Friday, April 30, 2021

Formula 1 to Trial Sprint Races

As Now we’ll have Qualie’ twice in One week…


Not sure of the exact specifics, but in case you haven’t heard? Formula 1 has just “Signed Off” on holding three “Trial” F1 Sprint Qualifying Races this season. Beginning with the British Grand Prix. Then at Monza and lastly at Sao Paolo.


From what I understand, the gist of it is that Friday’s normal (Free Practice) FP2 session will be replaced by Qualifying to decide the Starting Grid for Saturday’s 100km Sprint Race that follows the now renamed FP2 that was originally FP3. As the Saturday afternoon Sprint Race will then decide the Starting lineup for Sunday’s traditional Grand Prix Race.


Tyre allocation will be changed to suit the new weekend’s format, with 5 sets of Qualie’ rubber Me thinks? Along with the extra caviot of six bonus points in the fashion of 3-2-1 for the Top-3 Finishers of the Sprint Race being awarded, presumably as incentive for the field’s competitors.


As I really Don’t have any initial opinion on this, since I guess I’d consider myself a traditionalist who doesn’t like Change! But I suppose the Sport hasn’t been massively affected by the multiple Points Scoring system revisions, except Statistically.


Since when I began following Formula 1 it was 9-6-4-3-2-1 for just the Top-6 Finishers, before being awarded thru eighth place and now down to 10th. Along with the points structure change, i.e.; 25 points to the winner, etc.


But then again if I recall correctly, a single point used to be awarded to the Pole winner during the early 1950’s? And now we’ve got a bonus point for Fastest lap during the races, meaning you just cannot Statistically compare F1 Generations, especially with the proliferation of Grands Prix being Added to the Calendar each gory year! Since how do you compare 16 races vs. 23?


Although the more I think about it, I do Not like the Mucking Up of the Historical aspects of it. Since theoretically Lewis Hamilton could score his unheard of 100th Pole position this weekend in Portugal. As Pole position has always been for the Fastest lap during true Qualifying, so how does running a Sprint race equate to that?


As let’s leave the Sprint Races and Reverse Grids to the FIA’s Formula 2 Feeder Series instead! Since I’m still Cornfuzed on which Qualie’ session the Official Pole position is Awarded to? And how it relates to the History of Formula 1 Overall. But I’m sure we’ll All learn as these three Qualifying sprint Races happen, Righto? 

F1: Miami Joins the Party

But how well will they be received in the Miami Gardens?


During All of the excitement, as I was busy watching MotoGP followed by the Season Opening IndyCar race, and then Formula One’s Imola Nightcap I missed the initial announcement confirming Miami Hosting it’s inaugural Grand Prix in 2022.


As No race date has been scheduled yet, since next year’s Formula 1 Calendar is presumably only in it’s planning stages currently, and very little seems known about the exact racetrack configuration, other than it will be held on the Hard Rock Stadium Grounds, utilizing the Football Stadium’s parking lots to create what race promoters are calling a Blank Canvas.


Apparently a preliminary sketch or rendering has been “Tweeted,” teasing us with the following: 19 Corners, 5.41km, (3.36 mile) Speeds approaching 320kph and up to 3 DRS Passing Zones.


As the contract is for 10 years beginning in 2022, ironically the year following when America’s only current F1 Venue COTA, nee circuit Of The Americas initial 10yr contract expires. But Liberty Media, Err the FIA are trying to continue sounding very Bullish upon the U.S. Market and expecting to have two United States races beginning in 2022.


Arse-sumedly Defacto F1 Circuit Designer Hermann tilke will be involved in the Miami “Street Circuit” design, albeit the use of the parking lots makes me think of another Stateside event known simply as the Caeser’s Grand Prix in Lost Wages. (Las Vegas)


And when I think of COTA and Herr Tilke, I cannot help but get a smirk upon my face hearing Promoter Extraordinaire Tavo Hellmund calling him “Tilkie!” As Tavo was a Founding member of COTA and responsible for bringing Formula 1 back to North America, thanks in part to his long association with El Supremo Uncle Bernaughty’, aka Bernard Charles Ecclestone.


Meanwhile, McLaren F1 Team Boss Zackery Brown who seems to enjoy stirring the pot, has thrown out a bit ‘O muckery by floating the idea of COTA and Mother Speedway (IMS) holding the second U.S. Grand Prix on a rotating schedule, a la what Germany’s Nurburgring and Hockenheimring previously did with the German Grand Prix… 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Johann Zarco sets new Speed record in Qatar

But is this simply too Fast for a Motorcycle?


As where’s ‘Ol Professor (Steve)Matchett when Yuhs need him? As I can fondly here Matchett proclaiming that Satellite Ducati Pramac Racing rider Johann Zarco’s unbelievable Speed record at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit was 362.4kph in “New Money,” or an astonishing 225.1mph in “Old Money,” Aye Karumba!


As Zarco’s new Top Speed record is the fastest official time set upon a MotoGP “Scooter,” eclipsing the previous mark held by ex-Factory Ducati rider Dovi’, nee Andrea Dovizioso at Mugello, recording a blistering 356.7kph,where the racetrack’s straight is longer than Losail’s One Kilometer straight. (0.621 mile) Which naturally begs the questione will the Ducati’s be able to go faster a Mugello this May 30th? When everybody will have Eyes Only for Mother Speedway and it’s 135,000 Delirious Fans…


The Mugello Circuit is 5.245 Kilometers (3.259 mile) long with 15 turns and a 1.141km (0.709 mile) straight, and is the same racetrack that held last year’s Formula 1 Tuscan Grand Prix race on September 13th during the Pandemic ravaged F1 Calendar.


If I recall correctly? Zarco’s Uber Insane speed is just some six miles shy of what Antonio “Jungle Boy” Pizzonia set behind the wheel of one of Team Willy’s, ergo Sir Frank’s (Williams) iconic racing cars of 231mph at another Italian racetrack. Arguably it’s most famous known as The Temple of Speed, aka Monza! And that was with a three liter normally aspirated V-10 lump vs. the Ducati’s “Sewing Machine” V-4 motor.


Pizzonia recorded a speed of 369.9kph on Monza’s straight during the 2004 Italian Grand Prix aboard a Williams FW26 motivated by a BMW 3.0-litre V-10 while substituting for the Injured Ralf Schumacher. As the BMW lump was considered the most powerful engine on the F1 Grid that season, Pumping out an uber Stout 1,000bhp!  


But as we All know, Top Speed is typically not indictive of fastest Overall lap time, which has been documented over the years in Formula 1, and presumably IndyCar’s too, albeit don’t know if Indy Cars have as many Aero bits to play with vs. F1?


The Duc’s were strong in Qatar, especially with their monster Holeshot device, seeing four ducati’s leading into Turn-1 while Maverick “Top gun” Vinales slid backwards to sixth place, behind his Yamaha team-mate Fabio Quartararo.


But the somewhat cooler, windier, gusty conditions took away some of the Red bikes impressive top speed, albeit Ducati Corse rider Jack Miller and Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martin made life difficult for the trailing Suzuki’s of Alex rins and Joan Mir.


Yet vinales steadily marched his way forward picking off one Duc’ at a time before winning the race with Authority! And once again, we’re left with a Scooter’ with better Overall lap time being victorious.


And the very same result happened a week later, this time seeing Quartararo carving up the “Red Bikes” for another Factory Yamaha victory, whilst Vinales mirrored Fabio’s  first race result coming home P5.


Whilst Zarco’s two runner-up finishes on his Satellite Pramac Ducati enabled him to be the points leader heading to Portugal. Where I have No idea if it’s a “Handling” track or Top Speed venue? Although I suspect it’s more of a Handling circuit, Eh?


Leaving us ton ponder which comes first: The Monster Horsepower Ducati’s or the corner carving Yamaha’s?     

Monday, April 26, 2021

Welcome to Formula One’s Pariah Club George Russell

As what gives with today’s youth? Get Off My lawn Buggers!


First ‘N Foremost, I totally 100% understand that it does Not matter what an Aging Blogger thinks or Scribbles…


That said, I found myself feeling Depressed over the current state of Formula 1 following that Mega crash between the Up ‘n Comer George Russell vs. Dare I say it? Veteran Valtteri Bottas at the illustrious Tamberello corner at the Autodromo Internacional Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit at Imola, Italy.


As we know the youthful Russell in the anemic Williams FW43B was trying to overtake Bottas in the world beater Silver Arrows Mercedes W12 on a drying track with just a single dry line upon it’s slippery tarmac, for which Bottas rightly positioned his car to force Russell to have to go onto a damp patch of Ash-fault in order to try passing him, which we know went Haywire!


And may be I’m making too much out of the irony of two formula 1 drivers colliding at a Mega 290kph, ergo some 180mph at the very same corner where the late Ayrton Senna lost his life, as Russell screamed over his In-car radio “Is He trying to Kill Us?” But the very last Red Flag preceding this incident in San Marino was 27 years ago for Senna’s accident at this very same corner!


As I’ve said previously, I’m not a Fan of toto Wolff’s, but did appreciate him publicly calling bullshit upon the 23 year old Mercedes Development Driver. As Russell is trying to emulate Bottas path to a coveted Mercedes seat, as the Finn graduated from Team Willy’ after Nico Rosberg retired upon becoming World Champion in 2016, the last time anybody Beat Sir Lewis for the title!


Also I’ll begrudgingly agree with Herr Wolff that it does indeed “Take Two to Tango,” but I firmly believe the accident is Russell’s fault, and I’d even go so far to surmise the Briton totally knew who’s car he was trying to Overtake and make a not-so-subtle statement in the process…


As what’s that ‘Ol Saying? Oh yeah, be Careful what you wish for! As I’m sure Valtteri might have something to say about being Sir Lewis’s team-mate, Eh?


And I know that I shouldn’t draw conclusions over one event, but for the moment I’ve lost a huge bit of respect for Russell, who I like as a driver.


But may be I’m just a Tottering ‘OL cojer, Shush! But I’ve noticed a disturbing trend the past few years that first began with whom I nicknamed Maximus Hothead’, aka Max Verstappen, who seems to have toned down his Rants and is much calmer this year, so far.


Next, I noticed Charles Leclerc seems to be quite mercurial over the In-car radio when he’s Not getting his way Ontrack, especially as Vettel’s “wingman.”


Along with Lando Norris who’s always either complaining about somebody else’s driving style or trotting out a ready made excuse for why he can’t get further up the grid! Which in fairness seems to totally mimic Golden child’s approach.


And then Ditto for Russell, who seems to go Berserko on the radio after something goes Horribly Pear Shaped! As these four in particular seem to act like they believe the video games their so prolific at carry over onto the real tarmac and everybody should just simply get Out of their Bloody way!


As how many countless times have we seen Golden Child (Hamilton) drive in the exact same defensive posture Bottas was doing? And would George have tried the same Overtaking maneuver on Lewis Hamilton’s Silver Arrows if hypothetically the chance arrived?


While I’ll also admit it’s Rich hearing Hamilton complain over being “roughed up” by Verstappen on the run into the first corner at Imola, as seriously Lewis? Getting a bit toasty in the kitchen?


Yet again in fairness, suppose none of these Young Turks holds a candle to ‘lil Syd viddle’s (Vettel) radio antics, since I’ll never forgive him for telling the late Charlie Whiting to G-O FUCK HIMSELF!


Did I say and do Stupid things when I was 23, Absolutely! Which to put into perspective was so long ago, that it’s now 32 years ago when I saw Ayrton Senna my one and only time in person walking into the F1 Paddock for practice on the Streets of Phoenix Arizona for the Iceberg Grand Prix, aye Karumba!


As I bring up Senna’s name because he’s the most Ruthless, Vindictive and Maniacal Formula 1 driver of All time! And only “the Professor” (Alain Prost) comes close to being as Devious as the Brazilian was.


Although Ayrton obviously was a brilliant driver, who I rank ahead of my Hero Der Terminator’, aka Michael Schumacher! Who perhaps I’m still biased over, but I cannot recall the German ever going All Potty mouth or Sniveling over the radio?


As the part that Depresses me about F1 right now is the Uber’ Testosterone laden need to completely Crush the Soul of your competitors, be it placing your knee upon the neck of your team-mate or the opposition and clearly define who the true Alfa Male is!


As may I still be Naïveafter 35 years of religiously following Motorsports to feel this type of behaviour doesn’t occur Stateside in Indy Cars? As I get it that everybody wants to be P1, but IndyCar doesn’t appear to be the same bloodsport Formula 1 is… 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Triple Header Race weekend full of Big Crashes, Fireworks

    As the Cometizione was not only Intense, but also Broiled Over…


Ah, the perfect tonic to a lazy Sunday, whilst listening to the Drip-Drip-Drip of some much needed precipitation early morning, albeit just Drizzle and 0.02-inch Ain’t gonna do us here in Oregon and the Northwest any good! But I digress…


As Thar was motor racing round the globe, with the three rings of my virtual Big top consisting of Formula 1, IndyCar and MotoGP, but not necessarily in that order, and that doesn’t even include that other Taxicabs racing series. As I won’t attempt covering the whole weekend since it would take me forever to type!


Having begun the day by starting with the Kneedraggers’ before immeadiately switching over to Big NBC, which did it’s Darndest to live up to it’s “Nothing But Commercials” acronym! And then capping off the evening with a Nightcap of hearing the Sickly Sweet Coo-Coo-Cooing sounds of the Mothers Shoe Polish lady…


Portuguese Grand Prix

Autodromo Internacional du Algarve (Portimao, Portugal)


Unfortunately, the worst crash of the weekend occurred when MotoGP Rookie sensation Jorge Martin had a Wicked, nasty accident during Saturday’s (Free Practice) FP3 session, as thought I read he’d been complaining ‘bout rear end stability? As I Don’t know the details, other than initially he had Head, Hand and Ankle Contusions and was complaining of a sore knee. As a Medic said he was worried about his Hand, while his Foot also probably had fractures and he was being evacuated to nearby Hospital for further evaluation, but none of his Injuries were life threatening.


As Martin’s intended Surgery in Barcelona was postponed until Wednesday to let his Head contusion improve before attending to his right hand and ankle fractures and certainly will miss the upcoming Jerez round.


Takaaki Nakagami also had a Nasty crash during Friday’s FP1 and complained of a sore shoulder and road rash! Effectively sitting out Qualifying and thus started the race 21sth and last, but gamely soldiered home to a 10th place finish on Sunday.


Marc Marquez finally made his MotoGP return some nine months later, starting P6 and having a brief scare when collecting rival Joan Mir’s rear tyre with his front Michelin! Running as high as fourth before fading to ninth, but finishing P7 due to attrition.


Jack Miller’s Nightmare season continued when the Aussie crashed out again, accompanied by The Doctor’ (Valentino Rossi) and Crowd Darling Miguel Oliveira amongst others. As the front row protagonists featured mightily in the race.


As the Commentators correctly predicted that Points leader Johann Zarco would dualy be leading into Turn-1 thanks to the Ducati’s Mega’ Holeshot device, as the Frenchman rocketed away from Pole Sitter Fabio Quartararo and Alex Rins, with Zarco’s compatriot Quartararo falling backwards.


Yet Quartararo serenely carved his way to the lead with the two Suzuki’s of Rins and Joan Mir in tow with Zarco P4.


Then mayhem commenced behind Fabio, as Zarco powered by Mir onto the Podium before Rins cracked whilst harrying Quartararo when trying to continue matching lap times and crashed with seven laps remaining before Zarco crashed a lap later after fading from second to fourth!


While (Francesco) Pecco’ Bagnaia thundered home an impressive second on the Factory “red Bike” after having lost the Pole due to a Yellow flag infringement in Qualie and starting a dejected 11th! With Mir claiming his first podium of the year with P3. As Quartararo takes over the Points lead after back-to-back victories.


Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

Barber Motorsports Park (Birmingham, Alabama)


The condensed two-day weekend saw Colton Big Shot! Herta making a silly mistake and crashing in the first practice, a portent of what lay ahead on race day. And Arrow McLaren SP New signing Felix rosenqvist inexplicably crashed entering the Pitlane in Practice 2, the start of a very auspicious weekend for the Swede. Ironically the two would be linked to more issues during Qualifying, whilst Felix’s team-mate Pato O’Ward stormed to his second ever Pole position.


As we All know about the big melee on Lap-1 when Josef Newgarden made an uncharacteristic mistake, sliding onto the grass and pirouetting, setting off a multi-car collision that caught out Ryan Hunter-Reay, Herta and Rosenqvist, who was starting P22 due to having his Fastest Qualie lap Deleted for infringing Herta on Saturday. Along with a hapless Max Chilton and Rinus VeeKay, as none could see Josef spinning ahead due to it being a Blind corner.


As Hunter-Reay and Newgarden’s race were over, while Rosenqvist and Herta returned multiple laps down. Chilton’s ride required minor repairs that put him 2-laps behind, while VeeKay’s ride was undamaged and being forced to pit early ultimately enabled him to rebound to a sixth place finish!  



Pato O’Ward simply burned his Firestone Alternate rubber to it’s core while leading, necessitating an early stop and a three-stop race strategy, which apparently second place Alexander rossi was told to counter, as both would never truly recover and ultimately end up fourth and a disappointing P9 respectively.

Although thought I read IndyStar’s Motorsports Scribe Nathan Browne casually mention that O’Ward pitted early on his first stint due to a Slow tyre leak…


But the race ultimately was all about Alex Palou who won his maiden IndyCar race when debuting for thou cheepster’, nee Chip Ganassi in just his 15th race during his Sophomore season.


Palou made some of his own (CGR) Chip Ganassi Racing History upon becoming only the third ever CGR driver to win upon their IndyCar Debut for the team. Joining the likes of Mikey A’ (Andretti) in 1994 at Surfers Paradise, Australia, and the late Dannyboy Spike’ Wheldon at Homestead, Miami in 2006.


As the likeable Spaniard drove a superlative race, running a two-stop strategy with unbelievable speed while making his necessary fuel mileage numbers. As eventual runner-up DJ WillyP’ (Will Power) thought for sure Palou was on a three-stopper the way he was driving so fast!


While Scott Dixon turned another “Ho Hum” race into a third place finish and I believe his ninth podium at Barber?


And I’ll let others in Ye Blogosphere’ dissect our vaunted Rookie trio, other than very impressed with Romain Grosjean’s P7 start and 10th place finish for CWR, (Coyne Ware Racing) arguably one of the Minnowesqe teams on the grid.


Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Autodromo Internacional Enzo e Dino Ferrari (Imola, Italy)


F1 Rookie sensation Yuki Tsunoda, who seems to be emulating fellow Countryman Taku-San’s (Sato) “No Attack, No chance!” driving style, crashed during Qualifying and started last in P20.


While Golden child, aka Sir Lewis claimed his 99th Pole position ahead of the Red Bull duo with Sergio Perez grabbing his first ever front row start in second, undoubtedly the Highlight of his weekend, while team Defacto Max Verstappen would have to settle for third.


The race began as a Wet start with everybody on wet weather tyres, albeit a fifth of the grid electing for the full wet rubber vs. intermediate tread-block compound.


As Thar were action ah-Plenty due to the inherit spray! With Verstappen making an excellent start utilizing second gear to muscle his way past Hamilton into the first turn!


Later on, Adding Insult to Injury was when Mick Schumacher was forced to limp around another full lap with a crumpled front end missing it’s wing due to the Pits being closed due to his nose wing littering the Pitlane, YOUCH!


But the Talking Point of the race was when a very exuberant George Russell tried overtaking Valterri Bottas Silver Arrows in his Williams, in what I found to totally be Russell’s Fault! And although I’m Not a fan of toto Wolff’s, I did appreciate him publicly calling Bullshit upon Russell’s claim of Bottas racing him unfairly because the Finn knows Russell will take his Mercedes seat…


As I’ll save my thoughts upon that for another No Fenders post later since this one’s getting Uber long-winded!


Ultimately Verstappen never relinquished his lead, while Hamilton made an untypical error but rebounded nicely to finish P2 and leads the Points table by one marker due to claiming the race’s Fastest lap. With McLaren’s Lando Norris claiming a well deserved podium in third place.             

Monday, April 19, 2021

MOTO GP: New Season Begins with Multiple Rider Moves and A Missing World Champion

Will Any of the other Manufacturers be able to Wrestle away Suzuki’s Crown?


Typically this time ‘O year, we’ve just have completed hosting the world’s ultimate Road Racing Kneedraggers’ at COTA, nee Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. But sadly due to the never ending scurge of COVID 19 restrictions, MotoGP has skipped COTA for the past two years now.


As MotoGP seems to be one of the best kept secrets Stateside, with little media attention. But I thoroughly enjoy it due to it’s ultra competitiveness and how every race you Don’t know who’ll win.  


New Faces

This year’s Rookie Class sees three promising Debutante Kneedraggers graduating to the Premiere Class, two Italians and one Spaniard. Although I suppose this shouldn’t be somewhat of a surprise when you realize who  two-thirds of these Young Guns are racing for.


Italians Tnea Bastianini who won the 2020 Moto2 Championship and Luca Marini, the 2020 Moto2 Championship Runner-up will both ride for Sky VR46 Esponsorama Racing.


Esponsorama Racing is based out of Madrid, Spain and previously known as Reale Avintia Racing since 2012 and reportedly rebranded itself last year, which I was unaware of. The team will campaign Ducati Desmosedici GP19’s.


And Yeah, if that VR46 sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the initials of some MotoGP God known as “The Doctor,” akak Valentino rossi. Whilst I was unaware that Marini is Valentino’s Half Brother, hence presumably the “tie Up” sponsorship wise, eh?


Spain’s Jorge Martín who finished 5th Overall in last year’s Moto2 Championship will race for Pramac Racing aboard the #89 Duc’. (Ducati)


Meanwhile, I totally missed the Memo regarding Italiano’ Lorenzo Savadori replacing Bradley Smith at Aprilia last year for MotoGP’s final three races. As apparently there was some major friction between the team and Smith who was Substituting for Banned Aprilia rider Andrea Iannoney, and was only seen as a Stop-gap replacement.


As longtime Ducati Corse Factory rider Dovi’, aka Andrea Dovizioso who acrimoniously split with the Italian concern at season’s end, has replaced Smith as the team’s new Test Rider.


Savadori who’s won multiple Feeder Series titles including last year’s Italian Superbike Championship, with his reward being called up to MotoGP, will campaign the #32 Aprilia “Scooter” once again this year, contesting his first Full Season for the Italian concern.



Really Don’t know much about this Minnowesqe Italian Manufacturer, other than last year they built a new 90-degree V-4 lump in hopes of improving their overall performance, which reportedly has lopped multiple seconds off of it’s lap times. And although I’ve already mentioned Savadori’s place here, it’s Thar other rider Aleix Espargaro who’s leading the way, having flirted with Top-5 finishes in the first two rounds while mixing it up with the big Boyz! Finishing 7th in the first Qatar race, and 10th in the second.



The Werks’ Ducati corse Factory team once again seems to be outpaced by it’s rival Satellite concern Pramac Racing, which interestingly both Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia graduated from this year. Although “Pecco” Bagnaia did start from Pole at the season opener and finished third, followed up with a P6 finish in Round-2, whilst Miller seems to be suffering more from his switch to the Factory ride so far.  


Yeah, I know it’s early days yet, but Johann Zarco has certainly resurrected his MotoGP career with two second place finishes in the first two rounds. As the Frenchman seems  to be the more stable of the two Pramac riders vs. his mercurial rookie team-mate Jorge Martín, who he passed for second place in Round-2 on the final lap!


Martin amazed  everyone by utilizing Ducati’s Holeshot device to rocket from 14th to 4th place at the season opener before settling back down to earth with a 15th place finish. But  it was the Doha Grand Prix where he Shocked the MotoGP Paddock by capturing Pole position in only his second ever outing!


Martin led much of the race before being passed by eventual winner Fabio Quartararo, before scoring his first Podium in 3rd place. Although Zarco’s two runner-up finishes saw him leading the championship heading to Portugal’s Portimao circuit.


Already talked about the Sky VR46 Esponsorama Racing concern above, albeit Bastianini has done well, with finishes of 10th & 11th in his first two races, while Marini has been towards the Tail-end of the grid.  



Obviously Ye Pinball Wizard, nee Marc Marquez’s broken Right Arm injury was far more severe then reported, since the Spaniard missed the season’s first two races and hasn’t ridden competitively since the 2020 season opener at Jerez on July 19, 2020.


Longtime Test Rider Stefan Bradl has been Deputizing for Marquez since last season, and continued doing so during the first two rounds in Qatar. As Bradl’s a past Moto2 champion, but he just doesn’t seem to be able to contend for Top-10’s. while Pol Espargaro has joined the Factory Repsol Honda team from KTM this season as Alex Marquez’s replacement.


Meanwhile the Satellite LCR Honda Squad saw longtime rider Cal Crutchlow depart to rival’s Yamaha to become it’s official Test Rider this year, replacing Jorge Lorenzo as last’s year’s test rider. With Alex Marquez replacing the Briton’, while the lone Japanese rider Takaaki Nakagami remains at LCR.


And I must wonder if Hondre’s Scooter woes are inherit to a bike being principally designed to suit Marc Marquez’s riding style? Which I suppose will be great News that he’ll make his MotoGP return at Portimao.



Miguel Oliveira graduates to the Werks’ concern alongside Brad Binder as Pol Espargaro’s replacement, giving the Factory Team two MotoGP winners on it’s rolls. While ex-Factory Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci takes over Oliveira’s seat, partnering Iker Lecuona at the Tec 3 Satellite Squad.


The KTM bikes reportedly had trouble utilizing Michelin’s soft rubber compound at the two Qatar events and had to utilize the less popular medium compound, albeit Binder  did manage to eek out an 8th place finish in Round-2.



This is the only team on the grid sporting an unchanged Rider lineup, presumably due to Joan Mir winning the MotoGP title last year with team-mate Alex Rins finishing third Overall. But as Mir’s finding out a la Marc Marquez, when you’re the Reigning Champion you’ve firmly got a target affixed to your back! As Mir and Rins have somewhat struggled  during Qualie’ during Qatar’s first two rounds, but both X-Star Riders have marched solidly to the sharp end of the race and are always a threat for victory! As the Suzuki GSX-RR seems to have extremely good corner speed and is gentle to it’s Michelin rubber.



Sure it’s Old News over what effectively was a Rider swap between the two Yamahopper’ Squad., With Fabio Quartararo taking Thee Doctor’s seat at the Werks’ concern, whilst Valentino Rossi will close out his illustrious career at the Satellite Petronas SRT Squad alongside one of his many protégé’s Franco Morbidelli.


Interestingly Maverick “Top Gun” vinales won the season oper at Qatar, whilst Quartararo won the second round in Doha, at the Losail International Circuit. Seeing the Factory Yamaha riders split 1-1 in the wins column heading to Portugal, whilst Rossi and Morbidelli seem lost right now, as both riders struggled at the back of the field. 

Friday, April 16, 2021

IndyCar Season Preview: Honda runners’

Let’s Light this Candle! Vroom-Vroom showtime boys!


What better way to Rev U-P IndyCar Fans then with the first Practice Sessions of an overly elongated Gory 175 Days  Offseason, eh? STEE-RIKE!


Nope, Yuhs Won’t be able to See ‘em take to Barber Motorsports Park for both Saturday Practice Session or qualifying live unless you’ve signed up for the newly re-imagined NBC Sports Gold Bricks Paywall, Err NBC Sports Gold Streaming service, now Peacock “TV” Streaming instead, for just $4.99 Extra per month, BARF!


Or you can watch Qualifying Delayed Saturday evening on NBC Sports (NBCSN) and the Race Sunday, April 18th on BIG NBC as Geo Phillips like saying! But Check your local listings as Always.


2021 Honda Team line-ups

Attempting another hypothetically short synopsis of the 14 Honda powered Drivers on this year’s IndyCar Grid. Which at least Thar numbers are spread out over five teams, or six if we’re being technical over Dale Coyne’s fascination with the Alphabet and really long team nomenclature, cymbal Crash please!


Andretti Autosport (3)

(Team/Car No/Drivers)

#26 Colton Herta, USA

#27 Alexander Rossi, USA

#28 Ryan Hunter-Reay, USA


Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport (1)

#29 James Hinchcliffe, Canada


We All know that Zack Veach got Dumped late last year with Thee Mayor ‘O Hinchtown’, aka James Hinchcliffe replacing him in the No. 26 Hondre’ for the final three races. So Hinch’ being added Fulltime this year wasn’t a surprise. But I wasn’t expecting Colton Herta to slide into the #26 this year and George Steinbrenner IV seemingly disappear from the IndyCar Fold? Although this was done mostly to appease sponsor Gainbridge staying at Andretti.


But naturally after I’d written this, I learned via Racer’s Marshall Pruett’s IMS Open Test preview that Hinch’ was now in the Andreti Steinbrenner Autosport chassis formerly driven by Colton Herta. As this means George Steinbrenner IV is still involved with Mikey a’s IndyCar concern…


Meanwhile The Dude! Ryan Hunter-Reay’s been given a one year extension on his contract, with both Oliver Askew and Kyle Kirkwood presumably waiting in the wings. Whilst Hopefully my yearly pick for winning his maiden IndyCar Crown Alexander Rossi will see a much brighter season vs. last’s year’s campaign, although he’ll have to contend with Herta over team Bragging rights.


Chip Ganassi Racing (4)

#8 Marcus Ericsson, Sweden

#9 Scott Dixon, New Zealand

#10 Alex Palou, Spain

#48 (R) Jimmy Johnson, USA (Twisties’ Only)

#48 Tony Kanaan, Brazil (Ovals Only)

(R = Rookie)


Obviously the Biggest News about CGR this year is the arrival of Seven Times NASCAR Champion Jimmy Johnson making his debut as an IndyCar Rookie at Age 45, albeit shunning the Oval tracks, which is a Shame not seeing him race at Mother Speedway. But this decision opened the way for us to have one of our Favourites, i.e.; TK’ Follow your Schnoz! Kanaan race at Indianapolis the next two years, SWEET!


What can I say about Scott Dixon? Other than may be the now Six Times and Reigning IndyCar Champion will surpass SuperMario’s (Andretti) career tally of 52 wins for second most overall this year?


Marcus Ericsson is the most overlooked of this quintet of Ganassi’s drivers, but seems to steadily improve each year in the series and has a totally Sweet sponsor. While Alex Palou is the touted newcomer with big things expected from him. As I just hope it doesn’t go as Pear shaped as it did for Ed Jones here. 

Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan (1)

#18 Ed Jones, UAE


With the Great Santiti’, nee Santino Ferrucci leaving for the Allure of Roundy Round Racin’ in the Xfinity Cup Lite’s series this year, Dale Coye, Top Jimmy’ (Vasser) and James Sully’ Sullivan decided to throw former Coyne (DCR) driver Ed Jones a lifeline and bring him back for a second go. Even after he Stiffed Coyne before when jumping to Ganassi for the 2018 season after a Handshake Deal with Dale to remain with the team. As hopefully Jones results will be markedly better than his time driving both for Ganassi and Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) were!


Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing (1)

#51 (R) Romain Grosjean, France (Twisties’ Only)

#51 Pietro Fittipaldi, Brazil (Ovals Only)

(R = Rookie)


The other vaunted Rookie in this year’s IndyCar field is former Haas Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean coming to americre’, also eschewing participating on the Oval tracks on the grounds of Safety concerns for his Family after his Horrific, Fiery Shunt at Bahrain last year! As I’ll be quite curious to see how Romain fairs in IndyCar’s this year.


Grosjean’s skipping of the Ovals opens the way for his former Haas F1 Team-mate Pietro Fittipaldi to return to IndyCar racing on a limited basis  whilst still remaining as the American Formula 1 Team’s Reserve Driver this year. 


Meyer Shank Racing (2)

#06 Helio Castroneves, Brazil (Partial Season, 6 Races)

#60 Jack Harvey, UK

(Technical Partnership with Andretti Autosport)


If you read No Fenders on a regular basis, you’ll know I’ve never been a Fan of Hulio’s, aka Helio Castroneves. And with the Brazilian turning 46 on May 10th, he’s IndyCar’s second Oldest driver. Sandwiching his Buddy Tony Kanaan who’s 130 Days (4 months and 10 days) Older than him. (Dec 31, 1974) And Jimmy Johnson who’s 4 months and a week younger than him. (Sept 17, 1975)


As I totally believe Castroneves is past his prime, but naturally is a big Scoop for MSR, giving it some “Star Power,” especially during the Month of May where he’ll make his MSR debut in the 105th Indianapolis 500.


Helio will continue his season next at the inaugural Nashville Street race before returning to Indianapolis’s Road Course for the August 14th event, and then conclude his six race outing along the West Coast, competing at Portland, Laguna Seca and Long Beach.

Hopefully Castroneves can give the team’s No. 1 Driver Jack, Not Bloody Nige! Harvey some pointers on the Oval tracks and All around race craft, since a Three Times Indy 500 Champion and winner of 30 IndyCar races knows a thing or two about winning. But I’ll admit it still feels Odd for Hulio’ not to be in a Team Penske car…


Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (2)

#15 Graham Rahal, USA

#30 Takuma Sato, Japan


You’d have to Arse-sume that the 2020 season was a disappointment for Ye Grahaminator’, aka Graham Rahal who finished 6th overall. As I think his third place finish at Mother Speedway’ was his best finish of the year? But finishing two places behind team-Mate Takuma Sato, who’s motto is “No attack, No chance!” At the Indianapolis 500 where Taku-san’ became a Two-time Indy 500 winner certainly has to sting!


Actually Graham recorded his best finish of runner-up at the Indy GP held on July 4th, along with a pair of 3rd place finishes, i.e.; Indy 500 & Gateway. (WWT Raceway) And finished one place ahead of Sato with 377 point’s vs. Takuma’s 348. 


But what else can I say about the likeable Japanese Driver? Who came up three corners short in 2012 of becoming an eventual Three-times Indy 500 Champion. Although at 44, surely Sato’s IndyCar career has to be in it’s twilight… 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

IndyCar Season Preview: Bowtie Boyz’

Are we really gonna G-O Racing?


Hur-ray, Hur-ray, Hur-ray Folks! After 27, or is it 28? Insufferable Miserably L-O-N-G week since our last G-Damn IndyCar race Wayback on October 25th, 2020 at St Pete, it’s finally time to Kick this Party off at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, or is it Leeds? Alabama this Sunday, April 18th, Hurrah!

2021 Chevrolet Team line-ups

This is just intended to be a hopefully somewhat Brief rundown upon the 11 Fulltime Bowtie’ runners in this year’s NTT IndyCar Series Championship.


A.J. Foyt Enterprises (2)

(Team/Car No/Drivers)

#4 Dalton Kellett, Canada

#14 Sebastian Bourdais, France


The proverbial Backmarkers enter with Hopes anew, sporting an All New Fulltime season Driver line-up, obviously led by le Hamburgular’, aka SeaBass’ or just plain ‘Ol Sebastian Bourdais. As the Frenchman hopes to put ‘Ol superTex’s storied No. 14 back into victory lane.


Dalton Kellett who ironically shared Seat-time with Bourdais and Tony Kanaan aboard the #14 last year replaces Charlie Kimball in the No. 4, in what will probably be another learning year for the Kuhnuck’.


Arrow McLaren SP

#5 Patricio O'Ward, Mexico

#7 Felix Rosenqvist, Sweden


While I’m certainly Not a Fan of Sam Schmidt’s regarding the way he’s Jettisoned Drivers over the years, i.e.; Tristan Vautier, James Hinchcliffe and Oliver Askew. Nevertheless , this is one of the team’s I’m most interested in, specifically because my current Numero Uno IndyCar Driver Pato O’Ward drives for them, not to mention I’ve liked Felix rosenqvist ever since his Indy Lights days a long time ago.


Pato’s name has been at the Top of the Timesheets All Preseason, which hopefully transfers over to the regular season, since I’m expecting him to “Break his Duck” this year in Indy Cars, while Rosenqvist seems to be silently lurking in the Shadows. And as my late Awntie’ Harriet would say, Can SPAM’, aka Arrow McLaren SP run with Thee Big boys this season?


Carlin (1)

59. Max Chilton, UK (Twisties' Only + Indy 500)

59. Conor Daly, USA (Ovals Only)


As the only One car team on the grid, and a mediocre driver at the tiller who seems to enjoy plodding along in Obscurity, I Don’t expect much from Carlin once again…


Arse-sumedly Conor Daly will fill-in on the two Oval tracks Max Chilton has elected to skip, i.e.; Texas Motor Speedway and Gateway, Err WWT Raceway. As Conor scored his and Carlin’s first IndyCar Pole position last year at Iowa’s Race-1.


Ed Carpenter Racing (2)

#20 Ed Carpenter, USA (Ovals Only)

#20 Conor Daly, USA (Twisties' Only + 3rd Indy 500 entry)

#21 Rinus VeeKay, Netherlands


Obviously it’s Not my Team or Money but, it seems like it’s time for Fast Eddie’, aka Ed Carpenter to move to a third Part-time mount and run his Young Charges Fulltime. As conor Daly will run the bulk of the season, but seems outclassed by his junior team-mate.


As I’m quite “High” upon the young Niederlander’ Rinus VeeKay, who begins his Sophomore season at ECR. Hopefully meaning now that he knows the tracks in an IndyCar, he can contest for top-5’s and more Podium finishes, since it would be nice to see an ECR entry running up front.  


Team Penske (4)

#2 Joseph Newgarden, USA

#3 (R) Scott McLaughlin, New Zealand

#12 Will Power, Australia

#22 Simon Pagenaud, France

(R = Rookie)


The Big News at Team Penske is the addition of a fourth fulltime entry for the much Ballyhooed Scott McLaughlin as the reigning Three-times Aussi Supercars Champion. As the Kiwi was an absolute Bad Arse Down Under and we All await to see if All of the Hype over him is warranted?


Otherwise Josef Newgarden’s always a threat for the Championship title, whilst I’m not sure if both Simon Pagenaud and Will Power are in Contract Years this season or just Power? But after Pagenaud finished 8th Overall and Power 5th, I’d Arse-sume the pressure’s on both of them to deliver this season, Eh?