Sunday, November 27, 2011

The End of an Era...

The BBC exclusive contract has ended. Next year Sky TV and the BBC will share the responsibility of broadcasting to the world. Martin Brundle (the usual commentator for BBCF1) has reportedly signed with Sky TV, leaving David Couldhardt the main commentator... who knows, they may put Eddie Jordan up in the box.

I'll be sad to see this coverage go. the BBC has done a wonderful job with everything, and it just won't be the same with the team going in so many different directions. Then again, there are also 3 team name changes, as well as countless driver changes to come.

Congratulations to Mark Webber on winning the race, and to Jenson Button for coming second in the Championship.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

New Jersey 2013

I have no idea what is going on in Bernie's head these days. Why does the US need ANOTHER GP?? The track in Austin isn't even done yet, barely started, and there is already talk of yet another US GP. How about testing the market a little better? Why not give Canada another race, or somewhere in South America? Has he not seen the financial crisis? With ticket prices as much as they are (I can only speak for Canada, but holy crap are they pricy), how does he intend to support this?

I remember the last US race in Indy, and the pissed off people there, how can he want to put 2 races in that market, without even having decent coverage of the current races? Speed TV spends more time in commercial breaks than they do actually showing the race, and the commentators dumb the whole thing down so much that there is no way to enjoy it in the slightest. I say this actually having tuned into the Speed TV coverage for a few GPs this year, and it was abysmal.

I'd just rather see a race added in a market that was proven, than expanding into so many countries who haven't embraced F1. Bring back some of the European GP races that were cut in the expansion to Korea, or Turkey. I liked the French, and even then Austrian GP was fun (though if I am not mistaken, Red Bull now owns that particular track...)

Bring F1 to proven markets, don't ask unproven countries who are obviously struggling financially, and don't show a ton of interest in the sport to invest millions and billions into tracks that you may only use for a few years.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sadly, at the time of my last post I had no idea that Dan Wheldon had died. Again, I don't follow Indy, so I am ignorant to a lot of the rules, but it is no less sad that he was involved in a racing accident that took his life.

Race red-flagged and cancelled.
I just watched the BBC f1 intro. It looked almost like Vettel had died, the montage that they did. I'm watching it just after finding out about the HUGE Indy car accident in Las Vegas. That is the part that I like the least of the whole sport. I don't watch for the crashes, I dread them.

Unlike NASCAR in the States, where huge crashes are expected, there is something slightly more civilized in Formula 1 (and perhaps Indy, it isn't a series I follow). Then again, there aren't rollbars and windshields to protect the drivers, so that when there are accidents in open-wheel racing, they are a lot harder to watch.

Take today with Schumacher and Petrov, Petrov tried to drive over the back wing of Schumacher, taking them both out of the race. It wasn't as bad as a few other incidents last year, it is still terrifying. As much as I love watching the sport, it isn't something that I would be able to do, I just don't have the balls these guys do.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Vettel and the Championship

In the media lately, I have seen a lot of people saying that there is no reason to watch the rest of the season, as Vettel has already won. I find this to be highly rude and offensive. Yes Vettel is having a great season, but how many journalists would be complaining if Hamilton or Button was doing that well?

I am brought back to a simpler time, a less internet-oriented time when there was a small team called Ferrari, and a driver known as Schumacher who dominated every race in many seasons. I don't remember the same amount of outrage with that, then again, social neworking wasn't king back then, not did my local paper care about F1. In other words I didn't have as much access to the sport that I do now. The points system was also very different, none of this 25 point crap (which I hate), back when a win only gave you 10 points, so there was more of a chance and a fight, instead of someone having a few good races and running away with it.

I think that those who are complaining about Vettel winning need to think back, and remember when Red Bull rarely finished a race, let alone got in the points. I usually like the little guy, but I don't agree with team orders, regardless of what the regulations say. So I am not as much of a red Bull fan as I used to be, but Vettel is a lot more of a show man that Schumacher was in his heyday. He would calmly get out of the car, and walk to the podium, and at least Vettel bounces. You can tell really how young he is at the end of the races, with the radio transmissions. That makes it fun for me. Perhaps I will get as sick of him as I was of Schumacher, but now I still find myself cheering for both of them, as they are both amazing drivers.

I just wish that the cameras would focus less on Hamilton, and more on the rest of the drivers, there has to be more going on than just him....

Sunday, August 28, 2011

DRS, Gravel Traps and Refueling

While I think that DRS should be available all the time, and not just in certain straights, bring back some of the penalties that used to be there too... take away the runoff areas, and bring back gravel traps. If you are going to have drivers wait until the last second to close their wings, and run wide, punish them for it...

I liked seeing the cars fight through the gravel traps, sure sometimes they bottomed out, but sometimes they managed to get back out again. F1 did get boring when there was no overtaking, but with the KERS and the DRS to encourage it, bring back some of the things to punish the drivers if they do run wide... keep the on the track, and punish them for sailing wide. It would make the race more interesting, especially with KERS and DRS, as well as the tyre degradation.

Of course I would like to see how refueling (low fuel cars) would go on the Pirellis. It would add a whole new level of strategy, because you wouldn't want your tyres to fall off the cliff before you are ready for petrol and vice versa. It would also take away some of the stress on the mechanics. Where pit times are so watched now, and a 4 second tyre change is considered slow, it would calm them down a bit to go back to the 7-8 second stops. There would also likely be fewer errors with wheel nuts... how many have we seen go flying this year because they don't go on right? That is a HUGE safety concern.

With all the technology in the cars it seems stupid to bog them down with 150 kilos of fuel, when the racing would be better all around if they went back to low-fuel runs... Especially with the engine changes in the next few years... the "Pinnacle" of motorsport running on less that a V8 is just silly, you may as well be watching sedan racing.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Spa... F1 is back again...

I was talking to my Mum the other day, telling her that F1 was back this weekend, and all she had to say about it was that it gets in the way of her life.... You see, despite Dad's and my love of the sport, she doesn't like it. Despite this, she can pick her way through the grid like nobody's business, and can usually tell you who the previous year's World Champion was...

I just get a kick out of her because she is so willing to complain about it, yet she is always in the room for the podium events, and the post-race interviews... she's the one that so eloquently pointed out how much better Vettel's english had gotten... It really is shocking to me how people who really don't care about the sport at all can still rattle off facts about it (and shock the heck out of me)

FP3 is on tomorrow morning at about 4 am, so I will likely be sleeping through it, but Quali is usually around 9 am, so I am hoping to be home from the market in tome to "watch" over twitter... The downside of not having cable... At least with Twitter I get some live streaming...

I'm hoping for a really good race to kick off the second half of the season, but the weather could be a major factor (here as well as there, I'm waiting for hurricane Irene to hit sometime Sunday night...)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Senna and Heidfeld

So it is official... Bruno Senna will be replacing Nick Heidfeld for the rest of the season. Renault just felt that he wasn't performing up to their standards.

I feel badly for both drivers, because Nick is being let go in the middle of the season, and consequently will be left out of the rest of the races (duh), and that I do believe that he IS a good driver. He is also a very experienced driver, so hopefully his ego will allow him to be picked up by a lesser team, so he can help them out... Look at Kovalinen and Trulli at Team Lotus. Their expertise gives the team quite a competitive edge over the other young teams.

Senna is being ripped off because even if he does well in the resy of the races for the rest of the season, points wise he will always be the "second driver" to Petrov. This may be what the team wants, to get a "young team" started, to give them a chance to season both of the drivers...

Depending on the type of contract that Lotus Renault offers, it may spell the end of a career for Robert Kubica too, while he is out for this season, but he seemed to be looking into coming back next season, if he gets cleared medically.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sky TV and the BBC

I know that this is coming up about 3 weeks too late, but whatever.

I think that the Brits being all up in arms about the fact that they might actually have to PAY to see F1 is kind of funny. You see when F1 moved from ITV to the BBC, we Canadians lost our F1 pre-show. We get a grid lineup now, and that is all. Really TSN (which we pay about $20 a month for) only shows Quali, and the race. That is about 3 hours of F1 every race weekend. Yes, it is the BBC coverage, but still.... Otherwise we have to upgrade to another sports pack for another $10 for AMERICAN F1 coverage... the announcers are trying to present the race to people who don't even know what a CAR is....

Yes, it is a shame that Bernie let the commercial rights be split, but at the Fan Forum, Whitmarsh did hint at that happening. He did mention that it was a shame that the rights were so locked down. Then again one of the Ferrari execs discussed being at a NASCAR event, and the spectacle that it was...

I am concerned about the quality of commentary as much as anyone else, but at the same time, I have been paying to watch F1 for as long as I can remember. Not that there is a chance I get to watch it in bars here, or anything else. My drink of choice when I'm watching is usually tea or water, with a large bowl of cereal. Damn 9am races... but at the same time I like it that way.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Exert from My Blog about the Canadian GP 2011

Originally Published June 13th 2011

As for the F1 race... Clusterfuck doesn't even begin to describe it. By this point in the day, it is drizzling fairly heavily. The driver's parade (not in their cars, but being driven around the circuit in old British ragtop sportscars. The actual rain started when they were about halfway around the track. Dad and I thought we were ready for the rain (him moreso than me). He put on his rainpants, and I dug out my poncho and wrapped it around my legs (and foamy chair thing). There was still about an hour before the beginning of the race. The rain got a little heavier, and I got a tweet from my friend Jay that the race was going to start behind the safety car (He was watching from home in England, we'd been tormenting each other all weekend over twitter). That wasn't announced to us until about 1/2 hour later.... so much for keeping the crowd informed.

The rest gets a little foggy... so just bear with me, if you are even still reading...

The race does start behind the safety car (meaning no high speeds, no passing, no fun....) for about 10 laps it was out there, with the cars, trying to dry off the track. at about 10 laps in, it finally came in, and the race had a rolling start. About 5 laps after that, there was a major accident that caused the safety car to come out again (Hamilton tries to pass Button, crashes into the pit wall, breaking some other team's pitboards, then tries to continue racing, and his car conks out about 12 way around they track. YAY!!) (trying to clear the car, and get the debris off the track). This went on (while it was still raining), for about 3 laps. The safety car comes in, we start racing again... what do you know, another accident... (This time Alonso was trying to pass Button, and they bumped wheels, spinning Alonso into the wall, ending his race. Not so Yay.). Safety car comes out again. We've hit downpour, and "apparently" it wasn't safe to have the cars on at high speeds, so the damn thing stays out for another 10-ish laps.

Next up, the rain gets even heavier, snuck between my coat and poncho, even though I had the poncho tucked under the bottom of my coat, and starts dripping onto my chair/chairpad, and jeans. The race gets red-flagged*. We were about 25 laps in to a 70-ish lap race. The clock stopped at I think about 78 minutes remaining. (meaning we'd watched about 30 minutes behind the safety car (boring), and 12 minutes of racing.

We waited in a downpour for over an hour waiting for any information about the race (the announcers gave us NOTHING). Jay (in England) kept me informed as to what the BBC was saying. (Dad had bought me a drybag for my phone that is really amazing, and it meant that I didn't wreck the phone in the rain). We finally got word about an hour into this storm that they wanted to restart the race once the rain stopped, and that the track was less full of puddles. An hour and a half passes... I'm now pretty much soaked to the skin from my belly button down, and from my hands to my shoulders (from being on the phone), and am freezing cold. We hear again, that they want to restart the race, but don't know when that will happen. They joke that it doesn't really get dark early in Canada, so they could wait forever.... (we then started booing the announcers, as they were warm and dry in their booth, and we were the ones dripping wet). The cameras start panning our stands, and we get a little rowdy. Probably because a lot of the people in the stands are drunk... what else was there to do? We all start singing (Ole, like they do at the hans games), and the camera quickly cuts away from us (wusses). I'm waiting to watch the race to see if you can see Dad and I in the stands. Two hours pass... the rain starts to slow, and we get a restart time. I've started shaking I'm so cold, but don't really want to move, because then my seat will get wet. The stewards have brought over a septic pumper truck to try and deal with the lake that has formed on the track in front of our stands

Two hours and 5 minutes after the race was red-flagged, we start again behind the safety car. (BOOOO). It stays out for far too long... we all start booing at it. You can likely hear us on the feed (at least I hope so, most of the stands were booing). The safety car goes in, and 8 cars (of the 22 that are running) all jump into the pits to switch out of full wets, to intermediate tyres. This says that it was out for WAY too long. Button gets a drive-through penalty** for speeding behind the safety car, and because of this drops from near the top of the grid to dead last. It looks like he's out of it.

Then there is more blur (for me, I was so cold....) Button starts fighting back, and makes it up to about 10th. Another safety car, as the cars are switching from intermediate tires, to the slicks that they go on in dry tracks. This causes them to slide all over the track if they go off the racing line (racing line: the quickest way around the track, the line all the drivers take unless they are passing someone. The driest and grippiest part of the track). Another crash (can't remember who goes out), safety car comes out again.... we all boo, but there is a lot of debris for the stewards to clean up. Carbon fibre is really sharp, and just shreds through the tires causing them to go flat.

Somehow after the restart (less than 10 laps left, and the two hour limit is almost up...the BBC says time will be up before the laps are...ending the race early. Button jumps to 4th. Vettel is still leading, has for the whole race... and hasn't really done much. Schumacher is having an amazing race, with Webber in 3rd. Schumacher makes a mistake, and both Button and Webber pass him (Vettel in 1st, Button in 2nd, and Webber in 3rd). Really nifty move. In the last 5 laps, Button is catching Vettel at an alarming rate (Vettel had been about 10 seconds ahead and in F1 times it is about 5 years ahead). Alarming, like 2 seconds a lap... Button is inching closer and closer, and on the last lap Vettel zigged when he should have zagged, and Button passed him for the win in the last corner. The press called it the race of his life, and I am inclined to agree.... Apart from all the safety cars (which made the race be more like 6 small races, and the long storm, it was a really amazing race. One of the best I've seen.

*Red Flagged: An F1 race has a maximum time of 2 hours. A red flag means that the race is stopped, and so is the timer. This way the race can restart when it is deemed safe, and have the race clock start again.

**Drive-through penalty: Driver has to drive through the pits (100 km/h speed limit), adds about 15-20 seconds to your lap time