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Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: The Formula 1 Thread
A few months ago I watched a Formula 1 race accidentally, and I found that, quite unlike every other time I've watched F1, it was immensely enjoyable.  Since then I've watched every race and had a great time reading up on the cars, the tech, the racers, and even the background politicking.

Today there was some fascinating news: Michael Schumacher is coming out of retirement to race for Ferrari after Felipe Massa had a nasty accident last weekend.

Wow. 

From F1Fanatic:

Schumacher will be racing the F60 - a car he has never driven - at the Circuito Urbano Valencia - a track he hasn’t raced on before.

I don't have a lot of love for Schumacher, he tends to play dirty, but...  Well, this is going to be a fantastic race.


Talking a bit about Massa's accident, here's some discussion from F1Fanatic (again)

So let’s figure it out. How bad is it, exactly, if an 800-gram coil spring hits you in the head at 160 mph?
The punch it packs is worse than being shot.

[...]

- 100 mph fastball from Nolan Ryan: 145 joules
- Barry Bonds’ swing (33 oz. bat at 70 mph): 458 joules
- 9mm handgun: 513 joules
- .44 Magnum handgun: 1,510 joules
- The spring that hit Massa (800 grams at 160 mph): 2,046 joules
- AK-47 (7.62mm round): 2,599 joules
- 12 gauge shotgun slug: 3,580 joules
- The wheel that killed Henry Surtees (an estimated 12 kg at 120 mph): 17,267 joules

WOW.  It gets better:

By the numbers above, Massa would have been 14 times better off being hit by Nolan Ryan fastball. He would have been four times better off letting Barry Bonds take a full-force swing at his head. For that matter, in terms of sheer energy, he’d have been better off letting Barry Bonds hit him in the head at the same instant that someone shot him point-blank with Dirty Harry’s gun.
BLEARGH
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Member since Feb 2008 · 6 posts · Location: Tassie
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haha, i especially enjoyed the mention of a simultaneous hit from dirty harry's magnum and some baseballer (i'm assuming?) being less trauma

when's the race?
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Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: The Turkish Grand Prix
What an awesome, awesome race. Best of the year? Second best? Wow, it was great! Wife and I were on the edge of the couch for most of it.

The Vettel / Webber crash was stunning, we couldn't believe it. No one's really impressed with Vettel, but it didn't cost anyone but him in the long run: he dropped three places in the standings, and Webber maintained his championship lead with the third-place points. I'd have been gutted if Schumacher had passed Webber, but all things considered it wasn't so bad.

I loved the 3-man Q&A at the end of the race with Hamilton, Button and Webber. While Button's addressing the press, Hamilton - unable to control his curiousity - turns to Webber and asks him what had happened. Webber, completely deadpan, describes the incident with his hands. Was anyone paying attention to Button as these two whispered away right next to him, as Webber slams his left hand into his right to describe Vettel's manoeuver? It was hilarious, we laughed our asses off.

Webber kept control of his temper nicely when prodded for a reaction, and good on 'im for it. Like he said though, and I believe this to be true, his victory was not a foregone conclusion. With barely half a second between him and the steadily faster competition (Vettel, Button, Hamilton) who were all doing faster laps than Webber, anything could have happened in the last eight laps.

Bloody good race, well worth watching.

(And whose girlfriend was that we kept seeing hopping up and down? Button's? Damn, she was not unattractive!)
BLEARGH
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Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Rubbish race last night, in Germany.  We fell asleep halfway through.  Woke up to find Alonso had been handed a win when Ferrari subtly hinted that Massa should relinquish his well deserved first place.  F1 is starting to seem like an expensive reality show, with each episode featuring drama and intrigue in a new location.

I like the UK's Telegraph's take on the race win.  Michael Schumacher came out in support of Ferrari for their decision to have Massa give up his lead.  It's no surprise, the rule against such fiddling (which the commentators were discussing long before Ferrari actually did it) was put in place 'cause Ferrari did it to help Schumacher himself win.

Quote by The Telegraph[/url:
Here’s an easy way to decide debates about sporting morality. 1. See which side Michael Schumacher’s on. 2. Take the other side. Rarely will you be in the wrong.

That rings kinda true IMO. 

I found the post-race Q&A to be entirely hilarious.  While I haven't seen it, I've read the transcript and it's great.  Alonso's defensive over it, deflecting direct questions with comments about how it was surely a deserved win 'cause they were very quick in qualifying, etc.  There are so many questions flying t'wards Alonso that, when one reporter asks him a question, Vettel answers:

Quote by F1 Fanatic Transcript:
Q. (Ian Parkes, The Press Association) Fernando, you’ve said that you’re happy with this win but to be honest, I’ve never seen a driver look less happy in the middle of a podium there today, and in the middle of this press conference here. Why can’t you just be honest with us for once, and just admit that this win was handed to you on a plate today?

SV: Can I go?

Bahaha, no doubt.  It must have sucked to be up there with two guys who've just been asked to, and did, break the rules.  Alonso then encourages Vettel to stay, and the next question comes Vettel's way:

Quote by F1 Fanatic Transcript:
(Miran Alisic, Korpmedia) I have a question for Sebastian. I think you had some not similar but close situations with Mark as well. Do you feel proud that what has happened at Ferrari today hasn’t happened in your team?

SV: Don’t you have another question maybe? Yeah, maybe they should have crashed. I don’t know

That's extra funny when you consider two previous events: Vettel swerved into Webber and knocked him out of first place in Japan 2010, and Nelson Piquet Jr's intentional crash to preserve a race victory for his teammate in Singapore last year.  Suggesting that crashing is an option when it's time to resolve team places is hilarious.

IMO Felipe Massa handled himself very well.  Despite being told to give up his race lead, he didn't sling shit, and simply said that he accepted orders from the people who pay him to do exactly that.  It was exactly a year ago that Massa was hospitalized following a collision with a piece of suspension on this same track, so if ever there should have been a beautiful, sweet victory, the one he had to give up last night was definitely it.

Pretty disgusting.
BLEARGH
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Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: F1 Hungary 2010
What a fantastic race, wow!  We're in Japan currently, so couldn't watch it live (ever since Toyota pulled out they don't broadcast all races, and rarely live), and FujiTV does a piss-poor job of broadcasting in Japan, with silly sound effects and pop-up icons and so on, but even in Japanese (no English audio track!?) it was an incredible race.

Pit chaos!  The lollipop man who released Kubica into Sutil is probably working hard to defend his job today.  Wiped out both cars.

Schumacher was rightfully penalized for his disgusting attempt to annihilate Barrichelo against the pit wall when the latter passed him(and what a post-race comment from the Rubens!  "If he wants to go to heaven before me – if he goes to heaven, I don’t know if he goes to heaven. But if he wants to go before me, go up or down, I don’t want to go before him.  -Rubens Barrichello"  Yeah!

And Vettel, what a whiner.  He was hanging way way back behind the safety car, slowing Alonso down, when FIA rules mandate no more than a 10-car length behind the next car.  He was penalized with a drive-through penalty, but he was whinging about it, screaming during the race "Why do I have a drive through?  Why do I have a drive through?"  Shut up and take your penalty, man, you're embarassing yourself!  While doing the drive through he was shaking his hands and making gestures through the pits.  And after the race, no doubt after his team reminded him of the rule he forgot and explained in small words why he was penalized, he was still whining to the press.  "I don't understand why I was penalized.  I should have won the race."  Asshat, you don't deserve shit.

Fantastic race, and a storming performance by Webber, who didn't pit with the rest of the field, putting him in front and giving him a chance to create a 22 second gap between him and Alonso (who was in turn holding back Vettel, heh).   When Webber finally did pit, he did so without losing first place. 

Loved it.
BLEARGH
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Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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As you might recall from two posts ago Ferrari and Fernando Alonso were in trouble for issuing 'team orders'.  F1 rules state that orders affecting the outcome of a race are prohibited.  Ferrari was issued a $100,000 fine with later punishment to be determined.  Well, yesterday the ruling came down: no further punishment.  I'm surprised by this, as it essentially means any team can issue team orders for a mere $100,000.  That's basically pocket money in F1.

The Italians favour the team over the driver, unlike many other countries where fans are emotionally invested in the driver.  Fewer Italians are outraged by the team orders than fans in other countries.  Fernando seems to go to some lengths to try and rationalize the move, as seen here (FA = Fernando Alonso):

Q: If you win the title by less than seven points this year, do you think that the title will be as good as 2005/2006 when you were maybe fighting against the odds?
FA: Yes.

Q: Why?
FA: Because when you win the title, you win the title.

Q: Do you think if you win the title this year you will have won it fairly, on the track, not in the Paris courtroom?
FA: Yes.

Q: Fernando, could you give me your description please of a worthy Formula One World Champion: the ingredients that make up a worthy champion?
FA: I think that whoever is first at the end is because they have more points than the others and one’s a champion and this is the way it was throughout the history of Formula One and other sports as well: in football, in the Premier League, in tennis etc. This is not too difficult.

Q: (Byron Young) Is points the only ingredient?
FA: Yeah, I think if you are talking… because I’m sure you are talking about the decision of yesterday, you have to respect it and be calm. Respect everything as we do and don’t worry.

Q: (Byron Young) Isn’t talent an ingredient of being a great champion?
FA: Of course.

Those are some serious logic gymnastics right there.  I'm not really impressed. 

But then, I'm not Italian.
BLEARGH
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