MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2014 GRAND PRIX OF SINGAPORE (19.9.2014 – 21.9.2014) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE? /// P2…

  • Good morning.
  • Now, time for a good night.
  • Yes, oh, yes…
  • …It’s time for the Singapore Grand Prix.
  • Singapore…
  • …The one and only 100% night race in F1.
  • …As Abu Dhabi and (as of this season – and scheduled for next season) Bahrain are held at sundown.
  • …And, one of a baby fistful of street circuits.
  • …With the new cars making each race of this season being a new adventure, this (already) tricky course has the potential to be even trickier.
  • …Think Monaco.
  • …Very little room for passing.
  • …Even less room for error.
  • …Street circuits just don’t have the luxury of built-in runoffs or gravel to spin into.
  • So, how about a bit on Marina Bay Street Circuit?
  • …First used in Singapore’s return to F1 in 2008, it was the first F1 night race (that same year).
  • …It is 5.065km (3.147mi) long.
  • …On race day, it will be lapped 61 times.
  • …Which will bring the total distance to 308.828km (191.907mi).
  • …For those lucky enough to survive the 23 floodlit turns, of course.
  • …And, it is run COUNTERclockwise.
  • …Yes, COUNTERclockwise.
  • …Unless you respond to anticlockwise.
  • …Then, it’s run ANTIclockwise.
  • …Which, having my laptop defaulted to US English, is just creating annoying, red underlinings.
  • In 2013…
  • …Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel took the win.
  • …In the sparkliest helmet ever.
  • …Completely confusing all the blonde drivers.
  • …And, I can report, viewers.
  • …Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso took second.
  • …After giving Red Bull’s Mark Webber a lift back to the pits.
  • …Which resulted in a talking to for Alonso and a penalty for Webber.
  • …As if his car, dying on the final lap, wasn’t punishment enough.
  • …You MUST punish good sportsmanship.
  • …Never forget that, kids.
  • …Lotus’ Kimi Räikkönen (now back with Ferrari) took third.
  • …After stopping for Webber (as well).
  • …Kimi carried on after Webber (now retired from F1 and in WEC) took the lift from his BFF, Nando.
  • …But, you know, shame on him for making sure Webber had a lift, anyway.
  • …I keep talking about this, because it -was- so cool to see.
  • …And, while everyone seemed to agree that stopping a little further past the turn and pulled over a bit further may have been safer, not one driver saw anything other than good sportsmanship.
  • …The penalty and talking to shocked everyone.
  • …It’s a nice act that will be remembered until the end of time.
  • …Made even nicer, as Webber was having such a nasty year.
  • …His Red Bull, stopping here, bursting into flame there, etc.
  • …It was just very nice.
  • …All of it.
  • …But, moving on, eh?
  • Practice 1…
  • …Was led by Alonso.
  • …With the Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Rosberg right behind.
  • …And, Vettel, behind them.
  • …As was expected, as has been the case all season, the session was littered with offs, wides, spins, and near-misses.
  • …It’s just getting used to these new cars every track.
  • …But, no big drama.
  • …Though, Rosberg did have a side mirror come loose.
  • …Which he ripped off and discarded.
  • …While driving, yes.
  • …And, Kimi’s brakes caught fire.
  • …And, rather than (immediately) extinguish it, Ferrari tried to cool it down and blow it out.
  • …With a blower, yes.
  • Okay, news…
  • …There are two major stories (going into Singapore).
  • …One…
  • …Ferrari had their post-Monza chats.
  • …And, in a twist, it was not (Principal) Mattiacci who exited.
  • ..It was (Ferrari chairman, Mr President) di Montezemolo who stepped down.
  • …After 23 years.
  • …Just a reminder that there are huge things going down at Ferrari.
  • …And, that was, what, (about) a week after their big birthday celebrations for him?
  • …Yeah.
  • …Ferrari.
  • …Marchionne is the new boss, by the way.
  • …Okay, and, the second story…
  • …Radio transmissions!
  • …Remember Kimi’s radio transmissions at Abu Dhabi 2012?
  • …”Yes, yes, yes, yes; just leave me alone; I know what to do…I do all time, you don’t have to remind every second…” and so on?
  • …Ask and you shall receive.
  • …From Singapore on, all performance coaching-based transmissions are banned.
  • …Drivers will be allowed to think for themselves and will be forced to retrain themselves to trust their (own) judgement.
  • …The ban (also) included more mechanicals, but, due to such variation amongst systems, what is fed to drivers via their steering wheels, everyone (still) getting used to how these cars work, and so on, that had been postponed until 2015.
  • …So, just another thing for everyone to get used to.
  • …It’s a good year for it.
  • …Really, I hope no one is too hard on themselves this season.
  • …There has been so much experimentation, with every round being a jump into the unknown…
  • …You can’t think anything other than that everyone did their best with what they had and the blind choices they made.
  • …Shame on anyone who thinks otherwise.
  • …And, that includes team bosses who have chosen to come down on their drivers.
  • …My opinion means less than nothing, but I think it’s been a fantastic season, full of excitement and heartbreak and all that good stuff F1 is.
  • …For the most part, it seems like most drivers have held pretty good attitudes, opting to roll with the punches with an eye on a more stable 2015, using every lap in every session, in every race as a learning opportunity for themselves and development for the team.
  • …So, with six grands prix to go, good job, F1.  It’s been awesome.  Keep it up.
  • Onto P2…
  • …It is coming up on 10:30pm in Singapore.
  • …And, the air temperature is (still) hovering around 90 (Fahrenheit).
  • …With that lovely tropical humidity, of course.
  • …Vettel has been sitting this one out.
  • …The power unit of his Red Bull, totally dead.
  • …Action is just coming off of a red flag.
  • …Having just cleared the shattered remains of the clean P2 dream of Lotus’ Maldonado.
  • …Maldonado slid wide, it’s Singapore, it’s tight, he skidded against a barrier wall.
  • …The driver is a-ok.
  • …The car, not so much.
  • …Pieces were (actually) continuing on their merry way down the track as his Lotus screeched to a halt.
  • …Which may have something to do with the humidity.
  • …Parts were (probably) just stuck in the air.
  • …I’m from a place that has beaten out the Amazon in humidity from time to time, I know how this works.
  • …By the way, did you know that drivers lose (approximately) 4kg during this race?
  • …Yes, hydration is critical beyond critical.
  • …After being on track, drivers look like they are going to fall over.
  • …The fairer ones, emerging bright red.
  • …I’ve (always) felt like post-session press conferences should be done with the drivers laying down.
  • …And, the thing you have to remember is that F1 drivers tend to be tiny.
  • …It’s all about weight and squeezing into those tiny cockpits.
  • …It’s a dangerous game.
  • …I do worry about these guys at these hot races.
  • …As someone who runs significant distances in not-so-great conditions and as, you know, a girl with girly concerns.
  • Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg has just had an awkward radio exchange.
  • …Mr Incredible hesitantly asked about his performance, clearly watching his words, attempting to see if there is something with the car that is affecting his pace, if anything is severely off, and so on.
  • …The response was equally hesitant, trying to address the mechanical side and avoid the driving side.
  • …It was all very…you know what?  Ellipses.  That’s exactly what it was.
  • …Just very awkward and hesitant.
  • …Welcome to the new radio rules.
  • …And, it was a good example of the issues that will arise with this.
  • …Are the numbers behind the pace technical enough for discussion?
  • …Does it fall under concerns regarding the machine, rather than the man?
  • …These are things that will be worked out as they go.
  • …With a lot of it being just drivers getting used to the silence.
  • …It -would- be weird.
  • …Their so used to checking in.
  • …I hope a little bit of wiggle room is going to be allowed as everyone gets used to calling their own shots.
  • Vettel has put his helmet on and has hopped in his car.
  • …He may get a few loops in before time runs out.
  • McLaren’s Magnussen has called in with mechanical issues.
  • …”Something is wrong with the car”.
  • …It does look a bit unruly (out there).
  • Okay, valid question…
  • …Though, not (directly) related to Magnussen.
  • …Who will be the first to start abusing the rules, calling “wolf”?
  • …Masking driving issues, driving concerns, with “There’s something wrong with…uh…the car…yeah, the car.”
  • …Bets on Mercedes?
  • Just (about) five and a half minutes to go…
  • …Hamilton, Alonso, Red Bull’s Ricciardo, and Mr Kimi lead.
  • …And, Vettel -has- entered the circuit.
  • …Magnussen, car troubles or not, is running in fifth.
  • …Oh!  Strike that!  Vettel gets a lap in and waltzes into fifth.
  • …Bumping Magnussen to sixth.
  • …Vettel and Red Bull opted to jump right into the action, rather than do an installation lap.
  • …The four-time World Champion knows what to do.
  • …He’s Kimi’s BFF.
  • Final minute…
  • …Which Alonso and Vettel enter with close calls with the barriers.
  • …It’s all about close, with no contact at these street circuits.
  • …Heavy petting.
  • …With no…
  • Hey, time is up…
  • …Hamilton, Alonso, Ricciardo, Kimi, and Hans Strudel take the top five.
  • …As Ferrari do a little pit stop practice when Mr Of Espoo pulls in.
  • …Other teams are doing the same.
  • …This is common practice, especially at street circuits.
  • …Monaco is the (really) odd one, with teams getting to do full dry runs, as the roads open and close to everyday traffic around the sessions.
  • …In case you’re wondering, Magnussen held sixth and Mr Incredible came in ninth.
  • …So, whether or not there were mechanical issues, who knows?
  • …This is the new world of limited radio contact.
  • Alright…
  • …That is that for P2 and that is that for me.
  • …US viewers: tomorrow’s Qualifying action will be at 8am (CT) on CNBC.
  • …There will be a rebroadcast at 11:30am (CT) on NBCSN.
  • …And, another rebroadcast Sunday at 5am (CT) on NBCSN.
  • …Just before the Grand Prix.
  • …”Countdown to F1″ will air on NBCSN today at 4pm (CT).
  • …And, a rebroadcast of P2 will air tonight at 11:30 (CT), on NBCSN.
  • …As of now, I don’t know if I will be covering Qualifying.
  • …Just more fog to jump into.
  • Hot, muggy, stormy weather is in the forecast all weekend for Singapore.
  • …The storms held off today.
  • …But, will they hold off the rest of the weekend?
  • …Stay tuned.
  • That’s all, folks!
  • …(Have a lovely F1 Friday!)
Advertisements