Monday, October 9, 2006

F1: 2006 - Shanghai Shuffle

I’ve just finished watching the video tapes of the Chinese GP practice
& qualifying sessions. Here are a few selected tidbits gleamed from SPEED’s TV coverage...

What happens when you shun Dietrich Mateschitz’s offer to run a full season in Champ Cars? You loose your “wings” as Red Bull F1 driver Christian Klien has been replaced by Robert Doornbos for the remainder of the season with GP2 driver Michael Ammermuller making his Friday driver debut for RBR in China…

Fernando Alonso was forced to sit out two crucial test sessions during the three week lull prior to the Chinese GP. Alsono originally suffered a bruised right knee during Saturday’s Italian GP qualifying session. Afterwards it was discovered tha Alonso had a hairline crack due to contact with the cockpit scuttle while bouncing over Monza’s curbing…

Renault suffered three engine failures during testing prior to the Chinese Grand Prix. This follows an engine failure for Fernando Alonso during the Italian GP. Giancarlo Fisichella suffered 2 failures with new test driver Nelson Piquet Jr. suffering the third.
Speed’s Steve Matchett who was a guest of Renault during its Silverstone test weekend speculated that Renault is most likely suffering the same random piston crown failures that Ferrari suffered at the beginning of the season…

The massive engine failures of several teams during the past few weeks seem due to the INSANE engine “homologation” rules being forced upon engine manufacture’s by the FIA. Apparently their 2007 engines must be presented to the FIA by the Japanese Grand Prix weekend. These engine designs will then be “frozen” for 4 years and mechanically limited to 19,000RPM’s…

Spyker announced that while Christijan Albers
Will be retained for 2007, Tiago Monteiro will be dropped…

Spyker also announced that it will campaign Renault customer 2.4 liter V-8 engines for 2007. With Scuderia Toro Rosso most likely upgrading to Ferrari customer engines for ’07, it appears that Cosworth could sadly be out of Formula One. Steve Matchett correctly noted this as a true tragedy…

Honda Racing sported 555 tobacco livery for the weekend as its primary sponsor Lucky Strike is not sold in China. China represents 30% of worldwide tobacco consumption…

Steve Matchett prattled on about Kimi Raikkonen’s lack of technical feedback skills compared to Michael Schumacher’s, while David Hobbs pointed out those were pretty damm large “schue’s” to fill! All three SPEED announcers speculated that Schumacher might even stay on at Ferrari as a test driver next season since Schumacher certainly seemed unwilling to quit piloting F1 cars…

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