Monday, September 13, 2010

F1: Monza notes

(Felipe Massa at Monza; source: F1

Yeah, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted any in-depth Grand Prix race weekend notes... As I’m sitting on a bevy ‘O GP Reports that I’ll publish in the upcoming future in order to bring my Top-8 scribblins’ up to date... Meanwhile here’s a bunch of items that caught my attention over the weekend at Juan ‘O the most inspiring Formula 1 venues, as Y’all just cannot beat the atmosphere of the Tiafosi at the legendary Autodromo Nazionale Monza.

Friday NotesWhale it was kinda ironic to hear Ralph Sheheen’s voice as the Practice 2 lead announcer, as I’d just heard him for two days over the PA system at The Brickyard, during the Indy MOTO GP weekend. (Another story I’m trying to put-to-Bed...) As first Ralph said that Bob Varsha was stranded in the Las Vegas desert before noting that Varsha was busy spending his last few Quarters in “Los Wages” before flying back to Charlotte... As I rather enjoyed Sheheen’s work, especially as he seemed extra funny ‘N quick witted, causing both ‘Hobbo “N Professor Matchett to chortle out loud. As it was a fairly humourous day’s coverage with Newboy Will Buxton pleading for Pity from David Hobbs for forgetting he was a McLaren F1 Driver... To which ‘Hobbo said Best Pit Reporter? That Westbury Gilette was a pretty good Bloke; Hya!

The Scuderia (Ferrari) has amassed a most impressive grouping of records at Monza, with an unprecedented 17 victories, 18 Pole Positions, 47 Front Row starts and 59 Podiums... As Alberto Ascari scored Ferrari’s maiden triumph in 1951; Phil Hill became the very first American to ever win a Grand Prix, scoring two-thirds of his three F1 career victories at Monza; his first & last, (1960, 1961) and also won the ’61 Belgian GP in an unprecedented Top-4 places sweeping by la Scuderia.

Ironically Hill shares the somber experience of clinching his World Championship at Monza when his teammate was killed with Mario Andretti, as I’ve just noticed they both experienced this upon the same day (Sept 10) 17yrs apart.

John surtees won at Monza for the Tiafosi way back in 1964, while DER TERMINATOR, nee Michael Schumacher has won for the Scuderia five times (nearly 30% of total) with his last victory coming in 2006 on the day he announced his first retirement...

Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Buemi aboard the customer Ferrari lump set the day’s fastest time thru the Speed-trap with an impressive 214mph in a “NON F-Duct” configuration, albeit “Jungle Boy,” nee Antonia Pizzonia (2004) holds the Official Top speed at 229.9mph. While JPM, a.k.a. Juan Pablo Montoya (2005) set an unofficial terminal velocity of 231mph!

Pizzonia was substituting for “Monty’s” (JPM) favourite Sparring ‘Pardner “Ralfanso.” (Ralf Schumacher) Blistering the Monza circuit in an FW26 Williams-BMW 3.0 liter V-10 at 369.9kph; SHEISA! Whilst Montoya did his time behind the wheel of a McLaren MP4-20 Mercedes V-10, albeit 2004 was the height of modern F1 machinery’s ‘Aero configuration with the three-liter V-10’s...

Timo Glock’s Virgin blown away Ontrack by The Amazing Hulk, nee Nico Hulkenberg, as Ralph Sheheen commented it looked like the Virgin had the paint sucked right off it! As interestingly both chassis are powered by the Cosworth lump, which left me wondering if this startling performance difference was the difference between Wind Tunnel testing vs. CFD? Or simply due to an established Constructor vs. “Newby,” eh?

(Shoya Tomizawa)

While I’m already impressed by “K-SQUARED,” Kamui Kobayashi’s ONtrack performances, he’s just gotten more respect from Mwah, as it was revealed that the Japanese Piloto was wearing a black armband this weekend in tribute to his recently fallen Countryman, Shoya Tomizawa, the 19yr old motorcycle racer who died at Misano, Italy in the Moto2 race last weekend.

Meanwhile September 10th marks the (double) Anniversary of Mario Andretti clinching his World Championship for Lotus on the same day of the fatal accident that claimed Ronnie Peterson’s life, as it appears that 14 competitors and one Track marshal including, Peterson, Wolfgang von Trips and Alberto Ascari have all perished from accidents at Monza since the modern Formula 1 Championship began in 1950...

Saturday NotesWhile Hispania’s Bruno Senna suffered the harshest day on Friday with repeated Fuel pick-up delivery issues, Force India’s Vitantonio Liuzzi suffered from the same malady first in the FP3 morning practice session before it reared its ugly head again during the ‘Q1 Qualie session. As Liuzzi’s Mercedes lump was giving him a mysterious “false neutral,” repeatedly going into Anti-stall mode for no apparent reason, while Timo Glock had Gearbox issues of his own and will take a 5-spot Grid penalty for changing it. Adding insult to injury was the fact that Glock was blocked by Rookie Vitaly Petrov on his first Flying lap of the Q1 session. To which later the “Rooskie” said he didn’t see either Glock or the Blue flag...

Webber had a second practice problem with a minor fire inside of the airbox on Saturday morning, after he’d been told to “Switch-her-Off!” Friday for a water leak. As Bob Varsha, now back from Los Wages asked why aren’t they using a Fresh engine for Webber? He’s only on his sixth... As only Webber, Pedro De la Rosa and ‘Rubino (Barrichello) were running their engines from Spa with everybody else utilizing Fresh lumps... While it was revealed that the Ferrari Boyz were both on their eighth engines...

Jaime Alguersuari in the other Toro Rosso set the day’s Top numbers thru the Speed trap at the end of the Front straight into Turn 1 at 215.76mph before raising it to 216.2... Although the Spaniard was to wind-up 16th fastest and the last driver to crack the 1:23’s; as Steve Matchett noted that Alguersuari’s second sector time was a 28.7 vs. Massa’s 27.9, as we all know that Top speed doesn’t necessarily equate into fastest lap time...

Felipe Massa had a second “Off” during FP3, but ‘Hobbo had stated the day prior that the diminutive Brazilian would be Ok since he has enormously large Attachments! (Although I think The Kimster had the LARGEST!)

Felipe Massa: “I was completely on the gravel…”
Sunday NotesEntering the race, the Top-5 Drivers slugging it out for the Championship still remained fairly close: P1) L. Hamilton; 182 points; P2) M. Webber; 179; P3) S. Vettel; 151; P4) J. Button; 147; P5) F. Alonso; 141.

As interestingly, it was ‘JENSE in the “Blown” (F-Duct equipped) MP4-25 just barely losing out to Fredrico Suave, a.k.a Fred Alonso, scoring his maiden Scuderia Pole in his debutant Ferrari appearance at Monza, a feat not accomplished since Niki “The Rat” Lauda did so way back in 1974! With Felipe Massa taking a fine third place on the Grid, while the first Red Bull of Mark Webber rolls off from fourth and Lewis Hamilton’s Non-blown McLaren will start fifth, with Sebastian Vettel P6...

“McLaren’s Split-personality”

And thus the race was a somewhat interesting battle between ‘JENSE ‘N Ferdi... As ‘JAGUAR fell afoul of his bullying tactics and went out after colliding with a determined Massa, whilst the two Ferrari’s hounded Button all the way to the stripe with Alonso being victorious after a faster Pitstop, while Vettel’s mysterious engine woes cleared itself and led the second trio past the chequered flag with Rosberg the meat in a Red Bull sandwich, as Webber resumed the points lead...

P1) M. Webber; 187 points
P2) L. Hamilton; 182 pts
P3) F. Alonso; 166 pts
P4) J. Button; 165 pts
P5) S. Vettel; 163 pts