April 29, 2006

Questions.

Things that I've wondered about:

*How does a six-point harness work? The shoulder and lap straps are pretty obvious, but I don't understand the leg straps.

*If F1 cars could 'drive on the ceiling," could they put vertical loops on the track, like we did with Hot Wheels?

*If we DO the Hot Wheels thing, where would we get the giant chair?

*Why did I think this was going to be funny?

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April 28, 2006

12 Teams.

The FIA has released the official list of teams for 2008. The participants are:

BMW Sauber F1 Team
Honda Racing F1 Team
MF1 Racing
Red Bull Racing
Mild Seven Renault F1 Team
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro
Super Aguri F1 Team
Scuderia Toro Rosso
Panasonic Toyota Racing
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
Williams F1 Team
...and Prodrive.

Prodrive is a company with long, long history in racing. According to their website, they 'managed the BAR F1 team,' have won six World Rally Championships with Subaru, won the British Touring Car Championship five times with multiple teams, and run a private Ferrari team in the 24 Hours of Lemans (as well as other international sports-car teams).

This isn't going to be another quick and dirty SuperAguri style team, folks... this is going to be an honest-to-god Factory team, it looks like. Granted, it's a factory we haven't HEARD of (I mean, it's no Ferrari), but it's still a 'factory'.

Is anybody surprised that Paul Stoddard got rejected? European Minardi would have been great to have back, and it's not impossible that he might try to pick up a team (like Midlands, maybe?) when they want to get out of the game, but as of right now, Guido Minardi is out.

Oh well, at least we got Super Aguri!

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April 27, 2006

"Schumi wins!" "NOT so fast..."

Guess which red team might have been caught cheating... AGAIN.

That's right! FERRARI! It seems that they're doing the thing with the flexible wing again, except this time it's the entire rear wing flexing downwards, not just a tiny bit of it closing up a gap.

During Imola, it seems that the Ferraris were a good 7kph faster than everybody else in a straight line, and it's suspected it's because of the flexi rear wing. If it was another team, they'd probably be DQ'd from the race and suspended for a couple more (Honda, anybody?), but since we're talking about the My Little Pony team, nothing will happen.

Seems kinda pointless sometimes, doesn't it?

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April 26, 2006

Random F1 Notes

Some little bits of information from the F1 Circus today:

Super Aguri has delayed the new car again. Originally planned to have debuted last weekend at Imola, it had been pushed back to Silverstone in June. Now they're saying France in July. It seems that Honda is being stingy with gearbox parts.

In other SA news, they're finally going to be using a third driver for testing. Starting at the next race (the Euro GP), former Renault testdriver Franck Montagny will be sitting in the third Arrows chassis. One might think that Yuji Ide's replacement has been found.

One might be right, too. Zsolt is cracking his knuckles offstage.

In other Shadow of Zsolt-related news, there's been a Vitantonio Liuzzi sighting at Red Bull. He's testing at Silverstone this week, which has GOT to be aimed square at Christian Klein. Dietrich Mateschitz, team owner for RB, has gone on record saying that for the money he's pouring into Red Bull, particularly with the signing of car designer Adrian Newey, the 2nd driver for the team has GOT to be as good as David Coulthard's Chin. Klein hasn't been, and so Liuzzi is getting some seat time.

...and Zsolt chuckles, ready for his second go-round with Klien.

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April 25, 2006

Some Light F1 Humor.

So what happens when you put a Mercedes sports car and a Mercedes sedan on Silverstone... and give them a 70 second head-start on a 1997 McLaren F1 driven by David Coulthard?

Find out HERE.

For some reason, I was giggling uncontrollably during most of it.

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April 23, 2006

#200. NOT F1 UPDATE!: San Marino.

Fellow F1 fans, the Duck has a problem.

I can't do the F1 UPDATE! for San Marino yet. The TV coverage that we here in the US was so dreadful that I can't tell you what happened during the race, because I DON'T KNOW.

Yes, I can say that Slappy had a spectacular drive, and that he held off Alonso for 15 laps, give or take a few. But that's about all, because according to CBS, that's all that happened. There were only four cars in the race after the first lap: 2 Ferraris, one Renault, and Jensen Button's Honda.

And the Honda was there only because of the pitlane incident.

I can't tell you who was third in the race. Oh, yes, I know that JP Montoya was third, but that's only because the websites told me. We never saw him, and the Derek Daly/Ralph Shaheen combo never mentioned him. Mark Webber finished sixth, a fantastic result for him and Williams... but we only found out about it when the FIA scrolled the positions. I never heard it mentioned by CBS.

Going by the CBS coverage, the only car that DNF'd the race was Christian Albers' Midland... we never heard about any of the others. There were two yellow flags that they missed altogether, despite the graphic at the top of the screen.

F1 UPDATE!: San Marino will go up after I watch the SPEEDchannel coverage next weekend... maybe then I'll have some idea of what happened. As for right now, however, all I'll say is congrats to Michael Schumacher for his win... because that's all I CAN say.

(Edit: ...and if I hear Daly say "They're CRASHING over the CURBS" one more time, I'm going to fly to where-ever he lives, tie him to a chair, begin a playback of the race, and hit him in the kneecaps with a tire-iron every time he says it!)

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By now...

...the San Marino GP is over. Not for us here in the US, though, since we don't get to see it for another hour and a half. THANKS, CBS!

By the way, this is post #199. The F1 UPDATE!'ll be post #200... which'll be better than #100, that's for sure.

#100 was titled "WHOOOOO-oops." and dealt with Ric Flair's arrest for assaulting a man. Yeesh.

AND it's my birthday, to boot.

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April 22, 2006

San Marino: Slappy 66

At the track that was Senna's, Slappy Schumacher succeeded in taking the final F1 record that had been eluding him: Career Poles. Today's pole position was his 66th, breaking the late Ayrton Senna's record.

Truly amazing.

Also amazing: #2 and #3 on the grid are NOT Raikkonen, Alonso, Montoya or Fisichella, but Jensen Button and Rubens Barrichello, the Honda pair. For Barrichello, this is vindication of everything he's been saying, that the car hasn't worked for him. The Honda crew adjusted and tweaked his car and lo! it's worked.

Now can they keep it up for a whole race, and get Honda their first win? Can Button get his first win (and go a long way to bringing my prediction for two wins true)? Or will Ralfy-boy get Toyota's first from 6th? Or will Massa win in front of his home fans from 4th?

We'll see on Sunday!

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April 21, 2006

Practice at Imola

Okay, lets face it. The news that Alonso had fast lap in 2nd Practice isn't really news. Nor is it news, really, that Slappy Schumacher was second (and it seemed that he was first in 1st Practice); this is about as close to a "home track" for him (and Ferrari) as you can get without actually racing at Maranello.

No, the IMPORTANT news is that the course at Imola has been changed from last year, and it will be drastically different NEXT year.

This year, they tightened up the Variante Alta chicane. Last year, it was very much a straight with an almost diagonal link it in... about as wimpy a chicane as you could get. The curbs that seemed like they were a foot high made it difficult (and gave F1 UPDATE! it's favorite moment from last year's race: Patrick Friesacher's Minardi driving the line perfectly thru Variante Alta... sideways and airborne), however, and made Slappy's pass on Jense Button last year evern more amazing.

This year, it's almost like two hairpins, so sharp is the first part of it. It's absolutly a Z shape. Alas, they've lowered the curbs so the drivers don't have to worry about leaving the bottom of their car behind.

Next year, though... by this time next year, they'll have remodeled the entire track. In doing so, Variante Bassa will be removed. Other changes will be made to the pit lane, so as to make it wider (which is GOOD... Massa almost pronged himself into the wall coming out of his garage, the lane is so narrow). Other changes will be made as well, so as to remove any of the 'old' flavor of Imola. Which, of course, is best known for that miserable, tragic weekend in 1994.

Maybe now, 12 years on, we can start to put that behind us.

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April 17, 2006

They're Cursed...

First Jordan essentially went belly-up, unable to afford the obscene costs of running a F1 team, even a backmarker in their final years.

Now the team that bought out Jordan, Midland MF1, is pulling a Black Knight on us: "It's just a flesh wound."

Rumors abound that Alex Schnaider, the Russian owner of Midland, is seriously balking at the amount of money his team is hemmoraging, and various team-members are about to follow sporting director Adrian Burgess out of the door at a dead run.

In true "Baghdad Bob" fashion ("There are no Americans in the city. None! Never mind the US flags flying around the capital, the Americans are nowhere near here!"), Midland released a statement to the press, saying in part that the team is NOT for sale ("except to the highest bidder."), they'll be upgrading their infrastructure ("ooh, shiny new wrenches!"), and that the media is all to blame anyway.

That's what they said.

My prediction? By 2008, they'll be gone... and Guido Minardi will be owning the team!

The Spectre of Zsolt (The Pond's version of the Grim Reaper) floats over the team even now...

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April 15, 2006

F1 on SPEED! Oh, and CBS too, unfortunately.

It's sad, really. We've waited three weeks for the next race of the F1 season and what are we going to get?

C-B-frickin'-S.

Announcers that haven't the faintest idea what they're talking about, even though one of them was a F1 driver! Announcers that say things like "The brakes can reach temperatures just over 1100 degrees Fahrenheit."

Uh-huh. Change the 'F' to a 'C', or add 700 F., and you're in the right ballpark.

Or how about "If your wondering why the crew is sitting in the garage with their helmets on…" Probably for the same reason NASCAR pit crews, IRL crews, CART crews, and just about ANY PRO RACING LEAGUE pit crews do, you morons.

And my favorite: "Those brakes are really glowing a lot…he must have a problem."

*drumming fingers on tabletop*

Look, I know announcing a race is a difficult thing. But could you at LEAST know a little bit about what's going on out there? Heck, the race is on TAPE DELAY. You can record your coverage at your leisure! Please try to get it right for the broadcast, mmmkay?

Before CBS' Sunday debacle, we DO get to have some professional coverage from SPEED. Friday morning from 7a to 8a, they'll cover practice LIVE from Imola.

Saturday, April 22nd, they'll give us "Inside Formula 1," brought to us by Allianz... Allianz: We Do Things. That'll be from 1230am to 1am. Immediately following that, they bring us a replay of that practice session from 1am to 2am.

At 7am, we'll get live coverage of the Qualifying session... and then they're done with F1 coverage until next week, when they'll replay THEIR broadcast of the race (last year, they had a doozy to work with... remember the Alonso/Schumi battle?).

This week IS the season debut of GP2 on SPEED. 12 noon on Saturday, and 5am on Sunday, both live I think.

Sunday is the race, tape-delayed on your local CBS station, at 1pm. Just count our blessings that we get the good coverage later.

All times, as usual, are Central. Add one hour for Eastern time, subtract two hours for Pacific, add the square-root of twiddly-two for Luxembourg.

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April 13, 2006

21 Days.

"I know what will keep the fans wanting more, my master."

The Emperor Mosely, resplendent in his Ferrari Red hooded cape, gestured. "Speak, Darth Bernie. Tell me your plan."

"We should make them wait three weeks between races."

The Emperor thought for a moment, then his visage split in a hideous grin. "Excellent. You have done well, my apprentice. Go celebrate... flay the skin off of Flavio Briatore's bones for daring to run a winning team that isn't Ferrari."

"Yes, my master," said the Dark Lord of F1. "And then I will deny Paul Stoddard a re-entry into racing as a garnish."

------------------------------------------------------------------

Oh, sure, like YOU don't think that's how they act when the cameras are off?

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April 10, 2006

The Axe Is Put Away (for now).

Okay, Fast Yuji is cleared to drive at Imola. No guarantees past that, though.

I hope Yuji has his resume up to date. Okay, it's cruel to joke about, but lets face it, he really shouldn't be on the track. His brutal stuffing of Barrichello during quals a few weeks back was pretty shameful, and completely avoidable.

The Spectre of Zsolt hovers over him...

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April 09, 2006

The Axe Is Raised...

Fast Yuji's head is on the chopping block at SuperAguri. "We obviously can't have him be 2 seconds slower than Sato," said SA's team manager Daniele Audetto. "Truthfully, we're lucky he hasn't crashed the car yet."

Could that be Zsolt I see hovering in the distance?

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April 07, 2006

BMW-Sauber does something great.

Even if BMW-Sauber retires from every race for the rest of the season, they have come up with something that is such a great idea that they get bonus points, and it's amazing that it's never been done before.

A mini-F1 Theme Park.

No, really.

It's to be called "Pit Lane Park," and according to THIS article at GrandPrix.com, it's going to replicate a pitbox and garage in as close detail as possible, up to and including the occasional car swooping in, being serviced, and swooping back out.

Now, that's great and all, but here's where it gets REALLY cool: it'll be hands-on. That's right, they'll actually have cars there that you can get into, touch, even have a "visible" F1 car so you can see what's underneath all that bodywork. You can even get a photo of you in BMW pit coveralls! Of course, BMW's driver's'll show up every now and again.

It's going to debut at the Nurburgring, and then they'll pack it up and take it to four other tracks: Shanghai, Barcelona, Silverstone, Monza and Montreal. Flotsky, Simon? If you go to Silverstone, you'll have to give us an on-the-spot review of this!

F1 needs to do more of this type of thing. They have a fan base, but they need to cater to us, make them seem like they're fan-friendly... PARTICULARLY here in the US. Not that they'd ever do it, but could you imagine how big a hit it'd be if Ferrari did something like this? It'd be gigantic!

Gold star to BMW-Sauber!

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April 06, 2006

I Got Nuthin'. How 'bout you?

Not having much luck coming up with something that's interesting enough for me to write about.

Mike Gascoyne was fired from Toyota because the cars stink on ice this season. Does that thrill you?

(crickets)

Yeah, me too.

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April 04, 2006

What were they THINKING?

Switching gears to another brand of motorsports, it seems NBC decided to try and pee any goodwill they had with NASCAR right down their leg recently. In short, they were going to set up a 'sting' operation with a hidden camera and two muslim men, send them to a NASCAR event, and record any negative reactions they got.

Uh... huh.

This wouldn't have anything to do with NASCAR leaving NBC after this season, would it?

(...crickets...)

I'm not a big NASCAR fan. I watch occasionally, mostly Talladega and Daytona. I'm probably exactly like 60% of NBC's audience for races (with the other 40% being diehard fans, like Official First Reader Mallory, who is having computer problems which is why she hasn't been around recently), the casual viewer who finds NASCAR a fun way to spend an afternoon every now and again. I'm not opposed at all to going to a race if the chance happened (except for the limits placed on me by my cardiac medication, i.e. don't spend much time in the sun).

But this sting wasn't targeted at people like me, the occasional fan; it's aimed square at what NBC clearly perceives to be a bunch of drunken hillbilly redneck peckerwoods: the NASCAR fan who goes to the races.

Well, NBC, NASCAR claims to have a fan base of 75 million people. 15 million people attended races last year. Yes, I'm sure you'd be able to find the occasional racist (as opposed to race-ist) at any event that draws over one hundred thousand spectators to it.

One wonders if NBC thought to try this idea with, say, Major League Baseball? Close to 75 million people attended games last year, after all. Or how about the National Football League? Lets call it 22 million attendees, but undoubtably the most popular sport in the US right now. Both are carried (or were carried until recently) on NBC nationwide.

My guess is no, they went for what they saw to be the rural, southern, uneducated target. Guess what, NBC? According to NASCAR, only about 22% of their fanbase lives in the south. Forgive the contrived cliche accent, but y'all done gone pissed off a buncha viewers...

What were they THINKING?

(update: I realized that I didn't include where I first heard about this story. I honestly don't remember where it was, but I gather that Michelle Malkin was the first to mention it. Instapundit also has a big writeup on it, including a link to Eric McErlain's website, which has a good writeup as well. Sorry about that!)

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April 03, 2006

Touchy? Moi?

Steven seems to be having problems with his e-mail. I can honestly say that I have nothing to do with it, and I'll testify at the trial of any of my "F1 fanboy minions" that they were having lunch with me. Do juries accept the 'crossed fingers' plea?

I'll end the controversy by saying that if you want to go in a straight line very very quickly, Steven's funnycars are better at that than a F1 car. If you're looking to turn, slow down or stop, and re-accelerate, a F1 car is better than a funnycar. *shrug* more...

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April 02, 2006

F1: Grace and Elegance.

Steven over at Chizumatic has been waxing rhapsodic over Top Fuel drag racing, and says:

...drag racing is the pure racing event. The only steering the driver does is to try to keep the car going straight, which is not as easy as you might think. It's power and driving skill and equipment, and everything is decided in five seconds. It's noisy and fast and loaded with muscle. The signature smell of drag racing is burnt rubber.

Well, yes, but some people want more than immense farting engines and going straight in a hurry.

Lets put it this way: Top Fuel is the snorting, grunting, knuckle-dragging troll that thinks that 'being subtle' is NOT eating it's opponent. Formula One, on the other hand, is the dashing swashbuckler, personified by Inigo Montoya or Errol Flynn. A dancing master's grace, backed with a solid steel strength and a mongoose's speed.

I'm not trying to knock drag racing. It's fun to watch, and it's quite the spectacle, particularly at night. But lets face it, the mechanicals only have to last six seconds at full throttle, and then it gets replaced. Nice and impressive, but c'mon. F1 engines run at 20,000 rpm for two races (roughly 400 miles more or less), plus two quals, and six practice sessions. The cars can throw five or six Gs at the drivers accelerating AND braking, not to mention turning. And lets not even talk about the theoretical ability to run on the roof of a tunnel due to the downforce they generate.

Top Fuel is impressive, no question, but it's racing for the short-attention span. F1 is DEEP. It rewards careful study. Top Fuel is Football. F1 is Baseball, and it's no surprise that I'm a devout baseball fan, too.

I will give drag racing huge credit, however, for it's attitude towards women in the sport. There have ALWAYS been women, such as the famous Shirley (Cha-Cha) Muldowney, in drag racing, and they've often been better than the male racers.

F1, on the other hand, is run by a neanderthal of the first order, and Bernie seriously needs to beat over the head with a rolling pin because of it.

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April 01, 2006

What the heck was that?!?!

That was amongst the wackiest beginnings to a race that I've ever seen!

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