Monday Night F1 Roundup


What Happens When Too Much Happens in One Weekend

— First and foremost, Felipe Massa has been removed from his induced coma and is speaking, with the brain swelling having gone down.  (F1Complete: Barrichello, Montezemolo; Official F1 site)  Still worrisome is the state of his left eye and the possibility that he will not return to the cockpit of a F1 car this season, if ever (here).

Lewis Hamilton has still won the 2009 Hungarian GP.  Sad to say, the news of McLaren and Ferrari’s one-race resurgence has been lost in the justified worry over Massa and the shock over Renault’s ban from Fernando Alonso’s second home race.  The ever-enthused Kimi Raikkonen came second, with Mark Webber scoring valuable championship points in third.  (Find final race positions here, and new driver’s and constructor’s championship standing here and here, respectively.)

— Qualifying was a mess, even without the Barrichello losing a spring out of the back of his car and Massa’s subsequent crash.  At the end of Q3, Alonso had the pole, but  no one knew.  A damaged cable had caused a timing and scoring breakdown (here), leading the drivers to congregate and compare personal times.  Alonso was wandering around, sharing his time (121.5) with everyone and demanding to know theirs.  Jenson Button’s “F*ck, you’ve got pole!” was a little quick for the world-wide feed and Bob Varsha was left apologizing for the language on SPEEDtv at 9:30 am.

— Renault and Alonso (and Piquet, if his father has found another loophole in his contract so he can stay) have been banned from the next race at Valencia (here).  This has led to much conjecture, both because of the severity of the punishment and because some very famous figures (cough, Bernie Eccelstone, cough) would like Alonso to drive Felipe Massa’s Ferrari there.  I first saw the idea at Spanish sports site Marca.com (here, if you can read en espanol).  According to other sources (here), Alonso would be within his rights to accept the Ferrari drive, were it to be offered, because his contract specifies that he have a seat for each GP of 2009.

Personally, I find the entire situation to be overly clever.  Silly season tensions have spilled over the paddock in alarming ways.  1. There is no certainty that Alonso is going to Ferrari next season.  2. Flav will not allow Alonso to go early, even for one race.  3. I don’t think Renault will remain suspended for Valencia (see previous post).  4. I once heard David Hobbs while providing color commentary say that one should listen to what Bernie says and take the direct opposite as truth.

— Also difficult is the already-low ticket sales for Valencia (in four week’s time), according to marca.com and various other sources (here, here, and here).  The economic downturn has already dropped attendance from last season’s 115,000 to 70,000, with another 30,000 expected to be lost if Alonso is banned…and if my rusty translation skills haven’t failed me.

And, that’s the weekend F1 round-up…or a condensed version of it.  Expect updates and mockage in the race-free month ahead.

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