Monday, 29 July 2013

Gaining an Advantage

In the days when I used to race single-seaters, one of the circuits we'd visit was Pembrey, in Wales. It's an interesting little circuit, about a mile and a half long, with a couple of reasonable quick corners.

One of these corners, Dibeni, would always be mentioned in the drivers' briefings. Because it was a long, double-apex corner, with a lot of tarmac on the inside, there was a tendency for drivers to shorten the corner by running their inside wheels across the white line.

The Clerk of the Course made it quite clear that if we were seen doing it, we would be shown a warning flag, and if we did it again afterwards, the black flag (Go direct to Jail, do not pass Go etc).

Note that this had nothing to do with passing another car. Just gaining an advantage.

So why don't the stewards at a GP enforce the "cars must remain on track" consistently?

Which would mean, looking at yesterday's race, that anyone leaving the track at Turn 3 (eg Rosberg, Webber) or on the exit of Turn 5 - or maybe 6 (Kimi, Vettel, probably just about everybody) should have been served with a drive through. I certainly don't think that Grosjean gained more of an advantage by leaving the track than Vettel did by repeatedly pushing the limits of the track.

F1 drivers are greedy. If they believe that it's possible to get away with something, they will do it. Firm and consistent enforcement of the rules is the clearest approach.

Friday, 26 July 2013


This isn't news, but I was looking at the championship standings today and noticed something that, well, it didn't surprise me, but it was still a shock.

Everyone says that Felipe Massa is having a bad year, and isn't good enough for Ferrari. And yet he has scored more points than the two McLaren drivers added together.

That really shows just how much they are suffering in Woking. I just hope they have at least one good result at either Spa or Monza when the cars are running in low-drag specification. At least nobody will be running any downforce...

Thursday, 25 July 2013

The Fragility of Life

I was on a tram yesterday, heading out to The Orange Cinema, that great lakeside viewing experience, to watch a film about getting old (The Quartet). It's especially lovely on a warm sunny evening, which it was.

Suddenly, the tram bell rings, brakes are applied hard and there's a thud. A woman is whirling past the window I'm sitting next to. I see her fall to the ground; the back of her head hitting the ground hard.

There is no movement.

A feeling of helplessness, tempered by the knowlege that at least 50% of the Swiss on the tram will be trained in first aid. They spring into action but there is ├ón obvious reluctance to move her at all.

I get off the tram, I'm right by the front. There is a bicycle lying under the front of the tram. It looks like the woman decided to sneak in front of the tram at the tram stop, probably didn't hear it and didn't look. She wasn't wearing a helmet either.

I decide that I cannot do anything, and that staring is pointless. I leave and complete my journey on foot but I find I keep wondering if that was the right thing to do. I wonder if she lived, or what her injuries were. As I got out of the tram, I noticed her face had changed colour to a sort of bluey redness. It's not exactly haunting me but I do keep looking in the local newspaper sights to see what's been reported. Nothing yet, other than a few other accidents involving trams, trains, trucks where people will never complete their journey.

Many other relatives and friends whose lives have changed in an instant.

Monday, 1 July 2013

What sort of flag is that?

Very pleased to see Mark on the podium yesterday. He is one of the best drivers on the grid, and very high up the list of decent blokes.

But what was that behind him? There was an outcry from the Australian side of the sofa: "That's not an Australian flag! It's horrible".

And I looked and agreed. Something didn't look right.

So I investigated (ie, had a look on google and fiddled with a pic from the podium). Here's what the flag looked like according to FOM:

and here's what it should really look like:

Obviously the colours are a bit out, but it's the aspect ration and the size of the stars that make it look wrong. Wrong in the sense that it looks like a child has drawn it.

I'd be very unhappy if it was my national flag, and frankly the Union Flag quadrant does look nasty here - although it's actually quite close to the 5:3 aspect ration commonly used on land for the Union Flag. At sea, the ratio is apparently normally 2:1, like the Australian flag, which is not surprising as the Australian flag is based on the design of the White/Red Ensigns that you'll see on ships of the British Royal/Merchant Navies.

Given that Bernie is normally such a stickler for detail, I'm very surprised that he allows this sort of thing. Can we go back to real flags over the podium please?