October 04, 2005

F1 on Speed! & Other Stuff

Welcome to the Land of the Rising Sun! Home of sushi (mmm-MMM!), saki (mmm-MMMM!!!), Pocky (mmmmm-MMMMMM!), anime (w00t!), and... SUZUKA!

It's time for the Grand Prix of Japan, ladies and gentlemen! Last year's race was quite a momentous one... you might remember there was a typhoon that JUST missed the track, but still managed to wash out all of Saturday's activities. This led to a historic first in F1: qualifying for the race was on Sunday, just before the race... and it worked so well that F1 decided to keep it this year!

...where it was universally reviled by the teams, and dumped after a handful of races. Oh well... I liked it. There was something about four straight hours of live F1 that brings out the total geek in me. But I digress... it's time to take a look at the TV schedule for F1 on SPEED. All times are central, since that's where the Pond is located.

One nice thing about global travel is that when F1 goes far enough west (east?) of the US, us Yanks get to see the coverage at a half-decent hour... at least for ME it's decent... I'm not sure about Official First Reader Mallory. Official Overseas Reader Flotsky, you're stuck with what WE normally have to put up with, I guess.

First off, "Friday Practice" is actually on THURSDAY this time around, at 1159pm to 1am, 10/6/05. Okay, it's really midnight, but roll with me here.

Qualifying starts at 11pm on Friday, 10/7/05, and ends at 1230am on Saturday, followed immediately by "Inside Grand Prix".

Saturday, 11pm-1130pm: Inside GP again, followed immediately by the actual race, 1130pm to 2am; that's 10/8/05.

All of the above times are LIVE, by the way. The replay of the race is at 3pm on Sunday, 10/9/05, until 530pm. I admit it's very uncool to stay home on Saturday night, but I suspect I'll be camped out on the couch at 11pm on Saturday...

Now then... rumors! This duck's favorite driver, Takuma 'Suicide' Sato, may very well have a drive next year... but not with Jordan-Midland or Minardi, or even any of the other teams that are out there right now! Yes, the current talk is that there's going to be a new team on the grid!!!

The good people over at Grandprix.com are talking about something that flew under F1 Update!'s radar, an announcement from Honda that they'll be providing engines for another team, that currently ISN'T on the rosters. This team is suspected to be the Dome (which would be pronounced DOUGH-may, by the way) team.

As grandprix.com mentions, running a F1 team is NOT a spur-of-the-moment thing, and Dome isn't new on the scene. According to them, Dome first announced their intention to join F1 back in 1986, and while they haven't joined up, they've been honing their skills by building, amongst other things, Formula 3 cars (the forerunner of today's GP2) and other "minor league" cars... including an attempt to join the IRL (failed).

And who is expected to be lead driver for the team, if it exists? Taku. I'd like to suggest Zsolt Baumgartner as the second driver... my dream lineup, right there!

...which is kind of scary, if you think about it.

In other F1 news, Honda bought out British-American-Tobacco's 55% share of BAR-Honda. The team should still be known as BAR-Honda, though, as BAR (British-American Racing) will still be doing advertising with the team. Still, for all intents and purposes, BAR-Honda is now a manufacturer's team, just like BMW will be, and Ferrari.

Takuma Sato (what, him again?) is expected to be driving the Japanese entry in the new A1GP series, once the F1 season ends.

Finally, ending this all-Japan entry of F1 coverage, this might be the last time we see Suzuka for a while... because Toyota is pushing hard to get Mt. Fuji back on the calendar. Of course, Toyota OWNS the Mt. Fuji track, using it as a test course, so getting a race in there would be a nice way to a) earn extra revenue, and b) get an advantage over everybody else on one track.

Speaking as a fan, I'm all for trading off between Suzuka and Mt. Fuji. I've never seen a race at Mt. Fuji, but the historic layout looks interesting. It may have changed, of course... but the more tracks we get to see, the better. Of course, tracks like Spa-Francopants, Monaco, Silverstone and Monza need to be run every year... the legendary tracks. But why not move the Euro GP to a different track every year? I've heard a lot about Jerez, and how it's the big test facility, and how it's almost infinitely adjustable ... but it's been a while since a race has been run there. Lets get rid of the Hungaroring, bring back the A1-Ring!

...and while we're at it, how about bringing back Watkins Glen, Bernie?

Posted by: Wonderduck at 06:23 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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1 YAY! F1 coverage worth stay up for. I can't wait.

Very interesting F1 news. Great job, as always, in ferreting (duck-ing?) out the scoops! :-D

Posted by: Mallory at October 05, 2005 12:33 AM (ywZa8)

2 Scary, isn't it? :-)

Posted by: Wonderduck at October 06, 2005 10:55 AM (+rGmJ)

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