Monday, December 17, 2007

Say it ain't so Chisel-chin Coulthard

Here at AmericanF1FanBlog we may slightly disdain NASCAR, but only because it is boring to us, not because we think rednecks are silly and corny (they *are* silly and corny -- but we love that about them, plus young redneck chicks are sometimes hot).

The thing is -- I find NASCAR boring for the same reasons that I find IRL and Champ Car boring, or dirt track racing, or horse racing, or indoor bicycle racing… I just cannot get into the go fast -- turn left oval racing format, despite all the high speeds and passing.

I certainly understand why some people prefer it -- clearly it does take a lot of driving skill to go that fast for that long in such close proximity to others.

There's no doubt that it takes a lot of engineering skill to make your car better than all the others since they are so innately similar (unlike F1). There is obviously a lot of strategy on the part of the crews, drivers and directors to plan pit stops and the like.

But, on a basic level, it just doesn't speak to me like F1 -- even though I'd agree with some NASCAR-loving types who complain that F1 doesn't have enough passing (I'm with that, bigtime) or parity (F the Tifosi is right!).

All that said, it has been truly interesting to see the reverse immigration going on from F1 to NASCAR.

Montoya was immediately relevant (especially on the road courses -- I've often wondered why NASCAR doesn't run a full time road racing series???), and my boy JV did himself admirably in his debut at Talladega (despite all the "rookie" concerns by other drivers).

And you could easily imagine why drivers who can't get an elusive seat in F1 decide to leap into the sport… there's a lot of money, a lot more chances to get on the grid, and it must still be a lot of fun to go around.

But I am not ready for this.

In this story we are told that His Majesty DC, the Scottish Seraph of racing, he of the granite chin that attracts women like a terrestrial body, will mull a move to NASCAR when he's done in F1.

Ach, no, say it ain't so! This man is far too noble a beast to end up wearing a Hooters T-Shirt and driving a Chevy. Good god, doesn't this man own a hotel in Monaco and make international supermodels wet their pants merely by looking at them?

This is David Coulthard we're talking about here! Not only is he my favorite driver for my favorite F1 team, but this is a guy who seems like he speaks 40 languages and hasn't ever eaten at a Shoney's buffet in his life. He is a Beluga caviar and Dom P. kind of guy, not Coke and McDonald's! (In fact maybe he prefers shepherd's pie and a pint, but he sure doesn't act like it.)

I suppose there is some fittingness to it as I know that Innes Ireland, another wonderfully colorful, classy Scots driver, turned wheel at the Daytona 500 near the end of his driving days.

But not DC. It just doesn't seem right. It'd be like Toyota running in NASCAR or something (oops).

I realize that I am making little tangible sense as to why he shouldn't do it (I certainly don't begrudge him the opportunity if Red Bull decides he's not the right man to have in their car and he wants to keep driving)… but it is such an affront to the cultured, rarified air of F1 that it strikes me as wholly inappropriate.

Would Mansel have ever raced NASCAR? Schumie? Moss? I think not (but then again, I'm not sure at all if any of them did at some point, we know that Super Mario did, but he's American so it doesn't count).

Seeing David Coulthard driving a big bloated sedan covered in cheeseburger ads around a ring would make me a very sad boy indeed. It would be like watching one of the aforementioned race horses pulling the Budweiser wagon. (although admittedly if RBR had fired him to make room for Alonso it might have hurt less, and you might not hear me whining…)

But, alas, I suppose it's not for me to say in the end…

Even so, I will beg ...please, please, don't do it DC! (but if you do, win!)

It will be the end of an era when DC's time in F1 is over.

Don't desecrate the memory by driving a car that's better fit as a taxi!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Silly Season Starting Grid

So, here we are. American fans of F1 racing, the few, the proud, the unloved.

After a year during which we saw the cancellation of the U.S. Grand Prix, the firing of Scott Speed from Toro Rosso -- the lone American-born pilot in the class, and repeated quotes from F1 head honchos to the effect that the sport doesn't care about or need America, we still find ourselves in love with the fastest, most thrilling race car driving in the world.

After all, as anyone who has ever been around the sport can attest, how can we not be smitten as such?

So what do we do?

Do we cry, gnash our teeth, beat our hairy man breasts or force ourselves to try and love NASCAR, IRL or Champ Car?

Fuck no! Not a chance. Doing so would only compromise our limited integrity.

Instead, we hope.

We hope that the elderly Harry Potter clone and Tony George find a way to get the Indy race back together (I still blame Michelin, you froggy bastards, it's not our fault that Olivier Panis sucked like a cold air induction system).

We hope that Graham Rahal or one of the other emerging young American drivers finds a chance (and a good chance, not a seat for Team Super Best Friends Last Place Aguri, but we love ya Sato!) to race in the sport in the next few years.

We hope that Red Bull decides to sponsor an all new event at Laguna Seca, or somewhere else, just as it has taken over the GP motorcycling races (more on my love of all things Red Bull in later posts).

We hope that Speed TV begins programming more F1 coverage during normal U.S. waking hours, and that they finally get a say in the broadcast direction so we can actually see the leaders passing eachother instead of another shot of Flavio Briatore's sweating armpits.

We hope that more of our countrymen realize that F1 racing is truly the creme-de-la-creme of autosport, forcing the aforementioned honchos and TV networks to cater to our revenue-driving selves in the name of gaining our advertising-loving eyeballs and merchandise-buying clout.

We hope.

And we write -- at least that's what I'll be doing here on this blog. Putting a face, or more accurately some words, behind the reality of what it means and feels like to be an American F1 fan, abandoned in so many ways by our favorite autosport, but still loving it because it kicks so much otherworldy ass over all other forms of racing.

(And most importantly since we can still go to Montreal for the GP du Canada, where the women are hotter and the parties much better than they were in Indy anyways...)

So, let the silly season rage on in Europe and elsewhere in the world where F1 is still a living, breathing concern...

We'll try to keep it on life support here in the old US of A where we've been left alone to wallow in our own personal pity party, like so many backmarkers watching the Schumies, Alonsos and Hamiltons fly by while the slow boys struggle with ceaseless hydraulic issues...

To the grid!