May 29, 2007

Travelling Wilbury Sings of F1

George Harrison's Faster found on YouTube.

Never heard the song before this... not bad. No "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", but not bad. The classic F1 footage helps a lot.

Helmet Tip, Tim Blair.

Update: At the 1:18 mark is a shot of the greatest banned invention in F1 history. A No-Prize to the first person to say what it is!

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May 26, 2007

F1 Quals: Monte Carlo!

It was McLaren's finest hour... or was it?

It was Ferrari's darkest hour... or is it?

Alonso and Hamilton are 1-2 on the grid for Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix, but the team may have out-thought themselves. With a big threat of rain in the air, and a few drops appearing at the beginning of Q3, Hamilton and Alonso appeared to go out with a light fuel load, as they were ripping off quick laps from the very start of the session. No fuel burn-off stints for the 'Glare with Wheels' today.

If the rain HAD come, they would have been in a perfect situation: on the front of the grid, with the sort of fuel load that may call for a three-stop race... when everybody else will be heavy with a two-stop load, yet forced by their tires to make three stops (rain is expected on Sunday, and rain tires don't usually last as long at Monaco as they do everywhere else).

But the rain didn't come. They short-fueled for nothing. Yes, they own the first row, but now they HAVE to pray for rain tomorrow, otherwise they dinked themselves... an extra stop for fuel at Monaco is tantamount to suicide.

Ferrari, on the other hand, had a miserable day. Kimi Raikkonen never made it out of Q2, due to a broken front suspension, seemingly caused by the front right wheel milling away one of the arms (that's the problem with Monaco; some of the turns are so tight, the teams have to manufacture special suspensions just to allow the cars to make the Hairpin). Result: when Kimi got a smidge too much curb, it snapped like a twig, and the car came to a stop when he couldn't make the turn at Rascasse... just like Parky Schumacher last year. Oops.

Felipe Massa, on the other hand, ended up P3, which had to be a disappointment to the team, as they've held every pole previously this year. However, they probably have more fuel on board than the McLarens... IF the rain holds off, Massa looks to be in the catbird seat.

The big surprise is P4... Giancarlo Fisichella in the Renault. Far and away the best qualifying position for the team this year, and it's possible that they're starting to come to grips with whatever has bedeviled the chassis prior to this.

The rest of the lineup:
5. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota 1:16.439
6. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1:16.784
7. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW 1:16.832
8. Robert Kubica Poland BMW 1:16.955
9. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Honda 1:17.498
10. Jenson Button Britain Honda 1:17.939
11. Alexander Wurz Austria Williams-Toyota 1:16.662
12. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:16.703
13. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota 1:16.988
14. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Renault 1:17.125
15. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari No Time
16. David Coulthard Britain Red Bull-Renault 1:17.204
17. Anthony Davidson Britain Super Aguri-Honda 1:18.250
18. Scott Speed USA Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:18.390
19. Adrian Sutil Germany Spyker-Ferrari 1:18.418
20. Ralf Schumacher Germany Toyota 1:18.539
21. Takuma Sato Japan Super Aguri-Honda 1:18.554
22. Christijan Albers Netherlands Spyker-Ferrari No Time

Monaco is always a fun one, but with rain in the forecast? Good times, good times.

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May 25, 2007

Welcome to Monte Carlo!

Ever wonder what it looks like to drive a lap or two at Monaco? Well, here's your chance to ride along with Ferrari's Felipe Massa as he does a 1.5 laps during practice at last year's Grand Prix!

Just click here.

The video starts as Massa exits Mirabeau and begins to head downhill into the Lowes Hairpin (make sure to watch his hands). Be amazed that anybody can drive fast into, through, and out of the tunnel (it's bright/it's dark/it's bright again). He crosses the start/finish line at about :53.5 seconds. The first turn after that is Sainte Devote, where many cars go to die, and then the track starts to head back up hill.

Oh, and by the way... 57 gearshifts per lap, times 78 laps, equals 4446 shifts per race. Think the gearboxes get a workout here?

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May 23, 2007

F1 Tracks: A Discussion

So Steven was talking about his initial forays into the world of F1 ("Join us, it's all right...") and commenting on the tracks as shown at, the official website for F1. So let's listen in on him and his readers, shall we?

"Monaco is run on city streets, which is part of the charm I gather."

Indeed, Monaco is the only F1 course that runs on city streets (Australia theoretically could be called a street circuit, as it's run on the roads in Albert Park, but it really isn't a 'street circuit'). The track is essentially the same as it was 40 years ago; oh, there's been a chicane added, and they rebuilt the pit lane last year, but for all intents and purposes it's the same track that James Garner ran on in Grand Prix.

In the comments to "F1 On Speed!", Steven says
"Also, that sure is one wicked turn at Loews."
Looks placid, doesn't it?  Heh...

The Lowes Hairpin is the tightest turn in F1, if not all of auto racing, actually being greater than 180 degrees. F1 (and GP2, the feeder league for F1) cars are modified specifically for Lowes, as the usual amount of wheel lock won't allow the car to make the turn. THEN, the teams have to make further adjustments to the suspension, otherwise the wheel rim would mill away the standard F1 car suspension while they were making the turn. Throw in the altitude change (maybe 30, 35 feet from top to bottom) and you've got a beast of a turn.

"The course is surprisingly straight, all told, which means that it will tend to reward engine power. I think I'm going to have to look at some of the other courses, which I bet are more curvy."

Which tells the value of an overhead map. There are practically NO straight spots on the Monaco track, as a glimpse at this satellite map of the track will show. Monaco is actually the slowest track of the F1 season, and rewards handling over raw speed. more...

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F1 on SPEED!!!

Ah, Monaco... the crown jewel of the F1 calendar, the world's center of glitz and glamour. And the World's Fastest Circus returns once again to race through the streets. Nowhere else can you be so close to the action. One of the world's legendary tracks; Indianapolis, Daytona, The Nordschleife of the Nurburgring, Le Mans... and Monaco.

And this week, F1 is there... and SPEEDChannel will be covering it!

First up, is Thursday practice from 7am-830am. Please note the day change, as Monaco doesn't allow practice on Friday, probably to let the megawealthy get home (or get out of town).

Friday, however, we DO get "F1 Plus", the race roundtable with the Legendary Announce Team, at 11pm to midnight. What with the goings-on at Spain, it should be a lively conversation.

Saturday brings us Quals LIVE from 7am-830am. Last year gave rise to the nickname "Parky" for one M. Schumacher... will Felipe Massa earn the nickname Parky Jr? Watch and find out!

Sunday is race day! But first, watch the GP2 Feature Race from 5am to 630am... it's a fair guess that one or two of the kids will make it to F1 next year, so lets make fun of them now!

The big boys come out to race from 630am to 9am, and SPEED brings it to us LIVE, with a replay from 6pm to 830pm.

So that's it! Monaco... is the Harbor going to be in play this year?

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May 13, 2007







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May 12, 2007

F1 Quals: Barcelona (the abbreviated version)

Wow, prepare yourself for a shock here... THERE'S A FERRARI ON POLE!

Oh, wait, that's not a shock at all. That's four for four for the red team, three of four for Felipe Massa. Fernando Alonso missed pole in his home race by +.030 of a second... three HUNDREDTH of a second. That's absolutlely nothing: touching the brakes an instant too early at the first turn. Turning a smidge late at the final chicane. Running a bit wide of the line thru a turn... ANY of those things could account for 3/100th of a second. Amazing. And, considering the history of this track, one of those two is your likely winner.

Raikkonen was less than .300 behind Alonso, and Hamilton was .062 behind Kimi. Look, lets face it: these four cars have the same performance levels, and the drivers are all about equal to boot... and one of them will win the Driver's Championship. Choose one, and I won't disagree. I suppose Alonso has got to have a slightly better chance, since he's won the championship twice and knows what it takes, but what's that worth? One championship point, maybe?

Unless something happens (McLaren's nose wing gets them DQ'd, Ferrari suddenly discovers that their gearbox likes to jump from 7th gear to reverse), this is what we'll be looking at all season long.

The rest of the bunch:
5. Robert Kubica BMW 1:22.253
6. Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:22.324
7. Nick Heidfeld BMW 1:22.389
8. Heikki Kovalainen Renault 1:22.568
9. David Coulthard's Chin Red Bull-Renault 1:22.749
10. Giancarlo Fisichella Renault 1:22.881
11. Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:21.968
12. Rubens Barrichello Honda 1:22.097
13. Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 1:22.115 (note: SuperSato had a malfunction of some sort in Q2, and turned ONE hot lap... and still outqualified both factory Hondas)
14. Jenson Button Honda 1:22.120
15. Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda No Time
16. Vitantonio Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Ferrari No Time
17. Ralf Schumacher Toyota 1:22.666
18. Alexander Wurz Williams-Toyota 1:22.769
19. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:23.398
20. Adrian Sutil Spyker-Ferrari 1:23.811
21. Christijan Albers Spyker-Ferrari 1:23.990
22. American Scott Speed Toro Rosso-Ferrari No Time

See ya post-race!

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May 11, 2007

F1 Practice: Spain!

Wow... even for a Friday practice, this wasn't exciting stuff. There were three interesting things that occurred or were revealed today:

1) The track at ("Don't mind him, he's from...") Barcelona has had a change to it's layout. They've added a bloody tight chicane (or "chicken" as one of the Legendary Announce Team members was calling it, for reasons unknown) prior to the final turn. Originally, said final turn could be taken at speed; now, however, drivers have to stand on the brake (and drag their feet, not to mention throw an anchor out of the cockpit) to make it through. Still, all it managed to do was add about 10 seconds to the laptimes. Cars still hit right around 200mph by the time they reach turn 1. THANKS, FIA!

2) Now that the teams are back in Europe, there's a lot of new aerobits showing up, particularly on the nose elements. McLaren has a new top wing that flies OVER the nose of the car, "which doesn't move at all under load, oh no."

SPEEDchannel, of course, showed pictures of the thing flexing. Expect wails of protest from the teams that didn't think of it first.

3) We might get one of those spectacularly frightening accidents this weekend. Amongst the new aerobits was a three-element tail on the Toyotas. Within 10 minutes of the start of practice, Ralfy-boy was back in the garage; his engineers went on the radio saying "We're going to go back to the old tail for now. One of the elements on the new one broke."

I'm not fond of using smileys and the like, but one suspects that Ralf's expression under his visor was this: o_O

So. Quals in about 8 hours from now. I'm doing Mother's Day early, taking me mum out to India Hut for lunch, so I'll get to watch quals after that, and the report will be up immediately afterwards. Talk to you then!

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May 09, 2007

F1 on SPEED!

We're back, and we're better than ever!* After a solid friggin' month of time-off, F1 gets back on the track, this time for the Spanish Grand Prix, and our friends at SPEEDchannel have live coverage all over the place!

Friday, May 11th, Practice comes our way from 7am to 830am. Sure, it's not the most exciting thing ever, but considering that they've been sitting in the garage for a month, we're going to have to get used to them all over again, so why not now? Unfortunately, there is no replay.

Saturday, May 12th, kicks off at 630am with Inside Grand Prix, brought to you by Allianz: we've got a guy who sounds like Bertie Wooster, so we must be good!
Immediately thereafter comes LIVE coverage of Quals from 7am to 830am. I'm going to take a guess and say that there's either going to be a Ferrari or a McLaren on the pole...

Sunday, May 13th, has a replay of the Quals from 130am to 3am. I'm going to take a guess and say that there's either going to be a Ferrari or a McLaren on the pole...
Finally, at 630am, all our waiting and boredom will come to an end, with LIVE coverage of the Spanish Grand Prix! Unfortunately, I'm working on Sunday, as it's Graduation Day at Duck U. The F1 UPDATE! will, therefore, be delayed until much later in the day, but never fear! We will be here! Or something like that.
There's a replay of the race at 9pm, to boot.

So there you have it! F1 has returned to the radar screens, finally! All times are Central, so subtract two hours for the west coast (Steven), add one hour for the east coast ('Muppet), and add four if you're in the middle of the Atlantic ocean... more...

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