September 29, 2005

Sure, I can see that...

I'm trying to feel sorry for this bloke because of THIS, but I find I can't...

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September 26, 2005

SUCCESS!

Both teef, out of my head. My jaw feels like I just went a round with Mitchell "Slappy" Schumacher, but those bad teef are GONE.

And not one nurse wondered why I had a rubber duckie on my chest, neither!

(late update @ 141am: Vic Odin is really, really powerful at painkilling, but he makes typing really really hard. But it goes better if I close my eyes and just type. Over at Ambient Irony, I just left a comment that'll be embarrassing in the morning.)

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I needs me one of these!

Why get a PlayStation 3? Try THIS.

Merciful heavens...

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September 25, 2005

F1 UPDATE: BRAZIL!

For many people, this race was kinda dull. For one man, however, this race will stick in his memory forever. Lets get right to the Interlagos (which means "Between the Legos" in Dutch) Edition of F1 UPDATE!!!

*CONGRATULACION, FERNANDO!: With a race that was emblematic of his season, Fernando Alonso finished third, thereby clinching the Driver's Championship with two races remaining. He did nothing particularly flashy today, just enough to keep him on the podium. And so Alonso slams the door on Kimi Raikkonen's nose. Raikkonen is probably going to win a Championship or two down the road, perhaps even more than Alonso does, but for now? He's just second best. Which isn't BAD per se...

*OH, THERE WAS A RACE, TOO?: JP Montoya showed that he's not exactly chopped liver by winning AGAIN. Kimi came in second... he did that a lot at Interlagos ("Inside the Llama" in Afrikaans) today, didn't he? The McLaren 1-2 finish (their first since 2000) boosted them ahead of Renault in the really IMPORTANT contest, the Constructor's Championship. Unless one of the two teams forgets how to put their cars together, this chase is going to come down to the wire.

*ERA ENDS, NOBODY NOTICES: Jordan's Tiago Montiero retired from today's race at Interlagos ("Inner Tube Lube" in Popokepeze), bringing to a halt his record-setting run of 16 consecutive races completed. He broke Mitchell Schumacher's record... of course, Mitchell averaged a few places higher than Montiero during his string, but it IS a record that needs to be noticed.
(correction: he would have TIED the record if he had finished this race. The person who wrote this piece of tripe has been flogged 'round the mizzenmast.)

*DRIVER OF THE RACE: Mitchell Schumacher, Ferrari. On a day where all the attention was on 'Nando and Kimi, the Old Wizard dragged his Ferrari across the finish line in 4th place. A fine drive in a car that, to be honest, has been a stinker this season.

*TEAM OF THE RACE: McLaren. A 1-2 finish. Takes the lead in the Constructor's Championship. The dominant team in the sport right now, and Kimi Raikonnen may not even be their best driver! The Pope certainly deserves to be in the conversation, if nothing else...

*MOVE OF THE RACE: Rubens Barrichello's pass on Jensen Button on Lap 44. The "Senna Esses" aren't exactly where you'd normally consider passing someone, but Rubens decided to show his soon-to-be-teammate who's gonna be Boss next year by jamming his Ferrari underneath Button's BAR at the start of the complex. When the Ferrari began to slide out of the groove, we here at F1 UPDATE! thought we'd found our "Moooooo-ve Of The Race," but the two drivers managed to stay apart long enough to win the Good Award.

*MOOOOOO-VE OF THE RACE: Celebrating the bovine lurking inside every Grand Prix driver's firesuit, this week's Moooooo-ve goes to one of F1 UPDATES' favorite drivers, David Coulthard's Chin. Before the first turn, The Chin thought he would be able to stick his full-width car in a half-width gap between the two Williams vehicles. Somehow, this manuever managed to completely remove one tire from the wheel of the Red Bull, sent one Williams into the pits for 26 laps, and turned the other into a pile of carbon-fiber scrap. Bravo, Chin, bravo!!!

(very) SELECTED DRIVER QUOTES:

"If only that tennis ball hadn't've gotten in the way of my motorcycle..." - JP Montoya.

"Flykkengrypen." - Kimi Raikkonen. (note: means "Interlagos" in Finnish)

"BRING ME YOUR FINEST MEATS AND CHEESES!!! I. AM. GOD!!!" - Fernando Alonso.

"That used to be my line." - Mitchell Schumacher.

"AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" - Antonio Pizzonia, Mark Webber, and David Coulthard's Chin.

To finish up this race's F1 UPDATE!, we heartily endorse the idea of Takuma 'Suicide' Sato driving for RedBull-Minardi next year. It seems that Honda will be powering the team, and they're leaning hard to get Sato into one of the seats.

Imagine... F1 UPDATE!s favorite driver, on our favorite team? How cool would that be?

On a personal note, the editor of F1 UPDATE! is getting two teeth pulled on Monday afternoon; we might be somewhat quiet for the next few days because of this. See you soon!

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September 24, 2005

F1 Brazil Quals, or 'How I Threw Away My Chance At The Championship.'

Apparantly, Kimi Raikkonen's instructions for qualifying read something like this:

1) Extend right hand.
2) Apply right hand to neck.
3) Squeeze right hand.

Either that, or those wacky McLaren engineers gave him a trick tire... "Hey, Bob! Lookit what I put on Kimi's car! When he puts the brakes on, it'll start to smoke!"

The Iceman needed to pole. Instead, he created tire flambe and ended up 5th on the grid. Who took the top spot?

Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard looked like he was on rails the whole way around Interlagos, almost no mistakes, very steady... kinda like he's been all season, in other words. He's been brilliant occasionally, and very very good the rest of the time (or, at least, when he's not leaving stray parts of his car behind for David Coulthard's Chin to run into).

Of course, many people seem to think that "very good" is dull. Many people would be right, too, but it also has him poised to become the youngest F1 champion ever.

Over at Planet-F1.com, they ran a poll asking "Does Alonso deserve to be F1 Champion?" 80% of the readers said "no." I think they're full of haggis. He's done a fine job this season, and, hey, at least he's won a few races. Official First Reader Mallory may correct me on this, but didn't NASCAR have a champion a couple years back who never finished higher than 2nd?

Kimi may be the best driver in the fastest car, but it kept breaking on him or he drove it to destruction... and Alonso didn't. It's that simple.

In other qual news, Jensen Button claims that the reason he's not on pole is because he was hit by a windgust that was strong enough to add a quarter-second to his lap time. Apparantly Mr. Button has discovered Brazil's secret weapon: the micro-hurricane. I think it's more a case of the BAR-Honda car being too frickin' slow, Mr. Button, rather than a headwind.

And lets all wish a happy 24th birthday to Robert Doorknob, who celebrated by taking a trip to the run-off area of Interlagos (which means "Between the Lags" in Portugese) on his qual lap. Well done, lad. Now lets give Zsolt another try, eh?

Finally, this site's hero, Takuma 'Suicide' Sato will be starting dead last after not turning an official lap. BAR is testing a new engine, it seems, and they're making him do the heavy lifting on it so it'll be ready for Suzuka.

*sigh*

Did I mention that I despise this track? I do. It's never sunny there, everything seems gray, I've seen gravel roads that are smoother, and they can't even get the remote cameras to run without making me seasick... though, to their credit, the one on the pit wall is pretty flash.

My official position on Interlagos? It'd be better if it was just IN-lagos. Maybe have a unlimited-class hydroplane race there or something.

(hmmm... apparantly, the F1 Update folks are grumpy today...)

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September 23, 2005

Jumbled Mess Of A Post.

I've noticed that recently I've been appearing on Steven DenBeste's Chizumatic more than I've been appearing here, on my own blog talking about anime.

I'm going to do something about that. I was originally going to post something interesting and witty about today's televised practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix, but just couldn't pull something out of my hat... there just wasn't much interesting happening!

Oh, sure, Mitchell Schumacher was looking pretty sporty when he wasn't cooking himself some Bridgestones for lunch, or sending himself spinning, but we all know this isn't Ferrari's year; he could be turning fast lap after fast lap today, and he still won't be on the podium come Sunday. Although... it's supposed to rain on Sunday. If that happens, throw everything into a cocked hat, it's anybody's race.

The McLarens were quick, Renault was fast, Sauber (the hell?) was fast... I fully expect that Kimi or Juan Pablo will win, but Alonso will clinch the Drivers Championship, probably finishing third.

As far as ANIME goes, I'm working on a post entitled "Why Anime?" It'll explain why I enjoy watching Japanese cartoons, and why it should be even MORE popular than it is already. Hopefully, I'll have it up before The Dreaded Visit to the Oral Surgeon on Monday.

Until then, enjoy Saturday's Quals; I'll be back afterwards with a rundown.

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September 21, 2005

BAR-Honda names 2006 lineup!

Wow. I walk away for a few minutes, see what happens? BAR has bought out Jensen Button's contract from Williams; next year, BAR will be Button and Barrichello!

Talks are "continuing" with Takuma 'Suicide' Sato. :-(

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F1 on Speed: Interlagos!

Howdy, y'all! I've got a bit of pep in my step this week, 'cause for one of the few times during the F1 season, I can actually watch the race live, WITHOUT having to get up before the sun does! Ah, the joys of the Americans Continents...

We start with Friday, 9/23, and practice is LIVE from 12 noon to 1pm... imagine that! Later that night, from 11pm to midnight, is F1 Decade, the 1995 GP o' Europe, followed by the repeat of practice from midnight to 1am.

Saturday, the 24th, Quals are LIVE from 11am to 1230pm, followd by Inside F1, starring Mr. Snootyvoiceoverguy. Of course, the Qual session repeats from 1am to 230am.

And then we come to Sunday, the 25th. 1130am to 2pm is the Brazillian Grand Prix LIVE from Interlagos, which means "In The Legs" in Brazilian.

I'm not sure what that has to do with anything.

The race doesn't appear to repeat on Sunday, which is kind of a bummer, but there are worse things in the world.

Like tooth #14 on my upper jaw (that's the back molar that ISN'T the wisdom tooth on the right-hand side for those of you without a tooth diagram in front of you). That bugger is drivin' me nuts! Yarrrr. Tuesday it was helltooth... today, it's been nice and peaceful-like. Tomorrow? Demonspawntooth, probably.

If I'm lucky, it won't be. And if pigs had wings, they'd be Jordans.

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September 20, 2005

Yarrrrrrr.

Okay, to begin with, everybody go HERE and wish Mr. Pixy Misa a happy birthday! He's the guy what invited me to join Munuvia, and he also likes anime... which he probably wants me to write more about.

Second, OWWWWW! Never let ANYBODY tell you ducks don't have teeth. I've got two getting extracted on Monday, but one of 'em is gonna make my life hell until then.

Third, Monday was International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Yarrrrrrrr!

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September 16, 2005

In The Church of Speed.

Bless you, sister Mallory, for your energetic willingness to sign the petition at ForzaMinardi.com. Truly, you will be One with the Lord.

...and now, let us pray. Please place both hands upon the Holy Wheel of Direction at 10-and-2-o'clock, gently apply pressure to the clutch, and repeat after me.

"There is no God but Speed, and Fangio is his prophet. May those who believe in the automatic shifter be smitten by your front elements at high speed, in your mercy. And may those who seek to attain Higher Velocities succeed, but only after great sacrifice, and the acquisition of a V-12 that runs at 16000 rpm, for that is The One True Engine, that screams with Your Voice.

"And may all who attempt Higher Velocities be safe in Your five-point Embrace. And may they always wear thy Holy Bell Skullcap, ere they stand before You, their Race ended prematurely by the Black Flag of life.

"And may those who seek to prevent Us from passing when We Righteously Have Thy Inside Line end up in Thy kitty litter. And may those who seek to pass Us do so only after the removal of Thine Divine Hurst Shifter from Our Cold, Dead Fingers.

"In Your mercy, Lord Speed, we beseech Thee, allow the Child of Fangio known as Minardi to retain its Holy Name, and thereby stand beside their equals on thy Podium of Life: The Children of Fangio, being named Ferrari, McLaren, Williams, BAR, Jordan, Toyota, Sauber and Renault. And may You show the correct path to the Child of Fangio that shalt not be called by Its True Name, instead to be known only as the 'Bison of Crimson,' and Righteously reconsider the path of Wickedness it may decide to pursue.

"May Your Gaze peer down upon those Children of Fangio that have come before us; Lotus and Brabham, Arrows and Benneton, Jaguar and March, Stewart and Tyrell. Keep them safely on Thy pit lane.

"As We sit on Thy Grid, Lord, allow us the skill and ability to drop Thine Hammer down upon Our Accelerators when Thine Lights doth go out, and Unto Us, grant Thine Flag of Checkers at the end of Our race. Amen."

I end this sermon today with the Words from the Book of Waltrip, verse #11: "It is time for Us to go forth and race. Boogity. Boogity. And a third time, Boogity."

Surely truer words have never been spoken. With that, I bring this sermon in the Church of Speed to an end. Listen to your spotters, brethren, and believe what they say unto you. In Fangio's Name, Amen.

Start Thine Engines.

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September 15, 2005

A Must-Do.

My readers... no. My FRIENDS... I have been made aware of a very important thing that we, as fans of Formula 1, must do.

I ask you to go here, to ForzaMinardi.com, and sign their petition.

As we know, Red Bull has purchased Minardi from Paul (Guido) Stoddard. They are still deliberating over changing the team name to "Red Bull," completely dropping the legendary Minardi name. It's bad enough that with this purchase, F1 is starting to look more and more like GP2; do we REALLY want the sport we spend so much time with have two teams with the same name? Even if it was Ferrari I and II, I submit that it would not benefit the sport.

Currently we have ten teams, ten different liveries: a visual feast for our eyes. Mind you, the Red Bull car has one of the best paint schemes on the grid (in my opinion, they fall behind only McLaren and Ferrari), but I don't want to see four of them.

Minardi has existed for decades, and been in F1 for 20+ years. Lets do all we can to keep the name alive.

I don't care if you're a Ferrari tifosi, a McLaren McFan, a Renault Rooter, a Sauber Supporter, a Toyota Tooter, a BAR-ista, a Williams Wag, or a Jordan... uhm... a Jordan fan (they've got medication for that now); support the diversity of F1. Sign the petition now.

I admit, I've poked fun at Team Minardi here at my Pond. I do so because I like the team... who doesn't like the underdogs? Will they ever be on pole? Nah, not likely. Will they ever win? Nah, not likely. Their victories are more human in scale, and that's why I like them. Minardi is the emotional opposite of Ferrari, McLaren, and the incoming Team BMW. Can you imagine Guido Stoddard in a lab coat, examining the car in a clean room? Nah. One can almost see the car up on blocks in the front yard (now THAT'S a mental image...).

Now can you imagine team-members from McLaren or Ferrari even SMILING while they work on the car? Have you seen the man that's going to be running Team BMW? He doesn't look like he's capable of smiling!

Minardi races for all of us, in a way. Red Bull? Bah.

Make Mine Minardi!

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September 14, 2005

YOUR F1 Glossary!

So here I am, tired after a long day that began with a dentist visit (note: don't EVER let anybody tell you ducks don't have teeth), and ended with the usual Wednesday night Duck U. Anime Club... all in all, I was away from the Pond for 13+ hours.

Anyway, I fired up the duckputer, and I discovered an e-mail from Official First Reader Mallory, wondering what _______ meant. I started to answer, but decided to turn it into a post (mostly because I didn't have anything better to work with)!

So, without further ado, I present YOUR F1 Glossary!

Tifosi: horde of red-clad, airhorn wielding visigoths that seem to appear at every race, even in places that have never seen a Ferrari ("Oh, sure, there's loads of Enzos in Beijing, aren't there?")

boot:
1) British for watercraft (see "Spa").
2) something a F1 car doesn't have.

nose: piece of F1 equipment that generally falls off in turn one.

Jordan: F1 Team that is destined to be the butt of every joke in this Glossary.

Schumi: (verb) to physically slap someone on the helmet with bare hands. (e.g.: "Did that guy just schumi you?" "Yes. The ambulance will be here in a few minutes." "Moron.")

aero package: a major piece of the car has fallen off. (e.g.: "I ruined the car's aero package when I hit the wall, a Jordan, and three trees.")

Minardi Chicane: what forms when two cars stall on the grid.

grid: full complement of 20 cars for a race (note: six for Indianapolis).

grid girl: what JP Montoya pays attention to, instead of the starting lights.

bodywork: specific parts of a grid girl that JP Montoya looks at.

monocoque: single rooster. Every car has a monocoque as part of the vehicle's body; this is known as the cockpit.

paddles: what the boot uses at Spa.

pole: an item often inserted into the posterior of someone that schumis someone else. This results in the well-known Pole Position.

"Splash and Dash": what drivers do at a bar when they realize they've forgotten their wallet.

ballast:
1) weights carried in a boot.
2) weights carried in a F1 car to reach a defined weight. In Jordan cars, this is also known as a "driver."

Spa: a lake in Belgium, cunningly disguised as a racetrack.

kitty litter: where cars that need to be buried by cats go. See also Jordan.

Parc Ferme: French for "Ferrari Employees Only."

oversteer: why cars end up in the kitty litter.

understeer: something that ruins a car's aero package and often causes it to end up in the kitty litter.

bottoming: what this column has done.

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September 12, 2005

F1 Update: SPA Selected Quotes!

Really, after reading this real quote, there's almost no reason to go on:

"In many ways I'm in awe of Flavio. I've never seen someone win so many races and know so little about a racing car, but it obviously works for him so why change it." - Ron Dennis

How can we top THAT? The truthful answer is "we can't," but we're sure as heck gonna try! It's F1 UPDATE's Driver Quotes!

"So, has anybody found my personality yet?" - Kimi Raikkonen.

"Iiiiiii... am the Champion, my friends... " - Fernando Alonso (not yet, Fernando. Soon, but not yet.

"Man. Now I know how Fernando felt when he kept being given gift podiums." - Jensen Button.

"It's long overdue for me to have a, shall we say, normal race." - Mark Webber. (Dude, you call THAT normal???) (real quote)

"Fifth. I should be happy with fifth, shouldn't I? (sob)" - Rubens Barrichello.

"Now THAT was a race, wasn't it?" - Jacques Villeneuve.

"I... I WAS in second for a while, wasn't I? It felt so NICE!" - Ralf Schumacher.

"Gosh, I didn't MEAN to press the pit-lane limiter button just when Jarno Trulli was closing in on me. Heavens, silly me!" - Tiago Montiero. (note: while television coverage didn't show it, it appears that Montiero actually DID press said button, causing Trulli to run into him and then wreck... which we DID see)

"What sort of race did I have? I couldn't pass a friggin' Jordan for a point, that's what sort of race I had. Y'know what? I want you to stick that microphone som(static)..." - Christian Klein.

"What can I say? We could have been on the podium if I had stayed on intermediates." - Felipe Massa (note: real quote) (at least he admits it...)

"I believe I can flyyyyyyyyy... I believe I can touch the skyyyyyyyy" - Narain Karthekeyan.

"I've got a ride next year! YAAAAA-HOOOOO!" - Christijan Albers. (note: reports say that he'll be buying a seat with Jordan-Midland in 2006)

"Um... " - Robert Doorknob.

"I'm gonna skin that (next five minutes of obscenities censored) alive. Twice." - JP Montoya.

"Well, if you checked your rear-view mirror once in a while, Mr. High-n-Mighty McLaren Driver..." - Antonio Pizzonia.

"AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! (crunch)" - Jarno Trulli.

"Lump go 'boom.' Heap big smoke. Ugh." - David Coulthard's Chin.

"*slap slap slap slap slap slap slap slap slap slap*" - Mitchell Schumacher.

"Y'know, Mitchell, these tattoos on my arms aren't just for show..." - Takuma 'Suicide' Sato.

"AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! (crunchbang)" - Giancarlo Fisichella. (say what you want about Fisi, he sure did a good job on his Renault. Little pieces everywhere!)

Well, now that Sato has revealed his secret standing in the Yakuza, what exactly will happen to Schumacher and the rest of the Ferrari tifosi? Tune in next time, when we'll bring you F1 UPDATE: Brazil!

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September 11, 2005

F1 UPDATE: SPA!!!

What the hell was that? I'll admit, it was extremely entertaining, but wow, it's incredible what a little water can do to the neat, tidy world of Formula 1. Lets take a look in the Songs About Weather version of F1 UPDATE!

*Here Comes The Rain Again: The weather at Spa is always questionable, and today's race was all about the water. The track was never really dry, but neither was it entirely wet. This meant that teams were willing to take shots at dry tires, usually with terrible results. The F1 Update crew was laughing out loud after the Safety Car came out and EVERYBODY dove for the pit lane... it looked like a confused version of a NASCAR pitstop! Great move by Kimi Raikkonen to run slowly into the pits, allowing his teammate JP Montoya to get in and out before he arrived... very clever, since other teams wound up having to stack their cars, more than doubling the time required.

*I'm Only Happy When It Rains: Bridgestone thought they were in the catbird seat... they had the better intermediate tire, and Ferrari actually seemed to have a chance to do well this time around. It didn't exactly work out that way, as we'll see later.

*Driver Of The Race, or "Mr. Blue Sky": Jensen Button, BAR-Honda. In a race that his team has never scored points in, he got himself a podium, and was only a second or two behind Fernando Alonso at the finish line. An exceedingly professional drive, making you wonder "what if" about the beginning of the season for BAR-Honda. I don't think it's a stretch to suggest that Button could easily be in the Driver's Championship race (third?) if things had gone a little differently.

*Team Of The Race, or "Riders on the Storm": Sauber-Petronas. I'm sure everybody is wondering just what F1 Update! is smoking right now. Stop wondering, and we'll explain. Only three teams had both cars running at the end of the race: Sauber, Jordan, and Minardi. Sauber had the best finishing combination of the three at 6/10, with Jordan getting 8/11 and Minardi 12/13. A solid race for the Sauber group, with Jack NewTown earning the points and Felipe Massa DESERVING points, but denied them by the team taking a chance with dry tires that led to a wild ride (for one lap).

*Move Of The Race, or "Thunder Road": Jensen Button gets the award here for his pass of NewTown on lap 24. The Pouhon Corner isn't an easy place to pass, doing it around the outside makes it even tougher, and Jack drives one of the widest cars in F1. Nevertheless, Button just made it look easy. Indeed, his pass on Barrichello in the Bus Stop late in the race almost took this award, too. Special Honorable Mention goes to Narain Karthekeyan for his (ahem) lively pass on (guess who?) Jacques Villeneuve on lap 28. You know, the one that found the Indian driver doing some agricultural racing before going completely airborne, yet STILL not damaging the car, then runnng away. Any incident that can make the Legendary Announce Team go silent in awe MUST be good!

*Mooooo-ve of the Race, or "Fool In The Rain": Mitchell Schumacher, Ferrari. Oh, yes, we at F1 Update! are quite aware that BAR-Honda's Takuma 'Suicide' Sato ran into the back of Schumi's car, putting them both out. And yes, we're aware that Sato has been penalized 10 positions for Brazil. We believe that agressive racing such as Sato's is what F1 is missing, and to be honest, it wasn't THAT bad a move. No, Herr Schumacher earns this award for getting out of his car, walking over to Sato's vehicle, and slapping the other driver TWICE. Bad, Mitchell, very bad. There's no call for that sort of thing... and you should have waited until he took his helmet off, you idiot.

*Mooooo-ve of the Week II, or "Idiot Wind.": Last week's driver of the week, Antonio 'Jungle Boy' Pizzonia is going to have to share this week's award. Who knew that Pizzonia is drawing a paycheck from Renault, too? His bonehead antics took out JP Montoya FOUR laps from the end of the race, handing Renault a gift second place, and taking the lead in the Constructor's Championship away from McLaren, all in one swell foop. As Captain Haddock would put it, "Billions of Blistering Blue Barnacles, what were you thinking, you cowering Coleocanth?"

Quotes of the Race will be delayed until Monday for headache-based reasons. Tune in then for the conclusion of this week's F1 UPDATE!!!

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September 10, 2005

F1 Quals: SPA! (and some Big News)

They finally did it. They've threatened it before, and something has always come up to prevent it, but now they've gone ahead and done it... and the rest of the grid has got to be quaking in their tires over it.

McLaren is 1-2 on the grid.

To make matters worse for everybody not in McLaren black&white, Jarno ("The Engineer") Trulli is third. I doubt that the McLaren boys could have picked someone worse for the other teams to deal with than the Man Who Leads The Train. If Fernando Alonso can't jump from the fourth spot on the grid and get past Jarno by the first couple of turns, this race'll be over fast, and the Constructor's Championship will be tighter than ever.

Oddly, it seemed like Renault and McLaren switched bodies this race. McLaren had the speed and reliability, and Renault had the breakdown, with Giancarlo Fisichella having to change out his engine before qualifying. He actually would have been 3rd, but is instead 13th, making it quite possible that the 8 point difference between Renault and McLaren in the CC race will be gone after Spa-Francopants.

The most interesting news of the day to me, however, wasn't the way the big boys were playing around, it was what happened down in the backmarker area. To whit, both Minardis beat both Jordans. Why is this important?

Both Jordans were the new EJ15b chassis that debuted at Monza last week... and that Tiago Montiero beat both Minardis in. Now, suddenly, both Albers and Doorknob trounced Montiero and Karthekeyan handily... how handily? Try almost TWO SECONDS. In fact, Minardi had a great qualifying run, ending up only around 3 seconds behind the polesitter.

But even THAT wasn't the big news of the day. No, the big news of the day was that the rumored purchase of Minardi by Red Bull took place today. Red Bull is going to set up the squad as a "rookie team," and it WILL compete against the "veteran team." Indeed, they'll be a wholly seperate entity entirely.

What does this mean for the world of F1? Well, lets take a look:
1) American driver Scott Speed will almost certainly have a race ride next year.
2) Paul (Guido Minardi) Stoddard will be out of F1, much to the relief of the Emperor Mosely and Darth Ecclestone.
3) As of right now, nobody is sure if one of the "old guard" teams is going to disappear from the F1 paddock. While the Red Bull Rookie team is going to be based in Italy, the name "Minardi" may well disappear entirely. If so, F1 Update! is going to be very sad.
4) While the two teams are supposed to be seperate *cough cough*, the chances of that happening are somewhere between "slim" and "you're kidding, right?" If so, the most interesting problem that's going to arise is the yowling from the tire manufacturers. See, RedBull is on Michelins, Minardi on Bridgestones. Think they won't swap tire data?
5) Who'll be providing engines? Minardi is scheduled to be Cosworth-powered, Red Bull by Ferrari. Would Ferrari even be able to PROVIDE engines for another team?
6) Will the Rookie team have the same sort of resurgence as the current Red Bull team did this year? Certainly there'll be more money available to the ex-Minardi team.
7) Is it good for the sport? Having two teams run by the same group leads to all sorts of possibilities, few of them good, during the race. Yes, they say the two teams will race as seperate entities, and the two Red Bull GP2 series teams do... but this is the Big Leagues.
8) Zsolt Baumgartner will never be in a F1 seat again. His final hope just went out the window.

If this is the last go-round for Minardi, it seems appropriate to note that it's possible that an ex-Minardi driver will clinch the Driver's Championship this weekend. Fernando Alonso got his start with Minardi back in 2001.

Right. Race is in 8 hours, more or less... lets see what the weather has in store for the assembled masses, and we'll see you back here on Sunday for the official F1 UPDATE!

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September 09, 2005

F1 Practice: SPA!

Or maybe that should read "F1 Swimming Lessons: SPA," since we got an out-and-in from Fernando Alonso, and a half-lap out of Vitantonio Liuzzi before everybody just hid.

Yep, that's right... the rains have come to Spa-Francorchamps. Not just rain, but heavy-break-out-the-pontoons-buckets-o'-rain type rain. Rain that caused visible waves on the track where it was running downhill.

So, yeah, it was a bit damp. Red Bull sent their Friday driver out on four Intermediate tires, and brought it back in with three and two broken suspensions. The Legendary Announce Team think that it just got away when he put on the brakes going into the right-left-right complex at the top of the hill, but I have a different opinion; since this is my Pond, allow me to tell you what I saw.

I have an advantage over the LAT, in that I was able to go back and watch it frame-by-frame. The camera angle was from almost dead ahead. Liuzzi is heading along, and it APPEARS that he hit an isolated local heavy rain spot, either in progress or having just passed.

Frame one: nothing is amiss. Two, and there's a huge increase in the amount of spray coming from the front tires. Three, and there's an increase in the spray coming off the left-rear tire as well... but nothing extra off the RIGHT-rear.

I suggest that the right-rear still had more grip than the other three, which were probably hydroplaning along. That grip was enough to turn the nose of the car in frame four, and by frame five, the car is completely completely gone. Give Liuzzi credit, though: the front wheels are already pointing to the right, trying to steer the car back towards the centerline of the track, and they stay that way until you can't see them anymore because the car has turned around.

The rest, of course, is history. He clouts the barrier a good'un, his right rear tire is shoved back off the wheel and the attendant suspension is broken, as is the right front. It wouldn't've mattered if the car was in one piece, though... the runoff area was grass and earth, a/k/a "really friggin' slippery." Unless he had spiked tires, or perhaps tank treads, there wasn't much he could have done. Still and all, the car looked in remarkably good shape when the crane picked it up: it needed a good eye to see that the right side tires weren't really attached to anything due to the broken suspension (note: I'm not claiming I have that good an eye; I AM claiming to have looked at the car frame-by-frame on the videotape).

I do suggest that it could have been anybody in that position, and it wouldn't've mattered: they would have ended up in the same position; dripping wet, out of the cockpit, with a multi-million dollar lump of scrap dangling from the end of a cable.

I pity the GP2 guys. They were to qualify for their "long race" immediately after F1 practice. I suspect there were a lot of really slow times on that grid.

About the only good thing to come out of practice today was that the SpeedChannel guys showed replays from last year's race... and included a Zsolt sighting! Yep, there's Zsolt, getting speared by Jensen Button's BAR-Honda! Hi, Zsolt!

I miss that big lug.

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September 08, 2005

Too friggin' cool.

I was wondering what I was going to write about tonight, when I went by Brian's blog.

I've specifically tried to avoid politics or too much coverage of "negative events" here in The Pond; quite honestly, there's millions of other places out there where you can read about that, and many of them are better written. The Pond is a specialty site, dealing with Anime and Formula One... and whatever else I deem humorous enough to write about. I want it to stay someplace that you, the readers, and myself, The Duck, can come to and read about things that are fairly trivial, all things considered. The big things are everywhere, and sometimes covering the teeny-tiny things is a good way to escape, even if just for a minute or two.

All that being said, I want you to read THIS.

Why do I love this country? It's things like that. They are the living version of what I want this blog to be.

Okay. Now, will someone help me get this soapbox out of the Pond?

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September 07, 2005

Anime Club! Woo-HOOOOO!

So, last year, yours truly found himself without anybody to watch anime with. Not enjoying this in the least, I got the bright idea to see if there was interest in an anime club on the campus of Duck U., my alma mater and my current place of employ. After a good turnout on the first meeting, it dropped down to an average of three people... not including myself, the staff advisor.

It stayed that way for the rest of the year, and then the summer came. Nothing then, obviously, as Duck U.'s attendance drops to about 10 people during the summer.

With some anticipation and, I'll admit, some trepidation, we scheduled the first meeting of the new school year for tonight... I burned a DVD of anime music videos (AMVs for short), and crossed my wingtips.

7pm comes around, and... SIX PEOPLE, and two who were detained (one was working a shift she's never worked, filling in for someone else, the other was apparantly sick enough to miss all his classes today)... so EIGHT, on a campus of 500.

I'm floating on air, and I'm not even flappin' my wings! This might just work out, particularly because three of the people are first-year students who'll be around for a while! A stable base to work with!

So The Wonderduck now has a new flock of people to watch anime with, and we're a legit club now.

*snif* I'm so proud.

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September 06, 2005

F1 on SPEED

Spa. Spaaaaaaaaaaaa. It just falls off the tongue and sits there. Not a particularly pretty word. Spa. Clunk. Almost sounds like an invective: "Oh, Spa!"

Thankfully, the racetrack at Spa is a little bit nicer than the town it's named after! Track go up, track go curvy, track come down, track keeps curvy. Fun! And here's when you'll be able to see it on Speed TV!

Friday, from 7a-8a, is LIVE practice coverage (repeated from 6p-7p). Watch an hour of cars going around and around with nothing at stake, while the Legendary Announce Team make us chuckle.

Saturday brings us LIVE coverage of Qualifying from 6a to 730a. Takuma Sato's racing career has only four more races left, make sure you see every lap!

Then, finally, comes Sunday. From 530a-630a, we've got GP2's Sprint Race, which makes me think that they're missing a sure thing as far as sponsorship goes. "Can you pass me now? Good!"

At 630am, the Big Cars come out to race. From 630a to 9a, we have the Belgium Grand Prix, live on Speed! Belgium, man, Belgium!!!

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September 05, 2005

F1 UPDATE: ITALY DRIVER QUOTES

It's now time once again for everybody's favorite part of F1 Update!, the Driver Quotes! We've deprived you of them long enough, lets get down to the F1 Update Interview Room (down the hall, turn left at the door marked 'Beware of the leopard,' and watch out for the bats) and see what the drivers have to say for themselves:

"Are you SURE I can't win the Driver's Championship?" - JP Montoya.

"Yup. We're sure." - Fernando Alonso.

"I've won a race, y'know. Two, actually. Did you know that? Hello?" - Giancarlo Fisichella.

"Isn't Michelin a French company? Someone should look into that." - Kimi Raikonnen.

"Gee, my hair looks terrific." - Jarno Trulli.

"Hey, Mitchell. I can drive too. And Mom always liked you best." - Ralf Schumacher.

"I. AM. GOD. Bring me your finest meats and cheeses!" - Antonio Pizzonia.

"Hopefully when we return to the higher downforce circuits of the next four races we will be able to get back on the pace." - Jensen Button. (real quote) ("WHAT pace, Button?" - F1 Update)

"I was able to avoid the incident in the first corner. For once." - Felipe Massa.

"Clearly, our race did not go well and we were much too slow. We are nowhere near where we want to be but we have to live with it. You could say we were a bit better than in Turkey, but that is still not good enough... There is no point in getting angry about our situation, we must simply try and improve, maybe in time for Spa, although that is unlikely, but possibly before the end of the season. The championship was obviously lost a while ago, but we have had a lot of good years before this one. There is no need to give up because this is all part of competition. I feel sorry for the tifosi and thank them for their support, even though we were not able to deliver them a good result. And she did not, Ralf.” - Mitchell Schumacher. (real quote)

"I guess the marshalls were getting a little over-excited." - Jacques Villeneuve. (real quote, referring to his being blue-flagged at the beginning of the race because he was holding up Kimi Raikonnen... for 10th place. F1 Update! doesn't much like Jack NewTown, but he's got a good point.)

"I think I could have finished eighth which is the best we could have hoped for today. Four more races until I'm with a GOOD team." - Rubens Barrichello.

"The race was not so good... things weren't so good." - Christian Klein. (we can't make a quote like that one up)

" 'Bring me your finest meats and cheeses.' Who does he think he is, Mitchell Schumacher?" - Mark Webber.

"Would you like my autograph? Here, let me sign that." - David Coulthard's Chin.

"Gomenesai, Honda. Gomenesai." - Takuma Sato.

"Well, at least the mechanics aren't trying to kill me. Now it's the friggin' tire manufacturer." - Tiago Montiero.

"It's D-o-o-r-n-b-o-s." - Robert Doorknob.

"*twitch* *twitch* No, I'm fine, why? *twitchtwitchtwitch* Never better. *twitchtwitchtwitch*" - Christijan Albers.

"Now they're trying to kill ME, Tiago. Help!" - Narain Karthekeyan.

Well, that's the end of the driver quotes. Next up, we've gots ourselves the almost-as-legendary-as-Monza track of Spa-Francoamerican or whatever it's called. Just leave it with "Spa," okay? 'Kay.

And we'll see you next week with another F1 UPDATE!!!

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