June 30, 2016

Epic Rally Fail

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Sometime we all need a laugh, right?

I have no details about this clip, other than the obvious,  but it kind of made my day.  


June 28, 2016

#Poopxit: How scary was the Nurburgring last week end?

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The BMW 235i Racing  is a fairly benign race car, designed for durability and ease of use.

The Nurburgring however is anything but.

On our first trip there, many years ago, CG and I were stunned at the complete lack of grip in the moderate rain falling on that day.    Sure, we probably had old tires on a somewhat unfriendly car (a 360 Modena)  but,  even at first timer's cautious speeds,  the 'Ring made Connecticut's notoriously slippery "Slime Rock"  seem sticky.

Imagine then a complete deluge for a full VLN race.   Imagine that when spray is not making obscuring every detail, your windshield will randomly fog up.... or a combination of the two.... plus violent aquaplaning....and random slow cars appearing in front of you.

Yeah  #Poopxit.

CG completed VLN4, I'm still waiting for his videos but here's one from our friend Gabriele Piana, also a competitor that day,  which will give you the idea of what "just another summer day in the Eiffel" can look like.

June 26, 2016

You're in good hands with Jean Todt

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One of the decisions out of the latest FIA World Motor Sport Council  was to extend a 2 point bonus to Super License holders (which now required for Formula E and V8 Supercar) if the drivers complete a season without any point penalty.

With apologies to Dennis Haysbert,

Other decisions include the exploration of FIA sanctioned Formula Drift Events, easier Historic Car technical certifications,  Safer Formula 3 and faster LMP1 private team, non hybrid cars.

Details available here

June 20, 2016

Baku, Moans and Groans.

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(photo : Ferrari)

Who would have thought that a track which produced the highest ever speed for a Formula 1 car,  378 kmh (234.8 mph) followed by a braking zone into a tight 90 degree turn flanked by concrete barriers would produce a dull race with no accidents or safety cars?

That was the biggest surprise of the inaugural European GP in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Street tracks usually result in either dull processions or giant clusterf...s.  Baku promised a yet untried variant for F1,  a Macau for big boys,  with cars trimmed as much as teams dared having to scrub  170 mph or so into turn 1

As Vettel put it after the race, it's a track that requires proper "equipment" yet the race was as short on spectacle as it was on spectators.

(Photo: Mercedes AMG Petronas)

In reality,  the most necessary equipment was a Mercedes power unit.   It is obvious on this track how much Mercedes has been cautious in the past in deploying its full power potential.  It certainly seems like the Germans have a vast reserve to call upon whenever another team gets too close.  On a track with a two plus kilometer straight, Ferrari and Renault powered cars had little hope, the Silver Arrows could only beat themselves.

Which they partly managed to do in Baku.  

We get attacked by the Hamfosi any time we dare say anything about the spiritual heir of Ali and Senna ,  suffice it to say, he had a doozy of a week end, starting with him calling other drivers "moaners" on Friday and ending with him complaining about the new radio restrictions.   We'll leave it at that.

I would recommend you read the editorial on Formula1blog.com.  Eloquently put.

On the subject of press coverage:  After Canada, Ferrari got creamed for "blowing a sure victory"  this was both in the international media and in particular with the often bloodthirsty Italian press.     In reality, it's not at all certain Vettel would have been able to keep Hamilton behind in Montreal.  
But everyone is Ross Brawn on Monday.

In Baku, Red Bull made the same "error" but ended up with a much worse result.   Will they get the same thrashing?    Maybe in the Australian press.

(photo: Getty/Red Bull)

Ferrari actually had a fairly good week end, Vettel second,  Raikkonen fourth despite a two stop strategy and a questionable penalty.

It's an interesting stat that as of the start of the  European phase of the championship, Vettel has scored 63 points, Hamilton 60 and Rosberg 41.

Chances are the fat lady will sing Wagner or God Save the Queen but, she has not sung yet.

(photo : Ferrari)

June 14, 2016

The Exciting Sounds of Le Mans

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In the age of instant everything it's hard to imagine experiencing the 24 Heures du Mans  on a vinyl LP  yet,  in 1967 that was as close as an enthusiast could get get without traveling to northern France.

Published by Decca/ London Records and chronicles the sounds and atmosphere of the 1966 edition of the endurance classic.    Copies of the LP occasionally pop up at auction

The 84th edition of the 24 hours of Le Mans will take place this week end and will be broadcast and streamed in real time to the whole planet but take a moment to travel back to another, simpler time.

"The Mulsanne Straight at night - In the distance a 7-Litre Ford prototype is heard at 210 miles an hour. As it roars past on its way to the sharp right-hander at Mulsanne Village another is heard hurtling up from the left and slowing down for the turn. In their wake the pack follows: the fiery red Ferraris of Italy, the long-tailed Porsches from Germany, the vivid blue Alpines from France. As the cars from eight countries devour the night, the commentary sets the scene for this greatest race of all."

"The preparation - At the beginning of the week cars and mechanics arrive in Le Mans and settle into the host of garages scattered around the ancient city. Favourites to win the race outright are Ferrari - lurking in the former municipal slaughter-house - and Ford, who have set up a sort of miniature racing car factory in the big Peugeot garage on the outskirts. Will Ford be the first American car to win the race? After 34 years, in which Britain, France, Italy and Germany have shared the spoils, and the United States has tried so hard with her Stutz, her Chrysler and her Cunningham, at least it seems possible for Ford to take the outright prize across the Atlantic. Carroll Shelby, entrant of three of the Fords, and himself a former winning driver in 1959 at the wheel of an Aston Martin, is optimistic as he talks in the garage."

June 12, 2016

Seagulls and poop: The 2016 Canadian GP

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Hamilton drove like a champ, Vettel drove like a champ.

People will criticize Ferrari but everyone is a genius afterwards.  I'm not sure the Ferrari would have been a match for the Mercedes, not with those long DRS zones, so it was correct to gamble,

Rosberg is in contract negotiation and once again Hamilton made him his dog.  I guess he will never learn.

Max Verstappen destroyed Ricciardo today and his defense against Rosberg is just preview of things to come from the Dutchman.

That's about all there is to say about the Canadian GP,  much more entertaining was the Hamilton Vettel comedy show after the race,  the main topic?   Seagulls!

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