Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tonio Liuzzi 5 place grid penalty - WTF?!

I’m all for racing and the spectacle of great moves but I think Liuzzi’s attempted bonsai into the first corner on Sunday at Monza was grossly irresponsible. He had a great start and had already managed to make up places before running up the inside of Kovalainen, who was making a move himself on a number of other cars lined up across the track. That inside line quickly disappears at the pit exit and it was remarkably silly of him to believe that the cars line astern across the track would all move over to let him in. To suggest that he was squeezed out by Kovalainen on the starting straight of a GP when he was the one making a move into an obviously closing wedge of track with a car that is also competing for position is ridiculous. It becomes even more stupid when you consider that his race pace is a good second or two slower per lap than the group of cars he was passing and he would have been overtaken again within a lap or two. What was he hoping to achieve?

What he did manage to achieve was a hair raising backwards slide at high speed into Nico Rosberg and Vitaly Petrov, two drivers expected to perform well at Monza and certainly finish in the points. Reckless, dangerous and downright dumb. And what is the punishment? A five place grid penalty at Singapore. The Italian race stewards can’t be serious can they? What sort of penalty is that for a driver who is most likely to qualify at the back of the grid? The punishment does not fit the crime. Liuzzi should have been personally fined and reprimanded publicly. I’ve had enough of watching drivers do completely stupid things and then coming out in the press trying to blame everyone and everything apart from themselves.

If you missed the race here’s the footage of the start:

Monday, September 5, 2011

Bruno Senna... the real deal?!

OK, so I admit it, I get a nostalgic little tingling inside whenever the name Bruno Senna comes up. He has more to live up to than he ever possibly could, and credit where credit is due, a name only gets you so far, he's worked hard to get where he is. But I have a niggling question in the back of my mind... is Bruno Senna the real deal?!

It's been an interesting year for Bruno. After taking the decision to switch from a race seat to a testing seat with a more competitive team in Renault (which I think was the right thing to do), disaster strikes for Renault No 1 driver Robert Kubica and it looks momentarily as if Bruno may wind up with a race seat after all. However, instead of promoting their newly signed test driver Renault decides to go with the known quantity of Nick Heidfeld as replacement for Kubica in the 2011 season. Now, much later in the season, Heidfeld is dropped from the team due to "lack of leadership" (another blog post surely) and Senna's number comes up again. This time he's announced as the race driver for the squad to the end of the season. Here is THE opportunity. His performance at HRT left a lot of people scratching their heads... now he gets one more chance to prove himself.

So he goes out and completes an amazing qualifying performance on Saturday at Spa winding up 7th on the grid in front of Alonso, and more importantly in front of team mate Vitaly Petrov. Great pace and an outstanding performance in the first competitive drive for Renault... we all sit up to watch what will happen next. Unfortunately what came next was very disappointing. A clumsily overcooked entry into Turn 1 off the starting grid on Sunday resulted in him taking out the hapless Jaime Alguersuari on the first corner after his stunning qualifying effort, and cost Senna a drive-through penalty. In the end his Renault finished outside the points in 13th place.

Mistakes happen... blah, blah, blah. I had to smile when I read's post-race Q & A with Senna here: OK, it's his first race back and there is a lot of pressure, but seriously, 8.5 out of 10 for performance? I wonder what his famous Uncle would have said if asked the same question? I wonder what someone like Alonso would have said? I'm pretty sure it would have been along the lines of 0 out of 10... You race to win. No points is not acceptable, especially in a car that is entirely capable of scoring points. Mistakes like the one Bruno made into Turn 1 are complete race spoilers and utterly unacceptable. He cost himself, and more importantly his team, any chance of a points position. You don't get 8.5 out of 10. You get 0.

I don't know, maybe I'm just getting old, but to me first race back or not that type of soft self-critique displays a different breed of driver... someone who doesn't have the fire of a Champion burning deep inside. And he's not the only one.

Despite all that, he's got that name. Senna. It brings viewers and sponsors and gives people like me a buzz to think about the possibilities. And if he can get points finishes and outshine Petrov over the next couple of rounds, 2012 may be shining very brightly for him. And, let's all be honest, there is something positively AWESOME about seeing that famous green/gold/black helmet design poking out of the cockpit from a car dressed in such evokative black/gold livery. Nostalgia plus! Come on Bruno... show us you've got what it takes... show us some SENNA magic!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Back on Track

I know it's almost the end of fricken March, but Happy New Year to ya'll.
It's taken me a while to get back on here but FINALLY the new season is upon us and it's time to crank up the No 1 spot on the internet for the completely star struck ramblings of an F1 obsessive again.

Oh. My. God!!
Round 1 is this weekend... and can I just say that 2009 is already shaping up to be one of the most exciting seasons in years.

Radically changed design regulations have resulted in all the teams going back to the drawing board and launching brand spanking new runners for this season. There's been a lot of talk about leveling the playing field... of course, for the most part, we know that just aint gonna happen, but there have definitely been some surprises so far... who the hell is Ross Brawn anyway?! ;-p

The World Economic Crisis is in full swing but thankfully only Honda pulled out of F1 during the off season. In that respect it will be a long year for some teams as they try to attract major sponsors for 2010 and onwards. And one also has to wonder whether there will be as much Cristal and bling at this year's Monaco GP.

OK, so enough with the intro's... you know all that already.
Let's get the show on the road with my overview of the teams and an opening prediction based on pre-season testing.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

2009 French Grand Prix CANCELLED!

Rumours have been circulating for some time now that the European races in particular may be feeling the financial pinch and I guess this proves it.

The French Motorsport Federation (FFSA) has announced that they will not hold a French GP in 2009 because of economic problems. Given the current financial climate they do not believe that they’ll be able to run a profitable event. In recent years the group has struggled with the annual 10% increase in fees it has needed to pay the Formula One Group. The Magny Cours race has been under fire for some time from drivers, teams and most importantly Bernie. It was surprising that they managed to hold on for this long. The FFSA have been reviewing applications for the 2010 French GP which will be hosted somewhere more ‘exotic’ and promoted by a new group. The FFSA will no longer be promoter but will remain the sanctioning body.

That leaves 17 races on the calendar for 2009… unless the Formula One Group can work something out.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fernando Alonso – A man for all seasons

What can I say?
Fernando Alonso scored his second consecutive victory in Sunday’s Japanese GP. Winning a single race this season seemed inconceivable even to him just a few short months ago. The Renault R28 chassis has been disappointing and the RS27 engine is lagging 20hp behind other cars on the grid and yet Fernando can still win. And in style. He bunny-hopped Kubica during the first round of pit stops, stayed out in front and controlled the race comfortably. He was never really threatened. And take a look at the guys lap times. He’s like a metronome. He’s so consistent. Flawless. Anyone misguided enough to believe Fernando Alonso isn’t everything he’s cracked up to be is SADLY mistaken.

Alonso is by far and away the most complete package in F1. Even early this year when he stepped back into a Renault which everyone knew wasn’t competitive enough to make him a serious title contender he had the eye of the tiger. He’s more passionate about F1 and racing than most other drivers are in their rookie season… and that’s why he’ll be World Champion again. He’s still as hungry as ever for it! He may behave like a prat sometimes but you’ve gotta love that fiery passion. 2008 may be all wrapped up for Fernando but what does the 2009 season hold in store? I can’t wait to find out!!

PS – The early report is for rain on Sunday in China!!! And we know how Massa enjoys the rain… not. Remember Silverstone?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Why Robert Kubica will one day be Champion

There has been a definite decline in the performance of the BMW-Sauber car in the latter half of the season so Kubica’s second place on Sunday in Japan are all the more impressive. Kubica qualified well and pushed through to the lead avoiding the first corner melee started by Hamilton. He was overtaken by Alonso in a perfectly balanced Renault during the first round of pit stops and didn’t have the performance to peg him back. During the graining phase on his last set of tyres Raikkonen was able to close the gap from third position and place him under immense pressure. And that’s where Kubica demonstrated an entirely different side to his usual aggressive style. He kept a level head and defended his position from a rampaging Ferrari with a vastly more experienced current World Champion behind the wheel for several laps in a display of defensive driving skills that I haven’t seen the likes of in years. His tyres eventually cleared up and he managed to pull away slightly from Raikkonen to finish comfortably in second.Kubica’s second in Japan also scored him enough points to put him within 7 points of Massa in the Drivers World Championship.

He’s still a slim outside chance for the title but one can only wonder… what would have happened if BMW-Sauber hadn’t stopped developing their car early in the season to focus on the 2009 build? What if they hadn’t pooled all their race team resources behind a struggling Nick Heidfeld? Don’t get me wrong… I adore the BMW-Sauber team… but if they had have offered Kubica their full attention in 2008 could they have walked away with the Championship? Dr Mario better have his shiznitz together next year or he'll lose his REAL star driver.

Lewis’ ego gets the better of him

You have a seven point buffer in the World Championship, you’ve qualified first on the grid and your only real title rival has qualified fifth. All you have to do is keep it on the track and stay in front of your title rival to keep your Championship secure. Nothing else matters. Unless, that is, you have an ego as big as Lewis Hamilton’s… in which case you’ll out-brake yourself and go way too deep into turn one trying to regain a position from someone who is absolutely no threat to your Championship, take most of the front runners off the track into the overrun area and flat spot your tyres so badly that you’re forced to pit before you’ve even started racing. Hamilton’s blunder was compounded when Massa finished the race seventh and closed the Championship gap to 5 points. Lewis Hamilton got it ALL wrong in Japan.

At the start of this season I thought Lewis would romp it in. He came SO close last year. He outwardly (to the Press) conducted himself in a mature and professional manner despite all the pressure and the soap-opera happening at McLaren throughout the year. He got a boot load of experience in his rookie season and the scene was set for 2008. When Raikkonen slumped at the start of the season I knew his main rival would be Massa… someone I thought was way too erratic and inconsistent to trouble Hamilton. Wrong. It turns out that Massa became more consistent toward the latter half of the season and Hamilton disappeared up his own bum.

He still leads the Championship by 5 points and the scene is set for an AMAZING season finale… but in the last few rounds Hamilton has lost a lot of respect from his peers and fans with his arrogant behaviour and borderline dangerous driving. Even good friends like Robert Kubica have criticised his behaviour. I still have my money on him for the 2008 Championship but I’m almost hoping I lose it.