September 04, 2005

F1 Update: Italy!

It's been three weeks since the birth of the new track in Turkey. From the newest circuit, the rolling carnival known as F1 headed to the oldest circuit on the calendar, The Magic Track of Monza. And the F1 UPDATE! crew was watching, so lets get on with the story!

*How To Make F1 UPDATE Cry: Have their favorite driver, Takuma 'Suicide' Sato, take provisional pole from Mitchell Schumacher in a thrilling qualifying lap (that included a moment when all four tires of Sato's car were off the ground!), have him wind up fourth on the grid... then make him pit twice in three laps due to a problem with the refueling rig, thereby all but ending his chance of having a seat in F1 next year. He ended the day in 16th place, meaning he'll be qualifying fifth next week at Spa, a track that you desperately need to go out late to run quickly at.

*Witnessing History... Pass Me The Cream Cheese?: We at F1 Update were admittedly whelmed* by the news that Monza was only the 2nd time in history that a full grid of cars completed a F1 race; that is, nobody retired due to accident or mechanical failure, and the last time it happened was nigh on 40-plus years ago. We certainly understand that F1 cars, being cutting-edge machines, often cut a little too much off the edge, but it hardly seemed like that big of a deal, either to the Legendary Announce Team or, frankly, to us. "I watched a race where all the cars that started, finished! Wow!" "Great. Want fries with that?"
(*note: if one can be overwhelmed or underwhelmed, then one should be able to be whelmed, don't you think?)

*Driver Of The Race: Antonio Pizzonia. Think you have a tough job? Imagine what "Jungle Boy" had to do. Not only hasn't he driven a F1 car for nigh on three months, but he was called in on zero notice to sit in for Nick "The Human Crash-Test Dummy" Heidfeld and drive on the fastest track in the sport. Not only does he do so, but he ends up seventh, earning 2 standing points and blowing Mark Webber, his Williams teammate, out of the water. Not too shabby for the lad from the Amazonian jungles of Brazil.

*Team Of The Race: We here at F1 Update! are sick and tired of giving this award to either McLaren or Renault, so today, we're giving the award to Toyota. Both of their drivers in the points, and now they're within 8 points of third-place Ferrari in the Constructor's Championship. Well done, lads. Now get on a podium, and we'll talk some more, mmmkay?

*Move Of The Race: To be honest, there really weren't many breathtaking passing manuevers during the actual race, so we're going back to Qualifying for this week's award. We never thought we'd be saying this, but the MOTR this week goes to... Minardi's Christijan Albers for his "how'd-he-do-THAT" foray into the Lesmos sandbox. In case you missed it, he got a smidge wide out of First Lesmo and hooked his left side tires in the kittylitter. What followed was a blinding cloud of sand and dust, neatly blanketing the scene. At last sight, Albers' Minardi was actually pointed perpendicular across the direction of travel, yet still moving around 140mph. Indeed, he should have ended up buried nose-first in the tire barrier on the INSIDE of the Lesmos curves. Yet, when the FIA producers jumped to a different camera angle, there he was, trundling down the straight between the two Lesmos, looking like nothing occurred... except for the cloud of dust hanging in the background. So for showing us why you were so good in Saloon Cars, this MOTR is for you, Christijan Albers... even if we couldn't see it.

*Moooooooo-ve Of The Week: Celebrating the hidden bovine lurking in every F1 driver, this award goes to the most clod-hooved manuever of the race. Today, the award goes to none other than Mitchell Schumacher, for his late-race bolluxing of a Lesmo curve, which cost him 10 seconds and strangely never aired on FIA TV coverage... so this really is an Alledged Moooooo-ve Of The Week. Suggestions for other, more worthy, candidates may be left in the comment section.

*Quotes Of The Race will be delayed until tomorrow due to Author Ineptness. So come back then for MORE F1 UPDATE!!!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 04:46 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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September 02, 2005

The Magic Track.

Oh, my. Oh my oh my oh my. I forget how much I love Monza. Why does anybody love Monza? One word.

Speed.

Flat-out, pulse-pounding, teeth-clenching, white-knuckled speed. If anybody ever says that F1 cars don't have the same sort of straight-line speed of a ChampCar, even with a V10, just point to what the Williams' boys were doing through the speedtrap during today's practice:

2. 4. 0.

Two Hundred and Forty Miles Per Hour.

AND THEY WERE FIFTH QUICKEST.

Ricardo Zonta's Toyota had the fastest lap, followed by the three McLarens, then the Williams entries.

Oh, how the mighty yadda yadda yadda. Barrichello could barely stay on the track, Mitchell Schumacher COULDN'T stay on the track, going for a backwards ride through Parabolica's sandbox and ending his day with a half-hour left to go.

Meanwhile, BAR-Honda with their highpowered engine perversely couldn't turn a fast lap to save their lives. Nigh on three seconds behind the leaders.

Kimi had some excitement during one lap as we discovered just how much of the curbs you can use on this track. He came off a turn just a smidge wide and got his left rear into the kittylitter. What resulted gave the appearance of the rear of the car jerking savagely to the left, but was more likely the nose going to the right. Spin city coming up, ladies and gentlemen...

...except Raikkonen showed why he's called 'Iceman' by not only preventing the spin from occurring, but TURNING IN FAST LAP TO THAT TIME! That boy's scary.

On the lighter side, we had a squirrel show that in a straight line, he was almost as fast as a F1 racer as he streaked across the back straight, passing both Jordans and a Sauber as it did so.

And the SPEED crew reminded me why I think they're the best announce team in racing when they informed me that when the front tire falls off the rim, "the car's brakes become somewhat ineffective."

I love those guys.

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September 01, 2005

F1 vs CART: the aborted argument.

I was all set to go into a deep discussion on the positives and negatives of each series (note: at Official Overseas Reader Flotsky posited, we've rejoined IRL and ChampCar. It's been 10 years, guys, give it up already!), delving into the minutae betwixt the two and perhaps, finally, coming to a conclusion that would adequately say which should win and why.

But this statistic jumped out at me, and made me just throw up my hands and say "why bother?"

Patrick Friesacher - 1:19.574

Sebastien Bourdais - 1:20.396

What are these times? They're qualifying times for the only track, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, which both ChampCar and F1 race on. "Okay," you might say, "they're really close, so what? Like this proves things?"

Here's the catch: Bourdais was on pole for his race. Friesacher was the slowest qualifier for his (Rubens Barrichello turned no time, so Friesacher wasn't last on the grid).

Friesacher, in one of the slowest cars in F1, was still NEARLY A SECOND FASTER than the fastest car for ChampCar ON THE SAME TRACK!

As everything stands right now, there's no contest: F1 is faster than CART, and it's not really even close. Of course, there's a little thing like "budget" involved, too... Minardi will probably spend around $50 million this season, to end up the worst team in F1. The highest budget in in ChampCar might be $20 million. I'd HOPE F1 was faster.

But it really isn't close right now. Next year, when F1 goes to the smaller engines, lets revisit this.

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