August 31, 2005

Nanotech coming to F1?

nano–
pref.
Extremely small: nanoid.
One-billionth (10^-9): nanometer.

Formula One. The birthplace of automotive ideas. The home of the newest and most cutting-edge technologies on the track. Where the cars are more closely akin to fighter jets and the aerospace industry than they are to the automotive world. A realm where steel is considered too heavy and too weak to use. A world where an engine turning at 17,000 RPM is thought to be too slow. Where engineers look to shave off not pounds nor ounces, but fractions of an ounce, all in the name of the almighty god Speed.

The logical place for nanotechnology.

And it's coming, as early as 2006. A process that creates sheets of "Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes" that are 100 times as strong as steel at only a sixth of the weight, has been produced at Rice University and the University of Texas, according to an article in the Tucson Citizen newspaper.

This material could be used for flat surfaces such as the front and rear wings almost immediately, providing a stronger form at less weight than the "plain old everyday" carbon fiber being used now. One result of this might be a reduction in nose replacements occuring from the nudging that often occurs in the first turn (such as what happened at Hungary this year, where Fernando Alonso's entire nosecone came off and David Coulthard ran over it, ending his day).

Eventually, one could imagine entire car bodies being made of this material, with a huge improvement in safety (fewer carbon fiber shards lying around on the track after an accident, resulting in fewer tire punctures later, for example) and an equal reduction in weight, always a good thing in the racing world.

While Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosely might want to "dumb down" the FIA regulations in the future, the rest of the sport should be looking long and hard at these developments. It'd go a long way towards showing the world that F1 is still the preeminent high-tech motorsport.

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August 30, 2005

F1 on SPEED

Ah, Italy... wine, pasta and Monza... bring on the pizza, here comes Formula 1!

We start on Friday, from 7a-8a, as they show the usual Practice session, live. That gets repeated at midnight, in case you can't wake up that early (me) or can't stick around that late (Official First Reader Mallory).

Saturday we get a whole snootful of F1 goodness. 6a-730a, we get live Qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix. Come see Ferrari desperatly try to outpace the Minardis on the grid! From 630pm to 7pm is "Inside Grand Prix," starring your host, Stuffy McBritishVoice. Immediately following is Formula One Decade, this week covering the 1995 Portugese Grand Prix. Should be interesting seeing a dead track...

They repeat quals at 1am Saturday night, in case you slept in or your VCR is blinking "12:00", by the way.

Then Sunday... MONZA! Yaaaaaay! 530a to 630a, we get the GP2 puppies romping around on the track... watch and see what sort of messes they make on the rug! Then at 630am, the training wheels come off the cars and the big guys come out and drive.

Vroooooom!

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August 28, 2005

Oops. Forgot what I was going to say...

I wanted to mention this in my preceding post, but it slipped my feathered mind. I actually was going to watch today's ChampCar race, as it was coming from the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, home of the Canadian Grand Prix and I wanted to do a comparison between the two styles of racing. Also, ChampCar seems to be a closer analogue than F1 for the new A1 Grand Prix series, so watching them go at it on a course I'm familiar with might give me some insight on that, as well.

Except it didn't happen. Or, actually, it did, kinda. Everything was conspiring against it, really, including Duck Apathy... I just don't LIKE ChampCar or the IRL very much since The Great Split (and, to be honest, there's a lack of 'star power' out there, too. I mean, c'mon! Timo Glock is a star in ChampCar, for cryin' out loud!).

Plus, it was was Ryne Sandberg Day at Wrigley Field. The closest thing I ever had to a 'Hero' was Ryno, so I needed to catch at least part of that. And then Momduck & Philipduck wanted to take me out to lunch (Red Lobster! MMM-mmm!)!

In all the hubbub and stuff, I forgot about the race.

I listened to the pre-game ceremonies for Ryno on the drive to RedLob and sat down for lunch with the folks. Whilst dining on the National Meal for Flotsky's homeland, Fish 'n' Chips, I happened to glance up... and there, from across the entire place, was a TV... and what was on that screen at the exact moment I looked up?

"Bienvienu du Quebec."

The Wall of Champions.

Okay, sure... it was all the way across two crowded rooms, but I was still able to see it, at least. Not well enough to make any judgements on the racing, mind, but it was still there.

So I did all three things! Ryno, Lunch, and Racing. Sometimes, life is good.

(thanks to the Cyberpeasant, by the way, for showing that picture... he has an interesting photo-essay of the Canadian GP up, right here. How interesting? His sister dates one of the Ferrari pit crew. Yeah, that's pretty interesting... go take a look!)

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Duck Quacks.

Okay, so that didn't work out exactly as planned. I was going to have a big writeup on the anime Noir and do a couple of other things I've wanted to do on here. Instead, I done did bupkis.

I'm going to throw myself on the mercy of the court. I'm guilty as sin, but with a good reason: it's Christmas.

"Right," I hear you say, "the Duck's gone completely mad. It's August, not December; ain't no fat man sliding down the chimney tonight."

(how does Santa get into homes with no chimney and central air?)

I agree; it's not December. Remember, I work at Duck U.'s bookstore... and classes started last Wednesday. We did aboot $125,000 in sales the last five days, roughly. Keep in mind that Duck U. is a small school; the bookstore will only do around $500,000 in sales the entire year.

Yes, we did about a quarter of our annual sales in one week. And you wonder why I say it's Christmas?

So, thats why the Duck hasn't gotten done what he's wanted to do. I've been resting this weekend. Tomorrow should be busy, as the MBA classes meet nights MWTh and didn't meet at all last week, but then we'll be through the roughest patch.

...until spring semester starts, but that's next year (literally; spring semester begins in January).

So. This week, I'll hit the Pond hard. I promise new posts every day, culminating, of course, in the F1 Update! for Monza on Sunday. Mmmm... Monza.

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August 26, 2005

Oho, he says!

Ever wonder why something that seems curious happens, only later to have something occur that clears everything up?

Something curious: Robert Doorknob takes Minardi's second seat.

On the face of it, this only makes sense if Guido & Ethel were so strapped for cash that they took the first offer. He's hardly a stellar prospect, with one win historically to his name in Formula 3000 during the 2004 season (third in the championship standings); indeed, he's only driven since 1999, after he went from being a pro tennis player-wannabe to a F1 driver-wannabe. His family IS rich and well-connected, though, so the 'deep pockets' ability was there, and Guido Minardi COULD have been cash poor... even at the time, blinded as I was by Zsolt-lust, I thought it odd that they picked Doorknob, Jordan's test driver.

However, when I saw this headline at grandprix.com, all became clear: Dutch Investors To Buy Minardi?

Yup, that clears it all up. "Daddy, I want to drive F1. Buy me a team." Or, conversely, Guido thought having two Dutch drivers would make the team more attractive to Dutch investors. Either way, the naming of Doorknob as the 2nd driver for Minardi now makes perfect sense, no?

Okay, maybe that's going too far, but at least it's good to see that Guido had a REASON for picking Doorknob.

In other silly season news, things have gotten REALLY silly with the latest round of rumors. If you listen to the lads in the trenchcoats, the newest thing is that Mitchell Schumacher will be leaving Ferrari after the 2006 season to drive for McLaren... and will be replaced by Kimi Raikkonnen.

Lets see... McLaren spends a ton of money to sign a 40 year old driver; Ferrari gets one of the fastest young'uns around.

Tell me WHY this is good for McLaren?

*crickets*

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August 25, 2005

Azu-Wha-Huh?

(Ducknote: The following was originally posted on the first version of this 'blog on June 14th. I'm reposting it because I like it and I don't want it to disappear into the ether of Blogger. -Wonderduck)
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Gather 'round, lil' ones, for I'm going to tell you a story... a story about some high school girls. No, not that kind of story... one much more common, really.

Y'see, these girls, named Chiyo, Tomo, Yomi, Sakaki, Kagura and Osaka, are just... well, normal. They don't turn into super-powered beings able to right all the wrongs of the universe. They don't pilot fearsome high-tech battle machines. They don't angst all over the place. They're just six friends going through high school.

...and that's why I love Azumanga Daioh so much. They're real people (or at least as real as people in high school ever get) with real emotions, problems, eccentricities (oh, boy, do some of them have eccentricities) and talents. For example, Chiyo is a genius who seems to be able to do anything she sets her mind to... except she's 10 years old, and was promoted into high school because of her abilities.. She's the smallest person in her class, and any sort of physical activity seems to be beyond her (as one would expect, really).

Actually, she's the sort of kid genius that could easily be annoying... but she makes up for it by wielding the Power of the Cute Side. Nobody resents her for being a genius; she just IS... and she's a child, too.

All of the girls are like that: Sakaki is the tall, athletic, beautiful loner that everybody admires... but she's a loner because nobody will approach her BECAUSE she's the tall, athletic yadda yadda. She really likes cute things, like panda bears and cats, and that's out of place, too. Tomo and Yomi are friends from waaaaay back: Yomi the practical one (who constantly tries to lose weight), Tomo the overly hyper one. How Yomi doesn't kill Tomo is one of life's great mysteries, but they've been friends for so long, they're used to each other. Kagura is the true athlete of the bunch, who believes Sakaki is her rival... but is surprised when she realizes that Sakaki doesn't care about sports (Kagura joins the cast late, having been in a different classroom to start out).

And then there's Osaka. She's a bit... different. She thinks differently than everybody else; if it's a straight line between A and G, she's more likely to wind up getting there via Q. And pi. Not to mention ocelot. But she gets there, eventually... and hilariously.

There's no nudity, there's no violence (well, unless you count Yomi hauling off on Tomo once or twice... call it comedic violence), there's just life. And cats. If you're an anime fan and you haven't seen Azumanga Daioh yet, you owe it to yourself. If you're NOT an anime fan, but you're open to a show that's more fun than Friends could ever hope to be, give it a whirl. Five stars, and I'd give it more if it was possible.

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August 24, 2005

*Loud Cheering*

Three cheers for the all-powerful Pixy Misa for fighting off the gremlins and bringing MuNuvia back online after they crashed the server.

We MuNuvians should scatter rose petals before his feet, and praise his name to all corners of the world! New wristband: WWPMD?

Can you tell, I'm honored to have been invited to reside here by good ol' Pixy, and at such a low, low rate, too! I'll be honest, I wonder just what he gets out of this, other than ducks quacking his praises. It can't be inexpensive to run a honkin' server and cover bandwidth.

So the fact that he got things back up and running so fast after a hard drive decided to spit itself out of its rack just AMAZES me... FOR FREE, for duck's sake! Pixy, I hope you're getting college credit or something for doing all this.

Because otherwise, I can't see how it's worth it to you. I'm glad it IS, but...

Oh, and thoughts and musings on the anime series NOIR and a repost of my comments on Azumanga Daioh later.

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August 22, 2005

A Move Missed.

Yesterday, the good folks of F1 Update! gave the award for the "Move of the Race" to the lads of McLaren and Renault for their first laps' dicing around, and it's a fine choice.

I fear, however, that they may have overlooked a very pretty pass that we all got to see coming, and got to watch a driver set up his quarry in every way. I'm referring, of course, to Jensen Button's pass of Fernando Alonso on Lap 20. Unlike his teammate, Takuma "Suicide" Sato, Button took his time in executing his pass; one might say that he had to because the BAR-Honda didn't quite have all the oomph it needed, but what happened AFTER the pass puts the lie to that arguement: Button was able to run away and hide from Alonso until he had to go into the pits.

Button worked Alonso for an error. Alonso, who held off Mitchell Schumacher for... what? 10 laps?... for a win earlier in the year, may have made a little tiny mistake, and that allowed Button to bury the throttle and just swarm past the points leader and, legitimately, leave him eating dust.

To be fair to 'Nando, he was heavy on fuel and Button was exactly the opposite, meaning that a Minardi might have been able to pull off that pass under the circumstances, but it was still a very pretty move, and one that, I think, the boys at F1 Update! should have awarded the "Move Of The Race".

I have no idea what they were thinking! *rolling eyes*

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August 21, 2005

F1 UPDATE: TURKEY!!!

It's been three long weeks. 21 agonizing days. A fortnight-and-a-half. But now its done, and we are here to cover it. Lets get started with Istanbul's first ever F1 UPDATE!

*TURKEY DAY: You gotta hand it to the guys in the funny hats, they've turned out a classic track already. If you took out the fiddlybits at the very end and replaced them with a hairpin, say, you'd have a contender for the title of "The Perfect Track." However, everything up to those fiddlybits is just right, and "The Quad," as turn 8 is already being named, is going to be one of those legendary turns, much like Variante Alta, The Senna Esses, Maggots/Becketts/Chapel, Lowes, or the granddaddy of them all (which we'll see next race), Parabolica. It's just that good. Bravo to the Autodrom!

*TEAM OF THE RACE: We suppose we have to give this to McLaren, but watching JP Montoya's struggles on the last couple of laps puts a bad taste in our mouths as we do so. A part of us (the feet and ankles) really wants to give this award to Red Bull, for getting both of their drivers in the points. Nobody wants to give it to Renault, who are clearly weaker than McLaren at this point... except their cars don't break unless you put them into the wall, unlike the MP40, which breaks if you sneeze on it.

*TEEM UV DA RAYCE: A new, special award, probably only given this one time. At one point, this team looked and felt like they were going to be able to give the Big Two headaches while they forced Ferrari to chew on clag. Now, however, Williams has completely fallen apart. Apparantly deciding to use the right-rear tires they were given at Indianapolis, both of their drivers had repeated blowouts, one of which almost bringing forth our earlier "Prediction Sure To Go Wrong," that of a car making the turn 8 blue kittylitter, at speed, maybe sideways. The only thing that prevented it was an asphalt access strip that cut thru the gravel. Throw in their disasterous falling out with BMW and other disasters, and suddenly Monte Carlo looks very very far back in the mirror.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE: Jensen Button, BAR-Honda. He started 14th. He ended up 5th. Just think what would have happened if he hadn't've pushed just a smidge too hard in The Quad, a place he predicted he'd have problems. Raikonnen, Alonso, Montoya and Fisichella had better cars, but nobody had a better race than Button. Sir Frank must be lovin' this...

*MOVE OF THE RACE: This is a first for F1 UPDATE!: we're giving the award to four drivers! Kimi, Fernando, The Pope, and Fisi win for their first lap of the race. Fisichella split Kimi and Alonso to take the lead, but all four of them stayed nigh on touching distance to each other for the rest of the lap, with attempted passes happening all over the track, culminating in Kimi managing to wrest the lead away on lap 2. Now THAT'S racing!

*MOOOOOOO-VE OF THE RACE: Oh, boy! We've got SO many to choose from, how can we pick just one? We've got Christian Klein showing us that yes, you can have a F1 car going sideways at 160mph while the tires keep spinning forward (and missing The Quad's blue kittylitter by mere inches), then set a F1 speed record for 'fastest car, backwards' at the end of it. We've got Takuma "Suicide" Sato's moving imitation of a chicane during Mark Webber's qualifying run. We've got Felipe Massa wanting to be in a Ferrari so badly that he threw his front wing at one. We've got Renault's crew telling Alonso to "save fuel," thereby letting Kimi run away. We've got The Pope giving himself a self-induced Jordan enema. We've got The Pope attempted murder of his refuling man by leaving before the tank was full. We've even got Kimi Raikkonen being caught by his wife with another lass, pre-race! But none of those compare to our actual winner: Mitchell Schumacher and his pointless attempt to block Mark Webber from passing him at turn 13. Not only did Webbo already have the pass made, not only did Webbo already have position of place on Die Weltmeister, but it wasn't even for a position; Webber was just trying to unlap himself! Still, Das Michael slammed the door on Webber... and Schumi got his hand caught in it as he did so. Both cars had to pit, Webber for a new nose, and Der FuhrerMichael for (essentially) a new car. [cue Basil Fawlty voice] Brilliant, simply brilliant!

*SELECTED DRIVER QUOTES:

"I don't know who she was, or how she got there!!! I mean... er... the team had a good plan set up, and I'm happy to have won." - Kimi Raikkonnen.

"Thanks for the points, JP!" - Fernando Alonso.

"Hey, if I'm past him, it's his job to avoid ME. And they really should get fuel riggers with smaller feet." - JP Montoya.

"I led once. It made me think of Australia... and what's with the friggin' fuel hose getting stuck AGAIN???" - Giancarlo Fisichella.

"We're almost as good as the two teams." - Jensen Button (note: real quote).

"I lost my engineer cap. I couldn't play trains today." - Jarno Trulli.

"Well, that was a pretty good result. But why didn't they call me David Coulthard's Chin yesterday?" - David Coulthard's Chin, catching our mistake from 24 hours ago.

"Wheeeeeeeeeee!" - Christian Klein.

"It was a mixed weekend for me." - Suicide Sato (note: real quote. Additional note: no, Taku, it was a lousy weekend for you.)

"Why is there a nose wing coming at my head?" - Rubens Barrichello

"Unfortunately that put me behind the Jordans and the Minardis." - Jacques Villeneuve, master of the understatement.

"All in all an unlucky day, which is a pity for the team because the pace was there ..." - Cora Schumacher's Husband. (note: real quote. Additional note: what pace was he referring to? Ralf's Toyota had all the pace of a salted slug)

"What a race! I had a lot of fun and I finished it quite easily. What can I say? I'm a happy chappy." - Robert Doorknob (note: we can't make that up)

"See? You don't need to practice to... um... have a really crappy race." - Narain Karthekain.

"mblembble grmbll mmrhpfh shlruhth" - Tiago Montiero (translation: "I can't talk, I've still got a chunk of Montoya's butt in my mouth.")

"Once upon a time, being able to say 'I'm qualifying after Michael Schumacher next race' really meant something." - Christijan Albers.

"Damn that Webber anyways!!! Doesn't he know who I am? I'll have him boiled in oil for not getting out of my way!" - Mitchell Schumacher.

"The first lap was good fun. Then it all went to hell." - Nick Heidfeld.

"I'm 12 years old, and I'm going to drive for Ferrari next year!" - Felipe Massa

"Tire. SchumacherAIEEEEEEEEEEE!!!. Tire. I'm getting drunk now." - Mark Webber.

All in all, an absolutly fantastic debut for the Turkish Grand Prix. But now we're bound for Italy, and Monza. Monaco may be the most famous, but if you ask us, Monza is THE quintessential track on the calendar. Its got everything a track needs: speed, technical aspects, a famous turn (the Parabolica), and the history. And it's next on the calendar, in just under 14 days. We'll see you then with another F1 UPDATE!

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August 20, 2005

F1 Turkey: Practice & Quals!

I. LOVE. THIS. TRACK.

The Autodrom is just a fabulous layout. That quad-apex turn (#8 on your scorecard) will become a classic if the Turkish GP lasts more than a few years (and I can't imagine why it wouldn't).

I've been looking forward to this race for a while... originally because it's been three long weeks since the last tilt in Hungary, but now because of the track. That qual session was termed "sloppy" there at the end, and it surely was, but that's because none of the drivers had more than 30 laps or so practice time in on the course, and that's a tough track. I'll agree with the "mickey mouse" aspect of the last three turns, but even that doesn't do much to make me unhappy.

That's one sweet slab of asphalt they got there in Istanbul.

Of course, Mitchell Schumacher might disagree with me. Seven spins in two days, including one that led to a no-time in qualifying, did a fine job of deep-sixing my "front three rows" prediction for him. He really didn't seem comfortable out there.

But then nobody did, and that includes Kimi. Of course, it's hard to tell when he's uncomfortable out there being so still in the cockpit, but he did wind up sawing at the wheel for a moment there. Didn't matter; he still ended up on pole.

Giancarlo Fisichella came from out of nowhere to end up 2nd. PREDICTION SURE TO GO WRONG: by the end of the first lap, Fisi will be fifth. His teammate, Fernando Alonso, is 3rd, right behind Kimi on the clean side of the track. The Pope is 4th.

Lets think about this: the only four cars to have a realistic chance of winning this race are 1-2-3-4, alternating positions inside-to-out. This is gonna be one heckuva start if nothing else!

Jarno "The Engineer" Trulli is 5th, and will be somewhere around 12th or 13th by the time the 10th lap goes by. Nick Heidfeld is 6th after a very nice lap for the Williams team.

Which brings us to the frustration that must be Mark Webber's life right now. I don't think anybody would disagree that he would have AT LEAST been 6th, and maybe 5th, if it wasn't for Takuma Sato doing... I don't even know what Taku was doing out there. Taking a nap? Sightseeing? For his sake, it had better be something like figuring out how to get another 20mph out of his BAR, because he got his qual time thrown out and will start from the very back from the pack. Which doesn't do much for Mark Webber, but it DOES effectively put a stake thru the career of 'Suicide' Sato. Felipe Massa turned in another of his patented "stare into the depths of space" lap (so-called because that what he makes me do when he's turning laps) to end up 8th.

Cora Schumacher's husband ended up 9th, Christian Klein 10th (which was pretty good, considering that he's in the running for Mooooo-ve of the Week). Rubens BARrichello is 11th, and David Coulthard wound up 12th.

Jensen Button had one of the more exciting qual laps of the day, with his slip'n'slide in the quad-apex turn 8... which leads me to my next PREDICTION SURE TO GO WRONG: Someone will blow that/those turns so badly during the race that they'll find the blue kittylitter. At speed. Maybe sideways. Tiago Montiero is 14th; his Jordan didn't look any twitchier than usual. In fact, since everybody else was having handling problems today, he looked quite normal. Maybe his pit crew isn't trying to kill him this week.

Christijan Albers was the last person to successfully turn in a lap time, in 15th. 16th thru 19th will be Doorknob, Villeneuve, Karthekain, and Mitchell Schumacher, in some order that I can't figure out. Doorknob gave us our little bit of humor for the day, with his Minardi flambe. It seems typical of Guido & Ethel's team that they were telling him to bring it in, don't shift, don't touch the brakes, and he's on the radio saying "why not," oblivious to the smoke billowing from behind him. The Track Marshall telling the Minardi crew to "move that flaming pile out of the way" was another moment of light humor. Schumacher and Villeneuve lost their way on the track. We never did find out why Karthekain pulled in before he even bothered to take a lap.

Then we've got 'Suicide' Sato. Dead last, after trying to keep Webber from passing him. That's fine during the race, not so good during quals. "What was Sato doing?" "We know, Mark, we know." Classic team radio.

So, that's it. We've gots ourselves a race! Get your pogaca and beyaz peynir, grab a cup of deeply vile coffee, and settle in for a true Turkish delight.

F1 Update sometime in the afternoon, central time.

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All Skate, everybody... All Skate.

While I'm at work, I'll leave you this thread so you can talk amongst yourselves.

F1 coverage will resume this evening!

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August 19, 2005

F1 Turkey Viewing... DELAYED!

Ugh. I believe this day should count for me after I'm dead... I'm going right to Heaven, 'cause I've just spent the day in Purgatory.

What could have been a really good day turned icky. Remember that friend I mentioned a few days back? He and I went out to lunch today. Was gonna take an hour, no biggie, right?

Except his truck blew a coolant hose on the way back to work. As a result, I wound up having a 2.5 hour lunch, half of which was spent waiting for his wife to come pick us up.

Outside.

Did I mention that it was 95 degrees (Fahrenheit, of course. That's 207 Quatloos for you European readers) and really REALLY humid?

Did I mention that such weather does a REALLY good job of making me sweat like a stuck pig ("sweat like a gulled choker" to the overseas readers)? And I want NO Deliverance jokes here.

And I just got home from work at 7pm, after spending 11-1/2 hours away from home. I'm tired, I'm sweaty, I'm a lil' grumpy, so I'm going to take a nap, watch some light entertainment that I don't really have to pay attention to (as opposed to F1), and...

...get ready for work on Saturday. Ugh.

Yeah, I'm bitchin'. Guilty.

*update @ 735pm*
...and don't ANYBODY say anything about practice or tomorrow's quals until I post aboot them here. Or I'll be right peeved.

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August 18, 2005

F1 Turkey Predictions Sure To Go Wrong!

All right. Since nobody's ever actually raced on the new track in Istanbul, I'm going to pull out the crystal ball and make some Predictions Sure To Go Wrong!

Prediction 1: One and maybe both Renaults will DNF. The Otodrom looks like it's gonna be murder on brakes, and the Renault cars haven't had the best braking history in the world. As a result, one of them will end up in the kitty litter with dead brakes.

Prediction 2: Mitchell Schumacher will not be on the pole. He WILL be within the top 6, though, and maybe top 4. It looks like a high-level technical course, and nobody is as good at that sort of driving as Mitchell.

Prediction 3: Pedro de la Rosa will put in more laps than ANYbody on Friday, and maybe more than any TWO drivers. McLaren will test the crepe out of the track, since nobody has any data to work with, and nobody pushes harder than them.

Prediction 4: Turkey will be the most exciting race of the season. Lots of passing, lots of action. I know that Mitchell / Fernando battle from Imola will be hard to top, but overall, we'll be amazed.

Prediction 5: Jean Todt will remove his sweater. They're predicting this to be the hottest F1 race EVER... maybe over 100 degrees Fahrenheit air temps and humid. If he doesn't take it off, it's only going to be because it's actually part of his skin now.

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August 17, 2005

Hot Laps about F1

HOT LAPS... where we take a few runs around my brain.

Well, it's official: BAR-Honda has Rubens Barrichello inked for 2006 and 2007. Ant Davidson is probably wondering what he has to do to get a ride in this business. Takuma Sato is probably thinking that driving with Minardi would be pretty good next year (no, no rumors... considering that he's probably out of a job with BAR after this year).

Williams confirmed that they'll be using Cosworth engines next year, almost certainly as a temporary measure intil Toyota can handle supplying another team in 2007.

Speaking of BAR and Williams, Grandprix.com reports that BAR has some sort of option with Nick Heidfeld where he could, in theory, wind up driving for them if Williams decides they don't want him anymore. That probably won't happen anytime soon, but it's just more grist for the rumor mill.

I'll admit that I'm a little surprised that BMW hasn't announced at least ONE driver for next year yet. Maybe it's unrealistic to think that, but they're a major manufacturer, about to pour gobs of money into their team, and a huge splash seems like a logical thing to me. In that same grandprix.com article, they report that Heidfeld very well may NOT be driving for BMW, as he apparantly views it as a step DOWN from Williams.

I can see that, sure, but at the same time I have to ask: IS HE FRICKIN' NUTS? I mean, c'mon! German company, German driver, NEW TEAM... it's not a step down if he's got ANY talent at all. Mitchell Schumacher will always be the #1 driver for Germany (and rightly so), but he could be a national hero if the team does mildly well.

I was thinking a few days ago, what manufacturer would I like to see in F1? After rejecting a Volkswagen as being too much too easy to make fun of (would the car have a bud vase on the dashboard? Would they figure out some way to put the engine in the front of the car? Would it stall whenever it rained?), and Lexus (Toyota already runs in the series), it came down to two US companies and two European companies.

I'd love to see Panoz take a shot at F1. They already run ChampCar, so they've got high-end racing experience, and amongst gearheads in the US, they've got that 'whoo!' factor that'd make for a built-in fanbase.

Ford is the other US company that I'd like to see get into F1. Certainly they've got a foot in the door with Cosworth already; why not pull the trigger and get their own team? Think that'd draw US fans to the sport? Maybe pull a NASCAR driver or two to sit in the cockpit? (Official First Reader Mallory and I have discussed this at length in the past... I think we decided that Jeff Gordon would be a good fit, and Junior would, um, certainly make an impression on the sport).

Why in the world isn't Porsche in F1, anyway? They've been in F1 before, as an engine manufacturer (TAG in the 80s, March in the 90s, and disasterously, Footwork most recently). It's high time they became a full-fledged competitor.

Finally, the company I'd most love to see in F1: Zil, the Russian automotive 'giant.' Just because. Besides, it'd be fun to see cars that looked like they were from the '80s racing again today...

This has been HOT LAPS!!! Now you know what I live with every day...

Posted by: Wonderduck at 05:52 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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August 16, 2005

I WAS going to post today...

Y'know what? I was going to expand on Flotsky's idea of Bernie Ecclestone as a pusher of the F1 drug tonight (I see him as being more of a Lieutenant of a kingpin), but the Wonderduck has had a nip of the ol' grape tonight. Okay, more than a nip.

Montgomery Scott: (drunkenly)"I've got somethin' better. I've got THIS."
Drinking Partner: (also drunkenly)"What is it?"
Scott: "It's... it's... uhm... (pause)... It's green!"

That's me right now. Typing is an adventure full of pitfalls and excitement.

More tomorrow. Wednesday. Whatever.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 04:43 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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August 15, 2005

Life, or something like it.

Ever had a problem that could be solved with difficulty, but could be made immeasurably easier if someone you knew but haven't seen in a couple of years suddenly popped back into your life?

The new school year at Duck U starts next week, and the Duck U Anime Club has a mandatory community project to do. The Club's president, in conjunction with yours truly, came up with a 'student outreach' program, whereby the Club will... um... reach out to local high schools and 'Big Brother' their existing club, or help them start one. Oh, and recruit the dickens out of the kids, too.

It's a great idea, and it'd be a huge success... if we had that one contact in the high schools that'd be willing to help us out. It's SO much easier to work with an enthusiastic supporter of your project. But we didn't have that person installed in the school district...

We thought. That was until I bumped into George. It's been a couple of years, mostly because I've been pretty hermitlike, but George has been a friend of mine since I was a duckling.

Did I mention that he was my theatre teacher way back when?

Did I mention that he's now the Media teacher at one of the local high schools?

Did I mention that George is an otaku himself?

Ever have one of those problems that could be solved with difficulty, but could be made immeasurably easier if someone you knew but haven't seen in a couple of years suddenly popped back into your life?

Ever have that person suddenly pop back into your life?

Do you have ANY idea how cool it is when that happens? Over and above the fact that our friendship just picked up like I hadn't been a hermit, the biggest problem facing the fledgeling Duck U Anime Club just went away.

It's been a good day.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 06:03 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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August 14, 2005

F1... er... NASCAR Update!

Watkins Glen. THE American road course. What Indianapolis is to oval racing, Watkins Glen is to road courses. Way back when, I had a game called "Speed Circuit." An F1 board-game, simple yet complex at the same time, it came with three tracks: Monza (the blue track) and Monaco (the orange track) on the inside of the fold-out... and Watkins Glen on the back. I actually remember WATCHING a F1 race from Watkins Glen in the '70s, I think. I've always remembered the track as being a delicate, elegant course.

That being said, watching NASCAR racers whip around the course puts me in mind of NFL linemen performing rhythmic gymnastic routines: completely out of place. Behemoths jumping on a balsa-wood bridge. Elephants wearing tutus. Using sledgehammers to perform brain surgery.

It just ain't natural! Darn it, this course DEMANDS carbon-fibre and 19000rpm engine screams, not sheet steel and bellowing engines.

At least they showed my favorite AFLAC commercial, where the duck chases the Chinese Food Delivery Guy back into his car. That always makes me laugh.

We here at F1 Update are going through Formula 1 Withdrawl.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:25 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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August 13, 2005

Back to F1... finally.

Why in the world do they put a three-week break in the season like this? Seems just long enough to make people forget there's such a thing as "F1" in the first place.

Oh well, so it goes. We're now a week away from the debut of the new track in Istanbul (not Constantinople). The Otodrom was designed by the same man who designed Sepang, Shanghai and Bahrain, Herman Tilke; like those, it's a purpose-built track. UNLIKE those, however, it doesn't feature what was previously a Tilke hallmark, two long straights divided by a tight hairpin, which made for a great passing location.

Instead, Istanbul's main feature is what works out to be a long sweeping right-hander, comprising turns 10 thru 12... the trackmap makes it out to be roughly 2km of the overall 5.34km length. They're predicting that the car'll hit around 200mph just before having to brake down to 60mph for a tight left-right-left sequence that takes the cars back to the start-finish line. My neck hurts just thinking about it.

Also unusual for a Tilke design, perhaps making up for the lack of hugelong straights, is the fact that the track has four different elevations, making for some blind corners perhaps.

Having looked at the official website for the track, the main seating grandstands look for all the world like... a shopping mall. Oh dear, this may not be good.

Finally, there has been a rash of bombs going off in and around Istanbul; local terrorists have said they'll try to disrupt the race. Joy, just what we need.

Still, get your fez on, it's F1 time again!!!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:02 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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August 12, 2005

*clap* *clap* *clap*

Take the quiz: "Which Holy Grail Character Are You?"

The Dungeon Prisoner of Camelot
:clap: :clap: :clap:

...of course I am.
Go to Ambient Irony to see who Pixy wound up being (lucky dog).

Posted by: Wonderduck at 09:29 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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A Duck's Life.

For some reason, THIS just makes me laugh.

Yeah, it's dumb. That's what's so good about it.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 09:15 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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