MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2014 GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN (3.10.2014 – 5.10.2014) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE? /// P2…

  • Good…um…well…it’s midnight (here).
  • …So, wherever you are, good that.
  • But, do you know what time it (really) is?
  • …It’s Suzuka time.
  • Suzuka, Suzuka, Suzuka.
  • The Grand Prix of Japan.
  • I love a lot of races, but…
  • …Good god, Suzuka.
  • You can (always) count on Japan being absolutely insane.
  • …I mean, would anyone expect anything less from a crazy-eight-shaped track?
  • For ‘Cookies & Gold Stars’, this weekend means the start of Fall.
  • …As in the downfall of the site.
  • …See, what happens is that it’s Autumn and all I want to do is play outside and watch scary movies.
  • …Which happens to coincide with the start of the end-of-year rush at work.
  • …Then, since starting F1 and WRC coverage, the Japanese Grand Prix and Rallye de France-Alsace have fallen on the same weekend.
  • …So, everything just implodes.
  • …That said, my plan for the weekend is to just not even try.
  • …In the good way.
  • …Just roll with it all, see what happens, go from there, and enjoy some amazing late-season racing.
  • …Which is important.
  • …It can get so update-centered that I start to lose the whole reason I started this thing in the first place.
  • …So, my apologies for anyone who (actually) reads and enjoys the coverage.
  • …(I honestly believe I will get it right one day.)
  • Okay, the Japanese Grand Prix and Suzuka Circuit.
  • …Back to the last note, I haven’t even pulled up the circuit information.
  • …And you thought Singapore went hideously!
  • …Okay…
  • …Suzuka is 5.807km in length.
  • …The race will be 53 laps.
  • …Which will bring the total distance to 307.471km.
  • …All of which will be traveled not clockwise, not counterclockwise, but (both) clockwise AND counterclockwise.
  • …Courtesy of an infinity-shaped track that takes cars over and under an overpass.
  • …Speed-wise, it’s fast.
  • …(Only) two corners (of 18) drop below 100kph.
  • …Which much of the race exceeding 200-250kph.
  • …Weather-wise, it is (currently) 79ºf, with temperatures dropping off a tad as the weekend progresses and a typhoon threatening heavy rain.
  • …Red Bull’s Vettel was last year’s winner.
  • …With teammate Webber in second and Lotus’ Grosjean in third.
  • Free Practice 1…
  • …Oh, prepare your shocked face.
  • …Mercedes’ Rosberg and Hamilton led.
  • …And, they were followed by Ferrari’s Alonso and Williams’ Bottas.
  • …The big story, however, is (probably) that Toro Rosso’s 2015 signee Verstappen made his F1 debut.
  • …Just days after turning 17.
  • …And, of 22 cars, he came in 12th.
  • …12th.
  • …17.
  • …His F1 debut.
  • …And, the car died near the end of the session.
  • …I hate to say this, but, yeah, everyone below him should feel some shame.
  • …Either for themselves, or for their team.
  • …I am (still) 100% for age restrictions in F1 and have major concerns that this wave of teens could become a dangerous competitive trend.
  • …There are only so many seats in F1, how many great drivers, either with promise, but stuck in bad cars, or experienced, with years left in them, are going to be pushed out in the search for the next teen sensation?
  • …However, the kid is here, and it’s nice to see that he’s carrying himself professionally and driving competitively.
  • …Much like Toro Rosso’s Kvyat, who has been an absolute delight to watch.
  • …As he turned 20.
  • Right, onto the session at hand.
  • I mentioned Suzuka is crazy.
  • …So, who’s out.
  • …(Just saying that should entail ridiculousness, given it’s P2, which tends to be pretty stable.)
  • …Caterham’s Kobayashi crashed out.
  • …The Toro Rosso of Vergne died.
  • …Verstappen used Vergne’s car in P1, so it’s likely that it wasn’t as fixed as they’d hoped.
  • …Red Bull’s Ricciardo crashed out.
  • …And, Sauber’s Gutierrez crashed out.
  • …With a marshal losing his shoe while helping to move the car.
  • …You would think there would be footwear regulations.
  • …Guess not?
  • …So, it’s been a series of yellow flags.
  • …With one red (after Ricciardo’s exit) to break up any monotony someone may have experienced.
  • …As Championship leader Hamilton wrestles for control (ultimately, saving it).
  • …Suzuka, folks; Suzuka.
  • …And, there are (still) 42 minutes to go in this session.
  • Usually, I would give a rundown on recent F1 news.
  • …But, there isn’t (really) any fantastic news.
  • …Yesterday, property was seized at Caterham’s headquarters.
  • …So, their financial situation is even worse than thought.
  • …Which is just sad.
  • …Even more sad is that there has been speculation over whether or not they would be taking part this weekend.
  • …I mean, what a horrible thing to have hovering over you.
  • …Though, there may be a tad of karma, there, as they pulled Kobayashi for P1.
  • …Kobayashi.
  • …The one and only Japanese driver in F1.
  • …The guy who took a Sauber to the podium in 2012.
  • …(One of my favorite F1 moments.)
  • …The guy the crowd wants to see.
  • …Not cool.
  • …But, still, the financial state of the little team so many people believe can some day isn’t funny.
  • …And, keep in mind that this could have a huge effect on the 2015 season.
  • …If Caterham can’t pull out of this soon, they may not exist next year.
  • …Which would assure that there are two fewer seats and two more drivers (in the mix, not limited to present Caterham drivers) looking for rides.
  • …So, there’s that.
  • …In other financial news, Sauber has terminated their affiliation program with Simona di Silverstro, effective immediately.
  • …All parties just ran out of funding.
  • …Simple as that.
  • …So, another huge blow for Women in Motorsport.
  • …If someone would like to explain why there is no interest in backing female drivers, I would love to hear it.
  • …I really would.
  • …Because, you know what?  Everyone has noticed that it’s easier for men to get sponsorship than women.
  • …Which shouldn’t even be possible, given entities could ride on the simple fact of “girls in cars!”.
  • …So, let’s hear it.
  • …Because, there (certainly) seems to be enough money and support for equally, if not less, qualified male drivers.
  • …And, it’s not limited to F1; it’s a cross-motorsport issue.
  • …So, explain it to me.
  • …Explain it to all of us.
  • …Okay, moving on.
  • …I think that’s (about) it for news.
  • …There’s word of an announcement regarding the conscious uncoupling of Alonso-Ferrari this weekend.
  • …But, we’ll see.
  • Well, it’s happened.
  • …Those ominous grey clouds have opened up, with rain beginning to saturate the track.
  • …This late in the session, switches to wets (tires) would be unlikely.
  • …So, let’s just see how it goes.
  • …(Fingers crossed the remaining drivers make it.)
  • …I mentioned that I love Suzuka, right?
  • Ferrari’s Räikkönen goes wide.
  • …But, catches it and carries on.
  • I’m (actually) catching reports that some drivers (such as Grosjean) are switching to hards for the final ten minutes.
  • …The rain is (reportedly) spotty.
  • So, who wants some insult added to injury?
  • …Toro Rosso was able to get Vergne (back) out.
  • …However, he has just stopped on track.
  • …And, whether it just felt right or there was something to it, he climbed up and jumped out, feet together.
  • …If you’ve never learned this, if your car is struck my lightning or encounters an electrical emergency (live wires, etc), you can’t just hop on out.
  • …In order to minimize your chances of electrocution, you have to terminate contact with the grounded vehicle in one motion, everything together (because, remember, electricity can travel through air – think lightning).
  • …Both feet have to lift off at once.
  • …So, when there are power-source issues, F1 drivers have to exit in that very same style, just in case.
  • …Now, when you see drivers jump out as Vergne did, you know that it could be a serious power issue.
  • …Also, you will see mechanics (and, anyone else involved) wearing huge, heavy-duty rubber gloves to handle the car in these situations.
  • …Fun Friday Facts!
  • And, with that, P2 comes to an end.
  • …Hamilton, Rosberg, Bottas, and McLaren’s Button lead the time sheets.
  • …For anyone interested in where the retirees landed…
  • …Ricciardo, with three laps, held onto 10th.
  • …Vergne, with 19 laps, was right behind (in 11th).
  • …Gutierrez, with nine laps, came in 18th.
  • …And, Kobayashi, with three laps, wound up 22nd (dead last).
  • …Tomorrow is a new day.
  • Okay…
  • …Tomorrow will be P3 and the three knock-out rounds of Qualifying.
  • …A) I haven’t looked at the TV schedule.
  • …So, this time, this rare time, you’re on your own.
  • …B) Because of this, I have no idea if I’ll be doing Qualifying commentary.
  • …You may get a rest.
  • …C) You may have noticed that I didn’t translate the kilometers to miles.
  • …If I remember, I’ll edit them in (later, much later – as it’s about 2am).
  • …Otherwise, I’m positive your computer, tablet, and phone have conversion aids.
  • …D) Dudes, it’s the Japanese Grand Prix!  Stop reading my commentary so closely and just enjoy it!!!
  • On that note…
  • …I think it would be for the best (for everyone) if I went to bed.
  • …So…
  • …Good night.
  • …May your dreams be as wonderfully weird as Suzuka.
  • …Sweet Suzuka dreams.
  • …(I love you, Suzuka!!!)
  • (Oh, and, as for Rally France – for anyone who shares my belief that F1 and the WRC are like apples and oranges – so very different, but both so delicious and nutritious – I’m blatantly biased, my favorites are no secret, a lot is riding on this weekend…everyone just be safe, try to have fun, and go-go-go!!!  And, I’m sorry I’m such a failure as a commentator.)
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