The Drood Report

Nick Fry is a jerk.

Monaco… A Nice place…

That is a very bad joke.

Well I wanted to update before now, but WordPress was being a brass whore and every time I tried to login, it failed. I only have Scribefire on my laptop, and despite being brand new and costing me just $5 (awesome story which I’ll share another time. And yes, it involves no dubious dealings or anything…) the keyboard is crap and I hate writing on it. I’ve finally admitted defeat and here I am…

Anyway, onto Formula One… There are times this sport breaks my heart. Monaco was one of those times. We’ll start with the minor first.

Robert Kubica should have won. In fact if you ran this race again and had the incidents happen, Kubica would win. 99 times out of 100 Hamilton would not have gotten away with clouting the barrier. Only Lewis Hamilton, who is easily the jammiest bastard in F1 now (a crown once belonging to Jacques Villeneuve) not only got away with hitting the barrier, but ultimately had the damage he suffered work out perfectly in regards to the weather. Lewis should not have won that race. Lewis cannot have won that race.

Yet he did.

The huge heartbreak, of course, was Adrian Sutil. I mocked Force India earlier this year, but they’re starting to grow on me. First through Fisichella’s epic performances. Now Sutil. An incredible drive from Sutil. Not only that, throughout the race ITV were speaking to Mike Gascoyne on the prat perch which was fascinating. (Except when they kept asking him about bloody Hamilton. To be fair they should have gone down to Ron Dennis and started asking him about Sutil…) It was looking SO good for Sutil, then BOOM! It’s ruined… By Bloody Kimi Raikkonen.

Evil Kimi turned up in Monaco and never really seemed up for the fight. Was disappointed with him all weekend. Then he goes and nails Sutil. Ironically he survives, but Sutil is one whose race is over. Just sheer and absolute heartbreak. I also saw the bigger picture as well. This wasn’t just a sure 5 points for Force India… As far as I’m aware the rule still stands that teams who score a point get their travel expenses paid the following season. Teams that don’t score have to pay for their own. Meaning Raikkonen may very well have cost Force India not just 5 points, but their entire travel expenses for next year. Not to mention a bigger share of the TV money come seasons end.

Under normal circumstances it’d be heartbreaking enough, but looking at the long term view of what Kimi’s idiocy cost them… I would expect that the entire team was on suicide watch that night… I realise Kimi didn’t do it deliberately, but it’s going to take me a long time to forgive him for that. F1 for me has always been about the lower teams. Those in it for the sport like Force India. To see their race wrecked by the team that has tarnished F1 so much over the last ten years… It’s just not right, and to be quite honest part of the delay on posting about the race has been because I was so down about the outcome.

For a wet race it was largely incident free. Alonso nerfed the rapidly fading Heidfeld in a move he admitted was boneheaded. Though I partly think Heidfeld should have just let him go. The pits should have said Alonso was on different tyres and not risk an accident. Whatever, hindsight is a beautiful thing.

The carnage many drivers predicted never really occurred, and the race was a largely safe affair. GP2 had much scarier incidents.

Next stop, my home country, Canada. Canada usually delivers a good race. Given this season has had some bloody good racing, Canada had better be exceptional.

May 31, 2008 Posted by | f1 | Leave a comment

Heads it’s war, tails it’s war… *flip*… It’s war!!!!

Well well. Two updates in two days. That’s because something has interested me. Specifically this.

After Mosley’s histrionics about how the FIA may lose control of F1 if they kick his whore lovin’ ass to the kerb, King Bernie has gotten his hackles up. My favourite quote is this one.

“I sincerely hope that it isn’t a declaration of war because, if that’s
what the message should be, then we’ll have to defend ourselves,”

FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! Bernie goes on to say he hopes Max doesn’t want a fight… I actually hope he does. I think F1 would be better served in many ways if the FIA’s influence was lessened, not least because of Ferrari currying favour with them.

Bernie seems miffed that Max has somehow dragged the future of F1 into all this, when the meeting on June 3rd is simply to decide if Max can stay around when everyone knows what he does in his spare time. (And as I said at the time, it makes you wonder what other skeletons may be in the mans closet being held over him.) I can understand Bernie’s annoyance. This about where and in whom Max has been dipping his wick. F1 has NOTHING to do with it. No more so than the World Rally Championship and other series. But Max has chosen to bring F1 into it, AND FOR THAT HE MUST PAY! (Apparently, according to Bernie.)

Politically it’s an interesting time in F1. A lot of people watch F1 just for the on track action and don’t like the technical side. I love the technical side. I also love the political side of the sport. Not the controversial crap like the spying nonsense last year and all the petty little storms that occur in so many teacups every season, but the grander political landscape. The FIA’s control, FOM etc… It’s all part of the whole glorious show in my opinion, so this latest wrinkle in the Mosley whore scandal, and Bernie’s ire being raised just makes things all the more interesting to me.

Remember once again folks, for those obsessive types like myself who must watch every minute they can, first practice is Thursday morning European time.

Can’t wait!

May 21, 2008 Posted by | f1 | Leave a comment

Looking forward to Monaco

Well I’ve been slacking off again. After years of burning out on F1 I just can’t write about it if there’s nothing specific to fire the juices… Erm… That’s a bit of a mixed metaphor, but oh well.

The only big news of the last week has been related to Max and his nazi whores, but I’m utterly sick of that story. Not to mention Max’s posturing about how getting rid of him is dangerous and could lead to the FIA losing control of F1… Blah blah blah… Do you think anyone believes that idiots crap anymore? Sadly the answer inside the FIA is probably “Darn tootin'”

So in short, screw Max Mosley and his tedious political bullshit. I hope his ass gets handed to him in a couple of weeks time and we’re rid of the tiresome little weasel.

So, at a time when F1 is in financial crisis, the world is in the so called credit crunch, everyone is finding it hard, we’re off to the most opulent Grand Prix of the season where the rich and shameless gather to watch fast cars race around the worlds biggest Scalextric trick.

I love Monaco. The racing is usually garbage. Really, Monaco represents everything I hate about everywhere else in F1. It has no real passing. Races are processional. Yet I adore it. Probably because it’s one of the few venues F1 still visits that Clark, Fangio, Ascari, even Nuvolari raced at. While circuits like Spa and Monza have changed dramatically over the years, Monaco has remained comparatively unchanged. In fact the main reason I like it is the changes from the Monaco that the aforementioned names raced at have been for the better I think. Like the Le Mans circuit, I feel the modern version of the track is more enjoyable and interesting than the earlier version.

Monaco is also the chance for lower teams to shine at a circuit where power and speed won’t win you the race. I fully expect Massa to stuff it in the wall. I expect Lewis to disappoint. I expect Fernando to excel, as well as Rosberg and Webber. Coulthard will probably crash too. (Let’s see how good these predictions are.) Raikkonen I’m not sure about. If the Raikkonen that went to Malaysia turns up, then he should do well. If Evil Kimi turns up, the one that went to Turkey, then not so much.

The weather forecast for the weekend has showers in the forecast. Now several times this season the forecast has teased, only for it to be bone dry. Monaco in the dry is scary enough. Monaco in the wet is very scary.

Monaco in the wet with no traction control… Well let’s just hope they all bought a change of underwear…

May 20, 2008 Posted by | f1 | Leave a comment

Test

If you’re reading this, I successfully got the Scribefire plugin working in Firefox so I can blog without using WordPress’ awful built-in editor.

Come back Super Aguri!!!

May 13, 2008 Posted by | f1 | Leave a comment

Turkish Delight

I decided I need to stop guilting myself into updating the site if I really have nothing to say. Half the reason I quit writing about F1 in the first place was because I got burned out doing just that. Hence the break. Not only that I had a weird week.

Had some marital strife earlier in the week (Nazi hookers and all that… I KID!), middle of the week I had a massive migraine come on which I’m still not fully over now. On Thursday, despite feeling horrendous and nearly throwing up on the bus I had to take there, after I complained several weeks earlier, the fine people at Future Shop exchanged my old, awful laptop I bought three years ago and had nothing but problems with for a brand new one. So I must give them a free plug here for their multiple degrees of awesomeness.

So with migraine in hand I then had to spend two days nuking that piece of junk Vista (God that is a truly horrendous operating system) and trying to track down all the drivers to get the laptop playing nice, which is very tricky given MS and the computer makers don’t want you “downgrading”. (HA! It’s an upgrade IMO.)  Doing this with a migraine was a rather horrible experience, made worse by watching Felipe Massa go fastest in first practice on Friday. (Felt so lousy I actually turned the F1 OFF.)

Laptop is working great, but HP have done weird things with the keyboard. Some keys aren’t where you’d expect. It’s one of those things where you sit down to type and things just don’t feel right, but you can’t put your finger on why exactly. Hell of a machine though. Really like it.

So anyway, Turkey… Predicted to a mate saying “I fully expect to see Massa win tomorrow” and of course that’s exactly what he did. Due to the week I had I took no notes during the race as I just wanted to collapse and relax, but really I can sum everything up thusly.

Heikki screwed up, but was the only real interest for much of the race.

Lewis overtook Felipe, but they were on vastly different fuel loads, and while it was a bold move, I refuse to get all gooey over the guy.

Felipe won.

There we go, there’s the review. In truth there was other stuff, but the coverage was largely crappy. I’m sure there was good stuff going on down the field, and we never saw it. The last sequence of corners provided the real highlights of the race with wheel to wheel action. Some good stuff going on there.

ITV cracked me up with their endless Lewis hype (am I alone in noticing that they replaced Anthony Davidson in their opening titles with… Yet another shot of Lewis Hamilton. Highlights their unprofessional bias perfectly I think. They may as well replace the titles with “SCREW YOU DAVE AND JENSON!”) They start going on and on about how great he’s doing on a heavier fuel load than Massa, making derisive remarks about how everyone expects Alonso to pit early… And then Lewis pits one lap AFTER Alonso, and what happens? They all start making excuses for Lewis not being better. *sigh* See this is the problem with biased coverage. It’s so predictable. “Lewis is awesome! Wait, he’s pitted. Well they must be trying too…” blah blah blah… Just call the damn race down the middle will you. McLaren did well with their strategy and got Lewis past Kimi which on a two stop may not have happened. Well done, but for gods sake there are 19 other drivers out there!

Not saying Lewis didn’t drive a good race. He made an awesome start and capitalized as best he could in a car that was second best to Felipe. (Not sure what the hell was up with Raikkonen this weekend.) Just the coverage bugs me. Speaking of coverage, we had the utterly useless and completely bad-ass thermal imaging camera. Only saw it in use twice over the weekend, but I gotta give credit where it’s due… That was something I’ve never seen in racing coverage before, and it made for a “Hey, that’s kinda cool” moment. Completely pointless, adds nothing of substance, but was still really cool to see.

Finally, there’s some argument about whether Rubens truly celebrated his 257th Grand Prix this weekend. Some whiny idiots (including, much to my disappointment, Speed Channel’s Bob Varsha) are claiming it’ll be in Canada, because he didn’t race in 1994 at Imola due to his massive crash on Friday, and he didn’t start two races in 2000.

You know what… SHUT UP YOU WHINY LITTLE MAGGOTS! In 1994, Rubens wound up in hospital from directly participating in a Grand Prix event. In 2000 he went through everything, only for his car to have problems. So he still clearly took part in the weekends. I am so sick of this trivial minutiae, especially when the same people bitching over this 3 race “discrepancy” have no problem with counting Michael Schumacher’s stats to include 1997 WHEN THE MAN WAS DISQUALIFIED FROM THE CHAMPIONSHIP FOR CHEATING!

Now I am not getting into a debate about 1997. I think what I think, you think what you think. We may agree, we may not. The man is gone from F1, good riddance, and to hell with him. To get so worked up over whether Rubens has hit 257 is just pathetic. I’m quite sure if you went through Ricard Patrese’s race history (something I may abuse my Autosport/FORIX subscription to do if I’m bored later) you’d find little issues like this in his career as well.

It seems that some elements of F1 just can’t stop and take a moments joy for someone without whining about the accuracy and authenticity of it all.

So, from my pathetic little website, the one that won a Dave Despain bobblehead in a previous incarnation for nicknaming Rubens “Lil’ Bitch” for his time at Ferrari, let me say CONGRATULATIONS RUBENS! You’ve always been one of F1’s good guys, put in a few crappy situations by your employers in Maranello. You’ve managed to keep it together in F1 despite the odds. You walked away on that dark weekend in Imola when clearly, the fates had other ideas… And here you are, 257… I honestly and truly hope you make it to 300 my friend!

May 12, 2008 Posted by | f1 | Leave a comment

Super Aguri withdraw from F1

As of Tuesday, Super Aguri officially withdrew from F1. I have one word to say. It rhymes with “DUCK!”.

It’s always the bloody good guys that go down isn’t it… Very, very sad about this.

May 6, 2008 Posted by | f1 | Leave a comment

Spanish Grand Prix recap

Well the week has disappeared in a blur of crippling back pain and videogames. Yay for the latter, boo for the former. You know it’s really depressing when, after four years of being shuttled from specialist to specialist, you finally get a diagnosis, only to be told “You were put together wrong, sorry. Nothing we can do.” At this point I’m stuck with the possibility of botox injections into my muscles (no I am not kidding, which is great given the recent research that shows that it causes neurological damage) and possible steroid injections into my spine to look forward too. JOY!

Being a fan of F1 means I’m no stranger to pain.

So it was off to Barcelona we went. The track is one of the nastiest and dullest in F1, especially now they’ve castrated the final corner. Don’t just take my word for it, F1 Rejects agree. So I had very little hope for the race. Though that was tempered somewhat by the fact that so far this year, the One we call Formula has been uncharacteristically enjoyable. So rather than my usual “Oh god no” in regards to the Spanish Grand Prix, it was more a case of “Hmmm…”

Remember Johnny Herbert? He’s still out there racing. He races sportscars. He also races the Speedcar series, the NASCAR wannabe that seems to be attracting for the most part second tier ex-F1 drivers. It’s not bad. In fact the only time I find NASCAR tolerable is when they race at real tracks rather than the pathetic gladiatorial arena throwbacks they usually race. So Speedcar has that going for it over NASCAR, as it’s ALL proper circuits.

Anyway, back to the plot, remember Johnny? Remember his horrendous luck? Like how, on the verge of his big break, he has his massive Brands Hatch crash? Or heaven knows how many other incidents that would lead one to say “Dear lord that man is unlucky”? I mean he left his first F1 race in similar fashion, having a fairly big shunt. Well I believe Sebastian Vettel may very well be his heir apparent. He is the ONLY driver to have not finished a race so far. Spain did not change that stat. He was taken out of the race on the first lap in an incident he had no part of. He zigged. He zagged. He crashed. What’s the old blues song? “If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all?” Expect Seb to turn up with a harmonica and start playin’ ‘dem blues real soon. Quite possibly being joined by Takuma and Anthony who may be Aguriless.

Once again, for the second race in a row, Fisichella was a real star, punching several weight classes above where he should be. I mean he had Heidfeld behind him for a while. The BMW, against the second slowest car on the grid, and he kept him there. Astonishing. This is why I’m baffled as, according to Martin Brundle, Lewis Hamilton was the driver of the day. HUH?! I don’t recall him doing anything of any real note. Still, guess it should be expected from ITV’s “Lewis Hamilton Show”. (I also noticed the apology for falsely accusing Alonso of brake testing their precious Lewis was not forthcoming.)

Back on track (both in a race and metaphorical context), once against Giancarlo was a standout. The other standout was Alonso, albeit he very nearly binned it on the formation lap. Whenever I’ve seen him do that insane tyre warming ritual of his I’ve always thought “He’s gonna bin that one day” and Spain was very nearly that day. I’m sure the grass and crap on his tyres from his little excursion contributed to his not very spectacular start.

I find it amazing to see just how Alonso is crushing Piquet. They’re not even in the same league when it counts. Alonso is up there keeping the Ferrari’s honest (at least until his engine grenaded itself), and Piquet is down at the bottom end of the top ten. Clearly during his McLaren debacle he lost none of his ability. What was also interesting is everyone was saying how light his car must be. Hell, I said it myself. In the end, however, he only had about 7 litres less fuel than Massa, who is in arguably the best car in the field.

Once again we had several incidents where a driver didn’t see the car behind due to the pathetic mirrors they have these days. So we’ve got massively high cockpit sides that obscure visibility, and mirrors that are pointless and ineffective. Jacques Villeneuve has said mirrors should be banned entirely. I have to say he makes a good point. If they took them away the driver would have to pay more attention to his surroundings. Currently with the mirrors they have only the illusion of awareness. The constant incidents of a pass ending in tears clearly shows that the current setup is NOT working. I think banning mirrors is a bit extreme to be honest, but there is obviously an issue. They clearly need bigger mirrors. I mean hell, if they can have rear facing cameras in road cars, why could they not just feed back the rear facing broadcast camera to a small screen in the cockpit or in place of the mirrors? I mean lets go all out here. We have the most technologically advanced race series in the world. How come the drivers don’t have head up displays yet? Something has to be done as every race we’re seeing two or three incidents where one or both drivers races are compromised due to this issue.

Speaking of compromised, whoever came up with closing the pitlane when the safety car is deployed needs to be beaten to death with sticks. It’s a noble idea, but once again the FIA fire a sawn off shotgun at a problem rather than taking a precision shot at it. The rule was introduced if I recall to stop nonsense like we had a few years ago at Spa where one of the McLaren drivers slowed the field to a crawl so the other Macca driver could get in and out of the pits and retain the lead.

Twice this season already we’ve seen a driver have their race utterly destroyed by this asinine and idiotic rule that if you pit while the pits are closed, you get a 10 second stop/go penalty. Not just a regular penalty, but a bloody stop/go! Nine times out of ten you don’t even get that penalty if you maliciously take someone else out of the race! It’s so bad that if this happens, you may as well park the car as your race is done. You have to wait until the race has restarted to take your penalty. (This from the people who let Schumacher take his penalty AFTER a race had finished.) Why not just, and I can’t believe I’m going to say this, do what NASCAR does? Send the car to the back of the field if you must punish them? The punishment does not fit the crime at all. There should BE no punishment. Heidfeld’s only crime was having his planned fuel load run out at the wrong part of the race.

There are times I can see the point of a rule, however much I hate it. (Though ironically nothing springs immediately to mind.) Then there’s times like this where I’m blood spittingly angry at the stupidity and lack of thought placed into a rule. This rule is as retarded as the year we lost tyre changes and you were punished if you changed a tyre “without good reason”, leaving “reason” open to personal interpretation. Honestly, if anyone reading this ever sees Max Mosley, please, I beg you, go up and punch him in the face and say “Steve says hello”. Just punch the nazi whore loving bastard square in the face, JUST ONCE, for all the stupid, moronic, asinine, retarded, backward, ill-conceived, idiotic bullshit we and the people of F1 have had to stomach during his tenure at the helm of ruining the greatest sport in the world.

While watching this past weekend, one thing came to me. McLaren have gone off the boil. It would be very easy to blame the punishment they received for this. (There’s something else you can punch Max in the face for.) However, I think the issue lies elsewhere. That being the loss of their prime asset. Yep, Fernando Alonso. Think about it. Alonso has years of experience, has been world champion twice. Last year when he and Lewis fell out, when he stopped sharing setup information with Hamilton just happened to coincide with a slide in Lewis’ performance. Now what do we have? A team whose race drivers have about 44 races between them. Two rookies essentially, with very little experience between them of setting up a race car on a weekend. Now in testing they still have Pedro, so actual car development feedback is still covered. On race weekends, however, they have two guys who are still learning their way and learning the nuances of car setup, since none of the feeder series are as remotely technical as F1. Could it be that the the team stabilizing exercise of kicking Alonso out has ultimately shot them in the foot on race weekend, due to their drivers inability to accurately set the car up? In Spain the Mclaren was clearly an absolute dog of a car. On Friday the onboard shots from Lewis’ car were downright terrifying at times. The car improved over the weekend, but even on race day the car was clearly a much bigger handful than the Ferrari. The drivers weren’t working WITH the car, but DESPITE the car.

Speaking of McLaren, Heikki had the first big crash of the year, and a scary one it was too. Not quite up to the standard set by Kubica in Montreal, but still a monster crash. A wheel rim that had done a mere 14 kilometers failed, leaving Heikki a passenger in his car. He speared off the track around 140mph and wound up under a pile of tyres. A scary sight. What is interesting is there was a belt along the tyres. Heikki did not wind up under the belt. His car had actually punctured the belt. Mercifully Heikki was okay, only suffering a concussion when in reality, broken legs would have been seen as a lucky escape. (He was knocked unconscious in the crash.) It’s always such a huge and wonderful relief to see a driver giving the thumbs up from the stretcher.

Since the accident, requests have been made that the run-off area be extended at that corner. Once again, as the old saying goes, “shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted”. It was a freak accident. I’d bet no major accident ever happens there again. There’s also talk of removing the gravel traps, but this may be an issue due to the bike racing there. While asphalt allegedly slows cars more than gravel (not to mention gives drivers a bloody get out of a jail free card if they go off, something which will annoy me until the end of time), if you’re on a bike and crash, I’m not sure which would be worse for you in the event of an accident.

Did get a bit chuckle out of Rubens breaking his front wing before he’d even left the pit, then having to circulate for a lap riding on top of it like some kind of demented surfboard. The wing had an exceptional sense of comedic timing, finally departing Rubens company right at the end of the lap. One thing that was utterly stupid was that, while his car was obviously damaged, due to the rules the cars behind couldn’t pass as the safety car was out, until Rubens slowed down considerably, which of course Rubens didn’t want to do as he wanted to get back to the pits as quick as he could so as to get back out and rejoin before the safety car pitted. F1 would be a real comedy of errors these days, were there anything to find funny about the many stupid issues in the sports rules.

To overuse a tired phrase, “once again” David Coulthard got tangled up with another driver. That’s every race now isn’t it? Three for sure. (Massa in Australia, Button in Bahrain, and now the Spain incident.) What is going on? Is Coulthard just unlucky and suffering from the mirror issues we’ve seen which are an inevitable consequence of crap mirrors and a tightly packed midfield? Or is he turning into a modern day Rene Arnoux? People accuse Takuma Sato of being prone to crashing etc… And yet here we are, four races in, and Coulthard has had multiple incidents, whereas Sato, to my reckoning, has had none. Very curious to see if Coulthard can continue his streak. Back on my old site I used to run yearly awards. Coulthard keeps this up, I’ll be coming up with a special award for him!

So there we are, the race is closing in on the finish, ten laps to go… And, as always, I have NO DAMN CLUE WHERE THE HELL ANYONE IS! Honestly, this is getting ridiculous. I turn on any football match, and the score will be up there on screen. Only exception is during goal replays, and if you stick around, you’ll be rewarded. Baseball has the score up. Hockey has the score up. Cricket… Actually I’m not sure about cricket as I by and large lack the masochistic tendencies required to follow the sport. (I do like it though.) Hell, I was watching Snooker today, they had the score up. Instant information. F1… Not a damn thing. For lap after lap I’m sitting there thinking “Well I know Kimi is leading, Massa is second… I know who’s third… I have no idea where anyone else is.” I’ve ranted about this before but it really is ridiculous. Every other sport, the information is right there. NASCAR, it’s on the top of the screen. I wonder if it’s a conscious decision to try and keep eyes on the TV so they can bump the viewing figures? I mean after all they include you in the global audience if you just happen to see some F1 coverage on the news. Just boggles my mind to see how pathetic the lack of information is. I am a fan of a lot of drivers. I’m tired of spending half the race not having a bloody clue where most of them are.

Also have to give special kudos to two drivers who put in great drives, but once again were largely ignored. Both Mark Webber and Jenson Button drove really tidy, good races. It’s such a shame that drivers in the midfield can put in such great performances and be almost completely ignored.

So Spain is in the books. Next we’re off to Turkey. As Tilke circuits go, Turkey isn’t bad.

Apologies again for the lack of updates. What with the gaming stuff, and the week just slipping away, I honestly have no damn clue where the last five days went.

If you happen to find them, please send me an email.

May 2, 2008 Posted by | f1 | 3 Comments

Where has the week gone?

Seriously, where has it gone? I only ask because I’ve yet to post (or even write for that matter) my review of the race, and it’s almost Thursday! Admittedly Monday was spent playing my newly bought Civilization IV collection off Steam. Then Tuesday was spent fiddling with Team Fortress 2’s new update, then Wednesday was spent outdoors, and then when I got home in testing the new Galactic Civilizations II expansion… Suddenly I see where the week went.

Fear not, loyal readers (all 3 of you), I will return by Friday with a race review and some other F1 related shenanigans that have been running through my head. In particular the engine freeze.

May 1, 2008 Posted by | f1 | Leave a comment

Aussie GP potentially moving to Eastern Creek Raceway

This excites me.  Just read on Autosport that a feasibility study is being done to see if Eastern Creek Raceway can be bought up to code to host the Australian Grand Prix.

Any new circuit on the calendar that isn’t designed by that idiot Tilke gets my vote! Plus I happen to really like Eastern Creek. (Yes, that’s a different link than the first one.)

April 28, 2008 Posted by | f1 | Leave a comment

GP2 Asia Recap (And GP2 Barcelona thoughts)

I’ve followed GP2, or Formula 3000 as it was, for a fair few years now, though it was only 2006 where I started following it regularly. That was when I became a Lewis Hamilton fan. Then he came to F1 and opened his mouth and paraded his father around and that was the end of that.

Anyhoo, GP2 Asia was a sort of Winter League for GP2. I guess to keep them all out of mischief before the regular season started. Essentially the engines were detuned to increase reliability, everything was loaded into a shipping crate, and the entire lot was sent off to Asia for 10 rounds of fun and excitement. And fun and excitement there was.

Sentul, site of the Indonesian round, was a joke. The circuit was terrible. The dust was insane. The track workers incompetent. All this, of course, led to fascinating viewing, if not fascinating racing. The dust seemed like the sort you see on clay tennis courts, and when a car went offline, anyone behind practically disappeared in the cloud. On top of all that, it rained. The entire event was a wonderful “How NOT To Run A Professional Racing Event”. Absolute farce. The Dubai rounds were only slightly more professional, and in the final weekend especially there were some eyebrow raising incidents from the track workers.

By far the best rounds were in Bahrain. It was great to sit down after a moderately enjoyable Bahrain F1 race and watch the division 2 boys drive their nuts off. There was more action in this two race event (they run a feature and a sprint race) than an entire F1 season pretty much. Just battles all through the field. As the commentator said, for every pass you see on camera, there are ten others you don’t. As I said at the time, if you can, FIND SOME COVERAGE of that weekend. Just flat out brilliant stuff. Sadly a search of YouTube did not turn up anything useful. Perhaps, if I get around to it and install the right toys, I should make my own highlight video and upload it. Risking the wrath of Bernie’s Elite Ninja Lawyers, but sod ‘im. If I do, I’ll upload it somewhere other than YouTube so it’s less likely to disappear. Wish I had some kind of gauge as to how many people are actually reading this to know if it’s worth it or even appreciated. I know for sure I have TWO readers. Three if you include me!

So after 10 rounds, one name really shone. No, it wasn’t the much hyped Bruno Senna. It was the Swiss driver, racing under a French license, Romain Grosjean. He absolutely dominated the series and won my undying devotion as a fan, not to mention the inaugural GP2 Asia championship. He’s a real racer. Right up there with Alonso, Raikkonen etc… Look forward to him getting into F1, hopefully in a good team.

Which brings us to this weekend in Barcelona. Both races were okay. Not up to Bahrain standards, but still fun. More fun than the F1 anyway. (Not that the F1 was especially bad.) Once again Grosjean put on a demonstration of how to fight and pass guys in equal equipment. Then got a drive thru penalty for his trouble. This was weird. There was a restart after some muppet spun coming out of that pathetic chicane and stalled it. On the restart Grosjean made a bit of an error allowing Kobayashi to close up. He moved all the way over to the right, then back over to the left to take his line, squeezing Kobayashi, and entering the corner in a cloud of tyre smoke. Now at first glance I felt the punishment was entirely fair. It was only when they replayed it and I stopped to consider it, it seemed dubious. While the move WAS out of line (I think all this weaving crap is out of line to be honest. That’s what comes from a generation of drivers that grew up watching Michael Schumacher), you see it all the time in GP2, often ending in tears.

Now I am not the slightest bit trusting of the FIA. I believe they are a corrupt organization, incapable of being impartial. Petty prejudices and desires will always entire their rulings in my opinion. An opinion based on years of previous evidence.

Anyone betting on GP2 would be unwise to bet against Grosjean being champion after his GP2 Asia performance. His penalty makes my spider sense tingle. Could it be the FIA punished Grosjean basically because they had a good reason too, and want to try and keep the title battle close? I mean nobody is really going to care about dodgy officiating in GP2 except for those in the actual series, nor is it going to get any media coverage. It just makes me very suspicious when I see a move that happens at least 10 times in any GP2 race, and they just happen to punish the one that will, ultimately, effect the championship. Perhaps there was more to it than met the eye. I was watching a race with ambient sounds only, no commentary, so maybe I missed something. (A truly marvelous and absorbing way to watch a race. Just the glorious engine sounds.) I’m still sitting here, eyebrow askew, and a tingling spider sense. (Should see a doctor about that.)

Curious to see if anyone (barring the FIA of course) can stop Grosjean. If GP2 Asia was anything to go by, the answer is “not bloody likely”. Bruno Senna is amounting to very little to be quite honest, and if he makes it to F1 I fear it will be on name alone. There’s a few other good drivers in GP2 (such as the aforementioned Kobayashi), but really, Grosjean owned GP2 Asia, and will most likely own the regular GP2 season as well.

At least when Lewis was dominating he had Piquet as a foil.

April 28, 2008 Posted by | f1 | Leave a comment