Monday, May 14, 2007

Spanish GP Weekend

Anxiously awaiting the long overdue return to Formula 1 racing, I must say that this weekend’s TV coverage towards the build-up of the Spanish Grand Prix was a bit sanguine.

There seemed to be less than normal to reflect upon. (Or was I simply too distracted over the melodramatic Indianapolis TV coverage?( It was mentioned routinely how Michael Schumacher was making his first race appearance since retiring. And Herr Schumacher’s Barcelona statistics are quite impressive, having won six times, taking seven poles and 12 Podiums.

David Hobbs mentioned how Schumacher had been absolutely brilliant in his win for Ferrari back in 1996. Demoralizing his competition by running 4 seconds a lap faster then the rest of the field in the rain.

But this didn’t seem to matter much as Bob Varsha quipped that Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen were less than impressed with Schuey’s appearance for the weekend. Ah, so much for yesterday’s news, eh?

I did find Varsha’s comment about the weight of Grand Prix machinery interesting. Stating that current Formula 1 chassis minimum weight equals 1,322lbs including driver. This compares very favorably with Indy Racing League chassis weighing in at 1,800lbs. Thus implying that a Formula 1 race cars power to weight ratio is superior.

And perhaps it’s just me, but I took certain glee in Felipe Massa spoiling Fernando Alonso’s parade by capturing Pole position on the Spaniard’s home soil, as the air was let out of the massive Spanish audience.

The venue was a sell out, with 142,000+ attending on race day, with a projected 3 day total of 310,000. Which isn’t too shabby for a country that Alonso claims you couldn’t even watch Formula 1 on TV a few years ago…

Qualifying Results

And then what can I say about the actual race? I mean talk about your fireworks. The race action certainly made up for any lacking of excitement of the prior two days.

Although I suppose I should be impressed by Jarno Trulli’s excellent qualifying results, splitting the more superior BMW Sauber’s. Yet it was all for not, as fuel pressure gremlins robbed Trulli at the start.

And then all mayhem occurred with multiple retirements. With the most perplexing race incident involving Nick Heidfeld and a front wheel nut, or has Messer Hobbs said “Three Nuts…”
And like Professor Matchett repeated several times. “I still don’t know how that front wheel stayed on?”

And I’m even more perplexed over the intricacies of the off mentioned Seamless Shift gearboxes. Peter Winsor reported that David Coulthard would be forced to turn his off sometime during the duration of the Grand Prix. This was in effort to ensure gearbox reliability as Red Bull Racing’s Seamless system is still relatively brand new. Apparently these gearboxes are similar to some street car driver aids that can be activated or disconnected.

And I know I probably shouldn’t mention the fact that I was rooting for Taku-San (Takuma Sato) to overtake “Fishy Fella” (Giancarlo Fisichella) for the final points scoring position. But I found it absolutely wonderful for Taku to score “Super Best Friends” (Super Aguri) very first Grand Prix championship point. Which I’m sure only adds even more pressure onto Honda’s “Works” team…

Race Report