April 24, 2009

F1 Practice: Bahrain 2009!

Little interesting action today in Bahrain.  Instead, the story was weather-related, or more correctly, weather-that's-coming-related.

You see, the ambient air temps at the track were pushing 100oF., with no humidity to speak of and also no clouds.  As a result, the tarmac was a blistering 120oF., and that was expected to spiral upwards as the day went on.  This was affecting the two tire compounds (supersoft and medium) in different ways: the mediums were taking five laps or more to get warm, for no reason that anybody could tell.  The supersofts, on the other hand, were at their optimum operational temperature practically before the car reached the end of the pitlane.

So, supersofts look to be the way to go, right?  Well, not quite. They heated up quickly, gripped really hard... and then got too hot and lost effectiveness.  The Legendary Announce Team mentioned that it's just going to get hotter as the weekend goes on, which doesn't bode well for the lifespan of the supersofts.  The other problem for both tires is sand.  When the tires gets up to running temp, the rubber becomes very soft and pliant... practically on the verge of melting if you ask David Hobbes, LAT "color guy."  However, when a car gets offline (which was happening a lot today), it has to drive through the fine layer of sand that's everywhere in Bahrain... which then sticks and practically bonds to the hot rubber.  The result is either like driving on sandpaper (good result) or ice (bad result)... and guess which is more likely.

And on Sunday, they're predicting clear skies, hot temperatures... and high winds.  All of which means sandstorms, and lord only knows what'll happen then.  Will they race in a sand cloud?  Sit in the garages until it blows over?  Turn laps on camels?  Can we just have a NORMAL race for once?  Please?

In other news, Nelson Piquet Jr continued his March To Unemployment today by somehow managing to break his front wing without actually hitting anything or anybody.

This occurred near the pit-in, and his engineer told him to come in.  Instead he continued blithely on, paying no heed, la dee dah.  Admittedly, he probably couldn't see the sparks (the driver can't actually see his front wing from his spot in the cockpit), but he MUST have noticed the awful grinding sound, right?  Or the loss of grip?  After getting a new nose, he immediately progressed on to spinning his Renault on what seemed like every lap.

Finally, in their sixty years of Formula 1 running, Ferrari has never opened the season without scoring a point in the first four races.  Yet that's what they're looking at this weekend, and to be blunt, they were slow today.  You can't trust results in practice, but you CAN trust both drivers saying, in effect, the car is bad in Bahrain.  Look for some anti-Ferrari history to be made this weekend.

See you for Quals!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 06:29 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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Long time reader and fan of your F1 updates, and I'm wondering if you have seen any of the BBC broadcasts?  I don't TIVO and can rarely watch the races live on Speed so I usually download the event.  The only thing I miss are Peter Windsors grid walks but the BBC has DC and Eddie Jordan and that seems to open quite a few doors in the paddock. Their expert commentary (along with Martin Brundle) really go a long way to satisfy a true F1 fan's thirst for behind the scenes coverage.  If you do torrents I can send you an invite to a great UK site for all types of motorsports.  robertv (at) winfirst (dot) com  Thanks and keep up the great work!   

Posted by: RobertV at April 25, 2009 09:18 AM (rMOKU)

2 Robert, I have seen the Beeb's coverage, and I'll admit to thinking that ITV did a better job.  What I'd like is a combination of the BBC's tv package with Speed's Legendary Announce Team.

Having heard three different groups of announcers (four if you add in those miserable CBS races of a few years back), I find the LAT to be the best of the lot, probably followed by last year's ITV team and then the BBC. 

The Beeb's got the best intro music, though.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, beats The Chain.  (yes, I know that's not the official video opening I've linked to, but it bloody well should be)

Posted by: Wonderduck at April 25, 2009 11:34 PM (/nYBT)

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