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Monday, February 28, 2011

To Infiniti and Beyond?

Just what is the Red Bull infiniti story all about.  BBC have said it relates to the rebranding of the Renault engines and their consequent free supply.  Looking at the twtter feeds from the likes of Kevin Eason (@eason52) of the "Times" and Jon Noble "Autosport" (@NobleF1) there seems to be an embargo on the story until Midnight tonight.

Kevin Eason tweeted that a lot of the web reporting going around today is inaccurate - so I guess we have to wait and see...

Brains and Brawn

Nice to be right, even nicer to be proved right.  I saw Ross Brawn's comments on the Mercedes team's official  website which, apart from the usual stuff about being happy where they are, stated that their "intention was always to launch the car in a fairly basic specification"  he even referred to the car as the "Launch-Specification Car".

I know that everyone with any knowledge of F1 knows just how fruitless it is trying to make predicitions for the coming season based on test cars but why therefore are we all so glued to the preseason test sessions?

For me I think its all linked to the excitement arising from the launch of the new season cars and the knowledge that the season is finally kicking into gear after the long winter break.  This delight, enthusiasm and anticipation requires that we peruse the results and data to the nth degree in a vain attempt to extrapolate the early season running order.

Sadly, this does not help us in any way: we all know that quali will give us some indication of the fastest cars but that things will only settle down into a recognisable form by Turkey or Spain as reliability issues and upgrades are introduced.  Even then it is wonderful that we can be surprised late in the season by hard charging comebacks like Alonso's last year.

Long live F1!!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Bloody Nose

I want to talk about noses.  F1 noses are getting higher and higher.  My memory may be wrong but I was of the impression that, at the end of the 90's an issue arose in respect of the possible dangers arising from a T-bone impact of a sharp nose against a driver's cockpit.

I fail to see the difference between the possible dangers arising from a sharp nose and the current crop of high, flat, "blade", noses apparent over last season and this years design solutions as presented by Ferrari, Sauber, Renault, Mercedes, Red Bull, Williams, Virgin, and McLaren.

McLaren's nose is very much designed in a way which would puncture a monocoque, while Mercedes flattens out towards the tip.  I know that monocoques are designed to very high safety standards these days but nonetheless...


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sergio Rinland on 2011 F1 Car designs

I'd like to point everyone in the direction of the F1 Fanatic blog
which has posted Sergio Rinland's thoughts on the new seasons cars.  S. Rinland worked for Brabham and Bennetton before becoming chief designer for Sauber and being part of the team who created the C20 driven by Heidfeld and Raikki (in his first season).

Whenever the new cars come out I always look to try to identify the "new bits" but even when I know them I then have to figure out how they're intended to improve the cars operation.  It's alway a delight to be able to get the lowdown from someone who can speak authoritively.

Brundle/Coulthard Commentary on BBC

I'm a little disturbed by this move by the Beeb.  Don't get me wrong I think both Brundle and Coulthard are incisive in their comments in relation to the car, the drivers, and the race itself but do they have the wherewithall to commentate together on a full race?

Who else could do it? I'm not sure to be honest...but two drivers could lead to an involved and convoluted discussion on a single issue leaving the viewer to get on with watching the race.

The beauty of Walker/Hunt and Walker/Brundle was that, regardless of Murray's fantastic knowledge of the sport, he would always bow to the expertise of his co-commentator on matters relating to the driving experience.  J. Allen did the same as did J. Legard.  J. Allen had a hard act to follow, while J. Legard was chucked into TV at the deep end.

The TV commentary will be missing that come the start of the season.  Martin Brundle has said that he's done a fair bit of journalism and that has prepared him, but it's not journalism that matters, it's passion for the sport - the passion of the well informed fan who delights in hearing the revelatory inside knowledge of Messrs B. and C. as it is weaved into the overall race commentary.

The other question is, of course, can DC cut it?  I think he can - it was obvious from last seasons punditry that he took his job very seriously and didn't swan in expecting to be brilliant.  During the first half of the season his notebook was in plain sight and he wasn't afraid to refer to it when he needed to.

Best of luck to both of you - but this fan can't help but feel that something will have been lost...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bahrain Race Cancelled

Sky News have said that the teams have agreed to cancel the planned pre-season test in Bahrain scheduled for March 3rd.  No source was given so the accuracy of this statement cannot be guaranteed.

Adam Cooper's F1 blog has stated that the Crown Prince has called the season opener off and includes an alleged statement in relation to that decision.  Given his history in the sport we'll take it that this is the case.  This news is supported by Reuter's but has not yet appeared on the FOM website.

Testing Times 2011

First post of the new season and F1 finds itself embroiled in political and social unrest.  Will the Circus set up their tent in Bahrain? As of today it seems unlikely.  Less than a month away from the first race and talk is now about whether to extend the season to include it as the last race of the year.

I can't believe this kind of discussion is even going on.  Bernie is not not renowned for his caring consideration.  We all remember the Silverstone sagas where it was "pull your socks up or we'll move on".  Now, when it comes to Bahrain it would appear to be "how can we include you?" Never mind the news reports going around, although at the moment it would appear that the Royal family are making tentative moves towards entering dialogue with the Disaffected protesters.

Should it go ahead, I'd be afraid that we'll see a rerun of Indy 2005 only this time it's likely that only Ferrari and Mercedes would show up - I'm Calling It for the Bookies - Massa 1st, Schumi/Rosberg Joint 2nd, Alonso DNF (unclassified).

Kudos to Webber and Button for their comments - Webbo making the point that F1 should not be high on their list of priorities and Button being honest in saying that he hasn't a clue what's going to happen.

Congrats to Nick Heidfeld on his F1 Return - the man who blew away Kimi returns to take over Kubica's Seat at Renault while the man himself recuperates.  Delighted to see he's out of Intensive Care and that all opreations would appear to have been successful.  I wish you a full and speedy recovery - though you might want to think about taking a wee break from rallying.

On a lighter note testing seems to be giving rise to the usual pre-season nonsense of where everyone is in the pecking order.  Fast times giving rise to rival comments that fuel was light and tyres were supersoft - Driver and team stating that they're happy with the new car - Lauda sticking in his two cents worth - Boss Haug stating that the car will not be a challenger.

Play it up or play it down we all know that this is all just data collection and means nothing come the green light.  The cars being tested are just basic stripped down models and bear no resemblence whatsoever to the machines which will line up in the first GP of the season in Melbourne - No. I mean Bahrain...ummm.