Sunday Mar 12, 2006

Bahrain GP: The red car is back.

Whether you want to believe that having tire changes again is why Ferrari was on pole is up to you. But it was obvious during the race that Schumacher's Ferrari was keeping up with the Alonso's Renault and it made for an exciting race. Alonso drove a good race in perhaps the better car, and he deserved the win.

I also very much enjoyed the new qualifying format. Having a lot of track time for all the cars is better than having one lap and out. I do wish the engine rules would allow teams to not worry about putting miles on the engine. I only wonder if after a while the teams will figure out the qualifying system better so they end up not on track as much and still qualify high. Until then, I'll shall enjoy saturday.

Same old story

We also saw the the McLaren's with problems that forced Raikkonen to start from the back. If he isn't in red next year, he should be headed to talking to Renault and taking Alonso's car, and not Fisichella's.

Surprises

  • William's Cosworth:
  • My allegance to ChampCar makes me an instant fan of Cosworth. Last year I cheered for Red Bull, this year I want to see Williams do well. I think the proof was in this race, Webber 6th and Rosberg 7th. Apparently Sir Frank Williams wanted a Toyota this year and is hoping to have one next year. If that is the case he should check out the finishing order. Williams could have been fighting it out with Midland instead.
  • BMW Sauber:
  • I was impressed that BMW Sauber was as competitive as it was. They still blew an engine in spectacular fashion, but they were ahead of Toyota whom should be in the points.

    Disappointments

  • Toyota:
  • I think I've pretty much said what needs to be said about Toyota in the previous section. How can a manufacturer over $300M a year and end up with crap like that. Maybe Toyota's move to NASCAR is a good idea because it's managed competition and the NASCAR officials can give them an advantage so they can compete against the others. The ritual suicides should be starting in the Toyota F1 office on monday.
  • Rubens:
  • Barrichello's only disappointment was having a transmission problem. It seems he again is plagued with bad luck while his teammate is on the podium. Different team, same result.
  • Red Bull:
  • So how are the Ferrari engine's doing there Red Bull? Did you enjoy watching the Cosworth blow past you for 7th place? Yep, you could have had those engines and maybe been farther up in the results. And as a final comment, Minardi sure looks better when you put them in last year's Red Bull car.

    Tuesday Aug 02, 2005

    San Jose Grand Prix: A success, with problems

    My parents started taking me to CART races possibly before CART came into existence. Ontario CA and Riverside CA were some of the races I went to when I was small, but the one that I always attended was the race in Laguna Seca. It had always been a very popular and well attended race, but with the dwindling interest in open wheel racing in the US, it suffered greatly. With the 2004 Laguna Seca ChampCar race, there was about 10k people for the entire 3 days. Something had to be done, enter San Jose.

    The success was obvious the first day of the SJGP. There were already 40k people just on friday. The problems of the track and the pedestrian bridges were showing themselves quick. Another was the large TV screen for the grandstands was blocked by palm trees. The main straightaway was obscured by the concrete barriers, so you saw only some of the cars. The straightaway was also on the wrong side of the road; true it had to be where it was because of the ChampCar paddock, but the course should have been near the stands while the pits were on the other side of the trees. Pit action can be fun, but I want to see the cars first and foremost.

    The tracks created a lot of problems for the drivers, but I give them a lot of credit. There was very limited public whining about it. They didn't pull and F1 USGP fiasco, the officials did what they could and the drivers did their best.

    After all those above problems, it was still a great success. The reasons are obvious locally. The SJ Mercury had half of the sports section devoted to the race and a big picture on the front page monday morning. They also had features about the race all week leading up to the race. The TV coverage sunday evening was lit up with race coverage and all the excitement. 153k attended the 3 days, only 15x more than Laguna Seca. Despite the limited walk space, bridges, and difficult viewing, the crowd was very nice and enthusiastic. Everyone was out to have fun. The whole buzz of the event was very positive and those problems were well acknowledged by the SJGP staff, even so much as to have 2 full page ad's in the SJ Mercury tuesday to thank the fans and promised more bridges.

    The race itself, yes it wasn't that good. There was no passing on course, but I expected that when I saw the track on friday. The success was bringing people to the race and getting the attention of a region. Something that could never be done at Laguna Seca, because they do not advertise and no one will drive 40 miles for open wheel racing. I have been seeing SJGP advertising 7 months before the race, someone took marketting 101. I was very happying and proud to see the series I love to continue its resurrection with a positive new event so close to my home. I can only hope that the changes for 2006 will bring a better race and better event.

    Monday Jun 20, 2005

    Formula 1 USGP: The GP that was not to be

    Formula One at the US Grand Prix, did the equivalent of the NHL cancelling the season as far as the US market is concerned. When the sport is trying to gain popularity and sponsorship from America, you put on a good show, you parade people through town, you promote the hell out of it. You do not however put all the cars out for the formation lap and then pull 14 of them back into the garage, and let 6 race. That is pathedic. There had to be some solution. A chicane to slow the cars down is stupid because it punishes the Bridgestone teams for the mistake of Michelin. I didn't see anyone, minus Ferrari and Bridgestone, loosing any sleep when Schumacher had to retire early in previous races because of bad tires. Even if it meant Michelin sucking it up as they put Bridgestones on all the cars, which is not entirely fair for Ferrari, it would have been a better solution.

    No one had a problem with Raikkonen staying out at the Nurberg Ring with a badly flat spotted tire. We all looked in amazement as the suspension broke and sent the car fast into the grave trap. Everyone said, including Kimi, that they stayed out because they needed to win, it was worth the risk. Well if the USGP had been the final race of the year and Kimi or Alonso needed to a few points to win the championship, I bet they would have been on track. No one is saying they should have knowingly put themselves into danger, but they knew when it was too dangerous and they'd have to pit to change the tire. There was positions 3 through 8 that Michelin could have competed for, and if Jordan and Minardi were faster with all the Michelin runners taking many pit stops, then live with 7th or 8th place.

    No one made Michelin make a bad tire and not testing on the track is their own fault. It wasn't a secret that the track's new surface was not a good one and not the first time they saw the banked turn. Michelin should stop trying to throw your weight around and make the FIA and Ferrari look like the bad guy.

    On the lighter side, this gave Tony George and the Speedway a black eye, and I always like it when that happens.

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