#skypaynoway #F1 #BBC #Sky My final moan on the subject, I promise

If you’ve followed the blizzard of tweets you’ll know that I am not a fan of the 2012 onwards F1 TV coverage plans. My #skypaynoway campaign is completely futile I know, but I will not watch the BBC coverage this weekend in protest and may not bother with any of the other 2011 race coverage. I’ve moaned about how boring some of the races have been anyway, and have wandered off or gone to sleep part way through several of them, so what am I really missing?

Well, obviously I’m missing any that turn out to be crackers, but I’ll take that chance. I watch with the sound turned down as I can’t be bothered with the commentary and, as yesterday in qualifying showed, Twitter kept me in touch.

I’m not sure why I’m so cross about it, but I think that it is because of all the twaddle from Bernie and others about how the new package is better. I’ve blogged here about how I will not watch any race from the middle or far East where Bernie has changed the time to make it more Euro market friendly. If he wants to do that to suit me then let’s have all the races start at 1045 as I can watch between getting in from Sainsbury’s and making lunch. That works for me and doesn’t muck up my Sunday.

Our household pays a ludicrous amount of money to the BBC and Sky for the privilege of several hundred channels with not much worth watching on, so there is no chance that I will pay for F1 coverage on the box. As for what the BBC plan for 6pm, regardless of whether it is highlights or the whole race, that is not a convenient time for me to watch. We have our dinner then, and TV gets turned off so that we can have a civilised conversation over our meal. In any case, what is the point when I will know what has happened thanks to various cybermedia?

If the BBC want to cut costs then cut out the wasted hour before qualifying and the race. And why ship herds of people to every race? Why not take the feed and have someone commentate back here from the monitor like good old Murray used to do for some races in the early days of his tenure? Eddie has become an embarrassment and the grid walk went that way long ago, so to have cut it all out would have cut costs.

Goodness knows what Sky have planned for viewers, but I’ve stopped watching my beloved NASCAR on Sky as their fill in bits are so puerile that even turning the sound off has not worked.

Talking of NASCAR, rather than needing all of these extra dollars that Bernie’s new TV deal will bring in, why not have some F1 cost cutting? Like taking a NASCAR approach to pit stops? Only enough pit crew to do one side (or end) at a time, say? Cutting the bodies per crew down to 25% of what we have now would save on wages, logistics and more. It would shake up the pit stop side of things a bit as well if we started to have the cars stationary for 15-17 seconds at a time and would also affect race strategy at many circuits as it could mean that you couldn’t get both cars in on successive laps. The risk and consequence of error would make a difference too.

Anyway, the TV deal is done and will happen and my cost cutting thoughts won’t. I will not watch much F1 on the box and, frankly, doubt that I will miss it too much.

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weekend round up – 24th July 2011 #F1 #NASCAR #IndyCar

Having changed things around with our social media activity at the start of the month, and launching a Twitter account dedicated to this blog plus a link to a general motoring blog, we decided to stop the weekend round ups and just tweet pages from Autosport and other sources. However, several readers have asked where the roundups had gone and many thanks to those for their interest, especially the one who asked if Trucker Tog and I were still OK.

So we’re back, and here goes.

#F1. Well the Lewis of old is back and very welcome he is. A truly dominant win – the finish may have been close, but it was never really in doubt from the first corner. Lewis was on a mission and wasn’t going to let anyone by. Not sure who the Seb imposter was though.

#IndyCar. Over in Edmonton there was another return to form as the Toowoomba Kid was back in town after a couple of dnfs. We are rooting for him to take the title this year. He really should have nailed it in 2010, but maybe coming from behind will be the spur this time round.

#NASCAR – the big boys had a weekend off, so no Sprint Cup action, but we will be back on the trail next week at Indy no less for the Brickyard 400.

TT or I will be back next week, and we are also trying to catch up on some of the promised Setting the Record Straighrt posts – not enough hours in the day at the moment.

weekend round up – 10th July 2011 #F1 #NASCAR #Indycar

#F1 – So Alfonso pulls one off for the Prancing Horse with you know who second. Was it a great race? I missed it; just saw the first lap and JB’s botched pit stop, so make up your own minds. One thought on the new Silverstone; why have they put the pits in a trench? I mean we all know that they’re called the pits because they used to be holes in the ground, but, whilst I love retro stuff, isn’t that all a bit silly?

#NASCAR – At least the crowds apparently got in and out of the British GP without too much trouble, but Kentucky? All sorts of trouble apparently. And those that did get in had to watch the younger Ugly Brother win and then spend hours getting out again. Not a good result for any of my boys other than a good second for Rootie.

#IndyCar – Dario shoves WP off and out to take the win in Toronto. Naughty, naughty, but he got away with it and stretches his title lead.

RIP Bill Boddy

Sad to hear that Bill Boddy has passed away aged 98. A bloody good innings by any standards, but as a writer and authority on motor cars and motor sport his loss will be keenly felt.

We have lost someone special. At least we have their writing as a memorial.

British GP 2011

Going to Silverstone this weekend?

If you are then, to a degree, I hope that the weather stays fine; Silverstone can be a bit bleak and miserable in the wet.

For the rest of us, a wet/dry race so typical of that part of Northants could be pretty exiting.

Either way we have a new Silverstone to play with and the modified track looks great, with all of the old great corners plus some new stuff. An old RAF bomber base may not sound like a classic GP circuit, but Silverstone earned its place as one of the great places to let an F1 car loose, but it has adapted over the years and is a much better venue than some of the plastic slot car tracks that Bernie & Co have inflicted on us.

Roll on the action!

Marshalling Musings – Part Four, Snetterton again

I’ve mentioned the way we were back in the 1970s in relation to fire marshals, but to recap, at a typical club or national meeting there would be one guy who had the full silver coated asbestos suit and he would be with the fire truck ready to go if and when called.

Immediate assistance would be provided by marshals around the circuit who would work in concert with what was called (if I remember correctly) the two by two knock down system, the first pair using one type of extinguisher to knock down the flame and the second pair with a different type to seal the foam. We practised this stuff and were pretty proficient at quickly dealing with most incidents because most of our races were about 25 miles duration at most, so no-one had too much fuel on board, but we did this wearing our normal clothes.

On the day I want to tell you about here I was back where it had all begun for me, out on that old airfield that had become Snetterton Circuit. By now I had gravitated to marshalling on the start line and assisting the marshal with the chequered flag by keeping a lap chart.

This day’s meeting was a typical club event on the shorter circuit, but we had a round of the F3 championship as the main race. We had had an uneventful practice and got the racing programme under way after lunch.

One of these events was a special saloon car and third fastest in practice, and so taking the outside position on the front row, was one of the quicker Minis. I helped line up the front end of the grid and then took up my position with a couple of colleagues at the pit nearest the pit lane exit where my lap chart board lay ready on the counter.

The countdown to the start ran through, with engines starting and the noise rising to a crescendo as the starter raised the Union Jack. The flag fell and the car raced away but, on the change from first to second gear, that Mini on the outside of the front row broke a drive shaft and turned sharp right across the pack.

In making a series of phenomenal avoidances there was some contact down the order, but everyone made it away except the stricken Mini which was up on two wheels as it vanished from our line of sight beyond the control tower.

Reflex and training take over at these moments and I was running full pelt past the control tower before I realised what I was doing. There had been two sickening thumps that resulted from the impact when the Mini hit the infield Armco barrier barely 50 yards from the start and then the explosion as its fuel had gone up.

As the scene came into view we could feel the heat, but we spread out and fired our extinguishers. These had barely discharged when the fire truck arrived and our man in silver finished off the job with his superior equipment. Fire out we approached the Mini as it lay on its side. We watched with that numb feeling as our fire suited colleague pulled away the windscreen and peered in. The fire had been put out very quickly, but how quickly? Had we been fast enough to avoid the driver being asphyxiated? Our cooking foil clad friend turned to us and shrugged: No driver! The car was indeed empty.

“He came out like a Jack-in-the-Box” said a voice from behind the barrier. We turned and looked. “The driver” the man repeated, “He was up and out as it went up. The St John’s lot have got him” he went on, pointing to the ambulance parked behind the control tower.

We picked up our empties and hurried back to the pits. You’ll recall that I was supposed to be keeping a lap chart. Well all of the above was over and done just before the field came round to complete the first lap, so probably no more than a minute and a half. My lap one details were a bit sketchy, but I was on top of things from lap two onwards.

Demands of the races took our minds off what had looked like possibly a fatality and it was only later that we marvelled at the reactions of the driver in his escape.

weekend round up – 3rd July 2011 #NASCAR #DTM

#DTM – a wet day and a shortened race at the Norisring saw Bruna Spengler take the win from fellow HWA Mercedes peddler Jamie Green and the Canadian also moves back to the top of the table.

#NASCAR – the holiday weekend action at Daytona saw Danica actually get to lead the Nationwide race a few times and to do so on merit. Good for her. Mark Martin nailed his 50th pole position for the Sprint cup race, but contact with the #20 car saw him into the wall and finishing 6 laps down as David Ragan picked up his maiden win in Mark’s old #6 Ford.

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