As the Comments Team contemplates the black hole that is a weekend without the Premier League, there is still plenty to look forward to. The AFL and F1 seasons kick off in Melbourne; the Hurricanes have the chance to actually score a couple of tries when they take on the Rebels; the last two Quarter Finals in the Cricket World Cup will be played; and England will hopefully lose to Wales in the Euro 2012 Qualifier.
The biggest event though is undoubtedly the commencement of the Formula 1 season. Motorsports Reporter Toejam Odelay has submitted this story on the latest changes to the cars.
Formulaic One? Hopefully not
Howdy ya’ll. Its gonna be another long season of F1, although there is only one new circuit this year, in India in late October. However, as per usual, the powers that be have tinkered with various aspects of the racing in the ongoing attempt to provide more overtaking and therefore more excitement. Generally these alterations have had mixed results; here’s a rundown of this season’s attempts.
There are three major changes to the cars: a new rear wing that can be manipulated to reduce drag at certain moments; the re-introduction of the KERS system; and a new tyre manufacturer. I’ll try and give you a brief assessment of how each of these changes could affect the racing.
Firstly, the most interesting change is to the rear wings. While for most of the race they remain the same as last year, they can now be manipulated at certain moments to reduce drag and increase speed. Basically, if you are within one second of the car in front of you going through a corner, on the next straight you have 600 metres in which you can open a slot on the rear wing, thereby reducing drag, and propel your vehicle forward in an effort to overtake. It remains to be seen how effective this will be, but it is a cool idea. It will certainly give the drivers a lot more to think about, both when attacking and defending, and the distraction alone could lead to some interesting action.
Secondly, the KERS system has returned. This is hellishly complex, but again basically involves pushing a button resulting in a temporary burst of speed. You can read more about KERS here.
Lastly, there is a new tyre maker this year. After a number of years of supplying tryes to all the teams, Bridgestone has been replaced by Pirelli. Nobody knows for certain just how great an effect this will have just yet, but in winter testing the Pirellis were found to degrade faster than the Bridgestones, which necessitates in more pit stops, which in theory makes races more exciting. Personally I have some issues with this, as I would much prefer to see overtaking on the track, not in the pits, but we shall see.
In terms of predictions for the Championship, it seems safe to assume that Red Bull will be strong again, and Ferrari will likely lead the chasing pack. After those two, McLaren should be strong, but it’s hard to know exactly what to expect from the likes of Mercedes, Renault, Force India and the rest. Which is cool because it obviously makes things much more intriguing. Here’s hoping that the Red Bulls don’t just disappear off into the distance and that we get an exciting season of racing. I’ll be back next week with a review of the opening round in Melbourne.
Thanks for that Toejam. Before we leave the topic of fast cars going round in circles, we received this missive from correspondent KoreanKurtz.
With the F1 season starting in Melbourne this weekend, I just wanted to relay my experiences of that event. I attended the GP in Melbs in 2003, 2004 and 2005. The first year I stumped up for the most expensive tickets; right on pit-straight for the three days. I remember sitting in my seat as all the undercard racing took place: Porsche Cup; GT racing featuring the likes of Lamborghinis, Dodge Vipers, and Ferraris; and the mighty V8 Supercars. While these were all awesome, I waited impatiently for my first ever glimpse of an F1 car in action. When it finally came, I heard it well before I saw it.
As the cars were fired up in their pit boxes, the most incredible sound I had ever experienced began to assail my senses. For none of the other categories of racing had I needed the ear plugs I’d been provided with, but the Formula 1 cars, even while just idling, had me reaching for those little suckers fast. And then…
Unless you’ve actually been to a Grand Prix you can never really fully understand the incredible volume the engines on these vehicles emit. The best way I can describe it is to say that they sound like the angriest machines ever created. I was entranced before I even saw one of them in movement. Judging by the faces around me I definitely wasn’t the only one.
And then you do finally see them. They barely brake for corners other cars had been crawling through. They actually appear to be stuck to the road like slot-cars. It is truly amazing. The fastest Lamborghini lapped 38 seconds slower than the F1 cars were doing: mind-blowing. I took hundreds of photos, most of which when developed show an empty frame that a car had just blown through. The only really successful pics I took were as the cars slowed to enter the pits. Dang darn awesomeness.
Just as a teaser for you F1 fans out there, I’ve found some great footage of the McLaren cars doing some laps of Bathurst, the greatest circuit in world motorsport. You can check them out here and here. The second clip in particular gives you some sense of the stunning volume of the beasts as they effortlessly drown out the engine noise of the helicopter hovering above. Enjoy.
Lastly today, some bits and pieces from around the sporting globe:
- as we predicted, Pakistan and India progressed through their respective Quarter Finals. The senior players in the Windies squad were hugely disappointing against Pakistan, and one wonders whether the likes of Gayle, Chanderpaul and Sarwan will feature much from this point onwards. They have a number of promising youngsters- Roach, Bishoo and the Bravo brothers- and chances are they’ll be taking over soon.
The Aussies showed the tenacity and belief that they are renowned for, obviously personified best in captain Ponting’s century which was certainly not a thing of technical beauty, but in the end lacked quality throughout their squad, particularly with the ball. We still favour Pakistan to beat India, despite India having home advantage. There is a sense that last night was like a Final to the Indians, and they may struggle to pick themselves up again. The Pakistanis will definitely be fresh and focused, but more on this match next week.
We believe the remaining two quarters will be very similar to the first two: South Africa to dominate NZ a la Pakistan over the Windies, and Sri Lanka to have too much class and motivation for the English.
- there is no Premier League this weekend due to Euro Qualifiers. This is awful. And on the subject of Alex Ferguson’s touch-line ban: what a farce. He now sits in the stands with a better view of the field and relays instructions to the bench by phone. Ban him from the stadiums entirely on match-day if you want to provide a real deterrent.
- the mighty Sainters kick off their AFL season tonight at the MCG against the Geelong Cats. If either Hard Times Molloy or Simon The BIG Man Garret are attending we’d love to hear a report. Opening weekend is always a fantastic time to be in Melbourne after the lengthy scandal-filled off-season, and combined with the GP in town, the Comments Team continues to give serious thought to relocating our base of operations.
- the Track Cycling World Championships are on at the moment, and the Kiwi team is again punching above their weight. While we at the Comments Team prefer road racing, there is still a lot of excitement to be found indoors. Good luck to the Kiwi contingent in the remainder of the Champs, and here’s hoping they can pip the heavyweights such as Australia, Great Britain and France to a gold medal or two.
That’s us done for today. Please get in touch in the comments section below, or alternatively email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear your opinions on the F1, football or any action you feel deserves a rant. Enjoy your weekends, we’ll be back Monday.