November 22, 2014

Red Bull Busted....but.


Vettel and Ricciardo will have to start from the back after Red Bull had their qualifying results wiped for having a front wing that did not pass the FIA deflection test.

The team issued a statement to the effect that they accept the penalty but wonder why them.
Following the decision of the Stewards regarding the front wings on both our cars (Car 1 and Car 3), we are disappointed that we have been singled out for a front wing deflection test when it is clear that other teams are interpreting the rules in a similar fashion. 
The team accepts the decision of the Stewards and will start the race from the back of the grid
You'll understand where Red Bull is coming from when you see this clip of the Williams front wing from FP2.

Have a look at the double element visible between the bottom plank and the top left higher winglets.  It flexes multiple inches under load.

I am the decider!

Tomorrow's race might just be a boring fizzle:  Rosberg could easily win and Hamilton settle for second and take home the Championship.   Double Yawn.

But funny things happen on the way to a Championship,  Hamilton has already won it, deservedly so, but he's also in the unenviable position to let it slip through his fingers.

Pass the popcorn, maybe Felipe Massa will pass Hamilton for second on the final corner on Sunday.

Our friend Raphael Orlove asked about famous title deciders past so here is a primer courtesy the BBC and the Murray Walker

November 21, 2014

Alonso's silence explained


Where will Alonso go in 2015?

That has been the soap opera for the second half of the season.  People are down on Fernando for keeping mum but there is a very simple explanation:  Lewis Hamilton.

When things were not going his way this past summer, Hamilton started making noises about his contract renewal with Mercedes.  Mercedes, not wanting to lose their marquee driver came down hard on Nico after the Spa contact.   Nico did not recover until the penultimate race of the season in Brazil.  Score one for couch man Hamilton, tactic must have worked.

Now as the season finale looms, Hamilton is still keeping the contract renewal over Mercedes's head. If he wins on Sunday he will renew with the additional leverage of a two time world champion.  Should he lose, he will not stand around the Mercedes garage as Rosberg's sidekick and sign with Mclaren. Pressure's on Mercedes to avoid a DNF,  a DNF in the final race of 2012  marked the end of his Mclaren days.

That will free up a spot for Alonso at Mercedes and, as he himself said many times, it will be obvious why he waited.

November 20, 2014

Bye Fred, Seb in Red

Ferrari officially confirm 2015 driver lineup.

Vettel drove a classic Ferrari at the red Bull Ring this past summer

It's the official start of a new cycle for the Scuderia with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.  That Vettel was a long term, post Alonso target for Ferrari was something that had been whispered for quite some time but nobody thought it would happen in 2015.

There is yet to be an official announcement for Alonso's future.

Maranello, 20 November 2014 – Scuderia Ferrari announces that it has reached an agreement of three years duration with Sebastian Vettel, who will drive for the team as from the 2015 season.

The driver line-up next season will consist of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.

“Scuderia Ferrari has decided to put its faith in the youngest multiple champion in the history of Formula 1” – commented Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal, Marco Mattiacci. “In Formula 1 terms, Sebastian Vettel is a unique combination of youthfulness and experience and he brings with him that sense of team spirit which will prove invaluable when, together with Kimi, they tackle the challenges awaiting us, as we aim to be front runners again as soon as possible. With Sebastian, we all share a thirst for victory as well as enthusiasm, a strong work ethic and tenacity; key elements for all the Scuderia members to write a new chapter in the history of Ferrari.”

“The next stage of my Formula 1 career will be spent with Scuderia Ferrari and for me that means the dream of a lifetime has come true,” said Sebastian Vettel. “When I was a kid, Michael Schumacher in the red car was my greatest idol and now it’s an incredible honour to finally get the chance to drive a Ferrari. I already got a small taste of what the Ferrari spirit means, when I took my first win at Monza in 2008, with an engine from the Prancing Horse built in Maranello. The Scuderia has a great tradition in this sport and I am extremely motivated to help the team get back to the top. I will put my heart and soul into making it happen.”

November 18, 2014

Rosberg crowned champion at the last race.

Winning a world championship at the last race could become a Rosberg family tradition.

It was Kimi Raikkonen who, at the beginning of the season, said  about double points: "it doesn't matter, it's the same for everybody".  But will it matter this week end in Abu Dhabi?

If Nico Rosberg wins the title, not only will it drive Hamilton fans livid with rage but will make the FinnGerman polyglot only the second son of an F1 champion to become champion himself, after Damon Hill.

In 1982, the epically mustachioed Keke Rosberg won the championship in the final race by finishing fifth after having won only one race the whole season.     One win may sound bad but, again in parallel to this year, it represented half the number of victories scored by rivals Didier Pironi and John Watson.

It was also a year marked by an astounding number of retirements: 152 retirements between the 26 point scoring drivers (because I got tired of counting),  over 16 races.

By contrast this year there have been 72 retirements among all 22 drivers over 18 races.  But it's the last possible DNF that might be the key.    If that happens to one of the two Mercedes on Sunday, double points will have made no difference *.

*unless the DNF hits Hamilton and Rosberg finished lower than 5th.

November 17, 2014

Open Letter to Ken Block 7


We first issued this about two years ago.  Just saw Gymkhana 7, liked it but we feel we must issue this once more.

Dear Ken

Your Gymakana videos are some of the most awesome automotive footage ever filmed and what you have accomplished in terms of exposing hundreds of millions to... well, hooning, is beyond description.

But let's face it,  as fantastic as your videos have been, they are a variation on the same theme: awesomely produced shots of a monster 4WD rally car dodging assorted obstacles on a closed course.

As you are certainly planning future hooning excellence, let us humbly propose a new challenge for you:

Axis will gladly provide a polo shirt, white socks and loafers for you to properly recreate what is possibly the one video that got us all started thinking sideways:  Stefan Roser's classic RUF Yellowbird run at the Nürburgring.

Picture it,  Schwedenkreuz sideways at 140 this time in glorious multi camera HD. Maybe you could throw in a loop around a biker!

I know you have a deal with Ford, I know you have your own line of shoes and clothes but you're Ken Block, you can do anything you want at this point, will you not find a way make the most rabid of your fans happy?

Axis of Oversteer

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