Danger, Finnish Drivers

The Formula 1 season kicks off in Albert Park over the weekend. Kevin and I are both very busy, and will probably end up watching the race on video at some point, but we can at least look forward to the action. We are helped in this by The Guardian who produced a helpful little guidebook to the new season free with their Monday paper. Parts of it are quite funny, especially the history of last season told as if it were a Facebook feed. “Ron Dennis has joined the group “Cooperating with Inquiries”; Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso are no longer friends.”

One of the articles, however, is about why Finns make such good racing drivers. Mostly they get this right. Young Finns learn to drive at crazy speeds when they are barely out of nappies. It seems they don’t have many police on Finnish country roads, or at least no one much minds if kids use them as race tracks. The article also pinpoints other aspects of the Finnish character. It notes, for example, that a Finn always wins the annual Christmas Eve round the world aerial sleigh race, largely because he’s the only person who has figured out how to build a suitable vehicle. The Finns are also the only people to have won the Eurovision Song Contest while dressed as Oakland Raiders fans. Apparently Finland is home to an annual wife-carrying world championships, but the Finns are no good at that and it is always won by someone from Estonia. However, the article mentions the Finnish passion for ice hockey only in passing, and completely ignores their talent at running science fiction conventions. My guess is that the Finnish talent for raising sponsorship must have Bernie Ecclestone terrified.

On Car Design

Well, Scott Speed might not have made it in Formula 1, but his namesake is about to hit the big screen. Yes, Speed Racer: The Movie is almost upon us, and therefore a whole bunch of people who are not motor racing fans are getting to pontificate on what makes a sexy car.

Speed’s car, the Mach 5, disappointed the folks at the Detroit Motor Show. Quite right too. It looks like something Jack Brabham might have driven at Le Mans.

Speed’s rival’s car, which is apparently Japanese, has caught the eye of the folks at io9. But Charlie dear, that’s not a racing car, that’s a heap of ironmongery on wheels.

The trouble is that these Hollywood guys are a bunch of pikers when it comes to car design. If you want a sexy-looking race car, you go to the guys who design such things for a living. The new cars from McLaren and Ferrari are way cooler than anything the movie has produced.

Oh, and as for the rival car being driven by the lads from Super Best Friends Aguri…

The Iceman Cometh

Well, well, well. Who would have thought it? A fabulous finish to the F1 season and (so far) not a lawyer in sight. Miracles happen. Hey, and Kimi even smiled! He did, I saw it. More than once.

It is a little early here to break out the vodka, but it is 11 hours later in Finland and I would imagine that the party is well under way by now. Enjoy, guys. I’ll join you later.

So Far So Good for Lewis

Well, that was Friday practice, and so far our boy Hamilton is looking good. Certainly the McLarens seem to have the edge, and thus far Lewis is out-performing Alonso. Of course there is a long way to go yet, and I don’t suppose Max Moseley will be able to resist the opportunity to try to step in and decide who wins himself. Let’s just hope that it is a good race, and that there are no “accidental” collisions.

Farewell Michael

OK, so Kevin has finished watching his recording of the race. I can talk about it.

I was late getting to ITV’s coverage, so I missed any video they might have had of the incident that got Alonso penalized. It does seem all very odd. It used to be said that F1 was more about engineers than about drivers. Now it seems it is more about lawyers than engineers.

Still, we mustn’t let that detract from Michael’s victory. He would have won even if Alonso had kept his original grid spot. And it is great to see him be able to announce his retirement on the back of a win in front of the Tifosi. Here’s wishing him a long and happy retirement.

As for next year, I think I am finally back in that comfort zone where your favorite driver is in your favorite car. Forza Kimi! Forza Ferrari!