July 02, 2013

F1 On The NBC Networks: Germany 2013

It is called by many names.  Nordschleife.  The Ultimate Track.  Nurburgring.  The Toughest Circuit In The World.  It is best known, though, by the name Jackie Stewart gave it in 1970:  The Green Hell.  12.93 miles long.  154 turns.  Over 1000 feet of difference between the lowest and highest points on the track.  Man and machine race here.  Man and machine die here: somewhere between three and 12 drivers are killed on the Nordschleife, or "North Loop" every year.  A modern Formula 1 race here would be roughly 12 laps long, and be the most exciting spectacle we've ever seen.   Which is why they don't race F1 there anymore.  Instead, for the Grand Prix of Germany, they race on the purpose-built F1 track, which has many names of its own: GP-Strecke.  Green Party Ring.  Ersatzring.  Or, as we here at F1 Update! call it, Nurb Jr.  Let's take a look at this massive letdown, shall we?

This circuit has two strikes against it right from the start.  First, it actually has a turn named after Slappy Schumacher.  Second, it's not the Nordschleif.  It was, however, the site of one of my favorite moments in F1 history, the 2007 Grand Prix of Europe.  Everybody and their brother started the race on dry-weather tires, and by the time the Thundering Herd reached Turn 4, the skies had opened up and most of the North Sea had deposited itself upon the track.  Many, many cars went slithering into the kittylitter at Turn 7, including Vitantonio Liuzzi going down the hill to 7 backwards to gently end up nuzzling a mobile crane.  Meanwhile, Marcus Winklehock, in his first and last F1 drive, had started the race on full wets and had a thirty-second lead on the field... in a SPYKER, no less... when the red flag was thrown.  Ah, good times, good times.

But I digress.  This year's excitement will be all because of tires.  Specifically, Pirelli tires that seem to have a propensity to explode... at least, if you ask the teams, they do.  If you ask Pirelli, the tire failures are down to the teams using them the wrong way.  Now how, I hear you asking, can they be using tires the wrong way?  Well, it's easy if you're in Formula 1.  F1 tires are "handed," if you like: they're designed to be run one way and one way only.  If a tire is made for the right-rear, that's where it's supposed to be put.  Some bright spark discovered that if you switch sides with the rears, they last a little longer, and you might get a little bit of speed bonus, too. So you've got a bunch of teams running around with their rear tires on the wrong sides, with tire pressures too low (16 - 18psi is normal), and then they run over the backside of a curb and they're shocked that the tires fail?  But it's Pirelli's fault.

Drivers were talking about boycotting the race.  Teams were rumbling ominously about being cross with Pirelli... even though if they had agreed to the proposed changes that Pirelli suggested a few races back, these tire failures probably wouldn't have occurred.  And on and on.  In the end, I'll be shocked if Pirelli willingly comes back next year.  "A pox on all of you."

Speaking of poxes: due to the interference from the Tour de Drug Dealers, the race weekend is again all a-jumble.  All I know for sure is that the 2013 Grand Prix of Germany will be on CNBC at 630am on Sunday.  Oh, and that F1U! will be watching everything.  See you soon!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:49 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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The Green Hell. 12.93 miles long. 154 turns.

It'd take a thousand cameras to televise it.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 02, 2013 09:30 PM (+rSRq)

2 And that, more than the safety aspect, is probably why we'll never see a F1 race there again.

Posted by: Wonderduck at July 03, 2013 12:13 AM (rY5SD)

3 Should have saved that first paragraph for April Fools.  I got all excited for a minute.

Posted by: Ben at July 05, 2013 08:19 AM (/Mdmg)

4 An argument can be made, Ben, that the only things I hate more than myself are my readers.

Posted by: Wonderduck at July 05, 2013 03:33 PM (PFQVo)

5 You DID subject us to Rio...

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at July 05, 2013 04:21 PM (pWQz4)

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