August 28, 2007

Clean vs Dirty

In the comments for last weekend's F1 UPDATE!, both Vaucaunson's Duck and Steven DenBeste expressed curiosity regarding a reference to "the clean side of the track." Just what does that mean?

Many F1 tracks are used pretty much only for the Grand Prix they were designed for. The Istanbul Autodrom (according to the Legendary Announce Team), in fact, is used just once a year. As a result, these courses get... well, dirty.

Like the dust in the corners of The Pond, detritus will build up on the course. This ranges from dust, to rain residue, to salt (Sepang), to sand (Bahrain). This is magnified if the track isn't used often. Some places, such as Silverstone in England, are used so often that this isn't usually a problem.

Okay, so the track is dirty. Just a little dust, right? Well, not exactly... more...

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August 25, 2007

F1 Quals: Turkey!

Felipe Massa does it again, beating Lewis Hamilton to pole by .05 seconds, just moments after the McLaren driver had grabbed pole by a seemingly insurmountable one-third of a second.

The surprising thing is that Massa didn't really seem to have good lap going. In fact, his third sector was far from the best he'd done in Q3. Very strange, but that's F1 sometimes.

Kimi Raikkonen is third on the grid, having had a fairly quiet day, all told. Fourth was Fernando Alonso, and there's no better sign of the turmoil going down at McLaren than the fact that the team divided their pitcrew into two groups (and two pit stalls) in Q3: one for Hamilton, and the other for Alonso. There's nothing in the rules saying they CAN'T do that in quals (though they can't in the race). It just means that their stops were slower... and it avoids the backstabbing that occurred in Hungary.

Next on the grid are the two BMWs of Kubica and Heidfeld... and I've GOT to show you the photos of the two lads that I found the other day:

Kiss me, Robert... / He loves me, he loves me not...

Maybe there's more to my earlier joking ("Does he like my beard?") than I thought, eh?

The rest of the grid:
7. Heikki Kovalaineninnie Finland Renault 1:28.491
8. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota 1:28.501
9. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota 1:28.740
10. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Renault 1:29.322
11. Anthony Davidson Britain Super Aguri-Honda 1:28.002
12. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1:28.013
13. David Coulthard's Chin Britain Red Bull-Renault 1:28.100
14. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Honda 1:28.188
15. Jenson Button Britain Honda 1:28.220
16. Alexander Wurz Austria Williams-Toyota 1:28.390
17. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:28.798
18. Ralf Schumacher Germany Toyota 1:28.809
19. Takuma Sato Japan Super Aguri-Honda 1:28.953
20. Sebastian Vettel Germany Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:29.408
21. Adrian Sutil Germany Spyker-Ferrari 1:29.861
22. Sakon Yamamoto Japan Spyker-Ferrari 1:31.479

Special Bonus Points to SuperAguri's Ant Davidson for finishing 8th in Q1, and barely missing out on Q3. He was 8th in Q2, but three of the last four cars to record hot laps bumped him. It was SO close, and SO heartbreaking for us SA fans. I'm not sure what happened to Takuma Sato in quals; he's just fallen off the screen altogether.

But he still outqualified Sebastian "I Replaced Scott Speed" Vettel... who's yet to outqualify his teammate, Vitantonio Liuzzi, who was outqualified by Speed 7 races to 4.

Hmmm... think Toro Rosso made a mistake there?

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August 24, 2007

Friday Practice: Turkey!

"Hello, and welcome to This Old Track. I'm Norm Abrams, and our project for today will be this drain cover. Renault's Heikki Kovaleineneininnie went a little wide out of a turn, and you know what they say about the grip of these F1 tires! He ripped the drain cover straight out of the ground, bolts and all, and left it in the middle of the track.

"Well, to make matters worse, Rubens Barrichello then ran over the cover, blowing one of his rear tires. The FIA decided to throw the red flag, and called us in to fix everything.

"As you can see, there was some damage to our drain cover. It's just not meant to be run over like that... dumb F1 drivers. Now, while Steve walks down the whole drainage system, making sure everything is secure by stomping on every square inch..."

"Wow, this is fun!"

"Yes it is, Steve. Anyway, we'll have to do some heavy-duty wrenching to get this drain cover back into place. But first, using our biscuit cutter, we'll create some grooves in the side of the cover. We fill the grooves with glue, put the biscuits into the grooves, and get the cover centered over the drain.

"Now, this being Istanbul, the bolts are metric-headed, and all we have are imperial sockets. This would be a problem, but we've got a great solution e-mailed to us by a Mr. R. Brawn of Maranello, Italy... thanks for watching!... using a piece of carbon fiber, a chunk of option tire, and a length of coolant pipe. You just put this around this, and put that over the bolt, then we take the socket, and... voila! That's one down, and seven to go."

"(distantly) Wow, that's great, Norm!"

"Shut up, Steve. Well, that's about all the time we have for today's episode of This Old Track. Next time, we'll be repairing the Honda wind tunnel. I'm Norm Abrams, and don't forget, use biscuits. See you!"

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August 21, 2007

F1 ON SPEED!

For the Hungarian Grand Prix, F1 on Speed! was pleased to have American Scott Speed as our guest presenter. Since then, however, we unhappily have to report that F1 UPDATE! has severed ties with Mr. Speed. On the advice of our lawyers, we are unable to discuss the reasons for this. On the advice of our doctors, we currently have a bag of frozen peas over our eye.

It's been three weeks since we last had a race. However, the upcoming track makes the delay all worthwhile: Istanbul! This'll only be the third F1 of Turkey, but already "Quad-8" has become one of the great turns... no question that this is Hermann Tilke's best layout. Ferrari should have the advantage here, since they seem to do better on the high speed/low downforce tracks... but we said that about Montreal and Indy, too, and we all know how those turned out.

SPEEDchannel's coverage begins on Friday, from 6a-730a, with Practice 2, live. F1 Debrief'll be shown at 11pm (since we missed the Hungarian GP, we'll probably be watching).

Saturday, "Inside GP" will be shown at 530a. At 6a, until 730a, we'll get live coverage of the QUALS for Turkey... with no repeat, set your VCR!

On Sunday, the puppies of GP2 take to the track at 5am to frolic and scamper around. They're so cute when they're young!

The Big Dogs (I apologize) take over at 630a, however, for the Grand Prix of Turkey! There is no replay, so either get up early or arm your TiVO!

It's been three weeks since the last race... who CARES how good this one'll be? It's F1 RACING, and that's all we need.

Though a tight race would be nice...

(All times are Central, your mileage may vary)

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August 16, 2007

"I don't want to go on the cart!"

Latest rumor from Offical First Reader Mallory is that American Scott Speed, late of Scuderia Toro Rosso (and on the run from Zsolt, The Bringer Of Death), is almost a shoo-in for a Red Bull sponsored drive in NASCAR next season!

Um... what?

Duuuuuuude!

The rumor is non-specific about which of the NASCAR series he'd be in. Either the Busch league, or the Winston Cup Nextel Cup would be nice, but I know where my heart wants him to go:
Craftsman Trucks.

Just imagine...

...squish...

...it'd be glorious.

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August 10, 2007

SeaBass!

Open-wheel racing in the US took another blow to it's credibility today when Sebastian Bourdais, three-time ChampCar champion, signed with Toro Rosso for the 2008 season.

This means that Toro Rosso will have an all-new driver lineup next year. Scott Speed has already been replaced by Sebastian Vettel, and the signing of Bourdais means that Vitantonio (Fashion Victim) Liuzzi is looking for a drive next year.

I hear there's a slew of openings in ChampCar and IRL... but Minardi doesn't have any slots, what with Robert Doorknob (failed F1 driver) leading the standings these days.

Hey, this means we're gonna have an all-Sebastian lineup for Toro Rosso next year! We needed that, I think, after we've lost both Christi(j)ans this season...

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August 04, 2007

F1 Quals: Hungary!

What a bloody mess.

Ferrari screwed up Felipe Massa's last stop in Q2, neglecting to give him enough fuel. He had to stop in the pit lane, get pushed back to the stall, get more fuel, then try and hoist himself out of the relegation zone into the top 10 for Q3.

He couldn't. He'll be starting 14th.

I'm not sure WHO'S on pole. Fernando Alonso had the fastest time in Q3, but he petulantly sat in the pit stall for what seemed an eternity, preventing his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, from getting in until it was too late for him to change tires, do his out lap, then cross the start/finish line before the 15 minute session ended. Alonso on the other hand crossed the line with only seconds to spare and turned in his pole-winning lap, bumping his teammate in the process... and denying Hamilton a chance to bump HIM.

The FIA stewards, however, saw it all, and came down hard on both Alonso AND McLaren. They ruled that Alonso impeded another driver (Hamilton), and nailed him with a five-spot grid penalty. They also decided that Alonso did so under team orders (though perhaps just his crew chief's), and have barred McLaren from scoring any Constructor's Championship points in Hungary. McLaren is appealing both rulings.

During the post-qual interview session, Hamilton looked like he was on the verge of assaulting Alonso: not his usual relaxed self, he was rigidly stiff and some of his reactions to Alonso's answers were, frankly, disbelieving. Of course, Peter "Smarmy" Windsor completely avoided the only question he should have asked Alonso: "Why did you sit in the pit box for 10 seconds after the lollypop was raised?"

Some websites are saying that Alonso will be starting 6th, others (including the official website of Formula 1, F1.com) still have him listed on pole.

We'll know more tomorrow at racetime. Until then, I'm going to just list the qual order as-is, without any penalties... but if I had to guess, there's gonna be some movement.

01 F. Alonso McLaren 1:19.674
02 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:19.781
03 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:20.259
04 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:20.410
05 N. Rosberg Williams 1:20.632
06 R. Schumacher Toyota 1:20.714
07 R. Kubica BMW 1:20.876
08 G. Fisichella Renault 1:21.079
09 J. Trulli Toyota 1:21.206
10 M. Webber Red Bull 1:21.256
11 D. Coulthard Red Bull 1:20.718
12 H. Kovalainen Renault 1:20.779
13 A. Wurz Williams 1:20.865
14 F. Massa Ferrari 1:21.021
15 A. Davidson Super Aguri 1:21.127
16 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:21.993
17 J. Button Honda 1:21.737
18 R. Barrichello Honda 1:21.877
19 T. Sato Super Aguri 1:22.143
20 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:22.177
21 A. Sutil Spyker F1 1:22.737
22 S. Yamamoto Spyker F1 1:23.774

Say, look! Sebastian Vettel is 20th in the Toro Rosso... guess maybe it wasn't the driver's fault after all, eh?

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August 02, 2007

F1 ON (Scott) SPEED!!!

Brother, can you spare a dime?

Hi, I'm Scott Speed, formerly of Scuderia Toro Rosso and the winner of Red Bull's "Young Driver" contest. Yeah, formerly. If you've been living under a rock for the past two weeks, there's been no news as big as my being unjustifyably fired from Toro Rosso, after Franz Tost assaulted me after I skidded off the Nurburgring track in that impossible rainstorm.

But I'm not bitter, oh no. Just because they put me in a crappy car that broke if you looked at it funny, then blamed me and Liuzzi for the problems, that doesn't make me bitter. Then he punched me, and expect me to be a nice quiet little boy? THAT makes me bitter.

But, thanks to the good folks at F1 UPDATE! here at Wonderduck's Pond, I've got a new gig now! I'm now the presenter for F1 On SPEED!, and glad to do it, too... they've always appreciated my skills here at F1 UPDATE!. Let's get to it, shall we?

First off, we've got live coverage of the 2nd Friday Practice from the Hungaroring from 7am to 830am... I hate that track, and since the 'death' of Christijan Albers, I don't want to be anywhere NEAR Hungary.

Just in case.

Then on Saturday morning, from 7am to 830am, SPEED! brings you live coverage of the Quals session from Hungary. I'm sure Sebastian Vettel will do ever-so-much better than I did in that Toro Rosso piece of junk... and pigs will flugtag out my @$$.

Finally, everybody should be gathering around the television set at 630am for the LIVE broadcast for the Hungarian Grand Prix. It's as close as you can get to Monte Carlo without any of the glitz, glamour, or attractiveness, the Hungaroring is, so watch and... um... well, just watch. Maybe it'll rain, like it did last year?

I'm Scott Speed, and THIS has been F1 ON SPEED!!!

Hey, why is there a smoking "Z" on the last page of this script?

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