Thursday, 24 September 2009

All Filler, No Killer - The Confusion Abounds Edition

NASCAR drivers are simple beings.

Why else would the complain the end to the race was confusing?

Yes there was tyre smoke, and yes there was a yellow flag, but that's not exactly uncommon is it?

What are they going to be like when it gets really confusing (checks NASCAR schedule for Talladega), how do they cope in the real world where we have really confusing things, like having to cook at roast dinner, or women (please not, I'm saying women are confusing, not that cooking women is confusing (although it would be, you need to find a place to buy a bigger oven for starters))

Anyway - on with the show.

Max Papis - An easy start. The was no Max Papis at Loudon, and there is only so much you can write about fresh air - it's mostly nitrogen you know............10/10

Dave Blaney - One more race. One more retirement. One more excuse (electrical this week). It really is coming to the point where there is only so much you can say about Dave Blaney's "season"....................10/10

Michael McDowell - M&M called it a day after only 36 laps (maybe Tommy Baldwin wanted to work on his Phil Parsons-esque money counting). At this point in the season, cast your mind back to Daytona. What were we being told where the "feel good stories" of the season. Tommy Baldwin and Jeremy Mayfield, and what do we have now - just another field filler, and nothing at all............10/10

Aric Almirola - I have a confession to make. It wasn't until I can to start writing AFNK this week that I realised that Aric was in the #09 car (rather than Mike Bliss whose slot this is). Now that is a poor start (especially as I am one of the few who believes the young man deserves a proper Cup chance), even worse is going a lap down early and finishing 29th. Dear Aric, you only get so many chances in the shop window when people are looking, and you were looking in the wrong direction................8/10

Jamie McMurray - In the least surprising news since [insert a very unsurprising news story here, feel free to suggest your own in the comments section] Jamie McMurray is pretty much signed for Earnhardt Ganassi. However, still behind the wheel of a Ford he came a creditable 18th (one behind chief-Roushketeer Carl Edwards). And by way of comparison he was behind only one of the drivers who took 'his' ride at Yates (but what do I know of the people who make decisions)....................4/10

Brian Vickers - If anyone doubted Vickers' Chase credentials (OK, you can put your hands down now) then his run at Loudon should have done a lot to shut you up. His 26th place start, compared to Shrub's 9th, seemed to show the wrong Camry man was in the shootout, and although Kyle's 5th (admitedly with cheating) beat BV (which in nature stands for Belch Vocalisation, how gorillas communicate) by 6 places the Red Bull driver's push though the field and up to 8th in the standings showed that he might yet have a part to play yet...........2/10

Tony Stewart - Can we all club together and buy Tony Stewart a lucky rabbit's foot, or a four leafed clover, or at least repair the mirror he broke to try and solve the shoddy luck he and his #14 team have had the last few weeks. This week's curious failure was an axel cap, that plunged a front running drive, and return to form, to a battle for track position and very early Chase damage limitation...................4/10

And the Brikkie Goes To.............

OK, let's not beat around the bush, it's Dale Earnhardt Jr. I'm no fan at all of when driver's call each other out for a percieved lack of talent, and Jr. did exactly that to David Reutimann after their late race crash. David just got loose and Jr. happened to be in exactly the wrong place at the wrong time. It happens to everyone, I'm sure even St. Junior of Kannapolis has made the mistake occasionally. However, in his defence I suppose if anyone should be able to recognise anyone running out of talent it should be Dale Jr.

Next Week

The circus head to Dover, with the man on the tightrope of control, Sam Hornish Jr, Rocketman Ryan Newman, acrobat Carl Edwards, the trio of clowns with Tony Raines, Dave Blaney and Michael McDowell and Michael Waltrip - the bearded lady.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

All Filler, No Killer - The Chasing Your Tail Edition

OK, so it's the Chase again.

Do you like it or loath it?

Do you love the fact that drivers were fighting each other with single positions the difference between Chase and no Chase, and will be fighting for the next ten races for the title? Or loath the fact that the man who won the sport's biggest race and (arguably) the best driver in NASCAR will have to be contended with 13th.

Of course, NASCAR face a dilemma, as Dale "the cash-cow" Jr. isn't in the Chase (let's see them change the rules of next year). Nor, currently is he anywhere near the cut-off for next year's shootout, being about the 11th best Chevy in the standings, but that is but a small hurdle. Yes, there are quite a few Jr. rants week. You'll see.

Mike Bliss - Welcome to the merry-go-round that never stops that is the NASCAR driver market. On the merry-go-round this week Mike Bliss got off the horse-that-goes-up-and-down that is the #09 car and onto the static-sleigh-thingy of the #71 (if your interested in this strange metaphor David Gilliland was onto the bit-on-the-middle-that-doesn't-turn). And this week that static-sleigh-thingy had "transmission" troubles and finished 42nd....................10/10

Dave Blaney - The only man who failed to beat Mike was, the one, the only (thankfully as far as this season's "displays" have gone) Dave Blaney. Once more the Buckeye Blank was pulled in very, very early (36 laps the official count). And the good news is, with Yates and Petty merging for next year we're likely to have at least one more field filler. Competition for last place may soon become more fierce than for first......................10/10

Joe Nemechek - Are you sitting down? Good. Joe actually finished. I mean he almost did the proper race distance, only finishing 4 laps down, in 35th (for anyone else 35th would have me labelling them "anonymous" and "filler-ish", but Joe managing that this year is similar in surprise level to him managing to part the Red Sea, but if he can manage to get a proper sponsor for that I suppose there is always hope.............8/10

Dale Earnhardt Jr. - OK, so Jr. once again Dale Jr. looked like he might do something to warrant the hours of TV time that are dedicated to him, but once more failed miserably - I just want to find the first TV person to point out that Jr. is a failure as he's the only Hendrick car not in the Chase (and then follow him as he cashes his first Social Security check). However, the worst thing is the "Most Valuable Pit Crew", or whatever it is (it's probably got a sponsor in there somewhere). How in the name of chocolate covered pretzels can Dale Jr.'s pitcrew be considered valuable? They spent the first half of the season finding every excuse fathomable to be completely and utterly rubbish, and have spent the second half of the season being mediocre at best. No, it's clearly a sign that there are NASCAR fans who don't actually watch the racing, and only listen to the sentences that begin "look at Dale Earnhardt Jr...." or "Dick's got something on the 88 car." Rant Over...................7/10

Reed Sorenson - Reed Sorenson needs to win the lottery - that way we can get rid of Paul Menard to go and spend his inheritance and learn to shave properly. That's the only reason Menard the mobile chicane has a drive for next season, and Reed is out on his ear, despite finishing 16th to Menard's 28th, and while it was nice to see Reed trying to diversify into stunt driving as part of "Tony Stewart's Synchronised Spin Team" he is far better than to be jobless. Also, am I the only one who thinks that simply saying "Reynolds Wrap" is funny?.......4/10

Carl Edwards - Crippled Flipper did enough to get through to the Chase, there's not much you can say more than that. That was as well as winning the Nationwide race, and not being able to flip in celebration, which I suppose is a good thing, mainly because the scream of agony would have vapourised the first few rows of the crowd. However, it would be quite interesting to see how easy it is to thank all your sponsors while your foot is in jigsaw form...............4/10

Brian Vickers - Dale Jr. fans are very confused this week. They like Brian Vickers because he's kept Kyle Busch (the sworn enemy of Jr. nation) out of the Chase, but still have residual hatred for him from all the way in Talladega in what feels like a previous century, and of course for Lap124-gate at Daytona in February, where we all remember Vickers took out Jr. But Vickers fan(s), just rest safe i the knowledge that your man is in the Chase in a team that didn't exist three years ago, and Jr.'s a long way outside in the team that's set the pace for pretty much the past decade.........2/10

And the Brikkie goes too...........

Well, Clint Bowyer made a decent attempt at getting the last regular season Brikkie, but instead it gets aimed firmly at Matt Kenseth. Frankly, that was rubbish. To be honest the Brikkie was getting aimed as soon as your qualifying attempt was slower than thick syrup, and it looked like you'd rather be anywhere than Richmond this week, and anywhere other than the Chase next week, and if that was the case the second part of your wish came true.

Next Week

Another stellar line-up for AFNK, with Chase contenders Brian Vickers and Tony Stewart, the (officially) employmentally challenged Jamie McMurray, Italy's own Max Papis. And of course the trifecta of excuses of Dave Blaney, Mike Bliss and Michael McDowell.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

The All-Motorsport Power Rankings No. 35

Bad news everyone, I fear the beginning of the end is near as far as the racing season goes.

NASCAR has its 12 drivers that will fight it out of the title and elsewhere the first titles of the year being decided. Jan Charouz, Tomas Enge and Stefan Mucke too the European Le Mans Series title (and their Aston Martin Racing team took the teams championship) and Nico Hulkenburg became the first driver ever to wrap up the GP2 title before the final weekend.

But at the same time, 2010 is already taking shape, with NASCAR's silly season warming up, with yet another merger. Meanwhile, in F1, "Lotus" (scare quotes very necessary) have been awarded the 13th slot on next year's grid (and the new owners to BMW-Sauber have been given the 14th). Renault may also be there, though not with Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds at the helm.

15 Jarno Trulli (F1)
Jarno’s attention is slipping.

In Spa he was depressed into retirement after following Luca Badoer, and in Monza he explained his move on Nakajima by saying he “got a bit bored to be honest”.

14 Bernie Ecclestone (F1)
F1 in a recession.

Testing bans, engine freezes, budget cuts, major stakeholders making million dollar losses and Bernie gets a 15% pay rise.

13 Fernando Alonso (F1)
“I know nothing”.

Yes we know Manuel, I mean Fernando.

I’m sorry, he’s from Oviedo.

12 Mike Gascoyne (F1)
Back in F1 with Norfolk based, Malaysian backed “Lotus”.

Malaysian Prime Minister: “the cars will be made in Malaysia, by Malaysians.”

Last I checked Norfolk wasn’t in Malaysia (or the 21st century).

11 Nigel Mansell (Le Mans Series)
Is getting to drive with your dad in a 1000km race the adult equivalent of getting to sit in the passenger seat in the family car?

If so, I want to know why I always ended up in the back, and I still haven’t got my Ferrari.

Le Mans Series Silverstone report and results.

10 Mark Martin (NASCAR)
He’s jumped 9 places thanks to the Chase seeding.

That’s the old guy’s biggest leap since someone woke him up after he fell asleep watching MacGyver.

9 Jan Kopecky (IRC)
Winner in the IRC again.

Skoda still a punch line.

IRC Rally Asturias report and results.

8 Garth Tander (V8 Supercars)
Winner of the first Australian V8 Supercar Enduro race of the year.

His wife, Leanne, finished 19th.

Insert a stereotype of your choice here.

7 Jan Charouz (Le Mans Series)
Newly crowed Le Mans Series champion, expected to make it a double success at the upcoming “Smiliest Czech” competition.

6 Adrian Sutil (F1)
Yes, well done you got points.

Unfortunately you’re a fortnight too late of the fanfare, fireworks and first place in the Power Rankings.

5 Brian Vickers (NASCAR)
The only positive Red Bull related news week.

4 Nico Hulkenburg (GP2)
Here’s what GP2 champion Nico said about his engineer;

“He’s my bitch”

Despite winning the GP2 title, Nico won’t be in F1 year. His mother’s grounded him and carries on asking where he heard that word.

3 Denny Hamlin (NASCAR)
To Denny Richmond is like everyone else’s Daytona.

Richmond is roughly one-third the size of Daytona, so, applying logic, Denny must be the third the size of everyone else (roughly the size of a Labrador).

2 Jenson Button (F1)
Jenson on Rubens:

“He doesn’t know his arse from his elbow when it comes to racing cars”

Funnily enough, that was going Flav’s defense next week.

1 Rubens Barrichello (F1)
His helmet in Monza supported Nelson Piquet Jr.

Surely the best way to support him would to show easy it was to crash and help your teammate?

Photo Credits with Ranking Number. 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8, 6, 5, 3, 2 & 1: Getty Images, via 11, 7 & 4: LAT. 9: Autosport.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

McMurray out in the cold? Others will follow

Last week, almost silently the Yates Racing team and Richard Petty Motorsport reported they were to merge into a single four car team for 2010.

This is nothing new, these days merges and co-operative efforts are all the rage in NASCAR. Yates, already has a tie in with Roush Racing, and with Hall of Fame Racing for the running of the No.96 car. RPM on the other hand has already been through one complete merge, having blended with Ray Evernham’s efforts for this season, resulting in the four car team that this year has run cars for Reed Sorenson, A.J. Allmendinger, Elliott Sadler and Kasey Kahne.

The announcement of the new merged team also came with an announcement of the four drivers who will pilot the Fords they will run.

Kahne, Sadler and Allmendinger will join from RPM, while Paul Menard (and his daddy’s money) will come in from Yates’ existing team.

With the announcement all eyes were on the odd ones out. Hall of Fame look to be out on their own again, and Reed Sorenson is the sole RPM driver to find himself without a ride in the new team, and judging by talk at Richmond over the weekend, for 2010 at all as yet.

However, the real odd man out may have escaped notice.

Jamie McMurray.

We all know that Roush has to trim their five car effort to four over the off season as per NASCAR’s rule. And we all know (barring a massive turn around) that it’s McMurray who will be shown the door.

Knowing this for months whenever quips of questions flew surrounding McMurray’s future, just about everyone was saying he would be let out by Roush in name only.

Everyone expected Roush to continue, if not increase its interest in Yates’ operation and install McMurray in the team.

And that might still happen – Roush increasing it’s interest in the new team running Fords. But McMurray won’t (or can’t as it appears) be there, as with four drivers already named they are limited by the same rule that puts Jamie out at Roush.

So, where can Jamie McMurray go?

More than ever there are a dwindling number of open competitive rides, and still the same number of drivers looking to fill them.

You can point, as many have, at the seat Martin Truex Jr. is vacating at Earnhardt-Ganassi (oh, look another merged team), and he may well go there (although personally I’d like to Aric Almirola given a fighting chance for the seat). And then what else is there?

Not much.

And Jamie McMurray is only one name looking for a ride.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

All Filler, No Killer - The Kid in the Candy Shop Edition

I am a kid who has been given the keys to the candy shop, and the delivery times of the candy truck every week so he can get the fresh stuff before anyone else gets their grubby hands on it.

Yes, through my other amatuer writing I have been given the keys to the realm of NASCAR media.

And, of course, like the metaphorical kid in sweet shop, I haven't a clue what to do with it right. I'm sure you'll agree AFNK isn't exactly the most statistically in depth peice of writing in the world, but there are so many shiny numbers and quotes and facts and figures and more numbers and pictures.

Well it's enough to make you think so hard you'll let a little bit of wee out.

And with that stunning bodily-function related revelation, let's get on with it.

Tony Raines - Kicking off a bumper crop of field fillers this week, comes the man in the #37 car, who managed to limbo under the bar of lowness set by Blaney, Nemechek and company by actually failing to qualify, turning a lap at 176mph, some 3mph slower than the lowest other go-or-go-home car. However, he was 2mph faster than Eric Darnell, who must have lapped the entire Atlanta metro area he was so slow...................12/10

Regan Smith - And this week I bring you not just one, but two DNQ sob stories - and this one has even more sob, as it has slightly less rubbish driver. Regan Smith would have been fast enough to get in the field (4mph faster than Darnell the Cab driver) had Atlanta not been one of the races that the, apparently retired, Terry Labonte turned up to with his Champions' Provisional round his neck (I always imagine they wear these things round their neck like media passes). (Oh - media - look there were 31 cars on the lead lap on lap 160)..........11/10

Dave Blaney - Back to the well trodden field filler pastures of Dave Blaney and Prism Racing, who this week managed only 19 laps (the days when Dave would complete a dizzying 49 laps are but a distant happy memory now) before retiring to the pits, with an "electrical" problem. Presumably it's the same sort of electrical 'problem' I have when I forget to plug my laptop in and it runs out of battery.................10/10

Joe Nemechek - And completing only 6 more laps than Dave, but paradoxically banking 300 fewer almighty dollars, comes Joe Nemechek, whose excuse this week was brakes. That means, stat fans, that Atlanta was the fourth time Joe has claimed brakes stopped his race, making it his favourite excuse, with 'brakes' now being a clear leader over 'transmission'. And I didn't even need the media gubbins to find that out..............10/10

A.J. Allmendinger - Hooray for someone that actually raced! OK, so it's only A.J. Allmendinger, but it's an improvement. A.J. just avoided the 20-somethings of anonymity by finishing a glorious 20th from a 35th starting position, but otherwise had a very quiet race, completing absolutely zero "quality passes" (I'm a beginner at statistics, I haven't a clue what a quality pass is - presumably one where he has no hands on the wheel, or is steering with his feet as he's passing or something else to raise it from 'ordinary' into 'quality')....................6/10

Kurt Busch - The winner of the first Atlanta race brought back the same car, and found the situation very different indeed, struggling to hold on to his car (but then I think everyone was at some point) until he decided to try and reprise his 'Unwind Lap' routine and only succeeded in finding the wall, and waking Joey Logano up..............................5/10

David Reutimann - I'm guessing David doesn't much care for the statistics I now have at my fingertips this week. With his fourth place finish he is still in mathmatical contention for The Chase, using the word 'mathmatical' in the way only sports analysts can of dismissing someone's chances out of hand. And let's be fair to actually be in the top-12 after Richmond David needs a large swathe of Virginia to open up and swallow about a dozen NASCAR drivers (or 42 to be on the safe side), or at least find a way of taking Matt Kenseth out before Blaney, Nemechek and their gang decide to stop for coffee..................3/10

And the Brikkie Goes To.......................

Carl Edwards. Carl, consider this a hold over Brikkie as AFNK doesn't explicitely cover the Nationwide Series. You steal Marcos' Nationwide victory and write off his Grand-Am car last week. That had me calling for Karma to come and get you (read the Power Rankings and you'll understand) and it did. Karma punishes you with a broken foot, and engine trouble (although at least it meant we saw less of that paint job - I know it was a cancer charity, and it's not PC to say so, but that was hideous). That cumulative two week extravaganza of moronic behaviour earn Flipper a Brikkie - aimed at his foot.

Next Week

NASCAR heads for the paradise of The Chase by the dashboard light of a Richmonf night race. And AFNK gets some high profile play mates, with limping Flipper Carl Edwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Chase hopeful Brian Vickers and Reed Sorenson (provided he's not scanning classifieds for a job next year). And, of course your weekly dose of field filler with Dave Blaney, Joe Nemechek and Mike Bliss

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Nelson Piquet: Criminal Mastermind II The Family Affair

A few days ago, I wrote (on these every pages – scroll down a little) half jokingly that Nelson Piquet Jr was some sort of criminal genius after the FIA took him seriously enough to launch a publicised investigation into his role in Fernando Alonso’s win in Singapore.

Now it appears that, with the latest news, the criminal ingenuity may run deep in the Piquet family.

While, I, and presumably you, found out about this event slowly through the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, when it was reported on Brazilian TV it seems the FIA knew about it beforehand.

As early as the Hungarian Grand Prix, when, you’ll remember, Piquet was still racing for Renault.

A report for Autosport says how Nelson’s former world champion father, rather unoriginally also called Nelson, told FIA President Max Mosley.

We’ve also learnt more of what other (and by other I mean non-Piquet speech) evidence they have.

They are partly related to technology, with the telemetry showing that Piquet didn’t lift off at the normal place to stop the car from spinning.

Now, exactly how this means that anything was deliberate is beyond me – it’s a mistake, drivers make them (and Nelson Piquet Jr. makes more than most) every accident, almost by definition is caused by a mistake – the driver braking too late or wrongly timed steering input for example, yet no-one claims every accident is deliberate.

Second, and seemingly central to the investigation is a three way meeting between Piquet Jr., Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds, the team’s director of engineering.

Now, this might be great evidence, and all three of them actually admit there was a meeting, they just differ on what was discussed, or rather who said what.

While Piquet suggests it was Symonds who told him when and where to crash, in order to ensure a Safety Car period at the best time for Alonso, both Briatore and Symonds claim it was the driver who first suggested a staged accident. I imagine the conversation started something like “You know I’ve crashed a lot this season......”.

That, to me suggests something like the conversation happened – otherwise why wouldn’t Briatore and Symonds simply deny the meeting ever happened, or that crashing was ever mentioned.

But why would Nelson Piquet suggest he cause an accident himself, damaging his credibility (actually the was probably in tatters already) and potentially his entire career?

Did he get extra money for staging the accident? Briatore described that Piquet was in a “fragile state of mind”. Why? The mystery deepens

Or maybe Flavio Briatore’s rather bizarre claim is closer to the truth than you might think.

He claims he is “a victim of extortion by the Piquet family”.

What if Piquet Jr. did suggest and cause the accident himself, knowing what the likely outcome would be – that of an Alonso victory – knowing (as many suspected) that his tenure at Renault was unstable?

What if he used it as a back-up plan, or even to blackmail Renault into keeping him longer than they wanted given his poor performance?

And, in Hungary, when it started to become very clear that he was headed squarely to the door, he cashed in his metaphorical chips against Renault, by getting his father to tell the FIA.

The Motorsport Power Rankings: No. 34

This week the world of Formula One invented a new party game, well two new party games depending on what kind of parties you like. The first is Musical Italians, where you put some Pavarotti on and all swap your Italians until the music stops, any Italian left without a seat is called Luca.

The second is more complicated, and better suited to more mature parties. It's like a game where you have to guess the murderer, only you have to guess who conspired to make Nelson Piquet Jr. crash, Flav, Pat Symonds, Nelson, Nelson's dad Nelson, or whether is all made up nonsense the PIquet clan have cooked up to get revenge on Renault.

Elsewhere my call for NASCAR Karma was answered by a frisbee, the Australians proved they even plan protests better than anyone else, and Sebastien Bourdais tried to make Superleague Formula racing look respectable.

15 Paul Gentilozzi (ALMS)
Delayed for two months, based on old models, indecisive and probably rubbish. Are we sure it’s not a Jaguar factory effort?

14 Luca Badoer (F1)
He blames the press for outing him from his race drive.

Well, at least we know it wasn’t high speed that caused these hallucinations.

13 Fernando Alonso (F1)
Renault are bringing back KERS for Monza, claiming it will gain then 15 metres off the start. So that’s more positive spin from Renault then.

12 Nelson Piquet Jr. (Criminal Genius)
The only way I could be more suspicious of Piquet’s claims is if Renault pull out of F1 and Piquet Sport take their entry slot.

11 Carl Edwards (NASCAR)
Broken foot from playing Frisbee and engine trouble.

Don’t mess with Karma.

10 Dani Sordo (WRC)
He was leading Rally Australia after day one.

Which clearly means he wasn’t deemed important enough to throw a frozen Koala at.

9 Sebastien Bourdais (Superleague Formula)
Winning on his Superleague Formula debut.

Red Bull claim Seville tapped him up.

8 Sebastien Loeb (WRC)
More cheating Frenchmen!

7 Augusto Farfus (WTCC)
Crash in race one. Check

Win in race two. Check

Yep, just another Farfus weekend.

6 Jorge Lorenzo (Moto GP)
Might need reminding exactly why he’s signed for another year at Yamaha right now.

5 Mikko Hirvonen (WRC)
As if the possibility of him winning the WRC needed to be any less legitimate, he’s now being given wins by FIA stewards.

4 Kasey Kahne (NASCAR)
This week’s NASCAR winner, banking $363,000, so hardly Petty cash.

3 Tonio Liuzzi (F1)
OK, so who’s running the book on Liuzzi taking out Fisichella somewhere on the first lap?

2 Valentino Rossi (Moto GP)
Now, if all Donkey rides were like that we’d all holiday in this country!

1 Giancarlo Fisichella (F1)
Ferrari staff slam Fisichella “he’s too smiley, he’s showing Kimi up.”

Friday, 4 September 2009

Nelson Piquet: Criminal Mastermind?

Today his former team, Renault, have been called before an extraordinary meeting of the World Motorsport Council (WMSC) to answer charges they, along with Piquet, conspired to cause an accident that would benefit Fernando Alonso in Singapore last year.

The official FIA document, a delightfully short press release, details how “representatives of ING Renault F1” have been called to the meeting on September 21.

There is nothing there about ‘representatives of Mr. Piquet’, and given his split from the team I find it difficult to believe that the FIA would include him as part of the team ordered to attend.

Now, those of you who watched last year’s Singapore Grand Prix will recall that Piquet himself had a rather crucial part to play in the accident in question.

He was behind the wheel.

If, as you suspect if this is true Piquet was given orders over the radio, or even before the race to crash soon after Alonso made his pitstop, Nelson (presuming he was in possession of a spine at the time) had the opportunity to go ‘no’ and carry on racing.

No crash.

No Safety Car.

And probably no win for Alonso.

Of course, the explicit absence of Piquet from the FIA press release may be because they wish to punish Renault (the team, presumably, ultimately responsible for the order, and the party involved still competing in F1) first, before then moving on to place any sanctions on Piquet.
However, there is the chance that Piquet has been given some sort of ‘free pass’ as it’s his honesty, some year after the fact, that has brought the matter to the FIA’s attention.

And if that’s true Piquet may have got exactly what he wanted – public distain upon Renault and the men who run the team, including Flavio Briatore, who Piquet labelled his “executioner” after his sacking by the team.

However, the fact that the FIA have even deemed there to be enough substance to the claim to call this extraordinary meeting suggest there is more to this story than the ‘jilted ex-employee invents a story to get revenge’ some (or at least me) thought it was when it first emerged.

Now, it’s doubtful any extra evidence is in the form of in-race radio transmissions, as these are all made available to, at least, FOM (hence we get the delayed snippets during the race) if not the FIA, so anything less than curious code would have been noticed before now.

So what exactly is this evidence?

Has someone else at Renault come forward?

Have the FIA found a convenient piece of paper someone at Renault HQ wishes they’d have shredded?

Or, and all aboard the Cynic-mobile here, have the FIA discovered another way to get back at Renault after the punishment for the loose wheel at Hungary punishment was overturned?

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

The All-Motorsport Power Rankings: Week 33

This week's rankings have a north of the border feeling, as three of America's major racing series slipped north to Canada, with the ALMS returning for its annual race at Mosport, while the Nationwide Series teamed up with Grand-Am to take Montreal.

The Grand-Am race was dominated by Carl Edwards and Marcos Ambrose (or at least it would have been had Flipped not managed to invent a corner and re-arrange the front of the car on the out lap (yes, that's even before they get round to the grid). On Sunday "43 of the best drivers in the world" managed to make driving in the rain look on a difficulty par with Rocket Science as everyone seemingly was aiming to spend as much time pointing in the wrong direction as possible.

And in Europe F1 minnows Force India grabbed their first points with a second place, despite having to replace bits of the car because of a impact with a rabbit (at least I presume it's a rabbit there wasn't enough left to tell really)

15 Steven Wallace (Every which way but forwards)
AP: Charlotte, NC.

Ex-NASCAR champ Rusty Wallace begins civil procedure to disown useless son.

14 Nelson Piquet Jr (Ex-F1)
Hell hath no fury like a Piquet scorned.

Read more here

13 Romain Grosjean (F1)
Says he was taken off by Button in the Belgium melee.

That sort of attitude is what made making fun of Piquet acceptable, son.

Belgian GP results.

12 Brad Keselowski (NASCAR)
The new driver of the No.12 Penske car from 2010.

Look out for David Stemme behind the counter in your nearest Starbucks then.

11 Scott Dixon (Indycar)
He’s frustrated at finishing second “I’ve seen this before several times.”

Luckily Scott has DirecTV, so he won’t have to see Indycar again.

10 Vijay Mallya (F1)
Aztecs finally vindicated as animal sacrifice brings first points, Mallya to open rabbit farm.

9 Jan Magnussen (ALMS)
Taking the GT2 Corvette’s first win in the ALMS in Mosport, along with Johnny O’Connell.

8 Carl Edwards (NASCAR)
Carl’s weekend was evidence there is no benevolent Lord in motor racing.

First Carl junks his Grand-Am ride on the out lap, before Marcos Ambrose even gets in the car, then on Sunday Carl robs Marcos blind of the Nationwide win.

I'm supporting Karma at Atlanta.

7 Ryan Briscoe (Indycar)
Winner in Chicagoland, leading the Indycar point standings.

Not much else to say.

Indycar Chicagoland results.

6 David Brabham (ALMS)
Random, tenuously related thought.

If when Dyson Racing modify a car they are Dysonising it, are Highcroft always Patronising the field?

ALMS Mosport report and results.

5 Marcos Ambrose (NASCAR)
Marcos to visit a psychic to discover exactly how he wronged Canada (or Carl Edwards) in a past life.

4 Jorge Lorenzo (Moto GP)
What’s wrong with this sentence?

Two top MotoGP riders fall off and not one of them is Jorge Lorenzo.

To make matters worse he actually wins.

3 Andrew Ranger (NASCAR)
Third in the Montreal Nationwide race, top Canadian, and judging by the clips of Canadian Tire races in the broadcast, a complete mad man.

NASCAR Nationwide Series Montreal results.

2 Kimi Raikkonen (F1)
Thankfully in front of the famous Force India this week.

1 Giancarlo Fisichella (F1)
Another misunderstanding at Ferrari HQ

Human Resources department ordered to get busy with the Fisi.

Mistakenly buy Soda Stream.