Tuesday, 3 May 2011
Put the Chocolate and wedding cake down, we're back to racing.
Right, has everyone had enough chocolate and wedding cake ? Good, then I'll begin.
Welcome back to Europe and round four of the F1 world championship. It’s always good to be back in Europe with the crowds and the history and the whole, “this in where motor racing began vibe”. Except we’re in Turkey which has no history, no vibe and no punters in the stands usually.
Which is a shame really, because i rather like this circuit because I think Tilke just about got this one right with its majestic sweeping turn 8 into the daring do turn 9 and 10 before the balls out fast run through turn 11. The rest of the track is a bit Mickey Mouse and all over the show, but turns 8 onward are a real test of daring drivers and fast cars. That’s the sort of thing I like.
So it’s about carrying the speed through the twisty bits and keeping up the momentum for the long straight after turn 10. That’s where the race is won or lost, well I think it is, so it must be true. This year it’s seems to be all about keeping the tires alive longer than the other chaps. If you can push at the end of the race whilst others are hanging on for the line, you stand a good chance of getting some points, maybe even a win. I expect Turkey to be similar to China, in that teams with fresh rubber are going to have the advantage.
So “what’s been happening these last three weeks then?”, I hear you ask.
Well News corp. Have confirmed they’d quite like a slice of the F1 action, along with an Italian investment company that counts FIAT as a major client. Ferrari is obviously in more trouble than we though. Ho ho. It’s all at the “well, how much is it worth then? “, stage of negotiations. Personally I don’t think the likes of Murdoch should be allowed to get their avaricious hands on the sport. Before you know it, it’ll all be about cheers leaders and five minute breaks after 15 laps for adverts and stuff. Less racing and more razzamatazz, if you think DRS and KERS is terrible, wait for the increase in wings size to increase advertising space.
McLaren have been grumbling about the Redbull car yet again. Asking pointed questions about the use of engine mapping to change the exhaust characteristic during qualifying. Mostly they’re annoyed they didn’t think of it first.
Talking of annoyed about not thinking of things, Ferrari are apparently bringing a whole new car, with new wings front and rear to sort out the lack of down force issue. Yet the team is still talking down its chances here, "But our car has a lot to recover: we've had wind tunnel problems and other problems in our methodology” said the chief designer, Nikolas Tombazis. Ferrari doesn’t normally admit they’ve got things horribly wrong, so I’m guessing things must really be bad.
The boys at Williams wish they just had to contend with a lack of down force. The car has been an utter dog thus far, frightening the likes of Lotus and Virgin at the back of the grid. Things have got so bad they they’ve fired (sorry, accepted the resignation of) Sam Michael and hired the disgraced former head of engineering at McLaren, Mike Coughlan. He, you may remember, got caught half inching the blue prints of the 2007 Ferrari before the FIA found out and Max started throwing his weight around. Coughlin’s been over in America for the last few years waiting for the fall out to subside. Now he’s back, let’s see if he can bring anything to the once great Williams team. Personally I think this is the same as sticking a plaster on the hulk of the Titanic and claiming it’s all going to be fine if the band could just start up again please. Firing your team manager and engineering chief after 3 races is never a recipe for success.
Talking of rubbish circuits run by morally questionable dictatorships, Bahrain has been given until to the 3rd of June to either shoot all the peasants or clean its act up and join the rest of us in the 21st century. I think Bernie might move this date back and back and back until either everyone is dead, or it really is unacceptable to have a Grand Prix in the middle of a revolution.
Over at Lotus and Trulli has revealed that the reason he’s not won a GP yet this year, is because the power steering in his car is a bit rubbish ... No Jarno, you are a bit rubbish and should stick to wine making and leave the real driving to the professionals. Apparently the lack of power steering “hampers his ability to feel what the car is doing” it’s going forward really really slowly Jarno hahahahaahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaa ha
Lotus F1 (the green ones) have also announced that they now have the rights to Caterham cars (the ones that look like a lotus) and will be building F1 Caterhams and selling them now. Maybe they can give one to Trulli and see if he’s any faster in that !
Whilst HRT are up for beating Virgin this time out, a feat i think might well be doable as Virgin continue try to learn the Russian for “can we have some money please, comrade” I really think we’ll be seeing the back of Virgin before we wave goodbye to the HRT underdogs. Things are not looking at all rosy for the Virgin boys who may have been a bit premature in taking the Russian Rubles.
Kubica has finally left hospital, but there’s still no word on a future return.
Finally Mickey Schumacher believes that “Mercedes will be fast in Turkey”. He won’t but Nico might.
More dispatches from Julian Bowdidge
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