MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2014 GRAND PRIX OF AUSTRIA (20.6.2014 – 22.6.2014) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE? /// P2…

  • Guten morgen.
  • …Or, whenever it is where you are.
  • …Tag.  Definitely tag.
  • This is the Austrian Grand Prix.
  • So, let’s review some facts while everyone prepares for references to ‘The Sound of Music’, ‘National Lampoon’s European Vacation’, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Red Bullshit, and other inevitabilities.
  • The Austrian Grand Prix was last on the F1 calendar in 2003.
  • …The podium was a McLaren sammich on Ferrari.
  • …Schumacher, Räikkönen, Barrichello.
  • At that time, it was raced on the A1-Ring.
  • …Which has nothing to do with the steak sauce.
  • …Oh, my god.
  • …Now, I’m hungry for…something I can put A1 sauce on.
  • …Bygones.
  • …(A1-Telekom Austria, fyi.)
  • This time, it is being run on the Red Bull Ring.
  • …Which has everything to do with the drink, yes.
  • …Essentially, it is the same layout (that was used in 2003).
  • …Shaped like a strappy wedge.
  • …Girls, am I right?
  • …Guys, I am.
  • …Anyway, the track has just been cleaned up a bit, with some extra wings for other events and testing.
  • …Because, you know, Red Bull gives you wings.
  • …But, the main circuit, the one used in 2003 and the one being used today, is the same.
  • The track is 4.326km (2.688mi) in length.
  • …On race day, it will be run for 71 laps.
  • …Which will put the total distance at 307.020km (190.773mi)
  • …It is run clockwise.
  • …And, it has very few turns.
  • Weather-wise…
  • …Today has been a bit on the cool side, overcast with scattered showers.
  • …It is (currently) 64f/18c and very cloudy.
  • …The next two days, however, should be warmer (mid to upper 70s) and sunnier.
  • How did FP1 go?
  • …Oh, here, let me surprise you.
  • …Is your shocked face ready?
  • …Mercedes’ Rosberg and Hamilton led the way.
  • …Yeah, I know.
  • …They were followed by Ferrari’s Alonso and Williams’ Massa.
  • …If you do want a bit of a surprise…
  • …Red Bull’s Ricciardo came in 13th and Vettel came in 15th.
  • …Which, of course, being a -practice- session, could come down to a lot of things.
  • …But, it being the Red Bull Ring, Ricciardo having just won in Canada, with Vettel in third, it’s safe to assume the expectations were more on par with 2013.
  • …And, Vettel -did- have a ridiculous spin.
  • …Like, the hills were alive.
  • …He just kept going around as he approached the start line (coming out of the final turn).
  • …Just missing a massive impact with the wall, it looked like a racing lederhosen-pooping spin.
  • …Ericsson’s Caterham died on track.
  • …Again.
  • …(Hopefully) they can get back on track and keep going with that great 11th-place Ericsson finish at Monaco.
  • Thus far, P2 has been a tad cleaner.
  • …Though, everyone is (still) struggling around corners.
  • …Which is expected.
  • …It’s (still) 2014, the season of total change.
  • …Those beast cars are going to be in development for a while.
  • …Plus, this track is a totally new animal for most of these drivers.
  • …And, like awkwardly meeting up with an old friend for those who were around in the early 2000s.
  • …So, it’s all cool.
  • …This is why they have practice sessions.
  • Grosjean is pulling his Lotus in for a look as he radios some sort of feelings of something not being right.
  • …The Frenchman came in 16th in P1.
  • …One of many drivers, stuck in a car that cannot keep up with their abilities.
  • …However, most of those drivers not only get paid on time, they get paid in general.
  • …I feel like Grosjean should get something for being such a good sport.
  • …(Maybe) a more competitive situation?
  • …Sorry, Lotus; I like you very much and hope things start to look up sooner than later.
  • Speaking of…
  • …Did I touch on Button and McLaren last time?
  • …I’m not sure that I did.
  • …Button’s contract is up (at the end of this season).
  • …Long story, short…
  • …Talented, experienced driver, car that isn’t performing.
  • …He isn’t ready to retire.
  • …And, really, outside-looking-in, no, he isn’t ready to retire.
  • …He’s sneaked onto a podium and a fourth-place finish this troubled season.
  • …He’s incredibly loyal to McLaren and (always) has such a great attitude.
  • …But, well, McLaren has to show some solid evidence of mechanical improvements.
  • …And, Button’s smart, he knows this year is a challenge for everyone, so he’s waiting.
  • …Calmly and politely as usual.
  • …Kids, if you want to know how to behave professionally in F1, look to Jenson Button.
  • …Smart and realistically positive (as opposed to obnoxiously and/or naively), he’s not full of crap, he just knows the hows and whens of speaking to the press and has a solid grip on choosing his words.
  • …Not to be gossipy or sink into the speculation muck, but, this Silly Season could make last year’s look like nothing.
  • …And, I would suspect, all eyes are (already) fixed on Ferrari.
  • …I (really) feel bad for those guys (Fernando and Kimi).
  • …Alonso doesn’t seem to be very happy.
  • …And, Kimi seems to be getting a lot of the blame for their lagging performances.
  • …The reality of the situation being that they have a dream team behind the wheels of what should be a dream car.
  • …You do the math.
  • …Then, factor in personale changes and all that talk of Ferrari, trying to lure Red Bull’s mad scientist engineering genius Adrian Newey in…
  • …It’s troubling to watch, isn’t it?
  • …Remember the final scene in ‘The Godfather’, the door closing on Diane Keaton?
  • …Just saying.
  • …But, enough speculation.
  • …It isn’t helpful.
  • …Just keep cool and work with the issues, rather than against them, Ferrari.
  • …You’re Ferrari.  These are cars.  You’ve got this.
  • Okay, in real news…
  • …That hideously terrifying final lap crash between Massa and Perez at the Canadian Grand Prix?
  • …Perez received a five-place grid penalty.
  • …However…
  • …Remember how quickly that decision was made?
  • …You weren’t imagining it or exaggerating it in your head.
  • …It was made so fast, that (apparently) the stewards never even bothered to talk to the drivers, who were getting checked out at a local hospital.
  • …And, man, has there been a lot of debate over that one.
  • …Okay, we know that Perez’s Force India was out of brakes.
  • …And, for that, a penalty may be in order (as it was unsafe).
  • …Those transmissions were broadcast.
  • …I’ve watched the replays, and it (still) looks like Perez was far enough over (to the right) that there should have been room for everyone, almost as if it were intentional.
  • …Like normal road rules, hanging right to let others around you when you’re having problems.
  • …It reminded me a bit of the Maldonado/Gutierrez crash at Bahrain.
  • …After watching that one over and over, it (still) looked like it was Gutierrez opted for a line that was way too close to Maldonado.
  • …As bother were approaching a turn.
  • …I mean, I don’t know for sure.
  • …It’s very possible that I’m missing a lot of information.
  • …But, it does look like Massa’s line was a bit tight.
  • …Has anyone talked to Vettel?
  • …Vettel (somehow) escaped being slammed in the middle of that whole mess.
  • …Again, I don’t know.
  • …But, F1, I do know that, on the road, in the case of a crash, all witnesses available should be interviewed.
  • …Anyway, Massa is raging.
  • …Like he did after getting knocked out of Australia by Kobayashi’s mechanically out-of-control Caterham.
  • …Massa wants more bans.
  • …For people who hit him.
  • …I like Massa.
  • …A lot.
  • …He seems like a nice guy and he -is- a (really) good driver who has spent a lot of time in support roles.
  • …But, he does get a little extreme with these things.
  • …Which, to his credit, he may have something.
  • …(Maybe) harsher penalties should be enforced.
  • …It could be extra incentive for teams to keep their cars in check and for drivers to be more aware of their surroundings and the consequences of their actions.
  • …But, let’s make sure all the facts are straight (first).
  • …Starting with, you know, talking with the drivers involved.
  • And, how about we break for a little Schumacher news?
  • …I haven’t been talking about it, because there has been nothing to talk about.
  • …Though, a lot has been happening.
  • …If you’ve not heard, he has emerged from his coma and has gone home to start his rehabilitation.
  • …And, there isn’t much else to say.
  • …As a kid, I (always) liked the idea of the magic that happens when no one is looking.
  • …Shoemaker elves, Santa, and so on.
  • …Watched kettles never boil, etc.
  • …I (also) believe in the right to privacy, no matter who you are or how public your work is.
  • …If this was your neighbor, you would be a nosey asshole if you (constantly) pressed for information and updates.
  • …There has never been a case of anyone dying from not knowing what Pippa Middleton wore to work on any given day.
  • …Schumacher’s condition is only the business of those around him.
  • …They’ll fill the world in when there’s something to report or when they feel it’s appropriate.
  • …And, to any news agencies digging for information, seeking out opinions from professionals who have nothing to do with this case, just for speculation-based sensationalism to ride on…
  • …What I do may make me shit, but you are scum.
  • …Professionals who are being approached by these people, just be honest and tell them that every case is different and that you can’t comment.
  • …Let me put this in basic terms…
  • …Have you ever had a cut or scrape that has healed the exact same way?
  • …Have you ever had a cut or scrape that was an exact replica?
  • …No.
  • …A cold is going around, one person gets it for a week, it lingers in another person for a month, and another person doesn’t catch it at all.
  • …Everyone’s cellular structure is different and that structure is ever changing.
  • …It’s like the saying that you can’t cross the same stream twice.
  • …Everyone is different…
  • …Except the “I’m not” guy in ‘Monty Python’s Life of Brian’, obviously.
  • …Everyone responds to everything differently.
  • …On a daily basis, in fact.
  • …Some days, with no real explanation, you feel more tired than other days.
  • …Some days, you’re hungrier, can run longer, can sleep more, whatever.
  • …Are you getting it, or shall I continue?
  • …The bottom line, here, is that this is a huge step forward in Schumacher’s recovery.  Where that step will take him, no one can be sure.
  • …But, it’s that step that makes all the difference, isn’t it?
  • …So, be stoked!  This is good!
  • …Look forward to the next update like it’s a Christmas present.
  • …Then, go from there.
  • …Cool?
  • …Cool.
  • Back to Austria.
  • …F1…
  • …One of my fav-or-ite things.
  • NBCSN is running a little day-in-the-life of Alexander Rossi.
  • …It’s pretty cool, I’ll be honest.
  • …From getting up to getting to the track to going out for P1.
  • …Stuff you don’t get to see very often (thank you, NBCSN and Caterham!).
  • …Think he’ll be on Haas’ 2016 team?
  • …He seems to be doing more than pretty okay.
  • …He should be ready, mentally and competitively, for a full seat by then.
  • …And, really, there aren’t many American candidates out there, much less one with a solid level of experience and comfort.
  • …Pair him with another, more experienced, driver to make the most of performance and get solid feedback.
  • …Like any other team does (the mentoring element).
  • Can I use this opportunity to segue into plugging Danica Patrick?
  • …Okay, I know she’s a bit older than desired and the timeframe doesn’t match up that wonderfully.
  • …She’s in her second year with NASCAR, it’d be a return to open wheel, a cannonball into the deep end of F1, all with that stupid age factor looming.
  • …But, to get her involved in some capacity would be huge on so many levels.
  • …She has a crazy amount of experience in racing, most of which is open wheel (prior to her Indy career, she was on that typical F1-goal track).
  • …She knows the business, she’s good with the business.
  • …And, she knows her power as both a role model and an attention-getter, which she (and, I’m saying this as a woman, I do have this expertise, folks) balances it perfectly.
  • …She runs with opportunities while rolling with punches.
  • …While, all the while, both remaining very professional AND marching to the beat of her own drum.
  • …If Haas could get her into development early on (deal with seats, etc, later), it would be huge for both productivity and promotion.
  • …And, it, from what I understand, would be a bit of a dream for her.
  • …I know no one reads these, but, I’m tossing this into the universe as much as I can.
  • …I (really and truly) believe she has a lot to offer (on so many levels) this new world of this US F1 team endeavor.
  • …Okay, rant over.
  • That’s that for P2.
  • …The Mercs swap places, with Hamilton ahead of Rosberg.
  • …Alonso decides that three is a pretty comfy place to be.
  • …And, Massa is bumped out of his P1 fourth by teammate Bottas.
  • …Well, happy Midsummer, Valtteri.
  • …The Red Bulls fare a tad better (this round).
  • …Vettel takes sixth, Ricciardo takes eighth.
  • …And so on.
  • …Pretty (pleasantly) drama-free.
  • …You were spared comments about joining the von Gravel Trapp family.
  • …Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s hat and mustache will come in due time.
  • …Don’t you worry about that.
  • Man, that is a beautiful circuit, isn’t it?
  • …I mean, holy the hills are alive with the sound of F1!
  • …Austria (really) squeezes a lot of gorgeous scenery into that 32k-ish square miles.
  • …Coming from a ginormous country of wide open spaces AND a massive population, Europe (really) does blow my mind.
  • …Stupid as that may sound, you have to imagine being from a place where it can take several hours on a plane or a few days in a car to get anywhere.
  • …It would take (about) three hours on a plane to get to the US GP.
  • …I do believe it is (about) a five-hour flight to Los Angeles (from Minneapolis).
  • …I know (from experience) that you need to give yourself (at least) six days to drive to Seattle and back – stopping (only) for gas/potty and to sleep a few hours, no sightseeing, eating whatever you’ve packed and plopped within reach (so you can eat while driving), driving alone (yes, alone; I get a lot of crap for never going anywhere or doing anything, so take that; also, I’ve only flown with someone once, so, surprise!  I’m just full of secrets, aren’t I?).
  • …To think that a person can get from one major European city to another, on the opposite side of the continent, in a fraction of that time, with so much in-between (massive, historical cities -and- wide-open spaces of all sorts)…
  • …It (really) is hard to wrap my head around.
  • Anyway.
  • …Austria, you’re gorgeous.
  • Tomorrow, Qualifying.
  • …8am ET, NBCSN.
  • …I will not be doing it live.
  • …I should check the listings for the rebroadcast, eh?
  • …Anyway…
  • …I’ll be back.
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