Familes of Flight 370 Forced out of their Hotel for Ferrari F1 Team

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The grief stricken families waiting for news of their loved one on Flight 370 have been forced out of their hotel on Friday.  Their rooms had been booked months in advance buy the Ferrari Formula One team for the upcoming Malaysian Grand Prix.

Bernie Eccleston, F1 Chief, confirmed to NBC News that the block of rooms at the Cyberview Hotel in Kuala Lumpur were being taken by the Ferrari team.  “I feel terribly, terribly sorry for these people,” he said. “But it is up to the hotel. What would happen if you told somebody that they no longer had a booking? You would get sued, I’d imagine.”

Ferrari has yet to release a statement.

More than 3,000 team members, support staff and media travel to each Grand Prix race – this does not include the huge number of fans that are filling hotels in advance of the March 30th race.

Malaysian Airlines has transferred the families to another hotel – but it is about 30 miles from the headquarters that is heading up the search for the missing plane and providing updates to the relatives who are desperate for answers.

Is Kimi Gay? Probably Not – Is Motorsport.com Homophobic? Probably!

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Motosport.com is no fly-by-night blog – it is a major racing website attracting 250-300 thousand unique visitors per month.   This makes their recent Facebook post about F1 Driver Kimi Raikkonen disturbing on several levels.  It’s piss-poor “journalism” and blatantly homophobic.

First of all, Motorsport.com posted a picture that they assume is Kimi Raikkonen.  The image quality is fuzzy and poor at best.  The shot obviously was taken from a great distance with a powerful lens and could be easily photo-shopped.  They even admit that they aren’t sure if it’s Kimi.  The image shows several men on a boat in a sunny location – one of the men appears to be applying suntan lotion on the shoulders of another man.

The picture was posted to their fan forums – and someone at the website decided to cross post the picture to the official Motorsport.com Facebook page with this additional comment, “Is this really Kimi? I may never look at the Iceman the same again. Kimi fans should not view this picture #F1 #sayitaintso”

Let’s break this down:

1)  “Is this really Kimi?” – If Motorsport.com was not sure this is an image of Kimi – why would they post it?   Actions like this do not give their site much journalistic integrity.

2) “I may never look at the Iceman the same again.” – So you would automatically consider someone to be less of a man if you found out he was gay?  You would throw out his racing accomplishments and think less of him because of his sexual orientation?  This is clearly offensive and displays a stunning amount of ignorance – again, very surprising from a “mainstream” website.

3) “Kimi fans should not view this picture, #f1 #SayItAintSo” – Say it ain’t so?  It would really bother you THAT much if a gay guy drove a race car?

Motorsport.com reader, and openly gay AMA Pro Motorcycle racer Luke Huff commented on the post.  He expressed his outrage and asked them to remove the offensive post.  Instead of removing it, Motorsport.com apologized “if Luke was offended”………. how could he not have been?

Motorsport.com also offered to write a profile about Luke and his AMA race efforts – Luke declined their offer and again, simply asked that the post be removed.

Their offer for space on their site seems to be standard fair.  I personally sent Motorsport.com an email to express my own feelings about their post and ask for its removal.  Again, they apologized, “if I was offended” and offered to promote Q4G to their larger audience.

I declined their offer and again asked that the post be removed.  That was over 48 hours ago and the post is still on their Facebook page.  Of course, I (and other gay people) were offended – we just want the post removed.  Blatant homophobia has no place on a mainstream racing site.

UPDATE:

Thanks to a diehard F1 and Q4G fan from Latvia – turns out this picture of Kimi is legit….. and it was posted in the UK’s Daily Mail in late June.  There were several pictures of Kimi applying suntan lotion on a buddy – but there were also several pictures of bikini clad women on the boat.

So while the picture is legit – the Motorsport.com folks fail to also to post pics of women on board while insinuating Kimi is gay.

F1 – Halfsies

The Sauber F1 Team has cut an entire F1 car in half – the detail is amazing..

Be sure to click on the image with your mouse to scroll around the full sized image.

Hat tip to Jalopnnik – sourced from F1talks.pl

 

The Young and the Techless – F1 Vol. 1 Preview

In an effort to apprise ya’ll readers of the off-track action from around the world, I bring you my new weekly column: The Young and the Techless.  With just about every racing series worldwide moving to ever more restrictive regulations in an effort to make racing more competitive, I figured the title would be fitting (1. And you folks are car people… 2. Yes, I did jack the title idea from Ross, but he approved!)

FIA Formula One World Championship – Rules Changes and Off-Season Testing Update

Certainly the biggest story this F1 off-season has been the rule change the FIA enacted to lower the cars’ noses to make them safer in a nose-to-side impact.  The trend since the early 2000s has been to continuously raise the height of the cars’ noses to aid in under-car airflow.  This trend necessitated massive compromises in suspension geometry (lending us to the suspension arms having more anhedral than a Harrier – good God I’m a nerd…) and also necessitated nose-cones being almost at level with the top of the monocoque (and hence the drivers’ heads).

Under pressure from the designers, the FIA kept the rule for height of the monocoque at 625mm but mandated that maximum nose height not exceed 550mm causing most teams to design a horrid step in the nose:

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Thankfully, Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes have gone with a gently curving nose, which is far more aesthetically pleasing:

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The pre-season testing has been rather uneventful, save for two major storylines:

Lotus-Renault F1 Team had to pull out of the second testing session at Barcelona because of defective front suspension mounts.  They discovered at the first test in Jerez (with chassis 1)that the car’s handling wasn’t responding as expected, then with the higher loads of Barcelona’s corners the front suspension on chassis 2 failed.  They immediately pulled out of the test and went back to their factory at Enstone, England and set about a redesign to rectify the problem.

Another bombshell (read: sarcasm): The token backmarker-reject team HRT (Hispania Racing) had its new 2012 chassis pass 17 out of 18 FIA crash tests, thereby failing homologation and not being allowed to attend the first two tests.  Just last week the HRT finally passed the 18th crash test and was homologated.  HRT hope to debut their new crapwagon car this Sunday.

Testing times amongst the other teams have been just as sporadic as they always are in testing (small teams running on low-fuel just to post fast times to attract sponsorship money).  General consensus is that Reb Bull Racing will still be the team to beat (read: another Vettle championship), but many pundits are saying McLaren’s “radical” non-stepped nose car might pose a challenge to Reb Bull at the hands of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.

Stay tuned later today for TYatT V8 Edition, and also a look at the new World Endurance Championship.

The State of the Website

Gentleman who like Gentleman, and Ladies who like Ladies – the State of Queers4Gears is strong!

2011 was a banner year for Q4G.  We welcomed new contributors Ross Bynum (Indy), Cody Globig (V8 & F1) and Carla Page (NASCAR).  They share our love for racing and making people laugh….making them a perfect addition to the crew.  Troy Germain and Michael Myers pumped out the weekly podcast: “The Queers4Gears Radio Hour” – and while it wasn’t on the radio and sometimes didn’t last an hour – we appreciate you listening each week.

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Queers4Gears was profiled in two newspapers in 2011:  The Santa Rosa Press Democrat and The Las Vegas Review Journal.

One of the year’s highlights was when YOU – our readers and twitter followers donated to support Q4G founder Michael Myers in the Las Vegas AIDS Walk.  Q4G readers donated $1545.00 and that amount was matched by Penn and Teller!  Thanks to you – over $3000.00 was donated by Queers4Gears to AFAN (Aid for AIDS of Nevada.)

Site traffic made a dramatic jump this year.  Q4G moved to a new server host – and during the transition a technician asked if we still wanted the site blocked from the bots.  We were not aware that the “bots” used by search engines to index material for your searches was being blocked from Q4G until late this year.

Once we invited the bots in…. traffic jumped from an average of 3,500 unique visitors per month to over 12,000!

In 2012 – we are adding a new podcast, Michael Myers and Hannah Rickards will be covering action off of the track this season in “Out of the Tunnel.”

Keep your eyes open for weekly recurring race commentary that we hope will keep you laughing.

See ya at the track……………

Colin McRae, the WRC, and Team Orders

I’ve been sitting in bed watching “Colin McRae Pedal to the Metal” tonight.  You know, instead of doing my massive piles of other news/feature story assignments for school…

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For those of you who don’t know, Scotsman Colin McRae was one of the world’s best rally drivers (WRC World Champion for Subaru in 1995) before his tragic death in a helicopter accident in 2007.  His name may be familiar to some of you gamers as the namesake of the original DiRT rallying video games.

The documentary got me thinking about the dreaded topic in Formula One: team orders.

In 1995, McRae was embroiled in a bitter title fight with his own Subaru teammate Carlos Sainz.  At the penultimate round of the World Rally Championship, Sainz held a few second lead over McRae the entire rally.  McRae was trying like hell to beat Sainz’s stage times throughout the final day of the rally when Prodrive team boss David Richards pulled him aside at a service park.  He told Colin to back off and stay in second-position so Sainz would win the rally.

Colin didn’t like that, so he disobeyed team orders and went flat out over the second-to-last stage, which put him ahead of Sainz in the running order, and one step closer to another rally victory that year, which meant one step closer to the coveted WRC crown.

Dave Richards then gave Colin the ultimatum: ‘You disobeyed team orders.  You check in to your final control point late (to receive a time penalty and fall back behind Sainz) or this will be your last rally with Subaru, ever.’ (paraphrase)

Facing the termination of his contract, Colin wisely obeyed Richards’ wishes and incurred a time penalty that enabled Sainz to win the rally…  At the final round of the year, Colin’s home round – the RAC Rally of Great Britain – he pushed as hard as possible and won the rally, and hence, the World Rally Championship for 1995.  Colin McRae was now immortalized.

This circumstance begs the question though: Why team orders at all?

In Formula One, where team orders (in various guises) have been around since the inception of Grand Prix racing, I’ve always found that team orders were acceptable.  1.) It’s tradition  2.)If I was a team principle, I wouldn’t want my two drivers to battle so hard that they take each other out of a race and have the entire team score no points at all…

It’s different in the sport of rallying, though.  Cars do not compete wheel-to-wheel.  They are only out on closed public roads, one stage at a time, one CAR at a time (usually cars launch into a stage at two-minute intervals), only battling the clock.  Whoever has the lowest stage time when all cars have run is the winner of the stage.  Combine all the times and whoever has the lowest total time wins the rally.

If there is no risk of teammates taking each other out completely, why on Earth invoke those team orders at all?  I don’t understand it.  McRae and Sainz could have both gone flat-chat and potentially have been perfectly fine in the end.  OK, I’ll admit that Colin always did have a penchant for throwing his car off the road – sometimes multiple times in the same day – but he did that all the time.  Colin never drove harder to try and beat the time of his opponents – he ALWAYS was flat out.

So I’d like to know, what are your thoughts on team orders?  They’re legal again in F1; the WRC has seen them often as well.  As covert as they may be sometimes, they’re even carried out in NASCAR, IndyCar, and every other series that has multi-car teams.

@reply me on Twitter (@TheSAABwriter), comment below, Facebook me (Cody Globig).   Help me understand WHY!

Guest Blog – F1 Driver Mike Beuttler Remembered

This week Queers4Gears welcomes guest blogger Richard Bailey from www.RichardsF1.com.  Richard pays tribute to F1 Driver Mike Beuttler two plus decades after his death.  Bailey is an openly gay motorsport fan and journalist based in Australia, Queers4Gears hopes that you enjoy his tribute to a unique figure in the history of motorsports…

Mike-Beuttler-asag.sk_Twenty-four years ago, former F1 driver Mike Beuttler passed away. His name might only be of significance to true F1 aficionados, but his colorful and all-too-brief life is worth paying tribute to, for he remains the only F1 driver known to be gay.

His death in 1988 to AIDS makes him one of the many of his era to succumb to the crippling (and then, little-known) disease, but it was not just his sexuality – unique in the world of motorsport – that marked him out from his peers.

Beuttler was also a dedicated amateur in the then-semi-professional world of Formula 1, an all-but-extinct species in the now highly professional, corporate world that Formula 1 has become.

His support came from a group of London stockbroking friends (some of who were also gay), and while he may not have achieved the results that his talent perhaps warranted, his story is still fascinating.

Beuttler was born to English parents in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, where his family lived while his father served in the British Army during World War II.

Beuttler-Formula-2-formula-2.blogspot.com_His interest in motorsport was apparent throughout his childhood, and as soon as he left school at the age of sixteen, he took up an administrative role with racing enthusiast Graham Warner, whose Chequered Flag team was a regular entrant on the Formula 3 landscape.

Warner was interested in a little more than racing, it seems, and it was believed that Beuttler also captured his attentions…
Beuttler earned the odd opportunity to to pilot the team’s front-engined Gemini challenger, but it took until he was in his mid-twenties before his motor-racing career started in earnest.

It was in 1968 that he was finally able to drive a full season in Formula 3, courtesy of the backing of high-profile (and openly gay) stockbroker Ralph Clarke.

Over the next few years, Beuttler won several major races in his bright yellow Brabham – including the British Grand Prix support race – against the likes of fellow F1 up-and-comers James Hunt, Dave Walker, Dave Morgan and Tony Trimmer.

Beuttler’s desire to move up through the ranks had one unfortunate consequence: his tendency to regularly close the door on his pursuing rivals earned him the nickname ‘Blocker’, which stuck until his retirement from racing.

Beuttler now gained additional backing from the likes of other stockbrokers David Mordaunt, Alistair Guthrie and Jack Durlacher, and plans were laid to move into Formula 1 with a customer March chassis.

 

In the meantime, he competed in Formula 2, although the car was beset by a host of problems, and one of his few highlights was a win at the season-ending race at Vallelunga in Italy.

While he never confirmed the rumors, many of his contemporaries suspected that Beuttler and his backers enjoyed particularly close relationships on and off the track, although Beuttler would occasionally try and throw some off the scent by bringing along some rather busty young ladies to selected events! He wasn’t fooling anyone…

Beuttler’s F1 debut came at the 1971 British Grand Prix in a works March. He qualified twentieth of the twenty-four qualifiers, and retired with oil pressure problems. The remainder of his season was little better: he retired twice more, and in the other two races he failed to complete the minimum 90% of the race distance to be classified as a finisher.

He stayed for a full season in 1972, acquiring more backers but not achieving the race results that perhaps justified his friends’ continued investment. With March ruling that only its two works cars could field the latest chassis, Beuttler and his team took a modified March 722 Formula 2 chassis, which proved quicker than the works car!

His best finish that year was an eighth at the German Grand Prix, while he never managed to qualify inside the top-twenty.

Beuttler and his partners decided to give it another shot in 1973 – again with a March chassis – but his results were again discouraging. In fourteen races, his best qualifying result was an eleventh at Austria, while his best finish was seventh at the Spanish Grand Prix.

When the London financial scene suffered a dramatic collapse towards the end of the year, it effectively brought an end to Beuttler’s F1 foray, which totaled 28 championship starts.

Beuttler contested one more race – in sports cars, at the Brands Hatch 1000Km event – before quitting motorsport entirely and heading into business, and later trying his hand at journalism.

A shy, brooding and handsome man, Beuttler was well-regarded by many in the motorsport fraternity.
He later moved to San Francisco, and his passing (at age 48) just days before the end of 1988 brought a sad end to an all-too-short, yet very colorful, life.

 

You can learn more about this incredible man on the Mike Beuttler Tribute Page on Facebook.

It’s Official: Kimi is Back!

As I reported just last night in my Formula One rumor mill, the talk of Kimi Raikkonen coming back to the F1 circus is true.  Kimi signed a two-year deal with Lotus Renault GP (next year known as Team Lotus).

SPEEDtv.com’s Adam Cooper has the story:

LRGP confirmed today that Kimi Raikkonen has signed a two-year deal with the team. The outfit that is set to change its name to Team Lotus thus has a World Champion on its hands.

Raikkonen said that racing in NASCAR gave him a taste for the wheel to wheel competition that he’d been missing in rallying.

The news was not unexpected after negotiations moved rapidly when Kimi’s talks with Williams broke down, and it became clear that Robert Kubica was out of the frame for the start of the season.

It remains to be seen who will partner the 2007 champion. Vitaly Petrov has a contract while both Bruno Senna and Romain Grosjean are on standby. Against the odds there has also been contact with Adrian Sutil, despite the German’s issue with Eric Lux earlier in the year.

When he went to the WRC Kimi had ambitions to return with Red Bull Racing – something he openly admitted to this writer last year – but Mark Webber’s ongoing contract extensions put a stop that.

“I never really lost the passion in racing in F1, but maybe all the other things around it,” he said Raikkonen in a video interview. “But I did some NASCAR races this year in the States and I started to miss more and more the racing side, to race against each other, because in rallying it’s against the clock, really. That’s what I was missing.

“Then I got the call from certain people in Formula 1 and then also sorts of things happened and then in the end we managed to have a nice conversation with Lotus Renault, and ended up making a deal with them. So I’m very happy with that.

“There were two options. It was this team or Williams, and in the end everything worked out with Lotus Renault GP as we wanted, so that’s really the reason.”

Kimi insisted that there was no problem with his motivation: “I wouldn’t come back if I wouldn’t be motivated. There is always a lot of talk about the motivation, but nobody really knows what I do or what I think, apart from myself, so I don’t really care about what people say.

“I wouldn’t put my name in a contract if I wouldn’t think I would enjoy it. It will be interesting. It will be exciting to get back.”

Raikkonen said he would feel more at home in F1 after struggling to come to terms with the WRC.

“It’s been really nice in the last few years, trying to learn it. It’s been easier this year than it was last year, but still it’s a very difficult. But I’m really looking forward to coming back, at least F1 is something that I know how everything works.

“I’ve been there for many years. When I went to rallying I didn’t really know what would happen, and when I went to NASCAR I had no clue how it would be. In that way it should be much, much easier to come back. It should be pretty normal.”

Team owner Gerard Lopez added: “All year long, we kept saying that our team was at the start of a brand new cycle. Backstage we’ve been working hard to build the foundations of a successful structure and to ensure that we would soon be able to fight at the highest level. Kimi’s decision to come back to Formula 1 with us is the first step of several announcements which should turn us into an even more serious contender in the future.

“Of course, we are all looking forward to working with a world champion. On behalf of our staff, I’d like to welcome Kimi to Enstone, a setting that has always been known for its human approach to Formula 1.”

Now, I’ve always been a huge fan of the Iceman, as Kimi’s known.  He may not be the most well-spoken man in the history of motorsport, but he’s a damn good driver andhe’s Finnish – I have a love affair with all things Finland.  So here’s to having Kimi back, the boring one-word interview answers, the ease with which he can pilot a car quicker than everyone else, and the overall cool factor that is Kimi Raikkonen.

F1 Brazilian Grand Prix – The Season Finale

First off, sorry for my absence of late. Since I work in retail and am a senior in college I’ve been busier than a fly on a carcass…  -Cody

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After a long Formula One season of very much the same old thing, the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday provided us with a bit of a change of pace.

Sebastian Vettel aced qualifying as usual, so the weekend started out pretty much as usual. Oh, except for the record breaking that is. Coming into the Brazilian GP, Vettel had gone P1 in qualifying 14 times this year, tying the record set by Nigel Mansell in 1992. Seb remarked simply, “Just call me Nigel,” after winning his 15th and final pole of the year on Saturday at Interlagos.  And he said he didn’t care about records… Ha!

The race set off to notices sent by race director Charlie Whiting that rain was possible by half-distance.  Steve Matchett on the SPEEDtv broadcast also remarked that the various teams’ weathermen were Tweeting updates on the rain movement nearing the circuit just 10 or so laps in. The first round of pit stops , for most teams, was being delayed as long as it could so teams would only have to change from the soft tire to wets (by rule negating the need to run the Prime hard tire).

Ferrari Tweeted that rain was 10 minutes out, then Alonso promptly pitted and changed onto Primes. Matchett was rather humorously flustered at the boneheaded decision, but the strategy worked out for the Scuderia as the rain never came.

Drama played out throughout the race starting from only 5 laps in when Vettel’s gearbox quickly began to lose oil.  Seb nursed the car home, taking each corner a gear higher than normal and short-shifting.  He let 2nd placed teammate Mark Webber by going into turn 1 so as to not screw up Red Bull’s chances of a good race.

Webber went on to score his first and only win of the season.  Red Bull team boss Christian Horner remarked after the race that Vettel’s gearbox was actually completely out of oil by the time the race had ended.  No one knows how he made it work, but Vettel finished 2nd anyway.

The World Championship was wrapped up with 4 races left in the season, but the battle for the remaining positions went down to the wire.  The biggest win of the Brazilian GP was Team Lotus’ (next year “Team Caterham”) placement in 10th of the Constructors’ World Championship. Placing 10th means that Team Lotus/Caterham goes from receiving around $8 million to nearly $30 million in Championship payouts.

Final Driver Point Standings

Final Constructor Point Standings

In other F1 news, silly season has now kicked into high gear. TodayPatrick Head, co-founder of Williams GP announced his retirement from F1. He will now be focused on Williams’ Hybrid Power division of the company.  The rumor mill is going crazy about Kimi Raikkonen being close to signing a deal to come back to Formula One next year with either Williams or Lotus-Renault GP.  LRGP boss Eric Boullier said over the weekend that their final announcement is imminent.  Adrian Sutil is most likely headed out to pasture as his contract with Force India F1 is over.  Jerome D’Ambrisio is out at Marussia Virgin Racing as the team has signed Charles Pic to drive alongside veteran Timo Glock in 2012.  Rubens Barrichello is hell bent on driving for Williams again in 2012, but we’re waiting to see what will become of that.