June 30, 2006
The mind boggles.
Things settled down for the SuperAguri team, with The Barber ending up beached in turn 4 after a couple of minutes of practice went by. Some things never change.
What might be the most frightening news of the day, however, came with about 20 minutes left in the practice. A set of Toyota's tires were scurried back to the Michelin stronghold for "undisclosed reasons." A quick scan of the usual F1 websites don't show any breaking news, so hopefully there won't be any problems. Ralf was way down in speed, hanging out with the SA boys. Boy, Toyota's all screwed up nowadays.
The usual suspects were near the top of the charts, but Fernando Alonso couldn't do any better than seventh. Babying his engine, which is on it's second race weekend? Or do they have setup problems.
Curiouser and curiouser.
Tomorrow, we get to see the Saturday practice for once, followed thereafter by the Knockout Quals. See ya here then!
The big news was Parky Schumacher landing in a graveltrap, just a few turns after setting 2nd fastest lap of the session. Well and truly stuck, he wound up helping load his car onto the flatbed for the trip back to the pits. The Legendary Announce Team then told us it wasn't because he wanted to lighten the load on the marshals, but to keep the underside hidden! Diffuser secrets, apparently.
We just saw a quick look at the engine of the RB2. It's about half the size of the 4-cylinder engine I've got in my Toyota, but of course it puts out nigh on 1000hp at 20K RPMs. Yeesh!
So, Ant Davidson had fast lap, Parky had 2nd, and Franck "The Barber" Montagnie (!) had highest speed down The Straight, at nigh on 204mph. In the SuperAguri! Good lord, what's this world coming to?
Practice 2 later.
June 29, 2006
Ralf Schumacher will crash for the third year in a row. He will then swear off Indianapolis forever.
Michael Schumacher will not win.
Neither will Fernando Alonso.
Kimi Raikkonen will.
The Race will have more than six cars participating. Even if there's a tire problem again. PARTICULARLY if there's a tire problem.
It will not rain. It will not rain. It will not rain. Click HERE for the up-to-date forecast in the Indy area.
June 28, 2006
Winners. America loves a winner. Always have, always will. Individual AMERICANS might pull for an underdog (see: Wonderduck, Minardi, SuperAguri), but as a whole, we love the big dogs. More importantly, though, we ALWAYS pull for American winners... this country didn't care about Women's Soccer until they won in the Olympics, for example.
America hasn't had a winner in F1 for decades. If Scott Speed, for example, wins a race or two, or even suddenly he'll be the subject of Sports Illustrated covers, he'd be on Letterman, he'd be elevated to "local hero" status. But until then, the American People (note caps) won't adopt F1, ever.
Action. As a people, Americans want action from their sports. They want to see the baseball fly 500 feet. They want to see the bone-crushing hits in football. They want to see cars going side-by-side for lap upon lap, and F1 just isn't like that. I fully believe that if Americans watched a few races with the Legendary Announce Team, they'd be hooked (particularly the gearheads who love technology. I'd think that computer geeks would really go for F1 racing), but the way to ge them to watch would be more action. If a Formula 1 race had, say, 20 laps of action like we get on the first lap of a race, people would be ADDICTED.
NASCAR. NASCAR is everything F1 isn't. It's got the personalities, it has the action, it has the good guys and bad guys, it's a uniquely American style of racing (much like drag racing... right, Steven?). As long as NASCAR markets themselves as well as they currently do, F1 will stand no chance of having a huge fanbase in the US.
So why do these things preclude an American team in F1? Really, it all comes down to money. Without fans to buy sponsored products, an American F1 team will constantly be a money-losing proposition. It's easier to slap sponsorship on a NASCAR team and get immediate exposure to the wallets of the US viewer than it would be to sponsor a F1 car/team/whatever (obviously, multinational corporations don't quite have this problem. Intel, AMD and Marlboro, for example, are all US-based companies that sponsor F1, but their products are in huge demand world-wide).
A Ford-based team with sponsorship from Fram oilfilters, Valvoline oil, Goodyear tires, ACDelco sparkplugs and so forth would really only be of interest to AMERICAN viewers, as those are American companies, with limited market penetration anywhere else in the world.
The first step is to get a good American driver in F1, and here's where I'm going to invoke the name Danica Patrick. Drop her in a Williams, lets say, and suddenly her every move in F1 will be covered like a blanket.
It'll never happen, of course, while Darth Ecclestone (who honestly seems to believe that F1 doesn't need the US, and is below the level of 'neanderthal' when it comes to women) is in charge, but it'd be a great step.
A great PR move would be for a NASCAR driver to turn some laps in a F1 car. Dale Jr, Tony Stewart, or Jeff Gordon would make an instant impact. This, too, would never happen.
But we can hope.
June 27, 2006
This being SPEED Channel's home race, as well as the biggest event they cover every year, they're going all-out to bring us, the hungry F1 fan, a smorgasbord of coverage! Lets look at the menu, shall we?
Friday, June 30th
Formula 1 may not be big here in the states, but that's sure not for lack of effort on SPEED's part. Their coverage today is a case in point. The fun kicks off at 10am, with a full FOUR HOURS(!!!) of Friday Practice on tap. Yep, we'll see both sessions, plus the activites in between.
Immediately following this behemoth broadcasting block, we'll be treated to Inside Grand Prix, brought to us by Allianz: Forgive Us Father, For We Know Not What We Do.
Then, as if that wasn't enough, they show it all again at 630pm... just in case your VCR dies.
Saturday, July 1st.
Most broadcasters would be happy with that. Not SPEED, oh no. We get coverage of Saturday's Unseen Practice Session from 9a to 10a.
Then the usual Qualifying Session hits at 12noon, followed by a repeat of Inside Grand Prix at 130p.
But the real kicker for the day is from 7p to 9p. The Legendary Announce Team does "Live From Indy," the USGP Special. Last year's show was chock full of racer interviews, behind-the-scene-looks at technology, and (best of all) smarter conversation than you'll ever hear at any other racing event.
But wait, there's more! If you're a glutton for punishment, they've got just the thing for you! SPEED is replaying the entire day's events in one mammoth block, beginning at 11p, and ending at 4am!
Sunday, July 2nd
And we haven't even gotten to the race yet! Coverage of the US Grand Prix begins at 1130am, and we'll get the whole thing LIVE.
Wind Tunnel, at 8pm, will have Peter Windsor on recapping the event.
Then the replay of the race begins at 10pm.
*whew* By my count, that's 12 hours of live broadcasting over three days, and the same amount of replays, for a cool 24 hours of F1.
Not too shabby, SPEED! I only wish they were doing the Sunday morning 'Beginners Guide to F1' program, like they did last year. I assume that'll be worked into the "Live At Indy" show, though.
THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is going to be a fun weekend!
June 25, 2006
*A TIRE-D TALE: So they always say that the tires on a F1 car are amazing technological marvels that change every race, that mean the difference between winning and losing. But every year, you get a race where the tire manufacturers just pee it down their fireproof suit. Last year, obviously, it was the US Grand Prix. This year, the Canadian GP seems to be that race. We here at F1 UPDATE! have never seen so much rubber lying around a course as we did today. Marbles everywhere, to the point that it was obviously dangerous to leave the racing line. Witness the end of Jack Newtown's day: forced to swoop around Ralf's laboring Toyota, he got into the marbles and wound up trying to wedge his car between two pieces of concrete wall. Or Kimi Raikkonen fishtailing out of 2nd place in the slowest corner of the track. Or, well, Ralf Schumacher, in a car that Toyota just could not dial in because the rear tires couldn't grip superglue, let alone asphalt...
*WALL OF CHAMPIONS GOT ONE: and almost a second. JP Montoya left his right rear suspension in Montreal, stuck into the wall of fame. Michael Schumacher ALMOST came a cropper in the same place, whitewalling both rightside tires, but somehow keeping them both attached to the car. Another atom or two more to the right...
*TEAM OF THE RACE: Renault. The past two years, Renault hasn't managed to finish this race with either of their cars. This year, they win and finish fourth. Nicely done, boys. An unofficial tip o' the cap to Michelin for their 100th F1 win, too.
*DRIVER OF THE RACE: We are proud to give this award to David Coulthard's Chin. Starting from the back of the grid due to an engine change, The Chin managed to finish in the points AND be stylish doing so (see below). Honorable Mention to Fernando Alonso for his dominating win.
*MOVE OF THE RACE: David Coulthard's Chin, for his late-race pass of Jensen Button, catching him after a mistake and pushing by in a difficult place on the track, and making it look a LOT easier than it was. Honorable mention goes to Felipe Massa his pass of Jensen Button on lap 26. Just not Button's day.
*MOOOOOOO-OOVE OF THE RACE: Celebrating the mundane, the perverse, the amazingly BOVINE of the F1 world, the MOOOO-OVE is awarded to the worst or most comical manuever of the race. Today, we at F1 UPDATE! had a hard, hard decision. After long deliberations, multiple ballots, and not a little bit of blood, we give the prize to the two Midland MF1 drivers, Christijan Albers and Tiago Montierio, for managing to take themselves out of the race via collision... with each other! On the first lap! FOR THE SECOND TIME THIS YEAR! BRA-frickin'-VO! Honorable mention goes to Toyota and Ralf Schumacher, for their "let the kindergartners do the setup" approach to the race, resulting in five spins, laps that were slower than Super Aguri's, and at least one accident. Another Honorable Mention goes to the McLaren pitcrew. They coughed up a hairball on both JP Montoya AND Kimi Raikkonen. They just don't DO that...
*QUOTES OF THE RACE:> more...
June 24, 2006
While it may be my Blogiversary, without you folks, The Pond's readers, there wouldn't BE a Pond. "You few, you happy few, you band of lunatics...." You've made doing this thing fun!
Special nods of the head go to:
Mallory, the Official First Reader (who's computer has been coughing and sputtering for the past couple of months), who convinced me to blog in the first place, so others could enjoy the F1 Updates! that I e-mailed her every race, and who was kind enough to give me a link in her weekly column on wrestling (which brought me the Official Oversea's Reader, Flotsky!)
A special nod of the head to SDB, who has been kind enough to link to me on occasion (even if his tastes in motorsports border on the boorish).
And a gigantic 'Thank You' to Pixy Misa, who lets the Pond muck up his servers, and got me away from Blogspot Hell. Also near as I can tell, the only Pond reader in Australia.
Thanks, everybody. Now lets go put on silly hats and make odd noises!
June 22, 2006
For example, the subject of the homogenous engine plans for 2008 came up at a general meeting of the teams today. The teams voted against it 8-4, which was enough to put paid to the idea. Except the Emperor Mosely and Darth Bernie, through their mouthpiece, the Grand Moff Whiting, decreed that the teams would get no say in the matter. "Oh. This is different."
Michelin announced today that they will not bid to be the sole provider of tires next year. "F1 is about technological advancement, and this won't allow for that," said the Michelin rep (I'm paraphrasing). Michelin's next win will be their 100th in F1, behind only Goodyear.
There's more, but it's all just noise right now... we want racing, durnit!
June 21, 2006
"It's not the driver's fault," said de Feren. "They're an important part of the puzzle, but they're not the whole thing."
I wonder what the underside of a bus looks like... maybe I should ask Willis.
In truth, Honda's car has truly blown chunks this season, so SOMEONE had to go... and Willis was the obvious candidate. Wonder if he'll have a career after this?
June 20, 2006
Or, at least, that's how it feels.
In other Canadian news, Jacques Villeneuve will soon be releasing a CD of acoustic rock music. The first single, "Accepterais-tu?" (or "I Can't Drive My Way Out Of A Paper Bag, Eh?" in Canadian), is available HERE now.
I'd pay a lot more for a Kimi Raikkonen single.
In other news, Jacques Villeneuve has a MySpace page.
For some reason, this all feels very surreal...
Anyway. Canadian GP coverage begins on SPEED with LIVE coverage of Friday Practice at 1pm, June 24th. Let's see if American Scott Speed (who's first name is NOT "American.") can manage to high-center himself on a curb again!
Saturday, June 25th, brings us LIVE coverage of F1 Quals at noon, followed immediately thereafter by Inside Grand Prix (Sponsored by Allianz: "Even We Don't Know What We Do, But We Do It With A Snooty-voiced Guy.") at 130pm.
Finally, on Sunday, June 26th, we get the Canadian Grand Prix, LIVE from Montreal. Coverage begins at 1130am. The race will be replayed at 10pm that same night.
...and then, we begin the runup to the US Grand Prix!
June 19, 2006
So I did some searching. Turns out the answer is "yes." It's all about speed and priorities (figures, huh?). Many of the spares needed to run a F1 team are loaded onto a cargo ship (for the Montreal race, they were sent out after Imola!). The cars are palletized and stacked on top of each other, then loaded into a jet transport. Engines, most of the 80 people on a team, and the complex computer systems they use for telemetry, etc, are also carried via jet.
The teams arrive the Monday before the race, and run their own computer cabling, hook up their own tools, and so forth. They unpack the cars, reattach the bodywork, stick engines in the things, and off they go. According to one website, each team moves roughly 40 tons of material in up to 100 crates per race.
Last year after Canada, the Williams team tried shipping most of their gear to Indy via truck... which is substantially cheaper than air freight. It's also substantially slower, which is why they'll be flying everything in after Sunday's race.
The money doesn't all go to driver's salaries and R&D, folks.
June 18, 2006
...that reportedly his teammate for next year is Finnish?
...that his teammate isn't Kimi Raikonnen?
...that SuperAguri has a Friday driver that is Japanese, and that he has F1 experience? His name is Sakon Yamamoto, and he was a test driver for Midland. Expect him behind the wheel in France.
...that Franck 'The Barber' Montagnie is the only Frenchman in F1?
...that Franck's team came in 2nd in class in the 24 Hours of Lemans?
...that you can get an official F1 mousepad for $460.11?
...that if you do, be sure not to drop it.
June 17, 2006
Also while I was at the store, I got the latest Harry Potter DVD, a copy of "Curse of the WereRabbit", and, well, a complete boxed set in thinpaks of, ahem, ... Azumanga Daioh.
June 16, 2006
Well, after we finished up World of Narue, The Librarian asked if I was interested in watching Firefly. I had remembered seeing part of an episode when it was running on TV, and I'll admit it didn't thrill me much, but the good publicity it has gotten since then made me want to give it another shot.
Boy oh boy, am I glad I did. Take one part Sci-Fi, mix with two parts Western, shake, pour. What you get is something pretty different from any SF thing I'd ever seen.
But, as in all good SF (if not all good storytelling), it's the characters that make it work. This ensemble cast is great together! The hardbitten Captain, that in a lesser series would have a 'heart of gold but doesn't really here. The XO that's devoted to both her Captain and her husband, the lighthearted Helmsman. The Engineer that's a 'natural mechanic' with a penchant for strawberries. The roughneck that seems pretty dumb until you realize he's one of the main comedic elements in the show (and not because he's dumb!). All of them making a living on the edge of legality... well, okay, on the wrong side of legality, but lets not quibble.
Then you have the passengers! A "Companion," sort of a mix of geisha, prostitute, and therapist, and the most respected person on the ship (though not by the Captain, exactly...). The Shepherd, a missionary sort who has what appears to be a VERY interesting past (just why DOES he know so much about criminal activites anyway?). The Doctor, a pampered rich kid who threw it all away to rescue his Sister, who was the subject of much in the way of medical 'experiments,' who might just be able to read minds...
The humor in this show is incredible. It's just right: you know it's coming, but it doesn't get in the way of the drama/action/whatever. The show is basically episodic, and in one case completely outlandish (using a spaceship to pull a heist from a speeding train?), but it FEELS right.
So far, I can't praise this show enough. Okay, we've still got half the series to go, but it looks to me like Fox TV really, REALLY blew this one.
Rent it, buy it, whatever. Just... watch it. You'll be glad you did.
June 15, 2006
With the runup to Montreal and, more importantly, Indianapolis, however, expect a flurry of activity! My old friend, Vaucaunson's Duck, will be back in town (visiting from his pond in California) and we'll be watching the USGP together. Vauc has only seen three F1 races, and they've all been on (ugh!) CBS, so it's going to be quite the eye-opener... both for him (hearing a GOOD set of announcers; having an experienced fan to ask questions of) and for me (seeing the race thru the eyes of a 'rookie.').
Looking forward to it, I am! Vauc's a cool duck; he sorta accidentally became a F1 fan via this blog. So all you guys are to blame, too ("...but society is to blame." "It's a fair cop, so we'll be arresting them next.")!
Which brings me, through the realm of Monty Python, to a sad note. John Cleese can no longer do the Silly Walk. His doctor (presumably not E.H. Gumby) has forbidden it, due to the hip replacement surgery Cleese had recently. Indeed, Cleese believes the surgery was required in part BECAUSE of the Silly Walk.
Sad days indeed.
June 14, 2006
I suppose one might consider this a problem. One could pretty much consider ANYTHING a problem, if one works at it.
June 12, 2006
"Get used to it, boys, I'll be here all season long." - Fernando Alonso.
"Even though I am twenty three points behind Alonso, I donâ€™t think the fight for the championship is over. I also don't think that stopping on the track to slow my competetors down during qualifying is wrong, so take that for what it's worth." - Michael "Parky" Schumacher.
"Mmrmmbrbmb brmmrmbmm mbrbmmbrbldbm." - Kimi Raikonnen.
"PLEASE let me drive Renault next year! PLEE-HE-HE-HEEEESE!!!" - Giancarlo Fisichella.
"I did not have any particular problems during the race, even though I had no more sets of new tyres, having used all of them in free practice and qualifying." - Felipe Massa, finding new ways to blame anything but himself.
"Mmmm... perforated McLaren no drive so good." - JP Montoya, who actually had a pretty good race, considering the swiss cheese Jack Newtown made of his right sidepod
"Can someone tell me how my start went? I had my eyes closed." - Quick Nick Heidfeld.
"People told me married men go slower, but I think it is the opposite!" - Jack Newtown in a real quote. His wife confirms, he's still fast.
"Last year, I was on the podium all the time. This year, I'm not. F1 is hard!" - Nico Rosberg, expecting us to feel sorry for him, maybe?
"*incoherent sobbing*" - Rubens Barrichello.
"It was always going to be a hard day's work out there from the back of the grid, but I enjoyed it." - Jarno Trulli, in a real quote. Of course he enjoyed it; there were no expectations of him.
"Bitchbitchbitchbitchpantsbitch." - David Coulthard's Chin.
"BlahblahblahblahblahV10blahblahblahblah. So, to sum it up - a good result." - Vitantonio Liuzzi, in a paraphrasing of his real quote.
"The race was a disaster for me. In fact, much of my career has been a disaster for me, so I don't know why this is much of a surprise." - Christian Klien.
"Our start was terrible: everybody passed me when I let out the clutch and I had to overtake two Super Aguris on the first lap..." - Christijan Albers, discovering that life could be worse...
"I used all my tires during quals. Who knew making it to the second round would make life so difficult?" - Tiago Montiero.
"We were quite off the pace today and it was a tough race for us." - Takuma Sato. SuperAguri is considering making this their motto.
"We were quite off the pace today and it was a tough race for us." - Franck "The Barber" Montagnie.
"Don't tell the engineers... I planned the engine blowup. Wanted to get a good seat for the WC match." - Jensen Button, English to the end.
"I don't think he was expecting me to be there." - American Scott Speed, passing the buck to...
"AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" - Ralf Schumacher.
"Wha? AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" - Mark Webber.
And so, the British GP comes to an end, as does this edition of F1 UPDATE! We'll be back for the Canadian GP, though, so don't you go nowhere!
Well, you can go to work, and stuff. We don't expect you to click refresh 24 hours a day for the next 14 days, after all...
June 11, 2006
*MICHAEL WHO?: Fernando Alonso beat the pants off of everybody his... um... 217th straight win. He can now fail to finish in both the Canadian and the US Grands Prix, and still have 3 point lead over Michael Schumacher, assuming Parky wins both. Parky can win every race from here on out, and if Alonso finishes 2nd in all of them he'll win the championship. Pretty amazing stuff.
*CBS BLOWS IT AGAIN: AGAIN with the "crashing over the curbs," Derek Daly? Can somebody PLEASE hand him a thesaurus? And maybe some talent? This race was excruciatingly bad from the announcers... I mean, Yuji Ide-level bad. Icepick to the eardrums bad. Jordan-bad. Thank heavens that this was the last one of these tortures we'll have to endure, though chances are we'll have Daly inflicted upon us as a pitlane reporter at the USGP.
*DRIVER OF THE RACE: Fernando Alonso, Renault. We'll probably find out just how good he is next year, when he sits in a McLaren, but as of right now, he's the King of F1. He almost had the 'race triple-crown' of winning from pole, leading every lap, and setting fast lap today, missing by one Giancarlo Fisichella lap led. (editor's note: I DID get the hat-trick in a McLaren at Imola over at BATracer... it was pretty cool. Also won by 58 seconds...)
*TEAM OF THE RACE: Renault. Again with the race-dominating? This is getting boring, guys... can you program a meeting with the Wall of Champions next race, please? Thanks.
*MOVE OF THE RACE: Jensen Button on lap 6 stuck to the rear of Vitantonio Liuzzi thru Becketts (at 5Gs!) and whipped past him in Stowe. Pretty flash Jense! Three laps later, he was out of the race. Honorable mention goes to Nick Heidfeld's start. He dodged left, then dove right across the track and picked up two places. Awesome stuff from BMW-Sauber. Now if only Derek Daly hadn't managed to piss the excitement away by incessantly calling you "Quick Nick." Yes, that's his nickname, Derek. Calling him that 8 times in 3 minutes doesn't make you sound any more of an insider.
*MOOOOOOOO-VE OF THE RACE: There Can Be Only One: American Scott Speed, I'm looking at you. "It was a racing incident, I guess he didn't see me," quoth Scott after the accident that spun Ralfy-boy into Mark Webber, taking out all three cars. Um, Scott? Do you REALLY expect someone to be looking over their right shoulder... IN BECKETTS? Congrats, lad, not only did you drive like a cow, you sounded stupid, too. Nice job!
The QUOTES OF THE RACE will be posted Monday!
June 10, 2006
But for Honda to not make it out of the 1st round of quals in their HOME RACE? That's just a frickin' disaster for them... and it didn't look like there was something broken.
Mark Webber not making it out of the 1st round is confusing as well; I'm assuming there was SOME mechanical problem there.
Alonso takes his fourth consecutive pole; no surprise there. Kimi Raikkonen, though, took second, and that WAS a surprise. The McLarens seemed to have been struggling with grip and twitchyness, but Kimi turned a brilliant lap to shove "Stoppy" Schumacher into third.
The amazing thing about Silverstone is just how fast the corners are now that the V8s are in the cars. Nobody's lifting unless they make a big mistake! They just go in flat-out and come out the same way.
If there's going to be a big, car-shattering wreck this year in F1, it's going to be on Sunday at Silverstone.
June 09, 2006
It has served me well over the years, but it's been showing the wear of the years: I've had to replace the modem, the sound card, the graphics card, and added a DVD burner and another, 80gb, hard drive.
If I burn 90 minutes of video to DVD, it takes seven hours to chug through the conversion (and 5 minutes to burn the disc)... if Windows 98 doesn't die from the stress. Obviously, this sort of thing isn't acceptable anymore. Heck, I couldn't even play Civ 4, and that just will NOT stand.
So today, I went out and welcomed Chiyo-chan into my home. The harddrive that I added to the the old computer will go into an external hard-drive enclosure; that's Tadakichi-san.
Hopefully she'll be with me for a nice long time...
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