Tag Archive: McLaren



This past weekend provided a variety of action for the sports fan. NCAA tournament, preseason baseball, free agency signings in the NFL, and of course Motorsports. Since motor sport is what we talk about, that’s what we will do.

F1 had its season opener in Melbourne and it was a pretty good race. Button beat his teammate to the first corner and was never headed. But behind him it was wide open. Although the top five were the same characters as last year, the order was jumbled, and a couple got there by attrition. Then you had a pretty exciting race among the mid packers, Maldanado had a solid 6th for Williams until he put it in the barrier with half a lap to go. Kimi’s return went pretty well, salvaged a 7th from a poor starting position and made some great passes.  Michael outqualified his younger team-mate and was lying third when the gearbox decided that less gears would be a better idea.

All in all it looks like a great year ahead, and great entertainment. Six World Champions in the field can’t hurt either.

A last point on F1. The teams want the FIA to start enforcing the Resource Restriction agreement more closely. This is an agreement whereby the teams agreed to limit the amount of money that could be spent by a team during the year. In addition there are limits on testing, as well as a mandatory factory shutdown during the year. Two teams did not sign the letter to the FIA. Red Bull and Torro Rosso, you can make of that what you will.

Nascar was at Bristol, and what can you say. I can’t say much because I didn’t watch it as I had to work. But when I saw the highlights last night I was shocked. Not by the racing but by the crowd.  It appeared to be far from the announced 102,000. Why so small? Gas prices? Hard to believe that’s really the case. Even if you use 50 gallons round trip, and its up .50 a gallon that’s a  $25 increase. So you don’t buy the tee-shirt and cap.   Is it the racing? Or just a general malaise about the sport. I couldn’t say, but I would love to hear your thoughts.

On a more positive note, it appears that every week we are hearing about a new car and driver going to participate in the Trans-Am series this year. Hopefully the folks running it now have the right formula. They certainly have the experience to know what is needed. I think this could be a breakthrough year for the series.

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This is going to be a great weekend. The winter is finally over, F1 is back! And in between sessions there is NCAA basketball.

The season opening Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne Australia is underway. The first two practices have been on a damp track, so its hard to tell who has what. However, the usual suspects are on top so far – McLaren, Red Bull, Mercedes, and Ferrari. Seems like McLaren is as usual pretty good, Mercedes has improved, and Ferrari may not be as bad as we were led to believe. The midfield looks close, and Williams looks better. The question is how good is Red Bull? They havent shown brilliance so far, but that was the pattern last year, nothing on Friday, but come qualifying look out.

More and more manufacturers are entering hybrids in international road racing. Audi and Toyota have entered prototypes in the 24 hours of LeMans. Honda and Toyota will go head to heat in the GT class. Makes sense as more and more hybrids appear on the street. I’m really interested to see the result of this one.

Nascar will be at Bristol, Tenn. this weekend. The first Nascar race I traveled to see was at Bristol back in 71. Used to look forward to it, but haven’t been in years. But I dont think that is why they haven’t had a sell out in 3 years.

Just a thought: What would you think about Nascar loosening up some of their rules, and do this. Allocate every team enough gasoline that the cars would have to get a certain mileage to finish the race. Say, 20 miles per gallon?  Anything you want to do, but this is the mileage you have to get. Put some real world engineering back into it again.  Dont do away with the templates, or safety stuff just mandate a mileage.

Crazy huh? It may take something like that to turn it around.

Lastly, name one major sport, other than Nascar or another form of  auto racing, that isn’t run by a commissioner appointed by the team owners.


For the past several years one of the great sports in road racing has been the one of bemoaning the lack of success of the Trans-Am series. This series, once the best and most competitive road racing series in North America, had fallen on hard times.  There had been several attempts to rescue it from extinction, each perhaps less successful than the last.

And of course it seemed like everybody and his brother had the answer as to why it wasn’t working. No TV, no advertising, too expensive, etc., etc. The SCCA of course got its fair share of criticism for the way they were attempting to run the series as well.

Finally at the end of last year a group of people, all of them experienced in the series, either as racers or administrators took over the series. Now after a slow start it appears they are putting the pieces together to really give the series a fighting chance. They have a new website, a dedicated PR person, and yesterday they made a major announcement. GoRacingTV.com will be providing video vignettes during the race weekend as well as a weekly show on Trans-Am racing.

While some will be dissappointed that this isnt live coverage of the races it has proven to be highly successful in other motorsport venues. Look at “The Flying Lap” with Peter Windsor and his coverage of F1. If they can emulate him it will be up to the racers then.

Now if they can get a emagazine like they do for F1  life will be good!

Speaking of F1, the series starts this weekend in Melbourne and we can see who has what. Is Red Bull still got the dominant car? Or has McLaren caught up?  How much closer to the midfield is Caterham, and have they succeeded in reviving Williams?

Nascar in Bristol this week, not sold out again for the third year in a row I believe. I used to go every year, but no more.

And a question: What would be the reaction if a manufacturer sold you a car where the fuel injection system had as much trouble as the ones that Nascar is using?  Is it the great leap forward they claim?

 

 


Several quick things this morning before we go try to earn an honest living.

First, F1 testing is over and the teams have a short time to get ready for the first race in Melbourne. And not all is well with several of the teams. Two of the newer teams, HRT and Marussia, were unable to get their 2012 challengers ready in time to do the test. Obvious they will do some testing in the form of “filming days” or straight line tests, but hard to see where they wont be way behind at the start of the season.

A couple of the major players dont appear to be in that great a shape either. There are continuing whispers about how bad the new Ferrari is, and Red Bull is saying they will have a “B” spec car at Melbourne. The surprises of the testing have to be Lotus, (formerly Renault) and Sauber. But we will see the truth come the first race as to who has what. My money is on McLaren, while no fan of theirs they have the organization to take it to Red Bull.

On the Nascar front, to me the big news is not that ratings and attendance are back down to 2010 levels. Rather to me its this: the announcement that HMS has signed a Chinese Solar Panel Manufacturer to a sponsor deal on the number 5 car driven by Kasey Kahne. Think of the precedents this sets. To my knowledge there aren’t any other foreign sponsors. Multinationals sure, foreign no. But a interesting move nevertheless.

Speaking of sponsorship was the case of Kenny Wallace pleading for sponsors for his RAB Nationwide series car. Saying that they were broke, and that they could race on a 100k a race where others were getting 150-200k per race. Wonder does this show us why the Nationwide series is struggling? Many small and medium size companies just dont have that kind of money to spend on a race car, far away from their home market, unless they get a LOT of TV exposure. At some point Nascar, or the teams themselves, are going to have to address the issue of cost control.

Wonder is Aurora having trouble supplying rod ends these days? Have gotten a lot of calls both internationally and domestically from people I hadn’t heard from before.

Still trying who was the voice on the telecast from Phoenix last week who, right before Harvick “ran out of gas” came on the radio and said “we have a problem”. Remember according to the rules the teams are not supposed to be monitoring telemetry from the cars during the race. So, whose voice was it? Inquiring minds want to know.

 

 


Just going to throw a few odds and ends together  about motorsport on this Sunday morning. Sure many of you have seen some if not all of them.

The V8 Stockcar series opened its season this weekend, at Sebring Florida. This marked the first time the Nordic Camaro challenge had raced over here. The first race was won by Jan Mangussen, who many remember from his exploits in international endurance racing. Mike Donahue has some good pictures of the cars on his Facebook page. I hope to have reports on the other races soon.

The first F1 test session of the year is over. Four days at Jerez Spain. And as is always the case its hard to tell who was fast, and who wasn’t. While we can speculate that everyone was on a different program, the stopwatch  does give us some hint.  The Lotus, both with Kimi and Grosjean driving was fast.  This of course is the former Renault team. Ferrari, after struggling with trying to figure out what they had set the second fastest time of the entire four days. The usual suspects, Red Bull and McLaren appear to be solid and just concentrating on development. Caterham, formerly Lotus, appears to have made big improvements. Williams remains a question mark. With the next test at Barcelona we should know a little more.

One of the more interesting things floating around is a photo of an alledged invoice from Williams to Pastor Maldonado for the ride in their car this year. The amount? 29,400,000 pounds! That is over 46million US Dollars! In candor there is some doubt as to the validity of this document. However it is in the realm of what Williams was believed to be asking for the ride. The people who would be paying this bill? The government of Venezuala.

So if you think that the pay drivers in Nascar are a little off color compare them to that.

Speaking of Nascar, they fine new EFI systems they will begin using this year – made by McLaren and one of its subsidiaries, Freescale.

Hope to have some more info from Sebring shortly. Now back to my nap.