December 02, 2016

Nico Rosberg Wins Championship, Retires

Well, that's something of a surprise headline!

Nico Rosberg, 11-year veteran of Formula 1 and the new Driver's Champion, announced his retirement today.  In his announcement, he says that the one single goal he had was to win the F1 championship, and now that he's done that it's time to be a family man.  Apparently it was quite the hard struggle for Rosberg to win this year, and his wife and young daughter had some strain involved as well.  If that's really the reason, it's admirable of him to step aside, to put family ahead of career.

It's certainly a good time for him to step away.  Not everybody gets to go out on top of one's profession.  Unsurprisingly, there are already trolls and other vermin online who are saying that he's retiring because he knows that Hamilton deserved the championship this year, that it was all a set-up, blah-blah-blah.  And y'know what?  They may be right... he probably isn't the best Mercedes driver.  Lewis Hamilton probably is better at F1 racing than he is.

But so what?  F1 has never just been about the driver.  The car plays a huge part in the game, and so does luck.  Rosberg had fewer mechanical failures that cost him than Lewis did, and that made all the difference.  It's racing, it happens.  And it's hardly like Rosberg is dead weight on-track.  To be sure, he still not as good as Hamilton, but he's better than he was in 2014 or 2015.  He's always been one-lap-fast, but he improved his race pace immensely.  Obviously, since he won the championship.  Reportedly, he's one of the best drivers in providing useful feedback on a car's performance too... which makes a huge difference.

In the end, there will always be some... I hesitate to call them fans... that will say that he was lucky to win this championship.  Which is ironic, because people used to say that he was lucky to get a drive in Formula 1 in the first place, that it was all because of his father, 1982 Driver's Champion Keke Rosberg.  One may "luck into" a drive in F1, particularly if you have a lot of money and don't mind driving for Manor, but you don't luck into a championship.

Good for him.  The best time to leave is when you've got it all.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:13 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 396 words, total size 3 kb.

November 26, 2016

F1 Quals: Abu Dhabi 2016

With tomorrow's race deciding all the marbles, its down to just two... Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.  Rosberg has the points advantage, and knows that as long as he's on the podium, he wins no matter what Hamilton does.  What does Hamilton have going for him?  Here's the provisional grid for the 2016 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi:

Pos
Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:39.487 1:39.382 1:38.755
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:40.511 1:39.490 1:39.058
3 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:41.002 1:40.429 1:39.589
4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:40.338 1:39.629 1:39.604
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:40.341 1:40.034 1:39.661
6 Embryo Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:40.424 1:39.903 1:39.818
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes 1:41.000 1:40.709 1:40.501
8 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:40.864 1:40.743 1:40.519
9 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 1:41.616 1:41.044 1:41.106
10 Felipe Retiring Massa Williams Mercedes 1:41.157 1:40.858 1:41.213
11 Valtteri Bottas Williams Mercedes 1:41.192 1:41.084
12 JensonRetiring  Button McLaren Honda 1:41.158 1:41.272
13 Esteban! Haas Ferrari 1:41.639 1:41.480
14 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:41.467 1:41.564
15 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:41.775 1:41.820
16 Pascal's Wehrlein MRT Mercedes 1:41.886 1:41.995
17 Kid Kvyat Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:42.003

18 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:42.142

19 Felipe Not Massa Nasr Sauber Ferrari 1:42.247

20 False Esteban Ocon MRT Mercedes 1:42.286

21 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:42.393

22 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:42.637


Right, he's got pole.  That's not an insubstantial thing around a track that's relatively difficult to pass upon.  But in many ways, it doesn't matter what Hamilton does.  He could win by 95 seconds over the next closest driver, and as long as Rosberg is third he wins the championship.

So who's the pressure on?  I'm leaning towards Rosberg.  He knows his destiny is in his own hands.  If he screws it up, it's all on him.  I almost wonder if he'll be driving nervous, and thereby making everything worse for him...

Race is tomorrow morning, we'll find out how things work out then.  See ya soon!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 04:56 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 341 words, total size 16 kb.

November 23, 2016

F1 on TV: Abu Dhabi 2016

Instead of clicking "save" on the original version of this post, which would then allow you, my readers, to actually read it, I instead clicked "view site."  While this gave me a wonderful view of my front page, it didn't do a thing for the post, which immediately disappeared into the same place that your other sock goes to.  As a result, you're getting this for a preview for the final Grand Prix of the season, the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi.

That's the track.  It's very safe, with lots and lots of run-off area.  It's also quite dull, with practically no place to pass in the first and third sectors, and since the second sector has both DRS zones, anybody who makes a pass in the first will likely be passed by the victim in the second. 

What the hell are those?
Still, this is what we've got.  It's the final race, and the deciding race for the driver's championship.  If Nico Rosberg finishes 4th or above, he wins no matter what Lewis Hamilton does.  If Hamilton finishes fifth or below, it doesn't matter what Rosberg does, he wins.  If Rosberg finishes ahead of Hamilton, he wins.  It looks grim for Hamilton, doesn't it?

No, really... what the hell is that?
The Legendary Announce Team's broadcast schedule is as follows:
Friday
Practice 2: 7a - 830a  live on NBCSN
Saturday
Quals:  7a - 830a  live on CNBC
Sunday
Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi: 630a - 9a  live on NBCSN

All times Pond Central... but after all these years, you should know that by now.  Of course, the final F1Update! of the 2016 season will meander its way to you sometime after the race.  See ya then!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:15 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 293 words, total size 2 kb.

November 12, 2016

F1 Quals: Brazil 2016

It was a gray day in São Paulo, breezy, cool, nothing like the weather there on Friday: sunny and hot.  But today brought with it something extra, something that made it perfect for F1 fans: rain.  It hadn't occurred yet, but there was threat of deluge hanging over the day's proceedings, and wouldn't *that* throw a spanner in the works?  Particularly with pole being potentially all-important in the race for the Championship between teammates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.  So, what happened?  Here's the provisional grid for the 2016 Grand Prix of Brazil:

Pos
Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:11.511 1:11.238 1:10.736
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:11.815 1:11.373 1:10.838
3 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:12.100 1:12.301 1:11.404
4 Embryo Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:11.957 1:11.834 1:11.485
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:12.159 1:12.010 1:11.495
6 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:12.409 1:12.047 1:11.540
7 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:12.893 1:12.343 1:11.937
8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes 1:12.428 1:12.360 1:12.104
9 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:12.684 1:12.331 1:12.165
10 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 1:12.700 1:12.312 1:12.266
11 Valtteri Bottas Williams Mercedes 1:12.680 1:12.420
12 Esteban! Haas Ferrari 1:13.052 1:12.431
13 Felipe Retired Massa Williams Mercedes 1:12.432 1:12.521
14 Kid Kvyat Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:13.071 1:12.726
15 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:12.950 1:12.920
16 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:13.259 1:13.258
17 JensonRetired Button McLaren Honda 1:13.276

18 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:13.410

19 Pascal's Wehrlein MRT Mercedes 1:13.427

20 False Esteban MRT Mercedes 1:13.432

21 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:13.623

22 FelipeNot Retired Nasr Sauber Ferrari 1:13.681


While it was Hamilton who got the pole, it wasn't without effort.  In Q3, Rosberg was last on track, so Lewis had to go fast and hope for the best.  His second run improved his already blazingly quick time, and a good thing too, for Rosberg did the same... and beat Hamilton's old time.  As it was, the championship leader is about 1/10th of a second behind... and over a half-second faster than anybody else.  Hamilton must finish ahead of Rosberg for the championship to reach Abu Dhabi... any other result means Rosberg is the 2016 Driver's Champion.

Of other points of interest, I'm beginning to wonder if Jenson Button actually stopped driving a couple-three races ago.  When your teammate is easily making Q3 but you can't get out of Q1, well, sooner or later it ain't the car's fault.  Which is a damn shame, because I really like Button.  Ah well.

Race is tomorrow morning, at a decent time no less... F1U! afterwards.  See ya then, then!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 05:46 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 434 words, total size 21 kb.

November 08, 2016

F1 on NBCSN: Brazil 2016

I have made a decision.  Other than this sentence, I am not going to mention how much I despise the circuit for the 2016 Grand Prix of Brazil, Interlagos, and have for quite some time.  Let's take a look at the track map, shall we?

This place has given us some remarkable season-ending races in the past, and a victory by Nico Rosberg this weekend wraps up the Drivers Championship (there are other scenarios where he closes the contest, but that's the most likely one).  One aspect of this race that should prove to be quite dramatic is that this is Felipe Retired Massa's last home race... almost literally in his case, as he grew up very close indeed to the circuit... since he's retiring at the end of the season.  An interesting career, his... so close to winning the Championship in 2008, then came the spring to the helmet the following year, and he never quite seemed the same afterwards.  Ah well.

The Legendary Announce Team will, of course, be bringing us their usual sterling coverage live all weekend!  Here's the broadcast lineup:
Friday
Practice 2: 10a - 1130a  live on NBCSN
Saturday
Quals:   10a - 1130a  live on NBCSN
Sunday
2016 Grand Prix of Brazil:  930a - 12n  live on NBCSN

Of course, all times are Pond Central, and make sure you doublecheck them... what with the timechange, I'm not even sure what my name is, let alone what the time race happens.  F1U! will come along sometime after the race, of course.  See ya then!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 09:39 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 263 words, total size 2 kb.

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:

Pos
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...

Posted by: Wonderduck at 06:01 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 475 words, total size 21 kb.

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:
Friday
Practice 2:  2p - 330p  live on NBCSN
Saturday
Quals:  1p - 230p  live on NBCSN
Sunday
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.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 04:10 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 130 words, total size 1 kb.

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:

Pos
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!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 03:59 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 375 words, total size 16 kb.

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:
Friday
Practice 1: 10a - 1130a  live on NBCSN
Practice 2: 2p - 330p  live on NBCSN
Saturday
Practice 3-Intermission-Quals: 1130a - 3p  live on NBCSN
Sunday
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!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:50 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 417 words, total size 3 kb.

October 14, 2016

Forces

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.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 09:25 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 104 words, total size 1 kb.

October 08, 2016

F1 Quals: Japan 2016

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

Pos
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!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:05 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 538 words, total size 22 kb.

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:
Friday
Practice 2: 1201a - 130a  live on NBCSN
Saturday
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?

Posted by: Wonderduck at 08:34 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 357 words, total size 3 kb.

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:

Pos
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?

Posted by: Wonderduck at 09:45 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Post contains 399 words, total size 21 kb.

September 28, 2016

F1 on NBCSN: Malaysia 2016

It often rains in Sepang, home of the 2016 Grand Prix of Malaysia.  In the past, though, the track had been less than stellar at drainage.  So the circuit owners had the bright idea to redo pretty much the entire track.  Here's the map:

Mostly it looks the same.  There's been a lot of subtle changes to the way the surface has been angled reportedly, so water will flow off faster.  In doing this, many of the racing lines have probably changed.  For example, the final turn, Turn 15, now has a fairly substantial negative camber... the inside of the turn is higher than the outside... so what's the fastest way through now?  Nobody really knows, since F1 hasn't raced here since the resurfacing.  And that's the story for most of the circuit now: it looks familiar, but looks can be deceiving.  In truth, the place needed it; most of the braking zones were washboard-like from all the bumps that have formed over the years.  That just can't be good when you're charging into a turn at nigh-on 200mph.

Sadly, none of this will matter a hill of beans.  This track, where even the so-called "slow sections" are really quite fast, is tailor-made for Mercedes, which already has the best car on the grid.  As more teams give up on this season... both Renault and Haas have stated that they've stopped development of their current chassis to concentrate entirely on 2017... the Mercs will either stay "just" as good or get better by comparison.  Oh, great.

Well, can't say I didn't warn you.  Want to know what the Legendary Announce Team thinks about it?  Here's the broadcast schedule!
Friday
Practice 2: 1a - 230a  live on NBCSN
Saturday
Quals: 4a - 530a  live on NBCSN
Sunday
2016 Grand Prix of Malaysia: 1a - 4a?  live on NBCSN

The questionmark at the end-time of the actual race is because my information sources are silent as to whether the race begins at 1a, or if that's the pre-race coverage.   Check your local listings for times in your area.  Post no bills.  Burma Shave.

In other fairly important news, Formula 1 has new owners.  The Liberty Media Group recently purchased a controlling share of F1 from CVC Capital Partners, with the rest of the shares to come down the pipe later.  The deal is expected to be worth in the neighborhood of $4.5 billion.  Bernie Ecclestone will remain as F1's CEO, but Chase Carey's mustache will be the Chairman.  Please note the name of the company: Liberty Media.  They've already said that they're going to be concentrating on how F1 is seen and consumed, with particular attention being paid to the United States.  Expect advertising blitzes and at least one more race here in America sooner rather than later.  Perhaps the Grand Prix of Weehawken will resurface...

See ya soonish!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:27 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 482 words, total size 4 kb.

September 17, 2016

F1 Quals: Singapore 2016

This is the point where I would normally say "a warm, humid night greeted the assembled horde of the F1 Circus as they prepared for Quals for the 2016 Grand Prix of Singapore," but this race, there's a small problem.  To whit... I haven't seen quals.  And there's every chance in the world that I'm going to miss the race as well.  The satellite feed from Pond Central's apartment complex is, apparently, on the fritz.  Signal strength is... um... variable, leaning heavily towards the "signal unavailable" end of the spectrum.  However, it's not consistent in any way: early last night I couldn't watch jack squat, but the DVR still (successfully) recorded Legacy 59 later.  So who knows?  Maybe maintenance will clear leaves off the master dish before then.  Or retrieve it from the swimming pool.  It's also possible that my receiver is dying, I guess.  Either way, my race watching is threatened, and I won't know until it happens.  So here's the provisional grid:

Pos
Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:45.316 1:43.020 1:42.584
2 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:44.255 1:43.933 1:43.115
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:45.167 1:43.471 1:43.288
4 Embryo Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:45.036 1:44.112 1:43.328
5 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:44.964 1:44.159 1:43.540
6 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:45.499 1:44.493 1:44.197
7 Kid Kvyat Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:45.291 1:44.475 1:44.469
8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes 1:46.081 1:44.737 1:44.479
9 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 1:45.373 1:44.653 1:44.553
10 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:45.204 1:44.703 1:44.582
11 Valtteri Bottas Williams Mercedes 1:46.086 1:44.740
12 Retiree Massa Williams Mercedes 1:46.056 1:44.991
13 Leave of Absence Button McLaren Honda 1:45.262 1:45.144
14 Esteban!  Haas Ferrari 1:45.465 1:45.593
15 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:45.609 1:45.723
16 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:46.427 1:47.827
17 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:46.825

18 FelipeNot Massa Nasr Sauber Ferrari 1:46.860

19 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:46.960

20 Pascal's Wehrlein MRT Mercedes 1:47.667

21 False Esteban
MRT Mercedes 1:48.296

22 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:49.116


Seb Vettel had a broken anti-roll bar (sway bar here in the US), with predictable results:

Every turn reportedly saw the inside front wheel coming off the ground with the attendant loss of traction.  That 1:49.116 really was the best he could do, and the team couldn't get him repaired before Q1 ended.

The big news is the performance of the Red Bulls, both of whom will be starting on the Super-soft tires.  They were nearly as quick as the Mercedes, who will be starting the race on the Ultra-softs.  At least on paper, advantage Red Bull, as their tires will last longer.  If they can stay in touch with the silver cars, it'll be a very interesting race indeed.

Let's just hope I'll get to see it.  The F1Update! is thus in doubt... if I get the race, we're golden.  If not... well.  We'll just have to play that by ear, won't we?  See you whenever!

UPDATE: Just found out about this!  Y'know how in Canada we had the Montreal Marmot Massacre?  Apparently, Singapore has its own problems, as Embryo Verstappen discovered tonight:

Yes, really. 

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:13 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
Post contains 520 words, total size 18 kb.

September 13, 2016

F1 on TV: Singapore 2016

Singapore.  The world's only island city-state.  The world's only nation to have independence thrust upon them unwillingly.  The only Asian nation to have had an AAA credit rating for the past decade.  The centerpiece of the Royal Navy's strategy in the Pacific right up until WWII began, home to what was at the time the largest drydock in the world (in case you're wondering, the largest now is owned by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, at Koyagi/Nagasaki.  At 900 meters long, it's three times the length of Singapore's). 

And it's the home of the 2016 Grand Prix of Singapore, too.  Here's the track map:

Being an island nation that's essentially one big city, there wasn't any room for a purpose-built FIA Class 1 circuit, so they went ahead and did a street circuit.  And, since it's halfway around the world from Europe, it was decided to make it the first night race on the calendar as well.

While there's been a couple more races added that run when the sun goes down, they start when the sun is still up.  Singapore is a helluva track that hasn't coughed up much in the way of great races, to be honest.  There's always a threat of heavy rain, but it's never occurred.  Actually, the weather in Singapore is pretty much the worst the drivers have to deal with all year: always hot, and always really, really humid.  Guys that can do whole races at Spa-Francopants and still look fresh as a daisy come get out of the cockpit in Singapore looking like they've spent the past two hours in a sauna... in a swimming pool... underwater.

Fortunately, we don't have to worry about that, for the Legendary Announce Team will be doing their usual great coverage while we sit in air-conditioned luxury (your local conditions may vary).  Here's the broadcast schedule:
Friday
Practice 2: 830a - 10a live on NBCSN
Saturday
Quals: 8a - 930a live on CNBC
Sunday
2016 Grand Prix of Singapore: 6a - 9a live on NBCSN

All times are Pond Central, your mileage may vary.  Of course, F1Update! will be along after the race... a race where we might actually see a team other than Mercedes on the top step.  The German team has been making noises that they aren't thrilled with their cars here.  Further, Ferrari and Red Bull both prefer these twisty tracks, where raw speed isn't quite as important as nimbleness.  We'll see about that, of course, but... well.

See ya then!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 06:27 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 420 words, total size 3 kb.

September 03, 2016

F1 Quals: Italy 2016

Oh, hey, hi there, wow look at the time, will ya?  Almost like I lost track of the clock or something and next time I look up, whoa but it's late!  Quals was over ages ago, what were you doing, you crazy duck you!  Honestly, the answer is "nothing of consequence."  Sorry about that... not that we're missing anything, really... here's the provisional grid for the 2016 Grand Prix of Italy:

Pos
Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:21.854 1:21.498 1:21.135
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:22.497 1:21.809 1:21.613
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:23.077 1:22.275 1:21.972
4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:23.217 1:22.568 1:22.065
5 Valtteri Bottas Williams Mercedes 1:23.264 1:22.499 1:22.388
6 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:23.158 1:22.638 1:22.389
7 Embryo Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:23.229 1:22.857 1:22.411
8 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:23.439 1:22.922 1:22.814
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes 1:23.259 1:22.951 1:22.836
10 Esteban! Haas Ferrari 1:23.386 1:22.856 1:23.184
11 Felipe Massa (Ret.) Williams Mercedes 1:23.489 1:22.967
12 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:23.421 1:23.092
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 1:23.783 1:23.273
14 Pascal's Wager MRT Mercedes 1:23.760 1:23.315
15 Jenson Button McLaren Honda 1:23.666 1:23.399
16 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:23.661 1:23.496
17 Kid Kvyat Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:23.825

18 Felipe Not MassaNasr Sauber Ferrari 1:23.956

19 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:24.087

20 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:24.230

21 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:24.436

NC False Esteban! MRT Mercedes DNF


First, the important stuff.  Esteban! has brought Haas their first appearance in Q3, and by a goodly margin at the time to boot... he was 7th in Q2, for heaven's sake.  Of course he couldn't do anything in Q3 when it absolutely mattered, because that's when the BIG teams get serious, but it's still quite a nice sight, don'tchathink?  On the exact opposite end of the spectrum, Manor's False Esteban! had engine problems in third practice.  The team thought they had it fixed, but when he went out in Q1 to set a time, he made it all the way to the end of the front straight before it died again.  Disappointing, considering where his teammate ended up.

Now for less amusing news:  two drivers announced their retirements this week.  Felipe Massa is hanging up his helmet after the season.  He racked up 11 wins and 41 podiums for three teams in his 15-year career, the highlight (or lowlight, depending on how you look at it) was 2008, when he nearly won the Driver's Championship, only to have it snatched from him on the last turn of the last lap of the last race of the season.  The following year, he was very nearly killed when he took a damper spring to the helmet in Hungary.  He never regained his winning ways after that, but still proved to be a viable racer worthy of respect on the track.

The other driver to retire is Jenson Button.  Actually, he's only "stepping down from his race seat" for 2017 while continuing to work for McLaren.  He's not against driving again in 2018 however.  His 17-year career included 15 wins, 50 podiums and one Driver's Championship, for BrawnGP in 2009.  Interestingly, his was the last single championship we've had for quite some time... Mercedes now, Red Bull before that, then BrawnGP, McLaren, and Ferrari had one year runs, preceded by Renault.  Before them were the Red years of Ferrari and Schumacher.  I've always considered Button to be the type of driver that can get the most out of a good car and make it great, but can't outdrive a mediocre or bad car.  No shame in that, and there are very few drivers that have accomplished what he's done.  He'll retire as having participated in the second-most F1 races ever, behind only Rubens Barrichello.

Race is in the morning, see ya then!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 04:46 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 643 words, total size 23 kb.

August 30, 2016

F1 on NBCSN: Italy 2016

Speed.  Turns and curbs to the contrary, speed is what F1 should be all about.  Go fast, turn fast, fast, faster, fastest.  But we all know and understand that F1 doesn't do raw straightline speed, not like IndyCar or NASCAR or that most quintessential of American motorsport, drag racing.  Their tracks are designed to allow their cars to go as fast as possible and devil take the hindmost.  Oh sure, both IndyCar and NASCAR throw in a couple of road circuits as a filip to those who think that turning right is important, but we all know that racing on a ginormous oval is the One True Way to speed.  The stereotypical F1 fan (aka almost all European F1 fans) sneer at ovals as too simplistic, too easy, too... American... for something as difficult as Formula 1. 

You can hear lips curling in a sneer all the way across the Atlantic.
And then there is La Pista Magica, The Magic Track.  Officially known as Autodromo Nazionale Monza, this has been the home of the Italian Grand Prix essentially forever.  And this legendary circuit is where all the sneering and talking down goes away, because Monza is about nothing more than speed.  Here's the track map:

Yes, there are a few turns thrown in.  For the most part, they are recent additions.  Why, Monza even had a high-banked oval portion to boot.  They would never admit it, but F1 fans know that Monza is an American track at its heart: raw oomph and no finesse anywhere.  One's right foot is to the floor for 80% of the lap, after all... and when it isn't on the floor, it's still pretty darn close to it.  The teams will be breaking 200mph at the end of the front straight, after coming off Parabolica (Turn 11) at about 170mph.  Oh, sure, the track in Mexico is now technically the fastest in F1, but that's all from one long straightaway.  After that, it's twisty and curvy and turny... none of that for Monza.  It's fast everywhere.  Brakes are for other circuits.

Yes, I exaggerate for effect, but it's not that far from the truth.  Teams bring the minimum amount of downforce possible to this place, because downforce slows the cars down and ain't nobody wants that. 

The only thing more ridiculous than the speeds at this Italian circuit are the Italian fans that show up... the rabid tifosi.  Loud, passionate, and not afraid to nick everything team related up to and including tires, cars, and drivers probably.  And woe betide the world if Ferrari ever wins here again... the crowd reaction can only be topped by fans of the Cubs when they win the World Series..  They're what makes Monza such fun... they start cheering before the race starts and doesn't shut up until a few days after the race is over.

It's that unique experience the Legendary Announce Team means to bring us with their usual on-air flair and panache.  No idea if The Varsha will be in Leigh Diffy's seat again, guess we won't know that until P2!  Here's the broadcast schedule:
Friday
Practice 2: 7a - 830a live on NBCSN
Saturday
Quals: 7a - 830a live on NBCSN
Sunday
2016 Grand Prix of Italy: 630a- 9a live on NBCSN

All times, as usual, are Pond Central Time.  Check your local listings for times in your area.  F1Update! will be along after the race... not that we're expecting anything more than another Merc domination.  But we will see, won't we?  Stay tuned!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 08:50 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Post contains 594 words, total size 4 kb.

August 27, 2016

F1 Quals: Belgium 2016

Well, this is a fine kettle of pork.  Here's the provisional grid for the 2016 Grand Prix of Belgium:

Pos
Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:48.019 1:46.999 1:46.744
2 Embryo Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:48.407 1:47.163 1:46.893
3 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:47.912 1:47.664 1:46.910
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:47.802 1:47.944 1:47.108
5 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:48.407 1:48.027 1:47.216
6 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:48.106 1:47.485 1:47.407
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes 1:48.080 1:47.317 1:47.543
8 Valtteri Bottas Williams Mercedes 1:48.655 1:47.918 1:47.612
9 Jenson Button McLaren Honda 1:48.700 1:48.051 1:48.114
10 Felipe Not Nasr Massa Williams Mercedes 1:47.738 1:47.667 1:48.263
11 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:48.751 1:48.316
12 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:48.800 1:48.485
13 Esteban! Haas Ferrari 1:48.748 1:48.598
14 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:48.901 1:48.888
15 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:48.876 1:49.038
16 Pascal's Wager MRT Mercedes 1:48.554 1:49.320
17 Felipe Not Massa Nasr Sauber Ferrari 1:48.949

18 Esteban Ocon, Rio Usurper MRT Mercedes 1:49.050

19 Kid Kvyat Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:49.058

20 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:49.071

21 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:50.033

NC Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda DNS


Okay, so the first thing that leaps out at you is that Rio Rainbow Gate is no longer on the grid.  It was announced over the summer break that his Indonesian backers hadn't paid Manor in a while, so he was given the boot.  Esteban Ocon will forever be reviled by The Pond as a result.

Okay, no, the real first thing that leaps out at you is that Lewis Hamilton is 21st.  There's a good reason for this, and it involves one of the slicker cases of rules lawyering I've seen in a while.  Here's what's going on.  Hamilton has had a bad case of engine problems this season, to the point that he's already burned through the five sets of power unit components he's allocated, yet has half the season remaining.  That means he automatically gets a 15-spot grid penalty for each new engine he uses for the rest of the year... and the engine in his car now is well-used.  So what some bright spark at Mercedes did is sit down with the Technical Regulations and found a loophole: you get a penalty for each new engine, but the rules don't specifically prevent you from using multiple engines in a race weekend.  That's probably what the spirit of the rules were, but not the word.

"I'll take three... and throw in a pair of sunglasses for my dog." - Lewis Hamilton, probably.
So Hamilton used a new engine in P1, P2, and P3.  In doing so, he racked up 55 grid spots in penalties... and there's nothing stopping the team from dropping another engine in before the race tomorrow, giving him in effect four free engines.  And Mercedes is doing it at a circuit where they are ridiculously strong, so Hamilton is likely to score points despite starting from somewhere near the Spa-La Sauveniere Airport.  It makes Fernando Alonso's 35 spot penalty look weak... he's had engine problems all weekend.

Really, the rest of the grid looks more or less normal.  While Embryo Verstappen looks racy, he's going to be starting on the supersoft tires, while polesitter Nico Rosberg is on softs.  This is going to be a major tire race: most teams chose to load up on the supersofts, with Ferrari using half of their tire allotment on the supersofts, and only bringing one set of mediums to boot.  However, it's been flat-out hot at Spa-Francopants this weekend, high 80s / low 90s... which is practically unheard of for race weekend.  That's disastrous for the supersofts, which weren't even capable of surviving a full qualifying lap before they began to die.  If the weather tomorrow is hot, with the cars carrying a full load of fuel, I expect the supersofts to fail by Turn 1.

In other news, the Ringleader of the Legendary Announce Team, Leigh Diffey, has been absent from P2 and Quals coverage, as he reportedly has a case of diverticulitis.  While Steve Matchett and David Hobbs did a good job in his absence, particularly Matchett, it's clear they need someone to keep control of the conversation.  Which is why NBCSN has a fill-in for the race:

The Varsha.  Ladies and Gentlemen, the Original Legendary Announce Team is back together again.  I'm actually giddy.

Race in the morning.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 03:32 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
Post contains 740 words, total size 24 kb.

August 22, 2016

F1 on TV: Belgium 2016

Well.  The alarm has gone off, sun is shining through the window, coffee has been imbibed, and no matter how many ways you try to deny it, summer break is over and it's time for the F1 Circus to get back to work.  And that means yours truly has to actually attempt to be clever and witty about something he's covered for 10 years or more.  Fortunately, it's easy to write about this race, for it's the Grand Prix of Belgium, and that means we're at Spa-Francopants!  Here's the track map for this longest of F1 circuits:

It's only 7km long, a mere pittance to the original 15km brute that had a nasty habit of killing the men racing on it.  You sorta have to expect that, what with the "track" actually being public roads, and the only barriers were the occasional haybale.  And trees.  Lots and lots of trees.  Also houses.  While it's be awe-inspiring to see a 2016 F1 car on the old layout, much of the awe would come from wondering just when the driver was going to die.

The chances of that result, it must be said, increases as the quality of the weather decreases... and as Spa-Francoamerican is located in the Ardennes Forest, home of its own little microclimate.  Rain is common, often on one part of the circuit while the opposite side is bone dry.  Makes for fun tire choices, that. 

Speaking of fun, the good Walloons of the Legendary Announce Team will be doing their usual level best to bring us their swell coverage.  Here's the broadcast schedule:
Friday
Practice 2: 7a - 830a live on NBCSN
Saturday
Quals: 7a - 830a live on CNBC
Sunday
2016 Grand Prix of Belgium: 630a - 9a live on NBCSN

Of course, all times Pond Central.  I leave it up to the reader as a test of their mental acuity to figure out how to manipulate the times for their location.  Post no bills.  Of course, some time after the race, the Legendary Crew of F1 Update! will present their usual writeup of variable quality.  Look forward to it, why don't you?

See ya then!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 09:21 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 364 words, total size 2 kb.

<< Page 1 of 47 >>
259kb generated in CPU 0.09, elapsed 0.1064 seconds.
59 queries taking 0.0275 seconds, 277 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.