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News of the Day: January 1, 2012

It is New Year’s Day, and none of us are exactly swimming against a mighty current of thousands of F1 news stories. Now is the time when F1 drivers are engaged in activities like shoveling snow, torturing themselves by not eating bacon sandwiches, and clinging to the backs of daredevil motorcyclists, but one thing they aren’t super-busy with at the moment is making F1 news. One consequence of this, I suppose, is that it will be a bit easier for me to meet my goal for the month of January, which is to post something about current F1 news stories in this blog every single day — and the fewer stories there are, the less of an intimidating task that should be. Right?

Let’s get started and find out…

Ferrari Will Be Back. They Hope. I Mean, the Chances Are at Least Fair to Middling, I Think We’d All Agree.

Autosport quotes Stefano Domenicali, Pat Fry, and Luca di Montezemolo.

Every so often, the folks at Ferrari seem to like to remind us that they have always been and will always be a force to be reckoned with, and that it is only a matter of time before they reclaim their rightful place at the top of the world contructors’ championship and make you truly fear them once again.

And then sometimes, instead, they say things like in this article: Today on Autosport.com, Stefano Domenicali is quoted as saying that he and the team are “optimistic,” “doing a reasonable job,” and “working in the right direction.” Part of his slightly understated optimism comes from the change in the regulations to eliminate off-throttle exhaust blowing, as his team was never quite able to get that right. Pat Fry, chassis technical director and possessor of one of the most glorious heads of hair in F1, says they’ve made improvements in one of the main areas that gave them trouble in 2011 — namely, their imperfect wind tunnel data correlations — and that the engineers, especially in the aero department, are being “a lot more creative.” Finally, di Montezemolo is quoted on the subject of Ferrari’s recent organizational changes, which he describes as “good improvements…without a revolution.” He’s not expecting a miracle overnight; just improvement from year to year.

I think all of this serves to remind us that not everyone associated with the Ferrari organization communicates like the Horse Whisperer. Sure, it would be a lot more entertaining if they did — but are they here to amuse us? Are they a clown to us? No, they are not, and these are not imperious statements made by those who are bragging about a sure thing. Even di Montezemolo, who often sounds that way, doesn’t here. I’d describe the mood here as “cautious optimism.” Which, I think, is about the most that can reasonably be expected from anyone aspiring to stop the Red Bull/Vettel juggernaut.

A note on the reporting:  The quotes from Fry are from a December interview with Autosport, but the source(s) of the quotes from Domenicali and di Montezemolo are not clear from this article. I always find that annoying. There’s also an almost unreadable sentence that has two phrases set off with em dashes and “it’s” used in place of “its” — but the failure to mention the source of the quotes is even more annoying.

Sebastien Buemi May or May Not Be Close to Becoming a Red Bull Test Driver

Reported in Blick in fairly uncertain terms. (As far as I can tell.)

The fact that the Blick article states that no one will say whether a contract has been signed is not stopping other media outlets (SpeedTV.com, for example)  from picking this story up and reporting it, although they are careful to qualify the news with words like “reportedly.” Well, I suppose I’ve heard more bizarre things in my life; I wouldn’t be totally shocked if this did end up being true.

What’s been surprising me more is some of the reaction I’ve seen from fans, which can be summarized as “Why him and not Alguersuari?!” As though this plum reserve driver job would be the first choice of either former Toro Rosso driver. The whole thing has to feel like a hearty kick in the teeth. Maybe Buemi, for whatever reason, feels as though this is the only way he’ll be able to stay in F1 right now, while Alguersuari is exploring other options. Who knows?

Of course, some are bound to speculate that the notorious video of Alguersuari getting an earful from Helmut Marko has something to do with all this — and, I’ve got to tell you, I’m already tired of people making so much of that clip. Really, guys? You’d think no one had ever been chewed out by their boss without getting fired before. And, frankly, I wasn’t all that impressed by Marko’s level of anger in that video. But hey, maybe that’s just me. You should see some of the workplace arguments I’ve had…

Marussia F1 Unleashes Its Decent-Looking New Logo

This was probably in a press release for actual media types; however, see it here on their new Facebook page and web site.

The F1 team formerly known as “Virgin” and then “Marussia Virgin” is, as of today, now officially known as “Marussia.” The main form this news is taking is reporting of the new logo — which, in my opinion, isn’t bad. Sort of a tasteful marriage between the straight-up Marussia logo and the Van Halen logo. However, the Marussia logo itself really, really reminds me of certain 1980s video games. For example, take a look at the Marussia logo, here. Now imagine it slotting neatly into the top row of aliens in this screenshot from Galaga:

Right? That’s what I’m saying!

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