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Formula Fun: Finally an Off Week Edition

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It’s a nice change of pace to be able to just bullshit with you readers for a week or two. No more races to recap, no engine blowups to shame Renault with, no whining to cover. Well, there is whining to cover, but that’s not what this column is about dear reader. This column is about loving this sport, not about parading all of the doom and gloom that the F1 news purveyors so love to show off. No, this is the F1 feature that starts with a video about Puppets, and a glimpse into the Japanese fan’s devotion to the sport. If you have ever seen Senna, you are already aware of some of the Japanese’s F1 proclivities.

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Formula Fun: Bahrain Grand Prix Edition

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After the the firework show that we saw last year, how could this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix compare? Well, it was another race under the lights with plenty of action on the track, and a tad bit of off track rumblings. With only a week between this and the Chinese Grand Prix, Formula One didn’t have time to change too much. The promise of a turned up Honda engine seemed to be pushed off. Renault still has no solution for their piston issue which has blown so very many of their engines. No new parts were coming in, and it looked to be an evolution of the last race, rather than a radical revolution in the running order.

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Formula Fun: Chinese Grand Prix Edition

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As we begin, lets look back on the last race win by one Micheal Schumacher, facing off with title rival Fernando Alonso. While Alonso went on to win the championship that year, and Schumi ended up getting replaced by the Iceman, this victory showed why he was the master. This year, however, it appears that the title fight won’t be the Spaniard versus a German, but it will be two Germans and a Brit.

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Formula Fun: Easter Edition

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As we mourn the loss of Top Gear, let us not forget the show, much like the baby Jesus, may rise again. In all honesty, this has been a pretty light week in the world of F1. It seems like the news cycle, along with the teams, might have all focused their brainpower towards China next weekend. This honestly includes myself, but when you make a schedule for yourself, you keep it.

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Formula Fun: Malaysian Grand Prix Edition

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Well well, now isn’t this the Formula 1 we were all hoping for? The choice of music for this weekend not only refers to the amazing comeback by the Scuderia, who just a week ago were talking about far off they still were from the Mercedes duo, but the comeback of F1 in general. No talk of it being more of a Hunger Games survival of the fittest, now it was an all out Battle Royale, with great fights all throughout the field. This is F1 baby, and mama (Bernie) made it a knockout.

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Formula Fun, First edition

Welcome everyone to the very first edition of a regular feature I am calling Formula Fun. “What is the purpose of all this?” you might be asking. Well, as someone who loves this great sport, I often find any writing about Formula 1 to be mostly doom and gloom these days. There are budget crises, Red Bull threatening to take their ball and go home, or Sauber looking like it has more drivers than sense.

There is another side to this series that I love. I want to showcase the weird, the fun, and the irreverent side of this sport. This isn’t to say that I will be ignoring the current goings on in the lovely circus that is F1, but again, no doom and gloom here. You can go get that everywhere else.

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The Curious Case of the 2015 Australian Grand Prix

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Here we were, the long winter almost over, Caterham F1 was dead, Marussia, now Manor Marussia, was undead. Honda was back, recreating the legendary McLaren Honda partnership, the most dominate force of the late 80’s and early 90’s. And to top it all off, Sebastian Vettel had left Red Bull Racing, and followed in the footsteps of his mentor and friend, Michael Schumacher and joined the Scuderia Ferrari. All of this, plus the promise of the continued dual between the two Mercedes drivers, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, means this race should have been an explosive start to the season.

But that isn’t what happened. Let’s take a look at this upside down Grand Prix.

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Relive the glory of Formula 1’s testing at Imola in 1994

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The San Marino Grand Prix of 1994 is known as one of the worst weekends in all of motorsport – certainly within Formula 1. That weekend (April 29 – May 1, 1994) earned its reputation with three horrific on-track accidents that claimed the lives of two drivers and nearly claimed a third. Rubens Barrichello miraculously survived his crash on Friday, but Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna – a promising driver in his first F1 season and a legend looking for his fourth championship, respectively – did not survive theirs on Saturday and Sunday.

But that’s history we’re all very [painfully] familiar with. For now, let’s rewind a bit back to March of 1994. It’s a full day of Formula 1 testing at Imola, which in about two months will host the San Marino Grand Prix. Most teams and drivers are in attendance and they didn’t go all the way there to drive easy. And it’s all caught on glorious 90’s VHS by Georg Metz, one of many spectators who were there to soak it all in.

The video quality is obviously bad by today’s standards, but the sounds are still captured clearly and you can see well enough to pick out Barrichello, Ratzenberger, and Senna. Towards the beginning of the film, you can even see Ratzenberger and Senna driving together – through the corner where Ratzenberger was killed, no less.

For pure Formula 1 action and the heavenly sounds of a Ferrari 412T1 dive bombing into Tosa, you’re going to want to set aside eight minutes to watch this. It’s hauntingly beautiful.

[Source: Georg Metz, YouTube]

Ayrton Senna – Twenty Years after His Death

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May 1st, 1994. San Marino Grand Prix at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, more commonly known as Imola. Tamburello corner, a high speed left turn which hosted its share of accidents. Nelson Piquet, Gerhard Berger, Michele Alboreto, Riccardo Patrese, and Rubens Barrichello just two days prior, have had accidents right there, on that very corner.

On the seventh lap of the Grand Prix, while in first place, just ahead of Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna’s number 2 Williams FW16, went off track and hit the concrete wall of the curve at 135mph.

Ayrton Senna’s death remains the most recent, and certainly the highest profile, Formula 1 race driver death. There have been other deaths in Formula 1 since then however, specifically that of John Dawson-Damer and Fritz Glatz, each one of whom was driving a vintage Forumla 1 cars in exhibition races. The more recent death of María de Villota, who succumbed to her injuries more than a year after her accident during a test, is the only one involving modern Formula 1 vehicles.

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Opinion: 2014 Formula 1 Predictions

Bradley Brownell March 13, 2014 Formula 1

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We already discussed the facts about the 2014 Formula 1 season, so now we will discuss some opinions. We’ve already determined that our predictions don’t count for much, and making them before any of the teams turn a wheel in anger is always a fool’s errand, but we’ll give it a shot. Here are some possible outcomes this year.

1. I predict that Red Bull will have an abysmal start to the year, but will pick up the ball and start running toward the front around the time they get to Spain (mid-season updates are usually figured out by then, and Newey is a smart cookie).

2. Reliability will come into play in the first part of the season, but won’t be much of a concern after a half-dozen races. Australia this weekend should prove to be in Mercedes’ wheelhouse, as they have the most testing mileage on their engines. Ferrari have proven relatively reliable as well. Only the teams running with Renault power have been having real struggles with power and reliability.

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