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May 22 2011

F1: Circuit de Catalunya

So have I mentioned tires are the story?

Teams are going to absurd lengths to save their Softs and in this race particularly so since Pirelli is introducing their new Super Hards and they are a full 2 seconds a lap slower.  While Hards and Super Hards are supposed to produce durability benefits that offset their lack of speed, there is absolutely no evidence that they do so even with the small number of non lemming-like teams that have dared to persue unorthodox strategies.

This leads to spectacles like Istanbul where Red Bull ran their hot Qualifying laps and parked (which McLaren emulated yesterday) and the 6 also rans from Scuderia Marlboro UPC, Renault, Mercedes, and Williams staying off track until a mere 2 minutes were left in Q3 (Schumacher didn’t bother turning in a time).  I hope Bernie heard the boos and jeers from the crowd at the empty track that were quite audible to the cameras in Pit Lane, but he’s such a arrogant and greedy bastard I doubt it.

Bottom line for racing?  Red Bull and McLaren have an extra set of Softs and everyone else pretty much doesn’t.

But it goes to a bigger picture mentioned by one of the commentators- Formula One used to be about technology, innovation, and going fast.  There used to be a U.S. series like that too called Champ or CART who’s turbo-charged cars in the early ’80s were actually faster than F1 because they also allowed more down force.

It’s successor, ‘IndyCars‘, is open wheel NASCAR- bumper cars so evenly matched (supposedly to highlight ‘driver skills’) that the only thing to watch is who ends up in a flaming chunk of twisted metal, modern gladiator games with rules designed to enforce nose to tail racing and bunch cars up whenever someone gets too far ahead so as to ensure more crashes for the blood thirsty fans.

Did I mention the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 is next week?  Dad would want me to.

Circuit de Catalunya is notoriously boring and I expect nothing different today (the front five are exactly the same as they were last year).  Next week is also Monaco which is all about glitz, glamor, and tradition.  No actual racing is allowed.

I’ll probably produce 2 separate pieces, one for Monaco and one for Indy.  I’ll have to watch them both anyway since Richard will quiz me at the end, but I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to keep my eyes open.

As usual I used up all my good material yesterday so I really encourage you to click that top link.

Speed has GP2 at 6 am to rubber in the track, Formula One at 7:30 am with a repeat at 4:30 pm.

Pretty tables below.

Starting Grid

Grid Driver Team Q-Time Q-Laps
1 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 01:21.0 12
2 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 01:21.2 13
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 01:22.0 12
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 01:22.0 15
5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 01:22.0 12
6 Vitaly Petrov Renault 01:22.5 14
7 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 01:22.6 14
8 Felipe Massa Ferrari 01:22.9 15
9 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 01:23.0 14
10 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 01:22.7 12
11 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 01:23.2 6
12 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 01:23.4 9
13 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 01:23.7 9
14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 01:23.7 8
15 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 01:25.4 6
16 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 01:26.1 13
17 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 01:26.6 13
18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 01:26.5 4
19 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 01:26.9 5
20 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 01:27.3 8
21 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 01:27.8 9
22 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 01:27.9 9
23 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 01:28.6 5
24 Nick Heidfeld Renault no time 0

Driver Standings

Rank Driver Team Points
1 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 93
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 59
3 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 55
4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 46
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 41
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 24
7 Nick Heidfeld Renault 21
8 Vitaly Petrov Renault 21
9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 20
10 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 8
11 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 6
12 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 6
13 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 2
14 Paul di Resta India-Mercedes 2

Constructor Standings

Rank Team Points
1 Red Bull 148
2 McLaren 105
3 Ferrari 65
4 Renault 42
5 Mercedes 26
6 Sauber 8
7 Toro Rosso 6
8 Force India 4
9 Team Lotus 0
10 Williams 0
11 Virgin 0
12 HRT 0

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