26 July 2005

Formula One

Those of you interested in automobile racing are probably aware of the fiasco that unfolded in Indianapolis last month:

Coming out of the infield onto what would be the "short chute" between turns two and one on the Oval, (Formula One goes the opposite direction on the track from the Indy 500), the Formula One cars enter the fastest section of track on their schedule.

Michelin has had two catastrophic tire failures, both on left rear tires on this extremely fast part of the track.

Fearful one of their drivers would be injured or killed, three days before the race they petitioned their sanctioning body to allow them to bring tires from France that would better withstand the pressures the tires were being subjected to.
This is against F1 rules, and was rejected.

They then requested that a chicane be built midway in this section in order to slow the cars' top speeds and alleviate their problem.
This was viewed as exactly what it was: an admission that Bridgestone had come better prepared to face the conditions of the U.S. Grand Prix than had Michelin.

What followed may have ruined the future of F1 in the U.S. and may in fact impact Formula One as a whole in the near future:
The Michelin equipped cars gridded, were started and made the warmup lap, and then headed into the pits.........they didn't race!

Over 20 cars were supposed to participate in this race, and only 6- Bridgestone shodded cars actually started.

Fans that had spent BIG BUCKS to watch this event were rightfully disappointed and infuriated.
Some, shamefully, threw soft drink cups and other trash onto the track.


Michelin has a huge black eye, and is desperately trying to figure out how to overcome this PR nightmare. There is some talk they may actually purchase ALL the tickets for next years' race and find a way to allow the true enthusiasts of the race to attend free. I hope this comes to pass.......it would do a lot to make dissatisfied fans forget about the chaos this year.

I'm still undecided about F1. The cars are just unbelievable.......accelerating to 100 m.p.h. in less than 3 seconds, and stopping even faster than that! "G Forces" the drivers are subjected to can actually burst blood vessels in their eyes!

Aerodynamically, they are ahead of aircraft manufacturers in some ways!

But most tracks they race on allow very little passing.......once a driver takes the lead it is VERY difficult to pass him.
The races themselves can sometimes be boring as watching grass grow.

But if you've never watched one of these races, you might want to tune in just to get a view of the technology employed here.
Think of this:

These engines, manufactured by Honda, Toyota, Ferrari, Renault, BMW, and Mercedes, ALL turn at higher than 18,000 R.P.M.!

18,000 R.P.M. means the pistons in these engines are going up and down in the cylinder THREE HUNDRED TIMES PER SECOND!

Can you get your mind around that?
I can't!

The near future of F1 is important, and decisions made in the next year may very well determine the viability of the series.

I'd like to see it survive, and will be watching with interest.

No comments: