Welcome to 2013.
Lost in Adelaide
Hot on the heels of a fresh F1 season, the DNC Newsmobile arrived in Adelaide yesterday, only to discover that interest in the sport appears to have completely dried up.
“The circuit was a bit of an arse to locate, to be honest,” said DNC’s Damon Torsten. “It wasn’t even signposted. From ANYWHERE. And there were none of usual hallmarks you’d expect to find at a Grand Prix, such as banners, grandstands, spectators, racing cars … or people.”
“However,” added Torsten, “I did hear a distant aeroplane engine at one point. I think it may have been one of the RAAF Roulettes on their way.”
During its ’80s and ’90s golden era, the South Australian event attracted a crowd often in excess of 500,000 over the four-days, witnessing some of the greatest spectacles ever staged on wheels.
But we live in frugal times and DNC News is sad to report that global interest in the sport is clearly on the wane. This weekend, a mere four local motoring enthusiasts and a pair or Irish Setters were spotted in Victoria Park, the latter possibly there solely for special St Patrick’s Day walkies.
But it wasn’t all bad news for the sport, Damon divulged.
“On the plus side, we could park pretty much anywhere we wanted, so you have to hand it to the Australians in terms of putting together an event that’s stress-free for the punters. We just ditched the car literally on the side of the Brabham Straight and set up our picnic there. Hopefully the marshals will be cool with that … not that I’ve seen any as yet … but we should have an ace view once the race gets underway. ”
“They’re really cutting it fine if they want to squeeze qualifying in before dusk,” Torsten mused.
At 3.00pm on Sunday, Damonik News reports that there is still no visible action at the track, but we will continue to keep you posted with events as they unfold.
In further developments, DNC’s proposed trip to the Koala Lumpur Sanctuary to report on next weekend’s F1 round is currently under review, re: general justification in going/high petrol expenses/wildlife sanctuaries usually being a bit tacky and disappointing.
A typically stinking hot day, followed by rain at 4pm. It makes me wonder how they think that a sprinkler will spice things up. Imagine standing under Niagara falls. That sums it up well. So lets hope it doesn’t end up on half points again.
The Red Bulls are taking it easy, that’s for sure. Australia’s Mark Webber™ topped the times on Friday without even leaving his pit box.
And HRT are still a joke – blowing up on their first installation lap. Can’t they just enter GP2 or some Scalextric competition instead before they kill someone (see HERE)?
After doing a few seasons around Europe, this is a gem of a race to be at, and it’s much nearer to home. I’ve been spending most of my time kicking back with BBC commentators Jake Humphrey and McDavid McCoulthard. Just been showing them how it’s done. And they’re pretty impressed with the Damonik News media facilities here. Apparently the BBC motorhome isn’t as good as ours. “It’s stuck in an ’80s timewarp – a bit like Glenrothes”, according to DC.
I think I’ll be back to Malaysia. Who’s joining me?
More soon …
I’d join you if I could. It malay happen one day. Is the food good? Anyway, following a strenuous morning mowing the lawn and smoking my pipe, I had an afternoon doze in my wing-back chair and inadvertently missed qualifying. But no bother, as it appears they just showed a repeat of the Melbourne qualifying instead. Is that how you saw it at your end, Jim?
So where was the rain you ask? It blimmin’ rained in the city, not at the track. Total bullshizer. It would have put a spanner in the works, huh? Oh well – mega rain still forecast for tomorrow so we will see.
By the way, it just took me 3 hours to get back from the track. Ridiculous.
No rain as of yet but skies certainly looking a lot moodier than yesterday. Support race put a whole lot of oil over Hamilton’s grid position yesterday, and Webber was seen looking smug about it.
Into the abyss of 80% humidity I go ….
Gosh, Jim. You know what? I made it out of bed this Sunday morning in time to turn on the teevee.
It’s a lovely sunny day here in London, no rain. I may turn the sprinklers on later. My mate Bernie said he could lend me some.
Apart from an early front wing shave, how’s the action over there?
P.S. I think I’ve discovered Lotus’ problem. They have ‘Lada’ on the side of the car. Are they supplying the engines or the body work?
I’m a little stunned, Nico.
Is this the same sport that produces boring processions and glorified congo lines?
Because today I would have seen 15, maybe 20 passes – some continuing through turns 1 and 2 and down to turn 4. What a race, Sepang! All I have heard over the last few seasons is there is not enough passing and spectator numbers are spiraling down; that F1 needs to be like it was in the ’80s – exciting and unpredictable.
Today, the crowd around me were jumping around like it was a football match.
Almost every lap there was a stab or a carefully calculated pass. DRS to some may feel artificial and I agreed with this after Australia. However, today I think differently. Everyone leaving the track was full to the brim with excitement and most would be keen to pay to see another race like this.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Eddie Jordan.
I like Sepang. I probably shouldn’t, because I still think of it as one of Hermann Tilke’s horrible new circuits and I tend to hate these out of principle (and when I say new I mean new as in Ronnie Wood is the new guitarist in the Stones – after all, we have just witnessed the 13th year of F1 at Sepang).
Anyway, it’s a nice track, and seems to regularly offer the fanatic something more than a middling place like Albert Park. And, right on cue, it certainly did that today – which was good, as I don’t think I could have stood another repeat of two weeks ago.
And I definitely agree with you, Jim. It wasn’t a boring procession. We did see a close pack with numerous overtaking attempts, especially in the midfield. And that’s always welcome. There were also drivers constantly dropping in and out of the top ten as they tried to come to terms with the new Pirellis – so it’s also been exciting from a strategy point of view.
However, for me, one thing stands in the way of lifting this afternoon’s event from being just a pretty good race into the upper echelon of what great motor racing should all be about.
Nobody realistically stood a hope in hell of ever catching Sebastian Vettel.
Not even Button towards the end. And nor will they if things continue the way they’re going. As good as the midfield battles were, until they carry on all the way up to the front of the pack, the sport will always echo that ‘best of the rest’ feeling we had during Schumacher’s glory years, or during the 1988 season, for that matter. So yes, a massive improvement over Melbourne, but it certainly wasn’t in Silverstone 1987 or Spa 1998 territory.
But, my apologies, I’m getting somewhat technical and just a bit serious and boring here. I also liked the bit where Petrov took off into outer space*. Maybe we need more jumps? Turn it into a bit of a steeplechase affair (but with sturdier steering columns)?
And Nico: Lada? You don’t reckon it’s just Mr Steele’s car in disguise? Just a thought.
The season’s tally so far:
Genuine spectacle: 0
Had its moments: 1
*Some sort of 50th anniversary tribute to his compatriot Yuri Gagarin, surely?
P.S. And thank you Jim for your lovely photos, of course. It’s just like being there ourselves. In the ’80s. With the school photocopier.
I think that the only guy who could have given Vettel a run for his money is still in an Italian hospital. Well, maybe. That car is quick, just piloted by muppets.
It’s 2011 at last – a brand spanking new year and I feel most exhilarated. Yes, I know it’s almost April, but you’ve already had Nic’s hello back in February, so you can’t be too picky, lucky reader.
With DNC News keeping you up to date over the break, providing those famous cutting-edge updates that we’re so celebrated for, the impending F1 season really needs no further introduction. However, there are a few vital things we should probably discuss, some of them of a rather serious nature:
[INSERT INTRODUCTION HERE - Ed.]
And to think that she almost left them under his bed! Phew! Well, that just about clears me out. What a season it’s going to be, eh? So let’s get going.
Today heralds the first qualifying session of 2011, and I return to Albert Park for approximately the 16th time in approximately 16 years. It hasn’t changed all that much, to be honest. A bit more litter here and there. Slightly fewer hot-pants. The food is the same – quite literally the same in some kiosks. And as usual, in between dodging hipsters, I’ll be keeping you up-to-date with all the proper moustache action, trackside. From the side of the track. Where the cars go round. In the same race series thing that once had Alain Prost in it. YES!
Rock and roll.
12.03am: Not at the track. Still at home. Because it’s night time. Nevertheless, better stay awake because qualifying is a mere 17 hours away. Jack Brabham and Alan Jones will be there in the morning, apparently. I don’t fancy their chances though (I think they’re a bit past it if you want my honest opinion).
10.15am: Public transport is sparsely populated this morning. I guess Australia’s Mark Webber™ just doesn’t have the same pull that Wolfgang Von Trips used to have. Actually, this is a complete lie. I have never seen Albert Park so packed. If an Australian is doing well in any international sport, the whole country will turn up to egg them on – though right now this is largely just a convenient way to avoid mentioning the cricket World Cup.
Melbourne’s efficient train service provides locals and tourists alike with a free music feed which exclusively plays a selection of Fleetwood Mac’s most popular hits, non-stop, 24/7. It is good for morale.
11.06am: Ain’t no-one here but me, Ben, George Harrison and a suitcase of McSars Double Sars sarsaparilla. which hasn’t at all been filled and professionally re-capped with some of Melbourne’s finest microbrew.
11.46am: Embarrassing ticketing issues have plagued the Grand Prix organisation this year. Even triple World Champion Ayrton Senna had to queue with the public to get in.
“I continuously go further and further learning about my own limitations, my body limitation, psychological limitations. It’s a way of life for me,” the Brazilian told DNC News when quizzed about the ticket collection process.
12.35pm: The historic F5000s were good. Very good. Massive air intakes. That’s what a proper F1 should look like.
12.37pm: But then we had to endure David “Buzz” McCoulthard and a certain young F1 driver from Perth being beaten by dull V8 drivers in an energy drink sponsored Renault Megane jaunt. What next? C-grade TV “stars” driving even more rubbish Lexus machines, perhaps? Well, yes, as it happens. I’m off to drink more “sarsaparilla” …
12.58pm: Okay, the celebritard Lexi have AUTOMATIC transmission. I have lost all faith in humanity.
2.26pm: The chaps have been out for a little bit now and I have but one observation: that the Mercedes gearbox is the sexiest sound I’ve heard since Hope Sandoval last opened her mouth to whisper something inane about a blue light. What HAVE they done with it? It’s an unbelievable sounding automobile. It’s no Austin Gypsy, Nic. Twelvety points.
Alongside the moustachioed Finn, Keke Rosberg [German, surely? - Ed.], Herr Richard Von Dastardly has in his evil hands by far the best sounding machine of 2011. Muttley is concealed in the airbox just behind the driver’s head.
3.05pm: Bieber doing what he does. Whatever. There’s something distinctly lacking here. Ah, that’s it: soul.
3.30pm: Having a wander around the paddock. Everywhere you look, there’s a Holden Commodore hoon machine road car on display that looks no different whatsoever from anything you’ll see on a Friday night in the Templestowe McDonald’s car park. How is this an “exhibit”, exactly?
For the first time in Formula One history, it appears that tobacco sales have now been completely banned from the circuit. In their place – here for the first time this year – have come countless betting stalls, pimped by girls barely old enough to legally put on a wager themselves. So gambling is now apparently okay. And it’s still fine to drink yourself to death.
5.09pm: Qualifying is on. It’s very pretty. But the whole place feels wrong.
5.46pm: Down to the final ten. Textbook. It’s so boring I’m thinking I must be in the late ’90s.
Junior World Champion Bieber whizzes off into the distance, en route to the first pole of the year. I see no tangible reason why this won’t happen again and again for the rest of the season. He’s going to be very hard to beat if his Tonka car stays in one piece.
5.50pm: Ruby Rose is performing on the stage out of the corner of my eye. She is truly rubbish. It sounds like the ’90s gone wrong.
6.10pm: All over, as per the script. Vettel, Hamilton, Webber, Button, Alonso. It’s like a Who’s Who of the Yalta Conference. I’m out of here. Off to drown my sorrows in a seedy bar somewhere with the perpetually sad-eyed Nigel Mansell. Now there’s a proper racing driver for you.
*NOTE: Apologies for the quality of the photographs: we’ve been having trouble with our photocopier here at DNC Towers recently.