September 08, 2007

F1 Down Under

No, no, not in Australia. In the next of what appears to be a blossoming series of F1 Technical Reports, I'm going to talk about something we almost never see: the underside of a F1 car!

Bottom Feeding

According to FIA regulations, the undertray of a F1 car must be flat from side to side and between the axles, save for the FIA legality plank. In the picture above, you can see the plank in the middle of the tray.

Steven asks: "I'm surprised to see that it's very flat, though I probably should not be. That's to limit the amount of turbulence drag under the car as it drives, right?"

Partially! Yes, it does cut down on the drag, but it's also to prevent the rebirth of ground-effect tunnels. Back in the heady days of the aerodynamic revolution, some clever designers came up with the idea of using ground effect skirts and tunnels to increase grip. They succeeded so well that if it hadn't've been banned, we'd be seeing F1 cars taking whole tracks flat-out (except for the sharpest turns and chicanes). So the flat undertray does not allow for the ground effect tunnels (though the whole flexible floor kerfluffle from the beginning of the season makes me wonder). There IS some downforce created by the undertray. However more of it is generated, not by the undertray, but by the diffuser at the back of the car. more...

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F1 QUALS: MONZA! (...and other news)

Oh, there's gotta be pain and suffering in Maranello tonight, as McLaren took the front row at Ferrari's home race. The tifosi must be enraged by Raikkonnen's P5... "what, they couldn't be 3-4?"

Yes, after Alonso, Hamilton and Massa, Grizzly Nick got his BMW-Sauber in P4, followed by Kimi, the BMW of Robert Kubica, Heikki's Renault, Nico Rosberg in a Williams, and Jarno Trulli's Toyota.

WARNING: HONDA SIGHTING!

That's right, Jensen Button got his Honda into Q3... the first time, I think, all season that the Factory team has gotten that far in quals (of course, SuperAguri has done it a couple of times).

The rest of the grid:
11. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1:23.166
12. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Honda 1:23.176
13. Alexander Wurz Austria Williams-Toyota 1:23.209
14. Anthony Davidson Britain Super Aguri-Honda 1:23.274
15. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Renault 1:23.325
16. Sebastian Vettel Germany Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:23.351
17. Takuma Sato Japan Super Aguri-Honda 1:23.749
18. Ralf Schumacher Germany Toyota 1:23.787
19. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:23.886
20. David Coulthard's Chin Britain Red Bull-Renault 1:24.019
21. Adrian Sutil Germany Spyker-Ferrari 1:24.699
22. Sakon Yamamoto Japan Spyker-Ferrari 1:25.084

Oh look! The B-Spec Spyker is... um... 21st and 22nd. Yeah, nice improvement to the car there, guys. Maybe if you'd concentrated less on flower arranging ability and making it able to direct a Broadway musical, and more on making it go fast, you'd've improved it a tad. Instead, you're over a half-second behind someone who crashed. Good jorb!

In other news from around F1, Suzuka will be back on the calendar! Starting next year, the Grand Prix of Japan will alternate between Fuji and Suzuka, with Fuji getting the race in '08, Suzuka in '09, and so forth. This pleases me to no end, since Suzuka's my favorite track (though Turkey is moving quickly through the ranks...).

While they've always said that Imola required a special aeropackage, so as to emphasize high speed/low drag rather than downforce, for some reason this year the difference seems much more pronounced than in the past. Take a look at the rear wing on the Toyota at Montreal (L) and Imola (R):

Deep / Shallow

Pretty dramatic difference, and you'd think the cars would be practically undriveable, but young Townsend Bell pointed out that they STILL make three or four THOUSAND pounds of downforce, even with reduced wings. Simply amazing stuff, these cars.

Oh, and finally, Kimi Raikkonen had a pretty nice wreck in the Saturday practice. It certainly looked like something broke from the way the car snapped hard-right just as he entered a braking zone, but Kimi claimed it was "driver error." Uh-huh, sure, Kimi. Whichever it is, the accident DID give me fodder for something I've always wanted to make:

'Oops, my bad, sorry...'

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September 07, 2007

F1 Practice: Monza!

Well, when you realize that the big news was off-track today, that'll tell you about the practice sessions.

Yep, McLaren is being dragged back in front ("back in front"? -ed.) of the WMSC because of new information being discovered that may succeed in proving that McLaren took advantage of the Stepneygate information.

The very fact that this is happening is a VERY bad sign for McLaren... and for us fans. If, indeed, they are found to have taken advantage of the 700+ pages of Ferrari documentation, then at the very least, McLaren will almost certainly be excluded from the results of this season. The great races for both championships? Gone completely.

And it gets worse: McLaren could easily be excluded from NEXT year's F1 season as well.

The meeting is Thursday. We'll know then.

Then, as if that wasn't bad enough, for those of us watching on SPEED, things got even worse with the news that David Hobbes, the driver part of the Legendary Announce Team, will not be part of the coverage this weekend, due to the death of his sister earlier this week. San Francisco (Hi, Vauc! -ed.) native Townsend Bell is filling in, and while he seems to be a nice enough guy, he doesn't have anywhere near the 'stage presence' of Hobbes. Might make for a lonnnnnnng weekend.

All of us at The Pond wish David Hobbes and his family well through this sad time.

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September 05, 2007

F1 On SPEED!

Monza. The Magic Track. The fastest circuit in F1. The only course where the teams design an ultra-low downforce aeropackage for their cars. 77% of the race is spent at full throttle, with the second-longest continuous run (15+ seconds, behind only Indy) of the season, from the end of Parabolica to the first chicane. Once they hit the chicane, they'll go from 200+mph to around 50mph... at around 5G's braking.

...and it's all this weekend on SPEED!

Friday, practice is shown live from 7a to 830a. See the public debut of Spyker's new B-spec car, which they say is hot enough to lift them from last on the grid to the midpack. They also say that it can cure cancer and solve world hunger, too, but I'm skeptical.

Saturday brings us the 90-minute Quals session, beginning at 7am. See the new B-spec Spyker write a symphony and bake a souffle, just in time for it to fail to get out of Q1!

But Sunday... ah, Sunday, the glory that is Monza will be totally revealed at the cars take the grid for the 58th running of the Italian Grand Prix, beginning at 630am LIVE. See the new B-spec Spyker compose a sonnet, rescue a cat from a tree, and only last 12 laps, all while Peter (Smarmy) Windsor asks it what it thinks of Michael Schumacher retiring!

And this week, SPEED will even give us a replay of the race, beginning at 230pm! They're so good to us.

All times central, with a five cent deposit required in MI, VA, and CA.

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September 04, 2007

FMP: Fumoffu - Final Thoughts

Well, eleven out of twelve ain't bad. And, paradoxically, the worst episode may have been the best episode... which makes no sense at all, but bear with me.

Biohazard!  Ask for it by name...

FMP:F is a comedy series about a teenaged boy who has grown up fighting wars as a mercenary, and knows nothing else. Oh, sure, ask him to blow something up, or shoot someone, he's your guy, no question! Ask him to flirt with a girl, though...
...see, he doesn't know what flirting is. He's never done it, never HAD to do it. He asks one of his classmates, who tells him it's a "girl hunt," and... well, this is the result:
Got another one!  That's six, so far...

Yup... fish outta water, that's Sagara. So what's he doing in school? more...

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September 03, 2007

The Borderline NSFW Ducks In Anime!

Since this sequence of screenshots could be considered NSFW (Onsen episode alert!), I'll put them in the extended entry.

Make sure you read the alt-text. more...

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September 02, 2007

F1 NEWSFLASH!

We won't have Spyker to kick around anymore.

Both grandprix.com and Planet-F1.com are reporting that the financially (and racing-ly) troubled Dutch team has been sold to Indian beer magnate Vijay Mallya for somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million.

The new team may very well be named 'Kingfisher F1', after the beer. This might cause some small problems for Toyota, as their team is sponsored by Kingfisher at the moment (there's a small logo on the sidepod). Kingfisher has a long history in F1, of course sponsoring Benetton in the '90s.

I wonder if this indicates the return of Narain Kittylitter, the first Indian F1 driver, to a race seat?

Look for the name and livery change to occur within the next 30 days or so, perhaps as soon as the race at the swimming pool at Spa-Francopants.

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FMP: Fumoffu: First Impressions

It's a heavily-armed romantic comedy.

...and I love it. I've just watched the first eight episodes, and I can't tell you how many times I've broken out laughing. Sagara and Chidori are great characters; I like them both a LOT more in this than I did in the original series.

Of course, FMP:F doesn't take itself anywhere NEAR as seriously as the original does. It's a flat-out, full-fledged comedy. Paper-fan level violence abounds (though the rugby episode has some more violent violence in it, even that's more in the way of 'Three Stooges' than 'Platoon').

So far, most episodes are made up of two 12-minute stories. This keeps the humor fresh, I'm finding; what works for 12 minutes might drag for 24... in fact, the few full-length episodes have proven to be the weakest, in my view.

This is not to say that they're bad. 'Weakest' in this context means that they're earning a solid 'B' grade instead of an 'A'.

I didn't realize this when I bought the series, but it's animated by Kyoto Animation... the same people who've brought us Kanon 2006, Air TV, Haruhi Suzumiya, and Lucky Star. As you can guess, it's frickin' beautiful, though not quite as lush as those series (though there ARE moments...).

More to come when I finish, but right now I'd give this a hearty two wingtips up and a big 'recommended' for anybody looking for a laugh.

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September 01, 2007

Recently Acquired

Ten days or so ago, in a fit of depression, I paid a visit to the local BigBlueBox store and picked up ADV's thinpack for Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu. I'd seen 2 episodes of it via screener disc a while ago, so I didn't go in blind, but it's odd, 'cause...

...well...

...I don't like FMP. I hated the first series, and what I've seen of the "2nd Raid" did nothing to change my mind. So why did I buy this?

It's a comedy, and one that doesn't much take itself seriously. That's about my speed at the moment, so I'll give it a watch and get back to you... there are worse ways to spend a Sunday.

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For SHAME, Muppet!

Brickmuppet says that the first picture in this post is, and I'm quoting here, "KEWEL".


*shaking head*


Muppet, Muppet, Muppet... that's not cool.


THIS is cool:

AIEEEEEEEEEEE!!!


I hope you've learned your lesson.

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