TMR Game – Week 14

Welcome to Week 14 of the Too Much Racing Game!

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”false” link=”term=DTM&iid=8624069″ src=”f/9/c/f/DTM_German_Touring_5a1a.jpg?adImageId=12670569&imageId=8624069″ width=”380″ height=”225″ /]

I didn’t think that was a great week in terms of racing action, the DTM race I watched via web feed seemed fairly flat though this may be unfair as I admit my attention was elsewhere at the time. Perhaps if my full focus had been on it I’d have enjoyed it more. [Photo – First lap of the DTM at Hockenheim, by Hasan Bratic of Getty Images, via Picapp]

As usual I missed the Cup race though this time partly because I don’t like restrictor plate tracks – but apparently it was a good race, better now they’ve changed the aero? I see they still had the big crash and the showbiz ending though.

This week sees the focus switch to the ovals with IndyCar and more NASCAR Cup.


Racing this week:
IRL IZOD IndyCar Series – Kansas;
NASCAR Sprint Cup – Richmond;

Usual restrictions apply, pick up to 10 drivers, no more than 7 from one race.

The cutoff is Saturday 1st May at 4.59am BST (British Summer Time = GMT+1), that’s 11.59pm Friday night US EDT.

For the full results from Week 13, read on.

Continue reading “TMR Game – Week 14”


TMR Game – Week 13

Welcome to Week 13 of the Too Much Racing Game!

I hope you enjoyed as much of the feast of racing as you could over the weekend. I caught the surprisingly good F1 race and the somewhat less good IndyCar race, though my impression might be clouded by spending most of the race following the leader’s onboard camera on the official web feed so missing much of the action (not my choice of camera).

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I didn’t manage to see the ALMS because it was on so late and the lack of big name entrants wasn’t enough of a draw to stay up; the NASCAR Cup because it was delayed and I didn’t really care; or the WRC highlights because I wasn’t home when they aired.

A quieter week ahead sees the start of the DTM season, if you’re not familiar with the series be sure to check for more info.


Racing this week:
DTM – Hockenheim;
NASCAR Sprint Cup – Talladega;

Usual restrictions apply, pick up to 10 drivers, no more than 7 from one race.

The cutoff is Saturday 24th April at 4.59am BST (British Summer Time = GMT+1), that’s 11.59pm Friday night US EDT.

For the full results from Week 12, read on.

Continue reading “TMR Game – Week 13”

Thoughts on MotoGP: Qatar

I watched last week’s Qatar Grand Prix live and meant to write a blog post about it during the week, but got distracted with other things.

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Races at Losail are usually very boring, I’ve seen MotoGP, GP2 Asia and the old Grand Prix Masters (the refitted Reynards driven by Mansell, Patrese, et al) race there and they were almost all processional affairs, not helped by a strange track surface which seems to cause tyres to completely ignore everything we know about them and to behave completely irrationally.

This race was fun. It started with Stoner taking his customary position up front, as he always does at this track. That’s fine, several series have tracks that are more suited to a particular rider or driver, can’t be helped. We all expected Casey to romp away with the race win and the focus was further down the order, on how well Rossi, Lorenzo and Pedrosa would perform. But… he didn’t. He crashed after only a few short laps! This threw the race wide open.

It was a great fight with lots of passing, yet the most interesting part of it was that compared to last year, the characteristics of each bike relative to the others had radically changed. Where last year the Ducati easily had a power advantage down the straights, at Qatar it was the Honda just as it was a few years ago. Where last year the Honda and Yamaha were more agile but suffered on the straights and the Ducati couldn’t turn to save it’s life but had a warp drive, so this year it seemed the Ducati was the thing to have in the corners.

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This could change the way this season is fought compared to the last few years. It meant Nicky Hayden could actually ride his bike properly and it was brilliant to see him in the top four on merit. Lorenzo fell back several places with his injury yet valiantly fought his way back up to 3rd. And this Spies chap is pretty handy isn’t he? Makes Toseland look a bit like an amateur, which is not easy, and while it would be great to see British involvement in the series you can’t really argue if they replace JT with the quality of Spies.

Whether the back end of the field has such a quality is another matter, I’d wager James is better than quite a few of them so on that basis it is a shame he didn’t change teams. But we’ve only had one race, so let’s give them the same chance he had before we completely write them off, and some had a good race.

In summary, I enjoyed the battle and the change in performance of the bikes, if it had been the same as last year I’d have enjoyed it but perhaps not as much. We now have the added twist of seeing whether those changes carry through at other tracks, I suspect they will, and how will the riders adapt? I really do think this is a more open year than we’ve seen for a while, unless Vale has something to say about it, and he has a points advantage now…

The next race was supposed to be the Japanese GP this coming weekend but the European travel chaos caused by the volcano ash has caused that race to be postponed to October 3rd. This is partly because their gear is still in Europe, and partly because there’s only a one week gap between this weekend and the Jerez GP on May 2nd which is the most-attended race of the season – they don’t want to jeapordise that race. Jerez should be a good one, I’m looking forward to it.

TMR Game – Week 12

Welcome to Week 12 of the Too Much Racing Game!

I really enjoyed both the IndyCar and MotoGP races at the weekend, I hope to write a couple of paragraphs tomorrow but we’ll see what time there is. I didn’t catch the Le Mans Series or the NASCAR Cup, I hope some of you were able to follow along.

This is a special week for the TMR Game – it is one of the busiest in terms of number of events in a single weekend. There are five eligible events this week, this is only topped by the weekend of 22-23 August with six. There are all manner of ways to play this week – do we split ourselves across as many series as possible and try and pick lots of winners, or do we concentrate on the top runners in just a couple of series and hope they have a good week? You can bet this week is going to create some differences in the scoring.

You’ll be pleased to hear we have two quiet weeks after this with only two races per week.


Racing this week:
F1:  Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai, China;
IndyCar: GP of Long Beach, California, USA;
ALMS:  Long Beach, California, USA;
NASCAR:  Texas Motor Speedway, Ft Worth, Texas, USA;
WRC:  Rally of Turkey

Usual restrictions apply, pick up to 10 drivers, no more than 7 from one race… though this week this may not be a problem!

The cutoff is Saturday 17th April at 4.59am BST (British Summer Time = GMT+1), that’s 11.59pm Friday night US EDT. I am aware the first day of the rally is Friday. I’m willing to sacrifice that in order to maintain a consistent closing point – henceforth I will only change this time when the first day is Thursday.

For the full results from Week 11, read on.

Continue reading “TMR Game – Week 12”

TMR Game – Week 11

Welcome to Week 11 of the Too Much Racing Game!

I hope you enjoyed the Malaysian GP, or at least tolerated it – I thought it was a fairly average race, nothing special but not terrible, you can read more of my thoughts here. The other series running was World Rally over in Jordan where the top Ford and Citroen teams played some rather pathetic games with time penalties in order to secure a better road position (running first means you encounter more gravel and are clearing the road for the others).

Coming up this week we have the first race of the Le Mans Series schedule – an 8-hour special rather than the usual six – as well as IndyCar at Barber Motorsport Park in Alabama and NASCAR Cup at Phoenix. See the later section for entry lists.

Just as a heads-up, next week will see five events  and is the second-biggest weekend of the year in terms of number of events to choose from – could be a tricky one! More details on that in next week’s post or check the Game page for the schedule.


Racing this week:
Le Mans Series:  8 heures du Castellet, Paul Ricard, France;
IndyCar Series:  Barber Motorsport Park, Alabama, USA;
NASCAR Cup:  Phoenix International Raceway, Arizona, USA;

All you have to do is reply to this post and pick up to 10 drivers! The only limit? No more than 7 from one race.

The cutoff is Friday 9th April at 11.59pm BST (British Summer Time = GMT+1), or 4.59pm US Eastern..

For the full results from Week 10, read on.

Continue reading “TMR Game – Week 11”

An Easter Sunday

How did I spend my Easter Sunday?

Watching racing – hey you know me, what did you expect? I had no plans all day and this was the first fully-stacked motorsport weekend of 2010, there’s no way I was going to miss it.

I woke at 7.45am when my alarm beeped, a cleverly-timed alarm designed to get me downstairs for 8am for the BBC F1 pre-race show. I hit the off button and promptly fell asleep until 9am. 9am.. The race starts at 9am! Cue a mad rash downstairs. I arrived as the cars rounded the last corner on their warm up lap. That was close. I watched the race in a bit of a daze, trying to fire up the live timing which was having troubles of its own, as well as trying to find the 5Live commentary feed and other accoutrements to enjoying F1.

You can read my thoughts on the F1 race elsewhere, the important point is that as soon as it was over it was time to flick over to ITV4 to catch some BTCC action from their first meeting of the year at Thruxton – but wait, what’s this, Superleague Formula’s first race at Silverstone was on at the same time? Which to choose?

The answer of course, is both. I had Superleague’s official free web stream on my PC, with the BTCC coverage on my TV. I found I was more into the Superleague so I muted the TV. To be honest I wasn’t really following either race all too well, if you combine following two races with keeping up with Twitter and other sites which were reporting on the BBC F1 Forum happening at the time which I’d abandoned, there was a lot of information to take in.

Eventually there was time for a break for shower, breakfast and a cup of tea at something like 1pm. Perfect for a Sunday normally, the hunger hurt a little after being up since 9.. The BTCC support races were playing out during this time and I watched a couple of them, the Porsches were as tedious as ever despite their larger grid – and the Clio Cup was as madcap as ever despite their much reduced grid!

At 2pm came another decision. SF race 2, or BTCC race 2? I took the same solution as before since the internet had become awfully quiet, I’m guessing people were off doing family things for Easter. I muted the TV again and again barely followed the touring car race, I’ve found no reason to get interested in it this year.

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Conversely, I’ve never watched Superleague Formula before and I’ve been openly critical of the entire concept. I still don’t like the concept and their timing and scoring system is very confusing with the three letters representing teams not drivers, but I tell you what, they’ve made the right choices on the car and engine package and on the driver choices. There was top notch racing in race 2. Bourdais fought his way up, Montagny passed several cars from the back to finish 8th or so, and this Dolby fellow is quite a find isn’t he? I thought it was a very good race, lots of passing yet it was nice and clean.

Not like BTCC race 3 which was the last race of the day at Thruxton, after a couple more support races. I watched this with the sound off as well because I was listening to ‘Giggles Radio’ on Sidepodcast, but since listening to music is a little less taxing than watching a race I was able to follow this encounter a little more. It seemed okay other than what looked to me to be very slow-looking touring cars, until Matt Neal decided to get up to his tricks and just rammed Rob Collard into the barrier. He claimed he had nowhere to go, which is nonsense. 3 cars, 1 ahead and 2 side by side with Neal one of the two. He just rams the car in front such that it loses momentum and the 3rd car knocks it into a spin because he genuinely can’t avoid it. Had Matt backed off and remained side by side behind the first car, they’d all make it round and he’d have a good drag race on the front straight. Crazy behaviour.

I used to be a Matt Neal fan until a couple of years ago when he seemed to ramp up his antics. He’s just a knobhead, and so are the BTCC stewards for not clamping down on him. I used to dislike Plato for similar things but he seems to have got better recently.

Literally minutes after this race ended, the WRC Rally Jordan review was beginning on the Dave channel (for non-UK people, yes we have a TV channel called “Dave”). I half-watched this but the antics with the penalties to get a favourable road position left a bad taste.

After this I went out for some clear air and a walk and came back to write my Malaysia review. On the whole a rather exceptionally lazy day of watching racing and while there were some negatives it was a thoroughly enjoyable day.

One of the more interesting sub-plots was seeing the work being done at Silverstone. I’d seen pictures but nothing in video, and it was very strange seeing the current front straight with a gravel trap where the grandstands used to be, and some new stands erected outside of it. Being up close was part of that area of Silverstone but I guess what you lose in proximity you gain in being able to see more of the straight. The place looked a bit raggedy in places as there is still work ongoing, but generally much more modern than before, and I expect to see it looking somewhat nicer come the F1 and MotoGP events in the summer.

A good day overall then. What did you do?

Thoughts on F1: Malaysian GP

Thoughts on F1: 2010 Malaysian GP

The first ‘normal’ race* of the 2010 season wasn’t any different to a normal race of the 2009 season.

The fast cars at the front raced away at the start. It just so happened they wore the same livery. Those fast cars stuck down the order made up places in the first couple of laps before settling down, stuck in traffic. Then we waited for the pitstops while nearly everyone essentially held station, just like last year. The stops changed the midfield order a bit and a tyre miscue ruined one of the front-runners’ chances of a win. There was a bit of strategy, it was just with tyres instead of fuel. Fine. Whatever. Same difference, same result. Red Bull would still have walked away with it. McLaren and Ferrari would still have been caught in traffic.

I tell you, just like any race of the last decade. The stops were just a tiny bit shorter.

It was interesting that Button and Hamilton were on opposite strategies (Button starting on hards and Hamilton on softs) yet after the pitstops they were running togther, even side by side as one left the pits. I sensed Ron would’ve been pleased the strategy put them in the same place and allowed the two to sort out who led.

It was a great drive from Vettel and mostly from Webber. Mark cost himself the race when he allowed a gap for Sebastian to nose through at the very start. We saw good runs from Rosberg, Kubica and Sutil too. You could legitimately argue those three would’ve been behind the Ferraris and McLarens had they started in their normal positions and you’d probably be right – but we’ll never know.

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I was going to praise Button, Hamilton, Massa and Alonso as a collective unit for their progress up the field but I can’t do that. Button made the wrong tyre call twice in as many days – that’s fine, we’re all fallible and that’s the way it goes sometimes. Massa and Alonso did a good job – scratch that, Alonso did an exceptional job to run that quickly with an ailing gearbox that eventually let go.

We turn to Mr Hamilton. He was doing reasonably well but seemed to get desperate and started blocking and weaving against Vitaly Petrov. I am very disappointed in the race stewards for not awarding him a drive-through penalty or worse. They deployed the ‘unsportsmanlike behaviour’ warning flag, a flag I personally feel is underused across the whole of racing, yet in this case was not the right response in my view. I would like to know why that action was taken. Weaving is completely out of order.

New Rules

I was in favour of the ban on refuelling. To my mind the fuel strategies of the last couple of years haven’t varied a great deal from team to team. They all pitted within 2 or 3 laps of each other – what’s the point in that? The interesting tactical decisions of most of the previous decade or more,  and that you still see in the likes of IndyCar and ALMS, they seemed to have disappeared from F1 as everyone ran broadly the same ideal strategy as computed by their expensive software. If everyone is going to run the same fuel throughout, why not just run the same fuel throughout by having them not refuel? It makes ’em think. Gives ’em something new to figure out, for a while anyway.

I miss the 1-stop vs 2-stop (not so much 3-stop) as much as anyone but I genuinely don’t remember seeing a good race like that in quite a while. To me the period from roughly ’98 to roughly ’07 was the best for that sort of racing. If they aren’t willing to think out of the box any more on fuel strategy let’s give them a different challenge.

On Friday when I talked about the Australian GP I suspected people would complain about the Sepang race. I was right, there hasn’t been as many people criticising it as Bahrain but what I have seen has been quite vocal. I perhaps uncharitably said these people were goldfish because they forget that past dry Sepang races are mid-range in terms of excitement – neither turgidly dull or spectacularly fun.
They also seem to forget the very large amount of criticism of the 2009 races in general, the season itself was fine but the races weren’t great unless you were a team superfan. If the races are still not great under very different competition rules then surely that points to a larger more fundamental problem with F1? It isn’t refuelling or not-refuelling that is the problem. There is something else at play. It might be aero, it might be the tyres, it might be something else – I have my suspicions but I don’t know for sure.

If the races were processional and boring with refuelling and processional and boring without refuelling, then surely it has nothing to do with whether or not they are refuelling?

Is that too simplistic? I don’t know. It just seems obvious to me but what do I know?


So we go to Shanghai in China in two weeks. Woopidoo. If anyone calls that race boring because of the new rules I will personally shoot them. This race is almost always boring. Barcelona after that isn’t great, either. Bernie’s decision to stack the first half of the year with rubbish racetracks may yet decide the outcome of the refuelling / non-refuelling debate.

Anyway where was the rain today? I was promised rain. I like rainy races.

* I call this the first ‘normal’ race because Australia was rain-affected, and in Bahrain it seems clear to me that every team was taking it easy as they explored the new rules. At Sepang they stepped up a gear.