Jul 30 2011

F1: Hungaroring Qualifying

I’ve kind of been noticing the odd connections between the Murdoch phone hacking scandal and Formula One.  This week’s coincidence is the BSkyB pay TV network in Britain that the Murdochs were looking to acquire before the scandal broke and which they still own 39% of has inked a deal for the 2012 broadcast rights, taking them away from the BBC and leaving only half the races available on “free” television.

The New York Times kind of miscounts the number of Formula One Grand Prix held in Hungary, forgetting the 75th Anniversary of the very first one in 1936 (you should really click that link, it’s a fascinating read).

Jenson Button is celebrating his 200th start in F1.  He thinks his biggest mistake was the 2nd contract he signed with Williams that he had to buy his way out of for $17 million in 2007 to move to Honda (later Brawn).  The English language press is celebrating a McLaren resurgence conveniently forgetting that one race does not make a season and that last week Button had his second consecutive DNF.

The week’s big off track news was the announcement of the tentative 2012 schedule.  Turkey gets dropped.  USA gets added and shifted to the next to last race to avoid the Texas summer heat.  The desert races in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain get shifted to the end of the calendar too while the season starts with Australia and Malaysia.  They’re trying to group the races by region to cut down on travel expenses and schedule them closer together with more consecutive off time including a 5 week summer break.

The Hungaroring is frequently described as Monaco without the houses.  It’s a slow twisty track where they’ll be using lots of down force and the softest tires they can get.  This is said to be good for McLaren which is having trouble with its Drag Reduction System.  Charging the Kinetic Energy Recovery System is putting a lot of drag on most teams during turning and is causing the rear ends to hop around.  It’s traditionally a very hot track too and there could be engine failures.  Webber took the front end off his Red Bull during practice and they’re still usining the mystery wires which were clearly visible.  Buemi is going to be penalized 5 grid positions for an incident last week at the Nurburgring.

This is the 11th race of 19 and the last before Spa at the end of August as the teams take their summer break.  As usual surprises below.

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