Sunday, May 25, 2014

Live Racing

Ah, Monaco.  A week of specticle and a couple hours of poor racing.  It seems that the business ofracing trumps the actual racing, since that can be the only explanation for Monaco's continued appearance on the calendar.  There is no passing and lots of collisions; the grid order is usually closely related to the finishing order.  And this year the way the cars lined up (Mercedes-Mercedes, Red Bull-Red Bull, Ferrari-Ferrari) showed that for the most part the car is more important than the driver.

Still, one gets a sense of who can actually build a car over who can pick an engine.  Ferrari's appearance ahead of such Mercedes-powered teams as -- well, everyone except Mercedes themselves -- shows that their car is perhaps not entirely the brick with wheels that its finishing record has suggested.

So for this race I am less inclined to credit Alonso's fourth place to the failure of the junior Mercedes teams' to execute and to credit it more to both the basic servicability of the Ferrari and Alonso's mad skills as a driver.  To be sure, Vettel's gearbox expiry certainly helped, as apples-to-apples the Ferrari is never going to pass a Red Bull around Monaco.

I'm starting to wonder about Raikkonen, though.  His lunge down Magnusson's inside at the hairpin was rushed, when anyone could see that the McLaren would be easy pickings in any safer passing place.  Raikkonnen fell out of the points with this manuever.  It makes one wonder as to how much of the rest of his "bad luck" Raikkonen is actively courting by trying to make things happen when they shouldn't.

Overall the race was pretty boring to me.  I am not amused by Mercedes cars chasing each other at the front of the grid.  But then, I'm a blatent Ferrari homer.  At least I admit it.  The British coverage is all about "how can Hamilton make the pass", and when Saint Lewis runs at the front, it is all about "how can Hamilton defend against the pass."  I'm tired of listening about Lewis Hamilton.

Today I did something different, due to a change of Sunday circumstances I got to watch the race live. So I indulged in a season pass to the F1 Timing And Scoring App for $11, and got to be able to track the progress (or lack thereof) of the Ferrari cars through the race.  It is interesting to watch, even if it is out-of-sync with the actual race -- it appeared to be three quarters of a lap behind the actual running on TV, but I suppose that I could have paused the PVR and then had actual synchronization (note to self... that isn't a bad idea).  One interesting thing is that the app commentary identified the cause of Raikonnen's second pit stop under safety car almost immediately, while the TV commentary didn't figure it out for 20 or 30 minutes.  

I'm not sure if I'll get to watch any more races live this year, but frankly I've spent more on less in the past, so I don't view it as a waste.