Then, tomorrow was another day
The morning found us miles away
With still a million things to say
Now, when twilight dims the skies above
Recalling thrills of our love
There’s one thing I’m certain of
Return, I will, to old Brazil
I rarely start a post with a quote and when I do it signals a different kind of post, one that is off the beaten path of my usual fare. In this case the quote is a verse from an old standard that goes by the name of, you guessed it, “Brazil”. I first heard this early-Jazz-era song while watching Terry Gilliam’s post-apocalyptic, bizarre, and sometimes indecipherable movie of the same name back when I was a freshman in college. I have since heard it and sought it out many times and it is one of my favorite songs, period.
The F1 season ended in Brazil recently and while watching our three top race finishers on the podium, I could not help but think back to the beginning of 2010, when Red Bull, with Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, was about to embark on a period of extreme dominance with a car that for all intents and purposes was in a class of its own. Ferrari and Fernando Alonso, together for the first time, were about to begin what was to become a David vs. Goliath battle, Fernando driving in a class of his own but with such an uncompetitive car against the aforementioned juggernaut that although amazing things were accomplished, the ultimate battle could not be won. This year in Brazil perhaps we saw the end of that phase, Webber ran his last race, the V-8 engines roared their final throttles and maybe Ferrari and Red Bull will have a minute of equal opportunity again with the new engine regs next year.
The race was for the most part similar to the last nine (count them, nine) races in which Sebastian Vettel and his RB9 were either on pole or next to pole and by lap five had already raced to a sizable lead at which point the race becomes a forgone conclusion and everyone shifts their attention to the other twenty-one cars on the grid. There was some hard but fair racing between Webber and Alonso, with Webber coming out on top which is the perfect way for Mark to contest his last GP in F1. And although it was the last race of the year with no real consequences, it was nice (at least for Alonso and Ferrari fans, including me) to see Alonso driving at a very high level and somehow, in spite of a very un-competitive car, to challenge for and win one of the podium steps.
Shortly after the race I heard my favorite love song to a country, “Brazil”, and started to think of it in the context of Formula One and our two main protagonists. Like a music video montage I saw Fernando Alonso winning his first driver’s title in Brazil with three races yet to be contested back in 2005. But more poignant still, his second World Driver’s title was also won in Brazil. This time it was at the season finale against a resurgent Ferrari and Michael Schumacher. I can still remember quite clearly Michael’s Ferrari off the racing line as the engine let go and then watching Alonso give a little wave of his hand as he passed by, as if to say better luck next time. If any one track on the F1 calendar is special for Alonso it surely must be the one at Interlagos.
For Sebastian Vettel the same famous track also has significant importance. Including this year’s win he is two for four at this classic circuit since 2010 when his remarkable journey with Red Bull started. This year, he won his ninth race in a row at Interlagos, and thirteenth for the season, racking up a few more records to his moniker. However, I am willing to wager those two wins and all the records together probably don’t compare to the sixth place finish last year that was just enough to secure his third drivers title.
In what was one of the best seasons in F1 that I can remember irrespective of who anyone favors, the championship went down to the last race (again) and Vettel lined up fourth on the grid, Alonso seventh. Webber was third and in front of him were the McLarens of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, by year’s end the fastest on the grid. If my memory serves me well the start was a wet one and it started to rain. Lights out, Vettel loses some positions and then calamity strikes when Bruno Senna and Vettel collide at turn four. Miraculously Vettel keeps the car from stalling and restarts in 22nd position. Twenty-second! Through a myriad of other driver errors, changeable conditions, luck, and some fantastic driving, Vettel manages to finish sixth, with a three-point advantage against Fernando Alonso. The title is decided and the season is over.
We have all read and heard drivers talk with romanticism about certain cars they had the pleasure to drive, special teams they drove for, teammates that presented a certain challenge, even eras get spoken about with a slight twinkle in the eye, the V-12 era, the turbo era (soon to be again), the ground effects era, etc. We also hear quite often from drivers about the tracks they favor. Some are so synonymous with the sport that one could not imagine them ever falling from the F1 calendar. Spa, Monza, Monaco, Silverstone.
I don’t think the Brazilian GP generally makes this favored track list, despite the fact that Brazil has produced three world champions (multiple times each) and boasts the largest viewing audience of any country, coming in at eighty-five million as compared to the UK’s paltry twenty-eight million. But I think it now must be a special one to both Alonso and Vettel. It is true the race in Brazil has moved around a bit and in that fact it is different than the aforementioned classics, but this probably does not bother our drivers in the slightest. Yes, both Alonso and Vettel must now have a very special connection to Interlagos, officially known as Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, just outside of Sao Paulo. It’s been magical for both drivers. Fernando won two titles there, Vettel’s won one. Who will it be more magical for? I guess we’ll wait and see. In other words, we’ll be back.
Recalling thrills of our love, there’s one thing I’m certain of … return, I will, to old Brazil.
-jp- (and you got to love the old standards)
Blogging as far as I can tell is a very time sensitive activity, and by that I mean, to blog is to report, comment, or bring attention to something — in the quickest and most un-encumbered way. Just you and your computer, laptop or phone for the blogger on the go. You don’t need a large publishing empire, a pressroom, hell you don’t even need an editor (well, actually I do, ha ha). Just the desire to be (instantly) part of a conversation.
The immediacy with which one can post a blog, add a couple of photos, and sound off, fits quite nicely into the current, faster-than-fast mentality of the 21st century. Something happens, someone blogs about it, post is done and time to move on, simple as that. This also means that for the most part there would be no good reason for me to look back to the middle of November and blog anything about the Grand Prix that took place in Austin, TX especially taking into consideration both of the championships had already been decided and no team or driver was about to challenge Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel.
Two weeks on I still felt there was something to talk about (not about race specifics mind you) so let’s put time sensitivity aside and see what could possibly be of interest.
As of late I have made quite a bit of fuss over America, American drivers and my pledge to start converting as many Americans as I can to die-hard F1 fans. What better place to start then with a race on American soil? And what better way to make converts than by cloaking my shameless propaganda, my hidden agenda about how great F1 is (and Fernando Alonso) in the form of a party. So I set about doing what all psycho, occult, misguided leaders and third world dictators and despots do when suckering in the masses. I promised something in return for showing up to my residence (quite early) on Sunday morning. Booze and food. It never fails! In this case my secret weapon was champagne and caviar – how better to celebrate European culture?
By the way I also cleverly mentioned that we were celebrating my birthday (throwing a little guilt into the mix never hurts either). I don’t feel bad about the subterfuge because unlike many dictators, I have a worthy and sane manifesto. It’s very simple, everyone on the planet, especially Americans, should be watching F1 all of the time, no excuses. If you have a problem with that please step into my dungeon. Luckily that step was not necessary two weeks ago.
I aways forget how much of F1 I take for granted until I watch F1 with people who are seeing it for the first time. Some of the questions which I answer are just so funny. “Why does a team have more than one driver?” “How fast do they go?” “Why do they have to change tires?” “Who has the purple car?” “What do those numbers mean?” “Why are you screaming right now?” And so on.
One of my favorite moments is when someone discovers that Mercedes-Benz races a works car (which by the way I have to always explain what “works” means) and inevitably I get, “You mean the same Mercedes-Benz that my dad drives?” to which I say “Yes,” and I like to remind them that “By the way, other people drive Mercedes Benzs as well, Gang Members, Drug Dealers, Record Producers, Ballers. Benzs are not just for old folks anymore.” At which point they usually say “Oh.”
I also forget how much I love this sport and enjoy talking, sometimes a bit too long, about all the intricacies of the cars (don’t say chassis to this crowd, it is just not worth it), design, how the sport works, the people behind the cars, team principals, and designers, and of course who I feel are the best drivers, and why. Surprisingly almost everyone is genuinely interested in what I have to say.
When I explain what all the graphics mean that are displayed during the telecast, what KERS is, why the sport has enlisted the use of DRS, and why there are two separate tire compounds that must be used per the regulations everyone becomes much more interested in what is gong on.
At some point I get to the fact that these drivers (most of them anyways) are considered the best in the world driving the most technologically advanced cars in the world. That the top drivers commonly make 30 million dollars a year to go racing on Sunday afternoon and the sport globally generates 1.6 billion dollars a year. That is a quite a bit of caviar I tell everyone and in terms of the champagne, well we could buy a couple of the great wine-producing chateaus with that kind of coin. And then some.
However the real test of interest has to come from the racing itself and although the race in Austin was pretty straightforward with Sebastian Vettel taking the win, Mark Webber second and Roman Grosjean finishing third, with no real drama, the USGP still delivered F1 excitement. All of my friends were impressed with F1, the racing and all of its complexities, from the pit stops to the team strategies.
I would not go so far as to say I have convinced my friends to sell all of their belongings and to join my F1 ashram, or that I will be able to file for a non-taxable church status ala L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology any time soon, but Formula 1 and I did make a meaningfully impression and hopefully a few new converts to this great sport. If not then there is always the caviar and champagne to make sure they show up next time.
-jp- (and a little brain washing never hurt anyone)
I, John-Pierre Rivera, am about to embark on a one-man mission. I don’t know why it took this long for me to figure it out. To see the light, to finally fulfill the true mission of this blog. I am perfectly clear on what needs to be done.
There’s a prelude to every journey and maybe I just needed a bit of time to figure it out. To find my voice, set the groundwork sort to speak. Rome wasn’t built in day now was it?
I have spent the better part of two years (my short blogging career) with really no direction except to inject a bit of my American opinion and insight into the F1 conversation. I’m not interested in journalism per se; my goal has always been to find the smaller parts of F1 that could use a little more light pointed in their direction. The things that no one else is talking about, the issues that really interest me as an avid fan. At minimum to come at things from a different angle. Hopefully I have accomplished this to some degree.
Now I am ready to refocus my attention, my perspective, my irreverence (ha ha) and my post ending quips to a slightly more admirable cause. I have been feeling a bit patriotic regarding the recent posts about America, the fact that Austin is such a success, Alexander Rossi is waiting to make his debut, Conor Daly is on the fast track to F1, the strong likelihood of a race in New Jersey, and even the whisper of an F1 race in Long Beach (a forty minute drive for yours truly). I have decided that in addition to my shameless propaganda for Fernando Alonso, my constant lobbying about Lewis Hamilton being just as good if not better than Vettel at qualifying and of course my never ending complaining about Christian Horner, the Red Bull machine and Vettel’s (but as I have stated many times, he is a hell of a driver) machinery, I will also be doing everything I can to promote F1 here in the states, and giving Alexander Rossi as much copy as one blogger can.
In the process of publishing the Rossi interview it became clear to me what an incredible opportunity we have to support such a worthy talent and at the same time get America excited about F1. Maybe I was even a little inspired by his single-minded devotion to making it in F1.
The solution to the American riddle that I refer to so often is now quite clear to me. It is a numbers game pure and simple. The more Americans that know about F1 and that there is an American driver (hopefully two) in the sport the more they will support it.
So with that said I am starting my mission right now, this very moment. Consider this a call to arms, except with no arms. I am making a plea to all racing fans in America to tell a friend, hell, tell ten friends, make like a Jehovah’s Witness and spread the good word –Formula 1 has a home here in the States and in Rossi we have a driver that can compete at Formula 1′s level. Let’s get on this bus and see where we end up. It might take some time, but don’t all worthwhile causes take time?
Would it not be great for America if we had a presence, a real presence again in F1 like in the Mario Andretti days? If we were not just spectators for the greatest racing formula, but also participants? We can do it, I know we can. Tomorrow 22 cars will practice with that mesmerizing sound, that exhaust note, that song like no other, the chorus so beautiful that to hear it is to hear God (okay I might have gone a little overboard on that last one.) But to hear an F1 car is to hear something that you will never forget, we can all agree on that.
Also tomorrow in the first free practice our own American driver, the one that I have been going on and on about, Mr. Alexander Rossi, will be assuming the driving duties for the Caterham F1 team. He is fresh off a win in GP2 at the Abu Dhabi circuit and he is the goods. I am asking you all to tune in and watch if you can. If you can’t, pretend you are watching it (just go with me on this one), tweet about it, FaceBook it. Tell everyone you see tomorrow that there is this guy driving a racecar, an F1 racecar, and we should support him because he is America’s next great racing hope. Also he will be the lone American in a pack of 15 Europeans, four Latin Americans and two Australians, all of whom are pretty used to America not giving a damn about this racing discipline. I could almost grant Europe the upper hand since they are our forefathers but Latin America? Australia? Even Mexico has TWO drivers fer chrissake. We’re going to let Mexico and Australia outclass us? No, I didn’t think so. Add your voices together and maybe we can jump start America and get us back to the sharp part of the grid.
-jp- (and remember Rome was not built in day)
“I knew it was too good to be true”, Sergio Perez must have been thinking as the season developed and his dream team turned out to have developed a less-than-optimal car. To make matters worse, his driving ability was called into question when he couldn’t make the car perform. The rumors that he will not be piloting a McLaren racecar in 2014 have been around for a couple of weeks but now it’s semi-official since Joe Saward has posted “Perez out at McLaren.” There has been no official word from McLaren itself, but it would appear Kevin Magnussen, son of former F1 and sports car driver Yan Magnussen (most recently a Works GM driver who is part of the über-successful Corvette squad and who by the way also raced for McLaren back in the early Nineties), will be Perez’s replacement for 2014 and beyond. If Mr. Saward is putting the post up that is good enough for me. At any rate I am not about to report anything definitive either, but this news did remind me how F1 can be oh so cruel at times for a driver.
According to the author there were three reasons for the change of direction McLaren is taking concerning its driver line-up. For starters, Perez, irrespective of the car, should have been a little closer on points to Jensen Button. Two, as Saward reports it, Magnussen has out performed Perez in the all important race simulator. Lastly McLaren want at least one year to prepare young Magnussen for the arrival of Honda power and presumably their real championship push to get Woking back on the map.
As is my custom when looking beneath the hood of F1 and its many intricacies, lets have a look at the stats for both Button and Perez to see how they compare. On second thought, lets just skip right to the chase; here are the points totals and qualifying report for both:
Jenson Button total championship points – 60 pts.
Sergio Perez total championship points – 35 pts.
Jenson Button vs. Sergio Perez grid position: JB – 9, SP – 8
This does not seem that out of line to me. First, it must be said, the car McLaren produced was a world class stinker and there is no way McLaren can expect Perez or for that matter Button to drive it beyond its limit, there were too many issues for which they had to compensate already. Interestingly though, for outright speed over one lap Perez is right there with his World Champion teammate. I will admit that Perez should have at least 10 more points in his column. The over-driving in Monaco and the tire issue in England cost him valuable points. That being said, you make your own luck in F1, so the points you collect are what you collect. No excuses.
But that is really not the point due to the fact that is was never a choice between Button and Perez. As earlier stated it was a choice between Magnussen and Perez. Check out this line from a post on James Allen’s site: “There have been many conversations internally in the last two months at McLaren about the pros and cons of Perez and Magnussen but it looks like the ‘racers’ have won this time and they’ve taken a blood step rather than a conservative one.”
So although on paper Perez’s seat should have been safe in comparison to Button’s performance (for at least one more year anyways), it would appear F1 just does not work that way. In fact F1 works in the complete opposite way. It is an insatiable creature that desires more and more, and in return gives less and less.
This is F1 talking (roaring) now: Giiiiive me NEW drivers, I need NEW drivers, ah yes, that’s it. Purrrrrfect, I ALWAAAAAYS need something NEWWWWW, someone YOUNG and fresh and if you can’t handle it or you’re not FAAAAST enough, hell if I just happen to be in a fooooooul mood then you’re OUT. Don’t CARE that it was the car, don’t CARE that your career is down the draaaain, don’t CARE about any of your teensy tiny little complaaaaaints….
This is how it looks to me anyway; let’s just run down some of the names F1 has chewed up and spit out.
In no particular order: Sebastian Bourdais, Scott Speed, Jamie Alguersuari, Heikki Kovalainen (although he might be back soon) Takumo Sato, Ralph Ferman, Bruno Senna, Vitaly Petrov, Timo Clock, Kamui Kobayashi, Narian Karthikeyan, Sebastian Buemi, Jerome d’Ambrosia, Pedro de la Rosa, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Karun Chandhok, Lucas di Grassi, Christian Klein, Jazuki Nakajima, Anthony Davidson, Christian Albers, Marcus Winkelhock, Michael Ammermuller, Robert Dornsbos, Yuji Ide, Neel Yani, Tiago Monteiro, Franck Montagny, Yamamoto Sakon, Giorgio Mondini, Partrick Friesacher, Antonio Pizzonia, Nicolas Kiesa, Chanoch Nissay, Recordo Zonta, Zsolt Baumgartner, Gorgia Pantano, Bas Leinders, Bjorn Wirdheim, Cristiano da Matta, Gianmaria Bruni, Heinz Harald Frentzen, Allan McNish, Satoshi Motoyama, Matteo Bobbi, Ryan Briscoe, Justin Wilson, and who can forget a driver that was not only chewed up and spit out, but in the process was part of the worst cheating scandal in recent history: Nelson Piquet Jr.
I consider myself a pretty hardcore fan, also a student of F1 and have been following it day in and day out for a very, very long time and I must confess there are several names from this list that I honestly cannot recall in any way, shape or form. Apparently a failed stint in F1 not only derails your racing career it can also completely wipe you off the face of the map if you’re not up to snuff.
I might be exaggerating a little bit. However, the appearance and disappearance of drivers in F1 is quite astonishing. This list was going back only ten years. It is worth noting that some drivers who do make it to F1 really don’t stand a chance due to the team they come in with, their own lack of driving skill at this level, the politics, or simply because of timing. Mostly it is a combination of all of these things that can spell doom for a driver.
So what about the drivers that are truly good but still get the shaft? Allen McNish, a multiple champion in endurance racing, Sebastian Bourdais, a multiple champion in the now defunct CART series, Heikki Kovalainen, a podium regular and even won an F1 race (with McLaren by the way). What about them? And now most recently Sergio Perez, why were these drivers shown the exit ramp? Let me clarify, Perez might not be actually exiting F1 at this time, as stated by James Allen: “Force India Looks Best Hope For Perez After McLaren Opts For Magnussen”. However, think about it for a second: of what value is Perez as a driver (apart from the Carlos Slim connection or that Bernie wants a GP in Mexico) if after only one year he was dropped by a team of McLaren’s stature?
The goal of every driver is always a top team. Most of the time it takes a while to get there and all that while I’m sure drivers say to themselves, “If only I was at McLaren, or Ferrari.” More recently Lotus and Red Bull, and now you can say the same about Mercedes. But what happens if you actually get there and it does not go to plan. From Allen’s same post: “It’s a brutal reversal for Perez, who thought he’d hit the jackpot twelve months ago, moving to the team that had the fastest 2012 car. But it’s been a nightmare season with uncompetitive machinery and McLaren has made little secret of is disappointment in the Mexican’s performance.”
And therein lies the rub–Perez had what can only be considered a very uncompetitive car, yet it is his performance that is under scrutiny. Whoever said F1 was fair and understanding? Certainly not me. I believe the same thing might be happening over at Force India with Paul di Resta. In his case it is a combination of tires, team errors and just some plain bad luck, but similar to Perez it is all being dumped on his shoulders, not his team’s.
For the record I posted about each of these drivers this season (yes I actually do occasionally post something other than how great Fernando Alonso is, LOL), and was clearly favorable to each driver. In regards to Perez, I stated I liked the way he was driving albeit some polishing was in order, but his aggressive style, lots of passing, taking on F1′s champions, I was all for it. Di Resta I just plain like as a person, the racing family he comes from, the fact he’s a DTM champion (a series that I love to watch–my father and I have both owned Audis and the racing is as exciting as ever even though the series competes with spec cars) and because I genuinely think he has got what it takes to be an F1 Champion and would look forward to supporting him when that time comes.
Whether Perez will be replaced or not surely will be reported shortly, possibly even before I get this post up. However, no matter what the outcome is, I have been reminded why I can never get enough of F1. Why F1 has so many fans worldwide. Why I am so over the moon as an Alonso fan, why I loved seeing Hamilton and Merc take it to Red Bull and Vettel on Saturdays, and why I can’t peel my eyes away from the television screen even when Vettel is destroying the rest of the field.
The imminent news of Perez’s fall from grace (if it indeed happens) reminded me that only the best of the best of the best survive. I don’t particularly seek out boxing matches or MMA matches but when I happen upon one, I become riveted to the idea that the absolute best will come out of the ring on top and that to me is extremely exciting.
We all use words like compelling, passionate, unbelievable, and incredible when discussing F1. But I would wager that what we are all really saying is that F1 is brutal by its very nature and the ability of our favorite drivers and teams to not just survive but to excel and conquer this brutal monster is what keeps us so interested.
I have come to see that F1 is similar to an anti-hero. Not at all altruistic, possibly immoral, certainly rapacious, definitely unforgiving but somehow still admirable for rebelling against the status quo and refusing to accept anything less than perfection from those pursuing its impossibly high standards. The character that is flawed yet also the character that you are most inspired by. I think Sergio got a bit of a raw deal, but by definition the anti-hero is not perfect and we will now move on to the next gladiator on deck. The line is endless after all.
-jp- (and as the saying goes It Is What It Is…)
As the title suggests, this is part three (and the last for now) in a series of posts in which I wanted to examine and more fully understand America’s relationship with Formula 1. The first installment was centered on an F1 expert from Europe, James Allen. His insight was surprising at times, also somewhat disheartening, and yet encouraging in regards to where F1 is right now and where it might be heading.
The second post concerned the release of Ron Howard’s F1 movie Rush (the dramatization of the 1976 rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt), the impact it might have on the American public and how that might have transference to today’s F1 series. By the way it was the news of this movie several months ago, which inspired me to address this particular topic to begin with.
It’s my premise that we need a successful American F1 driver in order for the sport to succeed here, and James Allen agreed in his comments. To fully understand our topic it seemed logical to go straight to the only driver that is well on his way to scaling the carbon fiber wall between America and F1, namely Alexander Rossi from Auburn, California, who is a GP2 driver as well as an F1 reserve driver for Caterham. I sent Mr. Rossi a proposal explaining what my intention was and some background information and he graciously agreed to an interview.
In constructing my questions, I was seeking critical analysis from someone who is actually in the eye of the storm and although a few of my questions had a lighter side to them, most were serious and very much to the point. Mr. Rossi answered each and every query with what can only be described as a perspective that combines the intelligence of someone many years past his age, the comprehensiveness of someone who has already given these issues some serious thought, and lastly, a sense of ease and innocence which was a pleasure to read. I got the impression that Alexander Rossi is truly in control of his own destiny, and became his newest fan in the process of this interview.
AF1: Can you recall and tell us about when you first felt that making it to F1 could be a reality?
Rossi: Coming up through the junior levels, you always want to believe that you will be able to accomplish your dream no matter how unrealistic it may seem at the time. However for me, the truly defining moment when I knew that I could reach the pinnacle was after the 2012 Young Driver’s Test in Abu Dhabi with Caterham. The pace and performance was so strong after my time in the car that it gave me the complete confidence to push forward knowing that I would be capable enough to compete in F1.
AF1: Can you for the readers explain how many years of preparation and how much work goes into the decision to race at this level?
Rossi: I guess you could say that for me it has been all my life! The decision to race at this level was instant – that much is certain! If you know you have a goal that you want to achieve and it is realistic and possible, then it’s a very natural process to begin working for that. But in terms of the amount of work and preparation that goes into being a Formula 1 driver? Well, that’s every day of my life and it’s what I am constantly working for. Whether it be physically training, mentally preparing for a practice session, hours helping the team as the driver in the loop simulator…every element is working toward the same goal of being a successful Formula 1 driver.
AF1: What do you like most about F1? What is it about F1 that is so alluring, that makes it that much different from say DTM, Sports Car or Le Mans Prototype racing?
Rossi: Formula 1 is the epitome of motorsports for me – it’s hugely competitive; the fact that there are only 22 seats in the world means that to be there you really have to be at the absolute top of your game and one of the best drivers in the world. Formula 1 is the most technical of all motorsports, with each team having hundreds of people creating and developing each car. That car is given to you, and it is up to you to make the absolute most out of it. You have a huge team of people working around and with you, and your role is to do the best you can. There are challenges at every level of motorsport, however for me, Formula 1 is the most complex and interesting.
I have yet to really address the issue of the post, but don’t worry that is coming. I would however like to point out something we must all know intuitively if you follow F1 but rarely hear or put into context, which is the level of commitment an F1 driver must have to pursue this discipline. The line that stands out for me is“Everyday of my life.” I’m not so sure that we as fans truly understand what top athletes go through to prepare and arrive in their chosen endeavor able to compete at the top.
I wasn’t too sure if my next question was crossing a line or not, but I thought it was important to get Rossi’s opinion on the issue of American drivers, or the lack of them, that make the decision to pursue F1 at the expense of something easier to achieve here in the States.
AF1: Have you turned down opportunities here in the US and in other formulas to pursue the F1 dream and was this a gamble? For example say a chance for a ride in one of Roger Penske IRL car’s came up, but you had to pass due to your goal of securing an F1 seat and now will not have that opportunity again, or at the very least not know if it will come around again?
Rossi: There have been opportunities in America but my goal at the moment is to be a Formula 1 driver. Of course you can never know what will happen in the future and, yes, you may not be offered the same opportunities again, however my whole focus is on becoming a Formula 1 driver and I’m in a very good position to achieve that. When you have dedicated your life to achieving something, every ounce of your being strives to make that goal, and anything other than that is simply not an option.
Rossi’s answer is very compelling and I can’t help but think again of the incredible commitment this young man has made to the goal of driving in F1. James Allen also mentioned how difficult the route to F1 is for an American driver. I wonder, if more drivers had Rossi’s determination would there be more drivers in his position?
AF1: What has been your experience as a driver when you mention or explain to an American that you compete in GP2 and reserve drive for one of the 11 F1 teams?
Rossi: I have an incredible following back in America and the people who support me truly mean the world to me. Of course it’s natural for people to question why I’m not in Indycar or NASCAR, as it’s often much more well known in the USA, however I feel most people understand Formula 1, particularly with the new presence in Austin for the USA Grand Prix. As time goes on, more and more people are becoming aware and developing a love of Formula 1 and that can only be a good thing for motorsport in America. We are well established in our NASCAR and Indycar series, why not break into motorsport globally and make a name for ourselves in Formula 1? To have a circuit in Austin is a significant step to doing that, and having an American driver in Formula 1, who people can support and get behind, I believe it is the next big step forward.
If I was slightly broken-hearted by some of the replies from James Allen in part one of this series, then to read these simple lines from an American F1 driver who has first hand experience left me feeling the complete opposite–inspired and elated.
AF1: What is your favorite F1 track as a driver? What is your favorite F1 track as a spectator?
Rossi: I love Spa to drive – it’s a classic, and you know if you do well there, you can do well almost anywhere. It’s a seriously challenging track, and one that all the great Formula 1 drivers have driven, so there is something very humbling about it. I was very happy with the podium result there this year, and it’s hard to describe but there’s a certain magic about the track. As a spectator I really enjoy Suzuka because of how many fans attend. The Japanese fans completely transform the entire Formula 1 experience.
AF1: Do you model your driving after any particular driver and/or is there a driver that inspired you to try to drive in Formula 1?
Rossi: My driving style is something very natural to me and I don’t consciously imitate anyone. For me it’s all about finding the limits of what’s possible, both for you and the machine, and while it’s hard to explain, it’s the almost innate, subconscious reaction and flow of the circuit and the context around you when you’re in the car.
I have to say, this answer for me this was one of the highlights of the interview. Rossi could have easily mentioned a past great or current great driver, but he didn’t. I was equally amazed that instead of mentioning one of many styles of driving that usually concerns the entry point of a turn, the speed you carry into that turn and whether a driver uses the front or rear end to exit the turn, Rossi’s answer was much more telling. Starting with, ”I don’t consciously imitate anyone,” and continuing through, “its the almost innate, subconscious reaction…“ Brilliant.
AF1: How did it feel going back to Montreal this year, where you have won before, but this time in F1 machinery? It might have been slightly disappointing due to the conditions on Friday, but can you give us an idea of what it was like to be in an F1 car at one of the sport’s most enduring circuits, something that many people, drivers or fans can only dream about?
Rossi: Montreal was a big step forward for me. I’ve driven a Formula 1 car quite a few times now, but this time it was in totally new conditions and in front of effectively my home crowd in North America. Every time I step into the Formula 1 car, it’s a learning and an experience, but the wet conditions and the added pressure of driving during a live race weekend meant that it was very special for me. One skill I’ve developed over the years is to be able to focus completely and not let external factors dilute the job that I have to do. Last year for example, I drove in Barcelona free practice alongside Michael Schumacher in his Mercedes. If you stop and think about it, that’s an enormously big deal, particularly as I wasn’t even born when he started driving! But it’s another good day at work for me, and it’s what I live to do. The experience in Montreal was extremely positive, I think both the team and I learned plenty from the session, and to be honest I just didn’t want it to end!
Up to this point I had been dancing around the subject matter, my feeling was I didn’t want Mr. Rossi to feel like some lab experiment, he is after all a talented competitive driver who just happens to be an American. But it was time to get down to business, and for the second half of my interview, these questions were as probing as I thought necessary regarding on my main topic. Mr. Rossi met each and every one head on.
AF1: What is the general feeling about F1 amongst young American drivers at the beginning of their careers? What I mean by this is, do American drivers feel that F1 is reachable or do they more commonly focus on a career in America and consider F1 only under certain circumstances?
Rossi: I think there is a big challenge for young drivers in America when it comes to the European racing series – Formula 1 is certainly not as well established in the USA as the existing American formulas, and I think the chance of success is much smaller perhaps than in other series. For me, that didn’t put me off at all – rather it fuelled me to do better and achieve more and get as noticed as possible, hard as it is! Another challenge is that no driver came straight from America to Formula 1. The way to do it is to go into the feeder series – something pretty much all F1 drivers today have done for many years – and then work your way slowly but surely up. There is a very different way of doing things in Formula 1 to any other series, and the only way you have a chance of success within the sport is by working hard through each stepping series and achieving each goal, step by step.
AF1: As much as you can know, what is the feeling of your teammates and others in the sport when you are in the paddock on race weekend in regards to an American that has a genuine chance at making the grid in the near future? Are they, as we are led to believe, excited that an American is here in F1 because it means the market might open up more for F1 in the States?
Rossi: The nature of Formula 1 is that as drivers, we are often very insular when it comes to things like that. From what I understand, most of the other F1 drivers like Austin and enjoy racing in America, however to have an American on the grid would make no personal difference to them at all. For other people in the paddock, I think people see there is an opportunity to reach America through the sport and broaden its horizons and the perception of Formula 1 in America. It’s an exciting time for any business that wants a global audience to be involved with the sport, whether that be through the race in Austin, or through me as an upcoming driver.
In hindsight I feel I could have reworked this question to be more specific, but it does give you an insight as to how F1 drivers operate at the highest level of motorsport. Rossi does however mention yet another positive for F1 and America, that the global business world wants to cash in on the American markets. This can only be looked at as promising.
AF1: There must be some amount of pressure on you being the only American driver in the sport so close to a real drive. F1, the teams, the sponsors, the media, and the fans, we all want someone of your caliber and origin to succeed on so many levels. Does this help you or is it a distraction?
Rossi: I think this touches upon the question before, whereby for me it is the most natural thing in the world. I have spent my life working to achieve this goal, and now realizing it, and therefore the pressure is something that fuels me. To be this close to a Formula 1 seat and to have this amount of support means that I am in a very real position of achieving it, and to have people willing me to make it is a huge boost.
I like this response for no other reason that when an athlete, any athlete, says they eat pressure for breakfast, you know they are the real deal. If anyone has read even a few of my posts then they already know this quality, in my opinion, is not the only one, but one of the most critical in an F1 driver. In my opinion it is what makes drivers so different from you and me, and it is also what makes drivers so wonderful to watch while in the car, and in the context of F1, what is so compelling about the sport, which must be one of the most pressure-filled manners of competition.
AF1: I posed this question to James Allen as well, but would like your take on it. Americans love cars and Americans love technology and are often at the forefront of it with Apple, Blackberry, Facebook, Instagram, Tesla, and many other high-tech companies successful here. What is the missing link that Americans are not already super-fans of the most high-tech kind of driving there is?
Rossi: You are correct, Americans love cars and technology. I have found that Americans and American companies that get exposed to F1 get the bug for it. From an American corporate perspective now is the time to get involved in F1. The sport is growing globally each year and my time to be in an F1 race seat is drawing closer. In addition we now have the USGP back in Austin with a New Jersey street course slated on the calendar for 2014 and I hear there are talks of Long Beach back for 2015. It is important for F1 to have this presence in the States; it is a large country with many choices of sports for Americans to spend their time. More U.S. races coupled with an American driver(s) to support is also vital to increase market share, growing TV numbers in the states and more corporate participation. The timing now is perfect for my arrival to F1 to support the growing demand in the States.
AF1: In your opinion, why is it so rare for American drivers to make it to F1?
Rossi: I would say the physical distance is quite a challenge. I moved to Europe when I was younger, and was lucky enough to live in Italy for a while. I’ve been blessed with some fantastic sponsors and backing throughout my career and there have been many people who have supported me to become a Formula 1 driver. There is such a high influx of young drivers in Europe, that to cut it there and to make it is a huge achievement. I think in America, the natural progression for a young driver would be to move up to Indycar or NASCAR – it’s what you’ve grown up on – but as Formula 1 becomes more prominent in America, and particularly if there is a successful driver that people can get behind and support, then I would hope to see many more young upcoming American drivers.
We can only hope…
AF1: If I have my facts correct, after competing in Formula BMW here in the States, you then raced in the same series in Europe. Was this the first time that you raced in Europe? What was the transition like and what did you see/discover that the Europeans do differently in regards to getting their young drivers up to speed?
Rossi: I actually finished racing in Formula BMW in 2008 and the first championship that I competed in overseas was International Formula Master. The transition was quite extreme to be honest as I was blown away with how aggressive the standard of driving was even for a position that wasn’t in the points. To gain respect in Europe you have to earn it and the easiest way to do that is by getting results.
All right we are in the home stretch and the next set of questions could be considered the most invasive for lack of another word. I planned the arc of my questioning very carefully, and I was saving the most important ones for the end albeit I did finish off with a not so serious one.
AF1: In your opinion what does America lack in regards to its young drivers and the preparation that is needed to race in F1. Do you think this has always been the case and why have you been able to succeed where others have failed? Irrespective of your raw speed and race craft, what did you do differently?
Rossi: American drivers do not lack anything terms of dedication, ability and talent. There is a massive process when making the leap to race in Europe from North America. There are many differences culturally and how a driver is viewed, both by his competitors and other teams. It takes a long time for the European racing community to respect foreigners coming over to race. You must be competitive, win races and be at the sharp end often, but this is true for everyone not just Americans. Where is it harder these days for young Americans is the actual cost to race in Europe with our dollar not going as far. A driver must have a substantial budget to build their resume over several years, while building on strong results and more sponsorship. You cannot go to Europe and race with the expectations that you will get it done in year 1 or even 2. There are so many other areas than race results that a driver needs to understand how to perform off track as well and relate with the different cultures.
This could be the most important question and answer of the entire interview. I think among the fans here in America who do follow F1, there is this unspoken feeling that American drivers cannot drive at the same level as their European counterparts. I must confess that I too share this opinion at times, that someone of Rossi’s caliber is not the norm. That is why when an American does exhibit the kind of talent, drive, and intelligence that is needed to actually knock on F1′s door, it is a big deal indeed.
However, Mr. Rossi says differently and I for one welcome the fact that many of us race fans have got it wrong. According to someone that would actually know, American drivers do possess the talent. Referring to an earlier question and answer I am beginning to think it is not so much a question of talent as it is a question of the number of American drivers who are prepared to take the necessary long path through Europe resulting in an opportunity to showcase their talent to the teams that are sending drivers to test for a F1 seat.
AF1: As far as the junior formulas in America, what can we do differently here to ensure we can produce more drivers like you, more Alexander Rossi’s?
Rossi: Ha-ha! I don’t know whether we should have any mini-me’s! I think the fundamental key is to drive and to showcase talent. When you get noticed you can be backed and supported and the best piece of advice I would give is to have a clear goal. If your whole dream is to be in Formula 1 then work your way up through the single-seaters carefully, picking your series and starting low. If you want to be in NASCAR, then there’s a different route to take, but the bottom line is choose the path you take. Things don’t always go to plan, but to have a wide range of series is definitely a positive for America. Another thing is having a driver to support in various formulas – Americans love to get behind a personality and have someone to support and root for. Obviously we have that in all of the America series, however let’s open that up to the world and show them that we can achieve great things in global sports.
Asking this next question also caused me some apprehension, but I felt it would be disingenuous to all involved especially to the subject matter and certainly to the readers if there was not mention of the last American driver to have a crack at F1′s wheel of fortune.
AF1: Scott Speed also made it to F1 albeit via the Red Bull driver’s program. His time in F1 did not last that long and definitely not long enough for it to impact the American motor racing fan base. His is a cautionary tale of how F1 can be very brutal, not just for an American but also for all new drivers. How important is it for you to enter this sport with the right team under the right circumstances?
Rossi: This is exactly right and my aim is to make a significant impact in Formula 1. I feel that my story so far has been created in the right way; I’m part of an F1 team as a reserve driver, and am not rushing into a full time F1 seat. I understand that to impress and develop, you need time and a careful path to the right seat. Formula 1 is so tough – as I mentioned before there are just twenty-two seats available in the whole world and so you need to be very sure about making the right decisions in your career. My aim is not to be around for just one year, but many years, and to be as successful as I possibly can.
AF1: Lastly, will we get to see you in a Friday drive in any of the upcoming F1 races in the last half of the 2013 season? What determines whether you get to drive on Friday? Does geography play a part in that decision, i.e. North American track, American driver?
Rossi: Geography does play a part in this at times, but it’s certainly not a main factor with a team. I will be in the F1 car again very soon, but keep an eye on my Official Facebook page (Facebook.com/AlexanderRossiOfficial) for announcements!
So there you have it. What I would call a candid interview with an American driver who has a real shot at an F1 drive and accomplishing something special in this most difficult of all formulas for the American audience. His comments are insightful and help us understand the F1/America riddle a little better.
My thanks to Alexander Rossi’s organization who were supportive from the moment I contacted them. The simple fact that I was allowed to present questions unedited speaks volumes to Rossi and his people, and allowed a very insightful look into his experience and his perspective on one of the most complex sports currently being contested.
It has been an honor to interview such a talent and enjoy something that fans of any sport live for–an honest moment when one can make a connection and relate to the personalities that inspire us through their actions, deeds, failures and triumphs. Thank you Alex for sharing your insight and your passion that is F1.
-jp- (and from now on it is the guy from Spain AND the guy from America who I will by shamelessly supporting via this blog…)
The Wunderkid Does Something Wunderful – And It Is Oh So Painful For the Rest Of Us, unless of course you’re a sebastian vettel fan…Posted: November 1, 2013
I knew what was coming. But I was quite frankly in denial about what I had to do. Part of me knew as far back as Canada. An unthinkable, troubling, beyond my comprehension thought would not go away. Somewhere back in the recesses of my mind I knew there was a chance, a very good chance, that I would have to sit down and write a post about Sebastian Vettel becoming a four time world champ and along the way breaking and collecting even more records.
I can’t express to you how frustrating the last four years have been. Not necessarily because the guy I follow, the one driving a red car with a little prancing horse on it, has lost out over and over again to Vettel and Red Bull (but that does not help matters either), but because I am the kind of fan that’s not too interested in seeing one team or one individual hog all the attention.
However, don’t confuse this with me being angry with Vettel or Red Bull, quite the opposite. I am very impressed with what they have accomplished. Funny how I can exist in these two completely separate frames of mind, right? I think this is called a love/hate relationship, LOL.
Back to my point. I think it was the first race after the summer break, Belgium, when my mind started to drift over to the unthinkable again. Two weeks later in Italy it was back, at Singapore the feeling was so great I thought I needed therapy. On to Korea and I could not shake it and by Japan I knew it was here to stay, forever…
Sebastian Vettel will be the 2013 World Champion winning four consecutive titles and becoming the youngest driver in history to achieve such a remarkable feat.
I don’t really care how it was done or what the reasons were; the change of tire construction mid-season (which by the way is exactly when the RB9 started to come on strong, but whatever), Red Bull’s constant crossing over the line with their design solutions over the last four years, constantly forcing the FIA to make them dial it back or in several cases to cease and desist (some might even call this cheating which I agree with), the fact that Ferrari could not build a car worthy of Fernando Alonso’s skill-set and when they did briefly accomplish it, somehow managing to make it worse as the year went on (currently the F138 is the 5th fastest car, thank you for that one Maranello).
Of course you can also include Vettel’s driving ability, I’m not that much of a sore loser that I can’t recognize it isn’t all the car. I have posted frequently that to be a champion in F1 takes more than being fast, more than luck, it takes a certain ability to drive like a champion, irrespective of what car you are in or that you are a champion. Alonso has done this throughout his tenure at Ferrari; Hamilton has started to perform this way at Mercedes and this year Vettel has on balance, not including the car, driven very much like a champion. Period.
None of which makes this post any easier for me, however this is my mortal coil, my problem to sort out. I have used this phrase quite often over the last four years and until I discover one more appropriate, I shall continue using it. My father always said give credit where credit is due no matter what you feel on the inside. As an adult male I find it sometimes hard to apply this advice to my real world situations.
So here I am, trying to do the right thing but basically writing a post about something that really doesn’t sit well with me. Then I had an idea, something that would give Vettel and Red Bull their due without requiring me to wax poetic. I’ll stick strictly to the facts, the statistics, black & white, the records don’t lie. So without further delay let’s by all means investigate/celebrate Vettel & Red Bull’s accomplishments, as found in the List Of Formula One Drivers Records on Wikipedia:
Youngest driver to race:
#7 Sebastian Vettel 19 years, 349 days, 2007 US GP
(Fine, that one will be broken possibly next year with the Russian.)
#4 Sebastian Vettel 36 (wins)
(It’s the car.)
#6 117(entries) 36 (wins) 30.77%
Most wins in a season
#2 & #4 tied with M. Schumacher (11 wins) 2011, (10 wins) 2013
Note: Could break his own record and tie Schumacher for 1st with 13 wins if he wins out the season.
(The car again.)
Highest percentage of wins in a season
#6 Sebastian Vettel 62.5% (2013)
#8 Sebastian Vettel 57.89% (2011)
(Both were the car.)
Most consecutive wins
#3 Sebastian Vettel – (tied with M. Schumacher) Belgium, Italy, Singapore, Korean, Japanese, India 
#9 Sebastian Vettel – Brazil, Abu Dhabi, Australia, Malaysia [2010-2011]
#9 Sebastian Vettel – Singapore, Japan, Korea, India 
(Ok, it’s Adrian Newey.)
Most consecutive wins from first race of season
#7 Sebastian Vettel – 2 wins 
(Did I mention the car yet?)
#1 Sebastian Vettel 21 years, 73 days 2008 Italian GP
(Got to give this one to Vettel due to the fact it was a Toro Rosso.)
Most consecutive wins at same grand prix
#7 Sebastian Vettel – Singapore (3), Korea (3), Indian (3)
(The RB7 to RB9.)
Total pole positions
#3 Sebastian Vettel 43 (could be 46 by years end)
(Did someone say CAR?)
Percentage pole positions
#5 Sebastian Vettel 117 (entries) 43 (poles) 36.75%
Most consecutive pole positions
#10 Sebastian Vettel (tied with Fernando Alonso)
2010-2011 Abu Dhabi – Turkey
2011 Hungary – Japan
(Nice to see my guy every once in a while on par with Vettel. Truth be known, Alonso has quite a lot of records as well and is even in front of Vettel for many, however this is not a post about the Spaniard, so back to it.)
Most pole positions in a season
#8 Sebastian Vettel 19 poles 
(Eight does not seem that great.)
Highest percentage of Pole position in a season
#5 Sebastian Vettel 19 (races) 15 (poles) 79%
(OK, this one is slightly impressive.)
Youngest pole sitter
#1 Sebastian Vettel 21 years, 72 days Italian GP
(Damn this one is very impressive.)
Youngest driver to set the fastest lap in an official GP season
#1 Sebastian Vettel 19 years, 53 days, turkey FP2 
(Wow, all the way back in 2006. Got to give him this one.)
Total starts from front row
#4 Sebastian Vettel 61
(How do you say car in German?)
Percentage starts from front row
#4 Sebastian Vettel 52.14%
(If this were an exam, 52% would be an F.)
Most consecutive starts from front row
#5 Sebastian Vettel 14
#9 Sebastian Vettel 9
Most starts from front row in a season
#1 Sebastian Vettel 18
(Crap this is getting ridiculous.)
Youngest driver to start from front row
#2 Sebastian Vettel 21 years, 72 days Italian GP 
(Already knew it.)
Total fastest laps
#10 Sebastian Vettel (tied with Gerhard Berger) 21
(I am running out of excuses…)
Youngest driver to set fastest lap
#5 Sebastian Vettel 21 years, 353 days
(Ha! Alonso has him beat by 32 days.)
Total podium finishes
#9 Sebastian Vettel (tied with Nigel Mansel)
(Have I worn out the car answer yet?)
Percentage of podium finishes
#8 Sebastian Vettel 50.43%
(This is one better than Schumacher, I can get behind this one.)
Most podium finishes in a season
#1 Sebastian Vettel 17 (2011) tied with M. Schumacher
#9 Sebastian Vettel 13 (2013) tied with F. Alonso
(Maybe he is as good as everyone says.)
Most consecutive podium finishes
#3 Sebastian Vettel 11
(When is this going to end?)
Most consecutive podium finishes from first race of season
#2 Sebastian Vettel 9 (tied with Alonso and Hamilton)
(No surprise that these are the three most significant drivers of their generation.)
Youngest driver to score a podium finish
#1 Sebastian Vettel 21 years, 73 days
(Rats, he beat Alonso by 164 days.)
#3 Sebastian Vettel 1376
(To have this many so early in his career, all I can say is “Wow.”)
Most consecutive points finishes
#4 Sebastian Vettel
(Whatever, you get points al the way down to 10th.)
Highest average points per race entered
#1 Sebastian Vettel
(OK, this one is definitely the car.)
Most championship points in a season
#’s 1,2,3 Sebastian Vettel
(Just when I thought I had him, this stat comes up, ugh.)
Every lap lead of a GP
#5 Sebastian Vettel – 10 races
(On a serious note, this is truly an astonishing stat and for me one of the few that is so impressive.)
Most laps led, total
#4 Sebastian Vettel 2,258
(I don’t even want to think about this number in five years…)
Most consecutive laps in the lead
#5 Sebastian Vettel 205
(This is not even funny anymore.)
Pole and win in same race
#3 Sebastian Vettel 25
(Can I even come back from this one?)
Most wins from pole position in a season
#1 Sebastian Vettel (tied with Nigel Mansel) 9 (2011)
(I got nuthin’.)
Pole win and fastest lap in same race
#5 Sebastian Vettel, tied with Ayrton Senna, Aloberto Ascari 7
(Once he’s in the same league with Senna, enough already, I quit.)
But just for the sake of being complete, Sebastian Vettel also has four grand slams, (pole, led every lap, and scored fastest lap), is the youngest world champion, is #3 in championships at 4 tied with Alain Prost, youngest double, triple, and quadruple world champion, youngest winner for two different teams, and beyond these stats it just gets too weird and unimportant to continue, but I think the point is clear enough.
Sebastian Vettel, love him or hate, is here to stay and is the real deal. He deserves each and every one of his championships, and if I am honest I was genuinely impressed, even excited the first time I read through all of his records and stats. I go on and on about Vettel, Red Bull, and the car he has had at his disposal the past four years. Most of the time I am a harsh critic, but for this post I’m just having a little fun.
I have on many occasions pointed to the superiority of his equipment and used this to dismiss the success he has enjoyed thus far in F1. Maybe if Adrian and Red Bull ever stumble we will see a different Vettel, one that can only qualify 5th or 6th, one that has to drive around back in 7th or 8th. Or just maybe we’ll see a Vettel that despite having an uncompetitive car got everything he could out of it and made a 7th place car a 1st or 2nd place car that Sunday. Maybe only then will fans like me see Vettel can get the job done with a lesser car, a la Alonso, a la Hamilton. Time will tell.
However that situation is not likely to come along. The RB9 is at the top of its class and so is Sebastian Vettel and we should all just forget the other stuff for now and recognize F1 is never just about the driver, is never just about the car, never just about the team. It is the summation of all of these (and quite a bit more really). This is why we all love F1 so much. And don’t think for one carbon fiber second I would not give anything for Fernando to be driving the best car and for others to be claiming the same thing. Whether it’s the car or not, what Sebastian Vettel has done with all of Adrian Newey’s creations is worthy of our praise.
Say all you want about driver, car, and team, but these statistics don’t lie and they paint a picture that is truly great, as in Vettel and Red Bull are truly Great Champions.
-jp- (and did I really just say that?)
I know what you are all thinking. How the hell has JP not put anything up yet? To be perfectly honest I have not watched the race yet, although I feel fairly confident who finished on the top step. Or at the very least who claimed his fourth driver’s title. If by chance I happen to be incorrect, well it would be one of the few times I welcome being in the wrong.
I have to say it was quite a challenge to avoid just about every device today and stay away from anything that might have spoiled the race, but as I write these words the days black-out was successful.
Tomorrow is Monday and I have the day off from everything, the J-O-B, the wife, the kids, any and all obligations. Tomorrow it will be just me, the race, Sebastian, and my keyboard. I have something special planned for this post. Think a combo of high accolades and my usual sock-it-to-you (that is a Laugh In term for all you that are interested) irreverence.
-jp- (and oh this will be a fun one) ;)