F1 UPDATE!: European Grand Prix @ Valencia 2010
We've never seen a race where one event so completely dominated the results, but that's the only way to interpret what happened today. But what happened? And why was it so influential? THIS is your F1 UPDATE! for the 2010 Grand Prix of Europe @ Valencia!
*MARK WEBBER AND THE TERRIBLE HORRIBLE NO GOOD VERY BAD DAY: It's hard to imagine that any day in a F1 driver's work life could be considered bad, per se. After all, they're F1 drivers. Their job is to take one of the most technologically advanced race cars out on a track and go very fast with it... and get paid great honking stacks of money to do it. It's dangerous, of course, but the cars are very safe and the drivers are very, very skilled. What a F1 driver might call a "bad day at work" would be a day in the giggle factory for most of us. "Oh dear, I had an awful day at work today, I only got my car to go 170mph instead of 180 and finished last in the grand prix. May I eat some more caviar and champagne off the small of your back, Giselle, or would you prefer to peel me grapes and feed them to me?" Terrible.
And yet, describing Mark Webber's day as "bad" isn't going far enough. Starting from second on the grid, with his teammate just ahead of him, Webber looked to be in good shape for a high points-paying finish. When the lights went out his start didn't seem too awful. However, starting on the dirty side of the track, he wound up getting passed by cars that managed to slide onto the clean side before he could. By the end of the first lap, he had dropped all the way to 9th. His retreat ended at that point, but 8th place Sebastian Buemi proved remarkably tough to pass. After seven laps of frustration, the crew on the pit wall changed his race strategy on the fly and brought him in for his mandatory tire change. He returned to the race in 19th, but in the interesting position of having everybody in front of him still needing to make a stop. All he needed to do was go quickly, not let the drivers ahead of him get too far afield, and when they made their stops, he'd leapfrog back up the standings. His tires may not be as fresh as theirs, but a driver of his ability could work around that. Two laps later, he had closed up on the Lotus of Heikki Kovaleinninninnie, and while it was a race for position, it was clear that the Finn had no chance of holding Webber behind for very long. As they came down the back straight towards Turn 12, the Red Bull was in good position to pass under braking.
I caught the last half-hour or so of the Fox broadcast. It was interesting to actually watch one of these things after following your updates for so long. Biggest surprise for me: Robert Kubica's last name is pronounced 'koo-beet-za'.
Posted by: Andrew F. at June 27, 2010 11:08 PM (aq/wL)
Hopefully, at least once during the race you were able to say something along the lines of "I knew that! Wonderduck told me!"
Posted by: Wonderduck at June 27, 2010 11:39 PM (iJfPN)
Man, it's a good thing that Webber's roll bar did what it was supposed to. If it had buckled, he'd be dead.
That was some crash. I think that was the watching through the gaps in the fingers moment of the year, just amazing. So glad Webber walked away from that one, although I'm sure the unluckiest person involved in the incident is whoever does his laundry.
The safety car incident was bad all round, there was a medical car coming out at the same time, it shouldn't have been a question for Hamilton or his team, as soon as they saw the cars leaving their station, they should have given way. Now Hamilton was riding the rules a little, as all the teams would, but the race should be truly neutral from the point the safety car is required, and that is down to firm clear regulations and race management rather than just the teams.
Posted by: flotsky at June 28, 2010 01:59 AM (16eCj)
That was one scary crash. I was holding my breath until Webber moved.
As far as Hamilton's "penalty," I think he ought to have to serve a penalty of some sort in the next race. Just because he's wiley enough to figure a way around the drive-through, doesn't mean he should benefit from it.
Perhaps the medical car should be a different color than the safety car to avoid confusion.
Posted by: Mallory at June 28, 2010 10:17 AM (WJ2qy)
@Mallory So what about the (relative) back-rankers who benefited from the SC? If Hamilton had stayed back, I imagine he still would have stayed in front of the Ferraris. (Assuming here he was second at the time)
I can't really find fault in him for NOT undeservedly losing position, but maybe there's something I'm not getting about this.
Posted by: Sward at June 29, 2010 02:37 PM (bbnAV)
F1 Quals: Europe @ Valencia 2010
Red Bull and McLaren are the only teams to have claimed the top spot in qualifying this season, and in the first two practice sessions, neither showed much in the way of continuing that streak. Will this be the first race this year where one of those two worthies aren't on pole? Let's look at the provisional grid for Sunday's Grand Prix of Europe, Valencia style:
Nope. Vettel came up off the mat and slugged his way to his first pole in a while, much to the annoyance of his teammate, Mark Webber. There appears to have been a huge wedge driven between their relationship; they completely ignored each other in the time just after the session and during interviews. It used to be that they would shake each other's hand, joke around, that sort of thing. That could prove telling later in the season.
The surprise of the session has to be the performance of Williams. They got both of their cars into Q3 for the first time this year, and last year's winner here, Rubens Barrichello, was outqualified by his substantially less experienced teammate. Nice job, guys.
For a while there, Robert Kubica looked as if he would be the one to punt the traditional to the curb. Alas, it was not to be, as the oomph of the big teams came out late in Q3. Still, for a minute there... ah well, so it goes.
Most amusing to me was the struggles of one Slappy Schumacher. He only just managed to get out of Q1, and as can be seen above, didn't accomplish the task in Q2, finishing quite low in the session. His teammate, Nico Rosberg, also failed to make it out of Q2, making one wonder if Mercedes has "lost the plot" all of a sudden. One could argue that they never actually had the plot, but that's for another day.
Force India hasn't lost the plot, but they have lost the spending war. As the other big teams have made huge improvements (blown rear wings, moving their exhausts, etc etc etc), FI hasn't been able to spend the cash to do the same. The result, of course, is that they're no longer likely to make it to Q3. Darn shame, that.
And in the battle of the cripples, Lotus continues their dominance. Please note that all the new teams would have made the race under next year's 107% rule, by a couple of seconds to boot. So much for that.
Race tomorrow on Fox, meaning I won't be watching it until 11am Pond Central time... F1U! will be sometime thereafter. See ya then!
F1 Practice: Europe @ Valencia 2010
I dunno folks, I just dun. Other than Felipe Massa bringing out a red flag by spinning and stalling, there just wasn't much to talk about during Friday's 2nd Practice at Valencia. Oh, sure, there was a little incident right at the very end when Slappy Schumacher slowed down to crawling speed without looking in his mirrors, causing Lewis Hamilton to have to take immediate evasive action or end up perching his McLaren on top of the Mercedes, but even that ended up as a non-event. Hamilton did the old "what the hell?" gesture with his right hand, Slappy apologized afterwards, and all is right with the world.
Except that HWMNBN ended up on the top of the timesheets. Great for the promoters, good for the people of Valencia, annoying for everybody else. Well, perhaps we'll have more interesting things to speak about after quals in the morning...
...otherwise it's gonna be a looooooong weekend, and not in a good way.
We've gathered that the drivers like lots of elevation changes. We don't like lots of little twisty technical spots and no straightaways worth mentioning. But when we DO get straightaways worth mentioning, the brakes get so hot braking at the end, they explode. What's the happy medium?
Posted by: Avatar at June 25, 2010 10:59 PM (pWQz4)
Hermann Tilke gets hired for two reasons... guess which one is more important than the other:
1) There just aren't that many track designers out there, and he's the one with the longest resume. 2) He's in good with Birdie Ecclestone.
Most of the fun F1 tracks are older. Suzuka. Monza. Monaco. Silverstone. Spa. Australia. Even Brazil, despite the fact that I loathe it. Other than Monaco, they all have one thing in common.
None of them have a real "technical" section. Things are spaced so that a driver does a little bit of everything all
the time. The turns are (for the most part) quick and sweeping. Even the S-Curves at Suzuka are fast and require the driver to get in a rhythm to negotiate them correctly. Only rarely on these circuits does a driver have to go slowly for any substantial length of time (of course, "slow" is a relative term).
On a Tilke circuit, however, you have fast sections and slow sections, and never the twain shall meet. Look at China, for example. There are definite zones there: slow at Turns 1-4 and 11-13, fast on the two long straights. Otherwise, just as you're getting up to speed you're suddenly interrupted by another turn. At Spa, though, everything flows. You might end up going slow at some point, but it's a steady progression as you get there, not just "Bam, you're slow. Bam you're fast!"
Canada, you'll note, is not on the "fun track" list, because it really doesn't flow at all; it's like the Ur-Tilke circuit. That it consistently turns out good races seems to be because of the Safety Cars that usually wind up being called out, more than the track itself.
Turkey flows. Valencia does not. That's about the only difference between Tilke's best and worst circuits, and I think Turkey turned out good despite his best efforts to cock it up with the nasty end-of-lap complex.
Posted by: Wonderduck at June 25, 2010 11:49 PM (iJfPN)
I'm confused about something. I just took a look at Valencia with Google Maps, and there isn't any bridge where the route course shows one between turns 9 and 10. Did they erect a temporary bridge for the race? Or, since Google's pictures are from 2007, was a bridge built since then?
The track was built up over the course of the 9 months leading up to the first running of the race in August 2008, so it doesn't surprise me that it doesn't show up on the Googlemap. It's a permanent swing bridge, by the way, and it isn't welded shut any more, like it used to be. In theory, some idiot could accidentally open it during the race and wouldn't that be an interesting occurrence?
Posted by: Wonderduck at June 26, 2010 02:22 PM (iJfPN)
Google updates very slowly outside of few spots. I track the area of the Corn Ranch spaceport as a hobby, and a couple of months ago Google uploaded an imagery that shows the facilities built in 2007... And they used obsolete images which are at most taken in 2009 (I have a few newer pictures so I can compare). I suppose Earth is just too big even for Google.
Red Hot F1 Rules Changes!
Hold on to your seats, boys and girls, because it can't get more exciting than this! The FIA has made some changes to both the Sporting and the Technical Regulations for the 2011 F1 season, and everything is going to be thrown into a cocked hat!
Okay, no, not really, but there's some important stuff in there.
First off, and least important of the bunch, the FIA World Council has granted Dutch-born Chinese-registered driver Ho-Pin Tung a provisional Super License, based on his career resume. Now, I've seen Ho-Pin Tung race a few times and to be brutally honest, we may just have the second coming of Fast Yuji Ide here. I can't imagine any team wanting to take a shot at him, but stranger things have happened before... like Yuji Ide. Anyway, the granting of a Super License to someone who hasn't technically qualified for one isn't unheard of; you may remember I mentioned last season that that was probably how Slappy Schumacher would be allowed to take over Felipe Massa's seat.
In response to Lewis Hamilton's qualifying session at Canada, where he did Q3 on so little fuel that he had to push the car back to the pit lane, the rules now state that a car has to be driven back to the pits. What happens if the car has a breakdown after quals? Who knows? The rules don't say.
The minimum chassis weight has been increased from 620kg to 640kg. I haven't heard any reason for this, but I assume it has something to do with the jumbo-sized fuel bladder needed for a no-refueling race. That's nothing but a guess though, so don't take it as gospel, fact, or even anything even slightly informed.
After Slappy Schumacher's little tete-a-tete with HWMNBN in the last corner at Monaco, where he passed under Safety Car conditions, the FIA decided to clarify the rules. To whit, now it is explicitly verboten to do what Slappy did, as opposed to the way it was written previously which allowed for "differing interpretations" of the rules.
Now on to the big stuff. We knew that Bridgestone was no longer going to be the tire provider for F1 next year, but nobody knew who'd be taking their place. I personally was rooting for Hoosier Tires, if only because I'd love to hear some of the drivers try to pronounce "hoosier", but it was not to be. Instead, the FIA went with the safe choice of Pirelli. Don't get me wrong: calling them "safe" isn't a knock. Pirelli has been making racing tires for decades and that experience has got to serve them in good stead. Maybe the FIA got free copies of the Pirelli Calendar?
The FIA has also decided to do away with the "F-Duct" system for next year. Eh, no big loss in my book, though it was a clever idea. They've also brought around a whole new set of rules for "movable bodywork," meaning the adjustable front wings that we've had for a couple of seasons. I'll let the FIA press release explain it:
From 2011, adjustable bodywork may be activated by the driver at any
time prior to the start of the race and, for the sole purpose of
improving overtaking opportunities during the race, after the driver has
completed two laps. The driver may only activate the adjustable
bodywork in the race when he has been notified via the control
electronics that it is enabled. It will only be enabled if the driver is
less than one second behind another at any of the pre-determined
positions around each circuit. The system will be disabled the first
time the driver uses the brakes after the system has been activated. The
FIA may, after consulting all the competitors, adjust the time
proximity in order to ensure the purpose of the adjustable bodywork is
Who the what now?
In plain english, after the second lap of the race a driver can use moving wingthingies when he's closing in on another car. It can be used until the driver hits the brakes, at which point it's disabled until the FIA's electronic sensors reenable it. Basically, it's another attempt to make passing easier... kinda like KERS, except this time it's only the trailing car that can use it.
Unless the leading car is also close behind another car of course, but we won't get into that right now. My head hurts enough as it is.
Finally, in response to Ferrari president Luca di Montezemelo's incessant bitching about the backmarkers being a hazard to all the fast cars (which is his way of saying "my drivers can't figure out how to pass them"), the FIA has decided to reinstitute the fabled 107% Rule. Now, many of my readers are looking puzzled right now, while some old hands at the F1 Circus (Pete, Flotsky) are probably high-fiving their cats. Grab a cup of coffee and I'll explain.
Once upon a time, there were lots of teams trying to race in F1. In fact, there were so many that invariably there weren't enough spaces on the grid for them. So, the F1 nabobs created a "pre-qualifying" round where the teams would have to qualify to qualify. To do so, a driver would have to set a time within 107% of the fastest lap. In other words, if the fastest lap was turned in at 1 minute, 40 seconds (or 100 seconds), if you couldn't do at least a 1:47 you weren't even allowed to race. This made it quite possible to have only one car in a team make the race, or (very rarely) have a star not be able to make it for one reason or another. With much of the detritus cleared away, you'd then go off and qualify with whomever was left... and if there were more than 26 cars, the 27th and below were booted.
So now, even though we've got less than a full grid of 26 cars, if a HRT (say) can't get within 107% of the fastest lap in Q1, they won't be allowed to race... except for certain circumstances. Y'see, the FIA reserves final judgement in this matter, so if they want to, they can allow a car in if it showed speed in one of the three practice sessions. So stop annoying your cat.
The movable wing thing is just wrong to me. All the rules and regulations around it, are just not fan friendly. What they are doing, is bringing in their own version of push to pass with masses of strings attached. I like the boost in other formats, that's how it should work, you can use it x times a race, you show on screen how many pushes you have left, it's an extra and importantly followable tactic for drivers. This one is a mess.
I'm not up for the 107% rule yet, as I love a full grid, even if the back is going to be a slow pootling race of its own. If I got the choice though, I'd go third cars for any teams that wants it, mainly because we might get Valentino Rossi that way. It seems unlikely, but as He Who Wears A Pullover In The Sun now is in charge, and Ferrari want it, I have my hopes.
Posted by: flotsky at June 24, 2010 01:07 AM (2cGd8)
The 640kg change is made for the reason that it helps to package KERS. It's Ferrari's idea. They already said they'll run KERS in all races of 2011 regardless.
The movable rear wing came about as a replacement for F-duct, which obviously stalls the rear wing. So someone said "hey, let us give FIA an awesome button which they can press to permit someone they like to pass". The electronic enablement of it is pure insanity.
It's also notable that CDG wing is gone into the memory hole forever.
Pete, you'll note that the news release, which I quoted verbatim, does not specify the location of the "adjustable bodywork." It may BE the rear wing, it might be the front, it may be something else altogether (oooh, a movable diffuser!).
You're almost certainly right about the weight increase being for KERS. I didn't realize that the teams had decided to drop the voluntary ban on KERS in Canada... so PTP is coming back.
Posted by: Wonderduck at June 24, 2010 04:31 PM (iJfPN)
Indeed all I meant was to hightlight the genesis of this bizarro idea. The language of the regulation, as emerged after several rounds of whatever process, makes no distinction about where the movable part of the bodywork is located.
Video? Of the Wolverine? Baby! Turns out it was from a Pathé newsreel, which you can see here. "Yankee ingenuity" indeed. But that got me wondering... is there any more video of the Wolverine or the Sable out there that I didn't find the first time?
Turns out, the answer would be "yes!"
Avengers and Hellcats in that clip, a wave-off and a barrier crash, too. The wave-off gives you a sense of just how small the two IX carriers really were; the Avenger looks like it won't fit on the deck, let alone land safely.
From that clip, I wandered around a bit, and found a link on another video to a blog devoted entirely to the paddlewheel carriers, aptly titled The Paddle Wheel Aircraft Carriers. It hasn't been updated in about a year, but boy, do I wish I had found it when I was doing my earlier post. Particularly because of this post which has a link to another video.
F1 on TV: Europe 2010
Yes, that's right, we're coming up to the Grand Prix of Europe. The title of the race was created as a way to get two Grands Prix into one country without confusing the two. Perhaps not oddly, for quite some time the Grand Prix of Europe was in Germany... unsurprisingly, since the biggest star in the sport at the time was Slappy Schumacher. The title moved across the continent to Spain after HWMNBN became the cock of the walk, which is where we find it now, in Valencia! Let's look at the track map...
Back in 2008 when the layout was first used, we had such hopes for this circuit. It was a new street circuit, and those always prove interesting, right? Yes, well, not so much... it turned out to be another Hermann Tilke snoozefest. Unless, of course, you count the death of a bird as excitement. In 2009, we had such hopes for the circuit, what with the new aero rules and all. Yes, well, not so much. It turned out that the Tilke ooze had stuck, and we got nothing but red-hot pit stop action.
So we should be expecting more of the same for 2010, right? Well, normally I'd say yes, but I have a little secret. You see, Duck U Vice President of Operations "The Screwdriver" was in Valencia one week ago, and he went on a little souvenir hunt for yours truly. He got to see the barriers being put in place around the "twisty bits" complex, which he found highly interesting, and his intent was to bring back a poster for me. He didn't get it however, as it was raining the entire time and the poster would have turned to soggy paper.
So we know that it's not impossible that we could get rain, and as we sit here on Monday the F1 website says it'll be foggy at racetime. Other weather-related websites are suggesting that it'll be clear and hot, but we'll go with F1's legendarily accurate (*snort*) weather forecasting for now. Because that's about the only way we'll got a non-snoozer of a race in Valencia.
Oh, it's not a bad layout, all things considered. It looks like it should be a winner, and visually it has its moments, like the bridge between Turns 9 and 10, but in reality? It's a dog. It's very wide for a street circuit, which should provide a lot of passing opportunities, but there just aren't many. In some ways, it's very much like Canada's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, in that it's a high-speed layout (a high-speed street circuit?) with lots of very low-speed turns. The difference, of course, is that Canada doesn't have a technical section, whereas the "twisty bits" in Valencia definitely qualifies.
Bridgestone is sending the Supersoft and Medium compound tires along, just like Canada, and we all know how well that turned out. A big difference, though, will be the surface of the track. Where Canada was brand-new, Valencia has a well-used (though not by F1 cars), somewhat rough, asphalt. Combined with the higher air temperatures, that should make it easier for the tires to come up to a useful grip level. To counteract that, however, you get the oil and other crap dumped on the road by everyday traffic. Call it a wash, at least to start the weekend.
TV coverage of that weekend begins with SPEED's live broadcast of Friday's Second Practice, from 7a to 840a. Saturday brings us plausibly live coverage of Quals, from 7a to 830a.
Sunday, we'll see the 2010 Grand Prix of Europe from Valencia, Spain, on your local Fox affiliate, from 11a to 1p Central Pond time. That's about 4 hours worth of tape delay... aren't we lucky? To make matters better, Legendary Announce Team chief honcho, The Varsha, will not be participating in this weekend's activities, as he'll be anchoring SPEED's coverage of one of the Barrett-Jackson collector car auctions.
Of course, the F1U! team will be all over this race like a cheap suit... don't miss a syllable of it!
A Bad Day In Duckford, One Year LaterOne year ago today, a series of severe thunderstorms rolled through the Duckford area, knocking down trees and electrical power all over the city. The third storm of the day dumped four inches of rain the space of about an hour, a deluge that caused flooding in low-lying areas (and some high-lying areas, too, come to think of it).
It also caused this:
In case you can't tell what's going on in that video, that's taken from a police cruiser's dashboard camera, and it's filming water flowing unimpeded underneath a set of railroad tracks that had had its roadbed washed away. Twenty minutes after that video was shot, a Canadian National train pulling 110 cars, including 70 tanker cars full of ethanol, rolled over that crossing. Eyewitnesses reported that the train was actually bouncing up and down as the track deflected under its weight. 12 cars derailed and exploded.
This accident, which occurred about a half-mile from Pond Central claimed the life of one motorist, injured a few others, and forced the evacuation of around 600 homes. If Pond Central had been much closer to the accident site, I would have been evac'd, too.
One year later, the site of the accident is much improved. The roadbed for the crossing has been strengthened, the pavement for the street replaced and relaid, and much of the terrain was replanted with grass. The local fire department now trains with a few of the derailed cars, practicing for the next big fire and hoping it never comes.
But many of the trees near the derailment site still show signs of having being burned by the blaze. And just off the tracks is a small cross, in memory of the woman who was killed in the incident, Zolia Tellez. I drive by the site once or twice a day, and imagine what it must have been like... and count myself lucky that I wasn't there when it happened. I could have been, and on a normal Friday I would have missed the incident by only an hour or so.
The NTSB is still investigating the accident, and their report isn't expected for another six months or so. A rash of train crashes, including one bad one in Washington DC a few days after the one here in Duckford, has 10 NTSB train specialists working 16 cases. The EPA has found traces of ethanol byproducts in the local drinking water, but far below any amounts that they declare to be dangerous. The massive fish die-off that occurred a month or so after the accident in a nearby river is still completely unexplained. And every now and again, a train comes through on the new rails.
That One GameCiv 5 is scheduled to come out in the Fall, and any self-respecting strategy gamer has already written off any productivity they may have had. The release of new screenshots for the game has done nothing to alleviate that.
Any of us who have spent too much time playing for "just one more turn", no matter if it was Civ, MOO, SimCity, whatever, have That One Game. That One Game is the one where everything that happened led to an amazing climax... maybe it was a tense struggle against overwhelming odds, or an incredible occurrence. Maybe it was just a well-played blowout, who knows? But oh, it was memorable... it became That One Game.
Mine was in Civ 3, a huge map and continents. I was playing the English, started on what I wound up calling Australia: big island, green at the coasts but arid desert in the center... and practically no resources to speak of. After a while I learned sailing and found, just off to the west, a very big continent filled with all the luxuries and resources a civ could need. I also found the remains of another civ... three razed cities in the worst starting locations I've ever seen (after the game ended, I discovered it was the French. Ces't la Guerre.). Other than the home of the French, though, what I saw looked ripe for the picking... until I found what killed Napoleon. The Zulus... and they weren't happy I was there, declaring war on me and quickly overwhelming the exploring archer I had sent over. I put them out of my mind, as I had a tech lead on them, and vowed to revisit Africa soon.
Some long while later, I packed up two musketmen, a settler and a worker and sent them off to found a home base on Africa. Once I got there, though, I found that the Zulus had expanded, taking most of the good territory. So instead of colonization, I decided to make life hell for Shaka. I dumped the musketmen and worker off on what appeared to be the only road between northern and southern Africa, fortified one of them, and had the worker build a fortress. The other musketman began tearing up the any roads I could find around the fortress. Within a few turns, Shaka had had enough... and the Impi began to move. I brought the raider back to the fortress and waited. And waited. Eventually, I got a cannon over to the fortress as well.
Just in time, as it turned out. Not one, but two Stacks of Doom converged on my little fortress, one from the north, one from the west... each of them composed of nothing but Impi. Wincing, I immediately gave the fortress the name "Rorke's Drift" and crossed my fingers. By the end of the first SOD's defeat, one of my musketmen had been promoted from "regular" to "veteran," and the other was about to. Both were damaged, however, and the second stack was even larger than the first.
They held the line. One of them died, and the other had one hit point left, but they held the line. From there, the conquest of Africa was easy... almost everything Shaka had, he had thrown at Rorke's Drift, and most of them had died (some retreated).
I left that one musketman and the cannon stationed at Rorke's Drift for the rest of the game, even after I could have promoted them to other, better things. They remained untouched, even through the later nuclear war against the Germans. At the end of the little fracas that they started, the three cities closest to Rorke's Drift had been turned to radioactive rubbish, along with a few others on my side, but any German city over the size of 5 took an missile. But there they stayed.
And when the spaceship to Alpha Centauri finally arrived at its destination, I knew I had just finished playing That One Game. From then on, I have never neglected building fortifications, and I have always had a lone outpost somewhere far away from the main action... in honor of the musketmen of Rorke's Drift.
Posted by: Wonderduck at June 19, 2010 05:56 PM (iJfPN)
Hmm. Trying to think. There are some games I've only run through once, like X-Com, so that automatically qualifies as "That One Game" for that game. The final mission on Mars was made of pure awesome and sheer terror, like when one of my two guys carrying the heavy rocket launchers got mind-wiped and took out his entire squad.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at June 20, 2010 09:28 AM (2yngH)
I don't really remember specific game sessions that way. I do vaguely remember the first time I tried to assault an enemy base (on Earth) in X-Com and how utterly terrified I was, but I don't remember anything else about that particular session.
The 'one game' that comes to mind for me was a session of Warlord (II, I think). I had gotten a pretty good start, had one of my borders well fortified and was busy pounding on the AI on two other fronts. I'd scouted far enough ahead of my "stacks of doom" that I was fairly confident of carrying through to wipe out the two AI players I was actually engaged against. Unfortunately I hadn't scouted far enough forward to notice that Lord Bane was punching through one of them from the other direction. When our offensive forces met in the lands of our unfortunate mutual foe, I lost two major hero stacks, and shortly after that I lost most of the newly captured cities.
I quickly realized that I had nothing in the immediate rear of that campaign that was going to stop the marauding Lord Bane stacks, and at the same time I was reaching the last heavily fortified cities on the other front, where that AI was rallying for a last stand. It was pretty obvious that if I pulled those forces back, I'd end up losing a ton of ground on that front, but it was equally obvious that if I didn't come up with something really nasty to throw in front of Lord Bane quick I was going to lose a lot of key unit building territory.
What turned the looming disaster into an epic game is that I still had some scouts out on the third side of the map, just keeping an eye on the two AI players over there, and I discovered that they had never expanded onto one island, which I quickly claimed, grabbing a couple good cities, and more importantly exploring some ruins that yielded up an excellent weapon for my reserve hero, as well as a stack of dragons. I pulled together a stack of supporting units from various places that could all move quickly and rushed that hero/dragon stack down to finish off the lesser threat while I moved everything else I could free up toward a choke point facing Lord Bane. I lost maybe six or seven more cities to Lord Bane while I was finishing off the other opponent, but then I was able to pull everything back from that side of the map and send them off to the front, at which point I smashed two of Lord Bane's stacks o' doom and stopped his offense.
From that point it was just a bit of back and forth as we fought over the border cities and assembled our armies. Eventually I had three hero-led stacks o' doom ready, as well as a few support stacks to follow along and fortify cities as I took them, so I started pushing forward. Lord Bane had built up enough that I lost on stack, and the other got whittled down so far that it had to retreat, but the last stack with that one hero and his dragons took everything he could throw at it and just kept getting stronger, eventually carrying through to conquer pretty much the whole map.
And now I will go see if GoG has Warlords II in their product line...
Posted by: David at June 21, 2010 11:02 AM (oyblT)
Tech Assistance Needed, Save Squishy!
Okay, here's the story. As you may remember, my boss went on maternity leave about a year-and-a-half ago after giving birth to a ridiculously cute baby girl, whom I call "Squishy." Squishy's mom is an inveterate record-keeper, and has diligently chronicled Squishy's life via the art of digital photography, amassing a huge amount of pictures in the process.
Last night, their main computer coughed up a hairball and died. The husband of my boss has some skill with computers, so he ran some BIOS checks on the system and everything reported that the hard drive and grabbed its chest and died. Of course, this hard drive is the one that has the gazillions of Squishy photos on it, photos that they cannot replace (they have some saved in other places, but just a mere fraction of the total). Here's the thing: the HD gave no indication there was a problem, no weird sounds, nothing. It just stopped functioning. A two-hour call to tech support caused nothing but frustration, of course... frustration and a deep, deep desire to cause an immense amount of physical harm to the techie on the other end of the telephone.
When my boss came in to the Duck U Bookstore today, she told me of the situation. A quick phone call to her husband convinced me that the HD wasn't actually dead (merely pining for the fjords). I suggested that they take it out of the computer, put it into an external enclosure, hook it up to one of their other computers and see what happens. If it doesn't show up, then they know that the offending drive is dead enough that they'd need to take it somewhere to recover the pictures. If it did show up, then they know that the problem may not be the drive, but the computer itself... and they'd be able to copy the drive to the laptop.
I just got a call from them. They did put it into an enclosure, and sure enough, it appeared... well, actually, two drives appeared, at which point I slapped my forehead: of course two drives appeared, it was the boot drive from the dead system! What they were seeing was the C drive and the drive partition where the recovery stuff was kept... which is where the unexpected problem has reared its ugly head.
Y'see, when they look at what was the C drive, there's only a few folders visible, and they don't have anything in them... at least, that's what the laptop is reporting. What I think is happening, and please correct me if you think I'm wrong, is that the drive isn't showing anything because the copy of Windows that's on it obviously isn't booting, and thus the file system on the drive isn't functional (I may have the technical details wrong, but that's the net result). Further, the laptop is XP and the version of Windows on the drive is Vista, which probably causes problems too.
They're copying the drive to the laptop, and I've suggested that they go to their other desktop system (which they retired), rip out that hard drive, and plug the problem drive into it. If everything goes well, the stars align, and a choir of angelic ducks quack out paeans to the heavens, it'll boot up. At worst, they'll be in the same boat they're in now.
The tech question I have for you, the myriad readers of The Pond, is there some way to access the data from the problem drive if dropping it into a different computer system doesn't work? If the data was replaceable, I'd just suggest they find Windows on it, delete it, and see if that turns it into a normally-read drive, but I'm just WAGging there, and the chance that it'll turn the drive into a brick seems not insignificant. Can they pull the data off without the "boot Windows" running?
Another related question: is there some way to boot a laptop from an external hard drive that has Windows on it, sort of a half-arsed version of dual-booting? If they can do that, then they can save the pics to a different external drive, or burn them to DVD, or something.
Let's brainstorm, my friends. Hopefully they'll be monitoring this thread, if not tonight then tomorrow, so they'll be able to provide specific details (what folders are showing up, for example) that I don't have, but in the meantime, let me hear your best suggestions.
You wouldn't want to disappoint Squishy, would you? How could you disappoint that face?
There are companies which are in the business of recovering data off of drives that have died. In the most extreme case they take the drive apart and move the spindle into an equivalent drive which is not dead.
But it ain't cheap. You're talking at least a thousand bucks.
One last point: given that they tried and failed to access the drive using Windows, they should probably not try again. The possibility exists that Windows may damage the data that's on the drive by trying to fix the file structure, making recovery impossible.
They know about the data recovery places; there's one in the Rockford area. For easy "eh, it's just mostly dead" stuff, they might be able to recover data for about $200. If it's more complex, then it shoots up to $1500+.
The Linux option is one that I thought about, but I have no clue beyond just thinking about it. I know so little about what it can do that I can't help them past the point of bringing it up.
Hopefully, they'll be able to copy the drive so we don't have to worry about Windows breaking the data. I'm hopeful that a drive-swap into a different computer will work...
Posted by: Wonderduck at June 16, 2010 10:10 PM (iJfPN)
When my laptop drive began to fail a year or two back, I used ddrescue
to image it first. You can find it as part of a bootable CD here:
http://ubuntu-rescue-remix.org/ (warning, I've never actually used
that). Of course I was dealing with hardware failure, and not just
corruption. The advantage of running ddrescue, though, is that it makes a
complete image of the drive. You can then do whatever you need to on
the drive image (or better yet, a copy of the drive image). If you mess
that image up, use another copy (this requires a lot of spare disk
space, mind you...).
After that, I used a file catalog rebuilding
and file searching program. I'm on a Mac, so I used Data Rescue II, but
there should be some equivalent for Windows. The Ubuntu Rescue Remix CD
seems to include some open source tools as well, but I've never tried
them. Some basic instructions are here: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/DataRecovery
Posted by: benzeen at June 16, 2010 10:32 PM (WE8c2)
If the drive is functioning but the filesystem is scrambled, a recovery utility might do the trick. The only one I've used is Stellar Phoenix, and that was years ago, but it worked flawlessly. Very slowly, but flawlessly.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at June 16, 2010 10:49 PM (PiXy!)
1. Make an image of the drive, just in case. I have a sector-to-sector
USB tool to do it that also works as an external drive reader, from
Aleratec (aleratec.com). Using something like Ghost to image the drive
can also work, but I like a hardware drive to drive transfer the best.
Run SpinRite, from Gibson Research (grc.com) which will do a complete
low level scan of the drive, restoring data from damaged sectors. Very
good program, inexpensive, saved my a$$ on multiple occasions.
R-Studio, from R-Studio.com -- i have used it many times in the past,
and it does good work recovering broken file structures.
that none of these options are free, and there are other programs that
do the same things, but if I had your problem in my office these are
the steps I'd take regardless of the program being used.
Posted by: denebola at June 16, 2010 11:24 PM (LDyD6)
image that drive asap, then run spinrite on it, if its recoverable this will work.
another options is if you can find another drive with the same exact firmwear/revision number you could swap out the green logic boards, i have done this in the past, but if they are not identical fw/rv # it may not work.
Posted by: dagamore at June 17, 2010 01:11 AM (vdcdn)
All the tools mentioned earlier work wonderfully in the hands of someone who is fully aware of what they're doing. But you can do unrecoverable damage if you do not fully grasp what you're doing. I get the impression that the latter is currently the case. So take the drive to a recovery place.
Posted by: Quentin at June 17, 2010 01:32 AM (KSyKn)
Everybody seems to be concentrating on the wrong problem, I think... they have evidence that the drive is fine, but the information isn't immediately accessible, possibly because it's no longer the "boot disc", if you get what I mean.
Is that thinking incorrect? Is there some way to circumvent the version of Windows that's on the drive? Is there some way to boot a laptop from the drive? Or "dual-boot" from an external?
Posted by: Wonderduck at June 17, 2010 06:26 AM (iJfPN)
I'm going to preface this with "I know just enough to be dangerous"
But no, the fact that it's the "boot drive" from another computer shouldn't matter when it's placed in an external enclosure. (Make sure that the master/slave settings are correct) If everything was kosher, you'd just see another drive with a "Windows" directory in it. The boot drive just means it has a master boot record in the drive's sector zero that starts the booting process. When a computer starts, it looks at the drive it's been told to boot from and does what the MBR says, which here is "start Windows". The laptop has it's own boot drive, and it's starting from that one. Any other drive attached to the system, whether or not it has an MBR is just a secondary drive.
The fact that nothing appears says to me that the drive is screwed up somehow. If you didn't care overmuch about the data on the drive, like "It'd be nice to have, but I wouldn't cry over losing it," then play with all of the tools people have listed above. However, Quentin is almost certainly right...take it to someone who knows what the hell they're doing.
Posted by: CatCube at June 17, 2010 07:19 AM (Te0W1)
CatCube is right: the fact that it's a boot partition is irrelevant. I have access to two of those right now attached to the computer I'm using: one is in an external USB enclosure, and the other is a second internal drive attached to the IDE controller. In either case the drive appears fine. If you can't see the files, there's filesystem damage. An undelete utility of some kind might fix the problem, as might a filesystem repair tool...but it might also hose the system beyond repair. Your safest bet is as others have suggested: optionally image it and then take it to a recovery service. They're far cheaper than they used to be: as you already know, it's not exactly expensive any more.
Then tell the boss to start making regular backups.
Posted by: rickc at June 17, 2010 07:49 AM (85Ro5)
If the drive is actually visible on another computer, and I'm not entirely sure from your description that's the case, a partition scanning utility may help. I've used find and mount in the past with success, and it's fairly straightforward to use.
Posted by: jml at June 17, 2010 12:22 PM (Lti64)
Everybody, they've decided to take your collective advice: "Take it to someone who knows what the hell they're doing." Fortunately, my boss's husband works in the IT field (though he's on the networking side, not hardware), and there's someone at his place of employ with the tools and the know-how to make it happen.
Assuming, of course, that it can be saved without the drive without being handed to people in bunny suits and taken into a clean room. We'll know soon enough. Advice is still being taken, however! Collectively, you all know more than one person...
Posted by: Wonderduck at June 17, 2010 04:30 PM (iJfPN)
Further, the laptop is XP and the version of Windows on the drive is Vista, which probably causes problems too.
Try plugging the now external hard drive into a machine running Vista. I think that MS tweaked NTFS in Vista because I've formatted drives on my Vista machine that I couldn't properly read on an XP machine.
Posted by: Kae Arby at June 17, 2010 09:33 PM (jzP7W)
I don't think there are any limits as far as I know. Although pretty packed, they do tend to have more room to work in than in say Indycar or NASCAR, so I think they're happier to allow as many as are needed.
Posted by: flotsky at June 16, 2010 01:05 AM (16eCj)
Posted by: vonKrag at June 16, 2010 02:16 AM (VGXAE)
The usual turnout for a pitstop is three per tire, two jackmen (one at either end), the lollypop guy, and one with a fire extinguisher (yes, even without refuelling). There's also one or two "floaters" who do unspecified duties every stop... cleaning the air intakes of garbage, changing the nose, whatever. But there's no limit to the number of people that can work on a car during a stop: if they wanted to have 100, they could.
Posted by: Wonderduck at June 16, 2010 06:25 AM (iJfPN)
F1 UPDATE!: Canada 2010 (UPDATED)
We here at F1U! would love to tell you exactly what occurred during today's race, we really would. It seemed like an exciting one, full of strategy and tense calls by drivers and the guys on the pit wall. Unfortunately, I'm honestly not sure we'll be able to. You see, today's Grand Prix of Canada was on Fox and while they had SPEED's Legendary Announce Team providing commentary, it wasn't their normal coverage... but we're getting ahead of ourselves. THIS is your F1U! for the Canadian Grand Prix!
*...AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS: We think we counted eight commercial breaks during the actual race portion of today's broadcast. As this was a remarkably quick contest (only around 90 minutes, give or take), we missed out on a substantial portion of the actual contest while we were watching ads for deodorant. For example, the Lotus of Jarno Trulli retired at some point with flaming brake discs... literally. We never saw it, as it occurred during a commercial break. The relentless (and apparently inviolate) network schedule also saw us head to a break just as HWMNBN was trying to pass someone for position. Appalling. Just as appalling was the Legendary Announce Team's coverage on the day, though this is somewhat more understandable. You see, one of the main reasons we love the L.A.T.'s race call on SPEED is that they automatically assume that the viewer has, at the very least, a grasp of the basics of Formula 1. This allows them to work in more detailed and intelligent conversation on the nuances of the sport. Unfortunately, when the races are on Fox, they must assume the complete opposite, that the people tuning in have little to no idea of what actually goes on during a F1 race. As a result, they "dumb down" their call, having to spend time explaining, for example, why the T-camera on each car is a different color... or, for that matter, what a T-camera is! They also spent time explaining why there's so much red in the grandstands, the rivalry between Ferrari and McLaren (and why it mattered to the sport), and most tellingly, the difference between a F1 car and your average NASCAR vehicle. All of this makes perfect sense, as Fox is the home of NASCAR and most of the people who'd be watching are fans of that form of motor racing. But when they have to spend five minutes explaining how the race is actually started, you know that it's going to be a long day for the knowledgeable fan. As we here at F1U! use the comments of the L.A.T. to identify the key moments of each race, not having the smart banter around made this something of a frustrating day.
*TIRE RACE: Which is a bloody shame, because if there was a race that needed the sort of in-depth, expert comments that the L.A.T. provides during their SPEED coverage, it was this one. More than any other contest this season, the Grand Prix of Canada was a race of tire strategies. During the Quals writeup we here at F1U! said that it looked like McLaren and Lewis Hamilton were going to be in trouble, since they were on the soft tires and the Red Bulls were on the hard. As the softs were only very slightly quicker and much less durable than the hard rubber, we expected the Red Bull duo to hang with the McLaren until the faster tire fell apart, then jauntily head off into the sunset. Except, it didn't happen that way. Hamilton won, with his teammate Jenson Button right behind (for the second consecutive race, no less), and Ferrari's HWMNBN was third. Neither Red Bull was ever really a contender, but we couldn't tell you why that any of those cars finished where they did. Except for one thing: the tires today were crap. It all came down to the tires, and because the L.A.T. had to explain to the viewers why there were so many people servicing the cars during a pit stop, they couldn't explain the nuances of what was actually occurring, both on track and on the pit wall.
*DRIVER OF THE RACE: Lewis Hamilton was supposedly on the wrong tires, with a car slower than the Red Bull. Yet, somehow, he made it work and won his second race in a row. In fact, upon reflection, it wasn't even really a contest... you never got the feeling that he wasn't in control of the outcome at any time during the day. What more can you ask for?
*TEAM OF THE RACE: McLaren, surely. Their second 1-2 finish in a row, they've moved to the tops of both Championships, and their cars were bullet-proof while Red Bull's Seb Vettel had "an issue" that was, it seems, nearly terminal. Again. Good job, boys.
*MOVE OF THE RACE: Not to sound like a broken record, but this one goes to Lewis Hamilton. On Lap 15, he was in third, trailing close behind leader Sebastian Buemi (yes, really) who had yet to make his first pitstop and Ferrari's HWMNBN. Coming down the run into the Champion's Wall chicane, he got a tow behind the Ferrari and broke to the outside while HWMNBN moved inside to close that option off... which is what Hamilton wanted him to think he was going to do. By faking the Ferrari out, he skipped from the tow of the Ferrari directly into the slipstream of the leading Toro Rosso. As the McLaren began to ease ahead, we began to become concerned as it looked like he was going to just run the slower Toro Rosso over. Just as Hamilton needed to decide whether to evade or go for the chicane, Buemi went straight on into the pit lane, opening the way for the McLaren driver to make the pass cleanly... a pass that, it turned out, was actually for the lead. Very nicely done, but we can't help but wonder if he had gotten information from the team that Buemi was going to pit.
*MOOOOOOO-OOOVE OF THE RACE: Usually we here at F1U! prefer to give this award for bad driving to one specific event; a driver being distracted by something shiny and wiping out half the field, for example, or a pit stop where the car drives off before everybody is done working and dragging the rear jackman halfway down the pitlane. Today, however, we're going against our preferences and instead giving the award based on an entire body of work. Slappy Schumacher, as the announcers are wont to tell us every time his car is on screen, has more wins than anybody else in F1 history (and his win total is more than the number of starts that 12 drivers in the field had... combined) and is a seven-time World Driving Champion. While it's fair to wonder just how many of those victories would have been taken away from him if Ayrton Senna had survived that terrible weekend in Imola, there's no question that Slappy is on the short list of the greatest F1 drivers of all time. None of that mitigates the performance he put in during today's Canadian Grand Prix. He didn't just look slow out there on track, but dangerous as well. He was involved in the usual Turn 1 hijinks, losing an endplate in the process. He later bulldozed Robert Kubica off the road while "defending his position" at Turn 5, sending them both off on some agricultural racing. Late in the race, he moved aside to allow the faster Felipe Massa pass him going into the final chicane, then dodged back into the racing line at the last moment, crunching the Ferrari's nose in the process. It's poetic justice that he was passed on the last lap by the two Force Indias, dropping him out of the points, and with any luck he'll be penalized for dangerous driving in the post-race review. None of this is new, of course; he was always aggressive-on-the-verge-of-dangerous, but when he was with Ferrari he could get away with it because he was Der Schumi. Now? Not so much. It couldn't happen to a better guy.
UPDATE 641pm: Slappy wasn't even given a... er... slap on the wrist. No penalties. Felipe Massa, on the other hand, was given a 20sec penalty for speeding in the pit lane after Slappy broke his nose. This didn't affect his final position, so it's pointless. Robert Kubica was given a reprimand for his action involving Adrian Sutil (see below), and NKOTT got the same for causing an accident with Rubens Barrichello on the start.
One of the reasons American TV networks really love baseball and football is that the games have ready-made pauses in which they can run advertisement.
Basketball is a bit more of a problem, but they've worked it out. And tennis is great. More organic pauses where ads can be inserted.
But they don't do so well on things like soccer and car racing where the action is continuous. Sometimes they bite the bullet and insert ads in the corner of the screen, but more often these days they say, "Fuck the fans. Here come the ads."
Wow, that's some serious use of strong language there Steven. =/
Posted by: Abdul at June 13, 2010 05:00 PM (UElET)
There were times during yesterday's coverage that I felt I was watching F1 for Dummies. Nothing against the Legendary Announce Team and I'm sure they were told to make the explanations, but it sure got in the way of the coverage. How much longer will Fox being doing the coverage?????
Posted by: Mallory at June 14, 2010 01:45 PM (WJ2qy)
Posted by: Wonderduck at June 14, 2010 04:27 PM (iJfPN)
And to think I used to get annoyed by the ITV coverage here in the UK! It is so much better on the BBC the past couple of years though, all the bonus and web stuff has been great. I won't go on about it though, it doesn't seem fair given what you've got for three more races
Posted by: flotsky at June 16, 2010 01:07 AM (16eCj)
I noticed that during the Indy 500, when they went to commercial they would do this "split screen" kind of thing where the commercial ran, yet up in the corner you could still see what was going on in the race (minus the sound). I thought that was a really cool idea.
Posted by: madmike at June 16, 2010 09:07 AM (CIsMt)
I don't know if I like that side by side thing.. it almost feels like the network thinks they can run more commercials because they're still showing the race. You're also getting the audio of the commercials, instead of the race.
Posted by: pxcasey at June 16, 2010 12:19 PM (Y4/VY)
For the first time this season, a Red Bull is not on pole. It took a last-gasp lap from Lewis Hamilton to kick them out of the first spot on the grid, done on the super-soft tires and with so little fuel on board that Lewis had to literally push the car back to the pits, but they did it.
But then, this is Formula 1 so there just had to be speculation that Hamilton would be penalized for running out of fuel. Since he did not return to the pits within X amount of time, he was in violation of Article 15.1 in the Sporting Regulations. In theory, he could have had his fastest time ruled invalid. Instead, he was reprimanded and given a $10000 fine; chump change in F1 terms.
However, this won't be a McLaren walk in the park. Both Webber and Vettel are on the "hard" compound (actually the medium rubber), which is the tire that the teams universally prefer this weekend. The softs are a smidge faster, but are dying off after about six or seven laps while the hards are more durable. Bridgestone is saying that the teams will pretty much have to stop twice for tires this race, that there's no way a car can stretch the tires to last the whole distance. Of course, there's rain forecast so that might throw everything into a cocked hat, but at the moment I'd have to lean towards the Red Bulls.
A laugh and a shot to the ribs to Slappy Schumacher who couldn't do better than 13th and just as easily could have been a lot farther down than that. It might not get much better from now on as it sounds like Mercedes has run out of cash for developing the 2010 car. In F1, if you're standing still, you're falling behind. Wave bye-bye to Slappy for this year, kids.
A special "yahoo!" goes to the Force India team. Both cars in the top 10,
which might be the first time they've done that (I'm not sure about Spa,
last year). Certainly it's the first time this year! I knew they were
But today goes to McLaren and Hamilton! Nicely done, lads.
F1 Practice: Canada 2010
It's no secret that Friday practice sessions aren't really very exciting. I watch them mostly to get myself refamiliarized with the layout of the circuit and how the cameras are placed, so I'll know where we are at any time during the broadcast ("Ah, there's that Allianz sign with the small tear, this is Turn 5"). But, by the Holy Shifter of St Fangio the Quick, was this a bloody dull practice! Seb Vettel had the fastest lap, followed by HWMNBN and Nico Rosberg, but McLaren's duo of Hamilton and Button could only manage 9th and 11th, respectively.
The biggest news out of the session was the track itself. Over the past two years, the organizers resurfaced the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, with the result that it's incredibly slippery. Lewis Hamilton went so far as to say that it was like being on an ice rink. Of course, part of that is because the track is only used for a few race weekends a year. The other part is that it's been raining all week in Montreal, and whatever rubber that's been laid down on the surface has been washed away. The drivers are discovering that you have to allow three laps minimum to get the tires up to racing temperature when at some places, like Monza or Turkey, they're ready before your first lap is done. The Legendary Announce Team's new voice from the pits, Will Buxton, said that he saw a Toro Rosso come in after five or six laps and the tires still looked brand new.
Low heat equals low grip. Low downforce settings on the car (Canada is second only to Monza in the low downforce category) also equals low grip. Combined with a slippery surface, we saw a lot of cars wobbling all over the place. And don't think it's going to get any better as the weekend goes on. We're looking at rain both Saturday and Sunday. Sweepers, man your brooms, there's gonna be a lot of carbon fiber scattered around the Ile Notre Dame after the race.
Finally, I wanted to show y'all what I was talking about when I mentioned that the cars came awfully close to the Wall of Champions. How close?
About that close.
For Montreal, that's a lot of run-off space, by the way. Most of the circuit is lined with walls, much like Monaco. There's about a foot of space between the edge of the track to the walls; if someone hits them, you get a ping-ponging effect that almost always guarantees a Safety Car. In fact, this is the place the Safety Car was invented.
Quals tomorrow afternoon via tape delay, thanks to ARCA and Craftsman Truck Series races. See you then!
On some tracks, a car needs to be nimble, able to change directions on a dime; Monaco or Singapore might be good examples of this. To get that, though, you sacrifice top speed. On most circuits, you need to balance raw grunting velocity and nimbleness, because there are both high speed stretches and complex technical sections; any of the Tilke tracks would fall into this category.
Then you have the places, like Monza, where speed is king. There are no fiddly-bits to deal with, and if a car is only going 190mph it'll be five laps down before the half-way point. Canada is one of those sorts of places. Other than the first turn and the big hairpin, the cars don't slow down much.
Downforce is the key to all of those choices. More downforce gives you more grip on the track, but at the cost of speed. The opposite is also true: less downforce, more speed but less grip.
Downforce is also drag, you see. You have a rear wing that looks like a barndoor when you're standing in front of the car? You'll be able to hold onto the track, but that obstruction will also slow the car down. Conversely, if your rear wing is as thin as a sheet of paper lying on a table, you're gonna be blisteringly fast because the drag'll be minimal... which, on most circuits, means you'll get to the accident site faster.
The dominant feature at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve are the two "straights" running to and from the hairpin. Without a slow technical section, you can do away with drag-creating downforce... in fact, you have to if you want to compete.
There's a saying in motorsports: you've got to go slow to go fast. That aphorism basically means that if you can't make it through the twisty bits quickly and cleanly, you can't have a good lap time. In 2008, when Force India was still bad, it was routine for them to be the fastest car through the speed trap, meaning that for straight-line velocity, nobody could touch them. The problems occurred when they had to turn.
Well, at a place like Canada or Monza, you can throw that witty saying in the dustbin.
Posted by: Wonderduck at June 11, 2010 08:56 PM (iJfPN)
OK, that makes sense. A big tail with a lot of cross section is going to cause a lot of turbulence, and that's parasitic.
It's simpler than that. You get downforce by re-directing the airflow, creating low pressure areas under the chassis, etc. But there is no such thing as a free lunch, if you're using airflow to push the car down, that energy is coming from somewhere. I don't know if you have heard the famous statistic that an F1 can generate enough downforce to drive upside down on the ceiling of a tunnel, but you can imagine the amount of air being diverted to generate that much force.
A few years ago Honda took their car from the previous season out to the Bonneville salt flats in an attempt to set some landspeed records. They didn't try and tweak the engine for more speed, but just by removing most of the downforce and turbulence generators from the car, they got the top speed over 311mph.
Posted by: David at June 12, 2010 01:20 PM (rlE2m)
David, I'm afraid your numbers are incorrect. BAR-Honda's Bonneville 400 team took a race-legal 007 chassis to (unofficially) just over 413kph (256.7mph) at a dried-out lakebed near the Bonneville Salt Flats (which had flooding that year). The next they officially hit 400.450kph, or 248.828mph, at Bonneville itself.
There were still wings on the nose (though greatly reduced), and what looked like a miniature airplane's vertical tail replacing the usual rear wing, but it was race legal. Here's a viddy about it!
Posted by: Wonderduck at June 12, 2010 02:43 PM (iJfPN)
F1 on TV: Canada 2010
Yep, that's right: F1 on TV. You know what that means... it means we're in that four-race stretch where Formula 1 is shown on a major network, but tape-delayed. Whee. Except for this week as the F1 Circus has returned to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on the Ile Notre-Dame, a manmade island in the St Lawrence River, in Montreal. And this will be an interesting study in F1 racing for more reasons than one. "Why", you may ask, "is that?" All will be revealed in due time, Sparky, but first! It is time for... the track map!
Montreal is what I'd call a "classic track", meaning that it's not a Hermann Tilke "Adventure" circuit ("You are in a maze of little twisty passages, all alike"), and here's where it gets interesting. You see, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was off the calendar in 2009, meaning that this'll be the first time the new-spec cars will have been here. Last year, every race was an exciting voyage of discovery as to how the low downforce, slick tire-shod chassis ran on each track. Of course, this year the teams have a years' worth of experience on most of the circuits, with two exceptions. One exception is the new layout in South Korea, a Tilke circuit. The other exception is Montreal. Exciting!
This circuit is well known as being murder on brakes. Turn 10 is the true killer here. You see, F1 brakes are designed to run at ridiculously high temperatures: 1000ÂºC. From Turns 1 thru 7, that's not a problem, the carbon brake discs stay right where they're supposed to. But then comes the run from Turn 7 to the hairpin Turn 10, which is nearly as slow as Monaco's Loews Hairpin. The catch is that, during that high-speed sprint, the brakes cool dramatically then, when the driver stomps on the "stop in a hurry" pedal, the heat builds up so rapidly that a thin layer of the carbon disc actually melts, or "glazes" the brakes, reducing the stopping efficiency, and of their ability to dissipate heat. That means you have to apply more force to the brakes to slow down, which increases heat buildup, which means more glazing. Repeat 70 times. This means that over the length of the race, the brakes get too hot. This is the only circuit where I've seen a brake disc actually explosively shatter. The run from Turn 2 to 6 has a similar effect, though reduced, as does the streak from 10 to the Turn 12/13 chicane.
Because of all the drivers that have left their suspensions here, it's known as the "Wall of Champions."
We'll find out who'll be the lucky driver to join the list beginning on Friday with LIVE coverage of Practice Session 2 on SPEED from 1pm to 240pm. We'll get Quals on serious tape delay because of NASCAR stuff on Saturday from 330pm to 5pm, also on SPEED.
The race itself will be LIVE on Sunday from 11am to 1pm, but on your FOX affiliate. Check your local listings for times in your area, as they do have to option to move it around. Also, don't expect any pre-race coverage, and next to no post-race stuff either. For that, keep it here for F1U! There will be a replay on SPEED on Tuesday, from 11am to 1pm. (All times Pond Central)
Luckily for all of us, the Legendary Announce Team will be providing their usual sterling analysis for the race. Don't miss it, it'll be a blast!
For the past few weeks, I've been realizing that I don't have much need to write. The F1 Update!s are becoming a chore. Nothing in this season of anime has grabbed me and said "hey, mention me, will ya?" I couldn't even have a topic for this year's Battle of Midway Day, despite trying for days to come up with something.
Part of it is, I'm sure, just "one of those phases" all bloggers seem to go through (or at least "thinkers" go through; I'm not sure "linkers" even need to use their brains for their blogs). Part of it is a nascent fear that I'm on the wrong side of Sturgeon's Law.
And part of it is frustration, a particular type of frustration that again every blogger goes through at one time or another. It's the frustration of seeing a post (or a series of posts) that you've put relatively large amounts of time and effort into... is being ignored completely. I'm thinking of my episodic series review of Ga-Rei Zero here, but it could apply to just about anything on The Pond (with a couple of exceptions). Nearly 26000 words and lord knows how many screencaps over 12 posts, at four hours minimum per post, and there's only 30 comments between them... and at least 10 of those are my own.
Wonderduck's Pond isn't one of the big hitters like Steven or Shamus, never will be, and I'm fine with that. I didn't start writing here because I cared if people read it, but because I wanted to write. But everybody with a comments section wants a little recognition for their efforts; me, you, the blogger who writes about plastic daffodils, everybody. Maybe the stuff here isn't worth commenting on... again, the fear of being on the wrong side of Sturgeon's Law... or maybe nobody sees it, or maybe nobody gives a rat's asterisk about commenting anymore. And The Pond's five-year anniversary is coming up...
I enjoyed your posts on Gai-Rei... A problem though: some of those posts refused to completely load in my browser. This is actually a general problem with your blog--some of your posts simply don't load completely. It doesn't seem to happen to any other mu.nu blogs. I think it happens more often on some of the longer image-heavy posts, but not really sure. It also happens for some of the F1 Updates.
Anyway, unless someone is paying you to blog, don't feel compelled to post if its a drag, though I'd be sad if you dropped out...
Posted by: Kayle at June 05, 2010 03:08 PM (dmU/A)
Just refresh the post in question, that usually loads everything in.
Posted by: Wonderduck at June 05, 2010 03:43 PM (iJfPN)
I really enjoyed your Gai-Rei posts, and started checking your site daily at that point. I also enjoy your history posts. However, I usually don't having anything intelligent to say in response (not that I always let that stop me). I'd be disappointed if you stopped posting, but I won't be selfish enough to request that you keep posting if you no longer enjoy it.
Posted by: Siergen at June 05, 2010 05:30 PM (jMQcx)
I think that concerns about traffic are also one of those phases people go through.
In the end, the writing itself is the reward. I don't write because I expect huge numbers of people to read (although my current traffic levels are quite comfortable, so this sounds a bit like Misaka Mikoto's "power doesn't matter" comments: that's easy for you to say, Railgun!). I write because I'm compelled to write. Or because the act of writing is fun.
In the end, the question is this: what's in this for you? What do you want? Why are you doing it?
If you want traffic, post porn. If you want to write, well, write!
And if there's nothing in it for you, then quit. (I'd be very sorry if you did, though.)
I do read (or at least skim) most of what you post here, and it's generally good stuff, but I can't comment if I've got nothing to say, and that's almost always the case with your WWII and F1 posts. I don't know nearly enough about either subject to believe I can add to the discussion. Anime is different, of course, but even then there's a lot that I'm just not interested in, or that I am interested in but haven't seen yet and don't want to get spoiled on (Ga-Rei Zero being an example of the latter). Plus I'm currently in a bit of an anime slump myself.
As for what you should do... if you aren't getting anything out of anime and WWII history, and F1 is becoming a chore, why not write about something else? If you want more comments, actively soliciting them (like you did in this post) might help... I don't have any meaningful blogging experience, but I'm always more inclined to comment when a blogger expresses interest in what I think.
Posted by: Andrew F. at June 05, 2010 06:03 PM (f9X3G)
Refreshing helps only on most of the posts, not all of them. Also, I usually have to strip out the hash part of the URL (the behavior of linking to a landmark is weird on your blog, but I haven't been motivated enough to look into the code to find out why...)
Posted by: Kayle at June 05, 2010 09:49 PM (dmU/A)
I read your blog regularly, although I don't comment - exactly like all the other blogs I read.
I really appreciate the F1 posts - it's nice learning about a subject I'd be abjectly ignorant on.
I came for the anime (followed a link from Steven's blog I don't know how long ago) but stayed for the eclectic well-written posts.
Posted by: Andy at June 06, 2010 12:51 AM (MXy5A)
Kayle, that happens with his posts which extend past the length of his side bar. And it only happens with IE. Firefox handles the long ones fine.
Not everyone who loves and reads is able to write... I read Chizumatic and Pond everyday, but I won't comment.
Posted by: ari at June 06, 2010 12:31 PM (1wHyJ)
I don't check a whole lot of blogs every day, but this one's on that list. Everything I know about F1, I learned from the Pond! ;p
Personally I have a bad habit of not posting. Sometimes I genuinely don't have anything to report. Sometimes I -do- but I don't write anyway. I mean, I could go make a rant-post about Minoru Shiraishi (who is, curse his hide, back in my life again)... but I probably won't, because it'd just depress me when I ought to be timing.
I would remove my comments section, if I was feeling self conscious about it enough that It might make me quit doing something I enjoy.
Posted by: Felblood at June 06, 2010 06:36 PM (Q6asm)
I'm a long time reader, but only an infrequent commenter; often I hold back from commenting because I think my comment might be frivolous and asinine. Perhaps I should comment more often, if it would make you feel better about blogging.
Along with the other commenters here, I do enjoy your blog and appreciate your commentary, particularly on the topics of Formula One and WWII history. I enjoy your anime posts, too, even though I pretty much gave up on Japanese animation quite a while ago; some of your anime posts tempt me into getting back into it, at least in a small way.
Posted by: Peter the Not-so-Great at June 06, 2010 08:10 PM (c62wM)
Posted by: Pixy Misa at June 07, 2010 11:21 AM (PiXy!)
I'll echo Andy and avatar... I cared nothing about racing until you started posting F1 updates. Now I look forward to your mooooooove of the day. I even watched a few minutes of F1 a while back, just out of interest.
So... stop posting if it is too much of a chore for you, of course. You don't owe me (or us) anything. Nevertheless, I kind of think you would miss doing it after a while. And I enjoy your various slice-of-life posts, and mourned with you on your recent loss.
There is a loose coalition of friends here, and it is made possible primarily by the blog, which is after all, a collection of posts which you felt it worthwhile, to create.
Your choice, in the end, but there are a lot of us out here who read; more than you think, I suspect.
Posted by: dkAllen at June 07, 2010 12:58 PM (1PFDl)
I'm just a mere long-time lurker, but I have to throw in here. I enjoy the F1 Updates - because they're fun to read!
And your Pacific War posts are great. Most of those have ended up bookmarked in my "WWII" folder to re-read later.
What Steven said up above is the key - if you don't enjoy it, don't do it.
But we enjoy what you're doing!
Posted by: UtahMan at June 07, 2010 02:45 PM (p1tb6)
June 3, 1942: The Battle Begins
Conventional wisdom says that the Battle of Midway began on June 4th, 1942. Just as the conventional wisdom that says that the Japanese carriers were five minutes from launching a devastating attack on the US carriers is incorrect, this too is wrong. The Battle of Midway actually began on June 3rd. To be sure, all the dramatic parts of the fight occurred the following day, but the two opponents started throwing armament at each other on the third day of June.
Nine B-17s took off from the runways of Midway's Eastern Island around 1230pm on June 3rd. After a flight of about three hours, they found the transports of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Midway Occupation Force, tasked to effect the actual invasion of the atoll, approximately 500 miles to the west. The B-17s claimed multiple hits on the lumbering transports, though managed none whatsoever, despite a total absence of CAP and effective antiaircraft fire.
Meanwhile, a thousand miles or more to the northeast of Midway, two light carriers of the IJN (the Ryujo and the Junyo) launched an attack on Dutch Harbor, Alaska. 12 Zero fighters, 10 Val dive bombers and 10 Kate torpedo bombers (operating in horizontal bombing mode) lifted off from the tiny flight decks in miserable weather. This attack caused minor damage to oil storage tanks and the local radio station, while some bombs hit the barracks of Ft Mears, killing 25 soldiers.
The attack on the Aleutian Islands has often been called a diversionary assault, intended to draw out the American fleet from Pearl Harbor. It turns out that that is not the case. Both the attack on Midway and the attack on the Aleutians were supposed to begin on June 3rd, but the carrier fleet tasked for the Midway part of the attack were delayed by a day by refueling problems.
Late in the night of June 3rd, four PBY flying boats of Patrol Squadron 44 took off from the seaplane base at Midway, headed for the Occupation Force. Early the next morning, one of them put a torpedo into the bows of the fleet oiler Akebono Maru. Damage was relatively light, and the ship continued underway with little delay. This was the only successful torpedo attack by the Americans for the entire battle.
The opening volleys of the most decisive naval victory in history had been fired; the next day would belong to the carriers.
During WWII most American fighter planes were armed with M2 Browning HMG. Because the Japanese planes were firetraps, the American planes were armed with 50% armor piercing rounds and 50% incendiary, alternating on the feed belts.
Against the Japanese that made a lot of sense. You needed the AP in order to do damage to engines if you hit them. But the incendiary rounds were just the ticket if you were hitting fuel tanks on wings.
Did the US use the same 50/50 belts in Europe against the Germans? Or did they use 100% AP?
Good question, Steven. I'll have to research that one. Fortunately, I've got just the books I'll need to get an answer, but it'll take some digging.
Posted by: Wonderduck at June 04, 2010 10:07 PM (iJfPN)
What kind of altitude would B-17s bomb a fleet from in the Pacific? Getting as high as possible makes sense in the ETO, but I would suspect that even a slow lumbering transport could dodge a stick of bomb dropped from 20,000 feet by a B-17 leaving contrails across the horizon for all to see.
Will, the B-17s attacked the transports at altitudes ranging from 8000 to 12000 feet, which was considered "medium" altitude. The transports didn't even notice the Bs until after they had dropped their bombs, and jinked very late... and there were still no hits.
When the Flying Fortresses attacked Kido Butai the next day, they came in at 20000+ feet. They were spotted early, and they again scored no hits, though Hiryu was bracketed by near misses that landed within her own length away.
Posted by: Wonderduck at June 06, 2010 11:16 PM (iJfPN)