Spa F1 2012 - Racing To Pass Alonso - SHAKEDOWN

Uploaded by drive on 31.08.2012


Today is an F1 preview discussion for the Spa race
this weekend.
After five weeks away from the action, F1 is back.
And this being Friday Shakedown, this is the last
pre-race report out there on the internet.
So we may be the freshest, the one closest to the racing.
There are only nine more F1 races to go in the season,
more than halfway to the end.
And Alonso is leading Mark Webber by 40 points.
And that's less than half of Vettel's lead last year at
this point the season.
But Alonso is only 42 points ahead of Vettel this year.
He's only 47 ahead of Lewis.
And only 48 points ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.
With 25 points for a win, and 225 maximum points available
to all, its game on.
So the stars of F1 are back in action.
But the biggest F1 star of all made the first move of the
second season, Bernie Ecclestone.
81-year-old Bernie Ecclestone married 35-year-old Brazilian
Fabiana Flosi.
She formerly of the marketing team for the
Brazilian Grand Prix.
Now this is Bernie's third marriage.
He's changing teams more than Petrov.
Bad joke number one.
In F1 terms, look at it this way, Fabiana was born when
Niki Lauda won his second championship
for Ferrari in 1977.
Those were the cars.
Bernie, by comparison, was born when it was the first
year for an F1 style championship.
When Ferdinando Minoia of Italy won in an Alpha Romeo.
Now that's the start of the 1931 Italian GP round of the
There was also a Belgian GP that was part of that season.
Not sure if it was Spa, but look at those cars.
They're as old as Bernie.
Hermann Tilke designed the wedding dress.
Just like every Tilke design, a lot of curves, but boring
and predictable, said the style fashionistas.
And it looked just like the last 15 designs he did.
Bad joke number two.
Fabiana designated her drag reduction
zone, her inner thighs.
Number three.
Bernie said the wedding, like F1 races, was not about the
guests who attend.
He really doesn't care about people coming to the event.
Instead he offered a Pay Per View package to the Fabiana
family for them to watch the wedding.
We're up to four, right?
Bernie is always a global guy, and knowing that he once drove
an F1 car for Mobil 1, he being Tony Stewart, he had
Tony toss out the bouquet and garter after seeing his
weekend work with his helmet.
Nobody caught anything.
Everyone ducked.
And wedding night was just like an F1 pit stop.
Three seconds, in and out.
Hey, he's 81, she's 35.
More jokes?
I'll be back right after I fire the writer.

Before we get to Spa, let me say, wow!
And thank you for all your responses to the last show we
did, the one about the top five race cars
you loved as a kid.
The show with Mike Spinelli.
If you missed it, the link is below.
What caught my attention in your comments was holy
[BLEEP], how young so many of you are.
Now Mike talked about toys being his passion
trigger into racing.
And amazingly, that all seems unchanged, except toys today
are sims and video games.
But I liked your F1 race car choices in particular.
Senna's McLaren.
Mansell's Williams.
A Schumacher Ferrari, of course.
The Lotus 72.
And it seems like graphics themselves were important to
your choices.
So it was no surprise that one of you picked Eddie Jordan's
Buzzin Hornets F1 car.
But the shapes of the cars matter, too,
not just the graphics.
More on that later.
Let's go to Spa.
And we were there.
I drove the track in a McLaren MP4 12C street car.
We had a 30 minute open session on track.
We'll see how that experience makes it into the Spa 24 video
that Drive is producing.
But regardless, I may tell you the real deal of that session
in another Shakedown.
But for now, just know this.
A, I know why I preferred racing formula car's.
There are no passenger seats.
B, Spa really is all about elevation and speed.
And being there in the real world is something TV and the
video just can't capture.
O-M-F-F-G, it was great, intense, and a real high speed
car balancing all the time.
This may sound arrogant but Eau Rouge scared the [BLEEP]
out of the other drivers.
They were all using too much brake into the corner.
So I really only got one shot at Eau Rouge.
But I banged on the McLaren GT3 team race car drivers.
Guys like Phil Quaife, and my brother from another mother,
Alvaro Parente, for advice.
And they gave me the right tips.
It's all about aiming the car at turn-in.
Imagining where you want the car to be track right.
Up on the blind crest.
And not imagining any danger, fear, crashes.
You know, that race car driver thing of having a simple mind,
really does make you go quick.
Don't think.
Just peddle.
Now the top GT3 cars were doing about a
2:19 time around Spa.
And it looked really quick.
But Vettel, last year in the Red Bull, was at 1:47.
That's 32 seconds of, O-M-F-G with 32 F's.
So the driver points going into Spa tell us who the
players are for the rest of the season.
Alonso, as I said, is 40 points ahead of P2, Webber.
42 versus Vettel.
47 ahead of Lewis.
48 ahead of Kimi.
And Grosjean is biting there for a win, too.
And Button is sure to show well.
Now Schumacher is celebrating 300 GPs at Spa.
But he and Nico, they've got to perform sooner than later.
Especially with Mercedes, rumored to be tired of the
almost, and threatening to downgrade the factory team to
an AMG satellite operation.
Now, the drivers are now known quantities in the 2012 season,
so it may turn out to be the team engineering, and their
engineers, as a way to the front.
And that could be the most exciting part of
the rest of the year.
And on tires, even Pirelli is coming to Spa ready
to unleash the teams.
Very hard, hard compound tires to let the drivers and setups
push, as they say in Europe.
Plus, the DRS zone is very short, and you know I love
anything short.
Well, it's because Spa is a drafting track where you're on
full throttle 70% of the time.
And that's going to take care of the speed and passing.
Let's step through each of the teams and get you to balance
your comments against my BS about what I
think is going on.
Starting with Ferrari.
It's Alonso.
It's only Alonso.
Is Ferrari even fielding a second car?
I know, that was a Massa shot.
With the points difference seven points from first to
second, and then three or two points down to 10th, in
effect, all Alonso needs to do is hang around the other four
rivals, avoid the DNFs, and this is his to lose.
I made that sound simple, but what do you think?
Now, Ferrari the car has improved.
I read a Japanese F1 magazine.
Well, read, I just kind of looked at the pictures, but
the article tracked all the changes to the Ferrari car so
far this year.
And holy [BLEEP], they've changed everything.
The front, the back, the pods, the wings, underneath, the
You can hate Italians, but we sure have
no shortage of ideas.
And apparently the Italian government is broke because
all the money's going to fund F1 updates.
The Ferrari car is working.
It's working better and I see no reason
why it won't continue.
And Fernando Alonso, he is the best right now.
But the fight is not over.
Red Bull always finds magic.
And I'd be hard pressed to think that they're not the
fastest car, and will not fall back from that position coming
out of the break.
Meeting the test team in Weehawken caught
my attention, too.
They know what they need to do.
But then going to the McLaren technology center, when we
were with them at Spa, caught my attention as well.
And they just want to win, period.
The workers have to pass the trophy hall to get anywhere in
the building.
Just to remind all of them why the [BLEEP]
they have a job, and what that job is.
And Hamilton, he'll stay with McLaren.
He's focused on driving and winning.
The car is supposed to have more low drag
design in it now.
They're going to have their double DRS the way Lotus is
claiming they're going to have new front and rear wings.
Plus, for every update that Lotus or Ferrari or Red Bull
make, McLaren seems to have theirs as well.
Which gets us to Lotus.
And Kimi and Grosjean, too.
And can we call it something other than Lotus, because it
really it's not.
The sponsorship is over.
Danny Bejar is dead to me.
And Lotus has done nothing to make this team
fly the way it is.
It's all about their arrow and a sympathetic to the tires
chassis design that's defining their performance.
I almost said Lotus.
And Renault power is a horse, and Kimi's a stud.
I wouldn't bet against Kimi at Spa.
It's a place he loves and it really fits his attack style
of racing and driving.
Now, if I have to pick, and I'm
shooting this on Wednesday.
Today I'm in Baltimore at the Indy Car and ALMS race, so I
have not seen Friday test times, I'd pick--
I'd pick on Rubens Barrichello and Takuma Sato to give me a
But no.
If I had to pick, I'd pick Alonso, or Kimi,
or Vettel, or Lewis.
You know what?
Let's just watch the action.
We're all going to love it.
Which reminds me.
When we do the Porsche Cup races at the ALMS IMSA events,
we sit in the TV production trailer and help call the
camera shots.
And to anticipate the action to get the right shots for the
videos, I found myself not watching the lead car in the
shot, that was for my peripheral.
But I focused on the cars behind and watched their
movies on track and their closing distances.
Try that when you watch the F1 race this weekend.
So what else F1 besides Bernie's marriage?
Well, Ferrari put their 2014 twin turbo V6 on the dyno and
announced the fact to all to let them know they're ready
and coming.
And Renault did the same thing.
And Mercedes is hinting that they're right there, too.
But it all reminds me of the last time we had twin turbo
V6s in F1 racing, and it really was a Renault show.
But the Ferraris were mega power plants too.
That's the Ferrari V6 from the old days.
Now, look at these cars and these engine shots.
Here's a Ferrari from the '80s, here's another one of
the twin turbos.
God knows where the driver's feet are.
Here's the first Renault twin turbo V6 hanging out there.
A little more arrow cladding.
The fast cars.
But here's a question.
Has there ever been a Mercedes V6 race engine anywhere?
Beyond F1?
I don't think so.
Let me know.
Engine brands are great.
And we need more of them.
And maybe Toyota and Hyundai and BMW and VW and maybe
something Chinese will come in, or come back in.
But if the cars had more visual brand identity, I
wonder if that would help incent them to
join up with F1.
When we talked about top five race cars, and you picked cars
in that video in your comments, you picked cars with
fenders and faces, and a specific look that kind of
dominated your interest.
But open wheel cars, they all look alike.
Kind of have to own up to that.
Which allows me to think about this.
What if F1 cars mandated the shovel noses
from the old days?
This is a 1970s Tyrrell.
But updated with the ground effects undersides that are on
all the LMP cars--
started with Toyota and the GT1, the TSO 20.
What if they allowed those shovel noses, but now require
the front grills of the street cars for brand ID?
Like Ferrari egg-crate grills, Audi horse
collars, BMW kidneys.
I'm just saying.
What do you think?
Would that make having an F1 car look more like the road
cars from those brands, be more encouragement for you to
love them and brands to come in?
And someone do a shovel nose rendering of an F1 car for us
to kind of take my imagination here and bring it to life for
all to see.
But back to the present of Spa this weekend.
What do you think about the action we're about to see?
For now, I have to run out and pick a Bernie wedding gift.
You know, he and Fabiana are registered at the Weehawken,
New Jersey, Harry Winston jewelry store,
pawn shop and pizzeria.