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A couple of disclaimers are important. I am not a Ralf Schumacher sycophant. I am not a paid journalist nor do I even hold myself accountable to the old AP style of writing. As a Speed forum moderator called me and my web site; redundant news. I think he missed the concept of “journal of F1 opinion” or the mere existence of a “blog”. I weep for him.

The other caveat is that I have tremendous respect for Matt Bishop at F1 Magazine. I enjoy his candor, camp, prose and cheekiness as much as the next reader. I am sure he is a bang-up friend, husband, father, co-worker or whatever may apply. Having said that I must comment on the most recent issue of F1 Magazine’s Bishop-ed article on Ralf Schumacher ( Sept. 2007, Pg.74). The article, entitled A Grotesque Rictus of Disgruntlement, is perhaps the most base article I have read from such a renowned editor and perhaps in the F1 media in many years. The picture, which this title is apparently aimed at, doesn’t even show Ralf opening his mouth so “rictus” is a stretch. If that were the least of the problems with this article, I would stop here and call it a day.

The article takes us on a journey through the eye’s of the 800 lbs. gorilla that is Matt Bishop. A simple “proxy photoshoot” for several drivers that ends with acidic interaction from Mr. Bishop to Mr. Schumacher has launched Matt into a diatribe on why the Ralf should never have been hired at Toyota, doesn’t belong in F1 and shows the strains of disingenuousness when the he tries to compliment the Ralf on his driving style.
It all starts when Ralf apparently suggests that he is helping Mr. Bishop out with the photo and would appreciate in return that Mr. Bishop take it a little more easy on him and his team in the press (it is well known that Ralf has been skewered by Matt in the past in F1 Magazine). This interaction ends with Mr. Bishop telling Ralf to leave the shoot and to “Eff off”. Ralf is not quoted as being terse or acrid in any manner other than to ask Mr. Bishop to lighten up on him as he is willing to help him out with a photo shoot.

Mr. Bishops’ diatribe is rife with suggestions that the entire paddock thinks Ralf is a spoiled brat and that he doesn’t deserve to be in F1 at all. He suggests that his rage against Ralf was driven by the fierce loyalty he has to F1 Magazine’s editorial integrity which is the same as its “readers rights” as they are apparently “immutable”. Unchangeable? Well, thanks for that and I hope your right arm of piety is feeling better after patting your back so intensely as we live in the penumbra of our immutable rights.

Let us speak of editorial integrity. Matt…editorial integrity in my opinion has been breached many times by you. This recent article engages in pure character assassination and really serves only one purpose; yours. Oh sure all the boys at the pub will really be jazzed that you told off a mighty Schumacher but alas, the bravery of being out of range. Was Ralf wrong to suggest that you take it easy on him? Sure. Could you have explained to Ralf that it was not possible to guarantee anything? Sure. I wonder if your trenchant outburst was born from being treated like a little bitch by his older, far more successful brother than anything Ralf has done.

Keep the camp and cheek Matt but know that you can be witty and incisive without sounding like Barry the Baptist with a pitpass. I used to look forward to seeing what you would discuss next, now I feel you couldn’t carry Peter Windsor’s pen let alone captain the world’s largest selling F1 magazine while exhibiting class with a “K”. You’re a great talent and terrific journalist/editor but your personal war with the Schumacher’s needs to stop. You’re starting to exhibit a real lack of both discernment and editorial relevance. Alan and Peter have and are the stalwarts in your mag and another one of your “I’m a badass journo and the paddock should give me some damn respect” articles of yours and the entire paddock will start saying you suffer from little mans disease and have a potty mouth. You wouldn’t want that would you? Now that’s immutable my red-faced friend.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • zash

    One word: Jealousy.

  • JYS Fan

    “As a Speed forum moderator called me and my web site; redundant news.”

    Thanks interesting as I’ve always felt the Speed and it’s forum were redundant. Well, unless your into NASCAR.

    John “Were is the racing channel?” Stone

  • LOL. Jys, he would delete all my posts because of my signature and stated he wasn’t going to promote my redundant news web site. I remember when I was first in charge of a forum; makes you a god. What a newb.

  • I agree Zash. It seems like someone is jealous and bitter.

  • It’s all about perception.. I’ve never been a ralf fan but there is nothing that anyone says about him that can’t be applied to most of the drivers on the field. He just has a perception of being difficult and spoiled and his poor performance at Toyota and his really high salary didn’t help his case.

    I used to get F1 Racing but stopped after MB direction was completely different than what I was looking for and I couldn’t justify the cost to read Alan Henry and Peter Windsor’s entries.

  • I am coming to the same conclusion Grace. I love the articles but unfortunately it has become a tabloid since MB took over. I should have listened to you.

  • Max Johnson

    “As a Speed forum moderator called me and my web site; redundant news.”

    I looked like you have outlasted them.