July 23, 2014

2014 German GP Executive Summary

Hamilton Locking up into Raikkonen.

The German GP gave us some pretty exciting racing but why is it that people are not so excited about F1 this year?

Part of it is the Mercedes domination, when Ferrari dominated, when Mclaren dominated or Williams, it was different. I guess Mercedes is not warm and fuzzy in any way, it's hard to cheer for the teutonic giant.
Turns out not even Germans are that excited and the GP at Hockenheim had fairly low spectator turnout. 50 some thousand vs the 200 some thousand who crowded the Austrian GP.

Of course the Austrian GP was subsidized by Red Bull and tickets were uniformly inexpensive, and order of magnitude less expensive than any other race... Hint, hint F1.

Like at the Red Bull Ring though, there is something about Hockenheim which makes for good racing. Both are simple layouts with not too many corners and some slow turns.
Slow turns are a feature of Tilke tracks but simple certainly is not. One could argue Tilke tracks started with good intentions but became too clever for their (and the sport's) own good.

Perhaps F1 has done the same.

Massa flipped
Full marks for having one Mercedes start from the back, At least Hamilton had a good time slicing though the field as you would expect with a car capable of finishing 20 seconds ahead of P2. Lewis was lucky to escape a penalty for barging into Raikkonen and compromising his race somewhat.

His issue with Button was more of a 50/50 thing, Button left a hole so you can't blame Hamilton for going for it. In any case, hats off to Hamilton for putting on a good show.

Ricciardo, Alonso and Bottas were the true stars of the race. Ricciardo was, as even Fernando said, amazing. His move on Button was textbook, I can't believe a world champion fell for that dummy. His fight with Alonso in the end, what we all wish F1 would be but in a fight for at least the podium.

Alonso as usual was able to get more out of, in Niki Lauda's words, "a shit car" than anyone else can. It's very interesting how F1 drivers have come to modify their lines to get the most traction out of their tires in slow corners. Reminiscent of Moto GP riders where try to lift their bikes as soon as possible, the cleverest drivers are avoiding a traditional line to minimize the time spent turning and squaring off the corners as much as possible. Alonso,Vettel, Bottas, all very adept at that trick.

Bottas was able to hold Hamilton at bay for many laps with that way. We will hear much more from the Finn in coming years.

July 20, 2014

James Garner 1928-2014


A great movie career, for us he will always be Pete Aron but also a great life in Motorsport.

Garner entered the Baja 1000 in a 1970 Cutlass 422

Garner was team owner of American International Racing which scored a second place at the 1969 24 Hours of Daytona in a Lola T70 MkIII with Lothar Motschenbacher  and Ed Leslie.

You can read a nice remembrance of that race by our old friend James Galanos (a.k.a. Nigel Smukatelli)  HERE

July 17, 2014

No Cup for you!


FIFA have succeeded in the impossible: making F1 rights management seem warm and fuzzy.

Nico Rosberg had a special helmet made celebrating Germany's win in the world cup last week.  He was going to wear it this week end at the German Grand Prix.  

Rosberg management received a letter from FIFA warning the helmet was in violation of copyright because it depicted the World Cup trophy.  

A quick search of Amazon shows you can purchase replicas for as little as $3.95 but the sticker on top of Nico's head was apparently too much for FIFA and the design had to be changed, the cup replaced by stars.  Those are still copyright free apparently.

Rosberg's team should send FIFA a bill for the extra  exposure the cup has gotten in the last week.

July 15, 2014

A former F1 doctor speaks.


Gary Hartstein, the badass, cigar smoking doctor who was Formula One's Medical Delegate from 2005 to 2012,  has been very much  in the public eye in the first half of this year because of his frank, sometimes brutal, comments about Michael Schumacher's medical outlook after his skiing accident.

His articles on the subject were a respite from the tidal wave of non scientific drivel and misinformation printed about Schumacher and head injuries in both the mainstream media and in the tabloids.

Hartstein eventually got a quite a bit of flack for it, very unfairly in our opinion, mostly from those for whom the grim reality of scientific data did not fit a wish of a happy ending scenario for the German champion.

The Doc finally became fed up of being misquoted and stopped discussing it.  But all that needed to be said, was.

This interview, part of the same ShakeFree series as the Derek Warwick clip you saw recently, was shot before that all happened.

Along with remembrances of Professor Watkins and speculations about what led to his dismissal by Jean Todt,  there is a section where Hartstein talks about how F1, thanks to the application of scientific method has, since 1994, become very low on the list of dangerous sports.
No small irony ironic that one of its greatest champions, after twenty years in the sport,  was so injured in a mundane activity.

Hartstein also makes the point that safety is never perfect and that while top tear single seater racing in now very safe, the greatest dangers lie in the minor formulas,  semi pro, amateur and club racing.    

We wonder if the doctor might be interested in the work of the Motorsport Safety Foundation,  there is much more room for safety improvements and big returns on investments at the bottom end of the sport.

So light up a stogie and listen to this  Former F1 Doc

(thanks to Mario Muth and ShakeFree)

Sexy Beast: The only original Ferrari P4 on track.

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Nobody can touch Petrolicious for video productions, they are now the cream of the crop. Want proof? This piece about the only all original 1967 Ferrari P4.

This unique masterpiece is owned by Lawrence Stroll, a Canadian Ferrari collector with a long connection to Maranello, Tommy Hilfiger, one of Stroll's companies, used to be an official sponsor of the Scuderia. His son Lance (16) has been part of the Ferrari Academy for a few years now and making his way up the development ladder.

A beautiful car, tastefully shot.  Nick Longhi is a very lucky gentleman!

Inside a 1974 Porsche RSR at Le Mans

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Leh Keen driving the WeatherTech 1974 Porsche RSR at the 2014 Le Mans Classic.

Looks like a pretty tight squeeze for Leh  but you sit back, relax and, as they say, enjoy the show.  Don't forget to turn the volume up to 11.

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