Sunday, April 2, 2006 6:09:05 AM
WOW!!! What a race. Way too much happened to put it all down. 10 cars out in total. Last position was 13th. We even had a spinout during the formation lap and Fisichella stalled on the grid. HAHAHA I really don't know what to make of this race.
Alonso wins again, but the real winners this race are the BMW team. Sure, I'm biased, but WOW! 4th and 6th place for Heidfeld and Villeneuve respectively. Villeneuve started in 19th and steadily came back into the points. So both Villeneuve and Heidfeld have 5 points each. BMW must be ecstatic.
Lap 1 was quite eventful. Rosberg is clipped by Massa who then slams into the wall. Both are out right away. Then Klein hits the wall around lap 5. Webber's driveshaft or some other problem puts him on the side of the road with 34 laps left. Micheal Shumacher out around lap 24. He went off the road and hit a bump that sent him into the wall. I think he was being too aggressive trying to get back into it even though he didn't have the grip he wanted. It was entertaining to see the wild driving. And with 11 laps remaining, Montoya is out. I forget why exactly.
But the excitement was on the very last lap with Fisichella putting pressure on Webber for 5th place (I think). Then just yards from the finish line, Webber's engine goes up in flames in dramatic fashion and has to park on the side of the road with the finish line directly in front of him.
Quite an entertaining race. And it didn't even rain. I can just imagine if it did. Until next time.
Saturday, April 1, 2006 5:18:19 AM
Well, third race of the season for my OT (off topic) blog entry and there are still reliability issues with the cars and motors. Ide, Rosberg, Massa, Michael Schumacher and Barrichello all had problems today. I don't know why, but Massa's wipeout made me laugh. It looked like he had it back in control, then he spun out. In case you're wondering, I'll be keeping an eye on Villeneuve this season to see what he can do. But I'm interested in all drivers. Especially Rosberg. He had problems today, but he's showing some real promise.
So Villeneuve changed engines and he will drop back 10 places from his 9th position in qualifying. First time getting to the final qualifying round this season. I'm unsure if he's the only one dropping back though. Either way, worst starting position is 19, but there's only 22 cars in all. Heidfeld qualified 8th and should have a good chance at points if his engine can endure the race.
There were lots of debris and spinouts today. An entertaining qualifying format for sure compared to previous years. I think I like it. I'm wondering if teams won't just take the 10 position penalty most of the time rather than risk being out of the race. JV did it for this race. And I'm sure other teams will do the same. Is this 10 position penalty just a nuissance? It can't give other teams an advantage other than perhaps to teams that are fast AND reliable. But then, they would already have an advantage. At first, I thought it may have been a cool idea. Now, I'm not so sure. Finishing the race is priority #1. The 10 position penalty is not going to affect the decision of the team if the engine is thought to not be able to finish the race.
Will it rain or no? See you on the grid!
Sunday, March 19, 2006 9:27:37 AM
Well, that was mildly entertaining. Especially the first 16 laps. I guess this year's theme is engine failure. Just a note first that this is a programming blog, so there'll be a paragraph or two at the end on that. Don't worry, it's nothing involved.
So right off the grid, I saw two things. It was hard to keep up. I still find it hilarious how jam packed they are. The middle of the pack is toughest because you're right in the middle of it. If something goes wrong, chances are you'll get hit. And Villeneuve started in 10th, but he lucked out this time and was ok. His partner Heidfeld, riding for BMW as well, was able to jump ahead 4 positions into 6th. That was the first thing I saw.
The next one was hard to miss with Kimi Raikkonen being run off because he tagged Klein on his back tire. Or was it the other way around? Who knows. In any case, I hope Kimi doesn't gamble because he has the worst luck I've ever seen. Klein had to get the suspension fixed or something and then came back out later. But both their races were effectively over.
Shortly after, Rosberg of Williams went up in flames. Do these cars have some kind of extinguishing material that shoots out or what? Or was that smoke? In any case, all the exits were rather spectacular.
Next, Coulthard has hydrolic failure and he can no longer change gears. His car also goes up in smokes. So both Red Bull cars are out and a disaster race for the team.
Then, I'm not sure what happened. This was rather weird in that Jacques Villeneuve moved over to let Michael Shumacher go by. This must have been called in by the racing director. There's just no way JV would just move over like that. We'll have to see what was up with that. This was around lap 11 or 12 I'd say.
Then around lap 13, Trulli starts driving like an 80 year old. At the exact same spot for three consecutive laps, someone passed him. First, it was Micheal Schumacher, then Villeneuve and then Massa. During the same lap that Massa passed Trulli, Webber goes out. Not sure what happened there, but both Williams are now out not even 20 laps into it.
The rest of the race (56 laps total), was rather uneventful until the very end. Ide goes out with 19 laps remaining and then with 7 laps remaining and in 5th position, Heidfeld of BMW goes up in flames as well. Villeneuve was in 8th, so the team was expecting at least 5 points at that time. With Heidfeld out, Villeneuve moves up to 7th and collects his 2 points. Not bad, but that's gotta suck for Heidfeld who had a great race up to that point.
Renault the clear winners in this race. To a lesser extent, Ferrari came out well from starting the race with penalties and BMW being in the points, even with Heidfeld's loss if you compare things with last year. Honda and McLaren also scored points with Button and Montoya respectively.
Seems like this year's theme is clearly engine failure. With eight cars out this race, it seems that reliability is a real concern. And now, everyone who's changed their engines for this race must use this same engine in the next race. This includes Villeneuve, both Ferraris, Ralf Shumacher and a couple others. The rest of the field can change engines. With Heidfeld's engine failing, and Villeneuve's engine failing during the first race, the odds seem stacked against BMW in the next race. This holds true for Ferrari as well with three engine changes.
To keep this in theme with the rest of the blog, I think there are crossovers with racing and programming. First, racing has always been a source of entertainment for video games. From Pole Position to Forza Motorsport, these games have really pushed the limits in terms of quality. F1 always meant top of the line when it comes to technology, so it's a good fit that these games also thrive for the same amount of excellence.
While the costs of F1 are exhorbitant, we should always strive for excellence and I find that this is lacking in most every commercial enterprise. Sure, they SAY they want excellence. But is that really what they want, or is it more to make you feel good about where you work and company image? Hey, they might even believe it. The point is that when people don't know what excellence is, they'll label it on something mediocre. And that's happening at an all too alarming rate. It's time we bring back quality to everything we do so that we can move on to bigger and more important things.
Back to F1
What does this mean for the future of F1? Will we see more engines burst into flames? Absolutely! And the tire changes are much more boring than I remember them. Is there only one bolt now? That's retarded. Make them work for it. Six to eight bolts minimum. One bolt!? Man, talk about taking the challenge out of pitting. Soon, they'll teleport the tires right on the car as they're driving.
The real issue with F1 is the cars themselves. Massa was second last on the starting grid and finished something like 5th, one position ahead of Michael Shumacher. Massa and Villeneuve were about even all last season and now Massa is this much of a better driver even though he locked his wheel countless times during the race? No! Let's be realistic. It's the car. That's why saying Schumacher is the greatest driver is ridiculous. Everybody knows that F1 is a race between engineers and manufacturers and less about the actual drivers. Yet, I'll still keep watching. It's more because I want to see how the whole soap opera will end more than who will end up on the podium.
Never know. Something may happen to change this around. McLaren had a bad start, but with better luck (and it can't get worse), they could turn things around. Renault is now the team to beat and Ferrari burning through motors like a hot knife through butter should make for somewhat of an interesting season.
Not sure if I'll make this a regular segment on this blog. The races are quite late here and I don't catch them all the time. In any case, hope you enjoyed the change of pace into the fast lane.
Sunday, March 19, 2006 4:38:41 AM
For those accustomed to the programming aspect of this blog, this one is different. In a few hours, the Formula 1 race in somewhere much hotter than it is here will begin. Every now and then, it's nice to take a break from the norm and jump into something else.
I don't particularly understand everything going on in F1. One thing that is obvious is money. The more money you have, the better your chances. The FIA or whomever is responsible has decided to introduce new rules this year. Let's see if I can't sum them up. Realise that I may have some of these wrong because they are a little tricky.
The first is tires (they call them tyres). They are now allowed to change them unlike last year. Not changing tires is like removing rollercoasters from amusement parks. It's not the whole thing, but it really sucks when it's not there. Seven sets of dry weather tires, four sets of wet tires, and three sets of extreme weather. They have to pick the compound before the race for dry tires. Harder compounds last longer, but have less grip. Softer compound have more grip, but wear down faster. I think these amounts are per race and per team. So the two drivers may have to share, but I'm not sure on this last point.
Next is engines. V8's only unless you're broke. Then you can "turn off" two cylinders from a V10. Limited to 200bph. Whatever that b means.
Then there is the qualifying. Now that I've seen it, I can better explain although some parts confuse me. There are three sessions. So the total 22 cars running is also split into three sections after the fact. All 22 go around for 15 minutes using whatever fuel and tires they want and try to get the fastest laps they can to not be in the bottom 6. The bottom 6 lap times after 15 minutes start on the grid in position 17 to 22 come the actual race day. They are now out of qualifying and will not participate in the following two rounds.
The second part of qualifying is exactly like the first filling the next 6 spots from grid position 11 to 16. These drivers are now out too and will not participate in the final qualifying session. Only the remaining 10 drivers will participate. Note that in all sessions, the drivers can go out at any time, but must finish their laps before the time runs out.
The last session is different. Of course it is! The FIA wouldn't have it any other way. First, it's a 20 minute time limit. And you can finish your last lap after the time runs out as long as you're already on the track. Then it gets weirder. Whatever amount of fuel you put into your tank at the start of this final qualifying session is what you will start the race with. So you will be allowed to refill your tank at before race time to what it was when you started this qualifying session. The other 12 drivers do not have this limitation and can put whatever fuel they want come race day. But what happens now is that for over 15 minutes, the drivers burn fuel in order to get lighter and get faster lap times. Not only that, but it's unlikely to be as lively as the second session because everyone has heavier fuel loads so lap times are down from the previous session. Each of the three qualifying sessions is independant. So this last one is slower than the second. And it's quite boring for the first part, so the TV stations cut to MANY commercials during this time. Not only that, but you can't follow every car because they're all on the track at the same time, especially during the initial round with all 22 cars out on the track. And drivers will slow each other down if they meet making things rather frustrating on all accounts.
However, it does hold some entertainment value, if only for the circus act that everyone must go through. My personal feeling is that the fuel load thing puts a kink in the qualifying. Not just this year, but the past couple years. If everyone was limited by fuel load, then laps would get progressively faster near the end. Or take it away completely. I'm not really sure what this fuel load thing adds. Some are even contemplating lapping in at 11th if they're not confident they can get in the first 6 grid positions at race time. That way, they're free to use whatever fuel strategy they wish or alter it if they so choose.
As to the races, there's only been one so far, so it's a little early to say how it's going to go. But there doesn't seem to be any real surprises. Alonso is still hot. Kimi is still ticked about hardware failure (not just the computer kind although it has happened). Villeneuve appears to have moved up to 10th rather than his usual 14th. Rather frustrating that he's limited by the hardware again. Heidfeld is getting similar times, so it's obvious that they can drive faster if they had a faster car. Now they also have reliability problems with Villeneuve's engine going up in flames. Speaking of which, we had what? 4 or 5 engine failures? Ralf blowing his during qualifying. That's gotta suck.
That's another rule, if you blow your engine during the week, then you lose 10 positions on the grid for the next race. And your engine has to last at least two events before you can change it. BUT!!! didn't think it was that easy, did you? If you blow your engine during the race by no fault of the driver's or mechanics or whatnot, and can't complete the race, then you are not penalised. That's why Villeneuve is not penalised, but everyone else is. Villeneuve's engine went up in flames rather impressively during the race, but everyone one else's engine failed at other times.
It's rather like watching two child siblings make up the rules as they go when they're playing because they just want an edge on the other. You just can't figure out who's going to win because the rules are so whacked! This is what F1 has turned into.
F1, although exciting in some areas, is a downer in most others. It's rarely exciting because the passing is rather difficult and with people like good ol' Michael Schumacher who will not let you pass unless you're willing to end up on the pitch. I wouldn't mind Schumacher much, but people saying that he's the best driver ever in F1 is just plain wrong. The only way to determine that is by having both drivers in the same car. Not at the same time. That would be disturbing. In any case, it would be boring if everyone had the same car. No disrespect to NASCAR, but that crap is boring as hell. The accidents are cool. Whoever thought of putting 80 cars on the same track is nuts.
At least this year, we'll have tire changes again. Without the possibility of racers changing position, it's no longer a race. That's what made some of recent years quite boring. With all the crazy ideas that the FIA had lately, I'm surprised they haven't allowed tracks with multiple courses. Where you can go one way or the other, but you must travel both the same number of times. That would be cool and would allow for some interesting possibilities. Maybe have it that you can't use the same road more than 5 times in a row. It would cause problems with the track heating up too if everyone went the same way. When entering the new section for the first time, you'd have to be careful. Hey, accidents works for NASCAR. It should work for F1 too.
I'll post another entry after the race. Doubt anyone will catch this entry in time. But let's see if Kimi gets explosive this year too!