Vroom vroom, mes amis!
I had intended to write this post last week, but I’ve been in a writing rut lately, so here it is a week late and $7 short.
Get it? Because when you’re a day late, you’re a dollar sho…vroom vroom!
Sorry, I got interrupted by a car.
For all you mathletes out there – and I know there are plenty – the Formula 1 season is 33% complete. Last weekend, the gaggle of drivers made their way to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, for the seventh race of the season.
Get it? Because a gaggle is a flock of geese and Canada is known for their gee…vroom vroom.
Those darn cars!
This has always been my favourite part of the schedule and it has nothing to do with being Canadian.
When I was a kid, I’d play the Formula 1 video game and the 6th race of the season was Monaco and right after was Canada. It’s still that way in real life. They were my two favourite tracks to drive and I couldn’t wait to finish the first five.
For those of you who don’t think video games are of any value, I’d argue they’re quite educational. I was 10 years old and getting a full geography lesson on which city was located in which country.
Also, thanks to video games, I’ve been able to memorize most of the tracks. I would draw them for you but, hahaha.
Monaco is my favourite race of the season because of how tight the circuit is, and how aesthetically pleasing the whole place looks.
Plus there’s a tunnel in the middle of the track. For some reason I’m like a dog with its face out the window of a moving car when I see the Monaco tunnel.
Now that the cars are wider than they were in previous years, it’s even harder to pass at Monaco (as well as everywhere else), which I don’t like so much, but Monaco is still #1 for now. Azerbaijan might replace it in my power rankings at some point in the near future, though.
One memory I have of a race in Monaco is from 2001 or 2002. There was a driver for the Arrows team named Enrique Bernoldi. Their car was orange and black – picture Halloween on wheels.
Their car wasn’t any good and Bernoldi was frequently lapped during races. Well during this race, he held up a frontrunner for almost five laps instead of getting out of the way. I believe it was either one of the Ferraris, or Eddie Irvine in the Jaguar.
I tried looking it up, but all I found was video of Bernoldi holding up David Coulthard in the 2001 Monaco Grand Prix. I don’t think that’s what I’m remembering. In that race, Coulthard had pole position, but his car stalled at the start of the race and he had to work his way through the field.
He was stuck behind Bernoldi for 35 laps, despite his car (a McLaren) being faster.
By the way, the cars back then were the best. Can we go back to them?
But yeah, my point being, Enrique Bernoldi was no turnstile at Monaco. I’ll never forget it. From then on it was always like, “Ohhh Bernoldi, don’t wanna get stuck behind him.”
As for the Canadian Grand Prix last weekend, it was pretty boring outside of the crash on the first lap. Oh, and Winnie Harlow waved the checkered flag a lap before she was supposed to, so that was great.
Before the race, the analysts had a demonstration of just how much force the drivers have to exert in order to press the brake in their car. I always took that aspect of racing for granted. I assumed it was sensitive like the brake us mortals use.
Nope. They’ve basically got to throw all their weight on the pedal to get the car to slow down. Imagine doing that a few hundred times during a race.
Also, both pedals are molded to fit their feet. The more you know.
Back to the race, itself.
There wasn’t a lot of overtaking, nor a lot of close battles on track. I don’t know what happened to this sport, but most of the races seem to be decided during qualifying.
I know the regulations and the make up of the car has something to do with it, but someone smarter than me can get into the specifics for you.
I remember when Pit Stops were about 8 seconds – they’d change the tyres, fill up the gas tank, maybe even wipe the driver’s visor, before offering them some hors d’oeuvres, and then the lollipop man would release the car. They would do this 2 or 3 times per race.
So many things could go wrong and it always added drama to the race.
Now, Pit Stops are about 2.3 seconds. They’re no longer allowed to refuel the car during the race, which is smart. I saw my fair share of Pit Lane fires, with guys running to the scene with fire extinguishers and bags of sand.
Dare I say that was exciting, though?
There’s not even a lollipop man anymore. Well, there is. But he’s not the one who has final say in when the car leaves.
It’s an automated light system telling the drivers to go. This system doesn’t always have the pit crews’ safety in mind. Earlier this season, the automated system told Ferrari driver, Kimi Raikkonen, to go, but the pit crew hadn’t replaced the back left tyre yet. They were struggling to get it off.
The automated system saw that all four tyres were on and released Kimi. Kimi’s car broke a pit crew members leg as he drove off.
Anyway, the point I was getting at was almost every race is a one stop race. And each stop is so fast you can hardly tell they changed the tyres. There is a significant lack of added drama.
Sure, we get the whole “undercut” vs. “overcut” strategy discussion when pit stops are taking place, but that’s it.
Maybe they can implement a rule in the future that requires each driver to stop at least twice. Because when I see someone go into the Pits on Lap 10 and the commentators say their car should be good until the end of the race, I’m no longer that happy dog with its head out the window.
Let me just catch the wind in my face and enjoy it!
Near the end of races, the commentators try and give us hope that a late overtake will happen. They’ll say that a driver is only 4 seconds behind with 6 laps remaining, and they’ve been gaining a second on the car ahead of them in each of the last few laps.
Great, but then that car has to get by the one in front of them and that doesn’t happen as much as it used to.
As things currently stand, Sebastian Vettel leads Lewis Hamilton by 1 point in the Drivers’ Championship, and Mercedes has a 17 point lead over Ferrari in the Constructors’.
I’ve found myself cheering for Red Bull the last few years, even though they are the third best car on the grid. I can’t get behind Mercedes – they win too much. I like Vettel with Ferrari, but Raikkonen looks like he checked out years ago.
At this time, I’ve run out of things to say. I know, it’s abrupt.
Oh wait, one last thing – Fernando Alonso better return to Formula 1 next year, I’m not ready for him to go. And when he returns, it better be in a car that can put him in contention for a podium. He’s too good to be battling for 9th place every race.
So yeah, that’s all.
I’ve always thought it would be cool to go to every racetrack at some point in my life. Maybe if I ever get rich and find someone to go with.
Though I’d probably have to use an alias like Paul E. Mahogany just to fit in around such a prestigious crowd. I’d have to adopt an accent befitting of a rich person, too.
I just used the word “befitting”, I’m feeling wealthier already.
Okay, I’m done.