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Thursday, March 30, 2006

the wonders of wing development


every team is playing with the wing. improving it, making it more efficient, and basically, just adding more wings...

f1 gives you wings:

more wings []

more wings []

more wings []

more wings []

do you like them wings?

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renault drivers have better eyesight


i like this quote from webber:
Fernando and Giancarlo also eat a lot of carrots to improve their eyesight for seeing the (start) lights, but that's the lot.
webber was referring to how the renault drivers can get off the line so fast. funny, but this should be looked into more clearly. in malaysia, alonso jumped from the fourth row to the third position. i consider that quite bizarre.

but as webber points out:
... simply a clever combination of superior engine torque, electronics, clutch and tricky weight distribution.
pretty smart.

why aren't the other smart people from other teams able to do that? hopefully someone can crack renault's "secret" soon.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

sights of sepang f1


i don't know why i took so long to get the pictures up, maybe because i don't think the pictures i took were all that nice. but wouldn't i be selfish if i were to just keep them to myself and not share them?

oh well, enjoy the sights of sepang f1 from my point of view:

rm50 to park here

it was quite agonizing to finally get to the parking bay. bloody hell, i pay rm50 for this!

many enthusiastic fans

fans packed the mercedes booth, enjoying the beautiful cars, buying merchandise, and (possibly) awaiting for special appearance from the drivers.

keep off grass

f1 fans aren't exactly obedient.

my corner and straight

that's all i can see. i made a judgement error thinking citrine would give me the most view of the cars on the track. they built a platform to house the exhibition cars, and those platform blocked about 50% of the view.

kimi waved at me

actually, many of the drivers waved at me :). only nico, webber, and montoya didn't bother to wave.

formation lap

the formation lap was loud and exciting. especially when they rev their engines while warming their tyres.

they go so fast

and off they go! these cars are so fast, that's the best i can do with taking the pictures. by the way, the v10 cars sound slightly different from the v8.

michael gave us a clearer view

michael was the only one driving nearest to the stand when the race was over. it was great to see the ferrari closer.

the winning car

the winning car safely back to its garage.

michael waved at me!

michael schumacher waving goodbye to his fans after giving interviews. "till melbourne!"

after this post, i now know why i waited so long to get the pictures up - because it takes bloody long to do so! so i hope you all enjoy them and make my efforts worthwhile.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

f1's cheat storm


we all know about the flexi wings that have come under scrutiny. amazingly, the teams that protested against ferrari's extreme flexi wings are themselves using movable wings as well! mclaren and bmw are guilty of that, and with many more teams still under study.

ferrari, mclaren, and bmw have confirmed to making changes to their wings for the next race at melbourne. all of them gave excuses that different wing specs and designs were already planned for melbourne anyways. oh whatever!

but i'm not so interested in that. what i've been curious about is how fast the renault get up to speed from being standstill. at sepang, alonso flied through the field from seventh on the grid and ended up at third. it was as though they haven't gotten rid of the launch control.

thank you niki lauda for pointing that out.
...what we saw (in Malaysia) was unusual.
several years ago when the launch control was banned, renault was the only team able to fly off the grid. i remember that michael schumacher did point this out to the fia, but i guess it was deemed legal and then we never heard about that again. it could be renault tuned it down a little, making it less obvious.

i believe that some form of launch control technology is still being used by renault. just like the flexi wing issue, renault seem to have bended the rules and implemented something 'legal'.

i hope someone can take a look into that as well.

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Monday, March 20, 2006

sepang revealed more problems


last week, i declared that fia has found the right formula. well, not quite. the one-engine-for-two-weekend rule needs more than just some minor tweaking, it has got to go because it effects both the cost and the show of formula one. like the one-tyre rule, this engine rule has to go.

the problem with these rules is that they are all bloody ridiculous. they were implemented because they wanted to stop ferrari's dominance several years ago. they did manage to kill ferrari's dominance, but they also managed to kill formula one. they have created more problems than solutions.

don't believe me? take my word for it, now that ferrari's dominance is over, in a few years time formula one will move back to its old formula (one engine per race, tyre changes, one tyre company, knockout qualifying without race fuel, 10-6-4-3-2-1 point system, etc). there was never a problem before, so what's with the changes?

webbers cosworth gave up on him

eight cars retired from sepang. most unfortunate for williams as both drivers had to pull off the track due to failure. those who survived retirement had to race conservatively. in particular, we could see montoya, alonso, and the ferrari drivers dared not push too hard.

basically this translates to 'very poor quality racing'. who will take the risk and go all out? the fact is, nobody is going for the win anymore. because the penalty for 'racing to win' is just too great. those smart enough will be conserving their car, get into the points or podium for each race, and hope for other's bad luck.

renault is doing the best job at the moment. currently they have both reliability and speed. unfortunately i can't say the same for the other teams. besides, none of the top four (mclaren, ferari, honda, williams) even come close. and renault knows it too.

i guess i'm just disappointed. i was looking forward to a more exciting season, but just two races in and i can already foresee the final outcome. well, things do change pretty quickly in formula one. i just hope next race at melbourne we'll see a different outcome. do we really want to see a renault dominance after ferrari's?

renautl dominated sepang

star of the race: fisichella took advantage of the situation to take a well-deserved win. from his shit car at bahrain to a star drive at sepang, he'll pray for his fortune to continue for the races to come. it may well be the team's change of support from alonso that is causing the difference, but we'll find that out soon enough.

loser of the race: heidfeld had eight more laps to go before securing a strong fifth place finish, beating both the ferraris. instead his engine had to go and sadly retired the glorious drive. instead of getting four points, he has no point and villeneuve has two. although not his fault, but it wouldn't look too good on the year end report card.

previous posts:
sepang: engine changes dominate qualifying
bahrain: thrilling bahrain
bahrain: an exciting start to 2006

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Saturday, March 18, 2006

engine changes dominate qualifying


sepang is definitely the toughest race on the calendar. not just for the drivers, but definitely to their engines as well.

as of the point i write this post, five cars have received penalty for changing their engines. those engines are ferrari for michael schumacher, massa, and coulthard, ralf's toyota, and the latest to bite the dust is barichello's honda. seems like sepang is really an engine killer.

at his point, jenson button, klien, and trulli (and maybe the midland boys) should really be worrying. it seems like their engines will most probably break during the race. i can't see how they'll be able to push really hard and not be thinking about their engines blowing. i would say their chances of finishing are in serious doubt.

i am very impressed with renault, mercedes, and cosworth's engines, all of them holding up. in fact, i'm very very impressed with williams' performance. they have effectively put two cars up there in the second row. they are very fast, and of course very reliable. it is such a big turn from last year, now they are right in contention and they'll be pushing for a five-way fight for the championship.

anyways, here's how the grid looks right now. however, i can't guarantee this will be the starting grid tomorrow. i'm expecting to see more movements by the time the race starts.

furthermore, i believe many more cars will blow up during the race tomorrow. those cars that do not have a fresh engines, might be gambling their race if their engine can't hold up. and for those who have fresh engines, they might have the last laugh.

looking at the current grid, i'm predicting the podium to be fisichella, montoya, and nico rosberg (!), in no particular order. we'll find out soon enough.

oh yeah, be ready for the alonso-kimi tussle tomorrow. that'll be very exciting.

previous posts:
bahrain: thrilling bahrain
bahrain: an exciting start to 2006

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

malaysia f1 like sex in a sauna


hahahah... i totally love this redbull-david-coulthard character. no longer uptight, this guy cracks me up sometimes.

by the way, that was his anology of racing at sepang.
"It's like having to do some physical exercise in a sauna, effectively, and unless it was having sex, I cannot imagine why anyone would want to do anything in a sauna,"

"We're all here because of that aren't we - so I think it is a natural action between, normally a man and a lady, but sometimes..."
read that article here.

so want to know how it's like driving an f1 car at sepang? go to a private sauna and have one hour plus of rigorous sex. well, according to coulthard anyways.

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

thrilling bahrain


has fia finally got the right formula? this weekend was so full of action, i think they have done it. knockout qualifying, v8 engines, and tyre changes - that's the right formula.

it's been a long time since we last witnessed an f1 race with so many wheel-to-wheel racing and fantastic overtaking maneuvers. from the lights out till the chequered flag, we saw alonso overtook massa, button made a great move on montoya, barichello and button exchanged lead, bmw versus williams, str beating redbull, and many many more. what more can you ask for?

wheel-to-wheel racing []

great strategy from renault won them this race. they timed it perfectly and their pitstop was flawless. ferrari was very close, but somehow michael's second stint just wasn't fast enough. alonso managed to close the gap during that stint, and it was basically over for michael from then on.

great result for mclaren. despite looking unimpressive during practice and qualifying, they managed to walk away with ten points. kimi on the other hand, again from the back to take podium, didn't seem too please with this kind of race. it's funny how montoya only managed to finish fifth. i guess one pitstop should always be the way to go, doesn't it seem like so?

we clearly have a four way fight among renault, mclaren, ferrari, and honda this season. so far, it is any team's championship. it's true what they say, 2006 is the most exciting f1 season in decades. so, prepare for more action as we head to sepang next week.

here's the finishing order for bahrain gp.

star of the race:
young nico rosberg had a fantastic f1 debut. his pace (or williams') is undeniable as nico managed to get the fastest lap of the race. what an amazing achievement! it was particularly nice seeing him shaved off seven seconds from coulthard and then overtook him to get one point. but not being content with that one point, he went on to overtake klien and got himself two points. how great is that?

loser of the race:
poor massa didn't make his qualifying effort stick. he made many errors, including having a bad start, then letting alonso overtake him, and finally spinning out. it didn't help that ferrari's pit crew struck bad luck with the air gun. although he fought hard and managed to get back to ninth, but it's fair to say that he threw away a podium and probably a ferrari 1-2 finish.

previous posts:
bahrain: an exciting start to 2006

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Saturday, March 11, 2006

an exciting start to 2006


what an action-packed qualifying! the new knockout qualifying proved to be quite an excitement. the reason may well be because it was the first one ever, so obviously there were some confusing and chaotic moments.

it was very exciting particulary at the final moment. it was mostly a fight for the pole between the ferrari teammates. each of them took turns to take the top time. unfortunately the camera wasn't able to follow other actions, namely alonso or montoya's qualifying. well, that's what you get without a single lap qualifying format.

i must be honest, i don't quite understand the rule of last qualifying section. all those race fuel and tyre changing gibberish was painfully hard to understand. maybe i just couldn't be bothered with it. for me, qualifying is about who's the fastest and who's getting the pole. not about race setup.

anyways, the big news after the qualifying is that ferrari is back (or so it seems). taking their first one-two for quite some time and ferrari's first pole since last year at hungary. other than that, michael schumacher finally equals the most poles records with senna. congratulations to him, but i'm sure he'll beat it soon enough.

i'm not quite sure whether the ferrari cars are genuinely quick, or maybe they are carrying less fuel. however getting the front row must be a psychological advantage. besides, the past winners at bahrain have been a pole sitter. interestingly, ross brawn revealed that their cars could have gone faster, and insisted that they have not jeopardized their race strategy. we'll wait and see.

take a look at how the others fared. other notable news from qualifying from the likes of klien, str, renault, toyota, and kimi:
  1. klien qualified eight in what was a great effort, beating this teammate coulthard by a mile.
  2. str with their limited v10 and smashing livery qualified very well, and is making midland a little unhappy.
  3. the renault may have used a conservative strategy, but qualifying at fourth and ninth is strange after they've been playing aggresive qualifying-poker with the other teams.
  4. toyota was nowhere near their performance last year and was unimpressive and very disappointing.
  5. finally, the big bang from kimi where he ended up dead last after a suspension failure and not being able to set any time.
crash, boom, bang []

so are we going to see a straight-forward finish tomorrow? i believe so. i think it'll end close to the way it ended for qualifying. ferrari is normally great with race strategy, and with what seem to be competitive (and hopefully reliable) cars, they'll bet on their chances of winning.

so, my prediction for tomorrow will be michael, massa, and alonso completing the podium. what say you?

previous posts:

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Friday, March 10, 2006

the prediction game

[2006 preview]

everybody is playing the prediction game. everybody, from bernie to my dad, has something to say about who's hot and who's not for the 2006 f1 season. predictions of which team will be competitive, and which driver will win the championship title, although the season hasn't even started, are at the corner of every f1 lover's mouth.

i'm not going to play that game this early. instead i will predict the winners of each race (like i've done last season) right before or after the qualifying. besides, this season it isn't going to be that straight-forward. new rules, new parts, new drivers and teams, things are definitely going to be quite complicated. how exciting is that?

however, i will say something about the ferrari. have they been sand-bagging throughout the winter? something tells me not really, because they look like they really have been struggling during the test. broken parts, bad clutch, over-heating engines, slow tyres are just some of the problems. unreliability and the lack of speed should have severely dampen their strength, if not their spirit.

michael's optimism for the past few days, therefore, is very questionable. is he going to be slapping his own face by making early predictions? many people have put them somewhere around the fourth strongest team, for good reason, after renault, honda, and mclaren. so why is michael talking about championship already? shouldn't he be praying for point finishes instead? i know i am!

unless ferrari is playing the psychological 'game'. they have always been doing that in the previous years, before they were dominating and were unpredictable. have losing the championships make the team more unpredictable like before? i'm sure some would be wondering, "what is actually under the ferrari's sleeves?"

oh well, one could hope. all doubts and questions will be answered in mere two days. get ready ladies and gentlemen, no more previews. we are officially in the 2006 formula 1 weekend.

on to bahrain!

previous posts:
2005 season review 3
2005 season review 2
2005 season review 1

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

seven days to motosport circus

[2006 preview]

i can't believe it, just seven more days before the first race of the 2006 season. i'm already shaking in excitement.

i foresee the season to be a really smashing one. with the v8, the re-introduction of tyre changes, new qualifying format, eleven teams on the grid, and a new champion defending his title, there is so much to be looking forward to. a little something for everyone.

most teams will be back to square one in terms of car design with the smaller engine and revamped aerodynamics. the qualifying format will be confusing, but great for coming up with different strategies. tyre changes will create chaos in the pit, plus it'll make the cars faster yet safer. again, all of the above will depend on whose understanding of the new rules is better.

from the winter testing, three teams looked rock solid. renault, mclaren, and honda seem like the force to be reckon with. on the other hand, ferrari didn't look so good. they don't seem to have the reliability nor the speed. weather for the past week at mugello didn't seem to help as well. i'm not quite sure 2006 will be their year yet. time will tell.

it's quite disappointing. all signs are pointing to the fact that 2006 will be michael schumacher's last year. although he has put in maximum effort, the car just didn't impress at all. anyways, whether the car performs or not, michael may be looking forward to retirement after the media have been slaughtering him with endless retirement questions. honestly, i'd hate to see him leave the sport.

that's why 2006 is so interesting and important. there are so many things going on, i just don't want to miss anything. at the moment, i'll just be patiently counting down the days to the biggest motosport circus there is. man, it's such a drag.

previous posts:
2005 season review 3
2005 season review 2
2005 season review 1

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