The Drood Report

Nick Fry is a jerk.

Late Roundup

The Setup: Apologies to all my readers for the lack of updates this week. Yes, all six of you. Early in the week my wife and two kids got very sick. I was already nursing an apparently broken toe, but was having to hobble around looking after them. Then I had seek medical attention for said toe, and a problem on the OTHER foot. Anyway I’ve got a broken toe on my left foot, and a bone spur on my ankle on my right foot meaning I can barely walk. That has led to my already horrendous back problems getting even worse. Getting in and out from my desk is a very painful experience, and I feel like I’ve been driven over by a train, but I’m here. For now at least.

The Week in F1: Fair amount of stuff going on. Let’s get bloody Mad Max out the way first. Few more voices to add to the cacophony singing “Hey, you, get out of my sport!” Porsche have stuck their oar in now. I find it rather nice that it’s the German companies who have been the most vocal. Porsche have said that the high costs of F1 and the sex scandal make F1 unattractive to them.

More surprisingly, a current F1 driver has come out against Max now. Continuing his rapid ascent back up my list of favourite drivers, Mark Webber has said the whole thing has bought the sport into disrepute. Mark was VERY careful to not comment on Mosley specifically, but the mere fact that a driver had the balls to come out and say ANYTHING is pretty huge given the political nature of the sport. Well done Mark! I’d give you a big manly hug if I wasn’t scared the News of the World would have “Webber’s Gay Love Trist” as their headline next Sunday.

It’s looking increasingly unlikely Max’s tenure as president will continue beyond the meeting on June 3rd. I’ve risked permanent psychological scarring and seen the tape now. To be quite frank parts of the tape that I saw reminded me of footage I’ve seen of how Jew’s were treated entering the concentration camps. I really don’t want to go into anymore detail as it’s quite sickening, but that was the distinct feeling I got viewing it. I am a very hard person to shock, but a lot of what I saw on the tape was nauseating. Nazi connotation or not, Max is one sick puppy.

Moving onto… Well not more joyous things, in fact quite sad things. Super Aguri may very well be doomed. The buyout lifeline they received has been withdrawn. While the team has set off for Barcelona, it’s unknown at this time whether they’ll be on track for the race, meaning Davidson and Sato’s F1 racing careers may be over. I certainly can’t see where they’d fit in anywhere else.

This is very sad. My recent Fisichella Revelation not withstanding, I’d rather see F1 without Force India than Super Aguri. I consider the “musical team” at the back of the grid with its everchanging ownership over the last four years to be detrimental to the sport. I think it looks bad for a team to keep changing. Super Aguri was at least constant. Now it looks like the party may be over. The team are in talks with alternate buyers, but nothing is set in stone.

I feel very bad for Sato and Davidson. Takuma has never really got a fair shake in my opinion. He has gained a reputation as a crasher, despite the fact there seems very little evidence to back up the assertion. (Given his recent form, Coulthard could have that label placed on him, which shows how unfair that can be.) When he WAS in a well financed team, he was with Button who isn’t exactly a slouch. Now he’s stuck slumming it and may not even have a job now. Very sad. As for Davidson… He’s like the guy in a horror movie who through no fault of his own winds up down a dark alley only to be butchered like a hog. If Sato has been unlucky, I don’t even know how to describe Davidson. The sport has well and truly shafted him, and I believe he has far more talent than he has ever been allowed to show. Hardly the first driver you can say that about, but it’s still sad.

I hope we see Sato and Davidson on the grid in Barcelona. Preferably in cars.

STR debuted their new car to a moderate amount of fanfare. Sebastian Bourdais then went out and almost immediately drove it into a wall. I shouldn’t laugh… But I did. All week I’d read stories of the new car coming, new car coming… Day it came, “Bourdais crashes car”. Bourdais was okay obviously. Car looked a bit second hand though.

Perhaps the biggest story of the week has been the number of drivers worried about next years ban on tyre warmers. Now usually I’m quick to say “Shut up and drive” as I believe a lot of the drivers are whiny bastards. They’re making more money overall than any drivers before them and really, at least the half of the grid could walk away from the sport right now and live very comfortably for the rest of their lives and never work again. They’re also driving in by FAR the safest era the sport has ever had, and yet they still find things to bitch and moan about. However they may be on to something this time.

Okay, so next year SLICK TYRES RETURN! GOODBYE GROOVES AND GOOD RIDDANCE! This is of course due to the fact that downforce will be reduced by around 50% next year. They’re going to need those tyres just to keep the damn things on the island. Now in their infinite wisdom for reasons I can’t quite figure out, the FIA has also banned tyre warmers. So rather than having a nice toasty set of tyres on the car, the tyres will be at ambient temperature. According to David Coulthard, this could equate to a car with over 25% less tyre pressure than those up to speed on track. Coulthard even went so far as to say another Senna type incident could occur. Slightly alarmist, but he has a point. It’s widely accepted that Senna’s accident was caused by the slow speeds behind the safety car causing the tyre pressures to drop, which is what led to the car grounding out at Tamburello. 1994, just like next year, saw a huge slew of changes made to the sport. The only difference this time, from a rule change perspective, is that the driver aid ban has happened a year earlier so it’s not all coming in together.

The average F1 tyre runs at 20psi. These cold tyres are supposedly only at 14psi. That is a huge difference. The sport just changed the rules after Heidfeld’s final qualifying lap was messed up in Malaysia. The change was due to the massive speed differential between Heidfeld and the other cars. The drivers believe the ban on tyre warmers will lead to this situation. Only it’ll be occurring several times throughout each race, and with a lot more cars on track.

If the FIA keep the ban in place, it will ultimately fall to Bridgestone to find a compromise, which one would assume would require a fundamental redesign of the tyre compounds to limit the difference as much as they can between cold and hot. It would make sense at this point for the GPDA to present a united front to the FIA and demand the warmers be allowed to remain. The whole idea behind the GPDA reforming, which ironically was set in motion the morning after Ratzenberger was killed, but prior to Senna’s death, was so drivers had the aforementioned united front to present in regards to safety matters. Surely this would qualify as a noble and worthy subject to do so?

Amid all the comments, Michael Schumacher even came out and joined the active drivers chorus. Firstly he pointed out that all the teams already HAVE the technology, so the FIA can’t justify it on cost grounds. So it leaves us to wonder just why the hell the FIA are doing it. But then a lot of their decisions in recent years have left us wondering that. (Once again I draw attention to this article about Max and his closest friends in the FIA. Disturbing reading.)

I expect this will rumble on for some time. I believe the drivers are making a fair point. F1 is on the bleeding edge. Other series not using tyre heaters could be used as a counter argument, but then how advanced are their tyre compounds? Tyres in F1 are obviously a very different beast from cold to hot, probably far more so than in any other open wheel series.

Man, it’s all doom and gloom so far isn’t it?! Shall we end on something more jolly? Yes. Lets!

Several drivers have been testing simulated 2009 downforce conditions on their cars and running the new slick tyres for next year. I have read not a SINGLE WORD of complaint. Astonishing! In fact it’s the complete opposite. Almost universal love. This hopefully bodes well for next year when we will see the most radical shift in car design for a very long time, and will hopefully make F1 as exciting as GP2 Asia was this year. I’ll be writing about GP2 Asia very soon, with the enthusiasm of an overly excited schoolboy most likely. I watched nine of ten races. (Skipped one due to the appalling commentary.) Every single one was worth my time and saw more action than you’d get in three F1 races. Truly a magnificent series.

All I will say for now is remember this name: Romain Grosjean. A Swiss (yes, despite their ban on racing, Swiss) racing driver who races with a French license. More on him later… Believe me, you’ll know him very well in a year or two.


April 19, 2008 - Posted by | f1


  1. Marc Surer was also Swiss, he drove in F1 for I think 7 years, 88 GPs in mostly minor teams and won 17 points in the years when points were a lot harder to get than today – fewer points per race win, fewer points scoring places, fewer GPs per year, less reliable cars, less safe tracks and more injuries. Also, don’t forget that BMW’s F1 effort is based in Hinwil in Switzerland at the old Sauber factory.

    The strange thing is, although there used to be a Swiss GP in the 50s racing wasn’t banned in Switzerland because of any accident there, but for the horrific one at Monza where a car plunged into the crowd and killed a load of spectators.

    Comment by fifthdecade | April 20, 2008 | Reply

  2. The Swiss ban was after the Le Mans disaster. The other upshot was Mercedes pulling out of racing for several decades. I was reading some books recently covering racing in the early late 50’s and early 60’s. Went into quite a bit of detail of the accident. Just absolutely horrible:(

    Was not aware Surer was Swiss. I’d always assumed he was German.

    As for BMW *slaps head* Of course. Kind of ironic an almost race winning team is from a country where racing is illegal.

    Grosjean is going to go onto great success I think. He just ran away with the GP2 Asia series and only really made one big mistake (in the final race). He was in a class of his own. Very curious to see how he does in the full GP2 season.

    Comment by Steve | April 20, 2008 | Reply

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