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September 07, 2008

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Jonathan B.

Jim:

Before I get into the F1 spiel, please have a safe trip down here this week and I hope to see Brian and yourself somewhere along the way... Once you get to the Targa start-line, remember to have a safe yet exciting trip along your magical journey as well ;) I am still kinda rooting for the Paynter brothers in their shiny new 'preza (why oh why didn't someone ask me to run car #110 this year?) but I'll keep a moistened eye out for your Mini too.

Anyhow - This season is my first following of the Grand Prix (aka Ecclestone express) and I now religiously watch practice/quali/raceday and all other available F1 related TV content. Kubica and Lewis were my favorites from the beginning and I've been rooting for Kovalainen occasionally as well (Constructor points + he can drive). Montreal was amazing, other races were good but Spa-Francorchamps looks like a track I'd kill to run even an Aries K on.

I watched the race Sunday night (God love those Tivo-like-PVR's) and with 6 or 7 laps to go - even my non-car-loving wife was on the edge of the couch waving her elbows (and 5 minutes earlier had said "can we please watch something else"). Amazing driving by several folks and changing tires with 1 lap to go is something I would NEVER have assumed would be a good idea (Heidfeld, Alonso) and overall I was weak and excited at the end.

I don't have the F1 pedigree nor years of historical race knowledge to honestly acclaim the unfairness of what happened. I immediately thought it was a bad call. Lewis is much younger than I, but he has been in enough GP2/kart/... races to know how to give back the lead position after going off track and if 99% of people say it was a bad call, then lets hope they have some sense and reverse the decision but with the events of the past I highly doubt it.

All I can ask from Bernie and the FIA is: Please can we not have the semi-final game decided while everyone is sitting on the bus half ways back home... Two races in a row with so many glaring mistakes is bad. I know if that's the way things played out for me, I would have taken my stick/skates/ball/... and gone home.

Sean McConnell

I usually don't watch F1 any more. It's become so technical that the race is typically won by the guy who leads the first lap. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to happen upon the end of this race. I went through every emotion any racing organization would want their fans to go through. I actually yelled and laughed out loud several times during the last couple laps. I witnessed an amazing display of wet-weather driving by an incredibly talented Lewis Hamilton. His McLaren's back-end was constantly twitching in an unsuccessful attempt to show its young driver that it is more car than he can handle. While Raikkonen caved under the pressure and sent his Ferrari into the wall. Hamilton conducted himself like the true champion he is destined to be.

Later, I turned the channel feeling pretty good about F1. Maybe, I thought, it will become part of my weekend viewing schedule once again, adding a bit of variety to my NASCAR-dominated schedule. But when I watched the Speed News later that night and found that Lewis Hamilton had his win STOLEN from him, I was immediately restored to my opinion of Formula One that I held the day before this Belgian Grand Prix.

I used to race F1 very seriously on my computer (once, I even skipped a day from work just to win at France! It took me 9 hours, restarting again and again, but then, finally, victory was mine!!). I know the focus F1 drivers have to have to be successful at that level. I have come to believe that most are like computers themselves. Their brain loads a program-like set of instructions and they execute those instructions lap after lap until the race is over. Not very exciting for race fans if you ask me. So to see a driver like Lewis Hamilton make split-second decisions and improvise his way to victory the way he did, I can only hope he finds his way to NASCAR some day, where his style is vastly appreciated by it's fans and sanctioning body alike.

The Old Man

Couldn't agree more. Over the last few years, they've turned F1 into a political farce.

The only thing left worth watching are the Pit Babes over at Red Bull.

Jim Kenzie

Hi Jonathan:

Thanks! We fly in Friday, and will be taking on some pretty hot competition again.

But our trusty MINI is up for the challenge!

As for F1, it's enough to make you cry. I see McLaren has formally launched an appeal - I can't see how this decision can be allowed to stand. Niki Lauda called it the worst decision in F1 history, and HE'S a former World Champion with Ferrari!

Cheers,

Jim

Kevin

My experience was pretty much identical to Sean's. I woke up and turned the TV on to catch the race with 6 laps to go, and was absolutely thrilled. I caught it on Speed and wasn't sure whether it was a live feed, or whether it was just a replay of some wickedly entertaining race that had happened in the past. It wasn't until I changed to TSN that I realized that it was in fact live and I had just witnessed the greatest F1 finish I'd ever seen outside of highlight reels from years gone by.

I'm no long term F1 fan or anything. I tried to get into it last year, but was bored by most of what I saw. Every time I've caught some action this year though, I've been generally impressed. I'm absolutely convinced that taking away some of the electronic driver aids has been the best thing F1 has done in modern history.

Then... later on in the car... I heard talk on the radio of this ridiculous decision to take the win away. I didn't even know what might have caused it as even the commentators during the race had made a point of how Hamilton had done everything correctly in giving up the lead after cutting the corner.

Later on I looked it up online to see what happened and it basically sucked all enthusiasm I had about this sport right down the drain.

I'll happily keep watching NASCAR and leave this political mess for the Europeans. I remember a long time ago hearing about how NASCAR never wants anyone to leave the racetrack without knowing who won. I think this F1 fiasco is serving to drive home how important that really is.

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