June 10, 2011

F1 Practice: Canada 2011

To say that this was a weird practice session today in Montreal would be something of an understatement.  The dominant color of the day would have to have been red.  Red for the three flags brought out for crashes by Red Bull's Seb Vettel, Sauber's Gandalf Kobayashi, and Custard d'Ambrosio's Virgin.  And red for the color of the fast car of the day, HWMNBN's Ferrari.  P2 in particular was a sloppy, stop-and-start affair that really prevented the teams from getting data on long runs.

Sauber is probably the big loser in P2.  Of course, Gandalf power-sanded the right side of his car into dust against the wall.  Then, they learned that Sergio Perez won't be racing this weekend, as he's still recovering from the concussion he suffered in Quals at Monaco.  Before today, he had been cleared for action by the FIA's medical staff, and he gave it a shot with some twenty laps in P1.  There's just no way to predict how someone will react to the real-life stresses of racing a F1 car at top speed, what with the g-loading that wants to rip your head off.  After P1, he went to the team and said that he couldn't do it, he wasn't feeling 100%.  Smart move by the rookie, that.  Unfortunately, Team Sauber don't have their third driver, Esteban Gutierrez, in Canada this weekend.  Would have been interesting to see the kid, but that's the way it goes.  In Perez's stead, Sauber has asked McLaren for permission to borrow their test driver for the rest of the weekend, and McLaren assented.  His name?  Pedro de la Rosa.  That's right everybody, Pete Rose is back again! 

They're expecting rain both Saturday and Sunday... last race saw our first Safety Car of the year.  Will we get our first glimpse of the wet tires this week?

In other news from the F1 world...

Bahrain, which was a no-go, then a go-go, is now a no-no.  The screams of protest from the drivers (led by Mark Webber), the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA), and the fans were all set to be completely ignored by both Birdy Ecclestone and the FIA... but then Bahrain race organizers pulled the plug on the race this year.  Seems they couldn't guarantee the safety of the drivers... or something like that.  Color me surprised.

Then there's Virgin Racing.  For the entirety of their short existence, their cars have been designed by Nick Wirth. Wirth is F1's leading proponent of designing using computer simulation only... no wind tunnels for Nick's cars, no sirree!  Well, Virgin has decided that being the worst team on the grid is getting kinda old and bid Wirth farewell.

Quals aren't until the afternoon on Saturday; we'll be here immediately thereafter!  Don't forget that this is the weekend for the 24 Hours of LeMans, my favorite race of the year... yes, it's not all F1 around Pond Central!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:46 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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1 Is de la Rosa actually going to race? Or is it just for the practice runs, so that they can accumulate data on their car?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at June 10, 2011 08:36 PM (+rSRq)

2 Nope, he'll be in the car on Sunday.  As long as he's in there for Quals, he'll be okay to race... which is why, for example, Sergio Perez couldn't be replaced for the race at Monaco.

Posted by: Wonderduck at June 11, 2011 02:21 PM (n0k6M)

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