Friday, June 15, 2007

F1: Canadian Bacon - 2007 edition

Ok, so it seems a little late, but I just finally finished watching all of the Canadian Grand Prix action “just-in-time” for this weekend’s “mega” coverage of the USGP.

And I have to say I didn’t find too much out of the ordinary to report. Although I do enjoy the Professor Matchett technical segments. And how many of you realize that John Wheatley, who’s featured in the RPM (Racing Per Matchett) is an old colleague of Steve’s from his Benetton days?

If I remember correctly, Wheatley was responsible for the front end of none other than somebody named Michael Schumacher’s chassis. As each car had a three member crew assigned to it at the factory.

Even though Matchett was the rear jack man during pit stops on race day. Steve was responsible for the front end of Schuey’s teammates chassis during his tenure at Benetton, while the rear end of each chassis had two men assigned to it. You can read all about these characters in Matchett’s first book: Life in the Pit Lane. (Check out Steve’s novels: Life in the Pit Lane, The Mechanics Tale and The Chariot Makers) And although I have his first & third books, I feel like waiting to obtain the middle book of his trilogy before continuing. So as to not pull a George Lucas trilogy of starting with the last first. But once again, I digress.

Interestingly Louis Hamilton and Giancarlo Fisichella had the top trap speeds of 196mph. So there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with the Renault’s horsepower. Just handling and dare I say it. Drivers?

And I spent several hours marveling over how in the HELL did “Ralfanso” (R. Schumacher) MISS that Marmot? I mean that was amazing to see the little critter in slow motion looking at the front tires… And being so close that it could read each letter of the sidewall. B-R-I-D-G-E-S-T-O-N-E!

I also enjoyed Professor Matchett’s long discourse on the Toyota’s rakish front suspension geometry. As Toyota’s Jarno Trulli suffered not one but two failures during Friday’s practice sessions. Interestingly Toyota appears to be running the steepest front suspension geometry angles. Which of course produces higher stress loads on the wishbones. And I found it intriguing to hear Matchett comment that Toyota is actually using MMC suspension pieces along with the de rigour carbon fibre. MMC is the acronym for Metal Matrix Composites, which is a blending of metal with other compounds. Apparently the failures were due to kurb hopping which is an integral part of F1 racing.

And speaking of Toyota. Messer Matchett mentioned that he’d heard from 2-3 reliable sources that the Japanese giant was pondering the purchase of Williams in 2 to 3 years from now? This would see the closing down of the Colone facility and moving the entire operation to Grove where Williams is headquartered. Although this is purely speculation. Bob Varsha also chimed in by saying he’d had discussions with a GP2 driver who had picked his team based on the plans to move up to Formula 1 in the future.

Yet without a doubt, my favorite moment of the race was witnessing Takuma Sato PASS Fernando Alonso on track for 6th place. As I screamed gleefully at the TV, preceding the maneuver. “Get him Taku! Get him Taku! Get him Taku!”

In fairness(?) to Alonso. Taku also passed Felipe Massa’s Ferrari on track. So where in the HELL did the mighty dragon slayer come from? I mean a “Super Best Friend’s” chassis passing the top two Constructor’s in a single race?

And talk about a wacky race… Did you notice the safety car skating on the marble’s during one of its four dispatchments. As well as when was the last time two drivers were black flagged for ignoring the red light at the end of pit lane? Somehow I suspect that this week’s USGP may be much more sublime…