October 16, 2005

F1 UPDATE: SHANGHAI!

And so it ends, not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with an "Clank!" Lets get on with F1 Update!: China!!!

*DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB: Fernando Alonso apparantly reads F1 Update, since three weeks ago we had him singing "We Are The Champions." Today, after winning the Chinese GP and clinching the Constructor's Championship, he broke into an... um... energetic rendition of Queen's classic. While we at F1 Update! appreciate the spirit, we had no idea he was that horrible a singer.

*SOMEONE'S GOTTA SAY IT: JP Montoya is an amazing talent, a driver that seems RIGHT on the verge of making the sport his personal playground. And at this moment, F1 Update! is fairly sure that he will NEVER make that last step to legendary status. From breaking his shoulder "playing tennis," to running a pitlane redlight, to his run-ins with backmarkers, and today running over a draincover that his teammate saw coming loose a lap earlier, The Pope isn't unlucky, he's dumb. It's just that simple.

*F1 ISN'T A TEAM SPORT? YEAH, RIGHT: Shanghai had the potential of being as exciting as Suzuka. Renault made sure that wouldn't happen, with Alonso burying the accelerator, and Fisichella taking a page from Jarno Trulli's playbook and playing engineer ("I lead the train!"). While this certainly is a successful tactic (see "Ferrari," 1998-2004), it IS dull. Once Montoya perforated his car on the draincover, Renault had no chance of losing the Constructor's Championship; they could have dropped it the Team Orders right then. Instead, they instructed Giancarlo Fisichella to drive obstructively in the pitlane... cheat, to put it bluntly. Nice.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE: Fernando Alonso, Renault. Team Orders only work when you've got a dominant driver. Alonso is that sort of driver, taking the advantage given him and running away and hiding with it. We barely saw him all day, as watching one car driving around isn't THAT interesting. That's what it was for him, however, as his lead was almost never less than 15 seconds.

*MOVE OF THE RACE: Mark Webber's pass on Rubens Barrichello wasn't exactly a work of art. All he did was pressure the Ferrari driver lap after lap, turn after turn, pushing him, looking for an opening, and driving him into a mistake. Eventually, Rubens had Bridgestone flambe and Webber was past... and Jensen Button snuck past, too.

*MOOOOOO-VE OF THE RACE: Celebrating the bovine lurking inside all drivers, the mooooooo-ve of the race is a special, special award. Today's winner is a special, special driver, too. Mitchell "Slappy" Schumacher has set uncountable records in F1 over the course of his career, but even he can't avoid the Curse of the Cow. But today he showed why he's Die Weltmeister, earning this award with TWO stellar performances. First, even BEFORE THE RACE BEGUN, he turned his car into the path of an onrushing Christijan Albers, launching the Minardi over the Ferrari's left side and killing both cars. That would be enough for most drivers, but because he's Slappy Schumacher he went out and earned the award AGAIN. Lap 23, behind the safety car, for no discernable reason, suddenly we see Mitchell sliding into the one gravel trap on the course, backwards! Talk about your unforced errors! Slappy, this Mooooooo-ve is for you!

*DRIVER QUOTES:

"Weeeeeee arrrrre the Chammmpions / WEEEEEE ARRRE THE CHAMMMMPIONS!" - Fernando Alonso. (note: real quote)

"mbmmmbmbml msmmbbllbl mbmmmmbbml mbmbmmbbmml race mdmmwldkmsll" - Kimi Raikkonen (note: real quote) (2nd note: I pity the closed captioning person who tries to transcribe a Kimi Raikkonen interview live.)

"I love podiums. I wish I could be up here more often." - Ralf Schumacher.

"This is the best fourth place of my life." - Giancarlo Fisichella. (note: real quote)

"Vitantonio Who?" - Christian Klein.

"I think I hit puberty today." - Felipe Massa.

"What a season. Bloody hell, I'm glad it's over." - Mark Webber

"A point isn't so bad. It's what Taku got all year, after all." - Jensen Button.

"OH-ver RAY-ted!" (clap, clap, clapclapclap) "OH-ver RAY-ted!" (clap, clap, clapclapclap) - F1 Update! staff.

"That was pants." - David Coulthard's Chin (note: real quote) (note: we here at F1 Update! aren't exactly sure what this means, but we're going to adopt it as the website motto. 'F1 Update!: That was pants.')

"Today... I... am the luckiest man... on the face of the earth." - Jacques Villeneuve (note: watch what he does during the Narain Karthekeyan accident, and this will make more sense)

"Hi, I'm Tiago Montiero. I was the best Jordan driver all year. Would you like fries with that?" - Tiago Montiero.

"I wish I had some marshmallows." - Rubens Barrichello. (note: apparantly Rubens is going to give his family members a ride in the Ferrari three-seater... you just KNOW he's going to smoke a tire in Maranello...)

"I was Driver of the Race a few weeks ago. Would you like to supersize that?" - Antonio Pizzonia.

"I said over the radio at the end of the race, 'Thank you, Minardi, for giving me the chance to make my debut as a Formula One driver'. " - Robert Doorknob (note: real quote)

"I can't BELIEVE that Ralf ended up with more driver's points than I did. Choo-chooooooo!" - Jarno Trulli.

"AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!" - Christijan Albers

"Imahitotsu sake. Oresama douyara akuun." - Takuma Sato.

"AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!" - Narain Karthekeyan.

"*clunk* What was that?" - Juan Pablo Montoya.

"This weird ending pretty much sums up our season." - Slappy Schumacher. (note: real quote)

And thus endeth the 2005 F1 year. But F1 Update! isn't done yet, oh no... It's time for our Annual F1 Update! Award Show. Stay tuned, my friends, stay tuned...

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October 11, 2005

F1 UPDATE: JAPAN!

Yes, it's finally here! We've been having medical problems, but now we've seemed to kick them, and we can finally get around to covering the Best Race Of The Year! Lets get right to it!

NOW THAT'S RACIN': Even before the lights went out, we had excitement as Jensen Button's BAR-Honda smoked more than a DJ in the '70s. AFTER the lights went out, it just got even more exciting. Cars going every which way, Sato misjudging a pass & brake manuever and going off, followed rapidly by Rubens Barrichello (go here for a picture), Christian Klein going offroading, Kimi Raikkonen showing that the McLaren works as well on grass as it does on track, and finally ending with Jack Newtown punting The Pope into the wall and ripping the car into chunks, bringing out the safety car. ALL ON THE FIRST LAP! Then... it got better! Outstanding, just outstanding, the race of the year, bar none. Even San Marino, with Alonso holding off Schumacher for lap upon lap while his rear tires fell apart, doesn't stand up in comparison.

DRIVER OF THE RACE: Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren. There wasn't even any controversy about this choice. Started 17th, drives his heart out, passes Giancarlo Fisichella on the last lap, wins the race. What more can be said? Fernando Alonso may have won the Drivers Championship, but Kimi now has more wins on the season than Fernando, and he's probably the best driver with the best car on the grid right now. Just an amazing drive.

TEAM OF THE RACE: Renault. They took the lead back in the Constructor's Championship, took the other two podium places, and overall just showed just why they've done so well this season: they've been consistent and reliable.

MOVE OF THE RACE: There were a lot of moves that qualified this week, but the winner on sheer impressive performance has to be Fernando Alonso's pass of Slappy Schumacher on Lap 20. Not only did it come against the Old Master, but it came in 130-R, a tough place to DRIVE, let alone pass. Then, right after he got his nose in front of the Ferrari, the Renault driver just RAN AWAY and hid. The Ferrari season in a nutshell, right there. Honorable mention, and winner if you add in the importance factor, goes to Kimi's pass of Fisi in Turn 1 on the white-flag lap. A proud third goes to Alonso again, with his pass of Mark Webber on Lap 49. Down the front straight, it got a little scary when Webbo tried to block, pushing The Champ's right tires into the grass, but all was safe and the pass was just sheer muscle and chutzpah.

MOOOO-VE OF THE RACE: We're not going to beat on Takuma Sato, our hero, not after he lost his ride with his voyage into the kitty litter and his spearing of Jarno. Yes, you read that right: Sato is out for the China GP, being replaced by The Ant.

No. Instead, we're going to celebrate the 20 years of bovine-ness that is Minardi. Illustrative of this, we'll point out the Lap 34 torching of Christian Albers' perfectly good car by the Minardi Pit Crew, and the sight of the dancing crewmen as their shoes went up in flames. Fortunately, everybody was unharmed, and the car even came back out a few minutes later, but still... Minardi, we salute you! Mooooooooooooooooo!

SELECTED DRIVERS QUOTES:
"mbmbmbml mbmbmbml win mbmbmbll mbmbbmbml championship." - Kimi Raikkonen.

"I am disappointed. It was all that backmarker's fault!" - Giancarlo Fisichella.

"Third. Eh. Whatever. Did I mention? I'm. THE. CHAMP!!! - Fernando Alonso.

"Woo-HOOOOOOOO!!!! FOURTH!!!!! *dancing*" - Mark Webber.

"(just staring balefully at Webber)" - Jensen Button.

"Do you realize we beat Ferrari? Bloody hell, that's posh!" - David Coulthard's Chin.

"The best thing to come out of today is that we have secured third place in this year’s Constructors’ championship." - Slappy Schumacher (note: real quote)

"How in the world did I end up EIGHTH?!?!?!?" - Ralf Schumacher.

"The big question isn't 'why did I end up 9th?' The big question is 'how did I qualify 4th?' The answer is simple: I have pictures of Charlie Whiting doing something very, VERY wrong." - Christian Klein.

"I did absolutly nothing of note. Move along." - Felipe Massa.

"Heh heh heh. And so, I add The Pope to my hit list. Heh heh heh." - Jack Newtown.

"I had Sato in my sight so I could see him going off the track. With him in front of me as he went off the track, I found myself with no downforce and also ended up in the gravel. " - Rubens Barrichello. (note: real quote) Editor's Note: Rubino, you should be ashamed of yourself for trying to blame Takuma for your sojourn into the kittylitter. It was your fault entirely... and YOU hit HIM, buddy. You just blew the turn, and you know it.

"Sake. Then Fugu. Then Wakazashi." - Takuma Sato.

"Well, I didn't kill myself. That's a plus." - Tiago Montiero.

"I wonder why that man with a jack is standing right *bump* there? Oh! Oh, dear." - Robert Doorknob. (Editor's Note: while it wasn't shown on F1 TV, the Doorknob ran over his jackman on the way into his pit stall at one point. Everybody's okay, though... just a bruise. The Minardi Way.)

"Well, I didn't kill myself. That's a plus." - Narain Karthekeyan.

"*foom* Flame ON!" - Christijan Albers.

"Mmmm... kitty litter..." - Antonio Pizzonia.

"Sato tried a manoeuvre that was obviously impossible. He just tried to overtake me but instead he hit me and pushed me off. There was no reason to try that move so I don't know what he was thinking. He's been causing problems for a long time and the FIA has to take action to stop it." - Jarno Trulli (note: real quote)

"AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" - Juan Pablo Montoya.

Which brings us to the end of F1 Update!'s look back at the Japanese GP. The next race is the Chinese GP, and the end of a great season. But F1 Update! won't be taking a break after that, oh no... stay tuned!

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Zsolt The F1 Duck!

By now, I'm sure you've noticed a new addition to the Pond's sidebar. Ladies and Gentlemen, please give the Pond's new mascot a warm welcome! Click on "more" to feed him, and click him directly to hear his views on such topics as Takuma Sato's driving style, should Slappy Schumacher retire, is Fernando Alonso the best F1 driver, and MORE!

F1 Update has been delayed due to health reasons; long story, but suffice to say that internal bleeding is not ALWAYS dangerous, but IS ALWAYS scary as hell.

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October 09, 2005

F1 Update: SUZUKA!

***coming soon***

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