Archive for August, 2009

YOU SEE THE PIT ENTRY LINE, YOU PRESS THE BUTTON – ANY QUESTIONS?

On so, so, so many levels – what is going on!?

Good drivers abound in many open wheel racing series. From young guns breaking through, to the old guard – drivers at the end of their careers and drivers just retired.

So after last week’s comedy driving what in the name of all that is holy is Badoer doing back in the car this weekend at Spa? Don’t get me wrong, I love it, since I’m no longer a Ferrari fan and haven’t been for some time. But seriously, if one of the drivers at Force India or Toro Rosso got injured they would both find better drivers to fill the vacant spot.

I know this blog post says nothing new on the subject, but I felt I had to add my name to the growing chorus of ‘what the f***’ on this one.

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Race for the Chase – Pay attention at the back!

For the uninitiated, the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship is decided in the final races by a ‘chase for the Sprint Cup’ involving only the shortlisted top 12 drivers in the points standings.

Almost as exciting is the ‘Race for the Chase’ – i.e. watching the battle to reach the top 12 evolve as the deadline for the chase approaches.

Even more exciting (for F1 fans) is the fact that Juan Pablo Montoya is having a great race for the chase and is tantilisingly close to making it into the top 12 and having a crack at the championship.

He is unashamedly points driving, aiming for a top 10 finish in every race rather than going gung ho for wins. This is a good strategy for him, as it keeps his ‘let’s go crazy’ tendancies in check and is having the effect of calming the worst excesses of his driving.

He’s been racing near the front for some time now, but has had some bad luck including a speeding penalty depriving him of a win at Indy, and tire trouble in last weekend’s Pocono race, which dropped him off the lead lap, and some way down the points standings. He’s now in 9th spot.

There are only 2 races to go in the race for the chase – it’s going to be exciting whatever way you look at it. If you’re new to NASCAR, it’s a great time to get involved. As a longstanding F1 fan it’s taken me time to get into NASCAR, but I’m starting to like it more, the more I watch it.

Just don’t laugh at the wheelguns.


Full scoop on the remaining races before the chase here:

http://www.nascar.com/2009/news/features/08/24/race.chase.atlanta/index.html

Another great IRL race – but Versus? WTF!!

The sonoma IRL race last weekend was another good one – far better than the snoozefest at Mid Ohio ( which has a nice overbridge by the way – are you trying to kill people!)

At least what I saw of Sonoma was good. Unfortunately Versus (or FiOS) screwed up their scheduling, allocating only 2 hours to the race show, so my DVR threw me out on about lap 45 of 75. Nice.

Glad that the crash in practice wasn’t any worse. Thank goodness for all the safety features.

Real F1

When it finally arrived Valencia was a better race this year than last, but that’s not saying much.

At least it looked slightly better on screen this time. I was in Valencia (for my sins) for last year’s race, and couldn’t believe how lacking in atmosphere the area around the course was. I fear the Valencia street circuit will always owe more to those dodgy temporary IndyCar street circuits than it will to Monaco.

But now we go from the lame to the sublime, as we arrive in Spa on what is so far at least a sunny late summer weekend. Spa, like Monza, has a hallowed feel, steeped in history, which cannot be replicated by any amount of architectural flair at a new circuit.

The fact that we can all remember countless Spa races from our earliest days watching the sport counts for a lot. I will be sitting back with a few cold beers to watch every second of this, I think we’re in for a treat.

That Pro-IRL Post

Wow!

That is how to turn a series around! This past weekend’s Kentucky Speedway IndyCar race saw rule chances implemented with the aim of improving the racing spectacle on ovals, and boy they seemed to work…

Aero modificiations were made available to the teams to increase downforce considerably without significantly affecting drag, whilst an ‘overtake assist’ boost button, available in 12 second bursts 20 times during the race, enabled offensive and defensive moves alike, turning the side by side racing into a fascinating game of cat and mouse.

The drivers reported better handling cars, providing greater confidence on multiple racing lines, which was evident from the excitement of the racing. The event ran mostly caution free, but without becoming a procession, resulting in the second fastest average speed in the sport’s history.

As an added bonus we had the sight of Ed Carpenter oh-so-nearly win the thing, which was fantastic for his team Vision Racing and would have made an interesting headline.

Looking back at the way the lack of excitement seen earlier in the season was addressed, I find it particularly impressive that the league was able to introduce the changes quickly and without fuss, with everyone doing their part to make a success of the measures and put on a great show.

F1 could learn a lot from this agile, fan pleasing decision making. Roll on the next race, although it’s a road course, it should be a lot of fun!

Leave it out!

Schumacher’s fans have always disliked suggestions that their favorite driver received special treatment throughout his career, and that this special treatment somehow contributed to his success. I don’t blame them – that sort of accusation would annoy me too.

So why do Ferrari and so many of his fans now expect, even demand, that he and his team should get even more special treatment upon his return – namely a test in the 2009 specification F60.

Testing would benefit the driver – giving him experience he would otherwise have to gain during Friday practice  – a form of special treatment not afforded to Jaime Alguersuari, a complete F1 novice with no experience of any type of F1 car.

Testing would benefit the team – giving them data about their current car that is not available to other teams due to the testing ban. All teams are modifying their cars continuously, without the ability to analyse the effect of the changes outside race weekends. Why should one team get the benefit of this additional data? Why should one team get this special treatment?

Massa’s accident is tragic, but points won by Schumacher will not accrue to Massa’s championship standings so don’t dress Schmacher’s wish to test (and therefore improve his speed) as altruism or assistance for a fallen friend. If Schumacher really wants to help Massa’s career he should be trying to minimise his competitiveness – because if he is faster than Massa this will undermine Massa’s efforts to return.

Finally – Ferrari could have chosen any number of drivers with recent experience of 2009 F1 cars. They did not. Either they think Schumacher is competitive anyway (in which case why request the tests?) or they don’t (in which case why select him over Bourdais, Piquet, Sato, Coulthard, Badoer, Gene, Davidson or anyone else).