July 31, 2009

Formula1.com: Not Partisan At All!

So, I guess Formula1.com, official FIA corporate shills website for F1 has made their rooting interests known to all.  Here's a screenshot from today's front page:

Yep, that's Slappy, staring majestically at the address bar... and, no, usually the page color isn't Ferrari Red.

One gets the feeling that if, say, David Coulthard's Chin or Jack Newtown made a triumphant return to F1, they wouldn't get a banner on the front page...  Could we be a little less blatant, guys?

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July 29, 2009

BMW Out, Slappy In! And Other News (UPDATED)

Busy day in the F1 world!

BMW announced that they would be withdrawing from Formula 1 racing effective at the end of the current season.  The company restructured their entire motorsports division, citing a desire to "dedicate more resources to developing new, sustainable road car technologies." 

The German manufacturer took over the Sauber-Petronas team in 2006, and in 2008 finished second in the Constructor's Championship, behind Ferrari (McLaren were excluded, otherwise they would have finished 2nd).  The team's shining moment would have been the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix, when they got their first victory behind Robert Kubica, with Grizzly Nick Heidfeld finishing second.  2009 has been a horror story for them, however, earning only eight points to date.

At the moment, it is unknown what BMW is going to do with the team's infrastructure: sell it off, much like SuperAguri did, or attempt to spin it away in one piece, like Honda did with their team (now BrawnGP).  This all came as a surprise to Grizzly Nick, who said on his website "BMW's decision no longer to compete in Formula One was totally unexpected.  I feel very sorry for the members of the team with whom it has been my privilege to work over the years. I would like to thank all of them for their tremendous support and for everything we have achieved together."

Unless another BrawnGP-like resurrection occurs, expect Kubica and Heidfeld to be in quite a bit of demand during the "silly season".  After all, Manor Motorsports needs drivers...

In the other bit of surprising news, god help us all, Michael "Slappy" Schumacher is back.

The birth of "Slappy"
With Ferrari making the intelligent decision to keep the injured Felipe Massa out of the cockpit for the rest of the season, the team needed a replacement driver for the second half of the season.  The team's test drivers, Luca Badoer and Marc Gene, would have to be called merely serviceable: both have driven in F1, though not since 2004 (Gene) and 1999 (Badoer).  And there's that little thing about seven world championships. 

I find it ironic that I may have brought this upon us.  Just a few days ago, in a post dealing with the FIA SuperLicense, I mentioned that if the FIA votes unanimously to give a driver a license, he can be given one without meeting any of the requirements, then added "
if Slappy Schumacher was hired to drive a F1 car again, that's how he'd qualify, I'm sure."  When will I learn?

Anyway, Slappy will be undergoing a special training program to prepare for his first race back, at Valencia in a month.  Not that he's out of shape, particularly for a 40-year-old, but he hasn't driven a F1 car in anger since he retired in 2006.  If nothing else, his neck muscles have to be built up in a hurry to deal with the g-forces.  He has never driven Ferrari's current car, and with the testing ban in place, he won't get to until Friday practice for Valencia.  Still, there's that little thing about seven world championships...

...and at least the Official First Reader of The Pond, Mallory, will be happy.

Finally, it's pretty safe to say that while Renault may not be on-track due to their penalty in Hungary, Nelson Piquet Unemployed will not be.  Team boss Flavio Briatore said after the Hungarian Grand Prix that "...when a driver lacks results, he opens the book of excuses and begins: the fault is the weather's, a spectator's sunglasses, a spin on the straight, this and that... I expected more from Nelson."

Piquet's response was somewhat... um... energetic:  "Flavio is a business man, but he doesn't understand sh*t about F1."  Now, we're not saying that Piquet is wrong, but that's never a good thing to say about your boss... particularly when it's true.

Romain Grosjean, please pick up the white courtesy phone. 

UPDATE: Felipe Massa was able to answer questions in three different languages (English, Portugese, and Italian) today.  He also took his first steps since the accident, and will be transferred out of Intensive Care within the day.  Docs are saying that he'll likely be discharged within two weeks.  How cool is that?

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July 27, 2009

Massa's Condition Update III

Some grim news came out of Hungary this afternoon as it was announced that Felipe Massa was still suffering from swelling of the brain. That's bad enough, and explains why he'd been in a medically-induced coma for so long, but the really horrible news is that the Brazilian may have suffered damage to his left eye.

If that is the case, and he can't recover whatever vision is lost, then this incident may very well have ended his F1 career. 

The doctors are saying that it'll be at least a week before they can judge whether or not Massa has suffered any impairment from the brain damage, though they did take him off the ventilator and pulled him out of the coma.  He'll remain in intensive care for the forseeable future, however.

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Massa's Condition Update II

Even better: he is now able to move his hands and legs, and is "actively communicating", said Hungarian Defense Ministry spokesman Istvan Bocskai.  That would suggest that there isn't significant brain damage.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemelo is supposed to pay him a visit today.  Despite this, Felipe Massa's condition is expected to improve.

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July 26, 2009

Massa's Condition Update

Felipe Massa remains in a "life-threatening, but stable" state, and will be kept in a medically induced coma for the next 48 hours.

Peter Bazso, the medical director of the AEK Military Hospital in Budapest, also said that he's "in an acute phase.  What can come next, we don't know."  The good news is that there was no neurological damage and the results of brain scans were "encouraging."  He will be given another CAT scan later today, according to the Ferrari press office.

Massa was woken up briefly so doctors could check on his condition and so he could see his family.

I think it's safe to say that he's probably going to be out for the rest of the season.

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July 25, 2009

F1 Quals: Hungary 2009, Massa Seriously Injured

Okay, here's the results, then we'll get to the important stuff:

Pos Driver Team Q1Q2Q3
1 HWMNBN Renault 1:21.313 1:20.826 1:21.569
2 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:21.178 1:20.604 1:21.607
3 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:20.964 1:20.358 1:21.741
4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:20.842 1:20.465 1:21.839
5 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:20.793 1:20.862 1:21.890
6 Heikki Kovalaineninnie McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.659 1:20.807 1:22.095
7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:21.500 1:20.647 1:22.468
8 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:21.471 1:20.707 1:22.511
9 Kazoo Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:21.407 1:20.570 1:22.835
10 Not Felipe Massa
Ferrari 1:21.420 1:20.823No Time
11 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:21.571 1:21.002
12 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:21.416 1:21.082
13 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:21.558 1:21.222
14 Timo Glockenspiel Toyota 1:21.584 1:21.242
15 Nelson Piquet Unemployed
Renault 1:21.278 1:21.389
16 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:21.738

17 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:21.807

18 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:21.868

19 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:21.901

20 NKOTT STR-Ferrari 1:22.359

However, that's all secondary.  Felipe Massa was involved in a very hard crash right towards the end of Q2.  At first, it was thought that there was some malfunction with the car, as tiremarks showed that he never even tried to make the turn at Turn 4, and went straight into the barrier at Turn 5.

Then came the news that Rubens Barrichello, who went out in Q2, was hampered by rear suspension problems: something important, but not crippling, came off the suspension, something called a damper spring, which is the F1 version of a shock absorber.  It weighs about two pounds and is made of steel, "about the size of a microphone" as the BBC reporter put it.

Then came the video:

Felipe Massa was last known to be in "serious, life-threatening, but stable condition", after requiring surgery to fix a skull fracture, cuts to his chin and forehead, and a concussion.  He was sedated and on a respirator, in intensive care, and was expected to be woken up on Sunday morning.  Obviously, he's out of the Hungarian Grand Prix, and may be out of the next race in four weeks.  The latest news is that his life is no longer in danger.

A dreadful coincidence, coming so soon after the death of Henry Surtees.

Race tomorrow.

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F1 Quals: Hungary 2009 Will Be Even More Delayed

Last night's thunderstorms have, apparently, done something bad to Pond Central's satellite feed, or SPEED is trying to clear dead crows out of its antennae, or something, because I'm just getting a black screen with choppy voice during today's coverage of the Hungarian Quals.

I'm pretty sure it's on SPEED's end, because none of my other channels are affected.

So I'll either have to d/l coverage, further delaying the F1 Quals report, or I can just go and base it all off of coverage from the F1 website, which is cheating.

It seems like even the weathergods have a problem with Hungary.  The 2007 Hungarian GP is the only race I've missed in five years.

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July 24, 2009

F1 Practice: Hungary 2009!

Much to my surprise, the Legendary Announce Team was on a "Hungary is a really good track" kick today during P2.  "Because of the terrain (the Hungaroring is built in the valley of three hills) It's a great place to watch the race." "The race always gives us some special memory."  "It's a driver's track."

But yet, after the first lap there's usually no action to speak of, the drivers hate it, and it's more of a destruction test than a race at times.  No, I'm going to go out on a limb here and disagree with the L.A.T.: it's a horrible track.

On track, there wasn't much to report.  Oh, the Ferraris were having serious problems with grip again, and Felipe Massa in particular looked like he was driving on an ice rink, but they've had those problems before, too.  McLaren were on top of the timesheets all day.  Heikki Kovaleininninninnie was fastest until the final second or so, when Lewis Hamilton turned in the quick lap of the session.  The very interesting result, though, was that the entire field back to 17th place was separated by just one second.  That's pretty tight, and makes Quals look particularly exciting.

In other news, the New Kid On The Track (NKOTT), Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari has been at the center of a firestorm of controversy.  It turns out that, before today, he had turned a grand total of ZERO laps ever in a Formula 1 car.  He's done some straight-line runs (which are all that are allowable under the regulations), but not even many of those.  He earned his FIA SuperLicense, without which one cannot drive in F1, by winning last year's British Formula 3 championship.

There are many ways to earn a SuperLicense.  Winning or being in the top three of some FIA-sponsored series (Formula 3, GP2, F3000, etc), or finishing in the top six of the Indy Racing League or CART can earn you one.  Driving 300km in a F1 car at race speeds within 2 days can, with approval of the FIA, earn you one (this is how Fast Yuji Ide earned his provisional SuperLicense).  You can also be granted one by unanimous vote by the FIA license board, but that's not very common... if Slappy Schumacher was hired to drive a F1 car again, that's how he'd qualify, I'm sure.

Many drivers have mentioned that NKOTT is going to be something of a risk out there.  Nobody doubts he has the skillset to be a F1 driver, just that he doesn't have the experience.  I tend to be more of the "If you're good enough, you're experienced enough" school of thought (see Vettel, Sebastian, US Grand Prix, 2007), but the drivers certainly have the right to voice their concerns.  And, for the record, NKOTT was dead last on the timesheets today, 1.8 seconds behind.

Finally, BMW had something weird on their car during Practice 1 today.  Take a look:

Look directly in front of the driver.
At first, the LAT speculated that the team neglected to remove the platform that the team places a video monitor on when the car is in the garage.  The monitor allows the driver to see telemetry, replays, or even the FIA video feed, but usually the base is designed to sit on the bodywork directly, no 'table' needed. 

Eventually, the LAT's tech wonk, Steve Matchett, suggested that perhaps it's something related to testing for the 2010 car.  Since there's no testing allowed outside of race weekend, he said, maybe the 'table' is to simulate the design of the bodywork for next year's chassis, so as to check sightlines and visibility over the nose.  "After all, it'd be a bad thing if you put the driver in the car and he says 'it feels great, but I can't see anything'!"

Certainly there's no way the aerodynamic techies would let something like that hit the track, what with that flat front screwing up airflow!  It wasn't there in P2, so it seems like Matchett has the right of it, or at least is in the neighborhood.

Quals tomorrow morning.  Unfortunately, I'm working at the Duck U. Bookstore in the morning, then having lunch with Momzerduck and Ph.Duck afterwards, so don't look for the report to be up until the evening.  See ya then!

UPDATE: Almost forgot the most important news!  David Coulthard's Chin has been rehired by Red Bull as the team's third driver, replacing NKOTT.  This means that if Mark Webbo or Seb Vettel get sick, or injured, or are otherwise unable to race, The Chin will be back!

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July 20, 2009

F1 on TV: Hungary 2009

It's twisty, it's slow, it's dull, and it's not Monaco?  Then it must be Hungary!

Here's the trackmap... look at it and weep:

Occasionally called "Monaco without the glamour", the Hungaroring is one of the slowest tracks on the F1 schedule.  With only one turn that could remotely be called fast (#10, and even that's a nearly-90o bend), and one of the shortest straights on the calendar (only 700m), the main concept for the teams is to crank on as much wing as possible, coat the tires in superglue, and anything else they can think of to gain downforce.  Five of the corners on this track are taken at about 60mph... that's a huge amount.

The slow speeds and usually hot air temperatures throw in another problem for the teams: cooling.  Both the driver and the engine suffer mightily from the heat at Hungary.  While there isn't much they can do for the man, don't be surprised if we see huge radiator ducts and cut-away body panels at the back of the car.  Even then, we might see some overheating... unless it rains.

There's only one good passing spot here, Turn 1.  Unfortunately, the slow speeds and the processional nature of the track generally render the Hungarian GP a snoozefest. 

Fear not, fellow F1 fans!  We here at F1 Update! will take one on the chin for you and deliver our usual stellar* performance for the race recap, so you won't miss a thing, and SPEED will do their usual good work on bringing us the sights. 

They start off on Friday from 7am to 840am, with LIVE coverage of Friday's Second Practice.  Skipping on to Saturday, from 7am to 830am we get plausibly live coverage of Quals. 

On Sunday, however, we switch over to FOX (for the last time this season) from 2pm to 4pm for tape-delayed coverage of the Grand Prix of Hungary.

In other F1 news:

*As expected, Jamie Alguersuari was officially named as the driver who gets SeaBass' recently vacated race seat at Toro Rosso.  Just in time for the cars to get a much needed aero update... don't be surprised if the youngest driver in F1 history scores a point, and makes SeaBass look just that much worse.

*Danica Patrick recently told the LA Times that she's not interested in driving for USF1 next year. "I'd say it's probably not F1," she responded when asked what series she'd be racing in.  "I've had opportunities to take it a step further with Formula 1, and I don't want to lead anyone down a path. It's not in my heart to go there. I've explored Europe before.  I particularly like to be here and I like my family and I like my friends and I like my creature comforts of my home country."  Unless Bernie Ecclestone, misogynistic gnome that he is, leaves the sport, we'll probably never see Patrick in a F1 car.

*There are reports that Nelson Piquet Jr needs a good showing at Hungary to save his seat.  The official Renault press release for Hungary says that he's "targeting a top-10 grid spot and points in the race."  After Hungary, F1 takes another three-week break, which would be an ideal time to kick Piquet to the curb.  There's ominous music in the background...

*Max Mosley has officially stated (again) that he won't run for re-election as FIA President.  Until we (metaphorically) see his body buried at the crossroads with a stake in his chest and his mouth full of garlic, I won't believe he's gone.  Maybe not even then, if Jean Todt gets elected in his place.

*"stellar" in the same way that brown dwarfs and black holes could be called "stellar".

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July 19, 2009

Henry Surtees Killed

Henry Surtees, 18-year-old son of F1 and motorsports legend John Surtees, was killed today while driving in a Formula 2 race at Brands Hatch, England.

During the second race of the weekend, Jack Clarke spun and smacked into the barrier outside of Westfield Bend.  One of Clarke's rear wheels was torn from his car, where it rolled into the racing line just as Surtees swept by.

Surtees, in the blue & yellow car, was struck in the head by the tire and knocked unconscious.  His car then drove straight on into the wall of the next turn, Sheene Corner, at 140mph.  It took the first corner worker less than five seconds to reach him after the car came to a stop. 

He was quickly extracted from the car and taken to the track's infield care center, where he was stabilized.  He was then airlifted to Royal London Hospital, where he passed away a few hours later.

We here at F1 Update! extend our sincere condolences to the Surtees family.

Henry Surtees 2/18/1991 - 7/19/2009

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July 17, 2009

SeaBass Cooked!

In what might be the least surprising move in F1 history, Toro Rosso today fired Sebastian Bourdais from his driver duties. 

SeaBass, a four-time consecutive driver's champion in ChampCar, ran 27 races in F1, earning a total of six points.  He had two seventh place finishes in 2008, and two eighth place finishes this season.  Meanwhile, his teammates have consistently outscored him.  Last year, Sebastien Vettel scored 35 points, including the team's first victory and 9 total points-paying finishes.  This year, rookie Sebastian Buemi has three points.  Of course, other than the points scored, SeaBass has outperformed Buemi in finishing position.

Still, for someone with his obvious driving talent, SeaBass has been a disappointment, though perhaps Toro Rosso has pulled the trigger a little too fast.  SeaBass is threatening legal action for breach of contract.

The team has not yet named a replacement, but it's widely assumed that third driver Jaime Alguersuari will be given the drive.  If so, he'll become the youngest driver in F1 history at 19 years, 125 days at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

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July 12, 2009

Rubens Barrichello's Entire Post-Race Interview

Taken from the BBC's race coverage, this is a transcription of their post-race interview with disgruntled BrawnGP driver Rubens Barrichello:

Reporter: Where did it go wrong?

Rubens Barrichello: Well, I guess it's uh on the strategy, on the pit lane.  Uhm it was a good show from the team how to lose a race today.  For me it's um terrible upset with the way things gone because you know it uh... I did all I had to do.  I had to go first on the first corner and that's all I did.  And then uh and then uh they made me lose the race.  Basically.

Reporter: What can you do from a driver's point of view?  Will you sit down and talk about this because it's not the first time it's seem to have happened.

RB: I don't know.  I mean if uh you know if uh... If it is really what's going on, it's uh we're gonna end up losing both championships and thats uh that's even more terrible, so (clears throat) I feel sorry for myself.  I feel sorry for the team.  Uhhhh... to be very honest with you, I wish I can get on the plane and go back home right now.  I don't want to talk to anybody in the team because I don't wanna understand, it'll be a lot of 'blah blah blah blah blah' and I don't wanna hear that.

Reporter: Are you saying the team are definitely favoring Jensen?

RB: No, I'm not saying that, I'm saying that there was a good show how to lose a race today.  I'm not saying that they favor anyone.

Reporter: Thank you.

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July 11, 2009

F1 Quals: Germany 2009!

Ladies and gentlemen, history has been made today in what might have been the most suspenseful Quals this season!  Here's the provisional grid, and prepare to be amazed:

Pos Driver Team Q1Q2Q3
1 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:31.257 1:38.038 1:32.230
2 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:31.482 1:34.455 1:32.357
3 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:31.568 1:39.032 1:32.473
4 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:31.430 1:39.504 1:32.480
5 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:31.473 1:39.149 1:32.616
6 Heikki Kovalaineninnie McLaren-Mercedes 1:31.881 1:40.826 1:33.859
7 Adrian F'n Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:32.015 1:36.740 1:34.316
8 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:31.600 1:41.708 1:34.574
9 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:31.869 1:41.730 1:34.710
10 Nelson Piquet Jr
Renault 1:32.128 1:35.737 1:34.803
11 Grizzly Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:31.771 1:42.310
12 HWMNBN Renault 1:31.302 1:42.318
13 KazooNakajima Williams-Toyota 1:31.884 1:42.500
14 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:31.760 1:42.771
15 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:31.598 1:42.859
16 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:32.190

17 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:32.251

18 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:32.402

19 Timo Glockenspiel Toyota 1:32.423

20 SeaBass STR-Ferrari 1:33.559

Q1 started out dry, but towards the end it began to rain, which pretty much put paid to some strategies.  SeaBass and Glockenspiel were both waiting until the end to make their push for Q2 and wound up shooting themselves in the foot.  To boot, Glockenspiel wound up blocking HWMNBN who was on a hotlap towards the end of the session.  While HWMNBN still made it into Q2, Timo was penalized after quals was over and will actually be starting from dead last. 

Q2 is where the excitement occurred.  Everybody charged out of the pitlane on dry tires, but it took less than a half-lap to teams to realize that intermediates were the right way to go.  First Kazoo Nakajima went spiraling off-track, followed quickly by Felipe Massa.  Then into the exact same turn that sent the previous two drivers pirouetting, we had three cars go side-by-side in an impending pile of carbon-fibre wreckage.  Miracles (or driver skills) do occur, however, and all fifteen cars made it back to the pits for Inters... except for Red Bull's Mark Webber, who decided to give drys a try for a hot-lap.  It didn't work, and he wound up desperately crawling back to the pit, ego damaged but his car in one piece.

Everybody turned a lap or two on the Inters, but Brawn's Rubens Barrichello, maybe the best judge of weather on the grid, found a gap in the rain and slapped on a set of supersofts.  His 1:34 wound up nearly a second-and-a-half faster than anybody else could manage as the rain began to fall again. 

Meanwhile, Nelson Piquet Jr managed to do something he had never succeeded in doing before: he outqualified his teammate, HWMNBN.  Look for Piquet to be found dismembered and eviscerated in the morning.

The story of Q2, however, was the history-making session of Force India's Adrian F'n Sutil.  Never before has a Force India car made it out of Q2... in fact, on those occasions when they've made it into Q2, they've usually been 14th or 15th at the end.  Not today.  Sutil, driving on his home track, found a nice groove in the weather and managed to hoist himself into Q3 with the third best lap of the session.  In doing so, he has earned himself a nickname: F'n, said in admiration.  Amazing job... but it would only get better.

In Q3, it looked like it would be the usual routine: Brawns and Red Bulls fighting for the pole, and in truth, that's exactly what happened... but not before the reborn McLarens of Hamilton and Kovaleininninnie made it known that they had to be taken seriously.  Perhaps not for a win, but the mere fact that both drivers were in Q3 means that the recent aero changes have fixed whatever ailed the Glare with Wheels.

A quick flurry of fast times in the last couple minutes of the session juggled the top four positions.  Both Brawns and both Red Bulls were on pole at one time or another, but Mark Webber, the last to come around on a hot-lap, claimed his first ever pole position and looks to be the favorite for the race by far.

All of which, however, paled in comparison to the performance of Adrian F'n Sutil.  Despite having more fuel onboard than the three cars behind him (678.5kg for Sutil to 673.5kg for Massa), he still brought his Force India home in seventh, the best ever for that team.  Here's the best part: it's a legitimate result.  We may very well be seeing the newest entry into annals of Bizarro Season... but it's great to see.  Adrian F'n Sutil, we salute you!

Fuel loads show that Red Bull and McLaren have both apparently caught up with the Brawns.  Where it was common to see them on pole with the most fuel, now Button and Barrichello both have nearly 10kg of fuel LESS onboard, and nearly 15kg less than the polesitter.  That might be because of the cool track temps (the Brawn car is easy on the tires, but that also means that on cold tracks it's hard for them to get heat into the rubber, ergo less traction), or it might just mean that the team hasn't been able to keep up with the development pace of the other two.

Looks to be a promising race on Sunday... we might just see Webber get his first ever victory, and possibly Force India's first ever points-paying finish.  The race is on Fox at 2pm Pond Time, so see you then!

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F1 Quals: Germany 2009 is DELAYED

There must have been some lightning somewhere between Pond Central and SPEED, because the picture for their coverage of Quals was breaking up or freezing every twenty seconds or so.  Completely unwatchable, so I'm currently downloading the BBC's version and I'll report on quals later today.

Please, no spoilers until I post about it here.

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July 10, 2009

F1 Practice: Germany 2009!

It's nice to have F1 back on the telly!

Now that we're halfway through season, it's just possible that we're starting to see the big teams beginning to catch up with Brawn and Red Bull.  None other than Lewis Hamilton took fast-lap honors in P2 today, beating out Seb Vettel and Jensen Button.  Of course, the usual warning about "trusting no time set in Practice" applies, but it was still kinda good to see McLaren back up front.

Never mind that Heikki Kovaleininninnie was 17th.

The current weather forecast for the race is cool and rainy, which is exactly the conditions we had today.  Might make for a fun race, that.

Unfortunately, if you trust the rumors flying about, this is going to be the last F1 race for SeaBass.  He's never quite gotten a handle on the series, which is quite puzzling considering the success he had in ChampCar.  It's not the same type of racing, obviously, but it's not like he's Yuji Ide or something: SeaBass has talent!

Offtrack, there's been another falling out between FOTA and FIA.  Someone said something, or the table was the wrong shape, or the team principals didn't like the water, or whatever it was, the FOTA teams marched out of a meeting with the FIA en masse.  For all we know, the breakaway series is still possible.  Tell you what... if there's any solid news, I'll report it, but until then just assume the two sides are grumbling at each other.


Quals tomorrow!

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July 06, 2009

F1 on TV: Germany 2009!

*tap tap tap*  Is this thing on?  It is?  Okay, good.


FINALLY.  It's been three weeks since the last race (or at least it will be, on Sunday), and the layoff has been driving me bugnutty.  I even watched the entire NASCAR race on Saturday night, and I never do that (bring back the name "Firecracker 400", NASCAR... what's wrong with you guys?).  But, finally, we're back to the real stuff.

And, even better, we're returning to a good track in Germany.  The last time we were at the Nurburgring GP-Strecke, aka "Nurb Jr", it was the 2007 European Grand Prix.   There was a spot of rain and Markus Winklehock's Spyker (wow, a Spyker siting!) wound up leading by over 30 seconds after the first couple of laps.  (Trivia point: Winklehock is the only driver in F1 history to start both last and first in the same race, thanks to the red flag that came out while he was leading)

Ah, but that was then, and this is now.  Spyker is now Force India and Winklehock hasn't driven a F1 car again.  But we're back at the Nurb Jr, and all is right with the world.  Let's take a look at the track map:

It was the Dunlop Kehre that we had the most fun in 2007, as it sits at the bottom of a fairly steep downhill section and cars would be swimming completely out of control at that point. 

Alas, Nurb Jr isn't a patch on the infamous Nordschleife, aka "The Green Hell," but it's a helluva lot safer.  For those who might be interested, here's an onboard video from 2007 when Nick Heidfeld took a BMW F1.06 around the Nurb at about 2/3rds speed.  Here's a better video of the track at full speed, with other cars.

Oh, yeah, the race.  It's a fairly decent high-speed circuit, with the added bonus of not really having a "technical" section (though turns 1 thru 4 basically serve the same purpose).  However, the turns fairly scream for a car with good grip, so this would be a "low-medium" downforce track.  I'm guessing the FIA'll be using the supersoft/medium compounds again. 

We'll get to see Practice 2 LIVE on SPEED this Friday, from 7a to 840a.  Quals will be plausibly live on Saturday from 7a to 830a, also on SPEED.

But the race will be Sunday, from 2p to 4p, on FOX.  Check your local listings!

See ya then!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 05:31 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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July 04, 2009

Darth Bernie Is An Idiot

I suppose it isn't any surprise to hear that Bernie Ecclestone is an idiot.  What is a surprise is just exactly how much of an idiot he is.

In 2005, Ecclestone insulted Danica Patrick and women racers in general saying that "(He's) got one of those wonderful ideas ... women should be dressed in white like all the other domestic appliances."  A few years earlier, he said that a female racer "...would have to be a woman who was blowing away the boys. ... What I would really like to see happen is to find the right girl, perhaps a black girl with super looks, preferably Jewish or Muslim, who speaks Spanish."

In 2008, he laughed off Spanish fans that wore blackface and were audibly shouting racist remarks at Lewis Hamilton, saying "I don't think it was anything to do with racism. There were a few people in Spain and that was probably beginning as a joke rather than anything abusive.  I think people look and read into things that are not there. All those things are all a bit of a joke and people are entitled to support who they want to support.  I don't see why people should have been (insulted by it). These things are people expressing themselves."

However, we've discovered that Darth Bernie believes that Adolph Hitler was a great leader who "got things done," and that "...we did a terrible thing when we supported the idea of getting rid of Saddam Hussein. He was the only one who could control that country. It was the same (with the Taleban)."

He went on to say that Hitler really wasn't a dictator because he might have had to have been convinced to do "things".  Things like, oh, I dunno, the Holocaust, Bernie?  Obviously someone's never read Mein Kampf.

Darth Bernie said these things in the context of an interview regarding the Emperor Max Mosley, saying that he'd do a "super job leading Britain.  He's a good leader with people.  I don't think (Mosley's) background would be a problem.

It's curious that Ecclestone is talking about dictators like Hitler and Hussein while speaking about Mosley, who's recently been accused of being a dictator himself. 

I'd call all of this part of the F1 Bizarro Season that's ongoing, but to be honest it's truly par for the course for Ecclestone.  Sadly, this moron has at least as much power as Mosley in F1.

Adequate representation of me as I think about that fact.
Just once, just one time, I'd like to believe that the leaders of F1 weren't trying to kill off the sport.  Yet it's impossible for me to come to any other conclusion.  What the hell is going on here???

Posted by: Wonderduck at 05:17 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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