Tuesday, June 19, 2007

F1 observations.

When you go to a race, the cars sound different from one another. A Jordan with traction control sounded like a log truck unloading. The Ferraris have always had a throaty roar under acceleration like no other.

I noticed from our excellent seats on turn 1 at Indy that the McLarens made a distinct whistling noise as they went by. The other cars each have their own whines and roars, but the McLarens had their own peculiar whistle.

Rumors abound that the real advantage that is putting McLaren so far in front of the other teams is their aero package. They have supposedly contracted the most powerful computer in Europe (gigaflops FTW) to help with calculations.

Was this whistle the new McLaren chassis carving a delicate hole in the air as it bends Mother Nature to do its bidding? I dunno, but it sounded weird.

Furthermore, after staring at these beautiful cars for four days, I couldn't help but wonder what some of these companies that sponsor them make or do. Here's what I found:

Alice = Italian internet service provider
RBS = Royal Bank of Scotland
Vodafone - international cell phone provider
ING - Dutch investment management
Allianz - German insurance and asset management
AMD - US semiconductor manufacturer

One more thing. Watching the cute little lawnmower Formula BMW cars careen around the course, I was impressed by what this formula does about car numbers. In F1, car numbers are about 6 inches tall and only in one place, on the top of the car just in front of the driver. Which is nearly completely invisible. On the Formula BMW cars, the end plates of the rear wing bear a flag showing the driver's nationality and the car number. I desperately hope that someday the F1 cars do the same thing. I realize that running an F1 team takes hundreds of millions of dollars, but I can't imagine they make that much money on the advertising space on those end plates.

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