue on the red button for about an hour of comment and analysis after the programme. It will also be available on the red button and the website after the non-live races. "

    WHERE WAS THE FORUM? And why won't anyone answer this question? Will there be one in China, and why wasn't there one in Australia even after we were told there would be one?!

  • Comment number 83.

    To answer: "Does this mean Alonso is that much better than Raikkonen? Or that Raikkonen in 2008-9 was a long way below his best? Or that Massa is not the driver he was?". No. It means that Ferrari had a crap car. And if I hear that word 'motivation' again, I'm going to thcream and thcream.

    Also, why is everybody so surprised that Kimi seems to know what he's doing? There are no '2 Kimis'. There's a sharp-witted, brilliant driver who simply won't waste his time on fools. Arrogant? Maybe ... although more likely, just 'Finnish'. Anyway, life's suddenly better now that he's back. And this time, let's hope the journalists don't print such rubbish as they did last time.

  • Comment number 84.


  • Comment number 85.

    Raikonnen's is one of the most naturally gifted drivers in the last 20 years. Given the right circumstances, his raw pace is mind-blowing. However, I don't think that these set of regulations and the way the tyres are will suit him and it will be another fall-out and Kimi will finally bow out of the sport.

    The current rules don't allow for drivers to put it hot laps consecutively without burning out the tyres. This is where his strength lies, similiar to Hamilton. Instead the rules only allow for quali specialists and run + hide drivers to compete.... (Sebastian Vettel).... I bet Jarno Trulli would of been a world champion with these regulations when he was in the Renault

    What a joke F1 hs become with these regulations

  • Comment number 86.

    @68 each to their own! I've watched a bit more of the beeb stuff, and whilst I like both I don't actually think any coverage was miles better. As I said the problem is that the live aspect wins out over the beeb stuff because if I didn't watch the live coverage someone or something would have let the cat out of the bag...
    Trulli train flying off into the distance? Nope not a chance even when the Renault was great...and F1's problem is that it has got to be seen to be a little bit relevant even when it's a pretty pointless exercise!

  • Comment number 87.

    I agree with Dannyf1, the true racers like Kimi, Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel are the most talented but because of the Tyre situation it is ruining the racing for them and the spectators of a great show.

  • Comment number 88.

    38.At 16:41 19th Mar 2012, MattyTheWhoLover:………. As a sportsman a democrat and someone who respects the truth I am offended by the content of your post and for you to hold the view you express I can only believe you to be a moron or Murdoch’s love child. SKY do not give a rats Rs about sport they're raison d'etre is to sell advertising space and extort money via subscriptions from people who did get a better service free at the point of delivery before Murdoch’s mob came on the scene with their tacky and unprincipled methods of separating the British people fro their money. I recall with distaste their initial entry into the TV sports scene, I told everyone who would listen that they were free at the start but their methods would see them gradually introducing subscription fees until they cornered the market at which point they would charge until it hurt. They have a slick and ruthless publicity machine the likes of which has not been seen since the heyday of Joseph Goebbels and they are just as ruthless in their quest for world domination. SKYs methods of securing PL football rights by paying astronomical fees to the PL has seen outrageous amounts of money swilling around in football and far from strengthening the clubs finances, the sudden influx of shed loads of cash has achieved the opposite serving only to increase players wages to obscene levels and huge amounts of debt the same high numbers but in the red. Last seasons BBC coverage of F1 was excellent and far more sophisticated than the lurid spectacle served up by SKY on Sunday which came straight from the tacky levels that the N.O.W. and the Sun specialise in with banal, intrusive and repetitive questioning of the type for which K.R. shows such disdain and which embarrasses all right minded people as does the thought of G.T being regarded as a useful addition to the coverage, eye candy or desirable. I join the poor people who because of lack of finance are deprived of viewing the sport SKY has high jacked and hope to see their ability to take sports exclusively end because this will see their demise because true sports fans given the choice would prefer to watch sport broadcast the way only the BBC can and I look forward to the weekend when I will have the choice of watching the Beeb provide coverage which I most certainly will do.

  • Comment number 89.

    When my husband and I were in the uk we loved watching f1 on the bbc. In the US we watch it on speed tv and the commentators are wonderful. They actually sit in a studio in Atlanta but you would think they were on site. They have one person on the ground at the race doing pre race interviews on the grid but basically that is it. 4 people and only one on site. No glitz at all. Just racing..... and unfortunately too many commercials!!!!!!

  • Comment number 90.

    Actually I quite enjoyed Sky's coverage. It was great fun playing spot Jake & DC lurking in the back of their shots. Well done guys :)

  • Comment number 91.

    Oh dear, not another Sky fan on the BBC forum. Why?

  • Comment number 92.

    #90 Entertaining game of the season I think on both sides coverage, DH and JL Vs DC and JH who can spend the most time in each other shots. Bonus marks for rabbit ears ;)

  • Comment number 93.

    Knowing how the despicable Murdocks News international works with the expose of how the News Of The World cheated and lied their way into journalistic history being forced to shut down the paper to avoid further embarrassing revelations of their bad behaviour do we think that all or most of the SKY supporters on this blogg are planted by SKY ?

  • Comment number 94.

    #93 Terrible argument I don't read Murdoch press because of those reasons. When was the last time you watched a film or a TV program from Fox?

  • Comment number 95.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 96.

    #91. F1TrueFan wrote:
    Oh dear, not another Sky fan on the BBC forum. Why?

    Are you saying subscribers to Sky aren't allowed on the BBC website?

  • Comment number 97.

    I don't understand why every blog about F1 has to descend into a battle between BBC and SKY. It happened so let it rest. This blog was about Kimi and IMHO the title is poor, there is only one Kimi but one who presents a different personality to those he trusts and those he doesn't, which is typically Finnish. If a Finn trusts you they will be very open but if not they will give you little or nothing. I try to speak from experience having lived and worked in Finland for several years and a Finnish wife for 20 years.

  • Comment number 98.

    Erm, to those asking for the forum. You do know what the time was in Oz at 4pm GMT? Would have been difficult to conduct interviews and respond to you at that time in the morning don't you think?

    I had the basic Sky HD before the season and watched both that and the BBC coverage. As the FOM stream is seemingly identical on both I was left to weigh up the commentary and I have to give +1 to Sky here. MB and Crofty seem to have hit it off immediately, couldn't fault it. I'm not one to sit through the pre-race waffle so can't compare that but I usually watch the afters and the forums when I can. Here the Beeb has Sky beat. Lazenby and Hill were awkward but I remember very similar accusations being levelled at Jake and DC back in 2009. After a few rounds I'm sure they'll gel, although would rather see Ant Davidson in place of DH. I agree with others that the occasional hops to the "Skypod" were unnecessary, very forced and didn't require Georgie. I'm sure the format will be tweaked as the team get used to the hectic on-the-fly of the post race paddock. As for the post race interviews, the lady doing them asked just as tiresome questions as Lee "how does that make you feel" McKenzie. Honestly people this isn't for Heat magazine, ask something relevant. Trying to get a reaction with the massively unsubtle questions has tried my patience for two seasons and it looks to continue.

    All in all when it's live on both I'll probably plum for Sky race and BBC before/afters.

  • Comment number 99.

    Oh yeah, should also mention that Kimi impressed on his return and appears no different in his style to when he left. All of them have public/private personas, don't know why we are surprised!

  • Comment number 100.

    @85 I always thought that part of the reason Button is doing better than Hamilton is that Button seems to look after his tyres better.

    Kimi is a naturally aggressive driver. I hope the regulations do not discourage his driving style.

    Now what the hell is the point of having lots of overtaking if it is simply down to tyre management and pressing a button? I could see the point of using KERs as it was a brilliant concept (using the energy under braking) but the DRS and fast degrading tyres are pathetic.

    I want to see drivers being rewarded for ringing the neck of their cars. I have to admit that I am not sure if I am correct in this issue e.g. I haven't heard any of the pundits/experts mention issue but I suppose it isn't in their best interest to say so.


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