Emma O’Rouge here, back with the Badgerometer – The F1 Top 5 and bottom 1.
What a race, and a first for this badger to see abandoned. Although I realise it was for driver safety I couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed that I only got to watch half a race, but another win for Jense so overall a result! The Badgeromter has gone into overdrive with so many amazing things happening in Malaysia – there are a couple of things to think about that didn’t quite make the countdown; the coloured gravel by the side of the track gave a great effect and the lightening hitting the stand was breath-taking. Also, the fact that Barrichello seems to have had an injection of youth – last season when the rumours of his retirement were flying around, it was completely believable that he’d want to hang up his helmet, but this season he’s bounding about like a puppy and the new car seems to have rekindled his love for the sport.
And so to the chart….
In at one is the BBC commentary. I do understand that with the race stopped and nothing to comment on – the job of commentator could be quite tricky, but is this really an excuse for some of the spoken content of the Beeb’s coverage? To be honest the sobriety of Brundle and Legard came into question long before the rain started. The whole intermediate vs wet tyres debate during the ‘whole will it rain wont it rain’ comments with Brundle imparting a nugget of pure genius when he told us the golden rule of Formula One…..‘always be on the right tyre’. This was followed one minute later by Brundle informing us that it’s also helpful to ‘use your own eyes’, as opposed to what, we wonder? Twelve minutes later, just after Hamilton overtakes Webber a replay of this is shown to which Legard excitedly exclaims that Hamilton has done it again, but then is puzzled as to when Webber took the lead again out of the two of them, before finally realising it was a replay. Five minutes after, Brundle reaffirms his golden rule by explaining that ‘if you’re on the wrong tyre it will slow you down’. These blatantly obvious statements makes me wonder if perhaps Brundle is in the process of writing the Penguin Guide to “Baby’s First Formula One”?
Then the race stops and any semblance of normality evaporates. Legard ominously informs us that although the race clock had stopped while the twenty four hour clock continues to tick, which is funny because surely once the cars stop moving, life as we know it also ceases (sadly there are some people here at the badger sett that would agree with that, and if I dig deep I can probably admit I am one of them.)
Then moving to the Brawn GP hospitality area where the pundits had taken refuge, Coulthard referred to Vettel as the ‘Rainmeister’ (?) due to his performance at Monza last season. Finally a morning of wacky commentary was rounded up when F1 secured its highbrow status when driving in the rain was at first likened to skiing by Jordan and then likened to flying an aircraft by Coulthard. Whilst lots of people I know have skied, I can honestly say I have never met an airline pilot and would fathom that they would have made up a tiny minority of the BBC’s viewers last Sunday morning. So likening F1 driving in the rain to something the average person hasn’t experienced is, a pointless metaphor and in many ways completely negates the use a metaphor.
Second is the rain predictions, the teams can design super fast cars with the ability to drive upside down, safety features that keep drivers alive in horrific crashes and raging infernos, but predict a bit of rain? Well apart from Toyoto they seem to fall short on this front. It went something like this:
- Pre-Race – rain predicted in 7 minutes
- Race starts – no rain
- 10 minutes into the race – rain in 12 mins
- 8 minutes after this – rain in 10 mins (its now been 25 minutes since we were told rain was coming in 7 minutes and there has been no rain.)
- 27 minutes into the race, still no rain but its ‘imminent’.
- 28 minutes into the race – still no rain
- 31 minutes into the race, Massa is told by team Ferrari if rains comes they will benefit.
- 4 minutes later – hooray there is rain spied on turns 8, 9 and 10.
- 2 minutes after this, no more rain apparent, but Hamilton is told rain is on its way.
Finally 39 minutes into the race, some 46 minutes after rain was due in 7 minutes, its raining, MAN ALIVE is it raining and then 21 minutes later its still raining and the track has become a lake.
It was the same I recall last season, when in Monza and some frankly awful rain predictions led to some frankly awful tyres choices in qualifying, and then again in Brazil it was rain that slowed Glock up allowing Hamilton to overtake. Seriously a barometer does not cost that much, in fact I think my gran has several around her home she’d be happy to lend out.
Third is Timo Glock. And the rare treat when he took off his helmet while the race was stopped and rested it on the front of his car, giving us delighted badgers full view of the street-style graffiti on the back of his helmet which simply says….GLOCKDOG. Yes that Homie is banging and we can only bet that after a long day driving ‘well fast innit’ he gets home to pull on his fur dressing gown and heads out to the ‘tub with his ‘ho’s and b*tches where he hips and hops into the night to fiddy cent and co. According to Chief Engineer Deiter Gass:
“Timo is a track animal I would say. Really he is somebody who is very motivated and very target orientated. I like to compare him to a terrier because when he gets his teeth into something he will not let go before he has achieved what he wants. His helmet even includes the ‘Glock dog’ motif, chosen to symbolise commitment and determination; attributes he has shown in good measure since joining Panasonic Toyota Racing.” – hmm….
Fourth is the terrified drivers. That may sound a bit sick, but bear with me on this one. Although we do get to see passion and anger and outright rage from most of the drivers (robotboy Hamilton excluded although more about him later) we rarely see fear, but last Sunday we did and all of a sudden they became human and I became enraged that it would even be considered putting them at risk out on that death trap of a lakeland circuit.
Bourdais’ screams that the circuit was un-drivable and he couldn’t go on, brought a tear to my cynical eye and I genuinely felt for his safety (ok I genuinely felt for Jensen’s safety first and then everyone else’s) and Massa’s stress at needing his white visor and his race engineer’s pleas to cool down gave a direct insight into some of the pressures the drivers face and actually how dangerous F1 is. Even Hamilton had a breakthrough………….I hope you’re sitting down when I let it be known he was interviewed post race and he…..did NOT thank the team????!!!!! He actually looked pretty irritated when he was informed he was 7th after originally thinking he was 5th.
In at fifth is the team radio instructions, and this a general thing not just limited to Malaysia. I am sure we have all had a giggle at some of the ridiculous suggestions from race engineers to drivers. Malaysia saw Jensen being told to ‘go for it’ as opposed to what? His original plan of half heartedly driving round the track, seeing how he felt on the day and maybe, but maybe not, having a crack at being at the front and crossing the line first. And it seems a trend that drivers are told; drive faster! Overtake the guy in front! And other seemingly obvious instructions, I mean it’s their job to drive quickly and try to come first surely they don’t need to be constantly reminded of this? On the other hand maybe the F1 world know something about management the rest of us don’t and we should be encouraging our bosses to reaffirm the basics of our jobs over a radio whilst we’re at work. I can imagine now the police being told, ‘fight crime….fight crime’ and doctors, ‘save lives….do it….save those lives’ and administrators….’order those files…..alphabetical…now…!’
This week I am a bit miffed with Webber, not completely miffed but still a tad peeved. A bit of this is a hangover from Melbourne (not literally a hangover, although Cava at 9am is probably not something I’d recommend), and his whining about Barrichello (my new hero). But also the way once the red flag was waved, he was all busybody esque, marching around the pit lane like he was the big cheese and appearing almost to be trying to start a driver’s revolution. At one point Vettel even relayed back to the team that Webber had said the race was not going to restart but he didn’t know where he had gotten this information. Why couldn’t Webber like Bourdais just state he was scared and didn’t want to go back out, instead of making out he was advocating what all the other drivers want.
And finally is Kovalainen the new Piquet, just crashing out in every race for no real reason? Next race play the ‘what lap will these two crash out in sweepstake’ and make some money for a Sunday pint!