Sunday, 26 July 2009

F1-asco-3 ...

You can see in pantomime the puppets fumbling with their slips of paper, see them pick up their phone, see the noiseless, ceaseless capital of memoranda, and always fooling with something.
Elwyn Brooks White




know I said in one of the earlier F1 posts that I would return to the subject from time to time, especially when I felt a rant coming on. Well, here I am again, sooner than I thought!

They will line up on the grid tomorrow (ermm... today, actually) at 13:00 hours GMT (UTC for the rabid politically-correct brigade), but there will only be 19 of the 20 cars there.

Felipe Massa of Ferrari won't be making it. If the truth be told he is lucky to be alive, let alone think about participating in the race. The result of a horrible 'accident', in the truest sense of the word.

The final seconds of Q2 (second qualifying session) saw Reubens Barrichello of Brawn-GP (coincidentally, a Brazilian like Massa), lose a chunk of metal that looked like a huge coil spring, from his rear gubbins (sorry, don't know the technical term) which didn't clear the track. Massa was the first driver to hurtle around the bend and one of his front wheels (too fast for even the TV replays to identify which one) scooped up the debris that was hurled into the visor of his helmet. He was knocked unconscious and his foot slammed down on the accelerator. The car slewed through one corner, crossed the track, and then ran off on the other side of the track at a tremendous speed, straight into the tyre wall. The car's onboard camera shows that his hands only left the wheel when they were shaken free by the impact.

This is the sort of head-on impact that makes the blood run cold.


Felipe Massa a split second away from disaster ... 
Felipe Massa a split second away from disaster ...


It certainly didn't do Massa any good. The track officials got to him rapidly. The doctor was only seconds behind, and the ambulance wasn't too far behind him. Massa was stretchered off to the Course Medical Facility. We knew that things were serious when one of the two helicopters on the helipad wound up its rotors.

The latest news on young Felipe is that he has undergone surgery for a cut on his forehead, concussion and a 'bone lesion of the skull'. The result of the surgery was declared successful, that he is stable and that he is under observation in intensive care. The initial prognosis is that he won't be racing for at least six weeks. I am sure he will give thanks that he will be able to race at all. Ferrari will be issuing an update on his condition later this morning.

Get well, fella. We're with you!

Now for the 'rant'.

Q3 was delayed while Massa was being 'medevacced', the remains of his car were returned to the Ferrari garage, and the track was inspected for further debris that could cause a similar accident. Nothing was apparently found. Wonder where the 'rear damper spring' (I did my homework) disappeared to?

Q3 ended with a spectacle that I have NEVER seen in all the many years I have followed this glorious sport.


Fernando Alonso (Renault) stuck his car into the P1 slot, then jumped out of his car and asked Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) and Mark Webber (Red Bull) and any other driver he came across what their qualifying time was. All the drivers appeared to be comparing notes about their qualifying times because it seemed that the official time keepers had lost the plot somehow!

Between them, the drivers decided that Alonso could claim P1, Vettel should have P2 and Webber was allowed P3. And, believe it or not, that is exactly how they will start the race tomorrow later today!

Honestly, you had to see the pantomime to wonder at how much of a farce it had degenerated into! Since when have the monkeys dictated to the organ-grinders? - (see my update below ...)

It could only happen in F1 ...


Update: Statement issued by the FIA on 29 July 2009

In the closing minutes of the Q3 qualifying session for the FORMULA 1 ING MAGYAR NAGYDIJ 2009, the Official Live Timing system did not update the timing screens. This was due to the finish line sensor suffering mechanical failure in the form of a damaged cable.

Well established back up procedures ensured that no data was lost and complete results for the qualifying session were quickly established and released. Formula One Management would like to clarify that at no time was this the result of the failure of any equipment supplied by LG, the Official Data Processor of F1.


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