Hey Sidepodcastees, it's another happy, shiny qualifying Saturday and I invite you warmly to spend this Daily with me as we watch all the Saturday action. There's Formula 1 and there's Wimbledon tennis, but I don't know anything about tennis so I won't be mentioning it again. Now, Valencia is normally a boring track, unless you count Webber's smash last year - but with all the new-for-2011 improvements we're all hoping for an ace weekend and that we'll fall in love with the sport again. Valencia may be a street circuit, but it has no tramlines , unlike Singapore; it does, however have very tight barriers, so you can't fling the car around like a rally car, or it'll be game, set and match for you. The midfield will be hoping that the DRS zone on the straight sets them up for some overtaking moves and give them an advantage over the cars in front.
This Weekend In F1
- Webber Won't Move Over: With Mark Webber's team mate having handled the opening third of the season significantly better than him, the murmurings are bubbling over when Red Bull will ask the Australian to play defence to Vettel's title run. But Ol' Markie scoffed at the thought. At least it was reported like scoffing - our man on the scene, Sid Pödkast, reported that the driver 'choked back tears of sadness and/or rage'. He then made a quiet reference to the lure of Ferrari and froze on the spot, potentially due to the myth that, like the T-Rex, the sports media cannot see you if you aren't moving.
- Heidfeld: "New Clarity at Renault": Nick Heidfeld has said Renault have found a new understanding of its problems and is ready to move forward. The German, who is leading the team despite having just a one-year contract says the situation is completely clear with the Malaysian-French-English Renault-powered, Lotus-sponsored, Proton-owned team that is coloured in the livery of a cigarette company that doesn't sponsor it. "[We are] back on course" and "know which direction we are facing", added Quick Nick, who ended the last grand prix facing in the wrong direction down a non-racing part of the track.
- Massa Predicts More Overtaking in Valencia: Felipe Massa has suggested that the Pirellis and the double-DRS zone could lead to even more overtaking at Valencia than in previous years. It's one hell of a feat to imagine, after consulting the list of classic Valencia overtakes: Fuel hose overtakes Raikkonen's pitcrew (2008); Massa overtakes Raikkonen [in the championship standings] (2008); Grosjean overtakes Badoer by spinning him out (2009); Button lets Webber through after cutting the chicane (2009); Webber overtakes Kovalainen upside-down and in the air (2010); Hamilton overtakes the Safety Car (2010). Phew! 2011 has a lot to live up to!
This Time Last Year
- Button: "Dude, Where's My Car?"*: Jenson Button was annoyed at Mercedes GP (previously Brawn, Honda, BAR and Tyrell) for not rewarding him with his 2009 championship-winning car. Button was contracted to receive the BGP001 if he won the title, but Mercedes seemed reluctant to actually hand it over. Mercedes were unavailable for comment and journalists were unable to reach their Brackley HQ as the driveway was mysteriously jammed with lorries from Airfix, Tipp-Ex and the Stabilo Bros Highlighter Pen company.
- USF1 Banned from F1 Forever: The final nail was pounded into USF1's coffin after the FIA forfeited its entry fees and banned them from entering F1 for life. Peter Windsor still had hopes though for his assetless motorsport venture, citing Flavio Briatore, whose lifetime ban was rescinded: "Flavio made a driver plough into a concrete wall and he's allowed back, so I don't see why USF1 won't be on the grid in 2011."
- Drivers Criticise 'Proximity Wing' Proposal: The drivers were cool to the idea of a rear wing that could be adjusted if a driver gets within a second of the car in front (what would become DRS). Barrichello didn't like that the attacking driver could use it but not the defending one; Kubica said that there was no entertainment in seeing cars overtake on a straight; Webber said it was too much like a video game; Sutil said that it took away from the skill of defending.
This Time Next Year
F1 Shake Up On The Way: Bernie Ecclestone has declared the DRS/KERS/Pirelli era of F1 far too boring and has demanded that the FIA change the rules. 'The races are too consistently entertaining,' said the billionaire magical river sprite. 'Everyone turns up knowing that there's going to be great overtaking, mixed-strategies and a surprise winner. It's dull. We want people to watch without knowing if it's going to be a dull procession or not - I think the ideal amount is 10% great races, 90% dull processions because you've got to keep people waiting for the good ones.' Rumour has it that the new Tilke-designed Moscow track will be 26 chicances joined end-to-end in an effort to clamp down on overtaking.
'No Issues With Morality', say Ferrari: Stefano Domenicali has rebutted claims that Ferraris sponsorship deals are contrary to the spirit of F1. 'When we race, we race only with the logos and liveries that we are allowed,' said the team principal of Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Herion. 'As a business, for sure we work with a number of companies outside the scope of F1, but that is the business and F1 is the racing.' Domenicali has been fighting fires left and right after official photos of the team's motorhome featured a poster on Alonso's bedroom wall with the slogan, "Iranian warheads are the best warheads" and the team announced a technical partnership with Packard Bell.
The F1-2010 Driver's Perspective: Valencia
As an F1 driver in the simulated world of F1-2010, I pretty much have an exact idea of how the experts drive the Valencian race, so here's the low down:
At the start, the drivers drift to the inside and go late on the brakes - don't worry, the cars ahead will slow them you down when they crash into them and push them into the wall on the outside. The drivers will want to try and keep close to the cars ahead as they make their way to the swing bridge where they will inevitably spin out over the kerbs. After recovering, they will head down the back straight, only to be overtaken by two or three cars on better setups, but an aggressive late brake into the chicane will force a few retirements. They'll need to manage the sliding car around the back of the circuit until they reach the final slow chicane and from their its a full throttle adventure to the final corner. At this point the drivers will probably have their eyes closed and praying for their lives and they zip between the barriers at full speed. Expect to see the likes of Kobayashi and Massa reaching for the Restart button as they make errors in this section. The final corner is a tricky one, so lots of drivers will probably accidentally drive into the pitlane as they brake too late and get confused by the circuit lines. Then, cross the finish line and repeat until the chequered flag. Simple!
*Got a better film reference headline? Answers in the comments!