October 31, 2005

It Seems Like A Lock...

It Seems Like A Lock...

...that HONDA will be announcing a second F1 team on 11/1/05.

...that CHRISTIJAN ALBERS is signing with Midland.

...that the NEW QUALIFYING METHOD will be universally hated by the end of the next season (they always are).

...that THIS ENTRY isn't turning into as good an idea as I thought it would.

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October 30, 2005

My Secret Shame

I have to admit this. Lord knows I've tried to conceal it, but I can no longer hide my... SECRET SHAME.

I really like the anime series "Please Twins."

If you haven't seen it, it's what I'd call a typical Anime Plotline (tm). To whit:

Our hero, Maiku, is an orphan. He has a picture of him and... someone else, perhaps his long-lost sister, and in the background, a house. He moves into the house and begins to work part-time as a computer programmer while going to school.

But then, his quiet life alone is interrupted by the arrival of Miina, an energetic redhead who has her OWN copy of the photograph and announces that she must be Maiku's sister (they even have the same color eyes)! Shock and surprise!

But then... later, there's a knock on the door. They open the door, and we meet Karen, a shy quiet girl... but only for a second, because she passes out when she sees Maiku and Miina (Karen's a sensitive lass, and neither of them have much in the way of clothing on; she's wearing pajamas, he was pulled out of the tub by the knocking)! As you could probably guess, KAREN has a copy of the picture as well, and SHE has the same color eyes to boot. THREE twins???

The two girls are both orphans as well, of course, and there's no way of knowing from the picture which one is Maiku's sister. With no family in his past, he wouldn't even THINK about tossing them out of his house... he feels responsible for them, being somewhat self-sufficient, and ONE of them IS his sister. Over the course of 12 episodes, their relationship coalesces, with both girls slowly falling for Maiku, but not really being able to do anything about it... "We might be related" is something we hear EVERY episode (my biggest annoyance of the show). He cares strongly for both of them in return, with the same problem.

Eventually, we find out which girl is Maiku's twin and which will be able to confess her love, and while it sounds really kinda dumb, when it finally is revealed which is which, it's handled very well, to the point where one could imagine such a resolution actually occurring.

But there's a catch: the girls become like sisters to each other, and while they both want to know who's Maiku's sister, they realize that when that happens, their friendship will change, and perhaps not for the better. Again, handled very well, and pretty believable.

As this is a sequel of sorts to the better-known "Onegai Teacher," some of the characters from that series show up in "Please Twins," including Mizuho-sensei and her 'husband,' as well as Marie, her starship's computer/Pockyholic.

It's not a great series, but I really like it... to the point that I've managed to collect 20 or so of the random figures of two sets of toys for the show, PLUS the whole range of toys from ANOTHER "Please" series that's only coming out in audiobook form... in JAPANESE, so I won't be knowing THAT story anytime soon.

If you're not in the mood for mecha or violence from your anime, and you ARE in the mood to laugh, I'd say give PLEASE TWINS a try. But for god's sake, don't EVER watch the OAV for the series (aka episode 13). It's horrid; everything that was wrong about the regular series is multiplied 10 times over in the OAV.

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October 27, 2005

F1 News? Yuppers!

Okay, it's not the End of the Year Show, but there's still news to report! Lets take a look, shall we?

First off, there's another New Qualifying Format. As if we didn't have enough problems in the last couple of years, we now have a new one-hour qualifying session. Short version, it's a knockout-style system. All 20 (or more) cars start running on the track. After 15 minutes, the five slowest cars are removed from the circuit and fill the last five slots on the grid. After another 15 minutes, the next five slowest are pulled off and fill slots 11 to 15. The last 10 cars then run for 20 minutes, and fill the top 10 spaces. Fuel can be reloaded at any time during the first 30 or 40 minutes (this is somewhat ambiguous), but the last ten cars must run on race level of fuel, which can't be reloaded during quals, but will be "topped off" to whatever amount they began the final session before the race.

Another rule change comes with the New Tire Regulations. Thankfully for everybody, the single tire set has been scrapped, and good riddance. Instead, cars can have SEVEN sets of tires for the entire weekend, and tires can be changed at any time during the race. Rules for wet-weather rubber haven't been released that I can find, but I'd assume there's something similar planned.

There's another change coming in 2007, A New Rear Wing. This is gonna be a weird one, folks. In theory, the regular wing that runs all the way across the rear of the car will be gone, replaced by a SPLIT rear. Basically, there'll be a smaller wing over each rear wheel and a gap between them. The concept behind this is that this will not spoil the air behind the car as much as the full-width wing does, allowing for closer tailing, in theory leading to more passing. In practice, who knows? Lets face it, F1 will never be as pass-happy as NASCAR or IRL; there usually isn't enough flat-out length to a course to allow effective slipstreaming (at least, relative to what you get at Talladega or Michigan, for example). The biggest upshot of this is that F1 cars are going to look even more exotic in the future... perhaps NOT a drawing point in what should be F1's primary target market, the USA. While gearheads like the weirdos at F1 UPDATE! will drool over it, the NASCAR Nation might have more of a problem with it. Time will tell.

And as Fine Reader Simon mentioned in the comment thread HERE, the 2006 schedule has been released, and there's some interesting changes ahead. The season kicks off in Bahrain March 12th, goes to Sepang for the Malaysian GP the next week, then Melbourne Australia on April 2nd. Exciting for the Wonderduck is that San Marino/Imola is on my birthday, April 23rd. Two weeks later, the Nurburgring is visited for the Euro GP. May 14th brings us Barcelona and the Fernando Alonso Grand Prix. After that, we hit the one-race-every-two-week stretch, with Monte Carlo on May 28th, Silverstone on June 11th (the same day as the first Sunday of Soccer's World Cup? Eep!), then Canada on June 25th.

F1 obviously feels like they owe the Brickyard a boon after the debacle there last year, for they've given the US Grand Prix the July 2nd date... Formula One racing in the US during the Independence Day weekend? WOO-HOOOOO!!!

Then back to Europe on July 16th for the French GP, humorously listed as being at "Mangy-Cours" HERE. Does that mean that France will be losing its fur then? Another two week break, then Hockenheim hosts the German GP, followed by the ZZZzzzz-Ring for the Hungarian GP. THREE WEEKS LATER brings us to the second ever Turkish GP... apparantly they'll need that time to get thru the Istanbul traffic. Monza hosts the Italian GP on September 10th, followed by Spa-Furrypants on September 17th.

Asia gets another visit from Carnivale F1 with Suzuka Japan hosting the Japanese GP October 1st, followed by Shanghai's Chinese GP October 8th. Finally, the season comes to an end on October 22nd at Brazil's Interlagos ("Between The Loofas" in Swedish).

Looking at it, I'm not a huge fan of the way the season looks like it'll be limping to an end with the two-week gap there between China and Brazil. They might have been better served to have Brazil after the USGP, and move France thru China back a couple of weeks, but that's just me.

Finally, a bit of humor. Renault, in a final attempt to get some love for their championship year, made one of their V10 engines sing. What song? "We Are The Champions." (hat tip to Tim Blair) Rumor has it that McLaren tried the same thing, but kept hitting a drain cover...

So... is that enough news for you F1-Heads? This weekend, I promise to have the End Of The Year Awards Show. I hope.

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October 26, 2005

White Sox Win World Series

It's over. God help us Cubs fans.

No, that's not powerful enough...

YAAAARRRRRRRRRRGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

(pounding head against desk)

Well, crepe. Nice way to end it, though... Jose (Update: oops! Not him, but Juan ) Uribe went into the stands to catch a foul ball, and then makes a bang-bang play for the third out.

Congrats, White Sox. Dammit.

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How I spent Tuesday: A Horror Story

So there I was, at work on Tuesday, shuffling paper from one stack to another stack. It's 10am.

By 1030am, I was in an ambulance, oxygen mask on my face, a siren screaming in the background, four paramedics talking medicalese over my stretcher-bound body, my heart going about as fast as one of last year's F1 V10s, yet them not being able to get either a pulse or a blood pressure... and the words 'heart attack' being thrown around.

By 11am, I'm in the ER, and everything is almost normal again, but there's a lot of concerned looks from the medical staff anyway.

By 12noon, they're x-raying my chest, and pumping bag after bag of potassium and magnesium into me.

By 3pm, I'm overnighting.

By 12midnight, I've been stuck for blood tests and IVs 10 times (the final total would be 15).

At 6am this morning, they were echocardiogram (ultrasound, basically)'ing my heart.

At 12noon, I was discharged with a prescription for a betablocker and informed that I have a congenital heart defect that's actually quite common (1 out of 100 people have it as well). What does it cause? Pounding heart, beating ~200bpm.

Guess what I DIDN'T have? A heart attack. Guess what my symptoms were? Heart attack. If I had waited, if it WAS a heart attack, I'd be dead. Because I didn't wait, I got out of it alive, and my heart undamaged.

But it could have killed me if I had waited just as sure as a... well, a heart attack. The heart is a muscle, and like any muscle, if you overstress it, you can "pull" it. Imagine pulling a hamstring, but it's your heart... think that might kill you?

Instead, I'm alive and able to blog about it.

Here's your lesson for the day: IF YOUR HEART IS DOING SOMETHING ODD, CALL YOUR LOCAL EMERGENCY NUMBER IMMEDIATELY.

Don't drive yourself to the hospital. Don't have someone drive you. Let the ambulance do it. Let the EMTs work on you while you're there. Because otherwise, you WILL DIE.

And I don't have enough readers to lose one for something like THAT.

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October 23, 2005

(strettttttch) *snap* *crack* *pop* ...ahhhh...

Oh, hi. Wonderduck here. I've been quiet for the past few days because I've been on vacation. Yes, just taking it easy for the first time in almost 2 years... and just in time, too.

See, the Duck U. Bookstore's manager is going on maternity leave in a couple of weeks, and I'll be in charge whilst she's gone. So I needed this break, and really, REALLY wish it was another week longer.

But all good things come to an end, or so they say. Coming soon, the F1 Update! End-of-the-Year Awards Show!

And you guys, thanks for reading!

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October 18, 2005

Bah. Feh.

One thing they never tell you about in Blogger School: comment spam.

The Pond just got hit by 25 different spambots. I wound up going in, deleting the spamcomments, then banning the IP addresses.

If by some coincidence one of my real readers suddenly discovers themselves banned, please please please let me know! I'll unban your IP immediately... but I have to know about it to do so.

You can find my e-mail address over there on the right-hand column.

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October 17, 2005

340.

340. That's the number of F1 races Minardi participated in.

Over. Done. Gone away. Renamed "Squadra Torro Rosso," or Squad Red Bull in Italian.

340 races of history, gone in a stroke of a pen. Thanks, Red Bull. What would have been wrong with "Squadra Torro Rosso Minardi" or "Minardi Torro Rosso"?

No, we can't have things like "tradition" in F1. B*stards.

Throw in the fact that the bleedin' WHITE SOX are going to the World Series before my beloved Chicago Cubs, and there's no doubt: the Duck is grumpy.

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October 16, 2005

F1 UPDATE: SHANGHAI!

And so it ends, not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with an "Clank!" Lets get on with F1 Update!: China!!!

*DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB: Fernando Alonso apparantly reads F1 Update, since three weeks ago we had him singing "We Are The Champions." Today, after winning the Chinese GP and clinching the Constructor's Championship, he broke into an... um... energetic rendition of Queen's classic. While we at F1 Update! appreciate the spirit, we had no idea he was that horrible a singer.

*SOMEONE'S GOTTA SAY IT: JP Montoya is an amazing talent, a driver that seems RIGHT on the verge of making the sport his personal playground. And at this moment, F1 Update! is fairly sure that he will NEVER make that last step to legendary status. From breaking his shoulder "playing tennis," to running a pitlane redlight, to his run-ins with backmarkers, and today running over a draincover that his teammate saw coming loose a lap earlier, The Pope isn't unlucky, he's dumb. It's just that simple.

*F1 ISN'T A TEAM SPORT? YEAH, RIGHT: Shanghai had the potential of being as exciting as Suzuka. Renault made sure that wouldn't happen, with Alonso burying the accelerator, and Fisichella taking a page from Jarno Trulli's playbook and playing engineer ("I lead the train!"). While this certainly is a successful tactic (see "Ferrari," 1998-2004), it IS dull. Once Montoya perforated his car on the draincover, Renault had no chance of losing the Constructor's Championship; they could have dropped it the Team Orders right then. Instead, they instructed Giancarlo Fisichella to drive obstructively in the pitlane... cheat, to put it bluntly. Nice.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE: Fernando Alonso, Renault. Team Orders only work when you've got a dominant driver. Alonso is that sort of driver, taking the advantage given him and running away and hiding with it. We barely saw him all day, as watching one car driving around isn't THAT interesting. That's what it was for him, however, as his lead was almost never less than 15 seconds.

*MOVE OF THE RACE: Mark Webber's pass on Rubens Barrichello wasn't exactly a work of art. All he did was pressure the Ferrari driver lap after lap, turn after turn, pushing him, looking for an opening, and driving him into a mistake. Eventually, Rubens had Bridgestone flambe and Webber was past... and Jensen Button snuck past, too.

*MOOOOOO-VE OF THE RACE: Celebrating the bovine lurking inside all drivers, the mooooooo-ve of the race is a special, special award. Today's winner is a special, special driver, too. Mitchell "Slappy" Schumacher has set uncountable records in F1 over the course of his career, but even he can't avoid the Curse of the Cow. But today he showed why he's Die Weltmeister, earning this award with TWO stellar performances. First, even BEFORE THE RACE BEGUN, he turned his car into the path of an onrushing Christijan Albers, launching the Minardi over the Ferrari's left side and killing both cars. That would be enough for most drivers, but because he's Slappy Schumacher he went out and earned the award AGAIN. Lap 23, behind the safety car, for no discernable reason, suddenly we see Mitchell sliding into the one gravel trap on the course, backwards! Talk about your unforced errors! Slappy, this Mooooooo-ve is for you!

*DRIVER QUOTES:

"Weeeeeee arrrrre the Chammmpions / WEEEEEE ARRRE THE CHAMMMMPIONS!" - Fernando Alonso. (note: real quote)

"mbmmmbmbml msmmbbllbl mbmmmmbbml mbmbmmbbmml race mdmmwldkmsll" - Kimi Raikkonen (note: real quote) (2nd note: I pity the closed captioning person who tries to transcribe a Kimi Raikkonen interview live.)

"I love podiums. I wish I could be up here more often." - Ralf Schumacher.

"This is the best fourth place of my life." - Giancarlo Fisichella. (note: real quote)

"Vitantonio Who?" - Christian Klein.

"I think I hit puberty today." - Felipe Massa.

"What a season. Bloody hell, I'm glad it's over." - Mark Webber

"A point isn't so bad. It's what Taku got all year, after all." - Jensen Button.

"OH-ver RAY-ted!" (clap, clap, clapclapclap) "OH-ver RAY-ted!" (clap, clap, clapclapclap) - F1 Update! staff.

"That was pants." - David Coulthard's Chin (note: real quote) (note: we here at F1 Update! aren't exactly sure what this means, but we're going to adopt it as the website motto. 'F1 Update!: That was pants.')

"Today... I... am the luckiest man... on the face of the earth." - Jacques Villeneuve (note: watch what he does during the Narain Karthekeyan accident, and this will make more sense)

"Hi, I'm Tiago Montiero. I was the best Jordan driver all year. Would you like fries with that?" - Tiago Montiero.

"I wish I had some marshmallows." - Rubens Barrichello. (note: apparantly Rubens is going to give his family members a ride in the Ferrari three-seater... you just KNOW he's going to smoke a tire in Maranello...)

"I was Driver of the Race a few weeks ago. Would you like to supersize that?" - Antonio Pizzonia.

"I said over the radio at the end of the race, 'Thank you, Minardi, for giving me the chance to make my debut as a Formula One driver'. " - Robert Doorknob (note: real quote)

"I can't BELIEVE that Ralf ended up with more driver's points than I did. Choo-chooooooo!" - Jarno Trulli.

"AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!" - Christijan Albers

"Imahitotsu sake. Oresama douyara akuun." - Takuma Sato.

"AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!" - Narain Karthekeyan.

"*clunk* What was that?" - Juan Pablo Montoya.

"This weird ending pretty much sums up our season." - Slappy Schumacher. (note: real quote)

And thus endeth the 2005 F1 year. But F1 Update! isn't done yet, oh no... It's time for our Annual F1 Update! Award Show. Stay tuned, my friends, stay tuned...

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October 15, 2005

Well, THAT was interesting...

1237am, I'm not liveblogging the Chinese Grand Prix, but I HAD to post something about what I just saw.

On the way to the grid for pre-race festivities, Christijan Albers just ran over Slappy Schumacher, when Schumi was warming his tires (I think). Mad scramble in the pitlane to get the backup cars up and running!

But, boy, did Albers get some air after driving directly OVER the left-rear of the Ferrari... and the fragility of the cars was shown quite clearly. The Minardi's rear half looked like it was twisted 30degrees to the left in relation to, say, the cockpit until it came back down to earth. Yeek!

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October 14, 2005

F1 Quals: China!

Hoo-boy. Y'know, if there was any doubt that the Constructor's Championship was going to come down to the wire, it was completely erased by today's qualifying session.

An all-Renault front row, McLaren 3-5, with Button's Honda (note: no longer BAR-Honda) stuck in-between 'em. As far as the race itself goes, it may not be any great shakes: our winner is probably one of those five, and I'm not putting any money down on ol' Mr. 100 if you know what I mean.

Takuma Sato IS driving this race, much to my surprise... and he got out-driven by a Sauber AND a Jordan, if you can believe it! The only people behind him are the Minardi Twins and Tiago Montiero. Sure, he went out first, but good golly, what does Button have that he doesn't? Okay "talent," sure, but has Honda put all their techs onto The Century Man?

Gonna be a fun one... and the last time we'll see Minardi, Jordan, and Sauber, too. Minardi's going to be renamed "Red Bull" in Italian, Jordan becomes Midland, and Sauber BMW. Ah well, who needs traditions anyways?

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October 12, 2005

F1 on Speed!

Okay, here's the TV coverage for the Chinese GP on SPEED this week... it's odd this time around, and there doesn't seem to be a replay of the actual race, so be prepared to stay up late Saturday night! All times are central, where the Pond is.

Friday, October 14th:
1am - 2am: Practice (live)
11pm - 12mid: Practice (replay)

Saturday, October 15th:
12mid - 130a: Quals (live)
7pm - 830p: Quals (replay)

Sunday, October 16th:
1230am - 3am: Chinese Grand Prix, live!
3am - 4am: F1 Decade, 1995 Pacific Grand Prix.

Please note that the replay of the practice rolls directly into the live coverage of the Quals.

Sorry, not very interesting today. I'm still taking it easy after the illness I went through. I did watch the first couple of laps of the Japanese GP again, and its still one of the more exciting beginnings I've seen in a while. Phew.

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October 11, 2005

F1 UPDATE: JAPAN!

Yes, it's finally here! We've been having medical problems, but now we've seemed to kick them, and we can finally get around to covering the Best Race Of The Year! Lets get right to it!

NOW THAT'S RACIN': Even before the lights went out, we had excitement as Jensen Button's BAR-Honda smoked more than a DJ in the '70s. AFTER the lights went out, it just got even more exciting. Cars going every which way, Sato misjudging a pass & brake manuever and going off, followed rapidly by Rubens Barrichello (go here for a picture), Christian Klein going offroading, Kimi Raikkonen showing that the McLaren works as well on grass as it does on track, and finally ending with Jack Newtown punting The Pope into the wall and ripping the car into chunks, bringing out the safety car. ALL ON THE FIRST LAP! Then... it got better! Outstanding, just outstanding, the race of the year, bar none. Even San Marino, with Alonso holding off Schumacher for lap upon lap while his rear tires fell apart, doesn't stand up in comparison.

DRIVER OF THE RACE: Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren. There wasn't even any controversy about this choice. Started 17th, drives his heart out, passes Giancarlo Fisichella on the last lap, wins the race. What more can be said? Fernando Alonso may have won the Drivers Championship, but Kimi now has more wins on the season than Fernando, and he's probably the best driver with the best car on the grid right now. Just an amazing drive.

TEAM OF THE RACE: Renault. They took the lead back in the Constructor's Championship, took the other two podium places, and overall just showed just why they've done so well this season: they've been consistent and reliable.

MOVE OF THE RACE: There were a lot of moves that qualified this week, but the winner on sheer impressive performance has to be Fernando Alonso's pass of Slappy Schumacher on Lap 20. Not only did it come against the Old Master, but it came in 130-R, a tough place to DRIVE, let alone pass. Then, right after he got his nose in front of the Ferrari, the Renault driver just RAN AWAY and hid. The Ferrari season in a nutshell, right there. Honorable mention, and winner if you add in the importance factor, goes to Kimi's pass of Fisi in Turn 1 on the white-flag lap. A proud third goes to Alonso again, with his pass of Mark Webber on Lap 49. Down the front straight, it got a little scary when Webbo tried to block, pushing The Champ's right tires into the grass, but all was safe and the pass was just sheer muscle and chutzpah.

MOOOO-VE OF THE RACE: We're not going to beat on Takuma Sato, our hero, not after he lost his ride with his voyage into the kitty litter and his spearing of Jarno. Yes, you read that right: Sato is out for the China GP, being replaced by The Ant.

No. Instead, we're going to celebrate the 20 years of bovine-ness that is Minardi. Illustrative of this, we'll point out the Lap 34 torching of Christian Albers' perfectly good car by the Minardi Pit Crew, and the sight of the dancing crewmen as their shoes went up in flames. Fortunately, everybody was unharmed, and the car even came back out a few minutes later, but still... Minardi, we salute you! Mooooooooooooooooo!

SELECTED DRIVERS QUOTES:
"mbmbmbml mbmbmbml win mbmbmbll mbmbbmbml championship." - Kimi Raikkonen.

"I am disappointed. It was all that backmarker's fault!" - Giancarlo Fisichella.

"Third. Eh. Whatever. Did I mention? I'm. THE. CHAMP!!! - Fernando Alonso.

"Woo-HOOOOOOOO!!!! FOURTH!!!!! *dancing*" - Mark Webber.

"(just staring balefully at Webber)" - Jensen Button.

"Do you realize we beat Ferrari? Bloody hell, that's posh!" - David Coulthard's Chin.

"The best thing to come out of today is that we have secured third place in this year’s Constructors’ championship." - Slappy Schumacher (note: real quote)

"How in the world did I end up EIGHTH?!?!?!?" - Ralf Schumacher.

"The big question isn't 'why did I end up 9th?' The big question is 'how did I qualify 4th?' The answer is simple: I have pictures of Charlie Whiting doing something very, VERY wrong." - Christian Klein.

"I did absolutly nothing of note. Move along." - Felipe Massa.

"Heh heh heh. And so, I add The Pope to my hit list. Heh heh heh." - Jack Newtown.

"I had Sato in my sight so I could see him going off the track. With him in front of me as he went off the track, I found myself with no downforce and also ended up in the gravel. " - Rubens Barrichello. (note: real quote) Editor's Note: Rubino, you should be ashamed of yourself for trying to blame Takuma for your sojourn into the kittylitter. It was your fault entirely... and YOU hit HIM, buddy. You just blew the turn, and you know it.

"Sake. Then Fugu. Then Wakazashi." - Takuma Sato.

"Well, I didn't kill myself. That's a plus." - Tiago Montiero.

"I wonder why that man with a jack is standing right *bump* there? Oh! Oh, dear." - Robert Doorknob. (Editor's Note: while it wasn't shown on F1 TV, the Doorknob ran over his jackman on the way into his pit stall at one point. Everybody's okay, though... just a bruise. The Minardi Way.)

"Well, I didn't kill myself. That's a plus." - Narain Karthekeyan.

"*foom* Flame ON!" - Christijan Albers.

"Mmmm... kitty litter..." - Antonio Pizzonia.

"Sato tried a manoeuvre that was obviously impossible. He just tried to overtake me but instead he hit me and pushed me off. There was no reason to try that move so I don't know what he was thinking. He's been causing problems for a long time and the FIA has to take action to stop it." - Jarno Trulli (note: real quote)

"AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" - Juan Pablo Montoya.

Which brings us to the end of F1 Update!'s look back at the Japanese GP. The next race is the Chinese GP, and the end of a great season. But F1 Update! won't be taking a break after that, oh no... stay tuned!

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Zsolt The F1 Duck!

By now, I'm sure you've noticed a new addition to the Pond's sidebar. Ladies and Gentlemen, please give the Pond's new mascot a warm welcome! Click on "more" to feed him, and click him directly to hear his views on such topics as Takuma Sato's driving style, should Slappy Schumacher retire, is Fernando Alonso the best F1 driver, and MORE!

F1 Update has been delayed due to health reasons; long story, but suffice to say that internal bleeding is not ALWAYS dangerous, but IS ALWAYS scary as hell.

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October 09, 2005

F1 Update: SUZUKA!

***coming soon***

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October 08, 2005

Eep!

If you're here looking for the F1 Update! for the Japanese Grand Prix, please be aware that the F1 Update crew took a nap this evening... and woke up an hour after the race started. Thankfully, Skippy the Errand Boy set the VCR, so we'll still be able to watch the race.

And Skippy is being promoted... to "VCR Chief."

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F1 Quals: Suzuka!

Okay, I'll admit it: I haven't watched the quals all the way through yet. I started to watch, saw that the track was wet, said "this'll be interesting," and promptly fell asleep on the couch.

I woke up in time to see the last couple of runners in a deluge. I have no idea how could even POSSIBLY keep the car on the track... they weren't driving, they were floating.

We had cars taking almost 2 minutes to finish a lap on what can be a fast track. Amazing.

Cora Schumacher's Husband has the pole in his Toyota, Jensen Button is 2nd, giving us a Toyota-Honda front row in Japan. How appropriate!

Suicide Sato is 5th, and the rest of the field is jumbled beyond belief. They may as well have just put all the driver's names into a helmet and pulled them out at random: it really IS that jumbled. Heck, Narain Karthekeyan is 11th, ahead of BOTH McLarens, a Ferrari (Slappy Schumacher), a Renault (Our Champion), a Williams (Jungle Boy), and a Toyota (The Engineer). Christian Klein is fourth in his RedBull.

Giancarlo Fisichella's third position actually doesn't appear out of place, one of the few cars that you can say that about. Kimi Raikkonen took OVER 2 minutes to make it around the track, and would have qualified dead last, even if he didn't have a 10-spot penalty for an engine change. Tiago Montiero tried to bury his Jordan in the kittylitter (how appropriate!).

So, anyway, yeah, this is going to be an interesting race! Suzuka is Ralfy-Boy's favorite track, he's on pole, and other than... 1994, I think?... this race has ALWAYS been won from the front row (the two cars on the first row crashed and took each other out in 1994). SO don't be surprised if Toyota is on the podium on Honda's home track tonight.

Off-topic here, but I watched a little bit of WWE Homecoming last night, while waiting for the F1 coverage to start. Apparantly Triple-H has been out for the past three months, I assume with some injury, and he returned to action, tagteaming with The Nature Boy, Ric "Woo!" Flair against two people I've never seen before.

Of course Flair stole the match, showing that a 304 year old can still put on a decent show... but the part I wanted to talk about was after the match was over. Understand, I haven't watched wrestling for over a year, but I used to be a big fan... that's how I met Official First Reader Mallory, after all. Anyway, after the match, Trips and Flair are celebrating (and is it just me, or did Trips look a little out-of-shape?), and I said out-loud:

"Sledgehammer to head, beatdown, crimson mask. I have no idea why, but HHH is gonna cream him, then beat him to a pulp."

And lo, thirty seconds later... Sledgehammer to head. Beatdown. And NOBODY can bleed like Ric Flair. They went to commercial. When they came back, Trips was STILL painting the arena red with Flair's blood except now they were in the back. And I said out-loud "wall, table, slap, car." And lo, it came to pass that Flair was thrown onto a table, into a wall, slapped in the mouth, and slammed onto the back of a limo (white limo + red blood = ewwwwww!).

Then, of course, I said "sledgehammer to the windshield." I got that one wrong. It was actually sledgehammer to the passenger window.

How in the world did I think that wrestling was creative??? I called the whole darn post-match!

Mallory, what was I thinking???

Posted by: Wonderduck at 04:24 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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October 05, 2005

2nd Honda Team Mystery Deepens...

Okay, so it's not the Dome team, according to reports out of Japan (as seen at grandprix.com. The Dome folks are categorically denying that they'll be running next season.

So, who's next on the suspects list? Team Super Aguri, also out of Japan (which seems to be a given now). Founded by former F1 driver Aguri Suzuki, last seen wrecking his Ligier during quals for Suzuka in 1995 (where he had his best finish, a podium 3rd in 1990), he went on to create a Team to funnel talented youngsters into other Leagues, in a Japanese version of the Red Bull Racing plan, more or less. They've run cars in IRL and helped found Honda's Formula Dream series in Japan, so they have some experience under their belts, too.

Speculation has it that they'd actually be based in BAR-Honda's workshops, which are physically large enough to house two completely seperate teams... call them the BAR-Honda Juniors, I suppose.

We'll see... no matter what team it is that comes in, with the apparant death of the Minardi name on the horizon, F1 Update! will be adopting them as their new favorites. Even moreso if they have Taku as their primary driver... of course, if by some miracle they brought in Zsolt, I'll travel to their home base and kiss the shoes of their sporting director.

Again, Taku AND Zsolt? How much fun would THAT be??? Forget about your Schumacher/Barrichello's and your Raikkonen/Montoya's and your Alonso/Fisichella's... they wouldn't be a patch on the power that is Sato/Baumgartner!

Though nothing'll beat the Minardi Albers/Friesacher combination for sheer comedic value... the Minardi Chicane is WAY up there in the race for "funniest moment in F1" award for this year.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 08:35 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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How Come I'm Not Surprised?

So I take this "What kind of cute animal are you?" test. Answer about 30 questions, not knowing what kind of animals are available (except for Pixy Misa being a bear cub), press the button to find out what I am...

...and this pops up:

You Are A: Duck!

duckFound in many lakes and ponds, ducks are a common site the world over. Known for their famous quack, ducks tend to congregate in flocks or go off on their own in pairs. As a duck, you may seem friendly at times but will not hesitate to bite if someone is bothering you. Your ability to swim and your your short temper are some reasons why you are a duck.

You were almost a: Bear Cub or a
Duckling
You are least like a: Mouse or a ChipmunkCute Animals Quiz

As I say, how come I'm not surprised?
Quack.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 05:53 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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October 04, 2005

F1 on Speed! & Other Stuff

Welcome to the Land of the Rising Sun! Home of sushi (mmm-MMM!), saki (mmm-MMMM!!!), Pocky (mmmmm-MMMMMM!), anime (w00t!), and... SUZUKA!

It's time for the Grand Prix of Japan, ladies and gentlemen! Last year's race was quite a momentous one... you might remember there was a typhoon that JUST missed the track, but still managed to wash out all of Saturday's activities. This led to a historic first in F1: qualifying for the race was on Sunday, just before the race... and it worked so well that F1 decided to keep it this year!

...where it was universally reviled by the teams, and dumped after a handful of races. Oh well... I liked it. There was something about four straight hours of live F1 that brings out the total geek in me. But I digress... it's time to take a look at the TV schedule for F1 on SPEED. All times are central, since that's where the Pond is located.

One nice thing about global travel is that when F1 goes far enough west (east?) of the US, us Yanks get to see the coverage at a half-decent hour... at least for ME it's decent... I'm not sure about Official First Reader Mallory. Official Overseas Reader Flotsky, you're stuck with what WE normally have to put up with, I guess.

First off, "Friday Practice" is actually on THURSDAY this time around, at 1159pm to 1am, 10/6/05. Okay, it's really midnight, but roll with me here.

Qualifying starts at 11pm on Friday, 10/7/05, and ends at 1230am on Saturday, followed immediately by "Inside Grand Prix".

Saturday, 11pm-1130pm: Inside GP again, followed immediately by the actual race, 1130pm to 2am; that's 10/8/05.

All of the above times are LIVE, by the way. The replay of the race is at 3pm on Sunday, 10/9/05, until 530pm. I admit it's very uncool to stay home on Saturday night, but I suspect I'll be camped out on the couch at 11pm on Saturday...

Now then... rumors! This duck's favorite driver, Takuma 'Suicide' Sato, may very well have a drive next year... but not with Jordan-Midland or Minardi, or even any of the other teams that are out there right now! Yes, the current talk is that there's going to be a new team on the grid!!!

The good people over at Grandprix.com are talking about something that flew under F1 Update!'s radar, an announcement from Honda that they'll be providing engines for another team, that currently ISN'T on the rosters. This team is suspected to be the Dome (which would be pronounced DOUGH-may, by the way) team.

As grandprix.com mentions, running a F1 team is NOT a spur-of-the-moment thing, and Dome isn't new on the scene. According to them, Dome first announced their intention to join F1 back in 1986, and while they haven't joined up, they've been honing their skills by building, amongst other things, Formula 3 cars (the forerunner of today's GP2) and other "minor league" cars... including an attempt to join the IRL (failed).

And who is expected to be lead driver for the team, if it exists? Taku. I'd like to suggest Zsolt Baumgartner as the second driver... my dream lineup, right there!

...which is kind of scary, if you think about it.

In other F1 news, Honda bought out British-American-Tobacco's 55% share of BAR-Honda. The team should still be known as BAR-Honda, though, as BAR (British-American Racing) will still be doing advertising with the team. Still, for all intents and purposes, BAR-Honda is now a manufacturer's team, just like BMW will be, and Ferrari.

Takuma Sato (what, him again?) is expected to be driving the Japanese entry in the new A1GP series, once the F1 season ends.

Finally, ending this all-Japan entry of F1 coverage, this might be the last time we see Suzuka for a while... because Toyota is pushing hard to get Mt. Fuji back on the calendar. Of course, Toyota OWNS the Mt. Fuji track, using it as a test course, so getting a race in there would be a nice way to a) earn extra revenue, and b) get an advantage over everybody else on one track.

Speaking as a fan, I'm all for trading off between Suzuka and Mt. Fuji. I've never seen a race at Mt. Fuji, but the historic layout looks interesting. It may have changed, of course... but the more tracks we get to see, the better. Of course, tracks like Spa-Francopants, Monaco, Silverstone and Monza need to be run every year... the legendary tracks. But why not move the Euro GP to a different track every year? I've heard a lot about Jerez, and how it's the big test facility, and how it's almost infinitely adjustable ... but it's been a while since a race has been run there. Lets get rid of the Hungaroring, bring back the A1-Ring!

...and while we're at it, how about bringing back Watkins Glen, Bernie?

Posted by: Wonderduck at 06:23 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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