• Category Archives Formula 1
  • Sepang International Circuit is a Joke!

    Sepang International Circuit is located about 60 km from downtown Kuala Lumpur.  It was built in the late 90’s and each year it is hosting some pretty spectacular races, the most prestigious being the Formula 1 and the MotoGP.

    I have only ever attended the Formula 1 once and there’s a number of reasons for that.  The most important reason is that I am too stingy.  The good grand stand tickets are probably around US$ 400-500 a piece and the shitty ones perhaps $ 200 or so.  If watching the race is important (which to me it is) then the absolute best seats would be the grass hill at the back of the track, but that means being exposed to weather and that in Sepang means one of two – either getting soaked or getting baked (there is no in between – it is one of those!).  So – quite frankly – I watch this one on TV.

    MotoGP (and the A1 when that was still on) is another matter.  The tickets are reasonable and more important – numbered seats are not used.  This means that you basically get access to whereever you want on the grand stand for less than US$ 50.

    There is a limit to how much one can complain when the tickets are priced that reasonable, but still – this is a circuit that is hosting prestigious international events and quite frankly the place is a joke.

    The joke starts about 1 km from the track.  For some bizarre reason (and this has been the case at least the last 3-4 years) no cars or buses are allowed to drive up to the track.  We always arrange a bus to go to the track and the closest we can get is the point marked “A” on the following map:

    As you can see, Google estimate that walk to be 1.1 km.  Now, look at that map.  Assuming you have grand stand tickets that is at least another km walk to get to the grand stand.  More than 2 km walk in 40 degrees (and those degrees are the Celsius kind).  It should be stressed here that the road leading up to the track entrance is a 4 lane highway, so it would be absolutely no problem letting at least buses take that road and drop people of right outside the entrance.  But no – in their wisdom (or serious lack thereof), the race organizers block of that 4 lane highway so only motorcycles and pedestrians are allowed in.  With the result that I have had to jump for my life at least a couple of times, because of some idiot on a bike thinking it’s fun to go 100 mph on that empty road.

    Before you find a seat you better buy some food.  I should mention here that they do check your bags before they let you in and you’re not allowed to bring any outside food or drinks.  Unfortunately whatever food is available inside the track is a scandal – no less.  This year we decided to buy a hot dog after the first race (that is the first race out of the 3 scheduled ones – about 1.30 pm or thereabouts).  We didn’t decide on the hot dog because it was attractive but because it was the shortest queue – only about half an hour.  This is what a RM 15 (that is US$5!) Hot Dog – Sepang style – looks like:

    It is not that I don’t like ketchup – they were out of it.  They were out of everything else too – except sausages and bread (and whatever that white stuff was).  Whoever sold that – ahem – thing – should price himself lucky that I wasn’t the one queuing because I would have punched them in the face.  This is quite simply robbery – nothing less.

    After the first race and after I threw the above – ahem – thing – out the rain started.  This is a good time to repeat that we had grand stand tickets and while they are not that expensive for the MotoGP they are the most expensive ones there is.  Also I should repeat that during MotoGP you can pretty much sit where you like, while during F1 they use numbered seats.  Personally I like the view from the back side grand stand (watching the back half of the circuit but without the pit lane in the way).  This is what happened at that covered grand stand when it started to rain (and by Malaysian standard it wasn’t heavy rain – more sort of a drizzle):

    To the other side:

    I’d say I would have been pretty pissed had I bought one of those seats during an F1 race (and those seats for that event would probably be around US$300 a piece).

    The day did offer some great racing albeit short (last two races red flagged half way because of rain) and all that was remaining was the 2 km walk through the rain to find our bus.



  • Fair Use?

    Yesterday I wrote a rather lengthy post about Michael Schumacher’s reaction after having rammed his car into Bruno Senna.

    A few hours later, I received the following in my Gmail inbox:

    Dear lbthomsen01,

    This is to notify you that we have removed access to your video,Schumacher the Idiot (Slow Motion), as a result of a notification byFormula One Management claiming that this material is infringing.

    Please Note: Accounts determined to be repeat infringers may be terminated. To avoid this, please delete any videos to which you do not own the rights, and refrain from uploading infringing videos.
    For more information, please visit our Copyright Tips guide.
    If you believe this claim was made in error, or that you are otherwise authorized to use the content at issue, you may file a counter notice.Please note that under Section 512(f) of the Copyright Act, any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification may be liable for damages.

    Sincerely,
    - The YouTube Team

    I actually received two emails both send at approximately the same time.  The other read:

    Dear lbthomsen01:

    We have disabled the following material as a result of a third-party notification from Formula One Management claiming that this material is infringing:
    Schumacher the Idiot (Slow Motion)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfls8VLYZr0

    Please Note: Repeat incidents of copyright infringement will result in the deletion of your account and all videos uploaded to that account. In order to prevent this from happening, please delete any videos to which you do not own the rights, and refrain from uploading additional videos that infringe on the copyrights of others. For more information about YouTube’s copyright policy, please read the Copyright Tips guide.

    If one of your postings has been misidentified as infringing, you may submit a counter-notification. Information about this process is in our Help Center.

    Please note that under Section 512(f) of the Copyright Act, any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material was disabled due to mistake or misidentification may be liable for damages.
    Sincerely,
    — The YouTube Team

    For some odd reason, the link to the video appear to still be working, so I’ll try to link it here too:

    So it would appear that the Formula One Management is seriously pissed that I used 4 seconds of their footage to prove a point (and does that footage actually belong to them since I lifted it of ESPN/Star Sport broadcast – which I paid for).

    Let us examine what I have done here.  Out of a 1 1/2 race that was broadcast on ESPN/Star Sport, I have “borrowed” exactly 4 seconds of footage.  I have then removed the sound track (since having Steve Slater babble makes no difference whatsoever) and I have reduced the frame rate to 25 % of the original.  I also did blur the logo and in hindsight that might have been a mistake, but at the time I was editing the video it seemed like the right thing to do (just because I could).

    Is this copyright infringement?



  • Time to Retire?

    Yesterday’s Formula 1 race in Spain was one of the best Formula 1 races I have seen in a long time.  In lap 13, there was a racing incident between Michael Schumacher and Bruno Senna.  Incidents such as that is part of what makes motor racing entertaining and fun to watch.  However, on the radio after the crash, Schumacher called Bruno Senna an idiot.  Even that could be excused at the time.  Schumacher was/is obviously frustrated.  He has crashed in 3 out of 5 races this season so far and he is consistently being out classed by his much younger team mate Rosberg.  However, during press interviews following the race (and following him clearly having watched the video footage since he is mentioning it), he kept on blaming Bruno Senna for this accident, and that is absolutely inexcusable.

    According to this article, Schumacher said:

    “I want the stewards to clarify what happened. He moved to the right, but he shouldn’t move back in the braking phase to the left that sharply, I’m just behind him and I don’t know how sharply he is going to move. So it was all very dangerous.”

    Well, let’s have a look at it:

    Now, let us take a closer look at what happened.  Here are some frames from the video.  The first frame is early.  Senna is approaching corner one, but he is clearly on the wrong side of the track to get an ideal racing line through the corner (right hand corner, so he should be at the left side of the track).

    At this point, both Bruno Senna and Schumacher decide to pull left – something they both have to do to get through that corner.  It could look as if Schumacher at this point have decided to overtake Bruno Senna on the outside through that corner, something he could easily have done since he had much fresher tires.

    Bruno Senna have a right to defend himself, so even if he was aware of Schumachers move, he had a right to close the gap.  However, it is worth noticing that he did leave room for Schumacher, even if he had a right to go all the way to the left.

    Schumacher at this point, less than half a car length behind Senna, obviously decide not to go around on the outside – even if Senna left tons of space there.

    Schumacher start pulling right, but do notice that Senna is not changing direction at all.

    This is probably one of the last frames before the crash.  Schumacher is moving right, Senna have left space on the left side for Schumacher to go through but there is a corner coming up and he has started braking at this point.  He is however still not moving to the right.

    Senna is still not turning.

    And contact.  Notice the tire marks on the track.  They clearly show the ideal line through that corner.  The two cars in front of Schumacher and Senna is following that line and the car behind them is also properly lined up for the corner.

    To me this is a racing incident.  It is part of what makes Formula 1 entertaining and it is how it should be.  What pisses me of is Schumacher calling Bruno Senna an idiot.  OK – I can somewhat understand a stupid reaction during distress – Schumacher was/is obviously frustrated and that is OK.  But even after the race – even after watching the video – he is still maintaining that this incident was caused by Bruno Senna being a poor driver.  Obviously the guy is a bit delusional these days.  I guess he is used to lesser drivers moving out of the way when the great Schumacher approaches.  To me he is just a has been that should have stayed retired.  Look – I am a year or two older than Schumacher and my reactions are definitely not as sharp as they were when I was 20 or 30.

    Schumacher, no doubt, was once a great driver and I don’t think anybody is going to forget that – just as nobody will forget the dirty tricks he pulled along the way.  Who will forget this incident:

    Bruno Senna’s uncle was one of the few that might possibly have been an even greater driver, but Bruno Senna is clearly not in the same league.  But in this case the mistake was Schumacher’s 100 %.  There is no doubt about that.

    Update 2012-05-15

    When I wrote this post yesterday I was actually rather pleased with the FIA, since they had slapped Schumacher with a 5 place grid penalty in the next race (which will be Monaco so it will be bloody hard to overtake).  I was under the impression than FIA in general would feel rather pleased to have fans show an active interest in the “sport” (or show) they are trying to promote.  However, today I had some new input on this, read more here.