March 31, 2006

Aussie Quals

I've seen the first two knockouts (it's 3am here; watched some anime with a friend tonight), and two interesting things:

1) Yuji Ide's SuperbestFriends (thanks, Steve Matchett) car was on display for THREE YEARS in the Melbourne airport before this race; and

2) Some Ferrari crewmember is going to be missing his posterior.
"Hey, Bob?"
"Yeah, Stan?"
"Have you seen blower #2?"
*crunchbumpbumpshattersnapcrunch*
"Never mind."

I'll watch Q3 once I wake up; more later!

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March 30, 2006

Overheard from Australia...

"Okay, did you hit something, mate?"
Christijan Albers: "Yeah, I think I hit something... the wall."
(from Midlands team radio)

"These are not tractors."
(Bob Varsha, SPEED announcer, as another car took to the grass)

"Here's Yuji Ide, in his SuperAguri."
"AKA Arrows... aka slow."
(Steve Matchett & David Hobbes, SPEED announcers)

"Vrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!"
(David Hobbes, SPEED announcer, trying to make us think SuperAguri is fast)

"Does anybody else think the Australia course looks like the world's largest slot-car track?"
(Scooter T. Wonderduck)

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March 29, 2006

BREAKING F1 NEWS!

MINARDI is coming back!!!

Paul Stoddard, aka "Guido Minardi" here at The Pond, has applied for a team in 2008, and it will be called "European Minardi."

We here at F1 Update! are all aquiver.

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March 28, 2006

F1 On SPEED!

'Ello, mate! I'm Bruce, and this here's the schedule for the Aussie GP on SPEED this week!

Thursday, March 30th from 9p-10p, we've got Formula One Practice LIVE! Finally, something F1-related at a decent time!

Friday, March 31 from 11p-1230a, we get Formula One Qualifying from Australia, once again LIVE!

THEN, the piece of resistance! Throw a shrimp on the barbie, grab yerself a Fosters, and watch the Australian Grand Prix LIVE on Saturday, April 1st at 930pm until midnight!

If'n that's too late for you (must be Belgian), you can watch the race again on Sunday, April 2nd, at 1130am until 2pm!

Of course, it's better if you're actually here. We've cleaned up Albert Park. We've got the 'Roos out of the paddock. We've even gotten the koalas off the refueling rigs. So where the bloody hell are you?

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March 27, 2006

A Black Day In Motor Sports.

If you're here in the US, you're certainly aware of what happened yesterday at the IRL race in Homestead, FL. There's even a good chance that if you're one of The Pond's overseas readers, you know about it.

I'm talking, of course, of the accident that killed IRL rookie Paul Dana. It's been a long time since I've seen a crash as frightening as this one; the Stan Fox crash at the Indy 500 in 1995 is the only one that I've watched that comes close, and Fox survived that one (sadly he was killed in 2000 in a traffic accident; for what it's worth, he's also one of two 'big name' drivers that I've met, with the other being Danica Patrick. They are both from the vicinty of The Pond).

After having seen the video of the Homestead wreck, I'm surprised both drivers weren't killed; another few inches forward and I'm sure that would have been the case. We here at The Pond won't point fingers; we have no idea who's fault the accident was, no way of finding out, and no real interest in doing so.

Instead, it's important to note that Dana died doing something that he loved, and that he worked hard to attain. He graduated from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, with a journalism degree, and wrote about motorsports for a few years. Then he got a chance to drive, and took it, eventually running three IRL races last year before breaking his back during practice for the 2005 Indy 500. He had a grueling recovery, and got back into the car with Rahal/Letterman racing this year (teaming with the previously mentioned Patrick).

He was a few weeks short of his 31st birthday.

The condolences of The Pond go out to his wife and family, the Rahal/Letterman team, the IRL in general, and any of his fans.

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March 23, 2006

BATracer = Timesucker

Okay, here you go... the end of your productive time online. Go to BATracer, register, enter a league, and have at it.

I'm in one, my teammate Matthew and I have managed to take our Toro Rosso cars to the front of the grid with the first race coming up on Friday (and we're turning quickest laps in pre-race practice).

Trust me.

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March 21, 2006

Wings Ahoy!

Well. Due to a bit of back-room skullduggery, Ferrari is now admitting that they "misunderstood" the regulations regarding their moving rear wing, and it will be changed by Australia. It seems that eight of the other teams threatened to scream to the high heavens if a change wasn't made, and Ferrari caved (I'd assume that the two Crimson Steer teams weren't involved).

So much for "We haven't been approached by the scruitineers, so there's no problem," eh?

But it suddenly comes out that McLaren and BMW have to make changes, as well. Please note, there had been no complaints levied against them... I'm assuming this is the FIA's way of mollifying Ferrari's tifosi hordes. "Ferrari might have made a 'mistake,' but see, two other teams did, too!"

Uh-huh. Sure.

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March 18, 2006

F1 Quals: Sepang!

Okay, I don't have much time to comment, but it's an amazing grid this time. Fisichella's Renault is on pole, with Button at P2.

The surprising bit is that the Williams boys are 3-4, with Rosberg beating his partner! Rookie rookie...

The big names are sitting in the middle of the grid, and that's probably where the winner is going to come from, but there's the problem of engine reliablity... there are FIVE cars that have new engines, with Slappy and Ralf being the latest additions. Heck, Massa will be starting from the pit lane.

Fun race coming up today, see ya on the far side of it!

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March 16, 2006

"Life? Don't talk to me about life..."

Okay, so this is just a heads-up for my hordes of readers. Currently over at Duck U. there's a special series of events ongoing that I, in my guise of Acting Manager of the Duck U. Bookstore, must be at as we're in charge of the merchandise sales.

As an example of what my schedule is like right now, I went to work at 810am, and got home at 1045pm.

Tomorrow may be slightly better, but it may not as well. Chances are that I won't get a chance to watch practice and quals until Saturday afternoon Central Standard Pond Time... or about 12 hours before the race, roughly.

Rest assured, however: the F1 UPDATE! crew will be on the ball, and should have Malaysia's report up on Sunday afternoon. I'm hoping to be home in time from Saturday's event to catch the race live.

Thanks for understanding! Consider this an open thread for your enjoyment in the meantime.

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March 15, 2006

Two Bloody Pony Notes

Well, really, one note, one rant, and a hello.

First up, it appears that we can add Felipe (Castrato) Massa to the list of people who are probably going to have to change an engine before Sepang. Seems the good folks at Maranello are thinking that he ran it into the ground trying to recover from last week's Moooooo-ve of the Week. Funny how that works.

Over at grandprix.com, they currently have an article about Darth Ecclestone and the fact that he's considering buying into Ferrari.

*pause*

*deep breath*

What in the bloody BLUE HELL would make him think that's a GOOD FRICKIN' IDEA?!?!?!? I wonder if he can even SAY "impartiality" or "good sense" or "collusion." It may not be quite as bad as the Commissioner of Baseball owning a MLB team (oh, wait, I forgot, he 'sold his interest' to his daughter cough cough), but it's getting there.

Heck, why not? Go ahead, Bernie! It's pretty darn clear that you already suck up to Slappy's Gang, may as well make it official... just go all 'Brokeback' at the start/finish line of Sepang why don't you? Lord knows you've been doing it to US for years.

And welcome aboard to new commenter SkarTisu, by the way! This brings the readership levels to a new high!

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March 14, 2006

Various F1 Notes...

Okay, gather 'round and listen to your ol' Unka Duck tell you some bits and pieces of news from the fallout of Bahrain...

First off, Ferrari is catching some flak for their rear wing. It (appears) that it (seems) to (perhaps) flex at speed, which is against the FIA regulations. Of course, the Boys in Red say "no, no, the FIA looked at it and it's hunky-dory." The Max Mosley puppet on Jean Todt's lap just nodded and agreed. Stay tuned for nothing to come of this, because, y'know, it's FERRARI.

Next up, we've got TWO engine changes going into Sepang. #1 is David Coulthard's Chin's Crimson Steer. We just barely saw a flash of his car being pushed off-track after the race ended. It turns out that because of WHEN it blew (just after the checkered flag fell), he's going to catch a 10-spot penalty. If it had blown a minute earlier, BEFORE the end of the race, there'd be no penalty (as that's considered penalty enough). Bad news for The Chin.

#2 MAY be Juan Pablo Montoya. Turns out his fifth-place finish may was caused by a computer/engine interface problem. The engine lasted the race, obviously, but if McLaren can't figure out the problem, they'll have no choice but to change it out. 50-50, coin-flip and pick 'em.

Finally, there may be TWO races in Japan next year. The Japanese Grand Prix is going to be held at Toyota's Fuji Speedway, the first time since 1987 it'll be held somewhere else than Honda's Suzuka circuit. However, talks are ongoing for Suzuka to host another race, perhaps called the Pacific GP or the Asian GP.

I'm sure you're wondering just WHY there'd be a second race in Japan. That'd bring the number of races in the season up to 20, since Spa-Francorpants will be back on the docket. Well, there's talk that Hockenheim will quit Grand Prix in either 2007 or 2008 unless they stop losing money. Yeesh.

Okay, that's enough talk. You kids get off my lawn!

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March 13, 2006

F1 on SPEED!!!

No rest for the Circus this week. They've loaded their cars into the shipping containers, stuck 'em on a freighter, and sailed them across the Arabian Sea and past the Bay of Bengal to Malaysia.

Except for MF1. They stuck their cars on THIS and pretended to sail to Madagascar. Nobody's quite sure why. Albers was probably getting driving practice.

AAAAAAnnnyway... because it's another raceweek, that means SPEED Channel is carrying everything live again! Lets look, shall we?

Thursday, March 16th, from 1159pm to 1am, we've got LIVE coverage of Practice from Sepang. No replay, though.

Friday, 3/17, from 1130pm to 1159pm, we get "Inside Formula 1," (brought to you by Allianz: We Have Something To Do With Other Stuff.). From 1159pm to 130am, we get LIVE coverage of Qualifying. No replay, though... what's up with that?

Sunday, 3/19 brings us the race from Sepang twice! First, from 1230am to 3am we get the race LIVE! The replay is from 1130am to 2pm.

As usual, all times are Central. Add one hour for Eastern, subtract two for Pacific, add snickerwaffle hours for Wales.

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March 11, 2006

Bahrain Quals (finally)!

Okay, right, sorry it took me so long to get this up (almost 19 hours after the qualification runs ended), but life got in the way. Oh well.

Where the HECK did Ferrari come from? Congratulations to Michael Schumacher, by all means, for tying the pole record of the late Ayrton Senna. The question now is 'were they on a light fuel load?' We'll see in the race, of course, but for now, it's Ferrari one-two, with Felipe Massa right alongside of Slappy.

Button and Alonso make up the 2nd row, with Montoya and Button's teammate Rubens Barrichello on row 3. Webber, Klein, Fisichella and Heidfeld make up the rest of the top 10.

The new quals format seems like a winner, but I've got to say that at the moment, it's incredibly difficult to keep track of who's where on the grid at any given time. I think it's because of the FIA's graphics package, to be honest... they aren't giving us enough information. The scrolling bar is nice, but it just wasn't on-screen enough. When it WAS on-screen, it wasn't there at the right times. We need it more, and later, I think.

Jack Newhouse was the last to be bumped, and starts 11th, right behind his BMW partner. Considering this was their first race, BMW's pitbox has got to be pleased. Nico Rosburg managed to slot in 12th, a nice job by the rookie right up until he managed to stick the back end of his car into a tirewall. David Coulthard's Chin is 13th, which has got to be a disappointment for him.

However, the biggest disappointment has got to be in the Toyota camp. The best they could come up with is 14th with Jarno Trulli? Yeesh. The two Toro Lawnmowers come up next with Liuzzi beating American Scott Speed for 15th. THEN come the rest of the Toyota-powered cars, with Cora's Husband Ralf leading the two MF1 entries of Albers and Montiero onto the grid.

Finally our heroes from Super Aguri, Suicide Sato and Yuji Ide, in their 4-year old Arrows cars, taking 20th and 21st.

Which brings us to the dramatic moment of the day, and has got to be causing Kimi Raikkonen to spit nails. He was on a hotlap in the first qualifying segment when... well, SOMETHING broke. Whatever that something was, it caused his rear wing to come free, his car to hork itself around, and his rear suspension to snap like a twig. Yeesh, the luck this man has... though one has to start wondering: is it just bad luck, or is it Kimi driving the car into the ground? Last year, I would have just said "bad luck," but after all the crepe he went through in 2005, and now this... well, I'm starting to wonder if he'd be better suited for something less fragile than a F1 machine.

Like the Craftsman Truck series.

Still and all, it's time to go racing! See you on the far side of Bahrain!

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March 10, 2006

Bahrain: Friday Practice

Okay, so for once we get a Friday Practice session that actually means something! For the first time, we get to see how the cars perform with the new V8 engines, the new aero rules, the new tire rules, the new drivers, and the new paintjobs (can't forget about those).

And, as predicted here two months ago, we discover that the detuned and rev-limited V10 of Toro Rassenfrassen isn't much of a handicap, as Vitantonio Liuzzi managed to turn in the 6th best time... which led to speculation amongst the Legendary Announce Team that the FIA will decide to handicap the engine even more. Which made me wonder why the team is even bothering to race; the FIA'd be basically telling them "we won't let you win with that engine."

Also a non-surprise: Kimi Raikkonnen's car ended up dead on the track, as happened SO often last year. Doesn't look like he's going to have to change the engine, though (at least when this is being written). He did have a small fire in the cockpit, which can't have helped his mood much.

Surprises include Ferrari, which was near the top of the leaderboard all day, and Williams, which wasn't. In fact, the Cosworth-powered car looked decidedly sluggish during the few laps they did turn.

Another surprise: I LIKE the sound of the new V8 engine. I was expecting something high-pitched, nasally, and whiny. Instead, there was a pleasing growl to the beast. Not as deep as last year, but I guess we can't have everything.

Oh, and the use of V8s to slow the cars? Didn't happen: the top lap time was within a second or two of the track records. So much for that.

New-rules qualifying session on Saturday... looking forward to it!

Boy, it's good to be back.

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March 09, 2006

Simon Sez...

(Wonderduck here. Official Travelling Correspondant Simon chimed in a couple of times in comments, and I'm going to take the liberty of turning one of them into a post, here on the verge of the Bahrain race. Unfortunately, it seems that his job assignment to Bahrain has fallen through, so we won't be getting on-site reporting for THIS one. He apparantly has a chance to attend Monaco, however, poor guy. Let's all feel sorry for him now. Awww.

Okay, over to Simon...)

Takuma Sato....

Come on lets have a laugh...
1. Will he survive or die this season?
2. Will he kill someone else?
3. How many races will he actually complete?
4. How many crashes will he have?
5. How many other cars will he take out throughout the entire season?
6. Cars are valued between $4-8 million each - What do you think the net value of his carnage be this season?

(Wonderduck here again. My responses are as follows:
1) Survive, but SOMEONE will try to kill him after yet another shunt.
2) No. Cars are built too strongly. But it won't be for lack of trying...
3) Eight... but some of his problems WON'T be because of accidents. New car + new team + new engines = Same Old Problems.
4) Including practice and quals? I'm guessing 12. I have faith.
5) Oooh, a toughy. Magic 8-ball says [shaking] 10.
6) Does the phrase "Small South-American Country" mean anything?

Everybody else, chime in in the comments! Winners will get a No-Prize at the end of the season, or when Sato is removed from his seat, or is unable to compete for any reason.)

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March 08, 2006

Thoughts on the Upcoming F1 Season...

Renault will probably win the Constructor's Championship again.

McLaren will have the winner of the Driver's Championship, however.

The Crimson Steers will not have a driver on the podium. They will, however, be close (i.e. fourth or fifth).

Scuderia Toro Lawnmowero will be the 9th team, ahead of only MF1 and Super Aguri.

Honda will place third in the Constructor's Championship, and will have two wins to their credit. Jensen Button will get them both.

Toyota will NOT win a race. They also will not get on the podium. Ralf Schumacher will be kicked from the team at the end of the year.

Super Aguri will score points. Takuma Sato will earn them.

Speaking of Takuma Sato, he will have his first shunt within the first 10 laps at Bahrain. That's if he doesn't have his accident at the airport's rental car counter.

I will regret writing this post at some point in the season.

YOU regret READING this post already.

UPDATE
I don't know how I forgot about this, but there's a horde of tifosi outside of The Pond, and they've got torches. So, without further ado...

Ferrari will suck. Bad.

Slappy Schumacher will throw up on his tires. Metaphorically speaking, of course. Then he'll attack Takuma Sato, and end up impaled on a katana.

Felipe Massa's testicles will drop.

...and one more:

The Mark of Zsolt will return, and all of F1 will be afraid.

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March 05, 2006

F1 on SPEED!!!

How can you tell it's spring? Well, not by looking outside here at The Pond, that's for sure: we've gotten 4 inches of snow today. Cactus League baseball and Fifty degrees F. yesterday, to boot.

Ah, but inside The Pond... that's where you can tell it's spring. Why? Because this entry is the FIRST installment of F1 on SPEED for the season, that's why!

We start off on Friday, March 10th from 5am to 6am with Live Coverage of Practice from Bahrain. Then, from 430pm to 5pm we get Mr Snootyvoice and Inside Grand Prix (sponsored by Allianz, the company that does something...), which I encourage HWWNBNUHCOTP to watch.

Surprisingly, that's it for Friday. No replays... which is also the case on Saturday, March 11th as well. From 5am to 630am we have Live Qualifications from Bahrain, but no replay.

Sunday, March 12th, though... First, we get 5am to 730am, the Bahrain Grand Prix LIVE. Mal will bring the bagels.

Then Mr Snootyvoice returns with the same episode of Inside Grand Prix (sponsored by Allianz: We Still Don't Know What We Do.) from 11am to 1130am.

Then you get the replay of the Bahrain Grand Prix from 1130am to 2pm, and the season is off and running!!!

All times are Central, as that's where The Pond is. Subtract two hours if you're on the west coast, add one hour if you're on the east coast, and if you're in Europe, add eleventy-sprocket hours. Particularly Belgium.

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