March 31, 2008

Emperor Mosely In Trouble... BIG Trouble.

Ve hav VAYS uf makink you cheer ver Ferrari...

According to a story in The Australian, Max Mosley, the grand-high vizier of the FIA, is embroiled in a sex scandal and is under pressure to resign from his position.

Allegedly, Mosley (the son of Sir Oswald Mosley, who was the leader of the British Union of Fascists during the 1930s and '40s) was videotaped enjoying a "Nazi-style orgy" with five prostitutes in "an underground torture chamber" located in Chelsea, England.  After being 'subjected' to an inspection for lice and an interrogation whilst being locked in chains, he  then wielded a leather whip on the women while speaking German.

When asked about the allegations, Bernie Ecclestone, F1's commissar-in-chief and long-time friend of Mosley, said  “Assuming it’s all true, what people do privately is up to them. I don’t honestly believe (it) affects the sport in any way. Knowing Max it might be all a bit of a joke. You know, it’s one of those things where he’s sort of taking the p*ss, rather than anything against Jewish people.” 

Sir Stirling Moss, the former champion driver who's father was Jewish, said "I don’t see how he can continue. I hope he can, frankly, because I think he’s very good at what he does. I suppose what goes on behind closed doors is his business but when a thing comes out like this . . . it’s an absolute shocker.

I think maybe he should pay a fine... say, $100 million?  Surely there's more proof involved than that brought against McLaren last year.

Mosley is pursuing legal action against The News Of The World, the tabloid that either took or acquired the videotape in question.

More info as it becomes available.

UPDATE: The creepy News Of The World article is located HERE.  Yeesh.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Mosley responds to allegations HERE.

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March 22, 2008

F1 Quals: Sepang 2008!

Ouch, that's gonna hurt.  First, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovaleininnie miss the front row, with Heikki being third, Lewis fourth behind Massa and Kimi.

That's bad enough, but both McLarens were then hit with a five-spot penalty for impeding rival drivers during Q3.  As is usual, when they finished their final qual laps before Q3's time ran out, they immediately slowed down to conserve fuel.  Unfortunately for them, they didn't realize that both HWMNBN and Grizzly Nick Heidfeld crossed the line with a few seconds to spare, and both were pushing to improve their grid position.  About halfway through the lap, Heidfeld and HWMNBN had to zig off the driving line to dodge the two McLarens.  In fact, they had to thread the needle between the McLarens (on the line) and two other cars on the far side of the track.

As a result, the stewards declared that the McLarens forced their rivals to slow up, which is a real no-no.   That drops them to eight and nine on the grid, with a lot of quick cars between them and the front.

To be frank, they deserve it, too.

The provisional grid is as follows:
1. Felipe Massa, Ferrari
2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
3. Jarno Trulli, Toyota
4. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber
5. Grizzly Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
6. Mark Webber, Red Bull
7. HWMNBN, Renault
8. Heikki Kovalaininnie, McLaren
9. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
10. Timo Glock, Toyota
11. Jenson Button, Honda
12. David Coulthard's Chin, Red Bull
13. Nelson (Don't Call Me Junior) Piquet, Renault
14. Rubens Barrichello, Honda
15. Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso
16. Nico Rosberg, Williams
17. Giancarlo Fisichella, Farce India
18. SeaBass, Toro Rosso
19. Takuma Sato, Super Aguri
20. Adrian Sutil, Farce India
21. Ant Davidson, Super Aguri
22. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (after his 10-spot penalty for buttsecks running into Robert Kubica's BMW behind a safety car last race)

It's looking more and more like Trulli and his Toyota are for real as far as pace goes.  Of course, Jarno is a good qual-bad race sort of guy, so we'll see.  One also gets the feeling that BMW is going to take a couple of races this year... they may not quite be as fast as the Big Two, but they're close.

And then there's the weather forecast.  The entire quals session was under rain watch, though it never came.  The race is under the same situation, with an 80% chance of thunderstorms during the race, with a high of 87oF.  That can't be pleasant to drive in... but it could give us one of those wonderful races where anything can happen.  We'll see Sunday!

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March 21, 2008

F1 Practice: Sepang 2008!

So you're driving along and you blow a turn, wind up off-track.  Happens all the time.  No big deal, particularly because you're on an asphalt runoff area... you just steer yourself to come back on track as fast as possible.  The only problem, and it's not that much of one, is that there's a curb in front of you.  No sweat.

Oh.  Dear.
Except the backside of the curbs at Sepang are, it seems, two feet tall and made of razorblades and C4.

Red Bull Gives Tires Wings.
Officially, David Coulthard's Chin suffered a steering failure.  Yes, having your suspension shatter like a window with a baseball through it could be considered "steering failure."  This could have been a dreadfully serious incident, however, as wheel tethers are not supposed to fail under any circumstances, yet there's a Red Bull right-front flying in a graceful arc away from the scene of the crime.  It wasn't THAT bad of an accident, guys.

The only real news to come out of the practice sessions was that Ferrari engines seem to be having more problems.  Kimi had a shutdown in P1, SeaBass had problems in both sessions (the second of which impressively caused his engine to seize solid), and one of the Farce India cars was ill, too.  That can't be encouraging to Ferrari proper.

Of course Ferrari is denying there's any problem at all.  We'll see, won't we?  The quals are on Saturday, and Lewis Hamilton's McLaren had fast lap of the day, and zero problems on track at all.  This might be getting ugly, and it couldn't happen to a nicer buncha guys than Ferrari.

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March 17, 2008

F1 on SPEED!: Malaysia!

UPDATE: All listed start times are confirmed to be correct; practice runs 90 minutes, quals two hours, the race (including pre-race) is 2.5 hours long.

It appears that someone at the FIA actually listened to the plaintive wails echoing throughout the world last year.  As incredible at it may seem, in 2007 we went THREE WEEKS between the Aussie and the Malaysian GPs, waaaay too long for fans and teams alike, I'd wager.  One week, though?  Plenty long enough for us fans!

We start with Practice LIVE from 1am to 230am on the morning of Friday, March 21st.  Maybe a little too early to watch as it happens, but what can you do when the action is happening on the other side of the planet?

Now, here's where it gets tricky.  See, as I mentioned last week, recently revamped their entire website, including the tv schedule page.  While most of the site works just fine, the schedule page is pretty much broken.  So while the listed time for F1 Quals LIVE is 1am to 230am on Saturday, March 22nd, I'd be careful about setting your VCR for those times, exactly.

The same applies to the LIVE race times... it's listed at 130am to 4am, Sunday March 23rd, but again, the schedule actually claims it's the practice from Australia, too, so...

However, I think I'm on pretty secure ground when I state that the REPLAY of the race is from 1230pm to 3pm on Sunday, March 23rd.  That's Easter Sunday, of course, so gather your family around the screen!

Finally, I can't NOT post this screenshot from the ITV coverage of the Aussie GP:

Awkward... very, very awkward...
Okay, caption contest!  Put yours in the comments!

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March 13, 2008

F1 Practice: Australia 2008!

The F1 Circus has returned!  Today was the first day of the Australian Grand Prix weekend, and the howl of engines at 19000 rpm echoed thru Albert Park, Melbourne once again.

As it was practice, we couldn't really learn anything of true substance, but there are a few conclusions we can draw from the day's activities:

1) Some Things Never Change.  Ferrari and McLaren were, for the most part, fastest on track... just like last year.  For example, Lewis Hamilton was the fastest in session 2, almost a full second ahead of everybody else.  Expect to see the Big Two repeat their dominance this season.

2) Some Things DO Change.  The fight in the midpack looks like it's going to be wild.  Mark Webber's Red Bull was second quickest today, and while we can't be sure that it wasn't just a low fuel speed run, the fact that David Coulthard's Chin was fifth seems to indicate that it's no fluke.  The Williams (by the way, it isn't dark blue... it's black!)looked solid, and Toyota looked like they'd be high-midpack too.  Renault, though, blew chunks;  HWMNBN could only muster 13th best.  What a shame, huh?  Surprise of the day, though, has to go to Giancarlo Fisichella and Force India... they managed 9th fastest (and the car looks even better than I originally thought).

3) The Race Is Gonna Be Ugly.  The removal of traction control led to an incredible amount of skids, slides, twitches and spins.  It might as well have been "2 Fast 2 Furious: Melbourne Drift" out there.  Hamilton took one turn practically sideways, yet you never thought he was out of control... his opinion may vary, however.  EVERYBODY went off at one time or another, with Jarno Trulli (and his all-new, still lousy, hairstyle) beaching his Toyota near the end of the session.  The first couple of laps are going to be true adventures.

4) The Legendary Announce Team Is Already In Midseason Form.  Who else would bring you the news that David Coulthard's Chin a) buys 40 pair of a particular Australian brand of underwear when he comes to Melbourne, and b) he wears size small.  We were also informed that Flavio Briatore, team principal of Renault, is going to marry his girlfriend in about six months... "She's a lingerie model.  Flavor Flav, however, is not."
Thanks for the clarification, guys.

This is gonna be fun.

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March 10, 2008

F1 on SPEED: Melbourne!

Oh, did it feel good to type that title just now!

The first race of the season is coming up on us like we're on the starting grid and the red lights are turning on, and we're back for our fourth year to tell you everything you need to know (and lots of stuff you don't).

And it all starts with this post... the excitement is palpable, the air is thick with anticipation, and we're simply padding this paragraph now, so lets right get to it!

This being Australia, everything is off-kilter for us here in the States.  Our first taste of the new season starts Thursday, March 13th, with the second Friday Practice session, LIVE, from 10pm to 1130pm.  There does not appear to be a replay scheduled, but be aware that the good folks at have recently revamped their website and the online schedule is still a bit gorked.  Still, it's F1, folks, you know you'll be watching it live...

Next on tap is Saturday Qualifying, on our TV sets LIVE on Friday, March 14th, from 10pm to 12midnight. They've tinkered with the format (again), so no more fuel burnoff runs during Q3... which means no more mad scrambles for the pit-out, probably... and that's a good thing in our books.

Saturday, March 15th, from 1030p to 11p, brings us Inside Grand Prix, still sponsored by Allianz and still featuring Mr. Snootyvoice and his superciliously dulcet tones.  But then... then... it's time.

Time for the Legendary Announce Team's coverage of the Australian Grand Prix LIVE from Melbourne, from 11pm to 130am.  There's a replay on Sunday, March 16th, from 1230p to 3pm, too, for those of you who can't make it for the live coverage, of course.

It's the beginning of the 2008 Formula 1 season... and we here at F1 UPDATE! will give you our usual outstanding coverage* until the final checkered flag drops.  And it all begins now!

*Despite this, please keep visiting.

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