ARE EMPTY SEATS BECAUSE OF OUTRAGEOUS HOTEL ROOM PRICES?
Under beautiful sunny skies, and with just about every seat occupied (more about that in a moment), Fernando Alonso of Ferrari threw down the gauntlet at the Grand Prix of Canada today by setting the fastest time in the second practice session at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.
Qualifying will be held tomorrow at 1 p.m. (TSN) with the race going Sunday – same time, same station.
Alonso’s lap time of 1:15.107 was slightly better than the 1:15:591 set by Nico Rosberg of Mercedes in the first session this morning. While Alonso, who was second behind Rosberg on the time sheets earlier, improved on his time, Rosberg went right down the toilet in the second session, finishing 19th of the 24 cars that took time.
His teammate, Michael Schumacher, who was third this morning, slipped to 19th this afternoon.
World Champion Sebastien Vettel, who crashed during the morning session at the infamous Wall of Champions after he drove his Red Bull-Renault over a curb, rebounded this afternoon and was second on the charts.
He was followed by Felipe Massa (Ferrari), Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, both in McLaren-Mercedes cars, Paul Di Restra in a Force India, Mark Webber in the second Red Bull, Vitaly Petrov in the Renault, Nick Heidfeld in the second Renault and Rubens Barrichello in a Williams-Cosworth.
Two big surprises: Di Resta is a rookie and although the Force India car shows flashes of fastness on high-speed circuits, it usually doesn’t do as well on twisty, stop-and-go tracks like Montreal. And Vettel’s partner, Webber, was expected to do much better than seventh and 12th in the afternoon and morning sessions, respectively.
You wondered if some of these guys had ever been to the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve before, as besides Vettel, Kamui Kobayashi, Adrian Sutil and Jerome D’Ambrosio crashed. (Okay, we’ll forgive D’Ambrosio, who’s in an F1 car for the first time in Montreal. But the others . . .)
Also, since I’m on about crashing here, where are the FIA safety people? How can they continue to give the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve a pass when there are exposed cement walls all over the place?
Olivier Panis was lucky to escape with his life in 1997 when his Prost went into an exposed wall and yet those walls are still as naked today as they were then. Kobayashi today went head-on into an unprotected wall.
Have they not heard of SAFER barriers? Tire walls?
They only put tires up against the wall down near the hairpin after Robert Kubica’s crash in 2008. Must they wait until somebody else gets hurt, or almost killed, before fixing that place up?
Okay, it was a gorgeous day but why were there empty seats at the circuit today? Montreal is sold out of reserved seats, so how come some people didn’t show up today? Canada is a hotbed for F1 and one of the things about Montreal is that from first practice on, the place is always packed. Or has been in previous years.
Of course, one of the reasons could be that they are from out-of-town and purchased tickets but took a pass on attending Friday because of the outrageous hotel room prices in downtown Montreal.
You want gouging? I’ll give you gouging. Try to find a decent hotel room for less than $500 a night. I love the Queen Elizabeth, and always stay there when I’m in Montreal, but not at Grand Prix time. Try $600 a night. Appalling.
NASCAR CANADA WINNER CAUGHT CHEATING
I’m sure that NASCAR, NASCAR Canada and the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series are very embarrassed about the developments that took place at Circuit ICAR last weekend.
We know that Andrew Ranger wrecked Indy 500 pole-winner Alex Tagliani in the closing stages of the race, thus taking over the lead. When Ranger was assessed a drive-through penalty for his actions (he might have gotten away with it but as he’d driven into defending champion D.J. Kennington earlier, NASCAR had their eyes on him), he refused to acknowledge the black flag and they finally had to disqualify him.
That gave the victory to Robin Buck but it turned out this week that Buck and his team had been cheating.
As is the tradition with NASCAR, Buck keeps the victory but was finerd 100 driver points, the car owner was fined 100 owner points and the chief mechanic was fined $5,000 and will not be allowed to compete in the Canadian Tire series until the fine is paid.
All this because an illegal carburetor was found in the post-race tech inspection.
Here is the NASCAR press release on the matter:
NASCAR announced today (Thursday, June 9) that the No. 66 team that competes in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series has been penalized as a result of rules violations committed Sunday, June 5, at Circuit ICAR in Mirabel, Quebec.
The team was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-I (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used do not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20E-5.10.1A (Carburetor Eligibility: The carburetor must remain as supplied by the NASCAR-approved supplier – Unapproved carburetor modification to the venturi location and carburetor boosters.) of the 2011 NASCAR rule book. The violations were discovered during post-race inspection on June 5.
Robin Buck, driver of car No. 66, has been penalized with the loss of 100 championship driver points.
Randy Gray, crew chief of the No. 66 car, has been fined $5,000. Suspended from NASCAR until fine is paid. Placed on NASCAR probation for the next two (2) NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Events. Placed on NASCAR probation until June 29, 2011.
Car owner Sandra D’Angelo, car owner of car No. 66, has been penalized with the loss of 100 championship owner points.