September 30, 2006

F1 Quals: Shanghai!

Rain. It's the great equalizer in Formula One racing. It makes the best teams look like Jordan had returned (*rimshot*), it makes the bottom-feeders... well, still bottom-feeders, but it levels the playing field.

And that's what happened in Shanghai. It took some classic Schumacher driving to get his Bridgestone-shod Ferrari into the 3rd round. Massa didn't manage it at all, and he had to change an engine to boot. He'll be starting from the pit lane, most likely. Schumacher is sixth, which is not as bad it could have been.

But Alonso is on pole, Fisi is right next to him, then the "555 Hondas" (Lucky Strike isn't sold in China. Is it wrong of me to actually prefer the '555' livery?) make up the second row. Kimi is fifth, but I'm expecting a penalty to come down from on high to zap him... in Q3, his right mirror fell off, bounced once or twice, then broke Jensen Button's nose (his car, not his face, though he was lucky it didn't do that, too).

If Alonso can be penalized for 'blocking' when he was 100m ahead of Massa, then what's something like THAT worth?

The rain made for entertaining television, that's for sure. American Scott Speed had the 'best' moment, losing it completely and pirouetting into the pit-lane-in, kissing the armco, and then continuing on into the pits like nothing happened. Bravo Scooter!

And nobody has the faintest idea what the weather's supposed to be for the race. If it's raining, Michelin seems to have a huge advantage. If it's dry... well, it's even then. But on the foul-weather tires, particularly the Inters, Michelin seems to have the better rubber.

Should be interesting, to say the least!

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September 27, 2006

F1 on SPEED: Shanghai!

Ah, Shanghai. Who can forget last year's race in Shanghai? Schumi runs over the Minardi of Christian Albers on the way to the grid (in one of the weirdest accidents of all time), then spun his way out of the race on lap 23. Juan Pablo Montoya ("My name is Juan Pablo Montoya. You killed my contract. Prepare to drive.") discovered that draincovers and carbon fiber don't play well together. And Narain Karthekittylitter had the most spectacular crash of the season at Shanghai, to boot.

Which brings us to 2006, which finds M. Schumacher 2 points behind Alonso. Of course, this is Schumi's worst track (two races, two DNFs), and Alonso won here last year.

Should be interesting, AND we here in the US get to watch it at a halfway decent hour! Or, at least, not at 630am like it usually is...

Friday, 9/29, at 1am (i.e., what most people would normally call 'thursday night'), we get LIVE coverage of Practice... which is then replayed at 11am Friday. Then it gets fun.

At 1130pm Friday night, we get Inside Grand Prix.
At Midnight, which is technically Saturday, we get another replay of the Practice.
At 1am, then, we get to see LIVE coverage of Quals. 3+ hours of F1, wooyay!

Now it gets REALLY fun:
11pm Saturday brings us replays of Quals... which takes us right into
SUNDAY, 10/1/06.
At 1230am, SPEED! brings us the GrandPrix of China LIVE, with a replay at 1230pm.

I suspect the F1 UPDATE! crew will be watching the live stuff, y'know?

All times central. Subtract two hours, Steven, for the west coast, add one for the east coast, and add the square-root of 83 hours for Ascension Island.

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September 20, 2006

Midlands Dead, Spyker Orange.

If nothing else, the fact that Spyker has taken over the MF1 team means a color change will make their cars a LOT more recognizable on the TV. Instead of the grey and red they've been sporting, which made them almost indistinguishable from the McLaren's 'glare-and-red' in long shots, they've switched to an orange and red scheme.

Which, oddly enough, is the same color orange the McLaren was wearing before the 'pewter' color was slapped on.

The whole team is a mess of copycats, it is!

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September 17, 2006

Klein Leaves RedBull

Christian Klein threw the contents of his trailer's closet into a suitcase, cursing a blue streak the whole time. "Kick me off the team, offer me a drive in ChampCar as a booby prize? What sort of idiot do they think I am, anyway?"

Suddenly, an intense pain in his forehead made him wince. Half afraid, half resigned to what he'd see, Klein turned and looked in the mirror attached to the wall.

The Z-shaped scar was back again, and glowing slightly. Klein blanched and staggered away from the sight, tripping over a suitcase in his panic.

A low, dark laugh echoed through the trailer.

Klein, his eyes wide and panicked, scuttered away from the sound. He was aware of a thin voice moaning "no, no, no" over and over again. Then he realized it was his own. A cold sweat broke out on his brow.

A shadowed shape detached itself from the wall at the end of the trailer, and slowly glided towards Klein, forming the shape of a man wearing a... black racing suit. A dark, ominous man...

"Red Bull Gives You Wings. They certainly gave you the boot, didn't they?"

"Please, no," Klein begged from his position on the floor. "I'm going to find another drive in F1 next season, maybe a third driver slot..."

"Pathetic. You actually BELIEVE that, don't you? I'm here to... disabuse you of that notion, Klein." The dark figure cracked his knuckles. "You know, it isn't often the case, but I do believe I'm going to enjoy this."

Klein whimpered as the figure pulled a large wrench with the word "MINARDI" on it from a back pocket.

Yes, Zsolt was definitely angry...

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September 13, 2006

In Praise of Michael Schumacher.

With the announcement of Michael Schumacher's retirement, I came to realize that he deserved a tribute of some sort from The Pond. After all, love him or hate him, he's far and away the most successful F1 driver in history.

But I also came to realize that I couldn't write it. I'm just not a fan of his, and I knew that I'd not be able to do his illustrious career justice.

So, I sent an e-mail to the biggest Schumi fan I know: Mallory M. She's not been seen around The Pond for a while, due to insufficent computer disease, but she used to be a regular 'round these parts.

She also writes a regular column at World Wrestling Insanity, where she moved to after a successful regular beat at the most popular wrestling website around, The Torch.

After the jump, Mallory's Tribute to The Man We Call 'Parky.' more...

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September 09, 2006

Quals? Where?

"Oh, yeah! I remember Kimi Raikkonen... he used to be really fast!"

It's hard to remember that last year McLaren and Renault were battling for both titles, Ferrari was a distant third, and Schumi was nowhere to be seen.

How times have changed... except Kimi got his third pole of the year today (by .002 seconds!), Schumi was second, Nick Heidfeld kicked all sorts of tail getting into third, Felipe Massa was fourth, and Fernando Alonso was fifth.

Except he wasn't.

Alonso had a bad day. One of his rear tires came completely apart with just a handful of minutes left in Q3. It ripped holy crepe out of his aft bodywork, and he got zero time to qual. He pitted with something like 1:40 left... and it takes 1:22 to get around the course. He made it back to the line with 2 seconds to spare...
...and that's where the FIA (Ferrari Is All) stewards come in. During the run back to the line, Fernando Alonso was judged to have 'impeded' Felipe Massa. Now, I've watched the tape of those last few minutes a few times, and I'm not sure where the impeding took place. It sure wasn't through the time-trap, when the Ferrari was over 214mph. In fact, from the TV coverage it looks quite clear that Massa wasn't anywhere CLOSE to the hustlin' Renault. They were in the same camera shot, though, and I guess that's enough for them.

And so, Alonso had his three best Q3 times deleted, dropping him to 10th on the grid. Bye-bye championship.

By the way, remember when Schumi straight-lined two chicanes and didn't let Pete Rose by in Hungary? Where were the FIA stewards then?

Oh right... Ferrari Is All.

I still don't know if Parky is retiring. I know what I HOPE he does, though.

In other news, Midlands have been sold to a Dutch/Russian consortium called "Spyker." Car company. They may very well take over operations immediately after Monza. Nobody cares.

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September 07, 2006

F1 ON SPEED!

So this is the weekend that everybody's been waiting for.

Oh, and there's a race, too.

Friday, 7am-8am, we get LIVE coverage of the 2nd Friday Practice from Monza, one of the legendary tracks of F1, and land of the Rabid Ferrari Tifosi.

Saturday, 7a-830a, LIVE coverage of Quals! I have a sneaking suspicion that we're gonna be picking pieces of carbon fiber off the track in Parabolica... it's gonna be wet, they're saying, and the track has been resurfaced since last year. "There's pants grip," David Coulthard's Chin has been spotted muttering.

Sunday, 630a- 9a, LIVE coverage of the Italian Grand Prix... and perhaps the beginning of the end for Parky.

The good lads at Grandprix.com believe that he's hanging it up; Massa and Raikkonen will be the drivers.

The F1 Update! crew is split. Half of us think he's staying, the other half are willing to push him out the door. Quickly.

In other F1 news, Heikki Kovaleinen has been named the 2nd driver for Renault; Kovaleinen and Fisichella... duck and cover, lads!

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