Sunday, 29 May 2011

Formula 1 - Monaco Grand Prix 2011

This has to be the only on-track roundabout in Formula 1
After a surprisingly eventful race, Sebastien Vettel has lucked into his first Monaco GP victory. He did his usual trick of running away from the big scary grid in the first part of the race as hell started to break loose behind him, with Michael Schumacher going into Anti-Stall on the grid (a system that intervenes if it detects that the driver is about to stall the engine and cuts the throttle) before tackling 9th-place Lewis Hamilton going into the very tight first corner and taking those little black extensions off the bottom of his rear wing. A mere four corners later, he overtook Hamilton on the tightest, slowest corner of any race track in the world, the ~30mph Grande Hotel hairpin. This was a skilful move, one that Hamilton would later try to copy when stuck behind Felipe Massa, but leave too late and end up driving into his left rear corner all the way round the hairpin - a fairly long wheelbase on these cars means that the turning circle is a little large for such a manoeuvre if you leave it too late. Later in the race, after Schumacher made the gutsy move, Hamilton made an even gutsier one by throwing his McLaren down the inside of turn 1 and giving the Septuple World Champion a hair's width between the Brit and a looming tyre wall. Impressive driving from both opportunist Hamilton and wise old Schumacher, who managed to avoid any contact on either side of his Mercedes-Benz.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

F1 versus X1 - What's The Difference?

Sponsor decals leave subtle hints about what game they're in
*Note - To take these pictures, I needed to do a 2-Player race. Unfortunately, the game didn't let me use the Ferrari F10 Formula 1 car, so I have used the Polyphony Formula GranTurismo instead. Its body is based on a 2004 F1 car (possibly a Renault), but it has a 3500cc V12 producing ~900bhp. It is also a Standard model, whereas the Red Bull X2010 is a Premium model, meaning higher detail and surface quality.

To fill the void between the Turkish and Spanish Grands Prix, I've decided to compare F1 with limits to F1 without. Gran Turismo 5 is a wondrous place. You can race the never-raced Jaguar XJ13 against a Ford Mk.IV GT40 and a Ferrari 330 P3, drive a Lamborghini Miura Prototype, go rallying in a Lotus Evora, you can even take a picture of a dog sitting down. It has everything, including the fastest race car possible in 2010: The Red Bull X1 (I know it's been renamed X2010, but I prefer X1, so I'm sticking to it).

But aside from the presence of headlights, what's the difference between this "fastest car in the world, with a very high top speed as well" and a traditional Formula 1 car? The short answer is Quite A Lot. The long answer is, well...

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Formula 1 - Turkish Grand Prix 2011

2011 Formula 1 Podium Design Proposal. National sponsors affect background race by race
For the third time in four races, Sebastien Vettel has won from pole position. In the one race thus far that he didn't win, he came 2nd... from pole position. Is anyone else getting a little fed up with this guy? Sure, he seems like a great guy out of the car - quite fun and good-humoured for a German - but his dominance in the early part of the season, coupled with what would've been a more dominant 2010 with better reliability, is really starting to bug me somewhat. He just runs away in 1st place at the start of the race and stays there. The only time he didn't win (in China three weeks ago) was when he was overtaken at the first corner and put on the back foot. He later regained the lead, only for Lewis Hamilton to catch him on fresher option tyres as his clever tyre strategy made a win for the Brit inevitable in the closing stages. Vettel's faster than anyone else over a flying lap, most likely because the fastest car on the grid was designed around him, as being the reigning World Champion solidifies your status as No.1 in the team quite effectively, but his weakness is overtaking people. What kind of weakness is that in an F1 World Champion?! Is it mainly down to the car that he's on top? It certainly seems so at times, and did last year as well. He needs to be dethroned once and for all, be it by a McLaren, a Ferrari, a Lotus-Renault (hey, don't rule them out) or even his own team mate Mark Webber, who I would have preferred to win the championship last year out of the two Red Bulls. Alas, a disastrous finale at Yas Marina meant it wasn't to be...

Monday, 2 May 2011

So Apparently Osama Bin Laden Is Dead?

Dethroned at last. Who will be the next champion?

FINALLY, something to stop news channels rambling on about the Royal Sodding Wedding...

In the last 24 hours, president Barack Obama announced that a team of American soldiers (apparently it's very important to note that the whole team were American...) found Osama Bin Laden's hiding place in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The 10-year round of Hide And Seek is over, but unfortunately Bin Laden has decided that the gun-ho Americans cheated by killing him, so he's not playing any more. Sore loser...

Now that everyone knows about his death, there are immediate fears of revenge attacks - it seems that Al Qaeda take Hide and Seek very seriously - after the chief terrorist was shot in the head and promptly buried at sea. Apparently, the US helicopter broke down, so he was carried away on foot. Meanwhile, riotous celebrations have swept the western world, particularly at Ground Zero, where the twin towers used to be. Like many, I wouldn't mind running Bin Laden's body through a Bacon Slicer, and I hope his corpse is uncovered by bottom-feeders in the sea and ripped apart by sharks. Well, there is enough blood on his hands to attract them...

Sure it may not end the war on terror all on its own, but it's still satisfying as someone who isn't in favour of randomly killing hundreds of innocent people just for having a different religion for me to say in honesty "Bin Laden is Dead".

Because this is technically a car blog, I leave you with Jackie Stewart powersliding away from an explosion. Why this of all images? BECAUSE RACECAR, and there need be no further explanation than that!

Perhaps the most awesome racing car picture on The Internet
Muscle Car Monday to follow. Hopefully...