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The Daly Planet


The Green Hell of Germany
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By Carol Einarsson | 07/13/2009
Category: F1

CHEERS to the Nurburgring! Jackie Stewart called it “the green hell”, but BBC enthusiasts will remember Sabine Schmitz’s laps in a Ford Transit around The Ring on Top Gear.

JEERS to Mark Webber seeming so nonchalant about the pole position. “Yeah, it’s fine. It’s a good position to start the race.” It’s his first pole, even! I think Peter Windsor was more excited than Webber was.

CHEERS , though, to Ruben Barrichello smiling and happy about the outside pole.

JEERS to my tendency to keep reaching for the remote thinking I can fast forward through the commercials. After all, it’s two in the afternoon, and this is Formula One.

JEERS to The Great Fernando Alonso warming his tires onto the grass. Hobbs calls him “an aggressive tire warmer.” I like how he makes it sound like a good thing rather than a mistake that spun Alonso into the grass.

CHEERS to the overhead shot of the start and seeing  how the McLaren teams gracefully moved to toward the front. That had to have been planned; it was just too perfect.

JEERS to Hamilton’s bad car off the start. What defeat that must be to know that now you have little, if any, chance of points for the day, yet you must now drive 180 miles in the back. Last, and a lap down. What a difference a year makes, but I can’t help but notice that despite the bad break, he’s being gentlemanly and courteous to everyone else on the track. What a fine champion he is!

JEERS to the leader “under investigation” by the stewards because that can mean any measure of penalty or none at all. This time it’s a drive-through penalty for causing contact with Rubens. Can’t argue the merit of the blame, though.

CHEERS to Jenson Button opting to pit for tires despite guys that aren’t in the car telling him otherwise. Maybe he was trusting his butt.

CHEERS to Ari Vatanen, former world rally champ running for president of FIA. Sure, it would be hard to find someone we wouldn’t like better and trust more than Mosley, but we like someone that seems to understand government and ehas a background in racing.

JEERS to euphemisms on the radio. “We should save this engine and the gearbox,” is just a nice selfless way to say, “Can I go home now?”

CHEERS to Adrian Sutil, pianist, and enjoying second place, but…

JEERS to the day over ten seconds later, after running into our friend Kimi. Maybe they need a Yield sign at the end of pit road?

CHEERS to knowing that Rubens has to have more than seven seconds of fueling time to go the distance. We like a broadcast team with such expertise. Okay, and we also like a broadcast team that will identify a car as sounding “very flatulent.”

JEERS to perhaps seeing the last of Sebastian Bourdais. I guess it’s not every day you hug all your crewmen after the race, eh?

JEERS to another investigation underway, and this time it’s Kimi. First we hear the car coming out of the pits has the right of way, but then Matchett tells us the car coming back onto the track is to yield. Sounds like an unclear rule to me.

CHEERS to the precision of Formula One and drivers stopping on a dime in the exact position required for an efficient pit stop. They go faster on the track and in the pits than stock cars, but they are consistently more accurate.

CHEERS to Jenson coming out just in front of his teammate. Very nicely timed!

CHEERS to Mark Webber happy at last. It’s a good thing he had that good starting position, eh? We love first time winners!

CHEERS to four cars racing harder than the leaders had all day, for no points, but just for standing.

CHEERS to the rain not coming.

CHEERS to a winner who recognized that he deserved a penalty. How refreshing!

And finally,

CHEERS to a happy winner. His post race radio exchange was the most joyful I’ve heard a driver, maybe ever. For what he’s overcome in a year it was a comeback to make clear that he is only just beginning to make his mark in Formula One.



07/13/2009 7:35 am (1)
Thank you, Carol, for such great coverage of the race! Once again, I feel badly for not having time to sit around watching sports on a Sunday afternoon. But there are garages to clean...pool filters to flush...weeds to whack...errands to run....

Y'know, depending on how open the FIA presidency is these days, I hear Tony George has some free time on his hands [ducking!!]

CHEERS to the first time pole-sitter, and the first time winner! Nice to see Red Bull, and long-time good soldier Mark Webber, doing so well these days.

JEERS that, once again in F1, the pole and race winners are the same.

I'll just close out by echoing Carol's CHEERS for Lewis Hamilton, suffering through a horrific season but somehow knowing, even at his tender age, that what comes around goes around...and that he's got plenty of time for it to come around again.
07/13/2009 8:07 am (2)
CHEERS to the German TV team being sure to give us plenty of helicopter shots of the Nordschleife, the true Green Hell. I know it's not safe to run the race there any more, but it's still a much better track than the GP-Strecke. I just wish that some team would send a car there for a few demonstration laps on proper *race* rubber, instead of the street-compound "demonstration" tires that Bridgestone offers for demos and roadshows. (The "demo" tires are great for smoky burnouts and donuts, and also make it so that the session doesn't qualify, under the rules, as an official track test, but... I wanna know how badly a modern F1 car could beat Niki Lauda's old track record there!)

(Furthermore, CHEERS to the operators of the 'Ring keeping the Nordschleife open for public laps, even with people killing themselves on it about once per month, on the average. Since the German police consider it a public, one-way toll road, if the crash was your fault, the operators aren't liable... and what's more, you have to pay for the tow truck and repairing the Armco barriers! Still... twenty euros for a chance to attack the world's greatest race track? It's on my "bucket list," all right...)

JEERS to my falling asleep with nine laps to go, and waking up after the race was already over. Agh! (For the record, it wasn't the race's fault--I had spent Friday and Saturday petsitting for my mom and my brother, and I'm sure that Carol would sympathize when she finds out that my brother has a dingo of his own--a three-year-old yellow lab. Good lord, but that dog has energy...)

CHEERS to Sutil and Force India continuing to be entirely competitive. JEERS to bad luck nailing them again, but as I said in my preview, as fast as they've been, it's just a matter of time now.

CHEERS to the stewards deciding that the Sutil/Raikkonen crash was, in their words, "a racing incident" and not penalizing either driver. While avoidable contact is something to penalize, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar--and sometimes, two race cars will try to be in the same place at the same time, and it won't be anybody's fault. This was one of those times.

JEERS to my getting the feeling that Lewis is getting so sick and tired of F1 and F1 politics that he may have lost all motivation, and may even be hoping to find some other series to race. (Though imagine the coup it would be if a Cup team managed to sign him--or the promotional value if he went to the IRL!)

@giluvracing: Oh, you won't be that happy with the next race, then. I'll save detailed analysis for the preview, but suffice to say, the Hungaroring has put on only one truly competitive race, and that was the one time it rained...
Greg in Dallas
07/13/2009 1:21 pm (3)
CHEERS to "...remember Sabine Schmitz’s laps in a Ford Transit around The Ring on Top Gear." Reading that brought a smile to my face. :)

CHEERS to Alonso's tire-warming antics when they work out. He's an awesome spectacle all by himself on warm-up laps.

CHEERS to Webber, but I'm still rooting for Button to "sew up" the championship this year.
07/13/2009 5:05 pm (4)
Of course, most of the time, in F1, the jack precision is crucial in that the front jack (on the nose) and tyres are already set up for the stop, and there rarely is a "race off pit road" that's active, let alone the pressure of stop versus stop with people running around in perpetual motion. Only the rear jack needs to be put in motion once everything else is set. With only 10 pit stalls it's much easier.

One more tape-delayed F1 race this year -- the ING Magyar Nagydíj. (And I have an ING IRA account, so I know the sponsor. The past two races have been sponsored by Spanish bank Santander, which owns Sovreign in the Northeast.)

They said when the GP-Strecke opened in 1984, "This isn't the Nürburgring! The Nürburgring is in the hills." When the quartet Point of Grace became a trio and went country, I said, "This isn't POG! POG is in the hills!". Nobody got the 'Ring reference.

As for "save the engine and gearbox," current F1 rules only allow a team to use eight engines all year. They probably want to save the engine so it can be worked around the eight engines a year rule. A 10-position penalty goes on the ninth and subsequent engine used. The Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series require an engine once raced is sealed and must be used again in next three races.

The track record is 6:11.13 by Stefan Bellof in a Porsche 956 at the 1983 1000km. That race was on the Nordscheife that doesn't include the GP-Strecke.

And yes, Saidheads, Boris won the 2005 ADAC 24h-Rennen Nürburgring, which is run on the GPS (without Turn 1 and 2) and the Nordschleife.
07/13/2009 5:35 pm (5)
CHEERS to Mark Webber for winning the F1 race. He deserved it.

JEERS to not being able to see the race live, what's with that.
07/13/2009 9:22 pm (6)
@jem6973: The short version is that Bernie thinks that having GPs on broadcast television in the afternoon in the States will draw more viewers, so for four races per year, he buys time on Fox on Sunday afternoons instead of the live broadcast on Speed. (Originally, this would include the US Grand Prix, Canadian Grand Prix, and Brazilian Grand Prix, so there'd be only one tape-delayed one, but...)
07/14/2009 1:35 am (7)
Yes, the pole and race winner was the same, BUT in the middle there he had a penalty for a first-lap rough driving deal.


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