Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Season highlights

It's that time of year again.  The time when I have to be content with F1 magazines and season reviews to give me my fix.  March is a long way away...
2011 was a great season, despite Vettel's runaway success.  Here are my personal top 5 highlights.

5. Vettel's puncture in Abu Dhabi.  Was good to see a different winner for a change.

4.  Webber's overtake on Alonso at Eau Rouge.

3. Jenson's win in Canada.

2. Schumacher running 2nd in Canada.  Just missed out on a podium.

1. 20 years since his debut, Schumi fights his way from 24th to 5th at Spa, overtaking Rosberg on the way.  Fantastic!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Money versus talent

I know money is extremely important in F1, the amount it takes to run a successful team is outrageous. But is it not ludicrous when talent like Nico Hulkenberg ,who got pole position in Brazil 2010, is overlooked for a seat in favour of chinny chin chin Maldonado just because he can offer the reddies?

First pole position for Williams in 5 years and he gets dropped!?
What is with Williams?  Now they are keeping the chin meister over Barrichello, even though he has underperformed in comparison, because he brings the bolivar.  It seems that it is money versus talent and money is winning.
Williams are not the only team.  50 % of the teams on the grid had not announced driver line up for next year at the close of season.  What are they waiting for?  Are they working out who brings the biggest bucks?
Teams hire drivers who bring money but do they bring talent?  If you have talent in a team and you are gaining points finishes, the team will be rewarded financially.  Which approach do you take?  I know which is morally better and I know which provides higher quality racing.

Webber wins in Brazil!

Yay! Am really happy for Mark Webber, hopefully this is the win that will spur him on for next season.  Let's see some of his 2010 confidence resurface to topple Vettel from his perch.

Has time tocked for Barrichello?

Having no contract for 2012 what will become of Rubens?  There is talk of him trying to find money to pay for a drive next year.  This just seems desperate and a man of his character and experience should bow out with more dignity.  Isn't Interlagos the perfect place?

Barrichello gets pole in Brazil in 2003.

Pole position in the rain.  Brazil 2009

First race win 

This is how Rubinho should be remembered.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Gold 2 at the Hungaroring

Race day.
Oh the rain!  Out of 26 races in Budapest it has only rained twice before, so it seemed weird turning up with waterproofs. Would you call it karma that we got wet in Budapest so we get the first dry race in twenty years in Spa? 
Lots of good places to watch the race from at the Hungaroring but we choose Gold 2 grandstand for these reasons...

Driver track parade.

Wheeling Lewis to the grid.

Alonso feeling relieved after having a wee.
Farting around with Ferraris.

And of course Schumi baby. 
And all that before the race even starts!
Was a great race, perhaps made more interesting by the rain.   Obviously gutted that Schumi suffered a broken gearbox on lap 26, but very much enjoyed Button's win, especially as it was his 200th race and a fitting anniversary of his first F1 victory in Hungary 2006.

                Another great reason to sit in Gold 2.  No need to run to see podium action.

These people did run.  What a fantastic atmosphere.  Love it! 
                                                   Can't wait for next year...

It's MY team now

So Lewis seems to have clawed back some form with his win in Abu Dhabi.  All the talk will be about him now and the 'cirque de louie' will be back in town.  Although not against Lewis, I have enjoyed Button being number 1 at Mclaren.  He is a better all round driver, but also more likeable, and more genuine.  Would Lewis grow a moustache for charity even if it looked ridiculous?!

Movember moustache

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Simoncelli tributes

The scene from Valencia today at 10.10 when riders from Moto GP, Moto2 and 125GP gathered on the grid before completing a parade lap in honour of the charismatic Marco Simoncelli.  This was followed by a noisy tribute involving 2 minutes of fireworks.    

Valentino Rossi and Cal Crutchlow wore tribute helmets.

The doctor actually finished the season on the same points as Marco.  Perhaps this is the most fitting tribute to his good friend.

I was excited about Simoncelli, both for his character and his courageous 'go for it' racing style.  It was him we were watching when we went to rainy Silverstone this year and I thought the events before the race in Valencia today were a great mark of respect.

Now we have to find a space in the house for the picture we have of Sic from Silverstone, so we have our own personal tribute.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Fiddling with flags and all things qualifying.

Warning! Don't fiddle with flags when in a queue of cars getting into a Grand Prix track because you will become a bit friendly with the one in front!  Witnessing this crashing incident next to us provided some great entertainment on the way into the Hungaroring for qualifying.  Chuckling finally subsided, we parked at the opposite end of the track to our seats.  This gave us a great opportunity to see a lot of the track we hadn't seen the year before as we walked round to Gold 2 grandstand.  This is the great thing about the Hungaroring, its a short track so it doesn't take long to walk round it. 
Turn 14
Rendorseg between Turn 11 and 12

Top 3 on the grid.  Pole again for Vettel.

Alonso.  Probably making faces in his helmet after being out qualified by Massa, who had been off the track a number of times during practice. 

Schumacher qualified 9th, which meant he would be right in front of us on the grid.  Whoop whoop!  Couldn't wait for the race. 


Wednesday, 2 November 2011

wacky races

I was doing some thinking about how much Fernando Alonso looks like Dick Dastardly from the Wacky Races, and the more I thought, the more everything fitted into place.  They both have crazy eyebrows and they both have a silly sidekick who does ridiculous things to help him beat his opponents.

Hee hee!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Friday practice

One of the best things about the Hungaroring is the support from the fans.  Full grandstands, even on a Friday which is what some of the newer circuits need to live up to.  Very often the people sat around you are different on a Friday to the rest of the weekend.  Tickets are cheap so they come for a good day out to watch some racing action and consume good beer and sausages.  The only problem is you get attached to the 'European fun guys' you meet on Friday, then they are gone...

Schumi  FP2  2010

Friday practice 2010

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Pit walk - Hungaroring

Have just bought tickets for Hungaroring for the third year running.  We love everything about it there, fabulous racing, fantastic atmosphere, tasty sausages and even a good few European fun guys thrown in.  Arriving for the pit walk on the Thursday, both years, Jake 'the humph' has been lurking around...
Jake in a cage
After the excitement of getting his autograph, then you get to see and do stuff like this...


Christian Horner wearing chinos in the Red Bull garage.
Stand on start/finish line

There's lots going on on a Thursday at the Hungaroring!

Famous Red Bull pit stop

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Sunday, 16 October 2011

The longest grudge ever in the world.

Looking good for 7th in the Korean Grand Prix after having bad vibrations in qualifying, Schumacher was then nearly squidged by Petrov.  The on going bias of David Coulthard rears its ugly square head again, "Schumacher was innocent that time."  Will he ever get over the grudge he's had since Spa 98?

Schumi storms into the Mclaren garage after a collision with DC at Spa 98.

Racing in Korea. Seouless?

Great race today, and was glad to see more fans on race day than at qualifying.  But with so many grandstands virtually empty why does Bernie insist on having grand prix in these places when it means tracks are built 5 hours away from the nearest city?  His obsession with taking F1 to different places often translates to a lack of passion and atmosphere.  Racing in Korea - Seouless...

Saturday, 15 October 2011

I have to get my hands in one of these...

Was loving the debut of the Jenson Button puppet at the Japanese Grand prix.  My two favourite things; F1 and puppets, when joined together make the world a rosier place, quite literally, raising money for the Japanese tsunami fund.  Initial ridiculous excitement over the puppet turned to disappointment when I discovered they weren't available for general sale outside Japan.  Surely they would make more money if they were.  Excitement returned in abundance when I discovered that Michael Schumacher had also granted a license for a Schumi puppet to be made.   I have to get my hands in one of these... if anyone sees one pop up on Ebay let me know. 

Hanging out with Bernie

Kiss from Schumacher

After hearing about a horror show of a qualifying for Schumi on the phone while on way to Spa this year I had no idea what a fabulous grand prix it would turn out to be.  Specially for the occasion of the 20th anniversary of his debut in F1, I took along a flag made from iron on transfers and fabric pens.  As Schumacher passed us on the driver's parade we fired an airhorn ,which grabbed his attention, then I   waved my dodgy flag.  I was rewarded with a blown kiss.  That, together with his rise from the back of the grid to 5th, and a pass on Rosberg into the bargain made it rather special.  It even made the traffic caused by stupid roadworks outside Liege bearable.
Ha, nearly forgot, it was the first dry race in Belgium in 20 years, spooky... and weirdly the opposite to what happened to us in Hungary.  That's another tale to tell...