March 22, 2020

#NotTheBahGP

A more-or-less not-quite official race this weekend is located at the Veloce Esports twitch channel.  As I write this at 125pm on Sunday, Quals are about to wrap up.  Here's the level of competition: F1 driver Lando Norris?  He's sixth on the grid.


And yes, there's announcers and standard-style coverage.  I don't believe I'm going to say this but cheer on the Ferraris... those are driven by yootoobers SuperGT and Jimmy Broadbent, who I've mentioned in here once or twice before.

If you need a racing fix, here's your chance.

EDIT: Okay, I take it back.  Yeesh, that was ugly.  Friggin' bumpercars.  The worst offenders were the actual racers!  I'd rather watch a Wreckfest race.

ANOTHER EDIT: So I watched the official F1 e-race.  At least the#NotTheBahGP had a full grid of real drivers and experienced simracers...the OFFICIAL F1 race had people who had never raced before in ANY manner in it.  A musician?  An Olympic cyclist (who did at least race at Le Mans in 2016)?  I don't like to swear, but it was a total sh*tshow from the moment Quals began.  Disappointing.

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March 20, 2020

F1Update!: Virus 7, F1 0

The Evil Death Bat Soup Virus has destroyed motorsports in general these days, but Formula 1 has been particularly well massacred.  Yesterday F1 CEO Chase Carey came out and announced that the season has been either postponed or flat-out cancelled up to and including Monaco.


This is going to be the first time since 1955 that there hasn't been a grand prix at Monaco.  It makes sense that they'd cancel instead of postpone; it takes SO much time to set up the circuit around the Principality.  They had already started, in fact; the ancillary buildings were being activated a week ago. 

Now, only two races have been confirmed to be outright cancelled: Monaco and Australia.  The rest have merely been "postponed", but lets face it... it's not like the teams are going to be hankerin' to go to China anytime soon because of all this.  In an attempt to save SOME of the season, the mandatory "Summer Break" has been moved to... well, NOW... and once things start again they'll just race straight through.

Which sort of defeats the original purpose of the summer break, but special times require special measures I guess.  Assuming, of course, that there's a season at all... and wouldn't that be a fine kettle of fish?  I wonder how many teams would fold if that occurred?  No racing, no sponsor money, no sponsor money... 

There's always sim racing, however.  And lots of it, in fact.  At one point this past weekend, Lando Norris had the most watched Twitch stream as he participated in a star-studded sim race on the Daytona 24 Hour Circuit, and the Not Bahrain Grand Prix is this weekend.  So that's an option, I suppose.

I guess we'll get through this.  Duckford, and all of Illinois, has finally gone on lockdown effective 5pm Saturday.  The usual places are still allowed to be open, but we're all supposed to "shelter in place."  Which I've been doing all year thus far.  Sadly, the Pond Central complex office broke my not-quarantine-just-antisocial yesterday when they came in and installed a new furnace.  No, the old one was working, they just felt this was the best time to do it.  Or something.  Oh, and I had a grocery delivery on Wednesday.  Usually it's a two-hour wait, sometimes as long as five.  This time?  I placed the order on SUNDAY, but Wednesday was the earliest they could get to me.  No bread, no regular Ritz crackers.

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March 12, 2020

F1Update!: Australia 2020 vs Virus

"I'm due a good Australian Grand Prix." - Daniel Ricciardo, 9am Pond Central time

This has been a wild freakin' day in Melbourne.  It began with five Haas F1 race staffers being tested for COVID-19 and being quarantined in place.  A credentialed photographer was showing symptoms of the disease.  Then a McLaren mechanic was confirmed to have the virus, leading the team to withdraw from the Australian Grand Prix.

And then everything went straight to hell.  

Team principals had a meeting over what the teams wanted to do, took a vote... and they split 5-5 between racing and leaving.  12 more McLaren staffers were quarantined.  Reports came out that the race would continue with nine teams only.  Then news came out that the FOM, the media wing of Formula 1, had told all their staffers... camera operators, producers, sound ops, coffee makers... to stay away from the track.  

Saturday's 12 Hours of Sebring was postponed until November by IMSA; NASCAR decided to run their next two races in closed stadiums.  Baseball postponed the first two weeks of their season, the NHL put their season on hold, as has the NBA.  

Around about 4pm Pond Central time, some of the teams showed up at the track and began to pack up the paddock... except the support races were using the pitlane so they couldn't roll the shipping containers into place to really do anything.  Then both Ferrari's Seb Vettel and Alfa Romeo's Mumbles Raikkonen got on a plane headed for Dubai.  Meanwhile, the organizers, FIA and Formula 1 were all saying that they couldn't make the call to cancel the race, the other two orgs were in charge of that.  

Shortly after that, a FIA spokesman said "For us to cancel on our own would require less than 12 cars to be available.  But other than that or from the local authorities the FIA cannot cancel because there are too many commercial agreements that in cancelling the liability would come back to us."

Note: this is hands-down the worst answer anybody could have come up with.

The Sky Sports broadcast crew... the english-speaking world's broadcaster... packed up and flew home.  Mercedes announced that they had sent a letter to the FIA calling for the race to be cancelled. "We no longer feel the safety of our employees can be guaranteed if we continue to take part in the event."

Then, finally, about an hour ago as I type this, the news finally came out... the FIA in association with the Australian Grand Prix Corporation had made the decision to cancel the race.

Arguments will be ongoing as to whether this happened in a timely manner (no) or if there were any plans in place for this seemingly obvious eventuality (sure doesn't look like it), but at least the correct decision was made.  Eventually.

Reportedly the season will now be starting in Baku and there will be no summer break.  We'll see.  

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