ITV’s Farewell Montage

No matter what you think of ITV’s coverage since 1997 this weekend marks the end of an era. The ITV Sport / North One Productions people had the rug pulled out from under them when the top brass decided to cancel the contract two years early and grab more football rights instead.

During the qualifying show today they aired this goodbye piece, which will undoubtedly be in the pre-race show as well. It starts off being the usual downhearted ‘sorry to be leaving’ thing (and your heart sinks when you hear that damned song again)… clips of Lewis “when I was a young boy”… and then they have a bit of fun!

Great to see a sense of humour from the ITV team, I wish they’d shown it a little earlier. The sudden stop halfway through to show the words “place commercial here” after all the shit they’ve been through with timing of ads, the reposte from James Allen to the criticisms of basically every internet forum and blog around, and the F1 community saying when you’re gone we’ll carry on.. Lewis’ face when Steve sings!

Nice to hear Murray Walker again, and a reminder of how good Allen was in the pitlane role.

Cool way to bow out. I hope they have a longer version to close out the coverage tomorrow because so much Formula 1 history has occurred since their eventful first season and this version only covers a tiny part of it.

For 2009 ITV’s racing activities are limited to live British Touring Cars on ITV4, as with this season. I hope they are able to develop that coverage a little more – and it’s pretty good already.

Goodbye ITV, and thanks.

I’ll see if I can dig up some more YouTube links of ITV’s history in F1 for posting from Monday onwards, as a send-off for them. I’ll also post a little overview of their good and bad points over the years as I will remember them going forwards.


Qualifying: Brazilian GP 2008

A change of plans means I’m here for qualifying rather than watching away from home. Golfing in heavy rain is not fun plus its bloody cold outside..

ITV’s coverage started at 3.10pm. Some of their pre-qual show will be repeated before the race and I’ll cover it then.

A group has gathered with Coulthard. Just away from them, Gil de Ferran is talking to Louise, he says DC is one of the best British drivers of all time, or who has ever lived. Ha! No he isn’t!

ITV doing a season recap complete with dramatic music. Maybe I would feel more awake if I’d shaved today. Now they are talking to Jenson – maybe he would have had a better season if he’d shaved that stupid beard away. He says they’ve been working on the 2009 car since last year because they already knew the ’08 car wasn’t very good! Everyone is shooting at ’09 because of the regulation changes.

ITV are showing a recap of their 12 years of covering F1. Unfortunately they are using My Chemical Romance as the backing track. Oh no… they’ve got people from F1 miming the words! Ha! That’s funny AND cringeworthy at the same time. Hopefully someone will put it on YouTube so I can include it here later in the week.

We’re live with commentary now at 3.58pm. Listen to the crowd! Like a football stadium. Only at Interlagos! THIS is why it should stay as the final round of the championship, none of that glossy corporate bullshit here. Abu Dhabi might look great but it won’t have this atmosphere. They are apparently showing shots of Hamilton and Massa on the big screens and getting this reaction.

This is the shortest lap of the season at just over 70 seconds.

Qualifying 1 (20 mins, 20 drivers, any fuel load)
4pm, green light, Piquet is the first car on track.

Piquet sets the first time at 1:13.208.
Barrichello is wearing a differently-coloured helmet this weekend in respect of his mentor, ex driver, some guy from the 70s who I’ve not heard of before.

Massa is on track, crowd go wild! Hamilton leaves the pits.

13 minutes to go and 9 drivers have set a time, Trulli is fastest.

Massa’s first lap puts him 3rd. Kovalainen is 2nd. Raikkonen 6th. Hamilton’s first lap puts him top, just. The top teams may not be using new tyres, they should get through this stage without them but may go again with a set in a minute.

Alonso is on track. As usual the BMWs are leaving it until the last minute.
There’s a spun Toyota causing a yellow at turn one. Glock. You can’t improve your time under yellow so that’ll ruin a few people’s runs.

BMW are out on track as pretty much everyone else pits, so they have a nice clear track. Still they only get 11th and 14th.

5 minutes to go, who is not going to make it?
Rosberg, Coulthard, Fisichella, Bourdais and Sutil so far.

Helmet cam from Coulthard!
Brundle says it needs to be a touch higher so you get the driver’s eye view of peering over the chassis. DC goes 12th.

Massa is going again for some reason, he is 5th and not in danger. Feeling the grip? Changing the car?
Massa goes fastest, there’s a roar from the crowd!

2mins to go, cars are pouring out of the pits for their final run.

Chequered flag, drivers on a lap can complete their run.
Cars are streaming across the line one after the other.

Massa fastest at 1:11.830, then Raikkonen, Hamilton, Alonso, Glock, Trulli, Piquet, Kovalainen, Heidfeld, Kubica, Vettel, Webber, Bourdais, Barrichello and Coulthard for the top 15.
Knocked out are Nakajima, Button, Rosberg, Fisichella and Sutil.

Both Williams are out! Rubens made it through. Kovy will need to do better if he’s going to be rear-gunner to Hamilton, he’ll be needed to fight off Alonso tomorrow.

ITV have time for a quick ad break and a chat to Mark in the paddock.

Qualifying 2 (15 mins, 15 drivers, any fuel load)
Back to James and Martin, we see Button chatting to a photographer, James says ‘we think he ran out of fuel just a few hundred yards before the pits’. Speculation that Bruno Senna may be at Honda next season.

Green light and both Toyotas are first to jump.
Talk of fuel loads. You have to take a lot of fuel out at this track to have any difference on lap time because of the short lap. Also the teams want to avoid the soft tyre tomorrow.

Meanwhile this is the low-fuel banzai session to make the top ten. Glock sets the first time in 1:12.331.
Massa, Kimi and Lewis are on track. Each take turns as fastest.

Louise with Rosberg, he says they knew they’d have trouble with tyres graining but not that bad.
8mins to go and positions are changing every ten seconds!
Glock goes 3rd. Brundle says something like that is going to happen today, a Glock or Alonso getting up there amongst it, among the title fight.

The track is dry and has been throughout. Rain is expected at some stage tomorrow.

On the bubble at the moment are Bourdais, Kubica, Webber, Coulthard and Barrichello but we’re talking fractions of a second behind the rest of them. This is CLOSE. Anyone could be knocked out. The top 14 are within 1 second of 1st. Kovalainen goes fastest!

McLaren and Ferrari are sending Lewis and Kimi out, Felipe has stayed in. They wouldn’t normally do this but it is so close at this track they can’t take the risk.

Short quiet period as people refuel, change tyres, or are on out-laps. 2 minutes to go.

Kimi stays P5. Hmm. Heidfeld aborts.

VETTEL 2ND!! As the chequered flag waves Sebastian takes 2nd position, amazing. Nobody else is improving on their earlier times.

Bourdais up to P8, knocking out Piquet. Kubica is also out. Hamilton aborted his lap and pitted. Martin suggests he may have just been putting a heat cycle through the tyres.

Kovalainen was fastest on 1:11.768, then Vettel, Hamilton, Massa, Glock, Raikkonen, Heidfeld, Bourdais, Alonso and Trulli.
Knocked out were Piquet, Webber, Kubica, Coulthard and Barrichello.

Both RBRs are out and both STRs made it through – again!

ITV take a quick ad break while the top ten add race fuel.
Chat with Coulthard, who is struggling with graining tyres and not happy to be out already. See what he can do tomorrow.

Qualifying 3 (10 mins, 10 drivers, race fuel)
Green light, short pause before Toyota is again the first to jump with Glock.

Martin says this is a rewarding race track, you’ve got to attack it and get it right. It’s narrower than most new tracks and that’s a good thing, it makes the cars look faster and dominate the track.

Glock’s first time is 1:14.311, Vettel smashes that with a 1:13.155. Times are slower because of the extra fuel.

Hamilton and Massa on track at the same time, Massa to cross the line first. He’s quickest in 1:12.453. Hamilton is 3rd in 1:13.252. Massa could be going light to secure pole.
Hamilton has dropped to 6th with other cars improving, he did have a wiggle in turn 2.

The crowd are going crazy! Massa has pitted and is going again. Everyone on their out laps for the final run. Massa will cross the line first, then Hamilton, Kimi and Heikki.

Massa improves to 1:12.368
Hamilton 1:12.830
Kimi 1:12.825 for 2nd
Alonso 5th
Trulli goes 2nd!!
Heikki takes 5th, he improved but not by enough.

Massa in 1:12.368, then Trulli, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Kovalainen, Alonso, Vettel, Heidfeld, Bourdais and Glock.

Massa smokes them by half of a second. Hamilton starts alongside Raikkonen, with Alonso directly behind him.
Expect Trulli to pit early tomorrow, probably Massa too. How will that play out if it rains?

Press conf (heavily edited highlights):
Massa – “So nice to be here. We have 73 laps tomorrow which is very long but it is always better to start on pole. I will try to do my best tomorrow to win the race.”
Trulli, Toyota’s first front-row start since 2005 – “I thought I wasn’t going to make it for Friday because I was feeling really bad.” He thanks the engineers and doctor. “I really played my cards during qualifying, saved my tyres. It shows the progress made by Toyota during this season. Our car could be good tomorrow but we need temperature, we need sun!”
Raikkonen – “I did more or less what I was suppose to do. I prefer to be 3rd than 2nd, here it is a good place to start.”

Kimi’s talking about the run to the first corner. You can expect someone to be pushed a long way outside if they are on the right-hand side of the grid – like Hamilton is.

Louise with Lewis, worried about Massa on pole? – “I’m not worried. I just need to bring the car home in the points.” He talks too quickly and I can’t pause live TV so that’s all you’re getting from him.

Tomorrow we say goodbye to David Coulthard as a driver (and maybe Rubens Barrichello), to ITV as British broadcaster of F1, to those stupid grooved tyres, and to decent-looking F1 cars. Next year we will have BBC, slick tyres and crazy wings. I’ll be writing about all of these changes over the coming weeks.

If the atmosphere was this good today, imagine tomorrow! You are NOT going to miss this one.

I’m off to watch Simon Cowell make a fool of himself on X Factor. Enjoy the race!

Brazil – update

Just a few notes on what’s going on down in Brazil at the moment.

Title Decider
F1’s points system runs 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 and Lewis Hamilton has a 7 point lead over Felipe Massa. They are tied on 5 wins apiece.

This is what LEWIS HAMILTON needs in order to win the title:

Finish in the top five (even if Massa wins).
Alternatively: Massa to finish 3rd or lower no matter where Hamilton places.

That’s it. Sounds easy, right? Last year proved it isn’t.

This is what FELIPE MASSA needs in order to win the title:

Finish 1st with Hamilton 6th or worse (tiebreaker on wins per below).
Finish 2nd with Hamilton 8th or worse.
Finishing 3rd will only give him 6 points so won’t cover the existing deficit.

If Hamilton finishes 6th and Massa wins the race it is a tie on points and the title would go to Massa based on number of wins.

It is worth remembering that if they are tied on points and tied on wins the title will be decided on the ‘quality of results’ system. That’s the number of 2nd-place finishes, if it is still a deadlock it goes to # of 3rds, and all the way down until a winner is found.

Ferrari have an 11 point lead over McLaren. For McLaren to win the Constructors’ title they need to outscore Ferrari by 12 points which just isn’t going to happen realistically is it? They do need to keep tabs on BMW who can take 2nd position from them – Kovalainen needs to be on his game as do the two BMW drivers.

My prediction: Massa to win the race, Hamilton to finish on the podium and take the title. It won’t ‘feel’ right if the title-winner isn’t on the podium, always a nice symmetry and he gets to celebrate with the crowd. Ferrari will get the Constructors’ title.

The forecast for the weekend is for showers, indeed FP2 was held in such conditions. It will rain tomorrow but maybe not during qualifying, though the track may already be wet. Showers are possible during the race on Sunday.

Hamilton is great in the wet and the Mclaren is more suited to it than the Ferrari. The outcome of the title could depend on which Felipe Massa turns up. There’s the guy who was quick in the wet in Monaco, and the guy who threw it away (5 times) at Silverstone. I think the former will appear with this being his home race.

Let’s hope this fight isn’t decided by a Safety Car or a stewards’ decision.

One thing to note if it does rain heavily is that last time it did, in 2003, a large river of water crossed the track after the Senna ‘S’, creating the most expensive parking area for damaged cars in the world. The track has been resurfaced since ’03 so hopefully that won’t happen again.

Check this for a review of ’03 (with crappy music), featuring lots of overtaking, Montoya’s great driving and the two huge crashes which ended the race:

If it rains on Sunday let’s hope we get the great racing without the big crashes!

David Coulthard
This will be David Coulthard’s last Formula 1 Grand Prix. To mark the occasion his car has been painted in the colours of Red Bull’s own charity, Wings For Life. F1 teams are not allowed to run cars in two colour schemes without unanimous agreement from the team bosses (you might remember BAR trying that in 1999 and having to run that ridiculous livery with 555 on one side and Lucky Strike on the other). This time it is all for a good cause as well as DC being a popular paddock figure, so they of course agreed.

David remains with Red Bull as chief test driver and consultant, and a strong persistent rumour since July has been that he’ll join the BBC’s broadcast team in one role or another and will attend each race in that capacity. I look forward to it – he can be funny and outspoken!

Helmet Cam
The Straw Poll column at reports that F1 will be trying out the Helmet Cam this weekend, similar to the one pioneered in Champ Car a few years ago. I remember seeing the view from Paul Tracy at Long Beach and being amazed at the acceleration of the car! I can’t wait to see the F1 version.
Read the whole of that column for Friday (it is daily during F1 weekends) for a brilliant story of the Canadian Formula Una girl’s application for a visa!

I’ll see you for the notes after the race on Sunday, which will be the last race I watch live this season (before I hit my big pile of recordings!).
I’d like to do notes on qualifying to mark the end of season but I’ll have been chasing a little white ball around a golf course. We’ll be rushing back to watch qualifying and it’ll be away from a PC.

Enjoy the race!

Preview: 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix

Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo, Brazil

The circuit is more widely known as Interlagos, which is the original name of the track and means ‘between the lakes’. It was renamed thirty years ago for a Brazilian driver killed in a plane crash – Pace scored his only F1 win at Interlagos.

Click the link above to see the track layout in the 1970s compared to the layout today. This week you’ll hear the drivers speak of the direction of travel being an issue on their neck muscles. It is rare in Formula 1 to have an anti-clockwise track which I’m sure your average NASCAR or IndyCar driver would find quite funny…
Normally the drivers train for lots of right-handers on a clockwise track, they have to train specifically for this track (and now these days Istanbul as well) which runs the other way, and particularly because of the long, steep uphill left-hander at the end of the circuit, beginning at Junção.

The track itself is notorious for being the bumpiest of the season, something which was largely cured last season after a complete relaying of the asphalt, though many bumps still remained. They may well appear again this year! The facilities in general are not up to scratch per F1 standards, however because it isn’t a European track nobody seems to mind so much. Under an agreement signed in March the GP will remain at Interlagos under the proviso that pit and paddock facilities are improved over the coming years.

There are also frequent crime problems with members of the Toyota team being mugged a few years ago and similar incidents reported from time to time.

The Brazilian GP was often held at the beginning of the year and was the season-opener until 1996 when Melbourne took over, relegating Sau Paulo to 2nd event. In 2004 Brazil was moved to the end of the year, being the season closer every year since except for 2005. In 2009 the new Abu Dhabi circuit is scheduled to be the finale with Interlagos being the preceding event.

Ferrari have walked the last two runnings of this event, however McLaren hold the most wins with 11 to Ferrari’s 9 and Williams’ 6. This is assuming Wikipedia is correct which isn’t guaranteed.

Felipe Massa these days is largely untouchable at his home track so I would expect him to dominate this weekend, however it depends on how his head holds. Lewis Hamilton faces the same problem but more so, since he threw it away last year with a mistake before a gearbox problem ended his race anyway. That sort of thing has got to mess with your head even if only a little bit.
I also expect Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso to play a large part in this race, with Robert Kubica and maybe Nick Heidfeld also getting amongst it. The rest won’t be able to live with the pace.

I’ll be back in a day or two with the points break-down and what Lewis and Felipe have to do to win the World Championship.

I think this race is pretty favourable to most people around the world, though maybe not the Antipodeans. That means there’s no excuses, you have to watch this race live alongside live timing!
(you do need to register for free and have Java installed, I suggest doing so before the weekend)

Qualifying is at 2pm local, 11am US EST, 4pm UK, 5pm CET.

Racing begins at 3pm local, Midday US EST, 5pm UK, 6pm CET. Check your listings because you want to watch the pre-race show, right?

(Aussies, Kiwis, Canucks and Springboks who take James & Martin’s coverage note that you’ll probably get the BBC feed next season)

Race Notes: 2008 Gold Coast Indy 300

Nikon Indy 300
Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia
(non-championship event)

Coverage: Channel Seven or Seven Network, I’m not sure of the actual name.
Commentary: Aaron Noonan & Scott Pruett
Pitlane: Brianne Pedigo

Sorry for the delay in posting these notes, I had to wait for the downl my friend to lend it to me. This is the local Australian coverage, just for a change of scenery. Memo to Sky Sports in the UK: WTF are you doing with not showing this race until Tuesday?!? Are you serious??
(Not that I have Sky but the point stands.)

This is a strange weekend of things appearing where you might not necessarily expect them. IndyCars are in Australia, and the NFL is in London! I love crossover stuff like this as long as it isn’t like F1 in Bahrain where nobody shows up. Taking American sports abroad is the Next Big Thing.

I watched most of the NFL game on the BBC and it was interesting, I thought it was a lot like rugby, despite my not really understanding what was going on most of the time (something I also find with rugby..). The Americans do like to put on a show don’t they? European sports can still learn a lot from those guys, in some respects at least.

This race will be 60 laps or 1hr50mins, no idea why they picked that time.
Lap record: 1m30.054s by Will Power in 2007 with the DP01-Cosworth.

Wow it looks strange seeing Dario’s blue-and-white helmet in the red Target car!

Aaron, who’s last name I’ve already forgotten, says they should go 22 laps on a tank of fuel, I learn that it stores 83 litres which is 22 US gallons. We use different gallons here in the UK but I’m under 30 so use metric measures (apart from miles for some reason). It’s nice to get a litre figure on that.

Emma Snowsill, Australian Olympic triathlete medal winner gives the order to start engines and actually seems excited about it! All year we’ve watched people who don’t seem to care. Then again they never tell us who these people are, usually, so maybe that’s their revenge.

Aaron says it’s an ANZAC 1-2-3 on the grid. There are 10 nationalities in the field including 8 Americans.

Cars are rolling out of pitlane as Aaron says more than half the races run here over the years have had problems into the turn 1 chicane.

Starting Order:

Power, Dixon, Briscoe, Franchitti, RHR, Helio, Tags, Kanaan, Wilson, Viso, Meira, Moraes, Rahal, Andretti, Servia, Mutoh, Bruno, Wheldon, Mr Ed, Camara, Bell, Rice, Patrick, Foyt

24 cars made the journey. GREAT skyline on this glorious sunny day. Track is actually quite narrow. I’m sure I watched the Champ Car race last year but I don’t remember it this narrow..

One more warm-up lap. Oh no – Wilson pits before the start! He’s rolling again but he’s last, from 9th. Not good.

Brianne Pedigo’s voice tells us Justin was stuck in 3rd gear, team not sure if it is fixed. Nice to hear Brie is there this weekend, I was expecting to hear Jon Beekhuis talking to ESPN. Usually on an international IRL feed we get the usual pit reporters saying stuff like “yeah Marty that’s right” which makes no sense when we have Gary & Larry instead of Marty & Scott.

Almost to the end of the lap, tension building!
Trying to get two-wide, quite difficult for them in that narrow twisty section at the end.


They get through turn 1 okay, a couple miss it, contact in 2! Meira? Tags passes Franchitti who fell back. Helio passes him now.

Dixon cut the chicane and has to give up the position he gained. He lets Briscoe go at the line.

Power is checking out, he’s gone. RHR 4th and pushing hard.

Replays – Dixon clearly cuts it, Moraes got into Vitor.

L2 – Ooh we get a nice clean position tracker at the bottom of the screen, small, tidy, not in the way of seeing where we’re going on the onboards – brilliant. Someone show this feed to Versus so we don’t have the Mega Big ESPN-style Graphics blocking half the screen next year.

L3 – Dario dropped to 7th earlier, I’m not sure how, I might have missed the replay while I was typing about the other replays.

L4 – Power leads by 4 seconds already! Wilson’s problems seem to have been fixed, he’s passed a LOT of people already.

Brie in the pits talking about fuel strategy – Oriol Servia will do the opposite of the leaders.
New fastest lap by Briscoe in 1m37s. Commentator doesn’t mention how that’s SEVEN seconds slower than the record set last year by the then-new Champ Car. Did the circuit change or are these cars really that bad?

L6 – As I type that we cut to an onboard with Briscoe and SHIT that’s fast along the main straight, they aren’t giving much away there to the C-Cars. Must be on the brakes and lacking the turbo acceleration. I’m sure they’ll pick up some of that difference as the fuel loads come down. TV coverage isn’t mentioning any of this of course, lest they get in trouble…

L7 – Wilson takes another one, he’s got Wheldon for 14th. 10 down in 7 laps which isn’t too shabby… He has circuit advantage on a lot of these guys though. It’ll be harder when he reaches the guys he raced here last year.
L8 – Wilson slices by Marco as if this is easy. Basically makes his own gap, “yeah I’ll have that, thank you”.


Moraes has spun into the wall. Left rear failure on the replay, was that from earlier contact or just a failure?

Replay: Moraes made contact with the chicane wall on the left side of the car. Pruett calls it: ‘driver error, that fine line between pleasure and pain.’ Gives a shout out to the TV guys for a great job on the slowmo replay.

Brianne: Power’s team will spin an umbrella to let him know where to stop.

Pit stops have begun. Power and Wilson are in. Servia, Wheldon and Helio also in. Several stayed out.
It wasn’t Power! He stayed out. Brianne says they switched the teams at the last minute, pitted Servia and not Power. I thought it was Will but Oriol is running Team Australia colours as well this weekend.

I’m not sure if Brianne is talking to ESPN as well as Seven, she’s talking to someone but the Seven guys aren’t responding to her as ESPN would… I thought Jon Beekhuis was supposed to be here too but no sign of him so far. Last minute switch or is he on ESPN? Not that I’m complaining, Brie is doing an excellent job today. Major improvement from her in the space of a year.

Nice clean screen is great but they’ve taken the lap counter and the score ticker away during the yellow, don’t know where we are. Townsend Bell has pitted to retire from the race.


Power just drives away from them. This is his 3rd year starting from pole at this race, but the last two times he didn’t win, he wants this one.

L12 – Power is 2.3s up on Briscoe already.
Damage on Danica’s car, front wing damage. Pits along with Helio. They must have collided.
Brianne with Bell: Collided with Moraes, left him room but he turned in then 3 corners later he’s out anyway.
Replays of Danica and Helio, he went inside to pass and she turned in before he was clearly through.

L15 – Great onboard view from Briscoe, he’s on fire, inch perfect all the way around.

Rahal and Servia both pass Wheldon who is in Manning’s former ride, the ABC Supply Foyt car.

Brie with Tim Cindric: Helio got a flat tyre, Danica’s wing cut the tyre. He’s lost a lot of positions, Tim says maybe it’s his (Tim’s) fault for putting Helio back in the pack with that stop under yellow.
We had video of the interview this time, Brie is in 7 Sport gear so maybe the Aussies have Brianne exclusively for this event. Dedicated Indy Car Pit Hotty, as Pressdog might say. I wouldn’t mind a dedicated Brianne for myself from time to time, but I digress, slightly inappropriately.

L17 – Power is in the wall!! He clipped the wall and damaged the wing, maybe the suspension? Yeah the suspension is damaged.
Both the commentary guys are absolutely gutted for him. Will pulls the car in as he can’t get around a left-hand corner, has to park it. Day over.
Replay: He just slightly clipped the inside wall which sent him into the chicane wall. The initial contact broke the wheel.

L18 – The lead switches to Ryan Briscoe ahead of Scott Dixon, RHR, Tags, Franchitti, Viso, Bruno, Kanaan, Bruno, Andretti, Mutoh.
Lots of guys still to pit of course.

Brianne with Mark Johnson of KVRT: He tapped the wall and that was the end of that. I feel bad for the entire crew, but that’s part of motor racing.

L20 – Briscoe is about to lap Danica. ‘Normal’ pit sequence is now starting, the guys who didn’t pit under yellow. Servia pits. Penske are asking Briscoe if Patrick is holding him up, commentary says he isn’t responding so maybe his radio is one-way only. They tell him to pit if she’s holding him up, so he does. RHR also in.

L21 – RHR emerges behind Marco. Dixon has swiftly caught Danica, we’re onboard with him and this is painful, you can literally see the time slipping away. Dixon pits.

L22 – Pruett says he WILL get out ahead of Briscoe.
YELLOW! The safety car blocks Dixon exiting pitlane after Briscoe has already passed the pit exit. If the SC hadn’t have been there it would have been very close between Dixon and Briscoe. Dixon had to get on the anchors pretty quickly there.

Chaos as the safety car doesn’t know where to go! It pulls over to wait for the leader.

Carpenter, Foyt and Rahal are together. Rahal clipped Viso and spun him around, almost blocked the track completely, only a narrow gap to get through.

We come back from ads to find Patrick and someone have come together under yellow, she’s stalled the car. She’s waving at the safety crew. Scott Pruett says “that’s no way to treat the safety workers, if you were a safety worker and a driver was shouting at you, would you be in a hurry?”

Franchitti leads. We’re not getting enough replays here, no idea how Patrick got into that situation. The track had been blocked out of sight of drivers around a blind corner, so I’m assuming during our break she came around and had nowhere to go.

Yellow flag pitstops begin with Dario in. Several cars in, Andretti, Wheldon, Meira, Danica.

Ryan Briscoe now leads after the latest pit sequence.


L25 – field nicely spread out, shouldn’t have any incidents on the restart.

Briscoe, Dixon, Tagliani, RHR, TK. We have no ticker and can’t see anyone else on screen. I hope Tags and RHR get a good finish here.

Brianne: “Ryan Hunter-Reay is putting in a good effort. He knows this course, he knows how to give information to his team. He gives exact corrections to his crew.”
(I’m paraphrasing as it’s faster)

L27 – Wilson finished 2nd here last year, he’s up to 9th here now.
Dario was screwed by the last yellow, he had to stop else he’d run dry, he’s back in 11th now.

L28 – Brie with Will Power: “I just got the inside of the wall, very bad mistake. I had such a quick car, saving a bit of fuel but pushing too hard. A part of that wall sticks out a little bit, caught the inside front wheel.”
Look at his face, this one hurts. He knows it was his error. He can’t believe it.

L29 or just under an hour if we go to a timed race. I have no idea which hat they pulled 1h50m from since they can’t have a tight TV window in the States at the hour it was broadcast there. Maybe the Aussies needed one or someone doesn’t have the money for the satellite time?

YELLOW – Franchitti has spun!

He spun it on the chicane, took it a bit too tightly and it sent him around. He’s waiting to be fired up again, hoping the crew gets there before he goes down a lap. We go to a break.

Ultra slowmo replays! Aerial view of the Gold Coast!

Dario did drop a lap and he’s 18th. He pits as do Danica and Rahal.

Brie confirms there is no damage to Dario’s car. She also says Roger Penske is not here to call Briscoe’s race, the engineer (I forgot his name already) says Briscoe will stay out and only needs one stop.


Aaron says there has been contact between Wilson and Bruno and their teams are ready (contact unseen by us).
Replay: Wilson touched Bruno’s wheel, it broke the endplate on Justin’s car, it also meant Helio got by him.

L34 – Helio dive bombs by Kanaan who is very slow. TK is crawling around with damaged suspension. He should park it rather than drag it to the pits, they won’t be able to fix that in the time. Get the thing out of everybody else’s way if you’re that much slower.

L35 – Why is Scott pronouncing Castroneves first name as ‘Heelio’? Scott races in America he has no excuse!
Brie says TK is mystified as to how the suspension broke. Commentators both say it is down to the chicanes, kerbs, nature of the track.

L36 – Servia tries a move on Viso, we see it from Helio’s onboard. Can’t do it.

L37 – There was a call earlier about a lap ago: ‘Don’t worry about Tagliani’. Brie tells us that was Mike Hull telling Dixon to stop looking in his mirrors!

Just noticed that only the top 11 are on the lead lap. I don’t recall so many guys being lapped, was it when they all came together at that yellow?

L40 – Briscoe pits from 2.6s ahead of Dixon. Dixon went a lap longer last time but he also pits now. Briscoe is still ahead. Servia also pitted.
Tagliani now leads from Hunter-Reay, these have been fighting all race long. Team tells Alex to push as if he is qualifying the car!

Replay: RHR sideways at the chicane! He’s on it too.

L42 – Alex Tagliani pits, Ryan follows him in, oh they touched! Light touch I think.
Ryan beats him out of the pits, they both beat Graham Rahal who is 6th! Viso leads.

The two touched under braking for the speed limiter.
L43 – We’re told Rahal has to pit again. Viso now pits and he beats Tagliani, but not Hunter-Reay.
Tags and Viso fighting! Side by side, Viso ends up cutting the chicane and has to give up the position.

Briscoe leads now, 1.2 up on Dixon.

Brie: Hunter-Reay believed Tagliani passed him under yellow much earlier in the race so perhaps the bump on pit entry was payback?

Scott Pruett, who won this race in 1997, says the IndyCar guys are always on it and if Tags had passed under yellow he would have been moved back by now.

L46 – Briscoe, Dixon, RHR, Tags, Viso, Servia, Helio, Meira, Rahal, Mutoh, Rice, Wheldon, Andretti, Wilson, Bruno, Camara. The top 15 are all on the lead lap now so some got a lap back under the pit sequence. Commentary has mentioned everyone in that list except Rice and Camara I think, even if only briefly. In fact I don’t think I’ve seen a shot of Rice all race.

Tagliani can’t live with Hunter-Reay in this stint, 6 seconds apart now. I think maybe RHR was sort of stuck behind Tags from the way they were together all the way until those stops.

L48 – Camara has spun and stalled so he can get a mention (I swear I wrote the above before he did that!). He’s asking for a restart, he’s in a runoff area so no yellow needed. He overshot, and stalled it trying to spin it in the right direction.

Viso cuts another chicane! Oriol tries to pass him, can’t do it though.

L49 – Viso has to give the place to Servia because he kept the position by cutting the chicane.

L51 – Brianne in the pits: Briscoe is on fuel setting 2, Dixon will soon go full rich.

L52 – Meira pits from 9th.
Briscoe is 2.3s up on Dixon, 7.7s on RHR and 18.1s on Tags.

L54 – Dixon is catching… he’s getting a couple of tenths per lap.

L56 – Dixon has got it down to 0.7s seconds! They are both scything through traffic, most of which is jumping out of the way on the straights.

L57 – We’re going to the full distance, not a timed event.
Aaron: “You couldn’t write this script, the two biggest teams in America with the two locally affliated drivers.”
Scott: “Is there some sort of rivalry between Australia and New Zealand?”
Aaron: “You pick this up quickly! It’s as much as Penske vs Ganassi.”

L58 – A tyre bundle has come loose at turn one, could cause trouble. Replay: It was Dixon’s left rear on the previous lap which caught the bundle and threw it into the track.

L60 – One lap to go, these guys have killed the field stone dead, as did Power when he was out there.
Local yellow for Carpenter in the wall at turn 3. Leaders already at turn 8.


The first Australian to win the Gold Coast Indy! Penske hasn’t won here since 1992.

Donuts at the chicane ‘in the best traditions of Alex Zanardi’ as the commentary says.

Ryan brings the car back to pitlane. We see an ESPN mike go to him but cut away to the throng surrounding the car. Shots of Dixon with Mrs D. He doesn’t look hugely impressed that he lost out.
Brie is with Ryan with her 7 Sport mike: “It’s pretty cool, such a tough track, so many fans out here! It means so much to win here, I really hope we can come back next year.” This race is no points, how does it set you up next year? “It’s worth triple points to me! It sets us up really well as a good springboard for next season.”

Brie has already found Dixon: “The traffic at the end made it exciting, we lost a our first position with the call from race control with the pace car. Maybe if he’d made a mistake we could have done it.” He says Dario works differently to teammates he’s had before, he’s a good teammate.

Hunter-Reay: “We started P14 in practice. I love this racetrack, I haven’t been out of the top five in any of the races. I’m hoping it was fun for the fans, it was tough for us, this track beats you up and eats equipment.” Brianne says he hasn’t got a deal for next season. Ryan says he’s hoping he’s showed what he can do.

Podium. First a quick speech from the Queensland “Minister for Police, Corrective Services and Sport”. Hell of a portfolio there, I’m amazed a nation like Australia just tacks sport on the end to the police job. She promises that this will not be the last Indy, it’ll be back next year and for many years to come. Nikon spokesman says a few words about how great they are.

RHR gets a trophy and says a few words to the crowd, hopes to be back next year.
Dixon gets a trophy and says he feels bad for Power.
Briscoe gets a big trophy and says it doesn’t get any better than this. Special to win here.

Interesting format to make them talk to the crowd during the podium ceremony. More series should do that. Not sure it would work in F1 but certainly it would in a lot of other championships.

No champagne, no winner’s anthem. What a strange ceremony.

Race Results

01. Briscoe 60 laps
02. Dixon +0.502s
03. Hunter-Reay +9.118s
04. Tagliani +19.984s
05. Servia +20.438s
06. Viso +33.725s
07. Castroneves +34.493s
08. Mutoh +55.747s
09. Rahal +1:20.059
10. Wheldon +1:31.900
11. Wilson +1:31.935
12. Rice +1:33.907
13. Andretti +1:38.397
14. Meira + 1 lap
15. Junquiera + 1 lap
16. Franchiiti + 1 lap
17. Foyt IV + 2 laps
18. Patrick + 2 laps
19. Camara + 2 laps
20. Carpenter + 3 laps
21. Kanaan DNF
22. Power DNF
23. Bell DNF
24. Moraes DNF

This was a non-championship event so no points were awarded.

Okay that’s me done here. Congratulations to Ryan Briscoe and Team Penske. I’m off to read everybody else’s notes as I’ve been starved of blogs and motorsport news sites since Saturday.

I’ll see you again later in the week no doubt, look out for my Brazilian GP preview and race notes. If you are in the UK make sure to switch to BBC2 after the race for the first in the series of the new Top Gear!

EDIT – it has come to my attention that I’ve been misspelling Miss Pedigo’s first name incorrectly. It should be ‘Brienne’ not ‘Brianne’. It was the way they were pronouncing it – sorry BP!

Too Much Racing

I started this blog under the name of ‘Too Much Racing’ because that’s what I was doing – watching too much motorsport every week. It soon came to take on another meaning: there is Too Much for one blogger to cover! There’s also Too Much for one person to watch even if they aren’t writing about it. I am not complaining – believe me this is a nice problem to have! I never want to have to change the name of this blog to ‘Not Enough Racing’.

In an average week I would read Autosport magazine,, and a few other news sites before hitting the (many) blogs, and of course the F1NGers group. I would watch at least one ‘big’ event per weekend (an F1 or IndyCar race usually) along with a ‘smaller’ event after work one evening (say a touring car meeting of 2 or 3 x 25 minutes).

Since the summer the real world has intervened and I’ve struggled to keep up with anything other than F1 and IndyCar, and I’m 6 weeks behind on Autosport magazines, though I always keep up-to-date with their website.
On the other hand I feel more integrated with the world rather than being sat in front of the TV and PC all the time!

Want I want to know from you all is this: How you do it? I’m sure you all have busy lives to lead, how do you follow so much in so little time?

Are podcasts the answer? So far I listen to Radio (which is very good). I’d like to listen to others such as Live Fast Radio and Midweek Motorsport but at 2 hours apiece they are just too long for me personally at the moment (sorry guys).. though I will try a bit harder. I like FastMachines because they do a wrapup of the weekend in about 45 minutes to an hour.

I know in the US you have Wind Tunnel. I know that because I find my own way to watch it and it is a good programme. I think MotorsTV should start a European edition and have it link up with the Speed show from time to time.

Perhaps if I spent less time reading and writing blogs I might have more time to watch the racing, but I don’t see myself changing. Then again a year ago I didn’t even consider writing a blog.

I caught up with some World Touring Car action this week, albeit from June! It was from Brno in the Czech Republic, where Alex Zanardi won the first race and finished 2nd in the second race! Brilliant performance achieved on merit, great to see it. I missed his first win since ‘The Crash’ so I’m very pleased to have seen the second. The gap between the two wins was too long and there was a LOT of emotion from the team, and frankly everyone no matter what shirt they wore, as he got out of the car after both races.
They were good races too, WTCC’s best of the year up to that point. The boys are in Japan this weekend before heading to Macau, while I’m four months behind them.. Let’s get Surfers Paradise (IRL) and Interlagos (F1) out of the way and then I can do a mega catch-up of everything I’ve stored up to watch over the winter.

Another way to occupy my time is to play prediction games, an interest of mine since about 15 years ago playing F1 games in newspapers. I don’t do that any more, having switched to internet games a long while ago.

I currently play two of them. One is F1Tipping and the other is an interesting new game set up by Andy from The SpeedGeek’s Motorsport Blog, called ARFL. Check out his blog for full details about the game which covers F1, IndyCar, ALMS and NASCAR. I only joined a couple of weeks ago and already I’m familiar with how it all works, it may seem complex on the surface but it really isn’t, just play for one week and you’ve got it. Then the fun starts!

I did used to help run a prediction game on the F1NGers group until I ran out of time for it, so I can appreciate how difficult and time-consuming it can be to run something like this. I can also see that Andy puts a lot of work into this one. He’s looking for new teams, make sure you sign up for ’09.

Okay, long post today. I’m aware that complaining of a long podcast and then writing a long blog post is probably not the best idea but I don’t really care.

I’m gonna disappear until Monday because I don’t want to know the result of the IndyCar race until I see the race myself. If the IRL online feed was good I’d consider getting up at 4am, but not for the Leader Cam. It drove me nuts at Homestead not seeing the rest of the field, so I’ve not used it since.

Enjoy Surfers, and the Valencia MotoGP!

IndyCar driver changes for Oz

Here is the entry list for Surfers Paradise this weekend, the non-championship status of the event means some teams are plugging in their ’09 drivers a little early. I’ve marked the changes in italic.

Ganassi……Dixon & Franchitti
Penske…….Castroneves & Briscoe
Andretti Green…Kanaan, Andretti, Patrick, Mutoh
KVRT………Power & Servia
Newman/Haas/Lanigan…Wilson & Rahal
Dreyer & Reinbold…Rice & Bell
Coyne……..Junqueira & Moraes
Vision…….Foyt IV & Carpenter
Conquest…..Tagliani & Camara

Was it just the three? I thought there were more.

Still no love for Danger Mouse Darren Manning – good grief!

Best. Cartoon. Ever.