This and That

Here we are, Monday morning after a GP, Spa 24 hour and WSBK and not much to stir the blood.

A couple of things caught the eye. Yamaha is withdrawing its WSBK factory team. This is despite currently running third and fourth in the Championship. They have obviously taken notice that Ducati are leading the Championship with Checa despite the works team dropping out for the first time this year. Yamaha say they are going to support private teams, which clearly works. I think back to what I see were the good days of GP when Yamaha had several "private" teams running their equipment, Kenny, Ago, Sonauto with Sarron, and all were "works" bikes and we had good racing. Honda had a works team, but also Kanemoto, HB and Cabin, and Garry Taylor ran Suzuki for Schwantz. This to me is the right way for series to run, not just one "works" team for each and really only three or four guys likely to win. Not a bad model for four wheel racing either, like we saw at Spa, six Audis in three private teams racing each other, which is how McLaren are going with the GT.

The other is the ongoing Gribkowsky deal, with the six others being named, and behold there is Bernie's friend Briatore, the man banned from F1 helping Bernie out.

The furore over the Sky TV deal continues, with Pit Pass suggesting it is not poor Bernie's fault, nothing to do with the high cost of TV rights and everything else to do with F1, no it is the Teams' fault. They should do something, but what? He suggests that the teams subsidise the Sky fee for F1 fans. And how are you going to identify them? And 10 m households at 475 pounds apiece is a rather big ask. Why not the teams accept less TV money, say $20m, and reduce the cost of the rights to BBC? But that won't work either as then you set a precedent for all the other broadcasters. But if "free-to-air" is so important for the sponsors? If that were the case then F1 would be on Network TV here in the States and we might get a few people interested in it, and cheaper than building a track and running a race. How about funding Alexander Rossi in to a good seat as Red Bull are doing, then you might see some interest. But no, all these spend money, and of course the poor teams just need more and more. As Adam Parr said it is expensive for them to go racing, you can't just buy a tennis racquet and some shoes. I thought that was what sponsors were for. So are we really interested in building a sport or making money? If the Sky deal loses audience then we will see. This whole series is run on unrealistic income streams that if one or two start to fall by the wayside could fold up like a house of cards. If Bernie cuts a deal for Germany what does he do for Oz and Valencia, Barcelona, Spa etc?



About half way through the Hungarian GP I had the feeling Button would win it, even though his team mate Hamilton seemed to be in command. It did not turn out the way I had been expecting, but not much did in this rain effected race. What we got was some great clean racing between McLaren team mates, and no team orders here, Horner please take note. We saw Massa give way to Alonso pretty easily, with both Ferrari drivers having their share of off track excursions. Lewis's race was effectively lost when the team, presumably with Lewis's agreement, kept him on the super soft when most of the other top runners went to the prime. Surprising really seeing as how quick Lewis was on those in qualifying. Just maybe that was the problem, he had saved an extra set of super softs in qualifying by using the primes, and that induced them to use them. 

In any event that only got worse when Lewis arrived at the wet corner first, spun, and then copped a drive through penalty for spinning the car back around in front of di Resta. A bit harsh if you ask me, if he had not moved so fast then Kovalainen would have been out on the grass to avoid him, but Lewis accepted his fate with good grace. As Eddie Jordan said, this is a different Lewis than we saw at Monaco and most of the first half of the season. His head is back in a good place and we are seeing some great drives of controlled aggression from him. The final nail was the decision to switch to inters just when the rain had stopped, but he fought back to fourth with his usual grit.

I was surprised to see Button catch Lewis when he had the prime tire and Lewis the super soft, which in theory is almost a second faster. Alonso looked decidedly unhappy with third, his race being ruined by a terrible start and the two Mercedes passing him through the first corner. Mercedes continue to really struggle, but as always passing around here is difficult at the best of times, let alone a damp track and one dry line. We did actually see some good passes though to make it more interesting than usual. Vettel increases his lead in the Championship on a day when he should have lost some ground, so his good luck continues, or is it good team work? Sorry to see the Lotus cars both retire, Kovalainen was having a very good run, and Ricciardo beat not only his team mate but also D'Ambrosio.

Elsewhere a wild card, in more ways than one, John Hopkins, took pole at Silverstone for the WSBK race, but Checa has taken the first race win with rival Biaggi well down. Over in Spa Audi won from BMW and Mercedes after a good race. Audi TV had very good live streaming and an amazing sole commentator that worked for hours on end, knew the cars and all those foreign named drivers. It was not continuous and I admit I did not stay up for it through the night, but saw enough to be entertained. This race saw three of the new McLaren GT cars entered basically as a shake down before putting them on sale to private teams to race next year, and they shook them down a bit harder than even they expected, one car going out to a huge crash in the first hour and another catching fire!

Talking of catching fire, the Lotus Renault of Nick Heidfeld did it again, about the only thing that was on fire in that team. Nick drove it out of pit lane after an extended pit stop where something obviously got too hot as it was trailing smoke from the pit stall. It finally exploded halfway down pit exit when a marshal was extinguishing the flames and let's hope he was not injured, but he limped off. So what exploded? Surely Nick shut down the engine before bailing out? So a radiator or something else in the side pod, KERS? It will be interesting to see if we are ever told. 

So, F1 is off on its holidays for three weeks, so could be a slow August for bloggers.

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