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One Amazing Day

NEWS STORY
22/10/2006

"One amazing day", was the slogan used to sell the ill-fated Millennium Done to the public.

"One amazing day", is also the way we see today, Sunday 22 October, the day of the final round of the 2006 Formula One World Championship.

Not that long ago, it appeared that Fernando Alonso and Renault had the World Championship titles sewn up, such was their lead. However, an amazing fight back by Ferrari, some outside influence, a few (team, driver and tyre manufacturer) misjudgements and a little luck, good and bad, mean that we come to the end of the season with neither title truly decided.

As if that wasn't enough, we are about to witness the departure of three historic names from our sport - Michael Schumacher, Michelin and Cosworth.

One appreciates that the time has come to call it a day, while the other two will (rightly) feel that they have been edged out of the sport. Such is contemporary F1.

Sadly, barring a miracle, Cosworth will play no major part in today's finale - unless a Cosworth powered car takes out one of the title protagonists - while Schumacher and Michelin can still have a say in the outcome of the title fight(s).

Leaving aside the title fight(s), however, today sees the end of Alonso's time with Renault and Raikkonen's time with McLaren. Meanwhile, other than the title fight, there is a titanic battle between Toyota and BMW, which is hoping to claim fifth place in the Constructors' Championship in only its first season. Currently, the German company leads by one point. WilliamsF1 could still pass Red Bull for seventh, however, it's unlikely that even Sir Frank will be bothered with that one.

Then again, there is another farewell to be made today. Today, after 40 years, Formula One finally kicks the habit, with tobacco signage scheduled to make its last appearance. Well, that's the idea… Mild Seven and Lucky Strike (British American Tobacco) are definitely leaving, however, Marlboro will be staying on, in some form or another.

We all have a view on tobacco, however, make no mistake, 'the weed' has brought billions of pounds into the sport over the years, and without the 'cancer stick' money one has to wonder where F1 might have been today, would it really have been such a global enterprise?

As for today's race, it promises to be a thriller of Turk Thrust proportions, and as Mike Lawrence so rightly pointed out, it is never over until the fat lady sings, and right now she is only gargling.

We're not going to waste time referring to the conspiracy theorists, we only hope for a great race, a fitting finale, not merely to the season, but to Michael, Michelin, Cosworth and the tobacco companies. This truly is the end of an era.

OK concentrating purely on today's race, Massa looks a dead cert to win, however, Kimi Raikkonen's pace was electric yesterday. That said, he is thought to be running very light. Time will tell.

Behind them is where the fun begins, with Jarno Trulli starting just ahead of champion-elect Alonso. Behind them, we have Rubens, who would so desperately love to do well here, ahead of Fisichella, Ralf, Heidfeld, Kubica and some guy called Michael something or other.

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