April 13, 2007

Friday Practice: Bahrain

Only two important things to mention about today's practice at the sand-covered track in Bahrain:

1) Honda's cars may stink this year, but the engines have the sterling quality they've always had. Jensen Button got another taste of what having an afterburner is like today, with an absolutely brilliant case of the Ka-Blammo!s. Poor Felipe Massa, trailing behind the remains of Button's engine, wound up losing control when he hit the oil slick left behind as it pretended to be a fragmentation grenade. Ouch. In the one bit of good news for Jense, at least he won't take a 10-spot penalty due to the rules changes for this season...
(UPDATE: In comments, SDB asked if we got to see the engine go kablammo, and indeed we did. In the reply, however, I mentioned it's only the second-best Button kablammo of all-time. Both are shown below the fold!)

2) Jean Todt was spotted without his Ferrari sweater. I submit that it's a symbiote, similar to Spiderman's black costume/Venom... how he managed to seperate it from his skin, we'll (hopefully) never know. Electrical shocks tended to disrupt the symbiote in the comics, maybe Todt's is affected by McLaren victories? Still, very, VERY creepy to see him in a shirt and slacks. Honda's Incredible Exploding Engine, 2006-edition

Jensen kicks in the secret rocket-motor in 2006. I particularly like the orange glow reflecting off the track surface, very stylish!

Honda's Incredible Exploding Engine, 2007-edition

Oh noes! The ultimate in global warmening! (see, the Honda car has the whole 'eco-friendly' thing going on, and the paintjob is the planet, and... I'll be quiet now)

Please note Felipe Massa's Ferrari in the background... and the direction the pointy end is facing... and the direction it SHOULD be facing.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:45 AM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
Post contains 285 words, total size 2 kb.

1 That must have been pretty spectacular. Did you actually get to see that engine blow up?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 13, 2007 10:59 AM (+rSRq)

2 Indeed! The car was going through a S-bend complex in a rather sloppy fashion (fishtailing, waaaaay off-line, etc etc etc), basically looking like Button had blown the turn. Suddenly, there was a huge fireball behind the car, and in slow-motion, you can see decent-sized chunks of aluminum and carbon fiber flying off into the desert.

Not quite as good as the one he had last season where it really DID look like he had an afterburner going (jet of flame about half-a-car long), but impressive indeed.

Posted by: Wonderduck at April 13, 2007 11:05 AM (2nDll)

3 LOL about the hardway "global warming."

Posted by: Mallory at April 13, 2007 11:53 AM (bpzDp)

4 Almost forgot...

On the subject of Jean Todt without his sweater, I had begun to think that he actually had red wool skin.

Posted by: Mallory at April 13, 2007 12:18 PM (bpzDp)

5 The engine is behind the driver, right? (I honestly don't know.)

When I was a kid, the drivers in Top Fuel were all the way at the back of the car, behind the rear wheel. But that meant that if anything happened to the engine, even a partial failure (like a blown piston head, which is quite common) had a chance of nailing the driver with burning fuel and/or debris.

They eventually changed the rules so that the drivers sat in front of the engines, which cut way down on injuries and deaths.

Of course, funny cars still have the engines in front and there's nothing that can be done about that without abolishing the class entirely, which isn't going to happen.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 13, 2007 02:24 PM (+rSRq)

6 Steven, here's a fantastic photo that shows exactly where the engine is locate in a F1 car.

Basically, yes, behind the driver (though not immediately behind him).

I've seen those older Top Fuelers; remarkably cool designs in my opinion (but I prefer the older F1 cars over the newer ones, too).

Posted by: Wonderduck at April 13, 2007 02:48 PM (h/YdH)

7 Those old Top Fuel dragsters give me the willies. I'm really glad they changed the rules.

I think this Jensen has got good reason to be really pissed off at his crew boss. Having that happen once is an accident. Twice is incompetence. (Three times would be a conspiracy.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 13, 2007 03:40 PM (+rSRq)

8 Conspiracy it is, then. In 2005, Honda had engine failures a-plenty. Not quite as impressive as these, though Takuma Sato's failure at Monaco, and it's resulting smoke-screen, was pretty awesome.

F1 engines are rev-limited to 19,000 RPM, and are designed to last for two race weekends; when something goes wrong, the results are usually pretty catastrophic... and EVERY team has at least one or two during a year.

Honda's are just more impressive, visually, when they let go.

I have no doubt that Jensen Button IS pissed, though.

Posted by: Wonderduck at April 14, 2007 12:46 AM (A5s0y)

9 Odd that Honda's F1 engines would be so fragile, given that their production cars are all but indestructible. I know, the racing engines are more highly stressed designs with thinner safety margins, built for performance and not durability, but still . . . .

Posted by: Mike at April 14, 2007 03:33 AM (0csIn)

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