October 28, 2011

F1 Practice: India P2

Another 90 minutes of running on the new Buddh International Circuit is in the books, and the character of the track is starting to show up, at least to this observer.  If I had to describe the place, it's Abu Dhabi with hills.  This is not a good thing.

To be sure, the two layouts couldn't be more different.  Yes, they both have a very long straightaway, but other than that, the two tracks have little in common.  Yet they feel the same to me.  Maybe I'm wrong.  I hope I'm wrong.  But that's how I'm seeing it right now.

The drivers, on the other hand, love the place.  "Awesome," "fantastic," "good fun," "really nice," "challenging," and "interesting" are just some of the words drivers have used to describe the place.  Well, good, I'm glad they like it.  Hopefully it makes for awesome, fantastic, interesting and really nice racing come Sunday!

Of course, the drivers are still deciding on how best to drive the course.  Turn 10 has gone from having to two racing lines to one, though it's a wide line.  Nobody seems to have a handle on the correct way to handle the Turn 6/7 pair; the grass on the inside of 7 is getting seriously rough treatment, and a lot of it is ending up on the racing surface, having been dragged there by cars returning to the track.  And both ends of the pit lane are a little squirrely, though nowhere near as bad as Korea. 

On the plus side, I'm loving Turn 1/2/3.  It's like Hermann Tilke finally figured out how to make a series of turns flow together naturally.  Of course, they feed right into that 4000' long rollercoaster of a straightaway, which is now the longest in F1, if not the world. 

In off-track news, both Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez have been handed matching three grid-spot penalties for the race.  At the end of P1, Pastor Maldonado turned his engine into so much scrap metal, bringing out a full-course yellow and a recovery vehicle to carry his car away.  Of course, track workers doing their job "over the wall" calls for double-yellow flags to be waved in that section of track.  Drivers are to slow way down in that situation for the protection of the workers, and the stewards believe neither Hamilton or Perez did that sufficiently.  For Hamilton, this is actually good because he could have been given a reprimand, his third for the season.  Three reprimands in a season carries a FIVE grid-spot penalty.  If both Perez and Hamilton were given reprimands, Perez would have escaped clean and Hamilton penalized.  I think at that point Lewis would have climbed the nearest clock tower and start gunning down anybody wearing the FIA logo.

F1 Update!'s decision to use the designation "soft" and "hard" tires during our race writeups may go against the more traditional "prime" and "option" terms, but at least for this race it's going to prove to be less confusing!  Generally, the designated option tire is the softer of the two compounds, but at the Indian Grand Prix, the option tire has been declared to be the harder tire.  The prime tire is the soft.  So, hurray for us, I suppose.

Finally, everybody please join F1U! in wishing Darth Bernie Ecclestone a happy 81st birthday, born October 28th 1930.

Quals Saturday morning, see you then!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 09:58 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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The drivers, on the other hand, love the place.

Well, what else are they going to say? No matter what they feel, they have to be nice.


Posted by: Steven Den Beste at October 28, 2011 10:50 PM (+rSRq)

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