March 31, 2006

Aussie Quals

I've seen the first two knockouts (it's 3am here; watched some anime with a friend tonight), and two interesting things:

1) Yuji Ide's SuperbestFriends (thanks, Steve Matchett) car was on display for THREE YEARS in the Melbourne airport before this race; and

2) Some Ferrari crewmember is going to be missing his posterior.
"Hey, Bob?"
"Yeah, Stan?"
"Have you seen blower #2?"
"Never mind."

I'll watch Q3 once I wake up; more later!

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March 30, 2006

Overheard from Australia...

"Okay, did you hit something, mate?"
Christijan Albers: "Yeah, I think I hit something... the wall."
(from Midlands team radio)

"These are not tractors."
(Bob Varsha, SPEED announcer, as another car took to the grass)

"Here's Yuji Ide, in his SuperAguri."
"AKA Arrows... aka slow."
(Steve Matchett & David Hobbes, SPEED announcers)

(David Hobbes, SPEED announcer, trying to make us think SuperAguri is fast)

"Does anybody else think the Australia course looks like the world's largest slot-car track?"
(Scooter T. Wonderduck)

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"...and damned proud of it."

Thanks, Steven! I'll actually try to get some anime posting up here soon, too.

I'm currently chewing my way through three different series (DNA^2, World of Narue, and G-on Riders), and will write about them when I'm finished.

Initial reactions, though would be favorable for all three shows, with DNA^2 being the biggest surprise of the bunch. It's REALLY good!

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March 29, 2006

Black Watch no more.

Horrible news from Silent Running; one of the most famous regiments of all military history has gone the way of the dodo.

The famed Black Watch has been disbanded.

As SDB says, this would be like the US Army disbanding the "Big Red 1." Or the Navy without an Enterprise.

*sigh* What ARE they thinking?

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MINARDI is coming back!!!

Paul Stoddard, aka "Guido Minardi" here at The Pond, has applied for a team in 2008, and it will be called "European Minardi."

We here at F1 Update! are all aquiver.

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March 28, 2006


'Ello, mate! I'm Bruce, and this here's the schedule for the Aussie GP on SPEED this week!

Thursday, March 30th from 9p-10p, we've got Formula One Practice LIVE! Finally, something F1-related at a decent time!

Friday, March 31 from 11p-1230a, we get Formula One Qualifying from Australia, once again LIVE!

THEN, the piece of resistance! Throw a shrimp on the barbie, grab yerself a Fosters, and watch the Australian Grand Prix LIVE on Saturday, April 1st at 930pm until midnight!

If'n that's too late for you (must be Belgian), you can watch the race again on Sunday, April 2nd, at 1130am until 2pm!

Of course, it's better if you're actually here. We've cleaned up Albert Park. We've got the 'Roos out of the paddock. We've even gotten the koalas off the refueling rigs. So where the bloody hell are you?

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March 27, 2006

A Black Day In Motor Sports.

If you're here in the US, you're certainly aware of what happened yesterday at the IRL race in Homestead, FL. There's even a good chance that if you're one of The Pond's overseas readers, you know about it.

I'm talking, of course, of the accident that killed IRL rookie Paul Dana. It's been a long time since I've seen a crash as frightening as this one; the Stan Fox crash at the Indy 500 in 1995 is the only one that I've watched that comes close, and Fox survived that one (sadly he was killed in 2000 in a traffic accident; for what it's worth, he's also one of two 'big name' drivers that I've met, with the other being Danica Patrick. They are both from the vicinty of The Pond).

After having seen the video of the Homestead wreck, I'm surprised both drivers weren't killed; another few inches forward and I'm sure that would have been the case. We here at The Pond won't point fingers; we have no idea who's fault the accident was, no way of finding out, and no real interest in doing so.

Instead, it's important to note that Dana died doing something that he loved, and that he worked hard to attain. He graduated from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, with a journalism degree, and wrote about motorsports for a few years. Then he got a chance to drive, and took it, eventually running three IRL races last year before breaking his back during practice for the 2005 Indy 500. He had a grueling recovery, and got back into the car with Rahal/Letterman racing this year (teaming with the previously mentioned Patrick).

He was a few weeks short of his 31st birthday.

The condolences of The Pond go out to his wife and family, the Rahal/Letterman team, the IRL in general, and any of his fans.

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March 26, 2006

"It's all part of my rock 'n' roll fantasy..."

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. Along with the job at Duck U., my fantasy baseball league has it's auction in (glances at clock) one hour and of course BATracer is sucking time away as well.

So if anybody ever says to me "you're living in a fantasy world," I can honestly say "yes, but I'm having fun."

Now all I have to figure out is if Pujols is better than Alonso...

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March 23, 2006

BATracer = Timesucker

Okay, here you go... the end of your productive time online. Go to BATracer, register, enter a league, and have at it.

I'm in one, my teammate Matthew and I have managed to take our Toro Rosso cars to the front of the grid with the first race coming up on Friday (and we're turning quickest laps in pre-race practice).

Trust me.

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March 21, 2006

Wings Ahoy!

Well. Due to a bit of back-room skullduggery, Ferrari is now admitting that they "misunderstood" the regulations regarding their moving rear wing, and it will be changed by Australia. It seems that eight of the other teams threatened to scream to the high heavens if a change wasn't made, and Ferrari caved (I'd assume that the two Crimson Steer teams weren't involved).

So much for "We haven't been approached by the scruitineers, so there's no problem," eh?

But it suddenly comes out that McLaren and BMW have to make changes, as well. Please note, there had been no complaints levied against them... I'm assuming this is the FIA's way of mollifying Ferrari's tifosi hordes. "Ferrari might have made a 'mistake,' but see, two other teams did, too!"

Uh-huh. Sure.

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March 19, 2006


Race 2 in the books, lets get to the updatin'!

*LUMP GO BOOM!: When people look back at week 2 of the 2006 Formula 1 season, they will marvel at the amount of engines that had their "magic smoke" released from them. Nico Rosberg's impersonation of a F-4 Phantom II was particularly awe-inspiring, but there were many, many others over the weekend. The question becomes "Is this going to happen every other week?" Or was it just because it was 100 degrees F. and humid in Kuala Lumpur this weekend? Time will tell, but remind me how this was supposed to save money?

*RACE GO YAWN!: Not a very thrilling race from the standpoint of it ever being in doubt. The boys in Renault blue & yellow led all but one lap, and Giancarlo Fisichella led all but six laps (if the F1 UPDATE!'s statisticians are correct) in his win from pole. Just goes to show that the new qualifying format hasn't been figured out yet by the teams: the cars that could have challenged for the win wound up stuck behind slower teams due to engine changes and the like, and that let Fisi run and hide.

*TEAM OF THE RACE: Renault. Their first one-two podium finish since 1983 (when they were Benneton), decided in dominating fashion. Who else could this be given to?

*DRIVER OF THE RACE: Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault. Okay, Fisi, you got your one win of the year. Now sit down.

*MOVE OF THE RACE: For sheer impressiveness, it's got to be Fernando Alonso's start, jumping from seventh to third by the first corner. Renault's amazing starting ability almost makes a mockery of the grid system. Honorable mention goes to Rubens Barrichello. Somewhere around the middle of the race, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Takuma Sato were involved in a bitter struggle for 14th position; Barrichello, who at the time was a lap up on the two and trying to get by them, dove underneath at the apex of a turn and snuck by in blistering fashion, all the while praying they saw him coming. He got lucky, and gets an HMotR because of it.

*MOOOOOOOOO-VE OF THE RACE: Celebrating the bovine in every F1 driver, the Moooooo-Ve this week goes to Jarno "The Engineer" Trulli. In a race that was actually pretty good as far as lack of bovine actions go, Trulli wins this week's award by holding up half the field for most of the race. Shovel coal faster, Jarno!


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March 18, 2006

F1 Quals: Sepang!

Okay, I don't have much time to comment, but it's an amazing grid this time. Fisichella's Renault is on pole, with Button at P2.

The surprising bit is that the Williams boys are 3-4, with Rosberg beating his partner! Rookie rookie...

The big names are sitting in the middle of the grid, and that's probably where the winner is going to come from, but there's the problem of engine reliablity... there are FIVE cars that have new engines, with Slappy and Ralf being the latest additions. Heck, Massa will be starting from the pit lane.

Fun race coming up today, see ya on the far side of it!

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March 16, 2006

"Life? Don't talk to me about life..."

Okay, so this is just a heads-up for my hordes of readers. Currently over at Duck U. there's a special series of events ongoing that I, in my guise of Acting Manager of the Duck U. Bookstore, must be at as we're in charge of the merchandise sales.

As an example of what my schedule is like right now, I went to work at 810am, and got home at 1045pm.

Tomorrow may be slightly better, but it may not as well. Chances are that I won't get a chance to watch practice and quals until Saturday afternoon Central Standard Pond Time... or about 12 hours before the race, roughly.

Rest assured, however: the F1 UPDATE! crew will be on the ball, and should have Malaysia's report up on Sunday afternoon. I'm hoping to be home in time from Saturday's event to catch the race live.

Thanks for understanding! Consider this an open thread for your enjoyment in the meantime.

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March 15, 2006

Two Bloody Pony Notes

Well, really, one note, one rant, and a hello.

First up, it appears that we can add Felipe (Castrato) Massa to the list of people who are probably going to have to change an engine before Sepang. Seems the good folks at Maranello are thinking that he ran it into the ground trying to recover from last week's Moooooo-ve of the Week. Funny how that works.

Over at, they currently have an article about Darth Ecclestone and the fact that he's considering buying into Ferrari.


*deep breath*

What in the bloody BLUE HELL would make him think that's a GOOD FRICKIN' IDEA?!?!?!? I wonder if he can even SAY "impartiality" or "good sense" or "collusion." It may not be quite as bad as the Commissioner of Baseball owning a MLB team (oh, wait, I forgot, he 'sold his interest' to his daughter cough cough), but it's getting there.

Heck, why not? Go ahead, Bernie! It's pretty darn clear that you already suck up to Slappy's Gang, may as well make it official... just go all 'Brokeback' at the start/finish line of Sepang why don't you? Lord knows you've been doing it to US for years.

And welcome aboard to new commenter SkarTisu, by the way! This brings the readership levels to a new high!

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March 14, 2006

Various F1 Notes...

Okay, gather 'round and listen to your ol' Unka Duck tell you some bits and pieces of news from the fallout of Bahrain...

First off, Ferrari is catching some flak for their rear wing. It (appears) that it (seems) to (perhaps) flex at speed, which is against the FIA regulations. Of course, the Boys in Red say "no, no, the FIA looked at it and it's hunky-dory." The Max Mosley puppet on Jean Todt's lap just nodded and agreed. Stay tuned for nothing to come of this, because, y'know, it's FERRARI.

Next up, we've got TWO engine changes going into Sepang. #1 is David Coulthard's Chin's Crimson Steer. We just barely saw a flash of his car being pushed off-track after the race ended. It turns out that because of WHEN it blew (just after the checkered flag fell), he's going to catch a 10-spot penalty. If it had blown a minute earlier, BEFORE the end of the race, there'd be no penalty (as that's considered penalty enough). Bad news for The Chin.

#2 MAY be Juan Pablo Montoya. Turns out his fifth-place finish may was caused by a computer/engine interface problem. The engine lasted the race, obviously, but if McLaren can't figure out the problem, they'll have no choice but to change it out. 50-50, coin-flip and pick 'em.

Finally, there may be TWO races in Japan next year. The Japanese Grand Prix is going to be held at Toyota's Fuji Speedway, the first time since 1987 it'll be held somewhere else than Honda's Suzuka circuit. However, talks are ongoing for Suzuka to host another race, perhaps called the Pacific GP or the Asian GP.

I'm sure you're wondering just WHY there'd be a second race in Japan. That'd bring the number of races in the season up to 20, since Spa-Francorpants will be back on the docket. Well, there's talk that Hockenheim will quit Grand Prix in either 2007 or 2008 unless they stop losing money. Yeesh.

Okay, that's enough talk. You kids get off my lawn!

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March 13, 2006

F1 on SPEED!!!

No rest for the Circus this week. They've loaded their cars into the shipping containers, stuck 'em on a freighter, and sailed them across the Arabian Sea and past the Bay of Bengal to Malaysia.

Except for MF1. They stuck their cars on THIS and pretended to sail to Madagascar. Nobody's quite sure why. Albers was probably getting driving practice.

AAAAAAnnnyway... because it's another raceweek, that means SPEED Channel is carrying everything live again! Lets look, shall we?

Thursday, March 16th, from 1159pm to 1am, we've got LIVE coverage of Practice from Sepang. No replay, though.

Friday, 3/17, from 1130pm to 1159pm, we get "Inside Formula 1," (brought to you by Allianz: We Have Something To Do With Other Stuff.). From 1159pm to 130am, we get LIVE coverage of Qualifying. No replay, though... what's up with that?

Sunday, 3/19 brings us the race from Sepang twice! First, from 1230am to 3am we get the race LIVE! The replay is from 1130am to 2pm.

As usual, all times are Central. Add one hour for Eastern, subtract two for Pacific, add snickerwaffle hours for Wales.

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March 12, 2006


Hello and welcome to a new season of F1 UPDATE! Lets just get right to the fun stuff!!!

*EVERYTHING OLD IS... HEY, WHO'S THAT GUY IN RED?: Last season, it was pretty common to see Fernando Alonso standing on the podium (what WAS up with that hip swivel thing, anyway?), with Kimi Raikkonen joining him. The first race of 2006 was no different, but Michael "Slappy" Schumacher was an unfamiliar face. While the staff here at F1 UPDATE! never felt that Slappy really had a chance to win the race, it's an interesting (and, we admit, unexpected) development to see Ferrari back as a legit challenger.

*EVERYTHING NEW IS... UM... STILL NEW: Toro Lawnmowero's Scott Speed and Williams' Nico Rosberg showed that they might be rookies, but they drive like deserve to be on the grid. Quite the welcome switch from last year's rookie crop.

*TEAM OF THE RACE: Williams-Cosworth. After the disasterous season they had last year, one had to wonder just exactly how good Williams could be with a new engine supplier. Well, they showed that they're potentially quite good, finishing 6th and 7th. A tip of the cap goes to McLaren as well, but they were expected to be good, so 3rd and 5th isn't enough to get the TotR award.

*DRIVE OF THE RACE: Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren. It's almost becoming dull: Kimi has something break during qualifying, Kimi starts from the back of the grid, Kimi ends up on the podium. The result might be "ho-hum, what again?", but it's still enough to earn the Drive of the Race.

*MOVE OF THE RACE: No single pass was awe-inspiring enough to truly earn the MotR, but Jensen Button had a slew of decent passes on top-level competiton, with his lap 11 pass of JP Montoya being the best of the bunch.

*MOOOOOOOOO-VE OF THE RACE: Ferrari's Felipe Massa takes this prize, with his wheel-smoking spin/pass of Fernando Alonso on Lap 8. How Alonso managed to miss pronging himself into the side of Massa still boggles our minds here at F1 UPDATE!, and exactly where Massa's brain was at the time also boggles our minds. The way it happened, we thought the Ferrari had broken something, or had a tire die... nope, he just lost it. Moo.


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March 11, 2006

Bahrain Quals (finally)!

Okay, right, sorry it took me so long to get this up (almost 19 hours after the qualification runs ended), but life got in the way. Oh well.

Where the HECK did Ferrari come from? Congratulations to Michael Schumacher, by all means, for tying the pole record of the late Ayrton Senna. The question now is 'were they on a light fuel load?' We'll see in the race, of course, but for now, it's Ferrari one-two, with Felipe Massa right alongside of Slappy.

Button and Alonso make up the 2nd row, with Montoya and Button's teammate Rubens Barrichello on row 3. Webber, Klein, Fisichella and Heidfeld make up the rest of the top 10.

The new quals format seems like a winner, but I've got to say that at the moment, it's incredibly difficult to keep track of who's where on the grid at any given time. I think it's because of the FIA's graphics package, to be honest... they aren't giving us enough information. The scrolling bar is nice, but it just wasn't on-screen enough. When it WAS on-screen, it wasn't there at the right times. We need it more, and later, I think.

Jack Newhouse was the last to be bumped, and starts 11th, right behind his BMW partner. Considering this was their first race, BMW's pitbox has got to be pleased. Nico Rosburg managed to slot in 12th, a nice job by the rookie right up until he managed to stick the back end of his car into a tirewall. David Coulthard's Chin is 13th, which has got to be a disappointment for him.

However, the biggest disappointment has got to be in the Toyota camp. The best they could come up with is 14th with Jarno Trulli? Yeesh. The two Toro Lawnmowers come up next with Liuzzi beating American Scott Speed for 15th. THEN come the rest of the Toyota-powered cars, with Cora's Husband Ralf leading the two MF1 entries of Albers and Montiero onto the grid.

Finally our heroes from Super Aguri, Suicide Sato and Yuji Ide, in their 4-year old Arrows cars, taking 20th and 21st.

Which brings us to the dramatic moment of the day, and has got to be causing Kimi Raikkonen to spit nails. He was on a hotlap in the first qualifying segment when... well, SOMETHING broke. Whatever that something was, it caused his rear wing to come free, his car to hork itself around, and his rear suspension to snap like a twig. Yeesh, the luck this man has... though one has to start wondering: is it just bad luck, or is it Kimi driving the car into the ground? Last year, I would have just said "bad luck," but after all the crepe he went through in 2005, and now this... well, I'm starting to wonder if he'd be better suited for something less fragile than a F1 machine.

Like the Craftsman Truck series.

Still and all, it's time to go racing! See you on the far side of Bahrain!

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March 10, 2006

Bahrain: Friday Practice

Okay, so for once we get a Friday Practice session that actually means something! For the first time, we get to see how the cars perform with the new V8 engines, the new aero rules, the new tire rules, the new drivers, and the new paintjobs (can't forget about those).

And, as predicted here two months ago, we discover that the detuned and rev-limited V10 of Toro Rassenfrassen isn't much of a handicap, as Vitantonio Liuzzi managed to turn in the 6th best time... which led to speculation amongst the Legendary Announce Team that the FIA will decide to handicap the engine even more. Which made me wonder why the team is even bothering to race; the FIA'd be basically telling them "we won't let you win with that engine."

Also a non-surprise: Kimi Raikkonnen's car ended up dead on the track, as happened SO often last year. Doesn't look like he's going to have to change the engine, though (at least when this is being written). He did have a small fire in the cockpit, which can't have helped his mood much.

Surprises include Ferrari, which was near the top of the leaderboard all day, and Williams, which wasn't. In fact, the Cosworth-powered car looked decidedly sluggish during the few laps they did turn.

Another surprise: I LIKE the sound of the new V8 engine. I was expecting something high-pitched, nasally, and whiny. Instead, there was a pleasing growl to the beast. Not as deep as last year, but I guess we can't have everything.

Oh, and the use of V8s to slow the cars? Didn't happen: the top lap time was within a second or two of the track records. So much for that.

New-rules qualifying session on Saturday... looking forward to it!

Boy, it's good to be back.

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March 09, 2006

Simon Sez...

(Wonderduck here. Official Travelling Correspondant Simon chimed in a couple of times in comments, and I'm going to take the liberty of turning one of them into a post, here on the verge of the Bahrain race. Unfortunately, it seems that his job assignment to Bahrain has fallen through, so we won't be getting on-site reporting for THIS one. He apparantly has a chance to attend Monaco, however, poor guy. Let's all feel sorry for him now. Awww.

Okay, over to Simon...)

Takuma Sato....

Come on lets have a laugh...
1. Will he survive or die this season?
2. Will he kill someone else?
3. How many races will he actually complete?
4. How many crashes will he have?
5. How many other cars will he take out throughout the entire season?
6. Cars are valued between $4-8 million each - What do you think the net value of his carnage be this season?

(Wonderduck here again. My responses are as follows:
1) Survive, but SOMEONE will try to kill him after yet another shunt.
2) No. Cars are built too strongly. But it won't be for lack of trying...
3) Eight... but some of his problems WON'T be because of accidents. New car + new team + new engines = Same Old Problems.
4) Including practice and quals? I'm guessing 12. I have faith.
5) Oooh, a toughy. Magic 8-ball says [shaking] 10.
6) Does the phrase "Small South-American Country" mean anything?

Everybody else, chime in in the comments! Winners will get a No-Prize at the end of the season, or when Sato is removed from his seat, or is unable to compete for any reason.)

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