October 29, 2016

F1 Quals: Mexico 2016

Beautiful day at Mexico City's Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez today.  The sun was shining, bringing a lovely glow to the world's largest megaslum Neza-Chalco-Izta, located just a few miles away from the pretty park where the track is located.  The track was very hot, however, making the Super-soft tires start degrading even before they were mounted on the cars.  Nico Rosberg can actually clinch the World Championship this weekend, with a win and Lewis Hamilton finishing 10th or below.  To stand a chance to win, first you must qualify!  Here's the provisional grid for the 2016 Grand Prix of Mexico:

Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:19.447 1:19.137 1:18.704
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:19.996 1:19.761 1:18.958
3 Embryo Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:19.874 1:18.972 1:19.054
4 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:19.713 1:19.553 1:19.133
5 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes 1:20.599 1:19.769 1:19.330
6 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:19.554 1:19.936 1:19.376
7 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:19.865 1:19.385 1:19.381
8 Valtteri Bottas Williams Mercedes 1:20.338 1:19.958 1:19.551
9 FelipeRetired  Massa Williams Mercedes 1:20.423 1:20.151 1:20.032
10 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:20.457 1:20.169 1:20.378
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 1:20.552 1:20.282
12 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:20.308 1:20.287
13 JensonRetired Button McLaren Honda 1:21.333 1:20.673
14 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:21.254 1:21.131
15 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:21.062 1:21.536
16 Pascal's Wehrlein MRT Mercedes 1:21.363 1:21.785
17 Esteban! Haas Ferrari 1:21.401

18 Kid Kvyat Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:21.454

19 FelipeNot Retired Nasr Sauber Ferrari 1:21.692

20 False Esteban MRT Mercedes 1:21.881

21 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:21.916

The sharper-eyed (or the overly-detail-oriented) of you may have noticed that there are only 21, not 22, cars listed.  That's because in P3 Renault's Jolyon Palmer took his car for a looooong run over some curbing... that fit perfectly between the wheels.  He wound up with a crack in the driver's tub, forcing the team to build him a new car from the ground up.  He races at the stewards' whims.

Other than that, however?  Rosberg pulled second place out of his exhaust pipe, jumping up from fourth at the last moment.  I'm sure his teammate is happy for him.  The Ferraris only noise came from a radio call with Seb Vettel in Q2: "Are we safe (in our position)?"  "We are safe."  "Can I go for a wee?"  Just in case you wondered what F1 drivers do when... well... y'know.

Finally, Lettuce Grosjean looked to be ready to shank a b*tch after his car had another series of cascading failures in Q1.  He's never been thrilled with his brakes, and they've gotten even worse over the last few races... and today, his hybrid battery went south on him, too.  You know, the battery that's charged mostly by the brakes?

Race is in the afternoon.  See you sometime thereafter...

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October 26, 2016

F1 on TV: Mexico 2016

Last year's GP of Mexico was the surprise hit of the season, with the fantastically renovated circuit combining with a gazillion insane fans.  And now we're back!  Here's the track map for the 2016 Grand Prix of Mexico:

I'm really not in the mood for writing tonight, so I'll simply say the tire choices are Medium, Soft and Supersofts. 

The Legendary Announce Team's broadcast schedule is as follows:
Practice 2:  2p - 330p  live on NBCSN
Quals:  1p - 230p  live on NBCSN
2016 Grand Prix of Mexico:  130p - 4p  live on NBC

All times Pond Central, as per usual.  Please note the actual race is on NBC, the mother network.

Chin up, fellow fans.  F1U! will be along as usual.

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October 22, 2016

F1 Quals: United States 2016

Time is running low on the 2016 season, and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, reigning driver's champion, is in serious trouble.  His teammate has a 30+ point lead and holds all the cards.  Hamilton needs to win out and hope something goes wrong with his teammate, but to win out, you've basically got to be on pole when the light go out.  So how'd Quals for the 2016 United States Grand Prix work out?  Here's the provisional grid:

Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:36.296 1:36.450 1:34.999
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:36.397 1:36.351 1:35.215
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:36.759 1:36.255 1:35.509
4 Embryo Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:36.613 1:36.857 1:35.747
5 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:36.985 1:36.584 1:36.131
6 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:37.151 1:36.462 1:36.358
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes 1:36.950 1:36.626 1:36.628
8 Valtteri Bottas Williams Mercedes 1:37.456 1:37.202 1:37.116
9 FelipeRetired  Massa Williams Mercedes 1:37.402 1:37.214 1:37.269
10 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:37.744 1:37.175 1:37.326
11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:37.345 1:37.353
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 1:37.913 1:37.417
13 Kid Kvyat Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:37.844 1:37.480
14 Esteban! Haas Ferrari 1:38.053 1:37.773
15 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:38.084 1:37.935
16 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:38.040 1:39.356
17 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:38.308

18 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:38.317

19 Jenson Retired Button McLaren Honda 1:38.327

20 Pascal's Wehrlein MRT Mercedes 1:38.548

21 FelipeNot Retired Nasr Sauber Ferrari 1:38.583

22 False Esteban MRT Mercedes 1:38.806

The two Merc drivers split the first two Qual sessions.  Perhaps importantly, Rosberg was fastest in the second session.  This is important because the top 10 have to start on the tires they used for their fastest lap in Q2... and unlike everybody else, the Mercs used the Soft tires while everybody else used the Supersofts.  So in theory, Rosberg will have the advantage in at least the first stint.

Beyond them, Two-by-Two is was the rule of the day with only a wayward Force India to break up the first eight slots symmetry.  Major disappointment for American team HaasF1, who were chasing gremlins all practice.  Maybe things will go better for the race tomorrow afternoon!  Look for it on NBC-the-mother-network, and sometime thereafter, F1U!

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October 19, 2016

F1 on TV: United States 2016

Y'all put your Stetsons and cowboy boots on, grab a handful of shootin' iron, jump in your pickup truck (RED TRUCK!) and drive your herd just southeast of central Texas to that lil' ol' town called Austin.  But be careful, there's gonna be a buncha furriners there, because the circus is in town... the Formula 1 Circus, that is!  C'mon down to the Circuit of the Americas, home of the United States Grand Prix!  Take a gander at the track map:

Today, tomorrow and forever, the best of the new circuits.  Blatantly stealing Borrowing the best concepts from other tracks around the world, COTA is just about everything you'd want from a FIA Class 1 circuit.  Plenty of run-off area surrounds the track itself while the facility has the world's only Emergency Room located at a race track to go along with the 5500 sq ft medical center (which is fully prepared to deal with exotic diseases like malaria and ebola.  Yes, really).  But best of all is what isn't going to be coming to Austin this year.

Yep, it was just last year that Hurricane Patricia hit the western coast of Mexico, then tracked up north.  That meant rain and lots of it: nearly a foot of rain in a couple of days, to the point the 2015 USGP nearly got rained out.  As it was, the whole weekend was borked up... just take a look at the goings-on on Saturday for a reminder of what it was like.

As is usual for a home race, the Legendary Announce Team will be on-site and bringing us coverage of every session during the weekend!  Here's a look at the broadcast schedule:
Practice 1: 10a - 1130a  live on NBCSN
Practice 2: 2p - 330p  live on NBCSN
Practice 3-Intermission-Quals: 1130a - 3p  live on NBCSN
2016 United States Grand Prix:  130p - 4p  live on NBC

All times are Pond Central, of course.  On a personal note, I tried to get Friday off from work, but because of a mandatory event I couldn't manage it.  I did manage to get the afternoon off though, so I'll be parked in the Official Comfy Chair of The Pond for P2!  Saturday and Sunday, of course, are givens.

So there we have it: the USGP!  I'm looking forward to this one, if for no other reason that it'll be the first time HaasF1 has been home.  Points would be nice, guys!

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October 14, 2016


I bumped into this picture the other day, thought it quite amazing how it shows forces at work on a F1 car.

Let's be perfectly clear about this: there is nothing wrong with this Mercedes.  Aerodynamics and G-forces alone have hucked the car over to the left.  The tires are doing their job of pretending to be shock absorbers.  The roll to the left is being mirrored on the right, picking the front right off the ground as the rear left compresses.  And underneath, the titanium skid plate is performing its secondary duty of a sparkler.

All and all, a truly remarkable shot.

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October 08, 2016

F1 Quals: Japan 2016

Well, that was fun!  Here's the provisional grid for the 2016 Grand Prix of Japan:

Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:31.858 1:30.714 1:30.647
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:32.218 1:31.129 1:30.660
3 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:31.674 1:31.406 1:30.949
4 Sebby Vettel Ferrari 1:31.659 1:31.227 1:31.028
5 Embryo Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:32.487 1:31.489 1:31.178
6 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:32.538 1:31.719 1:31.240
7 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:32.682 1:32.237 1:31.961
8 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:32.458 1:32.176 1:31.961
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes 1:32.448 1:32.200 1:32.142
10 Esteban! Haas Ferrari 1:32.620 1:32.155 1:32.547
11 Valtteri Bottas Williams Mercedes 1:32.383 1:32.315
12 Retired Massa Williams Mercedes 1:32.562 1:32.380
13 Kid Kvyat Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:32.645 1:32.623
14 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:32.789 1:32.685
15 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 1:32.819 1:32.689
16 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:32.796 1:32.807
17 Retired Button McLaren Honda 1:32.851

18 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:33.023

19 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:33.222

20 Felipe Not Massa Nasr Sauber Ferrari 1:33.332

21 False Esteban MRT Mercedes 1:33.353

22 Pascal's Wehrlein MRT Mercedes 1:33.561

Nico Rosberg beat his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to the line by .013 seconds.  On track, that works out to about 82 centimeters, or just a touch over 32 inches.  The Mercedes W07 Hybrid chassis is 197 inches long, as a reference... yeah, that's pretty close.  The video of the two lapping side-by-side is quite impressive.

Once again, we get two-by-two at the top of the grid: Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull.  Vettel has a three grid-spot penalty coming for his banzai charge at the start of the Malaysian GP, though.  It's amazing how the teams often break down that way.

The big news out of qualifying is the performance of Team Haas.  This is the first time they've gotten both cars into Q3 at once.  Sure, they didn't exactly cover themselves in glory in the session, but they were there.  You want evidence that the team is advancing as a race team?  There ya go.  The points at the start of the season were nice, but they were outclassed by the more experienced organizations fairly quickly.  Now they're starting to make gains on that front as well.  Nice to see.

The biggest disappointment had to be felt by McLaren-Honda.  After all, they're in Honda's home country, on the circuit owned and designed by Honda, and they've been coming to grips with their new engine all season.  And then they leave a mess on the carpet that even an Aismo wouldn't clean up.  That can't have gone over well at all.

So Rosberg gets the early advantage over Hamilton, on a track where such things are fairly important.  With the gap he has in points over his teammate, he's not going to be reluctant to muscle him around, either... if they both get knocked out by damage, well, that's just going to make the lead that much harder to cut down.  Not that Rosberg is going to do a Senna/Prost or anything, mind.

Race is late tonight/early tomorrow... I'll probably watch at least part of it live.  If anything important happens, I'll mention it here before the F1U!.  See ya later!

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October 04, 2016

F1 on NBCSN: Japan 2016

From Sepang International Circuit, the F1 Circus packs up, trundles over to the Kuala Lumpur (Koala Lumper!) International Airport, just across the street.  From there, it's a surprisingly long 9-1/2 hour flight to Chubu Centrair International Airport, located on a manmade island just off the coast of Tokoname, Aichi, Japan.  After that, it's a simple 90 minute drive to the location of this week's race, Suzuka International Racing Course, home of the 2016 Grand Prix of Japan!  Here's the track map for this, my favorite circuit on the F1 calendar:

Once a fearsome beast of a track, it has been tamed somewhat in recent years.  The legendary 130R was straightened a bit via a double-apex turn, Degner was made into two turns instead of one big sweeping bend, and the final chicane was first added, then moved closer to 130R.  Despite all this, Suzuka is still one of the premiere tracks in F1, and the only one with a figure-8 layout.  Not that there's many of those worldwide or anything.

It's also one of the favorites of the drivers.  Not just because of the feeling that you're actually going somewhere, something you don't get at the Tilkedromes, but because of the Japanese fans.  Only at Monza might you find a more passionate bunch, and no fans are more knowledgeable.  And if there's a Japanese driver in the field?  Bedlam.  And if by chance he ends up on the podium?  You get the 2012 post-race experience, with the entire crowd chanting Gandalf Kobayashi's name.  Thrilling stuff.

While it's a late night race, the start isn't so late, and we have the Legendary Announce Team to keep us awake!  Here's the broadcast schedule:
Practice 2: 1201a - 130a  live on NBCSN
Quals: 1a - 230a  live on NBCSN
2016 Grand Prix of Japan: 1130p - 2a  live on NBCSN

All times Pond Central of course, because Pond Central time is best time!  And sometime after the race, F1 Update! will be along with another thrilling and exciting writeup of the race (note: may not be thrilling or exciting).  Join us, won't you?

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October 01, 2016

F1 Quals: Malaysia 2016

A threat of rain hung in the air at steamy Sepang, the home of the Malaysian Grand Prix.  The heat and humidity actually claimed Red Bull driver Embryo Verstappen, with the young driver passing out after exiting his car at the end of Practice 1.  Of course, that's nothing in comparison to the heat Kevin Magnussen had to deal with.  It was still hot for Quals, but would the impending rain affect the starting lineup?  Here's the provisional grid for the 2016 Grand Prix of Malaysia:

Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:34.444 1:33.046 1:32.850
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:34.460 1:33.609 1:33.264
3 Embryo Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:35.443 1:33.775 1:33.420
4 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:35.079 1:33.888 1:33.467
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:34.557 1:33.972 1:33.584
6 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:34.556 1:33.903 1:33.632
7 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:35.068 1:34.538 1:34.319
8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes 1:34.827 1:34.441 1:34.489
9 Retiring Button McLaren Honda 1:35.267 1:34.431 1:34.518
10 Retiring Massa Williams Mercedes 1:35.267 1:34.422 1:34.671
11 Valtteri Bottas Williams Mercedes 1:35.166 1:34.577
12 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:35.400 1:35.001
13 Esteban! Haas Ferrari 1:35.658 1:35.097
14 Torchy Magnussen Renault 1:35.593 1:35.277
15 Kid Kvyat Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:35.695 1:35.369
16 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:35.605 1:35.374
17 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:35.816

18 FelipeNot Massa Nasr Sauber Ferrari 1:35.949

19 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:35.999

20 False Esteban MRT Mercedes 1:36.451

21 Pascal's Wager MRT Mercedes 1:36.587

22 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 1:37.155

Fernando Alonso changed multiple pieces of his engine and the gearbox, giving him a 45 grid spot penalty before Quals began.  As you can imagine, he didn't exactly go all out in his efforts today. 

Other than that?  It's all pretty much by rote.  The Mercs are clowning the rest of the field, Red Bull actually looks pretty decent (but not that decent), Ferrari is grumpy, and there's a whole lot of two-by-two going on all the way down the grid.

I'd love to be more excited about the race, but boy, it's looking awfully familiar right about now.  There's a lot of complaining about the reprofiled final turn... it's universally hated... but other than that, there may not be a whole lot of excitement.

F1Update! coming sometime Sunday... it's an early race, after all... look forward to it, won't you?

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