Monthly Archives: March 2015

MotoGP: The lead changed 23 times in Qatar

The 2015 MotoGP season looks set to be amazing and here’s the proof. This table shows the lead changed a massive 23 times during last night’s epic battle for victory in Qatar, and there’s every chance the next few races will be just as competitive. Valentino Rossi is at his best, Ducati is back in form, and Marc Marquez has ground to make up. If the upcoming races are anything like Qatar, they will be utterly compelling.

QAT

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F1: A Sydney Grand Prix was possible up until recently and this is how it could’ve looked

As part of an election stunt, politicians in Sydney have said they’d like to steal the Grand Prix away from Melbourne with a street race incorporating the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s an idea that might fool a few voters but it’s unrealistic to think such a proposal could ever happen. Melbourne has a Formula One contract until 2020, with a likely 5 year extension beyond that, so the race is going nowhere anytime soon. Also, using the Harbour Bridge would cripple Sydney’s transport infrastructure and would also limit the circuit to an area that provides no room for the pits, a paddock, or grandstands. It’s a ludicrous suggestion that fails the most basic tests.

However, just a few years ago a similar idea might have been very possible.

Up until recently Sydney had the space to build a more feasible street circuit that still showed off the Harbour Bridge and Opera House without totally disrupting the city. In 2013 redevelopment work started on a piece of land by Sydney Harbour called Barangaroo which is being turned into a casino, office buildings, apartments, and open parkland. If this redevelopment had also included a row of shops that could be converted into garages it might’ve been a suitable base for a Grand Prix circuit too. Barangaroo sits beside a long wide road that would be ideal for the main straight of a Formula One circuit and the surrounding streets also provide viable (if perhaps difficult) opportunities for a layout. On top of that, the casino owners now developing the land would’ve probably been happy with the high-rollers and publicity a Grand Prix would bring to their new venue. A Sydney Grand Prix running under the Harbour Bridge, instead of over it, was once a genuine possibility.

The narrow window of opportunity that existed for a Sydney Grand Prix has closed. The land at Barangaroo is no longer available for pit garages and Melbourne has signed a long term F1 deal. The below map shows what might have been.

Sydney3

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F1: A great (and simple) idea for Grand Prix promoters

AGP

Track action started at the Australian Grand Prix today (Thursday) where the wide range of support categories held practice and qualifying sessions. Getting these out of the way today means spectators who arrive on Friday to watch Formula One practice will be treated to actual racing on the support schedule instead of being stuck with more practice sessions. In fact, there is a touring car race on Friday just 30 minutes after the gates open! Fans at Albert Park will be treated to 11 races in total over the weekend, plus a heap of other on-track displays, which helps justify the huge cost of a ticket.

Why don’t all other Grand Prix venues hold support category qualifying on Thursday so the racing can start on Friday? Most of them have absolutely nothing on Thursdays. It’s an easy way to add value to the event and it has proven to work well every year in Melbourne. It’s a shame that in a sport as globalised as F1, some promoters make significantly less effort than others.

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WRC: Tanak’s lake crash was incredible. So was the overnight salvage mission

If you have nightmares about being trapped inside a car filling with water, this isn’t the video for you. Beyond the terrifying footage, there are some other incredible things about Ott Tanak’s crash into a lake during Rally Mexico, not least of which is that his team salvaged and repaired the car!

  • Ott Tanak and his co-driver, Raigo Molder, were out in seconds and escaped injury.
  • The team salvaged the car and after comprehensive repairs (most of which were completed within a narrow three hour service window) they had it up and running the next day. That’s amazing! They had to dry some components in the sun, and although the car didn’t smell pretty, Tanak went on to finish the rally in 22nd place.
  • After the crash, Raigo Molder had the peace of mind to grab his handwritten pace notes out of the sinking car so they wouldn’t go to waste. He was able to dry them page by page overnight.
  • Tanak competes with a yellow duck strapped to the handbrake for good luck. Tanak said he’ll retire the ominous mascot after their unexpected bath.
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F1: Attitudes to head injuries have changed a lot in just four years

Fernando Alonso will miss next week’s Australian Grand Prix after sustaining a concussion during pre-season testing. McLaren should be applauded for taking head injuries seriously and their stance will pressure other teams to do likewise. Things have certainly changed a lot since 2011 when a McLaren driver was knocked unconscious during the Belgian Grand Prix and similar care was not provided.

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V8SC: One camera – two amazing pieces of footage

Ever wondered what an out of control car heading towards you at 170kph would look like? Well, this cameraman found out. Twice. Two cars in two separate races crashed into the Turn 3 camera position at Adelaide on the weekend and both incidents produced amazing footage.

The full speed replay in the first video (from 1m 45s) is breathtaking. The super slo-mo in the second video with puffs of smoke, flicks of grass, and a crumpling car is simply captivating. Both drivers plus ‘Gerald’ the cameraman emerged unscathed.

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