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The misadventures of a pint sized man.

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Posts Tagged ‘Formula One’

Formula One in 2012 – My thoughts.

Posted by Bill Prosperi on March 9, 2012

Heikki on track

Last year my Father-in-law looked at me and asked me what I thought about the chassis of the Formula One cars. Before I could answer, he told me they were ugly. ‘They are the ugliest cars I have ever seen, they looked like squished bugs.’ I could not see what he was seeing and therefore could not argue the point. Can not wait to hear what he has to say about this year and the new step / platypus nose just about everyone seems to be using. My big pain of the season will be something a little more close to home though. I do not hide my allegiance to McLaren. My son makes no bones about who he wants to see win. I tried hard to raise him right but he has fallen prey to the Tifosi. The good thing is that he is only six and I have plenty of time to correct him before I have to kick him out the house. Not sure what to do about the Ferrari flag hanging in his room or the Scuderia jacket his Grandparents gave him for his birthday.

So as the new season is just days away, I figured might as well throw out my thoughts for what the season may bring. After digesting all the preseason testing, it is easy to see that just about everyone is fast. (Preseason times mean nothing to me.) Well, everyone except Ferrari, who seems to be having a wee bit of issues with the car and its setup. I am sure Montezemolo will blame some obscure rule if Alonso does not make it to the podium. The first rule that comes to mind is new for the season. I like to call it the Schumacher-Monza rule which states that if a driver leaves the racing line after a defensive move, that driver needs to leave space before returning to said racing line. This will be a hoot to watch for the first few rounds. This season we also see the return of in-season testing. Not sure why this was removed, beyond the supposed cost savings, but glad to see it back. I am sure several of the teams are glad as well. The other change, allowing lapped cars to pass and get a lap back under restarts. For the love of Zeus, I am glad to see this. Having slow cars packed between the leaders is plain and simply dumb, as well as unsafe. This should help rein in a certain Bull.

A few other things this season we will see are the return to the U.S. and the Kimster! Come November Austin, Texas will host the return of the USGP on a track designed for the purpose of Formula One. I figure, if I save enough lunch money, Little Man and I can make it out there in a few years. Kimi Raikkonen, the Ice man, is back and driving the Lotus. I really missed the post race interviews that he put on. He will make a difference for the team right out of the gate. We also see a lady back in the ranks with Maria de Villoto as a test driver for Marussia. One thing we will not see this season is Ruebens. The long time veteran has been displaced at Williams and has moved on to IndyCar series. Best of luck Ruebino.

Here is what I predict for the season:

1.) Kobayashi will land a podium or two this season. Kamui is one of the more enjoyable drivers to watch and the boy is not scared to put a pass on anyone.

2.) Caterham will score. The old Lotus team will not just score once but a few times this season. The addition of Vitaly Petrov will be a big boost.

3.) Torro Rosso will continue to prove they are morons. To scrap both drivers cause the results did not meet expectations is usually a good idea. Not in this case. Just because the young protege of Sebastian Vettel managed to eek out a win in a wet race does not make one a top tier team. Buemi and Alguersuari were respectable drivers in a car that is just not up to pace. Marko is living in a dream world. Best of luck to the new boys. Keep your resumes on hand just in case.

4.) Massa is a goner. Ferrari want something more than the poor Brazilian is willing to give. Is Massa a good driver? Yes. Does he deserve to be a ‘Second Driver’? No. This is for the betterment of his career, especially if he wants to stay in Formula One.

5.) Cooler heads will prevail. The Driver’s Title will come down to young Seb and Button, both who drive with a calm style. Mark and Lewis will battle it out for the third spot which should lead to some interesting clashes. Temperament is not on their side.

Driver’s Championship
Button
Vettel
Hamilton
Webber
Rosberg

Constructor’s Championship
Red Bull
McLaren
Lotus
Ferrari
Mercedes

The Driver’s Championship will not be a run away event this season. The battle between Button and Vettel will go to the wire. The same will hold true for the Constructor’s title. Red Bull and McLaren will duke it out until the end but pace themselves well clear of the third place spot which will be a fun battle between Lotus, Ferrari, and Mercedes. Ferrari’s spot will all depend on if they have their mid season pick-me up that they seem to have had lately. If the others make inroads as well, the Scuderia crew may be lucky to manage fifth. Time will tell.

(Image Link – Via Caterham F1)

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The World’s Most Expensive Parade No More.

Posted by Bill Prosperi on June 22, 2011

When the season started, three key things were introduced: new tire supplier in Pirelli, the return of KERS, and the new DRS. When ever there is such dramatic change, the Boo Birds come out in full force.  This time was no different.  Now that there are several  races on the books, the chants are growing more and more distant.  Back this season are aspects that have been missing.  Formula One is once again a spectators sport.  Still think otherwise?  The opening races should give ample proof, with China seeing the most passes and Turkey seeing the most pit stops in a long long time.  Pit strategy all but vanished when refueling was banned.  Bridgestone was making tires that would allow the teams to need two stops, maybe one, to go the race distance.  This would allow the front runners to gain enough of a time advantage to comfortably make the required stop to use both assigned compounds of the race weekend, and be back on their merry way in the lead.  Now we are seeing upwards of four stops! Some events became a parade instead of a race since overtaking points are all but configured out of most of the newer tracks. The only racing to be had, it seemed, was either out of the points or low point paying positions.
Formula One has made its mark by being on the cutting edge of technology. Heck, by being on the very edge of reality when it comes to pushing man and machine to the brink of massive failure in order to achieve maximum results. That is what draws viewers in. No one wants to see twenty some odd cars play follow the leader around some of the most spectacular tracks the world has ever seen. The fans want to see drivers battle it out till the last few laps and pull out the win on the final corner. Ladies and Gentlemen, we may have our dreams answered.
During these first rounds, teams are settling in with the new toys. The last few seasons saw things like rear diffusers that would almost create a force field around the leading car, creating ‘dirty’ air and take away the slip stream and tow. The new Down force Reduction System or DRS is attempting to remedy that. So far so good. Now mix in the extra boost of KERS and look what happens. In China and Turkey we saw Mark Webber and Kamui Kobayashi come from way down in the pack and score points. Webber managed to find his way to a podium finish without KERS, but a change in pit strategy and use of DRS. Both drivers benefited from poor qualifying results by having extra tires the others did not. Add in that both are very skilled drivers and the results speak for themselves. In Canada, Jenson Button gave the drive of his career by coming from dead last to force Vettel into an error and win on the last lap.
The season so far has seen young Vettel pick up where last season left off. The only thorn in his crown so far is McLaren, taking victory in a hard fought China and sloppy wet Canada . Matching Vettel with the likes of Adrian Newey may be a strong case for sugar somehow finding its way into the Red Bull’s fuel cell right before the lights go out. Every one of the front running teams are making full use of KERS except Red Bull, who have had on and off issues but looks to be resolved. That boys and girls is what we call ‘phenomenal race pace’ or if you’re Ferrari, one would call that cheating. The other major head scratcher this season is Michael Schumacher. This once race dominator is now fighting to not be a moving chicane. The race in Turkey saw the veteran driver in a constant battle to not be run over by drivers who were in diapers when he was winning world championships. This is still Schumi so do not count the old man out just yet. Hopefully this is not showing that the old man was just an average driver who got to pilot a well designed car.  Imagine the dreams that would crush. In Canada, Michael just missed the podium, finishing in fourth.
As this season roars on, the hope is that someone will be able to put up a solid and consistent fight to Red Bull. Both McLaren and Ferrari have shown that it is possible. Could we also start to see that qualifying may not be as crucial as in seasons past.  Teams now seem more willing to hold back and save rubber for race day instead of burning them up in hopes of pole. Not having to reuse tires from qualify may save a trip to the pits and in term buy an extra twenty to thirty seconds.  But then there is always the possible turn one carnage that the front runners usually avoid.
There are still a lot of unknowns to this season and as the Formula One circus begins its parade through Europe, a clearer picture will emerge. With more pit stops required to finish a race, there is now more uncertainty involved.  Some drivers have already paid the price in lost time from stops gone wrong.  Hold on to your couch cushions boys and girls, we are in for one hell of a thrilling ride this summer.

(Photo from http://www.f1-pics.com/, an awesome site with images that span many years.)

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The Weekend that Wasn’t. A Rant for Race Fans.

Posted by Bill Prosperi on March 21, 2011

Now that the snow has melted and there is this big ball of brightness in the sky, Little Man wakes up every weekend and asks what race is on today.  This weekend was the 12 Hours of Sebring, the start of the American Le Mans series.  The both of us were pretty excited about this.  That was until I found out that I would not be able to watch it on TV.  After finding out from the boys over at Speed:Sport:Life that the race kicked off at 10:30, I went to the cable guide to see what channel it would be on, with the first thought being SPEED. Nothing. OK, maybe they will have it on later in the day since Chop, Cut, Rebuild is must see TV for a Saturday morning.  Wrong again.  I looked over the guide for the entire day only to find a crap ton of NASCAR reruns and reality TV.  I was upset to say the least.  The only way to catch this American race classic was to either have an XBox or log on to the interwebs and hope my cable company would let me watch ESPN3.com.  In the words of Little Man: “Whaaaat? We can’t watch the race on TV? That’s just not right.”  My thoughts exactly.

What the hell has become of American motor sports lately?  During the weekend of the 24 Hour of Daytona, I sat at home on Friday, working of course, but thought I would turn on the ole’ TV and catch the Continental Tire Challenge support race.  I later found out that I would have to wait till the following weekend to watch that.  What I want to know is why, with all these series out there,  the only time we as race fans can watch them is a week or two later.  Ever since Fox took over the SPEED channel, the ability to watch racing in general has gone down the tubes.  Series like the SPEED World Challenge and the Trans Am series are a mere shadow of their former selves.  I get that NASCAR is popular. It is hard not to go anywhere and see something NASCAR associated.  Its kind of hard to miss when it is on every weekend, all weekend from February to November, with only a few weeks off in between.  Maybe it is just me, but the thrill of watching 30 some cars chase each other in a oval for four to five hours every weekend does nothing for me.  I can sit through about 20 laps or so, then by the fourth caution, I am done.  What I want to see are cars battling it out in the corners and are not trying to be something they are not.  As well, not a reality show that is a marriage of America’s Got Talent and a late night at Walmart. Reality TV was cool, ten years ago.  Now it is overwhelming.  Same with news and analysis.  How many ways can we pick apart the race weekend.

When I moved out on my own and got a real cable company that had the SPEED channel, there was racing on all day almost everyday.  I loved it.  I was able to see cars of every make and model battle it out.  Many of the drivers we watch today were just getting their start, and there I was watching them take their rookie knocks.  There were even hours devoted to the series in Europe.  Even a little sprinkle of rally tossed in for good measure.  Is the channel whose sole purpose was to showcase racing now gone the way of MTV?  Well there is SPEED2.  This on-line network looks great but unless you have Time-Warner cable, go put your hopes and dreams back to bed.

One of these days I will be able to give Little Man a good answer as to what race is going to be on. Thankfully Formula One is just days away. If that gets pushed to the side for something else, people better start running cause it will get ugly.  Maybe one of these days I will scrap my already perfectly good TV and go with something Internet capable so we can go on-line and watch TV.  Personally that sounds a bit moronic to me.  Why should I go to the Internet to watch television? I thought that is why I have cable.  Maybe I should bite the bullet and get a dish and hope to hell the wind is calm and there are not any storms in the tri-state area.  That could work.

I just want someone to tell my why.  Is that so hard? I have heard the same argument about money and rights from both sides.  Quit the finger pointing, it is not working and fans are leaving.  In fact, I am point a finger myself, but it is not my index finger.

I am not trying to single out NASCAR in this rant of mine.  But it should be easy to see why someone who is not a big fan of the series can get a little bent when it is shoved into his face at every corner.  Some of those guys may want to take some acting lessons as well, they are making dumb commercials even worse.

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Its Monaco Time!!!!! #F1

Posted by Bill Prosperi on May 11, 2010

Now that Formula One is fully into the season and they are back running around terrorizing the villagers in Europe, one of the ultimate races is here, Monaco.  Something draws me to this race like no other. Not sure what it is but it is probably my favorite race of the year.  I know that passing is at its least and who ever is on pole will have the best chance of winning but then I think it is the sights and sounds that draw me in. Nothing like the surround sound going as they rocket through the tunnel. I just got chills up my spine thinking about it.

So with that said, lets talk about the sounds.  The sounds of the drivers pissing and moaning about the back-markers.  At first, I was with the them on this, thinking that the slower drivers would cause issues during qualifying. Then I thought about it.  These slower cars will be out my Q1 anyway.  If you get off your duff and get out there, get your hot lap in, what is there to worry about. If they do slow you up, then it looks like you might actually have to race your way around the Principality to improve your positioning for the finish.  That is what you are paid for right?

Once again, the top teams need something to grumble about.  I will give the top teams a small break.  I have seen some things from the slower teams that really make me wonder.  For example, Lewis Hamilton coming out of the pits and battling for position with Vettle.  I am not sure who the driver was but kindly got out of Vettle’s way right into the pit exit where Hamilton was desperately trying to gain the position on Vettle. Almost took all three of them out.  Maybe try talking to these teams in the Driver’s Meetings about this stuff.  Especially since some of them have little to no experience in F1.  Remember guys, there was a time where most of you were in the cockpit of one of these slower cars trying like mad to just finish the race.  Do us all a favor and stop the belly aching.  Get out there and prove to us you can race.

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