Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ratzenberger: 20 years

I read something that suggested that far from being overshadowed by Senna's death the following day, Ratzenberger's name is better remembered today because of its proximity to what happened. I know that at the time I thought that Ratzenberger would become the answer to a trivia question, but the internet seems to remember far better than I anticipated people doing.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I'm an unacknowledged comedy genius

No love? I'm hurt.

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Well that turned out a lot better than we were afraid it was going to, didn't it?

(Yet!) another fifth place on the grid for Alonso, and another forgettable grid position for Raikkonen, and one might be forgiven for anticipating yet another race of mediocrity -- with maybe some points at the end of the day. Instead Alonso ran in the top three with little to genuinely worry him. While the Mercedes were -- again -- in a different zone, it didn't look like they were on the different planet that they were in Bahrain two weeks ago. Alonso never really challenged them. But conspicuous by their absence was every other Mercedes-powered team: Force India (6th and 9th); Williams (7th and the error dropping Massa); and McLaren (forgettable and worse than that).

The Bulls were around as usual, but Ricciardo didn't really look like he'd be able to collect up Alonso before the end of the event. The Bull was faster at the end, but the Ferrari was fast enough.

With all that, I don't think this is a breakthrough or a turning point, just a track that the Ferrari suits better than the other cars. I rather suspect that it will be back to business as usual next time with Mercedes-powered cars dominating the points, with the Bulls and the Ferraris -- in that order -- collecting what's left.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


So from today we can conclude that the Mercedes engine is a huge advantage.  I rate the Ferrari engine next, and the Renault bringing up the rear.  I think the Red Bull chassis is in the same ballpark as the Mercedes chassis, with the Ferrari probably next -- but Mercedes power covers a lot of sins. 

The way the two Mercedes romped away from everyone else over the last ten laps -- three(!) seconds a lap faster than anyone else -- was awesome.  Dispiriting to everyone who isn't driving a Mercedes, and even more so to anyone who doesn't have a Mercedes engine, yes, but still an awesome display of power.

2014 is going to be a long year for Ferrari.  Points today is entertain no points, but really the title looks like a "next year" prospect.  The list of teams beating Ferrari today is depressingly long and includes a bunch of teams which really shouldn't be there.  Force India?  Williams?  Really?  Yes, really, and we just have to ride this season out and hope that next year is better. And it feels terrible to be writing off 2014 just three events into the season but frankly without engine development being permitted I don't see any chance for significant improvement.

I think that the engine homologation rules are really going to work against Formula 1 for a while.  Freezing engines after the formula had been in place for a few years and everyone had done some real-world development was one thing.  The resulting engines were reasonably equal, with some trade-offs -- yes the Mercedes was more powerful, but the Renault was lighter and easier on fuel.  But now that there is clearly an engine disparity and no chance to make it up in-season, Formula 1 risks becoming a one-make series.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Your Q3 Qualifiers:

Seven Mercedes, two Ferraris, and one Renault.  Clearly engine choice makes no difference.

Now while in the long run having homologated engines is good for the sport, I fear that the fact that there is no longer any in-season development being done means everyone who doesn't have a Mercedes engine behind their shoulders is looking at a long season with scant chance of even points.  And that I think means that this year could be a right snoozer.