Saturday, September 10, 2011

F1-Geeks Armchair Team Principal - Spa (Belgian Grand Prix Post Race Recap)

With the Italian race looming on the horizon, it's time we looked back at Spa. 

Spa.  People, let me tell you, this track makes the heart pound.   Shaped like some Klingon mating implement, the elevation changes, twists and corners make this a wonderful course.  I look forward all year to a few specific corners.  Spa contains one of them.  Did the track live up to my own personal hype?  Did Eau Rouge provide the drama we all crave?  Let's find out.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

F1-Geeks Armchair Team Principal - The Hungaroring(Hungary Grand Prix Post Race Recap)

Welcome back faithful reader!  When F1 took a break this year we retreated into our Sensory Deprivation tanks and began the long and somewhat painful recharging process.   This season has been full, chock full, of excitement and quality racing.  When you last left us we were all eyeing Hungary hungrily. 

Thrown together in 8 months and first raced by F1 in 1986 while Hungary was still Communist, the Hungaroring was not the first major race track in Hungary.  There was one prior race in 1936 that was very successful and included Ferrari and Mercedes Benz.  Were it not for Hitler, the Hungaroring might have been on the first F1 Calendar.  How did this famously dusty circuit work with the new rules and tires?  Let's dive in.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

F1-Geeks Armchair Team Principal - Großer Preis von Deutschland (German Grand Prix Post Race Recap)

Added in the second year of the Formula One Championship, the German Grand Prix is interesting to me as its location alternates every year.  It was called the European, Luxemberg, and German Grand Prix but for me it doesn't really count unless it is at the Nürburgring.  I will wistfully contemplate what it would be like to hold the race on the old 14 mile configuration.  Certainly a bit of romance about that.

There was a lot of conjecture about why Vettel was not on Pole for the first time in 15 races.   Did he set his car up for optimum performance in the rain?   This would mean his performance would suffer in Qualifying.   Very confident move if that's the case.  Did it work out?  Was it worth the risk?  Will Webber repeat last year's win in Germany?  Lets find out.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Look At The Big Brain on Luca

So this weekend the FIA decided that they couldn't really penalize RedBull Racing without looking like complete asses hurting others and sacrificing consistency so they've gone back to the drawing board, scrapping all of the ridiculous blown diffuser rules.  Word has it that Jules Winnfield was sent to retrieve an attache case that contains something that belongs to the FIA.

Disgusting really.  We'll see if this affects the excitement of the race.

If you don't understand the reference, see the video after the jump for a hint.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

You Tell Me - Rockin' Mike

What the hell, dear reader, is going on here?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How Did I Miss This - Batmobile at SIlverstone

Dear Reader, there are times when crazy geek or F1 things happen and somehow, we here at F1-Geeks are unaware of them.   When I find them, I'm going to assume that some of you may not have been aware of them either.   Here's our first entry in what will probably become a recurring series of entries titled:  "How Did I Miss This?"

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

F1-Geeks Armchair Team Principal Silverstone (Britian Post Race Recap)

1949 version of Silverstone

 This classic course, steeped in history, received a revamp last year and this year brought even more changes.  The original version looks scary fast with corners just asking to be over-driven.  Move the start-finish line, renumber the corners and build a new pit complex, and you've got a pretty good chance of shutting Bernie up about how old and outdated Silverstone is.   After the European race two weeks ago I was concerned all of our exciting races were over with.  Were my fears unfounded?  Let's jump in...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

71 Years Ago His Mom Made It So

No self respecting geek site would deserve the "geek" reference without wishing a Happy Birthday to Patrick Stewart.  Not only did he play a Star Trek captain well enough to win over tons of skeptical fans with one of the first ever "reboots" of a well known series, he's managed to maintain a wide ranging career despite nearly reaching icon status for his portrayal of Captain Picard.   Regardless of anything else he's done my two favorites are of course the serious Captain and Stan Smith's boss, Avery Bullock. 

Happy Birthday Mr. Stewart.

A DIY Nikon-Compatible Shutter Release

While the video doesn't go into a lot of detail about the construction you can rewind it to see how it was put together.  You could probobably put this together in an afternoon.

In all seriousness, what starts out as a pretty cool thing becomes more amazing as it goes on.  Bonus points for creative use of Compact Flash.  Worth watching the whole thing.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

We Just Need To Use "Really" More Often

Check this out.

Yes, this is our "Wordle".  What does it tell you?  Just look at it?  Doesn't it just lay it out just right for just anyone to analyze?

Yeah... we've got to stop using that word...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Blown Diffuser Rules Blow

I've always been a fan of the regulation changes that happen in the off season.  I really liked seeing how things changed and how the teams were going to respond to the changes.  Even those changes seemed to have a hint of intending to slow down a particular team but that was always just hinted.   It did affect everyone.

Mid season changes are offensive.

Particularly when there is no attempt to hide their intent is to slow a particular team.  I don't recall these types of changes being offered up when Shumacher was racking up his seven world championships.  I may be suffering from selective memory, but I'm sure it was never this blatant.

The point of trying to create the best racing combination you can is to, well, create the best racing combination possible.  RedBull's design falls within the rules and their dominance is good for the sport.  I'll have to post that later.  

I know some of you are going to say that I'm just mad because I'm a RedBull fanboy and that I would love it if they penalized Ferrari.  First, I would love it, but it would still be wrong and I'd still be offended by it.  Second, Ferrari is already penalized.  Have you seen

Will Buxton made a comment about the active suspension ban that happened after Williams won the championship with it.   The difference is that happened during the off season.  The rules makers realized the team had put together a winning package and the other teams were trying to catch up.   It was a reasonable (if, as the cynics claim, false) excuse that they needed to slow all the cars down.

Some might argue that the limited testing allowed makes it impossible for the other teams to catch up within a season.  I'll concede that.  The answer would be to allow testing any time during a race weekend, not to change the rules mid season that stifles innovation and penalizes anyone who isn't Ferrari.

You think I've got it wrong?  Comment.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Yes, We Know...

The three of you who read this blog may have been considering lettings us know that our recap of the European race is missing.  Please refer to the title of this post.  We just aren't going to talk about this race.  It wasn't intentional but things get in the way and sometimes these things happen.

Look... There wasn't anything wrong with this race.  We're just not going to talk about it.  Two DRS zones, perfect weather, regulation changes and excellent driving made for a pretty good race.   If this race took place last year it would have been a very exciting race.  The bar has been set so high this year that this race was just in the acceptable zone.  There were good fights and great pit stop action.  It just didn't really inspire us to comment on it.

I would have liked to see Alonso win this one because I like those moments of unbridled joy the fans get when something like that happens but I'm really not going to talk about that.  If I were, I'd probably also add that it was still OK though because 2nd would still be satisfying enough for the fans to have a good week.   And I am really not going to spend time talking about how short the pit stops were this time even though they were very short and it was pretty damn cool.

If I were going to talk about my favorite quote of the race, it would have to be from Hamilton when McLaren told him that his rear tires were heating up and he responded with "I can't go any slower".  Which was a very polite way of saying, "This is your problem.  Why don't you just put a bomb underneath my seat that will detonate if I finish in the points."   Then on lap 41 the engineers tell him "Hey pick it up a bit, will ya?" and another typically British polite response, "This is as fast as I can go."  Which is a very polite way of saying, "I hate you guys, I hate it here, my bum hurts."

If I were commenting on the race, I'd mention how the fight between places 12, 13, 14, and 15 were more exciting than the race up front.  Finally, I would probably talk about how Vettel won the race, with fastest lap and pole position, but it's just not worth typing it out.

I'll check with Tim to see if there anything he's not interested commenting on.  If there is, we might mention it.

Tim's Take:

In many ways I too don't want to talk about this race, but I will anyway.  Many of you will likely wish I'd just followed Fred's lead.

Two weeks prior to the European Grand Prix, was perhaps one of the best Formula 1 races witnessed by man.  OK, maybe the Canadian GP wasn't one of the best of all time, but it was certainly one of the best this season; indeed one of the best in recent memory.  This season, races have just gotten better and better.  So my hopes were high when the weekend approached with the European GP on the agenda.  After all, last years European GP we saw Hamilton pass a safety car (what were you thinking man?!), Alonso get pissed about the late penalty Lewis got for it (and rightly so), Kovalainen do his best impersonation of a ramp at a monster truck meet, and Webber accepting Heikki's challenge and try to kiss the sky, apparently having listened a few too many times to his Jimmy Hendrix CD. 

Now, I confess, I'm not a big fan of this track.  With the exception of the last corner, which from appearances is very hard to get just right, there are no real memorable corners and no elevation changes. There's not even any interesting scenery around or near the track.  There is that swing bridge smack-dab in the middle of the course that's supposed to move in a very interesting way, but as the drivers are using it to cross over some water, it remains stationary and doesn't really get to show off it's best feature. 

Qualifying got underway, and it was the usual suspects dropping out at Q1.  Q2 got underway and not much happened there that was note worthy, with the exception of Pastor Maldonado setting a time that seemed crazy fast for his Williams car.  Having had a fairly spotty record this season, I had high hopes for him and the team.  Sadly, in Q3 he had some sort of mechanical problem out on track before he ever got a time in, stalling on track and putting him right in harms way.  The Red flag came out while they cleared the track.  That was the most exciting thing that happened, and even that was kind of boring.  Q3 resumed with - you're going to be totally shocked by this - Vettel setting the fastest lap.  I know!  I was shocked too.  In a move that sort of perfectly expressed the boring routine nature of this qualifying session, two of the drivers decided that they weren't even going to come out!  Nope, it just wasn't worth their time.  "Ef it!  We're going to go soak in the pool." So instead of 10 drivers vying for pole there were only 7 (after Pastor retired).  And let's be honest, they were all really trying for 2nd, as it was a foregone conclusion who was going to get pole.

The race started with the race to the first corner and Massa making an absolutely crazy mad dash from his 5th starting position right up past Alonso and Hamilton.  How he got his Ferrari up there so quickly and clean I don't know, but it was cool. But his lead over Alonso didn't last as Fernando passed him in two corners later.  Vitaly Petrov had a particularly lousy start as he left his car in 2nd gear.  When the lights went out, he lurched forward before realizing what had happened.  It wasn't a full second before he dropped it to 1st and was accelerating like hell, but 4 cars managed to pass him in the first 3 seconds of the race.  It's amazing how a small lapse of concentration can cost so much.

From that point on, from the third corner of the first lap, it was simply a procession to the finish.  Nothing of interest happened.  Ok, the fight between Alonso and Webber for 2nd was interesting with the position changing 4 times through out the race, but that's it.  Their were a few little tidbits in the back of the pack, here and there, but by-enlarge, nothing happened.  Any NASCAR fan watching this race because their F1 buddy told them how great F1 is, would have found almost nothing in this race entertaining.  Hell I'm a huge F1 fan and I found almost none of it entertaining.

In the end, Vettel won, followed by Alonso and then Webber blah blah blah...  There was one noteworthy finish, and that was Jaime Alguersuari, coming from 18th and finishing 8th for 4 points in the championship race.  I'm sure the Spanish crowd loved that.  And with Alonso coming second, they probably saw the race very differently from me.  At any rate, congrats to Jaime!

What is interesting is the changes that are a-comin'.  At the next race, gone are the blown diffusers!  How is that going to shake the apple cart?  People are speculating that the Red Bulls are going to lose a lot of their down force along with their competitive edge.  Of course all the teams are going to suffer, so perhaps the hobbling will be rather uniform throughout the grid.  All I know is I can't wait for Silverstone to find out, and to wash this bad taste out of my mouth.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

F1-Geeks Armchair Team Principal Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (Canada Post Race Recap)

Ah, Canada. (or Oh Canada depending on your latitude).  My first non-US venue and the first place I actually understood how quickly an F1 car can change direction.  Named after world champion Jacque Villeneuve's father, the course has some of the best coverage and is so popular it's actually broadcast in the US on a major network.  According to to the Internets, it's one of the most popular sporting events in the world.    Did this year's event measure up to the hype?   As we look forward to Valencia this weekend, let's take a look at the most recent F1 spectacle...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Austin is on the Schedule for 2112

This bit of news excites us to no end.  It's not as if there was ever really any doubt that it would happen, but Formula 1 is coming to the US in 2112 at the brand new track in Austin Texas, the Circuit of The Americas.  June 17th is the big day and Fred and I are setting our sites on being there to witness the track's inaugural GP.

I was expecting that the FIA would trim a different race off the schedule to make room for the US GP, and we all feared Turkey was the circuit with it's head on the proverbial chopping block.  But according to the press release, there will be 21 races next year, and Turkey is on the list, though there is a troublesome asterisk near it's name.  Of course with the upheaval in the Arab world, with people fed up with and demonstrating against their governments, at least two of those races are could vanish off the schedule just like Bahrain did this year. 

Though still under construction I have no doubt that the Circuit of The Americas track will be done well before the June 17th race.  No chance they're going to need to pull off what South Korea did last year, finishing track the week of the race.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

F1-Geeks Armchair Team Principal Grand Prix de Monaco (Monaco Post Race Recap)

Monaco.  The crown jewel.  The prestige.  The glamour.  The barriers.  Property, cars, scenery, activities and women you can't afford.  Monaco tends to be somewhat of a letdown most of the time.  It's classy and entertaining but rarely an exciting race.   How did this year shape up?  Your humble geeks break it down.

Friday, May 27, 2011

F1-Geeks Armchair Team Principal Gran Premio de España (Spain Post Race Recap)

Moved to the Circuit de Catalunya in 1991, this Formula One event is usually not usual.  While the weather is usually good, the wind, regulation changes, and temperature changes can lead to a surprising qualifying which can lead to a surprising race .  Unsurprisingly, this year's event had some surprises.   Let's jump in.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Infiniti Supercar... And Don't Call Me Shirley

While Tim isn't going to give a rat's behind about this news, your humble author is digging it. 

The entire 3.2 of you who read this blog know that my wife and I drive Infiniti vehicles and while they are pretty damn zippy, we've got no illusions about their supercar status.  

Well it would appear that someone told Christian Horner that Mercedes "rox" and he "sux" because he got a little fussy about how the Mercedes/McLaren F1 contingent made some production supercars:   "There's no reason not to be involved. We have proved that Red Bull can take on the likes of Mercedes in F1 despite their heritage and a natural evolution of that would be to use our expertise we have in [developing] road cars."

Apparently the Infiniti logo on the RedBull Racing cars was more than just advertising.  A long term trajectory

Damn skippy...

From the good folks at What Car?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

F1-Geeks Armchair Team Principal Istanbul Park (Turkey Post Race Recap)

Turkey.  We will call it The Nexus from now on as this is where and when all of the F1 machinations combined to produce an incredible race.  It is rumored that this is Bernie's favorite track.  Perhaps that will factor into his keeping it around.

A wide modern track that is technically challenging and unique for more than just the location.  The Istanbul Racing Circuit runs counter-clockwise over it's 3.3 mile length and hosts several events including our beloved Formula One. 

Let's see how the event unfolded for your beloved (but humble) F1-Geeks.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

One Serious Hobbiest

How a 28 year old comes up with the cash and the time to pull this off is, quite frankly, something I have a difficult time conceiving.  But I'm sure glad he did. 

Nick Risinger traveled through different parts of the world with some very expensive camera equipment, and no doubt telescopes, shooting pictures of the night sky.  The goal was to take a high definition photo of the entire night sky. This may be one of the coolest things I've seen, and it's been done so well I had to share it with you all. 

All the details are here.  37,000 photos all stitched together!  My god man!  It really is a thing of beauty.  Make sure you select and play with the overlay.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

PlayStation Network Blues

As most of you are aware, the Sony PlayStation Network was compromised last week.  The story has been all over the interwebs ever since.  Sony has been pretty hushed about the affair, at least until yesterday.  I, and every other PlayStation Network subscriber, received an email detailing what Sony believe was taken by the intruders.  Here's the list:
  • Name
  • Address (including City, State, Zip, Country)
  • Date of Birth
  • User name
  • Password
  • Email address
  • Your security questions and answers
  • Oh, and let's not forget credit card data

At this point, Sony is saying they don't believe the intruders were able obtain the CC's expiration date and security code, but with such an extensive amount of data lost, it seems stupid to plan for anything but that.

For now, Sony is recommending that if you've used the same user name and password for anything else, anywhere else on the internet, that you immediately change that password on those sites.  They're also recommending that you contact one of the credit bureaus and place a "fraud alert" on your account.  This will cause any business to take extra steps when anyone attempts to gain credit using your information.  Although, a personal friend of mine has done this due to a prior compromise to his personal data, and he explained that what extra steps are taken are completely up to the discretion of the business that's requested the credit information.  Meaning they may be vigilant, or they may do nothing.  They are not required to do anything at all.

Experts have encouraged us for years to shred our discarded documents and not hand out our Social Security Number's to just anyone in order to protect our identity's.  While that's important, I've always maintained that the real threat comes from the poor security implementations at the companies we do business with. This is the second time in a month my personal data has been lost by a corporation due to their incompetence.  Big ones you'd expect to have their shit together!  In the first instance it was my bank that notified me, but they weren't the ones that lost it.  Apparently they like to store my data on another firms computers, and they lost my data!

What's our recourse, what can we do about it?  Pretty much, not a damned thing.  Other than now having the increased burden of personally enacting even tighter vigilance to protect our financial well being, there's nothing we can do.  Because of some company's bumbling IT Security squad, the onus is on us to take even more steps to protect ourselves.  But what's really frustrating is that there's nothing we can do to prevent this in the future.  At least right now, there's no other alternative.  If you want to do business with some company, you must provide your personal information to them and trust that Cletus, head of security, knows what the hell he's doing and is going to keep your data safe.  Well, he'll get to it as soon as he gets back from the crawdad hole.

Fred's Take
First, I'm uncomfortable with the onus.  I particularly don't like to have onus anywhere around me and I DO NOT like it on me.   Tim is right that there's nothing we can really do about our personal data but our data is unchanging and out there anyway.   Ever rent an apartment?  Well your social security number is sitting in someone's filing cabinet.   You think the rathole places you rented from when you were young properly shredded those files?   You think that cabbie who's credit card machine stopped working is going to properly handle the imprints of your card and the info on the back?  You think someone isn't going to run up to your mailbox and grab out a couple of your credit card bills?   Lots of info on those.

All that stuff is already out there.  Our security has come down to how secure the login process is on our accounts.  People are going to attempt to open up fraudulent accounts no matter what.   What we need to do is protect the existing accounts.    Now I could go on and on about not using your daughter's birthday as the password to your bank account.  (And no, adding your penis size to that number doesn't make you more secure, it just makes your H1 purchase a little easier for us to understand).

There are plenty of tools out there but I'm going to reccomend Roboform because it works and I've used it for years.  Spend a couple of extra bucks and get Roboform Everywhere.  You can use this on all your devices and all your accounts follow you around.   Make one long-ass hard password that has different birthdays and special characters and maybe your favorite physics formula, throw in a couple of children's names, some movie trivia (then add your penis size) and now you've got a good secure master password.

Now just use the tool to auto generate long random-ass passwords that are different for every site.  If one gets hacked, the rest are still secure.  I don't know what any of my passwords are now.  I don't have to.  I have one that I remember and rest takes care of itself.  We get no money from these guys.  (Not because of some integrity thing but because we don't know how to work that angle.)  All kidding aside, this is a solid tool, works well and makes it easy to have ultra secure passwords unique for every site.  It's 10 bucks a year people.  If you can't afford that, you may want to consider the possibility that you may not be high on the hacker's list anyway and that subscription to the PS3 store may be a little beyond your means right now.

Just sayin...

F1-Geeks Armchair Team Principal (Shanghai Post Race Recap)

Busy Busy Busy.   Such is life and so went the Shanghai race.   There was a lot going on.  As there was no break between races this time we'll talk through the track while we talk about the race.  This track is fun to race on and I imagine it's a favorite of the drivers as well. 

F1-Fun Fact:  Since the track was built on swampland, the engineers decided it would be a good idea to increase it's buoyancy by building it on top of styrofoam.  That's right, about as much stryofoam as China can produce in a year is sitting under that track.  Take that planet huggers.  Not only is F1 responsible for preventing a couple of billion styrofoam cups from being released to coffee stations around the world, they've blanketed a section of our planet in a nice cozy thermally protective cover.  That we race on.

"You double-dare me to go out on Primes?  You're on, pal!"
 Some surprises in qualifying had Webber not make it out of the first session. Not terribly disappointing but a drag for RBR.(1)  Not sure why he went out on the hard tires because there are a lot of places where the grip of fresh tires would be nice to have when you are trying to put together a single good lap.  

Turn 1 is a little tricky but you just turn in early and you'll be fine as long as you don't weave back and forth like a drunken lunatic trying to block the people behind you.   It is an option, apparently, and Vettel, having missed the geometry lesson about the shortest distance between two points ended up losing two places at the start of the race.

While we kept waiting for the fuel spill in the McLaren garage to cause Hamilton to "Johnny Storm" around the first lap, by turn 3 it became clear that wasn't going to happen.  Don't get me wrong here.  Hamilton seems a decent fellow and we don't want anyone burned (even Webber), but it really would have been cool to see a non-injury inducing fireball.  

"I didn't want your stupid tires anyway!"

Lots of people got a little too excited for their own good.  The fuel guys at McLaren, Vettel at the start and even the Torro Rosso guys had a bit when they tried to emulate their senior team's drivers and nearly took each other out.(2)  Two big moments came in the pits when Button totally forgot that Silver is not Blue and California-stopped his Mercedes in the Red Bull pit space.(3)  And when the Torro Rosso team decided they did not wany any more close calls between the teammates, they played the old "Lug nut?  What lug nut?" game with Alguersuari's right rear which then, driven by an unyielding desire to be free, saw it's chance and proceeded to do exactly that.

Nico led for a bit and I would have been OK with a win for him but it wasn't to be the case as Hamilton moved into first and stayed there.   Passing was happening all over the place and the rules changes really seemed to have done their job to promote that.

As much as I am generally displeased with Webber, even I have to admit his drive was remarkable.  Starting from 18th and clawing his way up to 3rd, It was reminiscent of the Schumacher of old. (4)

A few comments about this track.  It is one of my favorites.   I'm still trying to get used to the idea of it being near the beginning of the season, but I think I like it better up front.   It's nice and wide and provides a lot of excitement.  Perfect showcase if you want to show F1 to someone who has never seen it.  Lots of goodness here and the track is a good time, but nothing compares to the sequence starting with 11.  The opposite of turn 2 where you get slower and slower and slower, this sequence ends with an increasing radius corner.  I love this sequence.  It's like the best freeway on-ramp ever.  You just get in place and get faster and faster then rocket out on to the straight.   Sweet mother.  It's awesome. (5)

For those of you keeping score at home:  I qualified 6th in the simulation with my first hot lap of Q3 and was bumped by Hamilton coming out of 8 and hit the barrier so hard I could not continue.  Tim finished so again, the demons of F1 take me.

Tim's Take:
I admit, I'm at a bit of a loss to sum up this race.  I remember with 12 laps to go in the race, I turned to Fred and said, I honestly have no idea, nor could I predict who will win this race.  That kind of sums up how all these changes have affected F1.  And I for one, love it!

If I could ask Mr. Vettel one question it would be "What the hell?!"  I've watched the guy lose first place heading down to turn one on at least 4 occasions because he's running all over the place trying to keep the others behind him.  He's like my neurotic dog that seems more concerned with keeping an eye on our calm dog than joining in when we're all playing and having fun; all wide eyed and crazy.  

It was cool to see Button jump ahead and lead the race for a bit.  He might have kept the lead too if he hadn't stopped by to wave at the Red Bull pit team.  He was hoping they'd be intimidated by his spiffy new racing suit.

Apparently the Sea of Japan is no barrier for the tire steeling spirit Taiya Dorobō, who left Suzuka long enough to hop over and tap poor Jaime Alguersuari on the shoulder.  After Dorobō claimed his tire, shrieks of giddy laughter could be heard coming from Buemi's car.  But then that might have just been Buemi relieved Dorobō didn't come for him like he did last year in Shanghai. 

Like Fred was mentioning, I have to tip my hat to Webber for what was a truly impressive drive.  After what can only be described as the perfect storm of suck that left him qualifying 18th, he pulled off an incredible drive to finish 3rd.  They'd said he went out on the hard tires so that he could save the softs for the race.  I guess it worked, sort of.  Wouldn't have just been easier to qualify in the top 6 and try and work your way up from there?  Still, "not bad for a number 2 driver."(6)

Paul di Resta manages to impress everyone again. I know he finished out of the points at 11th, but then so did his teammate Sutil at 14th.  Don't get me wrong, I think Sutil is a good driver.  But I think di Resta could prove himself to be a great driver. 

Sorry to see the Renault boys finish so far back this time.  I still think they're going to impress us as the season goes on.

Hamilton giving props to the McLaren boys

This makes two races in a row Massa was not intimidated by Alonso's eyebrows and finished ahead of him.  The only possible explanation is that he was ignoring his radio communications with Rob Smedly.  Fernando's pass on Schumacher, somewhere around lap 25, was one of the best up and unders I've seen.
There was a time when I was a big Hamilton fan, but that's kind of waned.  I was kind of glad to see him win the race, but I thought it was pretty cool to see how much the win meant to him.  First person ever to win two GPs at the Shanghai circuit.

  1. Yes, I'm still holding a grudge against Webber for his dumb ass move which took Vettel out at Turkey last year.  I can hear you saying, "Wait a minute! Webber just held his line.  Vettel drove into him."  To that I say, "Vettel was ahead, Webber sucks, shut your mouth."
  2. Thankfully these guys actually care about the team and the car behind yeilded to his teammate.
  3. Rumor has it he called out an order for a Cherry Lime-aid just to mess with the guys.
  4. Although Schumacher would have somehow made it to first while causing the McLarens and the RedBulls to incurr a 10 spot penalty at the next race.
  5. And that's just experiencing it on a game.  Imagine what this would be like in the car.  Any car.   Webber sucks.
  6. Remember that lame ass, cry-baby quote from Webber last year?  I know I won't forget it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Nature Recreates A Scale Model Of The Internet

Check this out.   Because the flooding in Pakistan was so bad and it's taken so long for the ground to dry out, millions of spiders have ended up in the trees trying to catch what they can.

There are reports that there are far fewer mosquitoes than there normally would be given all of the water standing around.

Look at this full size and then tell me this isn't just damn amazing.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

F1-Geeks Armchair Team Principal (Malaysia Post Race Recap)

The angelic beauty of the Malaysian track.
 The second round of the 2011 F1 season was a pretty good time.  We were able to work out our schedule so the entire staff of F1-Geeks was able to watch the race at the same time.  Pizza, Mio, and Mountain Dew.  Damn Skippy folks... Damn Skippy.

Tim's Take:
Ok, I stand corrected.  I had predicted a pileup in the first corner.  I was certain that a quarter of the field would be lying in ruins after they got to the end of start/finish straight.  I guess the fact that the corner is 4 cars wide had something to do with it.  But holy crap!  If you like unexpected starts, that was the one for you.  Both of the Renaults sprinting up to Vettel's tail. Both of the Ferraris right on their tail, only to see Alonso drop back several spots after being squeezed out by Massa, of all people!  Webber dropping back from 4th to 28th spot on a 24 car grid.  What the hell happened to him?  Both Fred and I were sitting there shocked that there had been no accidents, and loving every minute of it.

The FIA set out to make the races more interesting and tried to induce more passing.  Boy did they succeed.  With the second race in the books, I think it's safe to say the switch to the newer grippy one minute, slippery the next, tires, KERS and the DRS system, they've succeeded in adding all the excitement they'd hoped for.

I've always been surprised that teams don't use code phrases more.  Well, perhaps they do.  Maybe they are so cleverly hidden in normal radio banter that they slip by unnoticed.  If that's the case, then Vettel's transmission that "we are now entering phase 2" seems pretty clumsy.  Which makes me think that they don't normally use code phrases.(1)  After all, that happened at a time when everyone else's tires were starting to give out, and by everyone's reckoning, had to mean the same thing for Sebastian.  The only thing we knew for sure is that he was on "plan b" and for at least a short time he was in "phase 2."  Webber on the other hand was using "plan a," which we figured had to mean "try not to openly cry as the race slips away from you."  In all fairness, he was handed some pretty bad lemons.

The impressiveness of Nick Heidfeld's drive was surpassed only by the enormity of his watch.  Seriously, did you see that thing in the interview!  The next logical step is for him to wear Flavor Flav's pendant on his arm.  Nick was out to show the world that he can drive and being taken out of contention in Melbourne by an errant Torro Rosso was all the motivation he needed.  After a fantastic start, rocketing from 6th to 2nd position, he stayed the course and drove a near flawless race.  But that's the thing about Nick.  He's always driven well when it's clear his job is on the line, or he has an ax to grind.  Without that motivation, he just seems to languish in the middle of the pack.  I hope he keeps the fire that propelled him to the front in this race going for the rest of the season.  I'd love to see Renault in contention again.  And if Petrov can avoid pretending he's in a Mig, they stand a chance.

Some of the newcomers are really looking impressive.  Sergio Perez, despite being DQ'd from the first race and failing to finish in Malaysia is driving like a veteran.  Pulling off some great overtaking maneuvers and going wheel to wheel with the sport's best.  I'm convinced Paul di Resta would have far more than the 2 points he has for the season, if he were in a better car.  He's out driving Sutil in many respects and I think he's going to be around for a while.

Decoration outside the course
Team wise, it's pretty impressive how McLaren have seemingly over come numerous problems to be competitive when it counts.  Of course we don't know what they have or haven't deployed during practice so the apparent jump in performance between practice and qualifying might not be all that great in reality.  It's weird to watch Ferrari struggle the way they are.  They always have good cars, but it seems so long since they've had a consistently great car.  Renault is perhaps the biggest surprise.  They've moved from the 5th or 6th place team to one that is battling right at the top.  If Nick hadn't been crippled in Melbourne, and Vitali hadn't tried to kiss the sky in Malaysia, they'd be much further up than the 4th place they are in now.  You watch, they're going to climb up the points ladder.  And then Flavio will take credit.  Somehow.

Fred's Take:
Let's start with qualifying. Everyone met the 107% rule. For those of you unfamiliar with the rule it can be translated to: "Your low budget, struggling team better make sure that the ultra rich, super sponsored, championship winning teams with the best drivers, aren't more than 7% faster than you or you can just sit there until you learn something, bitches!" rule(2).

Infiniti in front... again
There was the usual coolness around the the qualifying sessions but the last three minutes were exquisite. It looked like it was going to be a Hamilton/Webber battle and everyone was impressed with that fight and Hamilton's pole position.

I completely forgot Vettel was still out there. He hadn't really posted a top time. Then out of nowhere. Vettel on top. Take that boys.

I agree with Tim on Turn 1.  It's wide sure, but man, it's a pain.   And don't forget Webber's in there somewhere.  While we realize that these guys are very very good, we were still astonished with how everyone made it through turns 1 and 2.

Tim's got the Renault comments right.   Let's not forget I loves me some of that Black and Gold so I really was having a good time watching them put the squeeze on the Ferrari's.  I agree that were it not for Petrov's impression of the Duke Boys, they may have locked up the podium with Renault engines.  Although I'm not a Webber fan by any means, his pass on Massa was very cool to watch as well.

While I maintain Hamilton downshifted to mess with Alonso, the stewards didn't call it at the time and I figured business as usual and so Old Eyebrows had to go in to get his nose replaced.  Turns out the worst possible of all scenarios occurred.(3)   The stewards crawled out from behind their perpetually foggy corner of the darkest closet in the Basement of Eternal Myopia and decreed, "Drive Through...... drive..... through".

That has to stop.  I want the race to be finished at the end of the race.  I think that is not an unreasonable position.   To learn later that Hamilton is now 8th instead of 7th isn't Earth shattering.  It's just irritating.

Quote of the night: "I never thought I'd be rooting for Heidfeld" - Tim.

That last lap was riveting. Still, what does it say about Heidfeld that we get excited for him to reach third?
Button's drive although uneventful and unexciting got him to second. So very "Button," that.

The code phrase thing was a fun deal.  So far we've graphed it out and we hope to soon crack the code.

 Looking forward China.  Keep an eye out for our track analysis coming up soon.

  1. No code or hidden meaning in "Alonso is faster than you. Do you understand?"
  2. Yes. I know it's not exactly 7% more. I understand the math. Comedy rounds up, my friends. Never forget it.
  3. Technically, the worst possible scenario would be a clone army of Nelson Piquet Jrs all driving into the pit wall at the start/finish straight and crying, "Love me, daddy!!!"

Sunday, April 10, 2011

This Is Why We Love The Internets

Everyone loves to play the Legend Of Zelda theme on Tesla coils or wine glasses.   At the other end of the spectrum you have the people who are playing the theme to "Titanic" with 8-bit audio tones.

This is neither of those and that's why we love it.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Steering Wheels and F1 EVs

This week, I ran across a couple of stories that I thought were interesting, and that I'd share with you all in case you'd missed them.

Wired's Autopia has a great little video up explaining some of the features of the Mercedes GP steering wheel.  For those of you who are long time F1 fans, you're no doubt familiar with the complexity of the steering wheel used in these amazing cars.  Nearly everything you can think of is adjustable, and maybe even some things you hadn't thought of.   Hit the link above enjoy Nico Rossberg explaining most* of this complex piece of equipment. 

Next Topic - EV F1

All of you who know me know that I'm into electric cars.  They're very cool in many respects.  One of the things they are not, however, is cheap.  There are a few things that need to happen to bring the costs down on EVs. Principally, batteries need to come down in price and go up in energy density.   In order to see that happen, the industry needs a large infusion of cash, brought to them by more customers.  Preferably rich ones.  What on earth could this have to do with Formula 1, you ask? 

Apparently Antonio Tajani, who is the EU's industry Commissioner brought the idea of an EV F1 race to Jean Todt, who liked it.  Late last week, Todt went public with it.  According to the numerous articles online concerning the story, Todt wants to start out with simple go-cart type racing, and move up to eventually get to F1 style cars, and he thinks it's possible by 2013. 

I'm all for it, but I think they are going to have a difficult time finding a lot of participants.  First, they have to find groups that 1. have an interest in participating (likely because they have a commercial interest at stake), and 2. have nearly a bottomless pit full of money to fund the venture.  I realize that's only two hurdles, but they are big ones.  Renault, Mercedes, Volkswagen, BMW and even Toyota might be enticed to join as they each have EV programs they are working on.  But to ramp up an entire new wing for a new racing series? 

The second obstacle is going to be a challenge as well.  The reason manufacturers get into racing is to promote their cars and their technologies in the hopes of enticing people to their show rooms so they can sell cars and make a profit on them.** The trouble is EVs are already 30 to 50% more expensive than comparable cars due to the high cost of the batteries.  Manufacturers are already talking about selling their EVs at a loss, just to break into the market.  So would you, as a manufacturer, dump loads of money into an endeavor who's main goal is to entice people to buy your product which you lose money on? 

Nope, I think the principals are likely to be battery manufacturers themselves.  Perhaps car and battery manufacturers will team up like they engine and chassis manufacturers do now.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see them do it because it would accelerate the research and development into the battery technology field and ultimately accelerate the drop in price of the technology.  Plus it would just be fun to see how they overcome some of the obstacles and new logistical challenges they face driving a car with limited range.  Drivers would come in for a tire change and to have their battery pack swapped out as well.  It would be very cool to see how they engineered that to be done in less than a minute. 

The prediction is that Bernie Ecclestone will come out against the whole idea.  The important thing to remember about Bernie, is that if it makes him money, he's for it.  If Todt can make a case for EV-F1 lining Bernie's pockets with more money, he'll jump right on board. 

Will it happen, I don't know.  But with F1 eager to show that they are interested in "Green" technologies, I think we're going to see lots of chatter about it either way. 

*He left out my favorite one; the Drink button.
**Obviously that's not true of all teams.  I haven't found a Red Bull, or Sauber show room yet.  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

F1-Geeks Track Analysis Malaysia


I forgot how intoxicating this track is. Maddening at times, its complexity starts to unravel as you race it and it suddenly becomes a thrill ride of multiple-apex challenges that become incredibly rewarding when you get them right.

A very wide track that lends itself to overtaking, the Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix circuit in Kuala Lumpur is one of the most technically difficult. It has some cool elevation changes and two extremely long straights connected with a hairpin. Very cool.

This week we’ll get Tim’s take on this course as well. For those keeping score, I out-qualified Tim and finished over 100 seconds behind him.

Let’s get on with it.

Turn one is just lunacy. Lunacy I tell you. You head into this thing at about 185MPH and then cut in hard while slowing to 47MPH. Yes, I hear you saying “Dude. The hairpin at turn 9 is a little slower.”

Shut up.

By the time the field gets to turn 9 they are single file(1). At turn one, they will likely be three across. This turn was maddening in it’s sneakiness. The trick was to act like a badass and turn in way to early. Turns out “way too early” is just right.

After you Goldilocks that corner it’s a pretty good time accelerating out of that S and hitting 150 through the turn 3 curve.(2)

Turn 4. Oh how I feared you, but oh, how I kicked your ass. This was one of the few corners that I got down cold and let me tell you rocketing through 5 and 6 in the 150s and feeling the tires start to slip at 6 was damn fine. Some might say “butter”.(3)
7 and 8. Much like Janus(4) this can be considered one entity with two parts. I never got this corner down. I still found it fun to shoot through but would like to have had more practice here.
Hard on the brakes for 9, the turn here actually has a bit of a bank and you don’t have to slow down as much as you think you do.
Getting the next section right wasn’t easy but it wasn’t so hard that you ended up in the gravel. That is, until 14. I always got this wrong and started the first straight from practically a dead stop.(5)  You pray to whatever gods you do that there is plenty of paved run-off at 15 and you rocket down the straight getting ready to start it all over again.
Just a quick note about the Pit Entry. Every year I watch this race the camera on the start/finish straight and when a driver goes into the pits I think they’ve lost control. It’s a fast entry and 90 degrees to the track. Very cool.

Tim's Take -

This was the first, of hopefully many, opportunities Fred and I had to run a track together before a race to prepare ourselves for the coming weekend.  What a great time that was!  There is something sublime about competing with your friends on an ultra cool computer game while you're miles apart.  But hey, I don't need to tell you people that, right?  You're all true geeks.

Before I start I should clarify something for you all.  I suck at racing games.  You could say that I suck at racing games to the same degree that Stalin was a bit of a control freak.  Mind you, I'm getting better, but I still need traction control and some brake help just to stay on the course.  So while it's true, I did beat Fred in the race, it wasn't all that even.  He's racing all he-man-woman-haters-club style with no assists on but his race suit and the hair on his chest.  That said, on to the track...

Whoever designed turns 1 and 2 are certifiably nuts.  My prediction is carnage.  I don't know how you send 24 cars* into that turn with any hope that they'll all make it out.  I never sorted it out.  I ran wide, I cut it short, I did everything you can possibly do on those two corners except get them right.  I was usually alone and I still almost took out the whole field!

The rest of the track was hit and miss for me.  I would get some corners some times and totally screw them up the next lap around.  There was a section of the track though, where I hit my stride.  Starting with the gentle curves of 5 and 6, and then on into the double apex 7 and 8.  I nailed them.  Not just once but repeatedly. And if felt good my friends, very good.  I wish I understood why those 4 corners just made sense to me, but I took them like I was channeling Sir Jackie Stewart.

Unfortunately, Jackie abandoned me just before the hairpin at turn 9.  For some reason, I managed to do very well with the hairpin between the straights.  That one always felt good.  One thing is certain, and that is it's going to be just awesome watching all the drivers negotiate all these corners with deft precision this weekend.  And to make it that much more interesting, they're likely going to have to do it in the wet.

*Hopefully HRT can make the cut this round.
(1)Unless Webber is approaching Vettel. He’ll need to pull alongside of him to ram him into the gravel.
(2) Professionals make it to 150 here. I’m sure I was too busy scrubbing gravel off my tires.
(3) Some might get punched in their goddamn pie-hole for that too.
(4)The two headed Roman god of doors, gates, and double apex corners. Handy, with the ladies, legend has it that Janus’ prowess at double-apex corners came from his ability to simultaneously evaluate his line while lining himself up with the next corner.
(5)Not a huge deal because I was so far behind Tim, he could have pulled over, made a virtual banana split and dropped the peel at the pit entry and restarted before I caught up to him.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Reveiw of the Australian GP *SPOILER ALERT*

Well, it took long enough to get here but the first race of the 2011 season is here.  Perhaps it was just the fact that I was so eagerly looking forward to the season, but the off season seemed to last forever.  Of course having the Season's opening race canceled because the whole of the Arab world has decided they've had enough of their leaders, didn't help matters.

Tim's Take
So we have some exciting new stuff thrown into the mix this year.  There's a host of new faces in the cars, and from the looks of things, they show promise.  The gentleman's agreement to not use KERS has expired and most of the teams have it and are using it.  The movable rear wing known as DRS, or Drag Reduction System is on every car.  And of course, all of these are riding on brand new Pirelli tires.  For many the most notable thing was not what was there, but rather what wasn't; namely Robert Kubica wasn't behind the wheel of his Renault.

One more change is the return of the 107% rule.  As I watched qualifying I was struck by how much it looked like any given qualifying from last year.  The teams fell roughly where they had in any given qualifying from last year.  I admit that I was really pulling for HRT to get over that 107% line.  The team had managed to run a grand total of something like 7 complete laps between the two cars over the 3 practice sessions.  So qualifying was their first real shot at running the car.  I was hoping they'd make it, but not too surprised they couldn't get within 107% of the top time.

It was no surprise that HRT would appeal and ask for an exemption to the rule so they could race.  I kind of thought that if there was a race that they might get a pass on, it was this one.  After all, they made such a valiant effort to get things up and running and get the car on track.  But you could argue that they had had the entire off season to do that, so screw them.  Apparently the FIA took the second view.

By far the coolest thing about qualifying happened not on the track, but after it was all done when the top three were in the interview room.  The interviewer asked Vettel if he was surprised how much faster he was than the McLaren of Luis Hamilton, 8 tenths of a second, even when he had never used his KERS.  Hearing that Hamilton looked visibly stunned and just shook his head.  What I wouldn't have given to have heard what was running through his head at that moment!

Sunday night, there they were all lined up.  The lights went green and everyone went for a mad dash to the first corner.  I was shocked to see everyone make it through with no accidents, but even more shocked to see Alonso and his magnificent eyebrows make his way from 5th to third, only to get forced off track and drop to 7th.  Massa on the other hand rocketed up from 8th to 4th, trapping Button behind him for several laps as the rest of the field steadily walked away from both of them and everyone behind them.

With Button trapped behind Massa, we were now going to get to see, for the first time just how much speed could be gained on an F1 car by killing most of the lift on the back wing.  After the third lap, once the DRS was enabled, Button followed Massa into the last corner, less than a second behind, which now meant his DRS was enabled.  Jenson hit the button on his steering wheel, the wing lifted, I moved to the edge of my seat to witness first hand the splendor of the McLaren rocketing past the Ferrari and...  nothing.  Jenson might have closed the gap a bit, it was difficult to tell  from the camera angle, but one thing was certain, he followed Massa into turn one like nothing had happened during the start/finish straight at all.  What the hell!

How it ended up playing out for Massa and Button was essentially how it played out for nearly everyone else as well.  The trailing driver would deploy his DRS, and the front driver would deploy KERS to keep the trailing driver behind.  They'd enter turn one in the same order they left turn 16, but now the front driver had used nearly all their KERS to maintain their lead.  That meant the lead driver had less KERS to use through the rest of the course, which did translate into some interesting racing.  So there was some fallout from the introduction of DRS, but it didn't play out the way I expected it.

Of course Button did get by Massa eventually.  But it involved a move that only the most insane person would try to justify as reasonable.  Jenson was slightly ahead on the inside going in the corner when Massa moved over to pinch him out.  Jenson decided to take a shortcut through the infield, which was conveniently paved, came out way ahead, and felt that all was right with the world.  Apparently the fact that he was no longer on the track didn't bother him.  Then Massa let Alonso by* just to make things far worse for Jenson**, which looked like it would do just that.  But then the two of them made it even worse for Jenson by employing the clever strategy of pitting!  Now, there was no way for Jenson to give the position back, which is what he should have done right away, so instead he was given a drive through penalty.  I think if I were Martin Whitmarsh, I would have given him a time out as well.

By far the biggest impact of all the changes was the new Pirelli tires.  The FIA had told Pirelli that they wanted tires that would make the racing more interesting, and Pirelli delivered.  The softs were grippy as hell, until all of the sudden they weren't.  On the first lap when drivers would start to notice a fall off in grip, they would see 1 second fall off their lap time.  By the time they'd passed the pits and were on their next lap, they were certain to loose between 2 and 3 seconds.  All this means that the pit crews have to be ready with a tire change NOW!  Pit schedules and strategies, out the window.  Tire management it going to be huge this year.  There will be no getting around just how fast the tires degrade once they start to go.

As far as the leaders were concerned, the race progressed much like any other, with Vettel walking away with the race win, still never having used KERS.  In fact neither Vettel or Webber ever used their KERS.  Hmmm... very interesting.

The biggest surprise through the race was Vitaly Petrov and his Renault.  What a stud he was!  Starting off in 6th and racing with the best F1 has to offer, wheel to wheel, only to work his way up and finish on the podium in 3rd.  Congrats to him, what a great race.  Meanwhile Nick Heidfeld does what he does best; finished well behind his team mate complaining of problems with the car.  Maybe he really did have problems with the car, like perhaps who was driving. 

To cap off the race, after Webber crossed the finish line in 5th place, at his home grand prix, he immediately pulled over near the pit exit, got out of his car and walked away.  Doesn't that sound a bit like a spoiled kid taking his ball and going home?   "It didn't go my way, so I'm leaving!"  *Sigh*  You're not earning our admiration Mark.  Then again, maybe he had car problems too.

Fred's Take
Tim, has this dead right.  This is going to be an interesting season just for the tires.  I am pretty excited to see how the different tracks affect these tires.  The rest of the items are all gravy.  107%, moveable wing, Petrov's moment to shine, just add to the whole damn thing.

On performance boosts,  I did appreciate the massive difference when the circumstances lined up such that the driver in front had no KERS to use and the driver behind had both KERS and DRS.  That was cool.   It looks like the trick would be to pressure the driver in front through as much of the course as possible such that he'll have to use up his KERS.  Then you've got him on the next straight.  This track only had one decent straight section so this makes me miss Bahrain that much more.

The Massa parry and counter move.  I LOVED this.  LOVED it.  The whole thing reminded me of the way you pounce with a massive counter attack when your opponent gets a really really bad dice roll in Risk.**  The move to put Alonso in front was a classic No-Lose gambit.   Either Jenson is required to give the position back or he isn't, and he either gives the position back or he doesn't.  The thing about the "Eyebrows are faster" maneuver is that it did the most psychological damage to Jenson as possible.  It all sucked for him.

Working through those scenarios:
Jenson is not required to give the position back.  This is the worst case for Ferrari and it still puts Alonso in a position to pressure Jenson into another mistake.
Jenson is required to give the position back and he does.  Likely he'll lose two positions (not sure about the rules on this but it's going to be damn hard to cut off the trailing Ferrari if they go nose to tail for the pass.
Jenson is required to give the position back and doesn't.  He'll get penalized and Ferrari gets the positions and a massive thorn in Mr. Scruffy Face's paw.   That drive through has got to still be irritating Jenson whenever he thinks about it.

I was also very happy to see Petrov's podium.  Particularly with how much joy it obviously brought him as he recalled the day at the post race interview.   Should be a damn good season folks. 

Damn good.

*No team orders needed this time!
** If you don't know what I'm talking about, you need to enhance your Geek Cred, my friend.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Australian GP is in the Books: So Where's the Review?

As you might reasonably expect of a site called F1-Geeks, we're big fans of F1 and all things geeky.*  So it would be reasonable to expect that soon after the conclusion of any given race the Geeks would be hard at work writing up a review of qualifying and the race for our, and hopefully your amusement.  Like most, you envision us all toiling away in our dark, dungeon of a computer room, littered with empty Cheetos bags and half drunk cans of Mountain Dew and Coke Zero, frantically typing away, trying to come up with something that pleases our masters, just so we can avoid the beatings.  Then it happens; the day after the race you go online, click your F1-Geeks link eager to read the literary gold we've produced, only to find no review, no mention of the race.  "What's the deal!" you ask?  "I've been had!"

As it happens, the Geeks have busy, some would say crazy schedules.  In spite of those schedules, we like to try and get together to watch the races, which sometimes doesn't happen for several days after the race.  In the mean time we sequester ourselves off in isolation, sensory deprivation chambers, or my personal favorite, under the "Cone of Silence," in an attempt to prevent the rest of the world from spoiling the race for us.  After all, who wants a race spoiled for them?

The thing is, we figure the reason our loyal fans (both of you) read this site is not to find out who won any given GP -you can find that out almost anywhere- but rather to read our take on it, hopefully gain some insights, laugh a bit and then leave comments giving us all your perspective. 

So the reviews of the races may be posted a few days after the teams have packed up and are on their way to the next circuit, but we're hoping you'll find waiting for the write-ups was worth it.

* I confess, I never could get into Dragon Ball Z.  Or First Person Shooters on consoles. Mouse and keyboard rule!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

F1-Geeks Track Analysis - Australia

And so it begins...  We open the season for you with our Track Analysis.  For those of you unfamiliar with how we do this let me break it down for you.

We race the upcoming race venue virtually by playing Codemasters' Formula One 2010 and a racing wheel.  Driving aids are optional but the more you have on, the less you really get a sense of the track.  So let's get on with it...

The move from Adelaide to Melbourne in 1996 also saw this race move up from last in the schedule to be second this year.  The civil unrest in Bahrain, however, caused the race there to be postponed and possibly cancelled moving the Australian F1 race to be the season opener. 

No complaints from F1-Geeks as it's become a favorite of mine for an early season race.   It's a classic Goldilocks track.  Not too fast, not too slow with a great mix of corners.

Heading to turn one in 7th at top speed is a good time.  What's not so good is forgetting to brake hard and turn in early.  Get it right and you slingshot through in 3rd gear and turn 2 is behind you before you know it.   Time it wrong and you under-steer into the gravel or the stewards are giving you hell for "cutting" the corner.   The psychological effect here stayed with me throughout the lap.  If I nailed it, suddenly the whole track was a piece of cake.*  If I messed it up, I couldn't even get any decent practice from the rest of the lap.

How many laps did it take me to remember turn 3 was a very slow corner?  Over 20.   I know, it sounds crazy, but this corner is much slower than it looks.  Its not like turn 15 where you realize very quickly where it is and how slow it is.  This one is sneaky.

Turns 4 through 8 are not horrible and build up your confidence so that turn 9 can take it away with a painful journey skipping through the gravel trap.  Slow down more than you think you should for 9 and you'll just barely make it.

You get a breather here and if you are using a wheel to control the action, you can almost feel the quick left-right flick sequence of 11 and 12 in your stomach.  13 and 14 almost feel like a double apex corner, and you have to feather the throttle through there to keep from getting all squirrelly.  Hard on the brakes for 15 and you get to flip the gearbox a few times as you accellerate on to the straight.

An interesting note about the straight.  It's much longer than it seems.   You come out of 16 with a decent time on your lap and then you get to just sit there and watch the seconds tick away while you're trying to get to the finish line.   Turn 15 can absolutely kill your whole lap. Respect it.

That's how F1-Geeks saw the track.   This was absolutely an amalgam of the best parts of each of my various bad laps.  I should have practiced more in the off season.   For those of you keeping track, finished 10th in practice, 24th in qualifying and crashed out in the race when virtual Jensen Button bumped into me from behind and I spun into the barrier.   Damn you to hell, VJB... to hell, I say.

* A tricky twisty stress-filled cake but you get the idea.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

OK, Bernie, I Concede.

You may recall how irritated we were when F1 announced they were going to broadcast in HD.  Well, I just happened to be up late tonight and I just happened to wander by the television that just happened to be left on. 

I just happened to be really impressed.

I was fully prepared to watch with cynicism and aloof scoffing at the video quality of Bernie's antiquated tech.  And yes, there are problems, but great googly moogly, people.  It looks incredible compared to past broadcasts.  

What shall we do with this pent up scoffing?  There's always Mark Webber.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Check this out.

Imagine if you will, reclining into this beauty for a spirited session of F1 2010; no helmet or earplugs needed*.  For the paltry sum of $1400 you can set this baby up in front of you big screen TV, turn on your surround sound system and race in the nearest thing available to a real F1 simulator.

What's so special about this driving playseat you ask?  Well, it's built to hold you as close as possible in the position of what a real F1 car would, and it has "Red Bull Racing" graphics printed on it.  But does that differentiate it enough from other playseats to make it worth the extra cash?  I think yes.

Shamelessly swiped from Read the original post at CrunchGear.  If you want to save yourself $100, you can order it before the June launch date from the folks at PlaySeat

*OK, if your surround sound system will replicate the 130 DB produced by an F1 car, you'll need earplugs. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Find Your Lack Of Chocolate Chips........ Disturbing

I know this has been out for a bit but I couldn't resist letting all 1.8* of you know about it.   Witness the power of the Dark (chocolate) Side.
That's no space station!!  It's a cookie jar!!

At $49.99 it is a little pricey but really, that's a small price to pay to have the most powerful battle station in the Empire on your counter.

You can order it here from ThinkGeek or from SkyMall, but SkyMall makes me feel like I'm sitting next to someone stinky.

*Readership is up a tenth of a person so that's exciting.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Ripple Effects Of Freedom

The gentlemen at BBC Sport have posted an updated F1 schedule.  "What's the big deal about that", you say?

I'm glad you asked.

Not only do they show the dates but they have nifty .ICS files you can download so your calendar is automatically updated.  If you don't know what ICS files are, perhaps a less geeky site is more your speed.  If you are of that rare breed that refuses to allow ignorance of any kind to persist, look here.

I know Bahrain wasn't at the top of many fans' "favorite track" lists but I always dug it and it's a bit of a drag that it may not happen.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

If I Had A Million Dollars...

From the gear heads over at SuckSqueezeBangBlow* comes images of a car so beautiful I actually had to savor it a few days before posting it.

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the XKE.  My parents gave me one in 1/8th scale when I was somewhere around 8 years old.  I thought it had the coolest shape and the spoke wheels just made it magical.  Even after I was older and learned about their reliability problems I still loved them.  I also never believed that the Stingray didn't nudge the XKE into Dead Man's Curve.  History belongs to the victor I suppose.

Regardless, no matter what they've done since, they never seemed to be able to capture that same level of style and grace as they did with the XKE.**  Someone over there must have figured that out.  Behold, beauty at such unparalleled levels it makes one weepy.

Oscar Wilde once said, “No object is so beautiful that, under certain conditions, it will not look ugly.”  To that I respond, "To Hell with you, Sir."

And while I've never watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate, I can tell you, this has got to be pretty damn close.

It even makes this fighter jet look retarded.

And finally, to those who insist only that which serves no actual function can be art, I say, "Face!"

This thing is better than Phoebe Cates.  Yes.  I said it.

*I know, how righteous is that name, right?
**You can't count the DB9 copy, which, although beautiful, was a copy of the DB9.