Tag Archive: Formula One 2011

Nov 27 2011

F1: Interlagos

Well, Hamilton and Alonso are hoping for rain and so am I as it’s the only thing that might bring any interest to today’s race.  Unfortunately it’s unlikely at last report which forecasts only overcast and high humidity.

Pirelli is racing an experimental Soft compound designed for next year.  Pirelli is designing around a 3 pit strategy which frankly won’t be enough to introduce any competitiveness or position changes with 3 second pits despite protestations to the contrary.  The other tire is the normal Medium.  There’s only .8 seconds speed difference between them, the new Soft is expected to last 25 laps and the Medium 35.

Red Bull reports that they’re loosening the development restrictions in the next agreement which contrary to their intent can only be good news for the field filling teams.  They’re also reportedly going to clamp down on Red Bull type flexy wings.

Austin’s ultimatum has been extended until Wednesday, but Bernie is talking tougher about licking the boots of Bahrain’s despotic regime than having a US race next year.  It’s easier to hate on Rick Perry because he’s the local boy, but I don’t think there’s a dime’s worth of difference in their evilness and Perry’s more likely to lose because he’s also stupid.

Barrichello is probably a cut next year which is a shame because he’s performed really well in 3rd rate equipment and had a surprisingly good Qualifying yesterday.  I don’t understand how you can rate drivers or teams with no points at all as being better than those that do.  I guess it has to do with how our elites define persistent failure as ‘meritocracy’.

Below you will find the last pretty tables of the 2011 season.  Unlike the Debrief crew I won’t bother revisiting them because nothing will change.

Nov 26 2011

F1: Interlagos Qualifying

The news, such as it is, is mostly silly season speculation about who will be driving next year which is really the least entertaining and important part of the sport.  And at that the only real news is that Kubica’s rehabilitation may not be complete at the beginning of next season which is a problem mostly for him since his team has a deep and talented bench.

One interesting thing of note is that many of the backmarking teams spent a longer than usual time running practice laps and brought out some fiddly aero bits from next year’s machines.  This is indicative of the most pressing anti-competitive problem in Formula One which is that teams in general are not allowed to test enough because the weaker teams can’t afford to do it.

More than all the Downforce Reduction Systems and Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems in the world, if you really wanted to advance the fortunes of the non-scoring teams you’d allow them to do some real engineering and instead limit the amount of simulation time which as we’ve seen as they’ve struggled the last 2 years to integrate is no substitute.

This year was a boring replay of last year only more one sided and there is no reason to believe next year will be any different since the regulations are only changing in the direction of making the cars less durable and safe.  No tire you can put on the track is going to deteriorate fast enough to create real pit competition or a meaningful alternative race strategy.  Likewise all the aerodynamic changes are in the direction of making less downforce and the cars more difficult to steer and unstable.  Great if you like flaming chunks of twisted metal, not so good if you want lead changes and racing opportunities.

Stories to watch in the off season are the negotiation between Ecclestone and the teams on a new agreement and the continuing unfolding of big money financial scandals particularly in connection with the 2 new US tracks in Austin and New Jersey.  Bernie is already jacking Texas up for their multimillion dollar entry bribe which the Comptroller has refused to release because the contract has insufficient assurances the race will even be held.

I predict Austin is going to become the embarrassing step child and the track a billion dollar boondoggle of a white elephant.  NASCAR for good or ill (and mostly ill) dominates racing in the States supporting no less than 3 separate series in a weekend that pack the stands with boozy beer-drinking red necked boors who like their blood sport flaming chunks of twisted metal wrecks so much that they build them like bumper cars, bend the rules to force the drivers to drive them that way, and don’t care that they’re slow moving pieces of crap.

Good luck with that Bernie.

Maybe I’ll be surprised and something interesting will happen by tomorrow, but I don’t expect it.  If you want to find out more about Interlagos which if it wasn’t a track would be nothing but a malarial swamp, click the link.

Nov 13 2011

F1: Yas Marina

Well, let’s start with a little off track rumor and innuendo as the race itself promises to be incredibly boring unless you care about who finishes 6th for the season.

The first tidbit is that Bahrain is back on the calender, HIS Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander and Bahrain Motor Federation Honorary President expressed confidence yesterday which title in and of itself tells you what a tinpot dictatorship Bahrain is.  Bernie will feel right at home.

In other news there may or may not be racing at the new ‘Circuit of the Americas’ track in Austin Texas, the $300 Million Boondoggle Rick Perry is financing by firing teachers ensuring that Texas schoolchildren will be even more ignorant due to class overcrowding than their Confederate Christianist textbooks already make them.

You see, Bernie doesn’t need Rick so much now that he has Chris Christie in his pocket.  Who wants to swelter when you can watch from your Wall Street Fat Cat Corporate Shelter?  Not only are the commute times from the Hamptons shorter, but the food is better unless you like Tex-Mex which you can get from Bobby Flay anyway.

If that seems a lot of races, not to worry.  Ecclestone will probably dump Yeongam for having the temerity to try and renegotiate their contract.

Miscellaneous AFP stories- Rosberg signs with Mercedes, Schumacher plays coy (that’s an ornamental carp to you), Hamilton goes zen, and a season recap.

Now some racing related stuff.  Finally found a source for the compounds they’ll be using today.  Mediums and Softs, not the Super Softs the commentators were saying.  Do these guys get anything right ever?  There will only be 2 pits tops and there’s just not a lot of speed differential between the compounds.

It’s a twi-night race which will create visibility challenges as the sun sets.  When the track cools the engines will develop more power and the tires less grip which could make things more slippery except that it’s a very fast track with few turns.  Teams are running their low downforce configurations and there are 2 DRS zones, but don’t expect a lot of passing because they won’t have to slow down much (creating opportunities).

The Cosworth engines that the Williams are running are flat worn out.  Maldonado has already had to accept a 10 grid spot penalty for using a 9th and Barrichello is saving his last fresh for his home race at Interlagos.  Only 2 teams will be using Cosworths next year.

Teams attempting to emulate the Red Bull ‘Wiggle Wing’ are experiencing aerodynamic inbalances that cause them to oscillate and hit the track at the ends of the 2 long straights.  If that’s your cup of tea then I recomment the Razor Spark.

Hamilton had fastest Practice this morning, which really doesn’t make up for his disappointing Qualifying performance.  If you hurry you can still make book on his having a collision with Massa.

Speed will be broadcasting the exhibition GP2 All-Star race starting at 6 am.  Re-broadcast of the main event at 4 pm.

Pretty meaningless tables below.

Nov 12 2011

F1: Yas Marina Qualifying

Well, there are a couple of different threads going on in the world of Bernie Ecclestone and Formula One (which Bernie works very hard to make the same thing).

Just two days ago Bernie was in Munich testifying in the Gribkowsky Case.  Bernie’s story is that his $44 Million payment wasn’t a bribe to ensure that Gribkowsky sold the interests of the Kirsh Group at a loss so that it wouldn’t trigger the profit sharing agreements, INSTEAD it was extortion money given Gribkowsky so he wouldn’t testify that Ecclestone’s (then) wife’s $8 Billion Trust Fund was in fact under Bernie’s control, allowing him to evade $3.2 Billion in taxes and penalties (here and here also).

You see, that makes it so much better.

Like James Murdoch however, Bernie still faces contradiction under oath from a lawyer associated with Bambino Trust and other Formula One related entities, Stephen Mullins; but we’ll get back to Jimmy-boy later.

2012 is the last year teams will be racing under the current extension of the Concorde Agreement between the Formula One Teams Association, CVC, and the FIA and Scuderia Marlboro UPC and McLaren at least (just the current 2nd and 3rd most powerful teams this season and 1st and 2nd historically).  Just as he did in 2005, Bernie seems poised to give Maranello an exclusive bribe to stay loyal, this time $100 Million in ‘chump change’.  FOTA canceled a scheduled meeting this weekend.

Still, Ecclestone is under increasing pressure, summarized in this extensive Bloomberg article

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and the Agnelli family’s Exor SpA want to buy the 63.4 percent of Formula One owned by London- based buyout firm CVC Capital Partners Ltd. through its Jersey, Channel Islands-based holding company Delta Topco Ltd.

The would-be buyers are pushing ahead despite News Corp.’s run-ins with U.K. authorities over a phone-hacking scandal involving one of its newspapers, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.

Bernie’s continued control is complicated by the fact that he only owns a 5.3% direct stake while 15% is owned by his ex-wife’s Bambino Trust.

The Bloomberg piece also reports this incident-

It was 10 a.m. on a June day in 2005 as fans filed into their seats for the U.S. Grand Prix. Two days earlier, a Michelin & Cie.-made tire on Toyota team driver Ralf Schumacher’s car had burst on turn 13 and the auto smashed into a wall at 175 miles per hour, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its December issue.

The tiremaker said it couldn’t rule out more accidents.

As the managers gathered around, Ecclestone called Max Mosley, president of Formula One’s ruling body, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), at home in Monaco in a last-minute attempt to persuade him to alter the racetrack layout so the grand prix could proceed smoothly.

Mosley was unmoved, according to Paul Stoddart, then owner of the now-defunct Minardi team, who was in the trailer. He wouldn’t change the rules.

With the 1 p.m. start nearing, the crowd swelling toward 120,000 and a public relations disaster looming, Ecclestone lost his temper and swore at Mosley, by Stoddart’s account. As if on cue, irate fans hurled beer cans onto the racetrack after 14 of the 20 cars withdrew from the race.



For his part, Ecclestone now says Mosley was “probably right” to stop the race because the FIA president could have faced a murder charge if another crash on the same turn caused a fatality.

Nice guy eh?  Mosley’s intervention was probably the only thing that prevented a Dan Wheldon incident.

Max, for all his reported goose stepping sado-masochistic sex romps, had a relatively good week; winning a $51,000 verdict against News of the World and Nigel Thurlbeck for invasion of privacy, while James Murdoch sat before a Parliamentary inquiry again-

Murdoch’s Former Allies Deliver a Counterpunch

By RAVI SOMAIYA, The New York Times

Published: November 11, 2011

The two men had presented a united front with Mr. Murdoch through years of scrutiny since the scandal surfaced in 2006. But that cracked after Mr. Murdoch’s first round of testimony, in July, as the panel tried to determine how long he had known of potentially rampant hacking at The News of the World, now defunct.

Any remaining bonds between them shattered after Mr. Murdoch’s second round, on Thursday. In both appearances before the parliamentary committee, he was asked sharp questions about clear evidence of broader hacking that circulated among his executives in 2008. Mr. Murdoch sought to deflect the panel’s focus from himself and toward Mr. Myler and Mr. Crone.

After the first round, the two men released a statement rejecting Mr. Murdoch’s testimony that they had not informed him of evidence suggesting more widespread hacking: an e-mail that indicated more than one reporter at The News of the World had used information from hacked voicemail messages for stories. On Thursday, after Mr. Murdoch said their statements were “inconsistent and not right” and “misleading,” the rejoinder was swift.

“It is regrettable,” Mr. Crone counterpunched in a statement, “but I can perfectly understand why James Murdoch felt the need to discredit Colin Myler and myself. The simple truth is that he was told by us in 2008 about the damning e-mail and what it meant in terms of wider News of the World involvement.” He concluded: “At best, his evidence on this matter was disingenuous.” Mr. Myler, too, said he stood by his account.

Oh, you want to know about racing.  Why?  The Scuderia Marlboro fanboys won’t even tell you what compounds we are using this week so obsessed are they with the fascinating duel for 6th place in the Constructor’s Championship (the only position still contested) where a mere 10 points separate the 3 contenders.

Yas Marina is the penultimate race this season which is already over for all intents and purposes.

Developments, surprising or not, below.

Oct 29 2011

F1: Buddh Qualifying

This is the inaugural race at Buddh, a short, fast track with only 16 turns.  Speeds average around 130.5 mph with top speeds approaching 200.  Each lap of the 3.2 mile circuit takes about 1:26.

Unlike Yeongam’s first season the course is quite smooth, though it hasn’t much been rubbered in or tested since it only opened September 1st.  They will be running 2 DRS zones during the race, though in Qualifying of course they can use it anywhere.

Pirelli is offering Hards and Softs which means teams will be very concerned about tire management during this session and you’ll probably find the top contenders spending a lot of time parked after they lay down their hot laps.  Alonso at least will be running a new engine though I suspect that has as much to do with the fact there are only 2 races left after this one as anything else.  Might as well use them up.

Once more the stewards are picking on Hamilton, both he and Maldonado will suffer a 3 grid penalty for driving too fast through a yellow.

The Practice and Qualifying sessions will repeat tomorrow starting at 2 am before the Race itself at 5.  The Race will be shown again at 3 pm for you sleepy heads.

As always surprising developments, if any, below.

Oct 16 2011

F1: Yeongam

A few interesting tidbits before we start.  Vettel won’t suffer a penalty for blowing off a corner in Q3.  I suppose the reason is he had already set a lap fast enough for his 2nd position on the grid.  The stewards promise stern punishments for anyone else who attempts it.  Red Bull used all Super Softs during Qualifying so they’re committed to an early pit and will then try and run long.  Since the Supers take 3 or 4 laps to get to speed anyway and fall off quite quickly this probably not a handicap.

Ross Brawn of Mercedes vehemently denies the team is violating spending limits and then says they’re poorly written and porous.  He also claims teams are extorting other teams that want to change their names.

They’re re-writing the ‘one defensive move rule’ to basically disallow any defensive moves at all.

Both Button and Hamilton are pooh-poohing the idea that Button is taking over the lead position on McLaren and trying to get next year’s car designed around his driving style, however no team is wasting any time on this season which is done.  All that’s left is the race for second place.

There is no rain forecast.  At the moment it appears Ricciardo will start.

Rebroadcast at 11:30 am.  Not so pretty tables below.

Oct 15 2011

F1: Yeongam Qualifying

So I missed practice yesterday but evidently I didn’t miss much since it all took place in the rain, though because you only get 3 sets of Wets and Inters for the whole damn weekend some teams could be in tire trouble if it stays damp.

In any event there was very little testing that could actually be done and McLaren’s dominance is no indicator of anything.  Button had to switch his car since the carbon fiber is deteriorated.  Serves him right for talking trash about Vettel and Hamilton.

Yeongam is actually one of the more interesting tracks with a nice long straight between turns 2 and 3.  Unlike last year when they were rushing to finish it and the possibility of a Daytona tarmac malfunction existed this year should see little drama.

That little you will find below.

Oct 09 2011

F1: Suzuka

So once again Lewis Hamilton is under fire for McLaren’s pit lane miscues.

Even after shouldering the burden for their mistake in not sending him out soon enough to guarantee at least a hot lap if not the pole (this isn’t a decision the driver makes) washed up has been Nigel Mansell and the rest of the Formula One establishment jump all over him for daring to suggest that Schumacher’s cutting the corner on the grass was ‘dangerous’.

Just like fucking skiing folks, the burden is on the overtaking driver to make a clean pass and don’t bother trying to tell me this isn’t all about lingering Scuderia Marlboro UPC bias.

In other great moral triumphs, Bernie and the teams are going to discuss once again whether they should be supporting an anti-Shiite dictatorship in Bahrain or if it’s even safe to do so since the oppressed class are the ones making your beds and serving your drinks.

Of course I didn’t pee in it sahib.

The deeper you look at things the more you discover class struggle everywhere and sports are no exception.  That’s one of the reasons I bring them to your attention.  They’re not just simple diversions but microcosms of society at large and if you don’t think the fate of great empires can turn on small events I encourage the study of Justinian and the Blue/Green riots.

Speed coverage repeats at 3:30 pm.

Kobayashi advances from 10th to 7th because he at least attempted a fast lap in Q3.  Apparently Rosberg and Liuzzi will race, making the 107% rule officially a joke.

Pretty tables below the fold.

Oct 08 2011

F1: Suzuka Qualifying

What drivers like about Suzuka is that other than Spa it’s the fastest track on the tour.

What pit crews hate about it is that the asphalt is abrasive and eats up tires.

The choices are Mediums and Softs.  Softs are about 1.6 Seconds a Lap faster, but they only last for 10 – 15 laps at all and drop off quite quickly after a mere 4 or 5 laps, barely enough to turn a hot one.  This will be magnified under heavy fuel so Pirelli expects that even some Q3 teams to switch to the Mediums at the end of Qualifying so they don’t have to pit extraordinarily early.

Mediums are good for 17 – 22 laps which means it’s technically possible to run a 2 pit strategy, but I wouldn’t count on it unless the driver is very easy on the equipment like Jenson Button.

Speaking of Button, his contract extension with McLaren kind of one ups Hamilton’s existing agreement so negotiations for next year could be interesting since McLaren has done nothing for 2 years now except fuck up his chances at a second title with bad pit decisions.

On the other hand McLaren has the second fastest car on the track and he likes to win and is unlikely to score a Red Bull ride.

About that championship, Vettel would have to park for the rest of the season to lose it and it’s highly likely that if he scores any points at all he’ll clinch this weekend and it will officially become The Race For Second Place.

Surprises (if any) below.

Sep 25 2011

F1: Singapore

I’m tired of tires, but there’s nothing much else to write about unless you’re willing to join in the premature Vettel celebration.

While Hamilton blames a fueling problem for his unexpected absence from the last laps of Q3, others speculate it was due to his blow out at the end of Q2 which frosted a complete set of Super Softs leaving him with just one new and his qualifying tires.  Other drivers are defensive of the tire saving practices which have parked teams and sucked out the drama.

At Singapore you have to hope for the unexpected like rain or wrecks because the track itself is among the most impossible and boring on the circuit.  Next year is the last in the contract and it may get moved or dropped.  As I noted yesterday it has a history of that so maybe there’s a chance of something interesting happening.

Other than that it is completely…

Well, dictable I guess.  You have only to look at the Starting Grid in the pretty tables below.

Speed coverage starts at 7:30 am.  Repeat at 3 pm.

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