Ferrari 2011 launch

It’s almost time…time for Formula One.  I know my mother will be over the moon.

Well, Ferrari launched their new car last week, the Ferrari F150, and before you make any snarky smart-a$$ comments, no it does not have a Hemi.  It is called the Ferrari F150 to commemorate 150 year of Italian unification.  So there.

Anyway, here are just a couple pictures:

Isn't it pretty?

 

I love this rear wing

And finally, a picture of the Drivers

That’s Alonso on the right, Massa on the left.  I am really not loving the facial hair.

All the pictures are from Ferrari.com

*I have just been informed that Ford F150s do not have Hemi’s.  Well, neither does the Ferrari.  Hah.

 

The Singapore Grand Prix report

Singapore is an interesting race and I have mixed feelings about it.  First of all, it’s a street circuit.  In theory I don’t like street circuits because there isn’t any run-off room and cars hit the walls all the time.  It is also the only Formula One race that is run after dark.  I don’t like that in theory either because I worry that it will be too dark, and the drivers won’t be able to see, or it will rain and all the temporary lights will short out and the drivers won’t be able to see and there will be absolute mayhem.

But in fact I really really like this race.  I’m sure I have said this before, but the cars look so beautiful under the lights, and the track looks amazing in the overhead shots.  See for yourself:

Pretty cool huh?

Photo from GP Update

Fernando Alonso was on pole again for Ferrari.  This is two races in a row!  I’m telling you, that new Alonso t-shirt I bought in San Francisco last month has been so lucky for him.

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel started second, Lewis Hamilton was third in his McLaren and his teammate Jenson Button was fourth.  Poor Felipe Massa (Alonso’s teammate) was starting dead last after his engine failed during the first session of qualifying.  I was a little bit nervous about how the start would go since Vettel has been recently christened “Cheating crash boy” by Tom.  I was afraid he would do something stupid and end up taking Alonso out of the race.

But no!  Alonso got a nice clean start and pulled away from Vettel.  Vettel followed, then Hamilton, then Jenson.  Massa did one lap and then pitted to change his tires.   Not because there was anything wrong with them but because F1 has this spectacularly stupid rule saying you have to use two different tire compounds during the race.  By pitting on the first lap Massa got that requirement out of the way early.

Then on lap four Vitantionio Liuzzi’s Force India car stopped on track and the Safety Car came out.  Everybody dove into the pits except the top five runners.

That was pretty much all she wrote until about halfway through the race.  Tom and I were sitting there thinking this race was taking a very long time.  On lap 36 the running order was Alonso, Vettel, and Webber, with Hamilton and Button running fourth and fifth.  Then ka-bam!  Hamilton tried to pass Webber and Webber slammed the door on him. They touched and it ended Hamilton’s race.  That is his second retirement in a row, and it probably effectively ends his chances of winning the WDC.  It’s too bad for Hamilton, but that’s racing.

Meanwhile Alonso and Vettel were duking it out for the lead.  Alonso stayed between a second and two seconds ahead, but it was torture to watch.  I love it when Alonso is winning, and I hate it when Alonso is winning.  But I love it more than I hate it.

With two laps to go Heikki Kovaleinen spun and then his car caught fire.  He kept driving it though, coasting to a stop on the front strait.  While he was still behind the wheel he was motioning to the fire marshals.  I was screaming at him to GET OUT OF THE CAR!  But he wasn’t listening.  I know they are wearing fireproof suits and everything but for crying out loud.  I couldn’t believe how cool and collected he seemed as flames shot from the back of his car.  He calmly climbed out took the fire extinguisher somebody was offering him through the pit wall and proceeded to put the fire out himself.  Now that is one cool customer right there.  Yeesh.

Alonso won.  That puts him second in the fight for the World Driver’s Championship.  It would take a miracle for him to win, so I am trying not to get too excited, but I might not be succeeding.

Look how happy he is, jumping up and down on the podium:

Yay!

Photo from GP Update

The Italian Grand Prix Report

Yes, I am late to the party.  But better late than never right?  So the Italian Grand Prix is held at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, or Monza for short.  It is the fastest track on the Formula One calendar.  Cars here top out at about 212 miles an hour.  212 miles an hour!  In one of these:

I know!  It’s crazy talk.  I love Monza, I really do, but it always makes me nervous.   They all make me nervous.

Fernando Alonso was on pole for Ferrari.  It was the first time a Ferrari had been on pole in a very long time, and Monza is Ferrari’s home race.  The track is not far from Milan, which is not far from Maranello, home of the Ferrari factory.

Tom and I watched qualifying on Saturday night while eating pasta with an excellent Bolognese sauce.  We figured that was close enough to Milanese cuisine.  After I watched Fernando put the car on pole I did the happy dance all night and waited for the race on Sunday.

Sunday dawned and there was no rain in the forecast.  Huzzah.  Alonso was first (as I mentioned) then Jenson Button’s McLaren and Felipe Massa’s Ferrari.  Mark Webber was fourth for Red Bull and Lewis Hamilton was fifth in his McLaren.  Sebastian Vettel, the newly christened Crash Kid was sixth.  I thought that if I were Lewis Hamilton I would be worried about starting next to Vettel because you just never know what he might do these days.

When the race started Alonso tried to move over on Button and squeeze him out of the way.  This was maybe not the smartest thing he could have done because it gave Button an opening to get by when Alonso had to lift to avoid a collision.  And then Massa, forgetting for a moment that he is supposed to be the wingman, tried to get past Alonso too.  Silly Massa.  Meanwhile Hamilton passed Webber and tried to make a move around Massa.  Massa moved over and kersmash.  Hamilton ended up with a broken suspension.  Game over.  It was kind of a shame.  I don’t like him much (okay, I don’t like him at all) but he sounded pretty gutted when he talked to the press.  If he ends up losing the World Driver’s Championship, that mistake could be the reason why.

Meanwhile Button was ahead of Alonso, but Alonso was sticking right with him, sometimes a second behind him, sometimes half a second.  It is very exciting to watch the cars following this closely.  I spent a lot of time yelling at Alonso to be careful.  I think he could hear me through the TV because nothing bad happened.

Finally Button pitted for fresh tires, and Alonso inherited the lead.  He pushed and pushed and pushed that car and then there was a miracle.  When Alonso pitted for fresh tires his pit crew managed to do it in less than four seconds.  Alonso came out of the pits just ahead of Button on the track.  For a minute there it looked like Button would pass him.  Alonso had cold tires, but Fernando managed to hold him off and that was all she wrote.

Alonso wins at Monza.  That is is third win of the year for those of you keeping score at home.  Awesome.

Jenson Button came in second and Massa was third.  A great result for Ferrari.  I was doing the happy dance all day.

The German Grand Prix report

Another week, another controversy, and this time it’s Ferrari in the crosshairs.  But, first things first.

Sebastian Vettel was on pole (again) for Red Bull.  But Fernando Alonso was second in his nice red Ferrari and his teammate Felipe Massa was third.  Massa has not had a great year so far so I was happy for him.  And of course, thrilled for Alonso.  Hamilton qualified fourth even though he wrecked his car during practice on Friday.  So props to the McLaren mechanics for getting the thing rebuilt.

When the lights went out Vettel blew the start.  Again.  Somebody really needs to teach that boy how to start from pole.  Anyway, he was so worried about trying (unsuccessfully) to squeeze Alonso off the track that Massa slipped right by both of them into the lead.  Alonso managed to hang onto second place and Vettel slipped back to third.

And that is pretty much the race, folks.  Alonso tried to pass Massa once early in the race but Massa was having none of it.  Alonso had no choice but to settle into second place.  And then, on lap 46(ish) Massa’s race engineer radioed to say Alonso is quicker behind you, please acknowledge you understood this message.  At that point Massa moved aside and let Alonso pass.  He says he did it because he was having trouble managing the hard tires and he made the decision.  The media and pretty much everybody else in F1 besides me is calling foul.

What I just described could be interpreted as team orders.  And in fact, I’m sure that’s what they were.  As we have discussed team orders are illegal in Formula 1 and you are not allowed to ask one teammate to move over for the other.  But it happens all the time.

Now, I know I was incandescent with rage after the German Grand Prix in 2008 when Heikki Kovaleinin got the same message on his radio from McLaren and moved over to let his teammate Lewis Hamilton pass.  But that was Lewis and this is Fernando, and yes I am just that shallow.  At least I’ll admit it.

But really, the order made sense this time.  Alonso still has a chance (however small) at the World Driver’s Championship.  Massa, at 67 points behind the WDC leader does not.  So, the team had the drivers switch places to give themselves their best shot at a WDC.

I am sure Ferrari would have asked Alonso to move over for Massa if the tables had been turned and Massa was within striking distance of the WDC.  That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

The next race is the Hungarian Grand Prix next weekend.  I am not entirely sure I wat to watch it.  Bad things always seem to happen at the Hungaroring.

The Australian Grand Prix report

Ah, Australia.  This is a great race.  I love this race.  It is usually the first race of the season (but not this year) and it has a great atmosphere.  It is definitely on The List of races to see live and in person.  But this year I had to settle for the TV as usual.  It was just as well really because it rained.  And I hate rainy races.  But it didn’t rain for very long so the story has a happy ending.  Sort of.

Sebastian Vettel was on pole again.  That makes two races in a row for those of you keeping score at home.  That Red Bull car is wicked fast, especially during qualifying.  His teammate and local favorite (he’s Australian) Mark Webber was second locking out the front row for Red Bull.  In Formula 1 this is considered a Good Thing.  Fernando Alonso was third for the second race in a row in his shiny red Ferrari.  Teammate Felipe Massa was fifth on the grid.  McLaren’s Jenson Button was fourth.  His teammate, that Lewis Hamilton started 11th.  Oops.  Meanwhile Nico Rosberg outqualified his 7-time world champion teammate Michael Schumacher for the second race in a row.  Way to go Nico.

It was raining ever so slightly at the start.  The lights went out and Vettel went galloping off into the distance.  Meanwhile there was trouble!  Alonso had wheel spin and Massa went by him for second place.  Poor Fernando found himself sandwiched between Button and Schumacher and there’s contact!  Alonso spins and ends up in 22nd place.  That is dead last people.  Dead.   Last.  I almost threw down the remote, said “screw this” and watched New Moon again.  But I persevered once I saw that Alonso had not, in fact, been knocked out of the race entirely and I am so glad I did.

There was rain (which I hate), there was dicing, there was tire strategy, there was a safety car period.  This race had it all.  It was very exciting.

After about six laps the rain had stopped and Jenson Button came into the pits to change his tires.  All the cars had started on the intermediate rain tires, Button was the first driver to go out on slicks.  Would it work?  Well, that first lap on the slick tires he looked like he was driving on a slip n’ slide but in the end it was the right decision.  He never looked back and made that one set of tires last the rest of the race.  That’s 50 laps.  That’s a long time.

Meanwhile, during all that drama Alonso was methodically making his way back to the front of the field.  He’s very good at that.  Once the engineers realized Button was actually racy on the slick tires everyone came into the pits.  It was a little party.  When all the dust settled Vettel was still in front, followed by Button Kubica, Rosberg and Massa.  Alonso had managed to haul himself up to tenth place at this point, but he wasn’t done yet.

And then on lap 33 Vettel went off.  He had a mechanical failure.  This is the second race he has started on pole and the second race he has failed to finish.  It reminds me of Kimi Raikonnen’s tenure at McLaren.   The car just keeps letting him down.  I have a helpful hint for the boys at Red Bull.  It’s great to qualify on pole and all, but if you can’t finish the race it doesn’t really do much good.

To make a long story short, or at least, less long after a lot more dicing and overtaking and all the things that were lacking in the Bahrain Grand Prix two weeks ago Jenson Button won!  How did that happen?  I highly recommend this  handy play by play of all the action.  Robert Kubica finished second in his ugly yellow Renault.  Nobody was expecting that!  Massa took the last spot on the podium with Alonso finishing just behind him in fourth place.  That is actually pretty amazing considering his craptacular start.

I think (and this may just be the fangirl in me talking) that Alonso could have overtaken Kubica and maybe even had a run at Button if he had been able to get by Massa.  But Alonso decided discretion was the better part of valor and opted to hold station in fourth and concentrate on holding off Hamilton and Webber who were right behind him.

That Lewis Hamilton and Webber got into it in the waning laps but despite knocking into each other they both managed to finish.

I have to give the drive of the race to Alonso. He did a fantastic job storming back through the field to get to fourth place, and then defended his position brilliantly.  He also wins the award for the best quote of the race.  When his race engineer was telling him on the radio that Hamilton was closing in on him Alonso’s response on the radio was “I don’t want to know”.  Priceless.

As usual please go to a reputable F1 new site for accurate information.

The racing season approaches

It’s a Formula 1 day today mom.  Sorry about that.

The 2010 season is creeping up on us.  It will be here in a mere 35 days from right now.  Oooh, I can’t wait.

As I am sure you know, Fernando Alonso, everyone’s favorite driver (well, my favorite driver) will be driving for Ferrari this year.  I have been waiting for him to land at Ferrari since the bad year that we do not speak of (2007).  This is like Christmas for me.  I’m so excited I can hardly stand it.

AND we got our ticket confirmation from the Canadian Grand Prix so we are definitely On The List.  I even have all my track outfits planned already.  When I told Tom that he looked at me and said “you are just all kinds of crazy aren’t you?”  I am going to assume he meant that as a compliment.

So here is the new Ferrari F10.  Isn’t it pretty?  (This is where you say yes)

F1 comes to the middle of nowhere

It’s a Formula 1 day mom. Sorry.

Big doings in the Big City today.  I got word yesterday via one of my F1 Forum friends that there would be a Ferrari Formula 1 car at one of the Chevy dealers in the Big City.  Sweet.  I made my plans, listened to Tom make fun of me, and went to bed.

Then this morning, potential disaster:  Princess O arrived in my room looking all pitiful and announced that she had been up since 2am.  Of course my first thought was, “dammit, she has to go to school today, I’m going out”.  So I gave her a big pep talk and fed her chocolate milk and sent her on her way.  Feel free to put that on my application for mother of the year.

Once I got the C-man to school I came home, “borrowed” Princess O’s T-shirt, fired up the Songs for Driving Fast playlist on my Ipod and hit the road.

I was really looking forward to meeting some other F1 fans in the neighborhood, or at least in the state.  But I was the only one there.  The only one!   It was just me and the car and the car’s babysitter.  There weren’t even ropes around the car, just a sign saying don’t touch.  Amazing.  I have never been that close to one of these cars before.  It was so cool.

The sign said it was from 2001 but it didn’t look like it to me.  But then again, what do I know?  And besides, it’s just a show chassis anyway it could have bits and pieces on it from a variety of years.  Since I had the thing pretty much to myself I look a lot of pictures.  Here they are:

I also played the F1 simulator game they had there, and wow I am really bad at that.

I spent a lovely 30 minutes or so ogling the car from every angle, and then I came home, carefully folded the Royal T-shirt and put it away.  She’ll never even know.

Lego’s!

I finally had time to put my Ferrari Lego’s together.  They are so awesome.

They were, however, a pain in the neck to put together.  They came with lots of stickers, and many many pieces.

stickers, lots and lots of stickers

stickers, lots and lots of stickers

(Sorry, that picture is kind of blurry.)

I understand now why the C-man is often enraged by his Lego sets.  I also understand why he sometimes makes his Lego purchasing decisions based on how many stickers there are likely to be in the box.  Stickers are very very fiddly.  There is nothing fun about stickers.

But, in the end I think they turned out pretty good.

IMG_4716

Here is the studio shot from the Lego website, since my photo kind of sucks.

8168-0000-xx-12-1

The set came with a little Lego Kimi Raikkonen

IMG_4727

And a little Lego Felipe Massa

IMG_4722

Regular subscribers will remember that the real, non-Lego Massa was hurt at the Hungarian Grand Prix in July and has not been racing while he recovers from a bruised brain.  The C-man suggested perhaps I should put a bandage on Lego Massa until the real one recovers.  I don’t think that will be necessary.

Next year I am hoping they come out with a new Ferrari set.  And I hope this one has a little Lego Fernando Alonso.  I need one.

Alonso to Ferrari!

It’s official! (Oh, and it’s a Formula 1 day today mom.  Sorry).

“We are very proud to welcome to our team another winning driver, who has demonstrated his amazing talent by winning two world championships in his career to date,” said Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali.

Autosport.com

I have been waiting for this announcement for ages.  I first suspected he would land at Ferrari back in 2007 when he left McLaren.  And now, finally I was right.  Oh boy oh boy.  This is gonna be great.

I know a lot of people have their reservations about how well Felipe Massa and Fernando will get along as teammates, but I think they will be fine.  I think they both know the other will not give an inch, and so neither one of them will expect it.  Add to that the fact that in the last couple years Ferrari has refrained from naming a #1 driver and waiting to see how the season plays out.  Then the driver with the best shot at the driver’s title gets top dog status.

Anyway, I think this will be good.  He will have a good car, on a top team, and hopefully he can kick the rest of the grid’s butt.  Hah.

No word yet on what will happen to Kimi Raikkonen, the driver Alonso is replacing.  The rumors are he will end up back at McLaren, but there is nothing official yet.  Princess O is most displeased.

Kimi is her favorite driver.  She says he has a “nice face”.  He does, it’s true.  I told her last night that it looked like Kimi would be moving on.  I asked her if she would stick with Ferrari or move to McLaren with Kimi.  She said she was sticking with Kimi, and if Kimi retires she will find a new favorite driver.  I suggested Alonso, but she said she doesn’t like him.

“Why?” I asked.

“I don’t like his hair” she replied.

Well, I suppose that is as good a reason as any for choosing a favorite driver, especially at age 11.  I recommended Nico Rosberg, but she just gave me the hairy eyeball.

I wonder if she will let me borrow her Ferrari T-shirt…