March 01, 2011

Even Still More F1 News 'n' Notes

We're heading into the fourth and final pre-season test session this weekend... and then the tension starts as we bite our nails (ducks have nails?) waiting for the first race of the year.  Until then though, there's a little bit of news floating around the 'net.

First up, Timo Glockenspiel probably won't be participating in this test session as he's currently in hospital.  The Virgin driver suffered a sudden attack of appendicitis and had that vestigial organ removed in a Swiss hospital yesterday.  He should be released on Wednesday, but to speed his recovery along, he'll likely be sitting out the four-day session.  Jerome D'Ambrosio will be doing all the laps for the team in Timo's absence.  Get well soon, Timo!

Next, it's sounding more and more like the Grand Prix of Bahrain just won't die this year.  Birdy Ecclestone has found a date for the race, and it won't conflict with any of the existing races... sounds great, right?  Well, not so much: it's during the F1 Circus' summer break, in August.  In Bahrain.  A hot country, in the hot season, on a hot surface.  IN THE FRICKIN' DESERT!  Never mind the cars overheating, I'm frightened that the drivers will die in the cockpit.  It's not like there's air conditioning in these cars...

On the news of that bombshell, work has begun in Austin, TX on the new USGP track there.  Earth has been moved for the past couple of weeks, according to the Austin Statesman newspaper/website, and is going on roughly 12 hours a day, six days a week.  More importantly, the promoters have been told to expect a June 2012 race date.  Pretty much what I expected; it only makes sense to have the US race either just before or just after the Canadian GP.  Yes, the teams want to be in the USA, but not enough to make two trips to North America in a season...

Finally, Jackie Stewart has never been one to keep his mouth shut when he thinks there's a problem, and a couple of days ago he said what a lot of us F1 fans have been yowling about for years.  "My belief is that the major reason for the lack of overtaking in modern grand prix racing is down to the modern tracks, nearly all of which have been designed by the same man, the German architect Hermann Tilke," said Stewart.  "Racetracks have changed since my day and thank God for that. Back then a driver who raced for five years had a two in three chance of being killed.  But we have now gone too far the other way. Circuits should not permit liberties to be abused without a penalty that can be instantly recognised by spectators or TV viewers. Safety is one thing; abuse of privilege is another.  Unless circuits are modified, spectators and television viewers might have to live with a lack of overtaking for some time."  Perhaps surprisingly, the chief pilot of Red Bull Airways, Mark Webber, agreed with Stewart.  He then went on to damn with faint praise by saying that Tilke's best track was the Sepang International Raceway in Malaysia... which is kind of like being the smallest miniature giant space hamster. 

Posted by: Wonderduck at 09:42 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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1

Nice to have some news and a big get well soon to Timo Glock.

 

Posted by: Mallory at March 02, 2011 01:39 PM (WJ2qy)

2

I wonder if they could run the Bahrain August race at night, as a way of avoiding the sun? Start time of 8:00 PM, anyone?

If they run it in the heat of the day, then you're right: it's a serious hazard to the health of the drivers.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 02, 2011 04:31 PM (+rSRq)

3 You're overlooking one thing, Steven... no lights at the track.  It's pretty clear that there's no way that there's going to be any money being spent on the track in the near future, either.

No, I think it'd be a day race or nothing.

Posted by: Wonderduck at March 02, 2011 07:32 PM (W8Men)

4 Well, if the drivers are lucky there will be a revolution, and the race will get canceled.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 03, 2011 01:00 AM (+rSRq)

5 I'm with you, Steven.  It's been a while since the drivers banded together and threw a collective hissyfit; this would be a good reason for it to happen.

Posted by: Wonderduck at March 03, 2011 07:02 AM (W8Men)

6 I meant a revolution in Bahrain. But a driver revolution would be good, too.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 03, 2011 08:27 AM (+rSRq)

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