F1 News: Lopez Training Hard, Schumacher Makes 2010 Predictions, F1 Drivers Fare Badly in Daytona 500


What Happens When the F1 News Disappears (and the Daytona 500 Tears Up the Track, Literally)

12:09am EST — In late news from Austria through Spain, USF1 driver Jose Maria Lopez has been training hard, Michael Schumacher names his pick for the top teams in 2010, and the Olympics put on a better show than a 6 hour NASCAR race.

“Pechito” Lopez, At Least, Thinks USF1 Plans Are a Go:
Marca
published an article/interview this slow-news Sunday with Jose Maria Lopez, the only driver known to be driving for embattled new team USF1 in the 2010 season.  He has, apparently, been training for the upcoming season in Austria.  According to a translation of the Spanish newspaper, Lopez says, “I’ve finished this work in Austria that has really helped me to get fit physically faster than thought. This is a specialized center where the devices used to help very much what one really needs. I think I’m fine physically to face the season without major problems. Now the maintenance work before and after the races will be crucial.”  The article notes that he was training at the Erwin Gollner High Performance Center in Austria and will spend a couple more days in Europe before heading to (and this only sounds this way because of the translation, but it’s still funny, no?) “U.S. F1 team headquarters in Charlotte, USA, where he works hard in the assembly of the car.”  I am quite willing to say that, no, Lopez, is not personally assembling the car.
Lopez also noted that, “I have followed very closely [the recent testing in Jerez of most of the F1 grid], but it is difficult to know who is better off now you do not know what amount of fuel used each team.”  A valid point for a driver who, it is believed by much of the whispering Formula1 and internet community, may not make it to an actual GP.  He, at least, seems confident that he will be racing come Bahrain, even if Bernie Ecclestone is not.

Michael Schumacher Makes 2010 Predictions:
Sunday also saw a story at Formula1Blog about Michael Schumacher’s predictions for the 2010 season, where he safely chooses the four “major” teams as strong contenders and singles out Sauber as “quite quick” and Renault as questionable.  Shocking, no?  Still, best to pay attention to the most decorated F1 driver.  Check out the above link for the longer story or here at On Any Sunday, These Days for my take on the conclusions from Jerez this past week before we start all over again on Wednesday.

Daytona 500 Run, Stopped, Run, Paused for the Winter Olympics, Run, Put Under Caution (x2), Finished 6 Hours Later:
The Great American Race was greater in length in 2010 than usual, and it spent quite a bit of time red flagged for track repairs.  Literally track repairs, as the tarmac (the track hasn’t been paved since 1978) developed a pothole, and then a much larger pothole that forced officials to stop running while the issue was fixed.  From start time to checkered flag (which ended eight laps longer than the 200 lap race distance, due to a new green-white-checkered-finish up to three times to “improve the show” rule; we F1 fans thought Bernie Ecclestone has crazy ideas), the race lasted six hours and ten minutes and required set ups for the heat of day, twilight, and cold night under the lights.  Not hugely F1-related, the race did feature three former F1 drivers (Juan Pablo Montoya who finished 10th, Max Papis who didn’t finish, but was classified 40th, and Scott Speed who finished 19th), and forced a large quantity of European F1 fans to wonder why in the world their favorite motorsports reporters were encouraging them to watch this American nonsense and turn on the men’s luge in the Winter Olympics.  At the end, a very emotional Jamie McMurray won his first Daytona 500.  For a fuller, better, and less sarcastic race report, see the SPEEDtv report.

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