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Saturday at the USGP:
Thursday at the USGP
I left Springfield headed east toward Indianapolis at 6 am
Thursday morning September 27. Just after 9 am I turned off Crawfordsville
Road into the parking lot at the Speedway Administration building.
Ten minutes later I had my credentials and parking pass. Although
the press parking lot wasn't inside the track as it was last
year, the walk was actually shorter. In fact everything seemed
easier than even just last May. An entrance right at the door
to the Media Center prevented the long walk around to the paddock
entry station required last year. After signing in at the Media
Center I took my camera and headed for the F1 paddock.
Not far inside the F1 paddock I sighted Bob Varsha, Speedvision
announcer and host of the F1 programs on that network. We shook
hands and said our greetings and then I repeated the ritual with
David Hobbs and Sam Posey, Speedvision racing analysts. I've
talked and shared information, both factual and rumors, with
these guys for almost ten years now and always enjoy their company.
Bob introduced me to Steve Matchett, the new guy on the team.
Steve was a mechanic at Benetton and brings an interesting point
of view to the broadcasts. We continued to talk about racing
in general and F1 specifically as we ambled toward the entrance
to Pit Lane. This is how my 2001 F1 experience began. I hope
you enjoy the report.
A view past the Benetton team practicing pit stops toward
the front straight and scoring pylon. That's Sam Posey and Bob
Varsha on the left.
The Arrows team during pit stop practice. Notice how many
people are involved. The guy at far left videotapes proceedings
for critical review.
David Hobbs talks to the BAR guy. That's Steve Matchett kneeling
by the front tire. Steve was taping a piece on the car for later
airing. I took the rare opportunity for a close view of an F1
car to snap a bunch of photos. Those photos will appear on a
separate web page. I was amazed at the number and complexity
of the aero doo-dads and the sculptured shapes of the control
Get the point, Dudester?
The right rear sidepod area of the Jaguar car is complicated.
That mini-wing-on-a-pylon is very complex for its size. But it
wouldn't be that shape if it weren't better that way. L/D is
the holy grail, a higher number means more lift (negative of
course) for the drag caused. Behind the small wing is what I
call a kick-up that also trys to add downforce but also minimize
drag caused by the rear tire. On an open-wheel car the tires
cause a lot of drag as well as lift (positive). Finally, notice
the exhaust exit at the right rear.
The Sauber team had two nose-wing configurations prepared
for use. The end plates, however, look about the same. The front
wind is extremely important because the flow off the front wing
influences everything else downstream. The goal of the end plates
is to provide downforce while lowering lift and drag caused by
Aero tweaks on the Williams cars looked different from all
others in the area from front tires to sidepods. I have no idea
what these flat horizontal surfaces are supposed to do except,
of course, the obvious-higher L/D.