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Original Issue

Too Good for His Game Schumacher's success has F/1 rewriting its regulations

So much for any drama in Formula One. Last week a bookmaker in
Ireland, Paddy Power, declared it was going to pay out to anyone
who bet on Michael Schumacher to win the 2004 F/1 title--even
though 13 races remain in the season. The bookie is simply
acknowledging what many F/1 observers have been thinking for
weeks: Schumacher and his Ferrari team are so ruthlessly
dominating that they might win all 18 races in 2004. On Sunday in
Barcelona, Schumacher, who has won six world driving titles, took
the checkered flag at the Spanish Grand Prix by 13.2 seconds to
become the first F/1 driver since Nigel Mansell in 1992 to sweep
the season's first five races.

Concerned that hegemony is making the sport a snooze, the
International Automobile Federation announced several rules
changes last week: simpler engines that would cost half as much
to build; a single tire supplier, which would limit expensive
testing; and a ban on electronic driver aids. The new rules,
which start taking effect in 2006, might give teams such as
Minardi, which has an annual budget of $35 million, a better
chance to challenge teams such as Ferrari ($450 million).
Meanwhile, bet on the German. --Lars Anderson