The Haphazard Blog

Racing

Formula 1 2010 Season

by on Apr.04, 2010, under Racing, Sports

I’ve watched the first three F1 races this season and there has been a good mix to this point.

The first race had three new teams (six cars) and some rules changes. They took out KERS (I wish they would’ve kept it as an option) and banned race refueling. I like the safety implications of banning race refueling. I’d complain that it makes all the cars have the same weight throughout the whole race, but I don’t think it really mattered since they went back to a single tire manufacturer. So the race felt somewhat like a parade. It was relatively boring at the front of the field. Most changes in position occurred via pit stop timing or attrition.

The second race was a rain affair. Rain always makes a race interesting. Somehow, the tool Jenson Button managed to win the race with pit strategy. Sebastian Vettel once again was leading the race before he had another problem. That is two races for him. That is the kind of problem that could cost a driver a championship.

Today’s race was the best of them all so far. Two of the top teams (McLaren and Ferrari) royally screwed up qualifying. They started near the back and had to get their way to the front. The driver I’m supporting this year (I seem to pick a team and/or driver to get behind a couple races into the season), Lewis Hamilton, was able to get through the field. He was able to pass guys that no one else could in the beginning of the race. I think this also displayed a huge flaw in the cars. We would see guys like Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso gaining up to two seconds a lap on the guy in front of them, but as soon as they caught them, they were unable to get past them. I feel like they should be able to get by with that kind of advantage. They still have work to do with the aerodynamics and get even more mechanical grip. My other (minor) complaint is that they warned Lewis Hamilton for excessive weaving. There’s no question he was weaving side-to-side, but he was the lead car. The FIA consistently lets people block by weaving with no warning. Hamilton wasn’t making the move in reaction to another car, so I don’t get the complaint.

In the end, Vettel finally got the win that alluded him in the first 2 races. I want to see a race where the fast guys qualify as expected and the race is dry to see if the first race was an aberration, or if that was a preview of what the majority races will bring in 2010. Also, I’m surprised we are 3 races in and there haven’t been any technical controversies.

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Jenson Button Will Always be a Tool

by on Oct.21, 2009, under Racing, Sports

With the demise of American open wheel racing, I’m left with one racing series I like: Formula 1. This season has been interesting and uninteresting at times. The changes from last season to this season (chassis, KERS, slick tires) made the beginning of the season a wild card.

The top teams from the previous season, Ferrari and McLaren, were caught off guard when Brawn (formerly Honda) took advantage of a loophole in the chassis specification that let them generate significantly more downforce. With in-season testing banned, it would be a long time before the teams who didn’t figure out the loophole before the season started would catch up.

Brawn and Jenson Button streaked out to win 6 of the first 7 races. People who know me, know that I think Jenson Button sucks. Up to this season, he’s been racing in Formula 1 for 8 years, had 150 or so starts and won one race because of heavy rain. Way better drivers have come and gone. I think the only reason he wasn’t shown the door was he was the most promising British driver when he started and then no one else came along (David Coulthard preferred to be called Scottish). After this season, he would’ve been done. Lewis Hamilton was the man. Instead, he lucked into getting the best car on the grid and built up enough of a lead with those early wins, he’ll win the championship. Predictably, he has fallen right back as soon as the competition put better cars on the road. He can’t even do better than his teammate.

(As an aside, this does give Danica Patrick some real hope. As she continues to hold on to her seat, she may luck into a car that is superior and win as well.)

This Renault mess is interesting. After they fired Nelson Piquet Jr., he revealed that he was told to crash in a race last season to help his teammate win the race. Not the best move on his part to rat out his former team after the fact, a.k.a. pulling an Eric Mangini. If his F1 career wasn’t over before, it is now. The demand for crappy drivers who can’t bring buckets of money with them is non-existent in F1. As expected, the FIA came down hard. Flavio Briatore got the worst of it. Not only did he receive a lifetime ban from F1, but they also banned him from being involved in anything that is FIA sanctioned. And as the cherry on top, they stated no driver he manages will be granted a superlicense to drive in F1.

In the end, I just haven’t been that excited about this season. It started out exciting with underdogs dominating, but it quickly got old as I realized how castrated the sport has become. No one could really catch up over the course of the season. The entire season was won during the off season (and in Brawn’s case, during the previous season when they decided, screw it, this car sucks, let’s work on 2009). With all the limitations, it has hurt the competitiveness in my opinion. I agree there needs to be cost controls, but they are in the wrong places at times.

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