Category: F1



A lot of people hate the New England Patriots. Big fucking deal. Every sports team is going to have a grand army of haters. More so when the team’s successful. The Patriots will give haters no shortage of material: Bill Belichick’s philandering, Tom Brady’s Uggs, Brady’s waterslide, Brady being a little bitch on the sidelines, pretty much just everything Tom Brady-related.

Which is what makes this latest hogpile on the Patriots for deflating their footballs in the AFC Championship game such an exercise in complete and utter bullshit.

So apparently, the Patriots deflated their footballs by about 2lbs of air pressure. Deflated balls equal softer balls, which in turn equal grippier balls. Easier to throw, easier to catch. That’s what I read anyway, I have no idea, I’ve never played football at any level.

And of course this is against the rules of the sport.

Cue the angry mouthbreathing public mob decrying the Patriots for CHEATING. “ZOMG, cheating iz soo bad, you guys. So not fair, so cheeky, so awful, such an egregious violation of all that is sacred in football, everything is horrible!!!”

You know what, shut the fuck up.

Because guess what: everybody cheats, stupid. Get the fuck over it.

No sooner did the Patriots get busted for their soft balls, Aaron Rodgers the almighty got called out for having his balls overinflated. (I’ll give you a minute to get over chuckling at that one.) Then Brad Johnson bragged about how he bribed someone to scuff up his footballs in the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl!!! That’s bigger than a conference championship game! Where’s the fucking outrage for Brad Johnson? I mean, there was even a fucking bribe involved! Brad fucking doubled down on that one.

Then you get shitbag Matt Leinart coming out and practically carpetbombing the entire quarterback squad in the NFL, claiming all of them – with the exception of holier-than-thou blockhead Kurt Warner, apparently – fucked with their footballs. I’m not sure why I give a shit about anything Matt Leinart has to say about anything because Matt Leinart is useless, but in this case, his assertion supports the point I’m trying to make.

Here’s the thing: if you’re gonna lose your shit about a team or player playing outside the rules, don’t get mad because they’re doing it, wag your finger because they’re stupid enough to get caught doing it. This is professional sports, for fuck’s sake. This is about money. This is about the business of winning by any means possible. Winning = revenue = the whole fucking point, last time I looked.  Goody gum drops if you think you wanna try and win without using any unfair advantage whatsoever.  That’s not how the rest of the world runs, noob.

You check into professional sports and you come looking for some moral high ground? Do you also believe in the tooth fairy and leprechauns?

Michael PinedaThese shitheads got caught, that’s the only thing that’s out of norm here. Just like when Michael Pineda of the Yankees got caught with pine tar on his neck when he was on the mound. Sure, pine tar’s banned and all, but shit, EVERYBODY uses pine tar in Major League Baseball, for fuck’s sake. Bats and helmets are dripping with the stuff. But Pineda was an asshole for being so brazen about his pine tar use, and for that, he deserved to get busted.

Also like when Bill Belichick and the Patriots were busted for secretly filming the Jets (the motherfucking Jets, of all teams!). YOU DON’T NEED TO CHEAT TO BEAT THE JETS!!! They’re the Jets, they’re going to work very, very hard to easily lose to you spectacularly, so what the fuck are you doing trying to film them? All you’re gonna end up with is hours of footage of how NOT to play football. And that’s what the $750,000 combined fine should’ve been for – not for secretly filming your opponent, but for the fact that they did it against the goddamn Jets. A fine for stupidity, not for cheating.

Formula 1 Spain - StartYet, $750,000 is such a paltry amount when you consider the bar set the McLaren team in Formula One. Also, when it comes to cheating scandals, this one took the motherfucking cake. You’re talking about a multi-billion dollar global sport here in which one team – McLaren – were actively stealing engineering secrets from another team, Ferrari. This isn’t like listening in to another team’s radio transmission during a race to predict when their race car was going to pit. And it’s certainly a different caliber to the Patriots filming the Jets. This was proper industrial espionage. Way more impressive than letting the air out of some balls. And the penalty? A $100 million fine and the exclusion from the 2007 world championship, which resulted in further loss many, many millions of dollars in race result revenue. $100 million.  You wanna kick a cheating team in the balls, that’s how you kick a cheating team in the balls.

Which brings us to our current sitch. If you must punish the Patriots for their soft balls – and you probably should, not because they actually deflated the balls, but because they were stupid enough to get caught – what’s the right penalty? A fine? Unless it’s $100 million, who gives a shit. Loss of draft picks? Warmer, but again, who gives a shit because the free agency market can help backfill that. Pull them from the Super Bowl and sub in the Colts? That would be hilarious.

However the NFL act – or don’t act, as is typical with the NFL – on this, it doesn’t matter that the Patriots played AFC championship game, or any other game leading up to that one, with their soft balls. Stop crying about it.

Because you’re missing the whole fucking point.



It’s time to watch F1, you guys!

I’ll just come right out and say it: if you don’t watch F1 this weekend, you’re an asshole.

I can hear it already, “Blah blah blah, F1, cars driving round in circles, who gives a shit about NASCAR, whatever, boring, blah blah blah.”  And you’d be a millionth-and-one person who’s given me shit for spending far too much time with this fucking sport.

And that’s because you conveniently dismiss this sport because you have not even a vague idea of how brilliant it is.  Let’s change that, shall we.  Have an open mind, for fuck’s sake.

The thing is, F1 is for everyone.  (Hey, that rhymes, I should copyright that shit.)  Man, woman, child, dog, whomever, it’s for you.  If you have a fucking pulse, no matter how cloddish, you need to take a look at F1.

Jalopnik tried to pull together a helpful guide for F1 noobs, but I found it uninspiring and tedious.  The whole thing felt like a lot of fucking work and it told you NOTHING about F1.  So fuck it, I figure I’d give it a go.

Here’s the gist of the sport.  I’ll give you the meat-and-potatoes, and then I’ll throw in some garnish afterwards.

F1 is car racing.  All the cars look like winged rockets with wheels.  They’re not steel tanks like NASCAR because they have open wheels and open cockpits – neither is covered.  They’re also made largely of featherweight carbon fiber.  And they have big fuck-off wings that create downforce that keep the cars pressed onto the track.  They also have massive fuck-off tires.

In F1, every team has to build their own cars.  If you’re a car racing noob, it might surprise you to know that most other car racing series have teams buying their cars from suppliers, and all they need to do is tweak the car and go racing with it.  Not F1: each team needs to design and build their own chassis.  That’s part of why some of the top F1 teams have annual budgets in excess of $300 million.  In comparison, you can run a shitty NASCAR team for about $10 million.

These cars are the single-most sophisticated machines for sport, and are probably the closest thing to having a NASA space rocket mate with one of James Bond’s Q gadgets.  They’re the coolest fucking thing in the world, alright.

Inside each car is a V8 engine that generates something like 800hp and revs up to 18,000rpm.  Your average 4-door sedan probably sports a 4-cylinder engine that generates 200hp and you’d never rev it higher than 3,500rpm.  Do the math.  These engines can take these cars to over 200mph.  Try that in your shitwagon.  These engines sound like a dragon being put through a paper shredder.

Each team runs two cars – the two cars will look identical; easiest way to tell the two drivers apart is to by their helmets.  But TV commentators do that for you.

Enough about the cars.  Let’s talk about the race itself.  The race starts at 2pm Austin time.  In fact, with a few exceptions, all F1 races start at 2pm local time no matter they race in the world.  You can use that in your dinner conversation this Thanksgiving, you’re welcome.  Each race lasts between 1.5 hours (often) to 2 hours (rarely).

This is the track in which they’ll be racing in Austin: the Circuit Of The Americas.


As you can see, it’s not a goddamn oval.  Because these drivers actually need to have two key skills lacking in NASCAR drivers – knowing how to brake for corners, and turning right.

Let’s get to the drivers.  There are 24 of them.  You don’t need to know all of them.  There are dipshit drivers in the back of the pack that if you got hit by a bus tomorrow and never knew their names, you’d still have lived a full life.  Don’t waste your time trying to learn everyone’s name.  Just the ones who are worth keeping an eye out for:

  • Fernando Alonso.  Drives a Ferrari (the only all-red car in the pack).  He is, by leaps and bounds, the best all-round driver of the lot.  Even if the Ferrari is not even close to being the best car out there.
  • Sebastian Vettel.  Drives a Red Bull (blue car with a yellow tip – yes, the energy drink company own an F1 team).  One of the best drivers driving arguably the best car of them all – that’s a hell of a combination.
  • Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.  Both drive McLaren cars (silver cars with red wings).  Both a brilliant drivers.  Hamilton is the Barack Obama of F1.  Unfortunately, however, is a colossal douchenozzle, and you should totally watch him to hate him.  Seriously, he’s a tool.
  • Kimi Raikkonen.  Drives a Lotus (black car with gold trimmings).  He’s Finnish and a raging boozehound!  And he’s fast!  That’s pretty much all you need to know.

Other drivers who might put in good showings are Kamui Kobayashi, Sergio Perez, and Nico Hulkenberg.  Fuck everyone else.  Oh, you’ll also hear Michael Schumacher’s name.  That’s because he’s old, he’s been racing forever, he’s the winningest driver, and he’s a smug, dirty, cheating bastard.

And really, those are the essentials.  There are other nuances, but if you don’t know them, it won’t make the sport unwatchable.  But just in case, here are some of them:

  • Pitstops.  These cars come into the pits at least once to change tires.  That’s because a) the tires don’t last the duration of the race, and b) the rules state that they must race on two different types of tires (two compounds: one harder, one softer)
  • KERS.  This is a F1’s equivalent of a hybrid.  It stands for Kinetic Energy Return System.  The cars use braking forces to charge an onboard battery.   The battery sends and extra boost of 80hp to the engine – it’s a bit like Knight Rider’s turbo boost mode without the turbo.  It’s stupid but it’s in play.
  • DRS. Talk about an even stupider system.  It stands for Drag Reduction System.  When a car is trailing the car in front by 1 second or less, the trailing driver can push a button on his steering wheel that levels out the rear wing (reducing downforce) to help the car go faster to help overtake the car in front.  I have many reasons to hate this stupid system that I’m not going to go into here, but it’s in play, so fuck me.

Now, let’s talk briefly about the racing.  This isn’t like NASCAR, where you see a traffic jam going around in a circle for 4 hours, with cars overtaking each other ever 3 miliseconds.  Fuck that pointless bullshit.  No, what you’ll see mostly is a single-file of cars going around the track.  There’s definitely overtaking in F1, but because F1 racing is both an art and a science, this will happen mostly when cars dive into corners at the end of a long straight, trying to outbrake the other car.  The KERS and DRS systems help, too.

And that’s it.  That’s all you really need to know to watch F1 on Sunday.  That, and the fact that it’s on at 2pm ET (work that shit out in your own timezone), it’s on Speed Channel in the U.S. (better go find that channel now), and even though you’ll probably miss the early NFL games, you’ll have a shit ton more football the rest of Sunday to watch so stop being a pussy about it.

Now, don’t be a dick by blowing this off.  This is F1’s first race back in the U.S. after a 5-year absence.  This is F1’s only stop in the U.S.  It’s a big fucking deal.  You can afford to forgo football for a couple of hours on Sunday (your dipshit team will probably lose anyway).  You really can.

Just watch some F1 this Sunday.  Don’t be an asshole.



March isn’t about hoops.  Who gives a shit about college hoops (alright, alright, tons of people give a shit about college hoops, just not this guy).

For me, March is about an awakening.  An awakening of metal, carbon fiber, rubber, combustible liquids, and the manifestation of insanely complex physics.  CAR RACING, motherfuckers.  And I mean proper car racing, not that NASCAR driving-around-in-a-circle-with-antiquated-steel-tubs bullshit.  In March, the only balls that matter are those attached to the driver.  For a petrolhead, is there a better time of year than March?  No, no there isn’t.

Because March marks the end of a weird, gestation period in Formula 1 every year.  The sleepy winter tends to see racing factories “shut down”, though you know the engineers and supernerds are all still grinding away at race car design in secret.  The season’s race cars are typically introduced around January.  Then all the teams go to various racetracks and test the shit out of their new cars.  Problem is, you can rarely tell what they’re testing for – often it’s aerodynamics, sometimes it’s a suspension setup, sometimes it’s an exhaust configuration, sometimes it’s fuel consumption, sometimes it’s the tires.  But the lap times these cars rack up are typically useless to your average fan because you don’t know what they’re testing for.  Still, all of that comes to an end by early March.  The bullshit stops because it’s pencils down, and every team packs up their race gear – cars, tools, marketing swag, all of it – into large containers and fly the lot to Australia for the first grand prix race of the season.  March is when everyone stops fucking around.  March is when F1 gets real.

March is when I stay up ’til 5am on a Sunday to watch 24 completely insane drivers in race cars with wings and screaming engines fly around a racetrack for two hours.  At that hour, it is dark, it is quiet except for the 2.4 liter V8 engines, and it is fucking glorious.

So the F1 cars this year have fugly noses.  And we still have horrible teams that don’t belong in the sport (looking at you, HRT and Caterham).  But I’m not gonna care about that anymore…  because of this fucking guy:

KIMI‘S BACK!!!  ZOMG!  KIMI’S BACK!!!!!  I haven’t been this excited about any single driver since, say Sebastian Vettel’s first race for BMW at the 2007 U.S. Grand Prix.  Thank God this madman is back in the sport.

F1 is back.  And it’s a beautiful thing.  In spite of that nose.


But March isn’t just about F1.  Le Mans cars will only now be gearing up for some good and proper thrashing around the test tracks, in preparation for the annual slog in July.  Le Mans is a treat for the eyes, the ears, the heart, the mind, all of it.  This year, everything’s full of hybrid/electric/kinetic-powered/voodoo witchcraft/space-age wizardy.  I’m quite sure that teams are permitted to cast magic spells and summon dragons during pit stops.  Audi have announced two mental cars for this year’s competition (no need to bring up last year’s crashes, mmkay).  That’s lovely and all.

But here come Toyota – “I tell you what, there’s no school like the old school”:

Just look at that fucking thing.  It’s hideous.  Sure, it’s a new car and all, but it’s got this lovely old school look and feel about it.  And… and… ahh, fuck it, it’s not gonna win anything anyway, so I’m not gonna waste anymore time on it.

In fact, I think I’m done rambling about racing now.  Let’s just watch some videos of the Morgan-badged OAK Racing prototype and the Aston Martin Vantage GTE and call it day.

Time to go racing, bitches.


When I read for the first time about the idea that New Jersey wanted to host a Formula One grand prix race, I rechecked to article to see if I’d inadvertently been reading The Onion.  At first it was only within the F1 press, which most F1 fans will tell you, make up 50% of the bullshit stories on a good day.  Some time went by, then other proper news channels like the BBC, USA Today (granted, not a proper news source, more like a colorful doormat at hotel rooms), and the like started to give credence to the story.

Shit, I thought.

Then Tuesday, October 25 rolled around and the press conference happened at 2pm.  About a kabillion politicians proudly declaring a second grand prix race to be run in the U.S., to accompany the U.S. Grand Prix to be run in Austin from 2012 on.  From 2013 on, Weehawken and West New York will jointly host another F1 race.  They claim that it’ll be “challenging like Spa” and “feel like Monaco”.  Yes, it’ll be exactly like Spa and Monaco.  If both Spa-Francorchamps or Monte Carlo were built and run by Paulie Walnuts.  Because when I think “glitz and glamor of the Riviera”, I automatically think “Weehawken.”  And West New York, a town so bereft of a proper identity that it’s named after a navigational direction from a city which lays in an entirely different state.

It’ll still smell and look like New Jersey, for fuck’s sake.

The Hudson River Grand Prix.  The Lincoln Tunnel Grand Prix.  The Meadowlands Grand Prix.  The North Jersey Grand Prix.  The Smells-Like-Bad-Eggs Grand Prix.

Never have I witnessed something so horrific yet so hilarious.  Except maybe for Nancy Grace and Chaz Bono sharing the same prime time hour.  The horror… the horror.  But holy shit, that’s fucking hilarious.

Here’s why the Dirty Jersey Grand Prix is a phenomenally bad idea.

Traffic.  New York and its surrounding areas are already packed to the gills with some of the most dreadful traffic known to man.  There are a gajillion terrible vehicles on shredded roads all over in and around New York.  The last fucking thing I need is for the F1 circus to come to town and jam up the roads even more.

It’s New Jersey.  Has anyone ever looked at New Jersey and ever thought, “New Jersey, now that’s a well-run state.  I wish we could be like New Jersey.”  No one in the history of time has ever said anything that retarded.  It’s a state that is so up its own ass with bad decisions and even worse management that it damn near imploded into a black hole several short years ago.  How the fuck can anyone trust this state to properly run a grand prix?  A grand prix is a big fucking deal.  Hundreds of millions of eyeballs around the world are going to be on it.  New Jersey?!  It’s already the biggest fucking joke in the hemisphere – New Jersey, is this your attempt to become the biggest running joke of the entire universe?   Canada will not take kindly to that.

European and South American douchebags.  New York already has clueless tourists coming out if its ears.  Do we really need several thousand extra douchebags from Italy, Germany, France or Brazil fucking up this city?  “But, oooh they’ll spend lots of money here.”  No, they fucking won’t.  These shitheads will show up with backpacks and sleep in the Holland Tunnel or outside Port Authority.  They’ll eat at Sbarro then whinge about how shitty New York is.  They’ll order Bud Lights then moan about the piss-water beer.   At least when the grand prix was held in Indianapolis, the distance from the port of entry might’ve been a bit of a deterrent for some.  Now that it’s right smack in the New York area, these fuckers are going to show up by the shedloads.  The grand prix is going to held in New Jersey.  Do you think they’re going to spend any time in New Jersey other than when the racing’s taking place? Like fuck.  These assholes are going to swarm into the city like locusts.  Large, hairy, smelly locusts.  And there’s going thousands of them.  Thanks to EasyJet or any of these other budget European or South American airlines that’ll let them fly into JFK for the price of a baguette.  Fuck.  That.

Everything is going to be stupidly expensive.  And I’m speaking relative to already jacked up NYC prices.  Plus, I’m going to be locked out of every decent restaurant in the city.  Because that’s what these fuckers do when the F1 circus rolls into town.  Doesn’t matter where it is, everything becomes increases exponentially in price.  A $5 falafel from the street meat truck will now cost you $9!!  I remember paying shitloads of money for some shitty Days Inn motel room on the outskirts of Indianapolis.  On a given day, the room would’ve probably cost $30 and you’d get a can of Lysol with that.  But on race weekend… $200!  Plus an extra $20 if you wanted clean sheets!  Motherfuckers.  Same shit’s gonna happen to all my favorite food joints.  If you can even get in, that is – if they haven’t all been booked up for every manner of F1 party the week leading to the race.  Red Bull are probably going to throw 25 different parties a night for a week and I’m not invited to a single one of them.  No one’s invited unless you’re 23 and have D-cups.  Vodafone will probably buy out a corner of downtown and give rides to their VIPs in McLarens (forget it, you’re not getting in).  I won’t be able to get a table at a restaurant in Murray Hill because Force India will have locked up that whole area the whole week.

This fucking guy.  I don’t wanna be anywhere in the same zipcode as Flav.  I might contract some disease from his slimy trail of suntan oil and sleazy underhanded dealings.  Seriously: Flavio Briatore is the greasiest douchebag ever to slither his way onto a grand prix paddock.  And now that his ban from the sport is over, you can bet your ass that he’s going to make his way to this grand prix event.  Because he’d be right at home in fucking North Jersey.  I’m getting skeeved out just thinking about this fat fuck.

Here’s the thing: I don’t mind going to a grand prix, I just don’t want a grand prix to come to me.  While part of me is pleased at the prospect of being able to get into my car, pull out of my own driveway, drive down to a grand prix race for the weekend, then drive home again (amidst hours and hours of stifling traffic), and NOT need to cough up gobs of cash for shitty flights and even shittier hotels in some other city, I still think it’s a fucking terrible idea.  I’d rather pay to go to someone else’s city to watch a grand prix than to have the F1 madness fuck up my city.

I’ll believe this is really happening when I see or hear the first 18,000rpm 2.4L V8 fire up in Weehawken.  And when that happens, who’s in?  Ahhh, fuck it, I’m in.

Typically, when someone thinks of an awesome weekend of car racing, it’s easy to default to Memorial Day weekend.  The Indy 500 is run on that day.  Sometimes, the schedules line up and you get the Monaco Grand Prix as well.  And then there’s always some NASCAR race going (these fuckers run year round, don’t they – shit, but not when there’s some hint of dew in the infield!).  Open-wheeled cars and steel bathtubs spend an entire day mindlessly driving around in a circle, with grand prix cars take processional laps for two hours around an over-the-top town dripping in riches in the south of France.  Yay.

But this past weekend… this weekend was a racing spectacle that any proper racing fan should’ve eaten up.  This weekend saw the running of the Bathurst 1000 in Australia, which was immediately followed by the Japanese Grand Prix.  One immediately followed the other on TV.  The TV network barely had time to flip the switch from one race feed to the next.

This was 8 hours of the best racing you’ll get all year.  And you fucking missed it, dipshit.

The Bathurst 1000 is one race in the Australian V8 Supercar series.  Does what it says on the tin!  It’s Australian!  The cars use V8 engines!  The cars are superb!  This race is a 621-mile blitz around an absolutely mental road circuit two hours outside of Sydney – called Mt. Panorama (and it lives up to its name) – which takes about 6 hours to complete.  The series is a spec series: there are only two makes of cars – the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore.

It’s like the thinking man’s NASCAR.  That sounds a bit like an oxymoron, doesn’t it.

But it is.  You’ve got fans who are fiercely loyal to either Ford or Holden (both American car companies, you xenophobes!).  Just like rednecks who love Dodge or Chevy or whatever in NASCAR.  The series dictates absolute parity amongst all the cars, regardless of make – just like NASCAR!  They bang doors and race right on the ragged edge.  The liveries on these cars are so lively chockful of sponsors, they make NASCAR cars look like Steve Jobs’ wardrobe.  And all the drivers sound like the Crocodile Hunter.

But they don’t drive around in ovals.  Fuck that shit.  These fucking guys take these mechanical animals and thrash them around proper race tracks with right-hand turns, hairpins, and chicanes.  This is proper racing.

And at the Bathurst 1000 is where you see some really fucking proper racing.  I’m not fucking around here – it was six hours of completely brilliant racing action.  There’s a long downhill straight which these guys use to draft the cars in front of them with some bullshit moveable wing.  And they pull off tons of crazy overtaking moves.  You get some brilliant car crashes, too – that’s the shit NASCAR fans live for, isn’t it – we got a massive fuel fire after a car hit a barrier.  The track and the car were engulfed in flames (after the driver got out safely, that is).  It looked like the Deep Horizon down under, and it was fucking awesome.  FIRE!!!

But that paled in comparison to the closing laps of the race.  This was a straight-on dogfight with Garth Tander being chased down by Craig Lowndes.  It was an absolutely heroic drive by both drivers, more so by Lowndes.  Lowndes was something like 100 yards behind Tander, and lap after lap, Lowndes ate through the lap times.  Every straight, he was faster.  Every corner, he attacked it faster.  ‘Til they both crossed the finish line nose to tail.  It was one of the most incredible drives I had ever seen.  Ever.

And you fucking missed it.


And as if that wasn’t enough adrenaline pumping furiously throughout your body, when the Bathurst 1000 concluded, the Japanese Grand Prix was starting up.

This was a big fucking race.  This was the race in which we’d prepare to crown a new F1 world champion driver.  Sebastian Vettel, the champ-to-be, had scored pole for the umpteenth time.  The Japanese Grand Prix was held at one of the most brilliant race tracks on earth, Suzuka.  It’s got a figure-8 layout.  If I gave a crayon to Michael J. Fox and asked him draw the figure 8, it’d look like Suzuka.

All the top drivers were driving for bragging rights, for the win, and Vettel would only need 1 championship point to stitch up the championship.  He only needed to finish 10th and it’d be a lock.  Only one problem: Vettel never races for points, he races for wins.  And he was on pole position with everyone out to ruin his day.

The race was ridiculous.  Vettel chopped across the racetrack at the start and almost drove a rival off the track altogether (front two cars on the left of the image above).  For me, it was worthy of a drive-through penalty, but the race stewards decided against it.  I’d have given him the penalty, then watch him claw back positions back up to P10 – that would have been brilliant.  But they raced on.  And holy shit, did they race like cheetahs being attacked by angry bees.

Drivers were taking the Degner Curve and the 130R curve flat out.  You do that if you want to see how fast you can crash into the far barriers.  Of if you have balls the size of the Goodyear blimp.  After some shuffling during pitstops, Jenson Button in the McLaren took the lead (rightfully, after being nearly forced off the track at the start by Vettel), followed by Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, with Vettel following in third.  And Vettel was told to hold station – do not pass, do not risk the championship points.  And that’s how they’d finish.

Button won because he drove with surgical precision.  He wore a special edition helmet with was covered in Japanese writing, that would be auctioned off with the proceeds going to support the tsunami relief effort.  It’s worth heaps now that Button actually won the race.  Vettel came in third, still got on the podium – he didn’t deserve to win this race because he started the race like an asshole.  But he would be champion at the end of the day.  Make that double world champion.   Actually, the youngest double world champion.  Holy shit, he’s good.

It was a superb race on a great racetrack with stellar drivers, and with all the stories and results you could hope for.  It was real and it was spectacular.

And you fucking missed that race, too, dickhead.


You almost don’t deserve this fucking video – it is the best of both worlds: an F1 car doing a lap around the Bathurst track.

That should make your sphincter pucker up nicely.


The most important film of the year

I’d waited for over a year, but on Friday, “Senna” finally opened here in NY.  Sold out screening – in fact, there was so much demand that at around 10pm, the movie theater decided to add one more screening at midnight.  I’ll bet that got sold out, too.

Of course: it’s goddamn “Senna”.

Admission: I’m a wannabe F1 hipster.  I wish I could say, “I’ve loved watching Ayrton Senna race since day one.”  I wish I was some sort of authority on Senna like a ton of F1 fans are.  But in truth, I got into F1 long after Senna’s demise.  I have no first-hand knowledge about Senna.  I have never watched him race.  I have never watched even a video of a complete race with Senna in it.  I have watched the occasional video highlight, and I’ve read many stories about the man in the early ’90s.  But I cannot claim any first-hand experience on this person who is universally considered the single-greatest racing car driver in the history of mankind.  Certainly in F1.  And for a slightly obsessive F1 fan like myself, there’s a slight hollow feeling from not having “been there” when Senna was racing.

So when this film was announced over a year ago, I was expecting this to help “fill in the gaps”.  I had secretly hoped that it would help me get up to speed on the one driver whom F1 fans still worship, get the inside scoop, be in the know like those who really did watch him race in the early ’90s, those who speak of him like they know him.  I wanted to be as well-informed that those whose fandom pre-date me.  But because I never watched him race, I don’t feel I’ll ever be part of this Senna “inside circle” I’ve conjured up in my head.  Still…

It’s not like we’re talking about an athlete (that’s right, fuck you, racing drivers are athletes, deal with it) who rocked the sport in your grandpa’s day.  It’s not like all the footage of Senna out there is in fuzzy black and white.  Senna was current, Senna was this generation.  Senna, technically, was my generation.

But one of the first things that hit me about the film was the immediate reminder that I have outlived Senna.  Like I’ve outlived all those rock stars in the 27 Club.  He was 34 when he died.  34!!  Fucking hell.

But as the film unfolded, I realized that I’d come into it all wrong.  Here was a film about an F1 driver, right?  F1 film = lots of racing action, lots of grand prix cars fighting it out on the track, lots on loud screaming engines wailing by, that sort of thing.  It’d be like a 100 minute collection of awesome YouTube F1 clips, but in higher quality and on a massive screen.  I thought it’d be an action movie.  I couldn’t be more wrong.  This was a film about the construct of a person.  And not just any person – this was a person who received god-like reverence and fear; who in turn, had such unshakable faith in God that he probably thought that God had made him somewhat immortal.  He raced with absolute abandon.  Of fear, not of responsibility.

The race footage in the film showed me just how frighteningly quick he was.  I never really had a proper appreciation for his ability to really thrash his car around the track and make his rivals look like they were standing still.  I never properly understood just how he overwhelmed the entire sport with his speed.  But what I walked away with most of all was a firm grasp of Senna’s unbending will.  An action movie doesn’t get you these things.  This film was much, much more than that.

This film also showed a side of the sport I had never known – the chaos of pre-race driver briefings, the I-don’t-give-shit attitude drivers had about wanting to race for other teams because they didn’t think their current team was any good, the anxiety drivers openly expressed to their team.

And the anxiety of the audience… watching “Senna” is quite like watching “Titanic”: you know exactly how things are going to turn out in the end.  And the foreshadowing of Senna’s end puts a good and proper knot in your stomach.  You want to reach through the screen when Senna says that he wants to leave McLaren to drive for Williams, grab him, and say, “No, for the love of God, don’t go!”  Your heart sinks the moment Williams announce Senna as their new driver.  The second you see him in that Rothmans-sponsored race suit, it’s like watching a countdown, you know that you’re watching the beginning of the end.  And there’s nothing you can do to stop it.  And every second leading up to the moment is agonizing, sad, and frightening, all spun together.

But that said, the dork fan in me also walked away feeling like there were lost moments in the film.  Stuff that I knew about, but wanted to see covered in the film.  Like when Senna walked down the pitlane to punch Eddie Irvine in the face because he’d had the balls to pass him on the track.  The 1993 Donington opening lap.  When Nigel Mansell gave Senna a lift after Senna ran out of fuel on the track.  When Senna pulled over to help another driver who’d crashed.

But that’s not the point, is it.  Those were single episodes in the grander course of Senna’s life.  Interesting markers along the way, not life-defining milestones (OK, maybe the Donington lap – correction, definitely the Donington lap).  Was the film a lesser film for their omissions?  Of course not.  And besides, I was already quite well versed in those episodes.  I needed this film to “fill in the gaps.”  What this film did was explain the meaning of Senna.

This film will inform.  And this film will make your heart bleed.  And that’s why this is the most important film of the year.

I’m one of those idiot adults who genuinely liked Cars.  Anthropomorphic iterations of my favorite inanimate objects?  Sure, why not.  It gave me a great way to connect with my elder kid – then 3 – as I was still fumbling around trying to figure out what the hell do I do with children (I’ve made marginal progress since then, about 0.05%).  He loved it, I fucking love it, and we went on to collect pretty much every fucking diecast model of the cars from that goddamn movie.  I’m not naive, I know how merchandising works, and I run headlong into it when it comes to my kids.  Whatever, I gotta do what I gotta do.

So, when we all heard about the making of Cars 2 a couple of years ago, naturally we got really psyched.  As psyched as kids can be about something they can’t really see yet (“Cars 2? WOW! Oh look, a shiny object over there…”).  Anytime a leaked still or a storyboard sketching made its way to the public, I’d show them to my kids.  I don’t know if I was doing to keep them psyched or to fuck with them.  Either way, the opening weekend came, and I was already having a dreadful feeling about the movie I couldn’t explain.  After seeing it, now I can – here’s why (spoilers, natch):

  • Pixar animators have likely started a cycle now in which live action filming will be fucked forever.  The rendering of textures of things like water and fire are absolutely bewildering.  You actually believe it’s real.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Their ability to animate life-like landscapes – and cityscapes alike – defy comprehension.  Yes, the animated humans are quickly coming, but they’ve still got work to do.  Watching Cars 2 is like watching the death of location shoots.  And if I start running out of reasons to go out to L.A., I’m gonna be pissed off.
  • It took them about five years to not be able to decide what kind of movie to make.  The first Cars movie was simple, straightforward, and made it really simple for kids to track with the story.  Here you’ve for some fucking spy caper wrapped up in some horseshit environmental agenda, with some semblance of a racing movie, further skewered with some horrendously disingenuous “just be yourself” message.  My younger kid actually got bored halfway through the movie.  How the fuck do you make a kids’ movie in which a 4 year-old gets bored halfway through it?
  • When we left the movie theater, I asked the kids what their favorite parts of the movie were.  Both of them, with no hesitation: “The guns.”  WTMF.  Is this Cars or Funnybot?  Literally, like Funnybot, there is a scene involving a pair of gatling guns and a mountain of spent shells.  Now, I’m all for violence in cartoons, I think it’s hilarious.  And it teaches the kids something.  I don’t know what, but look at how much Tom & Jerry we all watched and most of us turned out OK (I may be overestimating here).  Anyway, with Tom & Jerry, the violence was inventive, thought out, and screamed with variety.  In Cars 2, leaving much of the action to weapons is just fucking lazy writing.
  • Eddie Izzard was a complete waste in this movie.  Even the writers of the excruciating Ocean’s 12 or 13 knew how to squeeze in a bit of his stand-up references in the scripts (“Gunther?!”).  He had none of that.  Just a humorless wank of a role that might as well have been played by that Harry Potter kid – not Daniel Radcliffe, the ginger one whose name no one can ever remember, him.  Even someone like Michael Caine wasn’t given any nuggets to work with.  Would it be that hard to work in the line, “You’re a big car, but you’re in bad shape. With me it’s a full time job. Now behave yourself”?
  • The new characters are completely unlikable.  The kids like the F1 car, Francesco Bernoulli.  And let’s face it, they like him because he’s an F1 car.  And they like an F1 car because their dad eats, lives, and breathes F1.   There were no really interesting cameos like the previous movie (except maybe Lewis Hamilton?  But he’s a bit of a dick, so fuck him).  As for the old cars, they made them complete douchebags.  It was basically the Mater movie, and how much Larry The Cable Guy can you listen to before you want stab your ears with rusty spoons?  Any affection you felt for the characters from the old movie goes right out the window after you watch how tepid and completely uninteresting they’ve become in this new movie.
  • They couldn’t get the cast to agree on how to pronounce “grand prix”.  Nothing shreds my ear more than listening to the Amurrcan pronunciation of “grand prix”.  It’s a fucking French word, pronounce it the way it’s supposed to be pronounced.  You’ve got half the cast pronouncing it correctly, and then you’ve all the Yank voice actors saying “graynd pree” the rest of the time.  Fuck off, learn to pronounce it correctly, and for fuck’s sake, Lasseter, put some effort into some consistency in the dialogue.  Lazy wank.

Of course, I know this won’t be the end of it.  My kids will invariably beg for all the merchandising, ask to buy the DVD the minute it’s out – even the 4 year-old – and then we’ll be subject to this whole ordeal all over again.  Oh, I can’t wait.

Maybe that title is a bit of an overstatement.  In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s an overstatement, but I like the way it sounds so I really can’t be arsed to change it.

In any case, about this most pointless of streaks.  Most people are able to boast of a streak – or streaks – that are worthwhile.  Baseball is full of ’em.  But it’s not only relegated to pro sports, is it.  Shit, someone who’s been a vegetarian for any extended amount of time is on a streak.  A ridiculous, highly unnatural meat-free streak, but a streak nonetheless.  I’ve got other friends who have streaks, some bragworthy, some WTF-worthy: running around Central Park every day for 15 years plus, seeing every area Springsteen concert since the 1984, and so on.  So what have I got?

I have watched every Formula 1 race since 2000.

That’s it.  That’s all I’ve got some.  A 10-plus year habit of watching a fucking two-hour car race every two weeks from March through October.  On a whim, I turned on ITV one Sunday in March in 2000 and was instantly hooked on watching 20+ open-wheeled cars with wings fly around a track at 200mph for two hours.  I could barely tell one driver from another, one team from another, and yet I was riveted.

But let’s be clear here – I’ve spent the better part of these 11 years bitching and moaning about F1.  Everything pisses me off about F1.  The consistent inconsistency of the rules.  The perennial parade of incompetent drivers who couldn’t parallel park a Ford Focus but yet gain race seats because some rich fuck of an uncle who owns a chain of tanning salons in Peru and generously hands bags of cash over to shitty F1 teams.  The misguided technical philosophy that overemphasizes aerodynamic grip over mechanical grip.  The stupid forgettable teams that have come and gone.  It all fucking pisses me off.

And yet I can’t tear myself away from the sport.  My fortnightly weekend schedule is driven (ugh, pun not intended) by these races.  Even when I’m sick of how a race season is progressing, I still watch practically every lap of every race.  I can’t stop.  Somehow in my head, if I miss just one race, I stop being a qualified F1 fan.  Somehow I lose my ability to be knowledgeable on this insane sport.  Also, in my head, missing just one race would mean I’m a colossal failure.  Like that even makes any lick of common sense.   I can’t bring myself to stop this record of watching these races.  A record with which I can do absolutely nothing.  It’s not a skill, it’s not an achievement that anyone else aspires to, it’s not something that I can bring up in interesting conversation, and folks go, “Wow, that’s brilliant.”  Instead, I’d get quiet looks that scream, “What a complete fuckwit.”

It’s such a stupid streak to keep.

And when I look back at this stupid streak, and all I can imagine is me sitting in front of my TV watching a race one day – and being at the receiving end of an incoming ICBM – and muttering, “Oh, I’ve wasted my life.”  I don’t want to be Comic Book Guy.  The Comic Book Guy of F1.

Star Wars.  It was quirky, I was kinda into it because I was happily living vicariously through my kid who is all Star Wars all the time.  But he’s six, and it’s his goddamn right to be all Star Wars all the time.  But all the other Star Wars shit that sprouts up in blogs every week – that’s getting a bit too much.  It’s time to calm the fuck down with all the quirky Star Wars shit.  It’s bad enough that the fourth day in May is now universally considered Star Wars Day.  But enough with the art deco posters, crocheted tauntauns, Death Stars made of cheesecake, VW Passat ads, and fuck knows what else.  There’s a reason we all hate Episodes I, II, and III – anything other than the original three movies is utter shit.

Pippa Middleton.  Stop it: she’s not that hot.  She’s a bit of a butterface, and she’s really not that interesting, is she.  Everyone’s banging on about how hot she is, her ass is this and her ass is that, when in reality, while she might be a London 9, she’s about a New York 5.  Puh-leeze.  If she wasn’t related to the girl who married a prince, there’s a better than average chance that you wouldn’t pay attention to her in a bar on a Saturday night before five Stellas.

Doctor Who.  If this isn’t the most improbable TV success ever, I don’t know what is.  How the fuck did this fucking show make it out of its first season.  It’s a ridiculous premise with incredibly shoddy production value, and like a pint of warm bitter, only the Brits have an appetite for it.  Ridiculously better shows have come and gone, yet this stupid show about wheeled trash cans with toilet plungers carries on for about 50 years.  What the fuck.  Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant cap the genius of “The Office” (I’m not acknowledging the stupid, unfunny U.S. version) and “Extras” to two seasons a piece.  And this Doctor Who shit gets regurgitated for five decades?  I repeat, what the fuck.

Natalie Portman.  Let’s not hear from you again ’til that kid of yours is ready for college, how about that.  Is it just me, or did this girl crowbar her way into one in every three movies over the past year?  Enough already.  You’ve got gobs of cash from those shitty Star Wars movies, you really don’t need to say yes to every script that gets dropped into your mailbox.  I got over the Black Swan by the time you started to cry for the third time in that film.   Like fuck that was the best movie of 2010 (for that, please see “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”, thank you very much).  Since that movie, it’s been one hacky bullshit movie after another.  I was really hoping that this would be the last thing we see from you for a while:

Ex-F1 drivers racing in circles.  Good God, enough of this shit.  All thanks to that fat asshole, Juan Pablo Montoya, no less.  Just because his girth qualified him for stock car racing doesn’t mean that every other ex-F1 driver needs to have a go at NASCAR.  Going to and failing at NASCAR (which they’re all doomed to do) simply bogs down the reputation of grand prix drivers.  It makes Yanks think that grand prix drivers are rubbish.  Which is entirely untrue, unless your name is Felipe Massa or Mark Webber.  Which is what makes Kimi Raikkonen’s insistence to go to NASCAR after fucking around with the WRC that much more irritating.  Knock it off, Kimi – you used to be one of the best grand prix drivers on and off the track.  F1 hadn’t seen a beast like Raikkonen since the advent of his own hero, James Hunt.  I can’t see any other driver in the past 10 years who was marginally close to Kimi’s skill of not giving a fuck about the rules: getting loaded ’til dawn between races, dressing up in animal costumes during race weekends to hang with fans, taking part in contract-violating jet ski races incognito.  Kimi was brilliant in every way, right down to him Cylon-like interviews.  There was no other driver like him.  Not even close.  And now he’s fucked that up by associating with likes of Juan Pablo Montoya and Jacques Villeneuve by driving around in circles Stateside.  What an asshole.

The girl in Glee with the large schnoz.  I don’t know what her name is, I’m irritated enough as it is for even knowing who this broad is.  God, am I ever sick of seeing her on magazine covers every month.  What makes her particularly annoying is her propensity to flaunt what she doesn’t have – a rack.  Put your retarded bird chest away, seriously.  It’s just stupid.  Who’s your publicist, Kate Hudson?  I have a chubby belly, you don’t see me running around pulling a “Situation” every time someone takes a photo of me.

There is no love lost between me and Malaysia – I left that stupid country ages ago for a lot of reasons, albeit, to the detriment of my ability to be close to family (who are not stupid). And it seems that select folks in that country – not everyone, just a distinguished few – take every available opportunity to further affirm my decision to get the fuck out of Dodge. How that peninsular hasn’t crumbled into the South China Sea under the weight of all the stupidity from these people is beyond me.

Right near the top of this list are the people behind arguably the most loathsome F1 team in recent memory, Team Lotus. The team are an idea born out of egomaniacal greed and an unbridled exhibition of ill-educated thinking. A group led by some Malaysian cut-rate airline boss who decided that he needed have his ego stroked at every turn so what better way than to blow a ton of cash on a multi-million dollar grand prix team. This is how cut-rate this whole operation is: the entire aesthetic of the brand is ripped-off from Virgin. Everything. But props where props are due – this asshole was crafty enough to negotiate a license to the Lotus name from Lotus Cars. While it chapped my ass to no end that some bullshit team had now sullied what I consider the good name of Lotus, it was what it was, and the damage was done. Lotus were being represented in F1 by some cut-rate team (to go with the cut-rate airline) who had absolutely nothing to do with Colin Chapman’s legacy. Team Lotus, the F1 team, haven’t produced a single road-going car despite their namesake, they have contributed fuck-all – technology or otherwise – to the famed Lotus car company. They have NOTHING to do with the real Lotus – Lotus is a name slapped on a registration form filed in Knightsbridge to allow this stupid team to put two extremely shitty cars on the F1 grid every fortnight.

But the straw that broke the camel’s back came this week when the Lotus F1 team bought Caterham cars. Here’s a breakdown of the clusterfuck.

  • The late great genius Colin Chapman started Lotus Cars in 1952, and proceeded take part in F1 with his Lotus racing team in 1958
  • The Lotus Car company as we know it today are owned by the Malaysian car company, Proton, which bought it in 1996
  • In 2010, Air Asia bought an F1 team and entered the competition. They licensed the Lotus name from Proton, raced under the name “Lotus Racing”, and used Lotus’ historic green-and-yellow livery. Beyond that, the F1 team have nothing to do with Lotus. The team race with Renault engines. Renault are also competing in F1.
  • For 2011, the Lotus Car company decided that they’re done being spectators and want back into F1. But instead of going all-in with the Air Asia F1 team (Lotus Racing), they decided to buy into the Renault F1 team instead. The Renault team are renamed Lotus Renault GP. Thankfully, they don’t run the green-and-yellow livery also; instead they use the black-and-gold livery based on the John Player Special tobacco sponsorship from the ’80s. Are you fucked in the head yet? They’ve opted to paint their cars the color of a now-defunct former sponsor in the sponsorship category (tobacco) that is now banned from the sport.
  • In April 2011, Team Lotus F1 (the Air Asia-backed race team) bought Caterham Cars. Caterham’s flagship car, the Caterham Seven, started life as the Lotus Seven in the late-’50s, designed and built by Colin Chapman. That’s right, it was a Lotus. Which eventually got sold off to Caterham in the ’70s. And now this fake-Lotus F1 team have bought a not-quite-Lotus carmaker in a desperate bid for racing legitimacy.

Are you tracking this colossal clusterfuck of stupidity? Are you sufficiently fucked off yet? I know I am. Two Lotus racing teams in F1. Both running Renault engines. Two fuckwit companies engaged in the pettiest of transactions over a stupid name. Both teams are dragging each other to court over the Lotus name. There’s no doubt that the Air Asia assholes are banking on losing their case – so if they can’t use the Lotus name, they’re banking on being able to use the Caterham name in F1. What a fucking joke. A joke that can be traced all the way back to Malaysia on both sides.

Lotus was a brilliant brand, built up by an engineering genius and at some point, it actually stood for something good and wonderful and inspiring. Now, it’s a fucking punchline thanks to two Malaysian companies, who have pulverized it to dog shit. Dog shit laughs at the Lotus name in F1.

I weep for Colin Chapman. The man was decades ahead of his time, and he proved to be one of the single-greatest innovators in past 100 years. He built a remarkable marque and he built brilliant cars – both on the road and on the race track – to back it up. And this is what his legacy has been reduced to. Fucking hell. Sorry, Colin.