Tag Archive: Formula One 2012

Nov 25 2012

Formula One 2012: Interlagos

Well, last race ever on Speed.  Is this a bad thing?  We’ll see.  I certainly won’t miss News Corp., but there’s no reason to believe Comcast/GE is any better.  Constructors Champion is Red Bull, but McLaren and Scuderia Marlboro duke it out for second place today.  If Vettel finishes worse than 4th there’s a possibility Alonso could sneak by for the Drivers Championship.  This is not as far fetched as it sounds, the Renault engine, especially the alternator, has been looking less reliable the longer it runs; and, much as I hate to admit it, Alonso has shown a true talent for making bad hardware suck less than it otherwise might.

Also, it could rain.

In retrospect all the aerodynamicists agree that it’s the flexibility of the Red Bull front wing (and not the undercarriage diffuser or any of the other hareng rouge (yes, I know the correct translation is diversion) they’ve been chasing for the last 3 years, so they’re going to legislate against it.

Good luck with that.

2013 starts in March and is currently scheduled for 19 races, but subject to change.  Likewise the new Concorde.

Hards and Mediums, Maldonado 10 grid penalty for ignoring a blue inspection flag.  Schumacher says goodbye.

While the races may be boring I hope these pieces have informed you a bit about the miasma of cash and corruption that drives professional sports in general and the particular cesspool of elite international corporate perversion and degeneracy represented by the fossil fueled extinction of dead dinosaur technology that is Formula One.

Interlagos

Interactive Track

Official Sites

Pretty tables below.  Grey Cup this evening.

Nov 24 2012

Formula One 2012: Interlagos Qualifying

Well the big news on this, the final week of the 2012 Formula One season, is the replacement of Kamui Kobayashi on the Sauber team by Esteban Gutierrez.

Now this is in some respects not that unexpected.  Gutierrez has been a back up and development driver at Sauber for 3 years now and will be a Mexican on a team with considerable Mexican investment.  Since the departure of Honda and Toyota from the sport Japanese money and involvement has drastically declined and even Suzuka is frequently mentioned as a track on the bubble in Bernie’s insatiable pursuit of petro bucks in a sport as fossilized in greed as the fuel it wastes, not to mention those handy machine gun toting mercenaries who hose the rabble out from underneath the tires of the armored SUVs that shuffle the C List celebrities and whores of the billionaire box business dealers back and forth from the hotels each day.

And so Kobayashi is forced to beg on the internet for enough dough to keep driving, exposing the truth that far from a Galtian meritocracy Formula One is even more blatantly than most a bribery driven sham, an amusement for bored Boyars with more bucks than brains too stupid to realize that they’re merely second class wanna be rubes in a game where the trendy potlach is your own personal state with a space program, a libertarian paradise where you can snort your hillbilly heroin straight from the crack of a dead hooker’s ass and drive around naked except for your multi-barrel mini-gun imagining you’re the Terminator when the only similarity is your steroid shriveled testicles.

Interlagos

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Nov 18 2012

Formula One 2012: Perry’s Pit

Well, where is here exactly?

It’s the penultimate race of the year and the Driver’s and (arguably) Constructor’s Championships are still up for grabs.  Actually I should classify the Driver’s Championship as arguable too since it’s not really as close as the 10 point gap between Vettel and Alonso would indicate.

What happened?  It’s not so much that Red Bull is all that much better than the rest but that the other teams suck so bad.

Jenson Button says 2012 McLaren car is worst since he joined F1 team

Paul Weaver, The Guardian

Monday 5 November 2012 17.30 EST

“Since I’ve been here this has been the worst year. It’s been tricky, even on good weekends. We’ve had a problem pretty much every weekend, lately. We need to stop it. I don’t get it.”

Button has been just as frustrated as his departing team-mate Lewis Hamilton as McLaren have failed to match the performances of Red Bull – or even Ferrari, who now look likely to relegate the British team to third place in the constructors’ championship.



Hamilton has often been outstanding this season but has been frustrated by pit-lane mistakes and, more recently, poor reliability.

He dominated the weekend in Abu Dhabi and stormed away from his 25th pole position into a comfortable lead, only to pull out before the halfway stage because of an electrical problem, evoking memories of his gearbox failure in Singapore, when again he was running away with the race.

“It’s twice in the last five races,” he said. “And the cars, apart from India, have had problems in all five. In Singapore we had the gearbox failure, at Suzuka a rear rollbar malfunction, before qualifying and in the race, and in Korea a rear rollbar failure. Then we had India, which was fine, and then here. So that’s four hardcore difficult weekends.”

Hamilton added: “I’ve been on pole position seven times this year. I have only won three times. In the other ones we’ve had failures and issues with pit stops and so on. If my car was as reliable as Sebastian’s or Fernando’s I would be right up with them now.”

Crisis of confidence as Ferrari pull out stops for Fernando Alonso

Paul Weaver, The Guardian

Friday 16 November 2012 12.24 EST

In a move so late it was positively posthumous Jules Bianchi, the Ferrari test driver, took the car for a spin at Spain’s Idiada Circuit last Saturday. The work he did there concentrated on the car’s aerodynamics, for this has long been diagnosed as the car’s failing; and yet it was a classic case of closing the garage door after the Red Bull has bolted.

Fernando Alonso goes into the penultimate race of the season here on Sunday only 10 points behind Sebastian Vettel. While Alonso has said he is confident and trusts his team, his chances of winning his third world championship were best summed up by one beleaguered member of the tifosi who said on Friday, shrugging: “For Fernando to win Vettel needs to crash. Twice.”

In reality it should never have been this close. Ferrari still have a slim chance because of Alonso’s dogged ability to make the best of a bad job while his and the team’s position have been promoted by McLaren’s habit of not only shooting themselves in the foot but using a sawn-off shotgun to do it.



There are many technical reasons for Ferrari’s troubles. They have had wind tunnel problems. They have also had difficulties – perhaps most crucial of all – in qualifying. Alonso has not been better than fourth on the grid in the past eight races and is normally about sixth. He is stronger in race mode when he is not hindered by the car’s poor DRS system, which is used more freely in qualifying.

But there are deeper problems at Ferrari. There are questions over Fry in his role as technical director, which he took on for the first time at Ferrari. The team were more competitive two years ago, when Alonso almost won the title, and when Aldo Costa, the man Fry replaced, was in charge. Ferrari have not been innovative enough. They have been too content to close the gap on their more inventive rivals at Red Bull and McLaren. They have not challenged, intellectually.



The journalist Beppe Severgnini said: “Italy is the only workshop in the world that can turn out both Botticellis and Berlusconis.” There have not been many Botticellis from Ferrari recently.

Red Bull’s F1 dominance is talking point of US Grand Prix paddock

Paul Weaver, The Guardian

Friday 16 November 2012 14.22 EST

The BBC commentator David Coulthard drove not only for Red Bull but for two of the other three teams to achieve this feat (a hat-trick of Formula One Constructors’ Championships), McLaren and Williams (Ferrari, twice, were the others). Coulthard said from the paddock here on Friday: “I’m totally unsurprised. Because Red Bull are the only one of the major teams totally focused on Formula One.

“McLaren have electronics, road cars and other things and I don’t know about anyone else but I’ve never been successful at giving 100% to more than one thing.

“At various times McLaren have been the class of the field. At no time have Ferrari been able to say that, although they’ve had a great package. But Red Bull [whose soft drinks empire is run completely separately] have an ability to find solutions to the problems that they find during the course of a season. It is a really good formula.”

So this is 3 years in a row now of Vettel grabbing the pole and driving out of range and Formula One is just as boring as it was under Schumacher/Marlboro UPC.  What has to happen for it to get interesting again is for the other teams to get better and only Lotus/Renault shows any sign of improvement.

Good luck with Mercedes Lewis.  You’ll need it.

Austin

Interactive Track

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Pretty tables below.

Nov 17 2012

Formula One 2012: Perry’s Pit Qualifying

A Towering Landmark for Formula One Track

By FRED A. BERNSTEIN, The New York Times

November 15, 2012, 3:35 pm

Mr. Miró and Miguel Rivera, partners in Austin’s Miró Rivera Architects, got to design more than grandstands and ticket booths; their work includes a 250-foot observation tower made of thousands of steel pipes, painted red, as if to mimic the streaks of lights trailing racecars at night. The tower, with two winding stairways and a high-speed elevator, culminates in a beaklike protrusion that extends over the track, offering views of the action below through its glass floor.



Bobby Epstein, co-founder of Circuit of the Americas, said he hoped the tower would become a landmark, making the track instantly recognizable to TV viewers. He declined to give the price of the tower, except to say that the steel alone “cost two or three million dollars” and that he expected it to become a revenue-producing tourist attraction.

Texas Taxpayers Finance Formula One Auto Races as Schools Dismiss Teachers

By Darrell Preston and Aaron Kuriloff, Bloomberg News

May 11, 2011 12:43 PM ET

As many as 100,000 teachers in Texas may be fired because of spending cuts to cope with the state’s budget crisis, according to Moak Casey & Associates, an Austin-based education consultant. For $25 million a year, the state could pay more than 500 teachers an average salary of $48,000.



If the financing works as projected, the decision will use $250 million in state tax revenue for the races over 10 years.

“With places struggling, spending that much money on an essentially one-off event is tough to do,” said Michael Cramer, a former president of baseball’s Texas Rangers and hockey’s Dallas Stars who runs the sports and media program at the University of Texas at Austin. “It’s a very high cost of entry.”



Formula One racing attracts the wealthy who sponsor teams and draws fans from around the world, said Zak Brown, chief executive officer of Just Marketing Inc., an agency based in Zionsville, Indiana. JMI, as it’s known, focuses on motorsports.



“It’s a lifestyle of the rich and famous,” Brown said in a telephone interview. “The whole industry has a lot of wealth around it, a lot of politics.”

The cost of holding races has made it too expensive for sponsors without a public subsidy, said Mark Cipolloni, president of AutoRacing1 Inc. in Robbinsville, New Jersey. The company runs a website that covers motorsports.

“It isn’t cost-effective for an independent race,” Cipolloni said. “Most races in major cities wouldn’t be held without public support.”

The state’s $25 million is being paid to London-based Formula One Management Ltd. to hold the race in Austin, Sexton said. Formula One, owned by London-based CVC Capital Partners Ltd., a private-equity firm, is run by Bernie Ecclestone, the chief executive officer of the series.

“It’s going to Mr. Ecclestone and Formula One to get them to bring the event here,” Sexton said.



Paying such a fee goes beyond the intended use of the state fund, which was set up to support bringing annual events to Texas by rebating increased taxes they generate to cover costs including security and traffic control, said Richard Viktorin, an accountant with Audits in the Public Interest. The Austin- based group opposes government support for the races.

In the past, the event fund has been used to subsidize professional football’s Super Bowl championship game, college basketball’s Final Four tournament and business meetings such as a Chick-fil-A Inc. convention.

“It’s off-balance-sheet financing for a rich man’s sport,” Viktorin said. Combs is “supposed to be a fiscal officer for the state. She’s not controlling that fund.”



Austin and the state are unlikely to recover their investment directly, Cipolloni said. However, the race will expose the city to a wide audience of tourists and executives that could help recruit companies and create jobs, he said.

“They won’t collect tax money equal to the $25 million” from the state, Cipolloni said. “It’s just a way to get exposure for the city.”

It’s as easy as ABC.  It’s as simple as 123.

  1. Pay Bernie Ecclestone a $250 Million bribe
  2. ???
  3. Profit!

Texas Billionaires Bet on Austin F1 Track Backed by Taxpayers

David Mildenberg, Bloomberg News

Friday, November 16, 2012

Subsidies for the Austin race, backed by Governor Rick Perry and Comptroller Susan Combs, will depend partly on the effect the first event has on tax receipts. With just days to go before the start, more than 115 hotels in Austin had vacancies, Priceline.com and other travel websites show. That may signal that forecasts of a Super Bowl-caliber boost won’t pan out.

“The economic studies said every hotel would be completely filled all the way down to San Antonio,” a 90-minute drive from Austin, said Danielle Crespo, who runs two websites that link Formula One visitors to lodging. “That isn’t the case.”



Fewer fans are coming to Austin from Europe and Canada than hoteliers expected, and they’re booking three nights instead of the projected five or six, said Randy McCaslin, a vice president of PKF Consulting who tracks the Texas hotel market from Houston. In a normally slow month, the race may boost occupancy rates as much as 2 percent, he said.

Perry, a Republican, called the event “a great opportunity to showcase our state” at a Nov. 8 news briefing in Austin, the capital. Some of the more than 20,000 visitors expected from other countries will include corporate chief executives who may be interested in expanding in Texas, the governor said.

The state’s support has drawn criticism from lawmakers and raised fairness concerns among other motorsports leaders.

“It’s caused a lot of questions and there has not been a reasonable explanation so far,” said Eddie Gossage, the president of Texas Motor Speedway, a NASCAR venue in Fort Worth. More than 700,000 fans in the past two years have attended six NASCAR and Indy Racing League events there, yet it has received a far smaller subsidy, $5.7 million, a state report shows.



“You have a fund that is going to pay them much more for not nearly as large of a crowd as we have,” Gossage said of the Austin group, called Circuit of the Americas LLC.

U.S. Goes From F1 Wasteland to Land of Promise

By REUTERS

Published: November 16, 2012 at 7:19 PM ET

With the newly constructed $400 million Circuit of the Americas providing the spectacular beach head, a successful race in the Texas capital could pave the way for even more grands prix in the U.S. with possible races in New York and Los Angeles.

F1 teams up and down the Austin paddock could not hide their delight at being back in the U.S. while Ecclestone gushed a new found enthusiasm for a market he had once dismissed.

“The Americas are probably big enough to have five or six grands prix,” Ecclestone told reporters. “We’re trying to get something sorted out in New Jersey/New York, we’ve had a lot of requests.”

Tavo Hellmund’s United States Grand Prix joy will be shrouded in pain

Paul Weaver, The Guardian

Thursday 15 November 2012 17.34 EST

The man who transformed the United States Grand Prix in Austin from personal fantasy into vivid reality will watch Sunday’s race with a mixture of pride and sadness.



(T)he bigger it is the more painful it is for Hellmund, who will have no official role to play this weekend after an unhappy and unsuccessful power struggle. He says: “This is, after all, my baby. And to see Formula One cars tear down the straightway on Sunday will be the fulfilment of a project I worked on for more than a decade.”

Hellmund had announced in July 2010, that he had signed a deal to bring Formula One back to America. But after realising he needed more backing, he fell out with his fellow investors, Bobby Epstein and Red McCombs, with the former having stepped in to rescue the venture with some last-ditch deal making after Ecclestone had cancelled the contract. Hellmund filed a suit against the other investors, ultimately lost control and then was squeezed out.

Formula One Hoping for Happy U.S. Return

By REUTERS

Published: November 14, 2012 at 3:06 AM ET

The penultimate race in a title chase that has taken the glamour series to the four corners of the globe could well be decided in the distinctly unglamorous scrublands of south Texas, as Formula One tries again to establish a presence in the U.S. following a five-year absence.



While Sunday’s race could be the pinnacle of the F1 season, Americans motor sports fans do not view the U.S. Grand Prix with as much anticipation.

Formula One Romance Lost on Americans

By REUTERS

Published: November 14, 2012 at 7:02 PM ET

In the United States, however, the appeal of motor racing’s glamour circuit has somehow been lost on the country that sells more Ferraris and Porsches than any other and it is likely more eyeballs will be focused on Homestead, Florida on Sunday where NASCAR’s Chase championship will be decided.

“The truth is we find that there is no crossover,” Eddie Gossage, the president of Texas Motor Speedway near Dallas, which hosts two of NASCAR’s biggest races, told Reuters.

“NASCAR fans tend to look down their nose at Formula One fans and Formula One fans tend to look down their nose at NASCAR.”

“It’s apples and sausages, it’s not even apples and oranges they are so unlike each other.”

Taking Another Shot at a New Frontier With U.S. Grand Prix

By BRAD SPURGEON, The New York Times

Published: November 16, 2012

To capture the American imagination, however, many ingredients must be present in – or added to – a series that differs greatly from the numerous local motor-sports offerings, such as Nascar, sprint car, drag and IndyCar racing.

A major problem is that most Formula One races in the United States are run either late at night or early in the morning because of the global audience, which means they attract only the most devoted U.S. fans.



Also, there is little done to entertain fans beyond the track action at a Formula One race. Any entertainment is provided by local promoters, such as variety acts performing on stages outside the grandstands and activities for children at the Bahrain race.

In fact, Formula One is not much of a family affair, unlike most American sports, as tickets for the race are usually much more expensive than those for other sporting events. In Austin, the tickets are among the series’ cheapest: Three-day general admission is $159, but a seat in the grandstands costs $269 to $499.

Austin

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Official Sites

Tires are Hards and Mediums.  The track is brand new and slippery.

Any surprises below.

Nov 04 2012

F1 2012: Yas Marina

Surprise!

Vettel thrown out of qualifying

EurosportAsia

11/4/12, 16:18

Stewards stripped the 25-year-old of third place on the grid after post-qualifying checks on Saturday showed there was an insufficient quantity of fuel in the car for sampling purposes.



Red Bull’s decision to start from the pitlane – rather than the back of the grid – means it will be able to make some changes to Vettel’s car’s set-up ahead of the race, and the driver himself remained positive.

So, what will this change?  Umm… virtually nothing.

It will be irony or divine justice to see Vettel race from the back, but he’s done that before and as Schumacher (who’s underqualified all season) has shown us what’s likely to happen is he’ll cut through the field until he gets to the Force India cars at least and probably all the way until he starts mixing it up with Lotus (who may have a new primary sponsor next season) and Mercedes.

Then it will will be a matter of how much car he’s used up, pits, and accidents/breakdowns as to whether he  finishes 6th or higher which is all he and Red Bull will need to continue their march of dominance.

Part of that is the track.  What idiot thinks that Monaco with its low speeds and complete lack of passing opportunities is a good model?  The answer to that question is Hermann Tilke who’s designed or re-designed 15 of the 20 current tracks and made them uniformly boring and slow.

Even notorious safety Nazi Jackie Stewart hates him.

But Bernie and Hermann don’t really care about racing per se, it’s all about the bottom line which is not filling infield with ordinary Red Barrel-swilling football hooligan red necks.

I’m fed up with being treated like sheep. What’s the point of going abroad if you’re just another tourist carted around in buses surrounded by sweaty mindless oafs from Kettering and Coventry in their cloth caps and their cardigans and their transistor radios and their Sunday Mirrors, complaining about the tea – “Oh they don’t make it properly here, do they, not like at home” – and stopping at Majorcan bodegas selling fish and chips and Watney’s Red Barrel and calamaris and two veg and sitting in their cotton frocks squirting Timothy White’s suncream all over their puffy raw swollen purulent flesh ‘cos they ‘overdid it on the first day.’ and being herded into endless Hotel Miramars and Bellvueses and Continentals with their modern international luxury roomettes and draught Red Barrel and swimming pools full of fat German businessmen pretending they’re acrobats forming pyramids and frightening the children and barging into queues and if you’re not at your table spot on seven you miss the bowl of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup, the first item on the menu of International Cuisine, and every Thursday night the hotel has a bloody cabaret in the bar, featuring a tiny emaciated dago with nine-inch hips and some bloated fat tart with her hair brylcreemed down and a big arse presenting Flamenco for Foreigners and then some adenoidal typists from Birmingham with flabby white legs and diarrhoea trying to pick up hairy bandy-legged wop waiters called Manuel and once a week there’s an excursion to the local Roman Ruins to buy cherryade and melted ice cream and bleeding Watney’s Red Barrel and one evening you visit the so called typical restaurant with local colour and atmosphere and you sit next to a party from Rhyl who keep singing ‘Torremolinos, torremolinos’ and complaining about the food – “It’s so greasy here, isn’t it?” – and you get cornered by some drunken greengrocer from Luton with an Instamatic camera and Dr. Scholl sandals and last Tuesday’s Daily Express and he drones on and on and on about how Mr. Smith should be running this country and how many languages Enoch Powell can speak and then he throws up over the Cuba Libres and sending tinted postcards of places they don’t realise they haven’t even visited to “All at number 22, weather wonderful, our room is marked with an ‘X’. Food very greasy but we’ve found a charming little local place hidden away in the back streets where they serve Watney’s Red Barrel and cheese and onion crisps and the accordionist plays ‘Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner’.”

No sirree.  It’s all about fat greasy .001 percenters taking their clients to an air-conditioned suite where they can watch any kind of satellite TV they want as long as it’s not that god-awful screaming race outside and mix with coked up semi-celebrities and D-Listers who now ply their fading fame as high priced whores while discretely vomiting bulemic Chardonnay and indifferently prepared crudites soaked in curdled sour cream that may once have been placed next to a jar labeled caviar but which was really salmon roe on the peons and serfs below while they scam their next Pozi scheme on a bunch of brown rag heads who’ve accidentally been born with money and try to ignore the stone faced ‘personal security experts’ with automatic weapons who escort them back and forth to the hotel through the rabble so they don’t suffer a puncture on their armored SUV from inconvenient bone fragments or IEDs.

Singing ‘Torremolinos, torremolinos.’

Not Just a Race for the Rich: Welcome to the F1 FanZone

By BRAD SPURGEON, The New York Times

November 3, 2012, 7:00 pm

The two elements of the FanZone that really fired my excitement were the activities themselves and the business model. The business model is, in a word, brilliant.

“A lot of the people in this part of the world cannot afford to buy tickets for the race, especially for a family,” said Boutagy in an interview. (Tickets for good seats can run 400 euros, or more than $500, though some venues, like the Canadian Grand Prix, are cheaper.) “It all started with the fact that people here weren’t really educated in Formula One. Now people know what it is.

“It is really a family oriented event, and it’s all free,” he said of the FanZone. “Any other sport has this: FIFA Fan Fest, NFL, NHL.”

Indeed. For a sport that is often criticized as elite, costly, not for the average family’s enjoyment – and not fan-friendly – the F1 FanZone operates entirely on sponsorship. The gates are open to anyone, and all the attractions are free. Boutagy’s company consists only of four people, and when he runs an event, he hires local staff – more than 30 of them – to run the rides and deal with the public. He makes his money and runs the event entirely with money from Formula One sponsors, such as Pirelli Tires or Vodafone, and with local sponsors.

People are not really educated in Formula One.  There’s so much to learn and it’s all so complicated.

Welcome to the United States.  We’re exceptional.

Interactive Tracks

Yas Marina

Official Sites

Pretty tables soon.

Nov 03 2012

F1 2012: Yas Marina Qualifying

Formula One declares war on NASCAR!

Landing Spot in America Is Elusive for Formula One

By LEO LEVINE, The New York Times

Published: November 2, 2012

The series, which awards the World Drivers and Constructors championships, has struggled to find a permanent home in the United States. There are several reasons for this, but a principal one has been lack of a suitable circuit in a good-sized metropolitan area.



Over the years, there have been a number of attempts to find a permanent home in the United States. Sebring, Fla., was the first in 1959, and after that came Riverside, Calif., and then Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes region of New York. The Watkins Glen setting was much loved by drivers, teams and spectators, but it was not a financial success. And it was not a favorite of the man who has controlled the sport as head of the Formula One Constructors Association, Bernard Ecclestone.

Watkins Glen declared bankruptcy after the 1980 season, and for the last three decades Formula One racing has wandered the country, some years with two events, some with none. There have been races in Long Beach, Calif.; Detroit; Dallas; and Phoenix, and even the parking lot of a Las Vegas casino.

Flaming Chunks of Twisted Metal!

The problem with Formula One is that it is boring.  For years and years at a time drivers, at least the smart ones, try to duplicate what Sebastian Vettel did last week which is pull away at the start and pile up an insurmountable lead so they can coast to a victory.

Yawn.

NASCAR on the other hand is high speed bumper cars, tightly regulated to produce the maximum amount of crashes.  Do you want to be a TBI Throwball Star with a 4 year career or a 40 year old designated has been?  Which would you rather watch- Checkers or Chess?  King me!

Crushing victories make unexciting amusements which is why you should constantly be on the lookout for ‘horse race’ reporting, in politics as well as sports.  In most cases it’s really not as close as all that and the institutional incentive is to compose a compelling narrative.  If you can present an overwhelming favorite as a scrappy, come-from-behind underdog who’s sympathetically triumphed despite personal obstacles in a way that gives the fan the impression that if they were only a little more dedicated and disciplined they too could be a Galt-like Master of the Universe, you are not a mere facile fantasist and servile stenographer but a hard nosed reporter of Truth, Justice, and The American Way! ready to rip off those nerdy glasses and prove that you have powers and abilities far beyond those of being the fastest typist Perry White has ever seen.

Put down that pizza, I’m making a point here.

Professional Sports are entertainments, not competitions.  Bright and shiny distractions as ephemeral as soap bubbles, scripted ‘reality’ shows with a veneer of novelty in that you’re supposed to willingly suspend disbelief and embrace cognitive estrangement.

“It ain’t over ’til it’s over”, I hear the rime beard cry.

It is done.  It is over.  Cooked in the cake, say I.

F1: Vettel dominates Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice

7Days in Dubai

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Vettel has won the past four races to overtake Alonso at the top, and by all accounts has the fastest car on the circuit. He leads the Spaniard by 13 points with three races remaining, followed by Raikkonen who is 67 points back.

Webber is a further six points back, and Hamilton another two points back. Each of them has to practically win every race and hope Vettel doesn’t finish to have any chance.



The team (Red Bull) can clinch its third consecutive constructors’ title in Abu Dhabi if Vettel wins and Webber finishes no worse than eighth, or the two finish second and third. Red Bull leads Ferrari by 91 points, and McLaren was a further 10 points behind.

Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari.  How long until that’s no longer a surprise?

I pass, like night, from land to land;

I have strange power of speech;

That moment that his face I see,

I know the man that must hear me:

To him my tale I teach.

Mediums and Softs on offer with a .5 second a lap advantage to the Softs.

Interactive Tracks

Yas Marina

Official Sites

Any (heh) surprises below.

Oct 28 2012

F1 2012: Buddh

Ah, the simple pure meritocracy of sport.

Ferrari Move to Calm Navy Flag Row

By REUTERS

Published: October 27, 2012 at 7:15 AM ET

GREATER NOIDA, India (Reuters) – Ferrari moved to placate angry Indian authorities on Saturday with an assurance that a navy flag on their Formula One cars was not a political statement of support for Italian sailors detained for killing local fishermen.

Umm… so what is it then?

The Italian navy flag will, however, remain on the cars for the remainder of the Indian Grand Prix weekend.



The two sailors were detained in February on charges of killing two Indian fishermen while protecting a cargo ship off the Indian ocean coast.

Italy says the sailors, who were released on bail in June in the southern state of Kerala, mistook the men for pirates.

Ferrari issued a statement on Saturday saying they had put the flag on their cars as a tribute to “one of our country’s outstanding institutions”.

The declaration overwrote one published on their website (www.ferrari.com) earlier in the week that had also hoped the sailors’ situation would be resolved.

After all, they were brown people on a boat.  Who’s to know that they weren’t pirates, or illegal immigrants, or drug smugglers?

They’re brown.

And poor.

They have no rights a rich person is bound to respect.

Motor Racing: Mallya Flies In for Indian GP, Slams Critics

By REUTERS

Published: October 27, 2012 at 3:15 AM ET

The liquor and aviation tycoon, no longer a billionaire according to the latest Forbes list, flew in from London on his private Airbus after suggestions that he might stay away to avoid having it impounded.



Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines had its license suspended by India’s civil aviation authorities last week and has not flown since the start of October after a protest by employees, unpaid since March, turned violent.

The airline has never turned a profit and, according to the consultancy Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, has total debt estimated at about $2.5 billion.



Mallya is an important figure in Formula One, a longtime friend of F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and sitting on the governing International Automobile Federation’s world motor sport council.

He was also instrumental in bringing the sport to the country and co-owns the first and only Indian-licensed team.



“Kingfisher Airlines is a Plc. They (the local media) don’t understand the concept of a Plc.”

“In a Plc where is one man, who might be the chairman, responsible for the finances of the entire Plc? And what has it got to do with all my other businesses? I have built up and run the largest spirits company in the world in this country.”

Asked whether he had flown to India on his plane, Mallya vented more frustration.

“You are probably referring to my plane being seized? Wonderful. I don’t owe anybody money,” he said. “Why should my plane be at risk. It’s so stupid.”

Move along- no corruption to see here.

Despite Formula One, Jaypee’s balance sheet remains a big challenge

Ravi Teja Sharma, Economic Times

28 Oct, 2012, 09.17 AM

A few years ago when the Gaur family, promoters of the Jaypee Group, first talked about setting up a racetrack to host F1 in India, many scoffed. That changed in 2009, when the Gaurs signed a 10-year deal with F1’s controlling body, FIA, to build the circuit and hold the event and then followed it up by getting the track ready in two years flat.

However, since the inaugural race in October last year, the group has had to grapple with uncertainty and red tape as Uttar Pradesh voted out Mayawati, who was considered to be close to the Gaurs. With Mayawati’s bete noire Akhilesh Yadav at the helm of UP politics, the opening of the 185-km long, Rs 13,000-crore Yamuna Expressway – that connects Greater Noida with Agra – was delayed.

There is some history to that. Before the UP elections in early 2012, there was apprehension about the future of the group if Mayawati was ousted from power. Analysts tracking the company were worried about the impact of possible political change (and vendetta that follows with political change in India) on the business.

Soon after his election, Akhilesh Yadav referred to the expressway during a debate in the UP assembly as an “expressway of scams meant to provide huge undue favours to a select company”. Some of these fears seemed justified when the company was kept hanging for a completion certificate and formalities for the opening were completed in a hurry by the UP government only on the night before the opening. However, a behind-the-scenes rapprochement seemed to have been worked out as the expressway was opened to the public in August by Yadav himself.



The toll revenue from the expressway was never what attracted Jaypee to this project in the first place. To build the expressway, the company did not charge anything from the government, but was given 6,175 acres of land across five locations (1,235 acres each) along the expressway, which it will use to develop around 530 million sq ft of real estate over the years. The group has already sold 68 million sq ft of space in Noida and Greater Noida, with a sale value of over Rs 14,000 crore and the company has got advances of Rs 7,800 crore.

Yamuna Expressway, DND flyway to be toll-free for F1 final day

Economic Times

25 Oct, 2012, 07.21PM

GREATER NOIDA: Yamuna Expressway and DND Flyway will be toll-free on Sunday, the final day of Formula one racing event.



Commuters from Agra, Mathura and Noida will get signal- free and toll-free movement and they will be able to reach Buddh International Circuit to watch the Formula one car racing final, the Yamuna Expressway spokesperson said.

Mayur Vihar Toll Plaza will not be free, said Abbasi. Last year during the final day of the Formula one event, the traffic volume on DND was around 75,000 vehicles, he said.

And that has nothing to do with this-

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone unperturbed by smaller crowds at second edition of Indian Grand Prix

India Today

Greater Noida, October 28, 2012, UPDATED 13:13

It is an open secret that ticket sales for the second Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit have been sluggish compared to last year, when a near full house welcomed the sport to country.



The Briton, who turns 82 on Sunday, feels his close friend and Force India chief Vijay Mallya should consider having an Indian driver in his team.



On the topic of Mallya and his troubled Kingfisher Airlines, he added: “I think what Mallya has done for India is super. Everyone should support him. His company has run into some difficulties, but so have many other companies because we are going through a recession.” Formula One makes its long-awaited return to the United States in three weeks’ time and Ecclestone is hopeful that the experiment won’t be a failure like in the past, when the public never warmed up to the twists and turns of an F1 circuit instead of their usual oval fare. But he couldn’t resist taking a dig at Americans.

“The trouble with doing anything in America is that they want to be guaranteed money before anything starts. The people in Austin have built a super circuit. Indianapolis did the same, but there was a bit of a family problem in the way it was run,” he said.

Let me be the first to say Happy Birthday asshole.

Bernie has this guy in mind-

India’s Unassuming Formula One Pioneer

By BRAD SPURGEON, The New York Times

Published: October 26, 2012

“I was the first guy from India to be in Formula One, nobody had been to this territory before,” he said in a recent interview. “So it was all inventing it myself. Being a pioneer is always difficult, and I’m glad to have got another chance to race in Formula One.”



The HRT team is one of the weakest – and newest – in the series. After almost three full racing seasons, it has yet to score a single point. But Karthikeyan says he knows his value as a driver.



(R)acing at all levels requires money from its drivers, and Karthikeyan said it was not easy to persuade Indian companies to pay for a sport so little known in his country. Still, early on he gained the support of the Tata group of companies, and Tata eventually supported his entry into Formula One.



Tata, based in Mumbai, grew as a global conglomerate at the same time as Karthikeyan’s career grew, and it helped him fund his second stint in Formula One as well.

Wouldn’t want anyone uppity like Hamilton after all.

Winning Is Always the Goal for Hamilton

By BRAD SPURGEON, The New York Times

Published: October 26, 2012

Winning is always the main goal, and that is the most exciting part. It is the most satisfying part of all the work that goes into it. But as you get to Formula One, you realize this is the pinnacle of the sport and winning tons of times is not that easy. So it makes you learn to appreciate them more. When you have a longer gap, when you have 20 races and you only have three wins, those wins you really appreciate, because it took a lot of effort from yourself and from all the people that are in the team. And of course you want to win as many titles as possible. But it is getting harder and harder to do so.

Besides, these 3rd world countries are always letting Rally Squirrels run around.

Indian GP Moves on From the Dog Days of 2011

By REUTERS

Published: October 27, 2012 at 5:03 AM ET

Last year’s inaugural race at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) was dogged by feral hounds on the dusty track during practice and teething problems in a paddock that was far from finished.



There has so far been no repeat of last year’s canine interruption.

“Every single intervention post has a gate now. We learnt from mistakes. It was very well controlled by the volunteers last year. There was no panic, it did not cause any accident.”

“There’s a sucker born every minute”- P.T. Barnum

Formula One race in New Jersey postponed until 2014 because of organizational problems

By Associated Press

Oct 19, 2012 04:49 PM EDT

“The event is not going to happen” in 2013 as planned, F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said Friday. “Everything is set up, but it’s now too late to finish on time.”

Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner earlier told The Jersey Journal the race would not proceed next year. The newspaper said Turner and another unidentified mayor contend organizers were behind on road repairs and permits.

“The reason is because they didn’t quite know what they were doing,” Ecclestone said. “They got all the permissions together. Everything was done, that was all fine, but then they missed the boat a little on some financing that was coming in.”

Motor Racing: French GP Could Return in 2013-Ecclestone

By REUTERS

Published: October 28, 2012 at 3:00 AM ET

GREATER NOIDA, India (Reuters) – The French Grand Prix could be back on the calendar next year for the first time since 2008, Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Sunday.

Speaking to reporters on his 82nd birthday at the Indian Grand Prix, the Briton suggested France could fill a slot vacated by a postponed New Jersey race and bring the championship back to 20 rounds.

One month till Austin’s F1 race and still much to do at Circuit of the Americas

By John Maher, American-Statesman Staff

Posted: 6:33 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012

A staggering amount of preparations already have been completed at the $300 million Circuit of the Americas, which two years ago was just scrub pastureland. On Wednesday, Braedon Box, project manager for the circuit, said, “Everything track-related is done. We could have a race right now. Everything else isn’t done … I’m certain everybody would like to be a little further along and putting their feet up right now.”



One of the biggest projects still unfinished is a three-lane extension of Kellam Road, which is still not paved.

The two-thirds of a mile extension will create a northern entry for the track off Pearce Lane and should help ease traffic flow. A graded dirt road was punched through weeks ago.

“They got some heavy iron and knocked that out in two weeks,” Box said. “(Then) there was a lot of start, stop and pause.”

He said the new road passed over three gas lines and a water line. Overhead utility issues also cropped up, and the last of those issues was resolved this week, Box said, adding that once paving begins it will take only a few days.

Racing?  Hards and Softs.

Buddh

Interactive Track

Official Sites

Pretty tables below.

Oct 27 2012

F1 2012: Buddh Qualifying

It’s only the second time we’ve raced at Buddh.  Motor sports history will probably not be kind to Herman Tilke, but this circuit is not quite as boring as most of his designs.

With a mere 4 races left in the season (including this one) Vettel and Alonso are about a mile ahead of everyone else in the Drivers’ Championship and indeed with the Prancing Pony fading down the stretch and the Caffeinated Bovine stampeding it seems likely the second winner in India will be the same as the first and this will be a yawning run away and hide race unless equipment failure or accident shuffle the deck.

On offer this week will be Hards and Softs and the 2 step difference may tempt daring pit stop strategies but since they’ve never been successful so far I doubt any excitement.

Bayern Bank wants its half a Billion bribe back from Bernie.  Good luck with that.  In a totally unrelated development (yup, fer sure) just about half that will be invested by the same Texas teachers who are seeing their jobs cut to pay for Perry’s Problem for the bankrupt Lehman stake in the now Moody’s B1 rated enterprise which marks to market the total value of Ecclestone’s CVC controlled property at a mere $7 Billion overall.

Surprised?  Not I.  I’ve saved the real thing for below provided there is any.

Interactive Track

Official Sites

Oct 14 2012

F1 2012: Yeongam

It seems the story of this and the last 4 races are going to be the Drivers and (possibly) Constructors Championships and if I say that with a sigh I’d much rather see some exciting racing.  Yeongam is fast enough, but like so many of the newer tracks with the current cars lead changes will only happen at the start, through accidents and mechanical failures, and through tire strategies.

Softs and Super Softs are on offer, most teams blew away 2 sets of the Super Softs during Qualifying (Ferrari saved a set) and all of the first five rows are on the Supers BUT…  depending on how used up they are it’s just barely possible that some drivers will try and stretch them out long enough before the first pit to run a one stop.  They will be aided by the fact that the track is so new and smooth.  Will this make much of a difference?  There is about 0.2 to 0.6 seconds lap time difference between the two compounds.

On the start everyone, particularly the even gridders will be looking for a fast one to keep Vettel from running away in the distance.  Look for any Team Order strategies at Red Bull to be designed around getting him in front of Webber in the first lap.

As far as mechanical failure goes, Pic had to accept a 10 Grid penalty for exceeding his engine allotment for the season and almost every team is on their last new one.

Schumacher can’t stay away from trouble.  After being reprimanded for impeding HRT (HRT!) in practice Mercedes will have to pay a 10,000 euro fine for unsafe release in front of Hamilton during Qualifying.

Interactive Track

Yeongam

Official Sites

Pretty tables below.

Oct 13 2012

F1 2012: Yeongam Qualifying

At least we have something to talk about other than Baseball, Politics, and Lewis Hamilton.

One thing that is interesting about Yeongam is they don’t use the track for anything except Formula One which means it’s dusty and slick until about halfway through the race.

But wait!  Don’t they sweep it and wash it?

Sure they do, but that’s part of the problem.

You see, heated race tires are like big gummy lint rollers and suck stuff up from the crevices of the asphalt that brooms and water can’t reach.  Also they lay down a sticky Rubber Cement-like layer in the racing line that’s similar to the floor in the first row of your neighborhood Bijou.

During what little I was able to see of Practice there was this constant back and forth of drivers wanting more downforce and engineers saying- try and make it work, you’ll change your tune on Sunday.

Speaking of tires, it’s Softs and Super Softs this week which means probably a 3 stop race and marginal lap time differential between the two, depending on fuel load.

But here’s the BIG news-

Formula One’s 17-year run with Speed channel ending after this season

Associated Press

Published October 12, 2012

Fox Sports Media Group, which owns Speed, confirmed Friday that the partnership will end after this season. The network indicated it was outbid for the U.S. broadcast rights by a “different media partner.”

Two people familiar with the negotiations tell The Associated Press that F1 was in talks with NBC for U.S. broadcast rights.

So that means a move to Vs. (now NBC Sports).  Is this a good thing?

Hard to tell.  It means some of the tools I rely on, like the Speed Racecast will be at best unfamiliar and at worst may omit essential elements.  Will there be conflicts during Le Tour?  What about America’s Cup?

Have I mentioned I hate change?

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