The F1 Circus Begins Again, and RIP To A Friend

Hi lug nuts, the Emptywheel F1 season is starting! The traditional opening in Australia has been moved to the end of the year, and the opening race is Bahrain this weekend. I firmly believe that F1 ought not be in the homes of authoritarian despots in places like Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. They are there on the 2021 calendar nevertheless.

So, Mercedes and Red Bull were front and center in the practice sessions, with Verstappen and Red Bull ahead of Hamilton, Bottas and the Mercs. But the gap was narrowed significantly from practice, with Verstappen beating out Lewis by less than a 10th of a second. Bottas collected up P3, with Leclerc a surprising P4 in the Ferrari. The hard charging Pierre Gasly finished with P5 in the AlphaTauri, with Dan Ricciardo and Lando Norris (keep an eye open on these two) in McLarens for P6-P7. Fernando Alonso returns to F1 for Alpine and finished qualifying in a quite respectable P9, behind Carlos Sainz in the second Ferrari, and ahead of Lance Stroll in an Aston Martin.

Ferrari is still not yet right. Merc is closer to Red Bull than people think, and the middle third of the pack will be a LOT more interesting this year. It was better last year, and will be even more better this year, ahead of the multitude of changes on tap for 2022. For 2021, via Peterr, here is a team and drivers guide. Also, apparently F1, who has no problem racing in the most hideous of brutal authoritarian states, as noted above, don’t like Lewis Hamilton speaking up about human rights:

Lewis Hamilton has stated his belief that Formula One can no longer ignore human rights issues in the countries it visits, putting the sport’s chief executive, Stefano Domenicali, in an awkward position after he rejected calls to launch an independent inquiry into alleged human rights abuses associated with the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The F1 world champion was speaking before the season-opening race in Bahrain and was unequivocal in a stance he first displayed last year. “There are issues all around the world but I do not think we should be going to these countries and just ignoring what is happening in those places, arriving, having a great time and then leaving,” said Hamilton, before revealing that he takes the situation in Bahrain so seriously that he has spent the past few months educating himself on it.

“Coming here all these years I was not aware of all of the details of the human rights issues. I have spent time speaking to legal human rights experts, to human rights organisations like Amnesty,” the 36-year-old said. “I have been to see the UK ambassador here in Bahrain and spoken to Bahraini officials also. At the moment the steps I have taken have been private and I think that is the right way to go out about it but I am definitely committed to helping in any way I can.”

So, the circus begins in Bahrain, human rights abuses and all. Welcome to the club Lewis, I have been decrying the F1 posture in Bahrain since at least this time in 2012. But Lewis is really growing into his full throat, and that is a remarkably good and admirable thing.

On a sad note, if you have been around Emptywheel very long, especially on our F1 threads, you know and love Quebecois. I have not seen Quebecois since mid January. That is a long time, even outside of F1 season. I can no longer find where I saw it, but believe Quebecois has passed. He had cancer, had remitted it enough to start biking again, but I think it took him. I very much hope I am wrong about this, and that Quebecois appears with a triumphant “Dewey Beats Truman” newspaper in hand. I don’t think wrong though, and that is truly sad. The people here at this blog are everything, and all losses are hard. The long timers, especially so.

So, that is it for this week. One of Mrs. Bmaz’s employees, also an F1 fan, made me a F1 couch pillow, and that is the featured image. As to music, we have Rod The Mod and Elton with the entirely kick ass and very underrated rocker of Let Me Be Your Car.

Let me be your car for a while child
Shift me into gear and I’ll be there
Fill me up with five star gasoline girl
I’ll be your car, I’ll take you anywhere.

139 replies
  1. Re entry says:

    Yes, racing follows the money and f1 takes an unbelievable amount of money and resources to build infrastructure and tracks which few countries have the luxury of any more.

    It’s hard to believe that big tobacco used to float that sport.

    And look at Qatar, they are racing towards hosting the World Cup and migrant workers are perishing in the conditions.

    Salut and godspeed Quebecois

    • bmaz says:

      I actually think F1 could afford not to. But they are greedy, and Bernie allowed it and now there they are.

      • ducktree says:

        In my haste to get down to the comments thread (hey, it’s about F1 amirite), I mistakenly read that your friend had made you a F1 couch *potato* until I went back to look at the opening portrait.


        • Rugger9 says:

          My resident Fierce Creature Princess Terrier calls it “testing gravity”. Someone has to do it.

          My condolences about Quebecois, though. Those were astute comments and we will miss the perspective. I won’t dare try French because I only know enough to get slapped.

  2. drouse says:

    The battle for third in the constructors is going to fierce. I think that it’s going to come down to AlphaTauri and McLaren. Maybe Ferrari gives it the old college try. They pulled off a minor miracle in managing not to suck this year. Aston-Martin? Forget about it. Vettel didn’t make it out of Q3. Again.

    • bmaz says:

      I think that is about right. Although never count Alonso out. He is such a good driver that, even with mid-field equipment, he may make a stir. He never had that when he was at McLaren, they were truly awful, and he still drove the hell out of the car as long as it would last in any given race.

      • John McManus says:

        Right on . One of the pleasures of watching F1 is seeing a driver in a slow car go fast. George Russell in Hamilton’s car last year showed how much talent there is in the backmarkers.

        • bmaz says:

          Keep an eye out for the young Yuki Tsunoda, number two driver for AlphaTauri. He is raw, and thus a tad erratic, but scary fast.

        • drouse says:

          Yes and unlike his fellow rookies he has a car that can get him to the podium. With a little luck and the right circumstance, I can see him making onto the podium a couple of times. Considering his career so far, he’s either really really good or has a fairy God-mother.

        • bmaz says:

          I don’t know if Tsunoda has family or independent backing too, but he has been in the Honda support and development program for a while, even though only 20 years old. Seems to be a character and extremely fast. Should be fun to watch.

  3. P J Evans says:

    I hope that Quebecois isn’t gone, but if he is, I’ll miss him.

    (Some cancers are nastier than others – I’ve lost some friends as well as some family.)

  4. jo6pac says:

    Yep F-1 is back and I still won’t watching I can’t afford it. I’m glad FA back he’ll make Alpine a better car than it is right now.
    I agree about the middle-east but greed wins out and new owners of F-1 are just like the old owner $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

    A note in NFL world 9ers pull off a great trade.

  5. Peterr says:

    After watching some of the qualifying runs, where drivers were penalized for taking Turn 4 too fast and going outside the track when exiting the turn, something tells me that Turn 4 is going to be rather interesting during the race.

    • Peterr says:

      And it was.

      I didn’t see the race live (Sunday is taken up with work for me!), but the writeups of the end of the race made it clear I was right.

  6. J R in WV says:

    My most beloved cousin was taken from us by uterine cancer not too long ago. It was a terrible family situation, also. She was a little less than a year younger than I.

    I won’t go into the details, but she was gay, and her brother who became her caregiver was a RWNJ theocrat. RIP. Cancer really sucks!

  7. drouse says:

    Is dumping Perez for Vettel going to turn out to be the bonehead move of the decade? If Perez gets up to speed quickly and has a good start to the season, the wisdom of the decision will come under question. The talk of how Vettel is not a good fit with the team or they didn’t give him a car he could drive are already sounding hollow. Leclerc wrung some decent performance out of last year’s car. Stroll made it into Q3 with this year’s car and there’s Vettel, not making it out of Q1, just like all of last season. At some point you have to say, yeah, maybe it is the driver.

  8. CroFandango says:

    Good on Hamilton for speaking up about the repressive regimes, even if it will be a long time to change. Ecclestone always had a taste for autocrats.

    I expect a masterful year from Alonzo, front of the midfield. Verstappen may do very well, depending on how much Mercedes is sandbagging. Hamilton’s consistency will keep him the man to beat and Mercedes has the lock for the constructor’s. Now that Haas has (finally) dumped the catastrohic Grossjean, I hope they can make some progress and at least survive to 2022.

  9. John McManus says:

    Liam Lawson had a good rookie weekend in F2: a win and a third. New Zealand is about to rise again in F1.

    • bmaz says:

      And that would be a very cool thing. The diversity of drivers and countries represented has always been one of the truly great things about F1. And there is more now than ever. Wish a Yank might slip in every now and then, but it is really great.

      • Rugger9 says:

        NASCAR, Indycar, etc. sucks up all of the sponsorship dollars so very little is left for F1 after that. Elevation of F1 to a topic of interest for Ford, Chevy, etc. might be what will be necessary and that will take some time.

        • Chetnolian says:

          That’s a very MAGA thought. When Ford and Chevy get involved I stop watching. . You guys have NASCAR all to yourselves. F1 is for us guys in the whole of the rest of the world.

        • bmaz says:

          Let’s also remember that Ford has a rich history in F1. The Cosworth Fords ruled for a good long time.

        • Chetnolian says:

          Very fair point. I did indeed forget the Ford Cosworth engines, which were wonderful. Mind you, just like with Mercedes cars now, a bit of British precision engineering goes a long way

        • Rugger9 says:

          You must not read my comments very often to say that. However, you also missed the point, in that even tough Ford (et al) may have had good history, it’s not their R&D focus now. It certainly wouldn’t hurt them to jump back in.

        • bmaz says:

          I do think Chetnolian maybe took your comment the wrong way. F1 does take insane amounts of money to compete. And the NASCAR and Indycar series are a lot better return for major manufacturers for the relative buck in the US.

          That said, I don’t know that you need Ford or Chevy necessarily. Back in the day, Dan Gurney ran American Eagle in F1. Something like that could still be a good thing for F1. Haas has been an embarrassment, and they never even tried to use an American driver, even for the second spot on the team. I’d love to see such an effort, but hard to envision it at this point.

        • Rugger9 says:

          When you can push the limits of engineering to get more speed in tight courses, it cascades to the rest of the product line. That’s why the US automakers should get back on the track.

          Sears Point runs a NASCAR race in the summer and as one of the few road courses the drivers like the change with its challenges.

        • bmaz says:

          Seeing those lumbering NASCAR tanks on a road course like Sears Point just make me cringe. By the way, the NASCAR race at Indianapolis this year is on their road course (once used for F1) instead of the oval.

        • P J Evans says:

          Friend used to drive in the 24 Hours of Lemons. They use road courses, most of the time, but they also run long-distance rallies (Seaside to LV to Seaside, or Seaside to Canada). There’s a very low maximum cost on the cars (they’re clunkers or salvage), and the drivers have all the safety gear.

        • bmaz says:

          If you can drive at the 24 Hours of LeMans, you can drive almost anywhere. The drivers in each car are staggered, but it is really hard.

      • Chetnolian says:

        You’ll just have to make do with a Canadian for now, and anyway isn’t the US owning the whole show good enough for you?

        • Rugger9 says:

          Speaking of the rarely observed obnoxious Canadian, apparently a beaver shut down part of Toronto subway yesterday, a pretty funny read if you need one.

  10. drouse says:

    Speaking of circuses, any thoughts about this sprint race idea? The FIA seems to be pushing it kinda hard.

    • bmaz says:

      I dunno, kind of sounds gimmicky to me. Have to see how it works I guess.

      Pretty ugly start in Bahrain.

      • drouse says:

        I’m wondering what the people running F2 are thinking. They need the Saturdays where they share venues. That could diddle the running of their series.

        Perez is having to do another of those long marches from the back. It’s hard enough to pull that off even once.

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah, but probably all the TV carriers would love it. If it is real racing, not just time lapping, you have to watch.

  11. BobCon says:

    Maybe a racing fan can answer this. I was listening to a podcast on the facts behind the rivalry shown in Ford v Ferarri, and they mentioned how the look of the GT 40 was widely loved, and it was seen as a big marketing plus for Ford.

    Why didn’t Ford follow up with a consumer version to compete with Ferrari, GM, etc? I realize it was a niche market, but it seems odd to leave so much of the buzz from the GT without a car people could drive, or at least see other people drive.

    • bmaz says:

      There were consumer versions of the GT-40 available, though not very many, and they were not overly popular. Also, the movie is fictionalized shit. If you want the real underlying story, read the book, “Go Like Hell” by AJ Baime, which is pretty accurate historically. Also, an extremely good read.

      • scribe says:

        How much of Ford v. Ferrari was baloney? Well, to start, a lot of Ford’s testing was driven by Mario Andretti. The producers of the movie never contacted him, for input or otherwise. He was interviewed by his local paper when the movie came out, about the movie and more. Reading between the lines, even he said it was baloney.

      • JohnJ says:

        Thanks for saving me the time watching the movie. I watched “the 24 hour war” last year. It has interviews with the actual people (including Mario Andretti). That’s on Netflix. There has been a bunch of tellings of that story closer to when it happened.

        I am not a fan of dramatizing history anyway.

        • bmaz says:

          If it comes across your TV, it is at least entertaining, just not overly accurate. Dramatized history is a good description.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          My dad was friends with Mario Andretti, and a lot of Nascar drivers. He interviewed them in order to render his historical models completely accurate–but mainly because he loved to talk old cars (and planes, and trains). He was also an insatiable and hypercritical movie fan. He said Ford v. Ferrari was “Close enough,” meaning truth-wise, and “entertaining.” He called it “a fine time-waster. It’s not The Maltese Falcon, but it’s not trying to be.”

  12. JVO says:

    While I detest the lingering vestiges of the empire building aspects of the English, as well as their remaining aristocratic formalities which I hope fully crumble into the sea as soon as possible, I do believe it is appropriate to acknowledge their “titles.” In instances like this, I’m pleased to have the opportunity to use their formalities against them to cause the crumbling to accelerate. It is now “Sir Lewis Hamilton” who spoke out recently about the repressive, awful and grotesque actions of the Bahrain aristocracy in hosting this event – just like most things they do. I’m hopeful his words and actions will cause the Bahrainians and the English to improve their countries for all – including, in particular, their least fortunate. 2 cents. Peace.

  13. RacerX says:

    Sad to learn of fellow cyclist & cycling fan Quebecois’ possible passing. If he’s still around, he probably enjoyed today’s edition of Gent-Wevelgem and stage of La Volta Catalunya. Speaking of F1, yesterday’s Volta Catalunya stage did a lap on Barcelona-Catalunya motorsport track, I believe as a promotion of the F1 season.

    Motorsports never really grabbed me, and but F1 is the pinnacle of auto track racing, and I definitely enjoy watching the occasional race. NASCAR and such, phooey.

  14. BobCon says:

    I think that may have been one of the sources for the podcast — there was also a bio of Ferrari which I’ve forgotten.

    I know Ford dumped a few on the market in order to comply with rules, but it was never intended to be a competitor to cars from GM etc., and “Disposal” was part of the name for Ford’s sell off.

    I’m sure there is a long story involving internal politics. Henry 2 seemed capable of being a smart tough leader and a self-sabotaging dope at the same time, and capable of enabling both rational number crunchers and scheming toadies.

    There’s also the question of what Ford would have done with Ferarri’s lines for the public if he had closed the deal to buy the company. I can’t see Ford keeping up a seripus investment for long.

    • bmaz says:

      You have to put some out there to be viable across more than just one for different levels of Sports/Endurance racing. They all do that.

      Ferrari was never really for sale.

      • scribe says:

        It’s called homologation.

        If you go to the Porsche Museum (and, if you like cars, you really should), there are a couple race cars with street plates there. Which cars were really driven on the street (and not just for a Super Bowl ad). There’s also a Mercedes Museum on the other side of Stuttgart – you should really reserve a couple days for that, there’s so much to see.

        • BobCon says:

          The point I’m trying to get across, though, is that Porsche and GM went further than Ford, and I’m curious why Ford treated the GT40 as a dead end after dumping the couple of dozen or so it made to qualify.

          GM did a ton of cross marketing with racing and mass market Corvettes and tried to include some consistency in external styling even if the guts and materials weren’t identical.

          Porsche did the same when marketing some of its sports cars. Ford had a widely acclaimed design in the GT40, but never did anything with it (at least until the 21st Century).

          I was wondering why Ford didn’t make the jump.

        • Rugger9 says:

          The BMW works in Munich are also interesting, as is the Auburn IN museum (a friend of mine took me there once) which had a car that just looked evil… but fun.

          We actually have McLaren dealerships on El Camino in Palo Alto (naturally) and I see Lamborghinis and Ferraris all the time on the roads here. To me, cars like that need to go fast and free to really appreciate them, and with the traffic, idiots and frequently attentive CHP it’s kind of a waste here aside from (ahem) overcompensating for something else.

        • scribe says:

          The one I got a kick out of was a banker in Toronto who screwed up at the gas station while fueling his Porsche 918. A little gas on the exhaust pipe and he got to watch all that marvelous carbon fiber make a million-dollar bonfire.

        • Peterr says:

          This must explain why the pits haven’t gone to self-service at the pump. “Stay in the car, Mr. Hamilton, and leave the refueling to the professionals.”

  15. Observiter says:

    Love the races, but I’m an occasional watcher. I live near the former “Sears Point Raceway,” renamed “Sonoma Raceway.” It’s a thrilling experience being at a race, live. For international races, I assume race location decision-making is similar to that used by the Olympics — money, power, ego, I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine, money, ego, economics…

    Kushner has a book coming out explaining the great things he did the last four years, including his part in the Middle East. VanityFair and JewishBusinessNews aren’t impressed.

    • bmaz says:

      I’ve been on hot laps at both Sears Point and Laguna Seca. Both spectacular. The real ones were with me as a passenger, not driver.

      • rosalind says:

        brother dragging me to the Laguna Seca motorcycle races where i was introduced to the wonder that was Kenny Roberts is one of my favorite days ever. went back every year for years…

  16. drouse says:

    A couple of first impressions from a very few data points. Red Bull wasn’t kidding when they said they more than made up the power differential from last season. Mercedes can no longer count on a half second a lap walk away speed from anyone else.Second, Ferrari just might be able to give it more than the old college try for third place. Three, fuck Vettel.

  17. Chetnolian says:

    Late to the party because I wanted to see the highlights of the race. I can’t watch it live here because that would require making a payment to the Murdoch Empire , which I will not do.

    Not a satisfactory outcome. It looked to me as if Verstappen thought, very reasonably, that he could pass as he did, only to be told by his team he was wrong. But I suspect the championship is still his to win. I hope we get to see lots of Wolff/Horner competition as the season gets on. It is rare to have two guys as team principals both of whom feel to be the sort of people it would be good to have a beer with. Preferable to immensely able sociopaths like Ron Dennis and Frank Williams. There’s potential for thrills and spills further back.

    And lastly, we will indeed miss Quebequois.

  18. Stew says:

    Lauda urged a boycott at Nurburgring because of safety issues.
    Fellow drivers had to pull him from trapped wreckage.

    It was a far different thing that it is now

    • bmaz says:

      Niki also forfeited a possible championship to James Hunt at Mount Fuji. Lauda was a pretty amazing and a truly wonderful person.

      • Re entry says:

        Years ago, i happened across a photo shoot being set up, the photographer was frosty at my curiosity.

        ‘What are you setting up to shoot?’

        ‘A portrait’

        ‘Of who?’

        ‘Some guy who owns an airline’

        ‘Is it Niki Lauda?’

        He turned and asked ‘you know him?’

        He called me the next day and thanked me for bothering him. This was pre web days, and he hadn’t done his homework

        The shoot went well

        • bmaz says:

          Had a chance to meet him, a couple of times, long ago, once after the 1976 shunt at Nurburgring. He was extremely nice and, within parameters, open and thoughtful. All while being the calculated person he had a reputation for being. I liked him a lot, and he was nice to a still college kid at the time.

  19. Stew says:

    The sport was so dangerous at that point of the game.
    all independent analog systems that imploded autonomous of anything:
    No hand holding digital shut down system
    much safer racing at these speeds today

  20. Stew says:

    My Dad was the Flight Surgeon for The Boys From Syracuse 174th when they deployed A10 Warthogs and F16C’s
    Source of pride and shame
    Now they are drone control for extrajudicial assassination

  21. Stew says:

    F16’s operate on 8 bit ISA boards
    The most reliable air to ground operative in the US’s arsenal
    Look at the F35’s development
    1.6 trillion dollars for a ground bound fleet
    fuck that

    • Rugger9 says:

      It’s something of a pet peeve of mine, the procurement idiocy and the so-called flying swiss army knife (h/t Charlie Pierce) that is the F-35 platform. One hopes with Biden in office and what looks like a no-nonsense SecDef we might get back to building stuff that works and works well. With what we must do in the field there is no platform that can do everything well enough to stand up to whatever the Russians and Chinese roll out. Go back to more specialized systems, especially in the VTOL realm.

      On the topic of China (specifically the PRC and especially its government) many of the boards we use are from there, so I worry that almost all of them will have a back door or two to create havoc when the ordure hits the rotating air mover. Remember that the state owns everything there.

      • JohnJ says:

        Didn’t Lockheed find they had given access to all the F35 plans to china when they had them build some parts? It was a few years back.

        • bmaz says:

          Yes, and more sanity in the defense procurement field. Can the F-35 even out fight the F 14/15, 16 and/or 18? Based on what I’ve read, that seems to be in real dispute. At best. If not, then why? And, no Trump, it is not invisible, I’ve seen one!

          This is like the A-10 Warthog saga. Davis-Monthan in South Tucson was always a training and basing hub for the A-10s. Knowers of things in DC have been trying to eliminate the A-10s for decades. The problem is they are fantastic, and fairly bullet proof for the job they are intended to do. You need that plane in your inventory. Quit killing it and trying to reinvent the perfectly fine wheel.

        • Stew says:

          Bmaz is straight on with this argument: All of these jets are capable of maneuvers that a human body cannot withstand. (save the Warthog)
          entirely contingent on offensive armament
          they are all obsolete in modern combat
          plucked from the sky with a 5000$ TOW

        • scribe says:

          Actually, the Air Force used to send the “best” pilots, i.e., those with the highest level of situational awareness, maneuvering and piloting skill, to fly the A-10. If you’ve ever seen one stand on its wingtip and maneuver 50 feet above the treetops (or ground), and I have, you immediately know why. A classmate and friend since 6th grade went Air Force. His first piloting gig was in the A-10. From there he transitioned to F-16, then quickly to Instructor Pilot in the F-16, then to a tour with the Thunderbirds. He got an invite from NASA, too. Dude could drive.
          As a former ground pounder, I can tell you we don’t “like” the A-10. We “love” the A-10. We’ve been in love with the A-10 since the first one flew.
          There’s a Youtube out there somewhere, from Afghanistan, I think, where the troops are in a firefight and the ALO calls out “Hog comin’ in”. All the troops start yelling at the opposition “You guys are so fucked!” The 35 burp-farts and the firefight ends.

        • bmaz says:

          Heh, the first time I ever saw an A-10 was at an air show. I was like “that’s the ugliest fucking jet I’ve ever seen”. Then I found out what it is they really do, and do like no other. They really are pretty special.

        • scribe says:

          First time I saw an A-10 (live) was during a “million dollar minute” firepower display at the end of ROTC summer camp. Thing came in for a strafing run.
          The recoil from that autocannon is such that the plane literally stops in mid-air. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Indeed, the Warthog was at the top of my list of examples. The pilots like flying them and the ground troops like seeing them in support.

          FWIW, the F-14, 15, 16, 18 all wipe the F-35 out of the sky. The 35 has restriction warnings on how fast to allow it to go.

        • Stew says:

          off topic
          we lost all of our security contracts to hikconnect. The end user does not mind that the jobber sends the stream to a Chinese server. Our business evolved from porting ultrasound/crt/mri cineloops to local providers via an FTP provider in Auburn NY.
          we integrated their analog diagnostics into a makeshift PACS. The head of diagnostic imaging inked a deal with Fuji to create a comprehensive PACS to the tune of 500k$: Fuji got paid, but continued to parasitize our analog to digital process for nuclear medicine.
          after 18 months, Fuji walked away from the contract because larger competitors were offering far sweeter deals. And purchasing agents were spending a lot of time in the Bahamas. we could provide an inexpensive PACs at 2500$ per station with 2 terabytes of storage capable of reading/rendering all still and cineloop studies from the entire hospital. our team did the same thing at Upstate Medical Ctr in Syracuse.
          then we were mysteriously ushered out the door by Siemens sales team. our 40000$ contract was passed over for Siemens’ 700000$ contract. most of the diagnostic imaging staff spent the next few weeks in Saint Lucia. Access Point was much more robust and plastic than anything Siemens had done to date. The head of diagnostic imaging resigned before Siemens got the contract; the CFO told me that was just the way things worked. Siemens never integrated all of diagnostic imaging. A thing my team accomplished in two hours. But we just walked with our analog hack. NYS taxpayers bought new equipment to accommodate the Siemens PACS. NYS passed on a 40k$ comprehensive homespun PACS for a 2 Million dollar PACS that never got integrated in to SUNY system. Your tax dollars at work.

        • stew says:

          for the record
          I was also employed by NYS at the time with the OMRDD as a medical supervisor for their ICFs
          This did not disqualify me from bid. However, CFO did not like the optics, despite being a long time family friend.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Your post highlights a typical problem with procurement, in that the contractors know who to wine and dine to get the people to sign on the dotted line. Most of the lawmakers have so little technical understanding they will just wave everything through assuming that the procurement team verified everything works as intended.

          In the DOD, competing teams of advocates would be formed as contractors fought over opportunities by schmoozing rather than performance (remember the F-22 Tigershark?). Too bad the troops in the field pay the price in the end.

        • Chetnolian says:

          The A35, particularly the B Model, is probably not as bad as we think it is. There is a vast gulf between actually working and passing formal test, believe me. Same with restrictions, Show them a real conflict and many will disappear.

          There is also a gulf between general views on procurement and how the vast majority of real people on both sides actually do their jobs. Sure the schmoozing happens but the intensity of technical discussion has to be seen to be believed. And if I sound a bit hurt here, so be it. Been there, done it.

          BTW love the Warthog. I last saw two about three years ago in the Arizona boondocks doing target practice. Free show. It was great.

        • bmaz says:

          The Hogs are VERY good at what they do. It is specialized for ground support, but unparalleled at that. Their ability to fly low and slow when required is just unique.

        • Honeybee says:

          Don’t understand all these institutional acronyms but it all sounds very corrupt, insecure and unnecessarily expensive, from a common sense perspective. Rather like that “Thin Thread” story from (now) long ago.

  22. bloopie2 says:

    I’m not an F1 follower, but I am old enough to remember going to a Group 7 Can-Am race with my older brother. Astonishing to a high schooler, of course, but likely to anyone. Unlimited displacement engines, few restrictions on aerodynamics, even Jim Hall’s 2J sucker car before they banned it. The Porsche 917 flat-12 was so elegant in its dominance. But the strongest memory I have is of the BRM passing by; on throttle, it sounded like a banshee. Oh how I wish I could get that sound from the tailpipe of my mid-size black SUV.

    • John McManus says:

      I saw a great race between Jim Hall and Bruce McClaren at Mosport i, probably 1965. Memorable cars.

  23. bg says:

    Hugues walked on February 25. Some of us were friends on FB and he (and later his friends) kept us informed at the end. “Fuck cancer,” as he was inclined to say.

    • bmaz says:

      Thanks. I knew somebody had told me, probably somebody from said FB group (as I am not on FB). Sad. Also, fuck cancer.

  24. punaise says:

    Eh bien, merde. Really sorry to hear of quebecois’ passing, all too conceivable based on his occasional humble accounts of his malady.

    We shared a deep appreciation for Peter Gabriel era Genesis (and other prog rock from the 70s that has aged less well). And a bit of francophone chatter about Montreal, where punaisette went to university.

    Adieu, viel ami que je n’ai rencontré qu’ici.

  25. Stew says:

    It’s curious that all the CEOs of major US defense manufacturers are women
    Does this render the charter of these companies less reprehensible?
    It is certainly a matter of optics.
    trillions of tax payer dollars are invested in technologies with no return to public welfare

    • stew says:

      I like Ike
      There is no seminal reason for our obscene defense spending
      Huge swaths of America are crumbling into decay because of Walmart, Amazon, and the ass fistula that is Elon Musk. These ppl are glorified parasites, worthy of nothing but contempt . Just high level predators, sucking the blood of the able needy. New age carpetbaggers. Shut the shit down. Reparations, tax the shit out of the unworthy wealthy. I pay more than Amazon and GE in taxes. What the Fuck is that all about?

  26. Savage Librarian says:

    I’m pretty much a total rube when it comes to sports and racing. I think that part of my brain is dysfunctional. But I love reading bmaz’ posts because it’s a fun way to fill in the missing parts of the puzzle for me. And a few days ago, I watched a thrilling demo drive of a McLaren Elva.

    Another fun thing is a photo I have of my Grampy when he was 18, sitting in a 1910 White Motor car, grinning ear to ear. And I have amusing memories of Grammy at 4’10” tall, behind the wheel of a pink, Lincoln Continental.

    Speaking of fun:

    “Hot Rod Lincoln ORIGINAL 1955 Charlie Ryan”

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      That Sports Illustrated article states wrongly that both male and female players had received PCR testing; among the many inequities revealed recently NCAA treatment was that the women got antibody tests, which are less reliable. I can see why Mulkey might consider the whole thing a crapshoot.

      Plus, her team had just gotten eliminated by UConn in a 2-point game that ended with a “controversial” no-call. (The controversy, and womens college basketball overall, got a huge momentum spark from LeBron James tweeting about the play immediately afterwards.)

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          I totally agree. And I wonder why teams headed to the Final Four couldn’t be vaccinated in advance, given the national rollout for younger adults. Here in Connecticut, those Huskies will qualify the day of the championship game. I can make the argument that players and staff are essential workers, given the pressure on them to engage in such close proximity.

          I’m not a fan of Mulkey’s, but I concede her success at Baylor. She and her players felt aggrieved Monday night; she did not set a good example with the way she handled it. The whole game was “physical” and rife with no-calls, many of which benefited her players. As a veteran coach, she should have understood this. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

  27. earlofhuntingdon says:

    We don’t do charity in Germany.
    We pay taxes.
    Charity is a failure of governments’ responsibility.
    ~Henning Wehn

    This could have come from Bernie Sandes, @anandwrites, AOC, or any number of people. It should come from everybody. The charity of billionaires, as every museum director knows, enhances their choice and reputation. It is them asking for forgiveness – rather, not to be held accountable – for how they made their billions. It can be withdrawn in an instant.

    Taxes fund policy and stability and essential government services. The failure to collect them – mostly from the rich, with draconian penalties for the poor and middling classes – increases inequality and disrespect for the rule of law. It makes those who pay tax scapegoats for the wealthy, who profit from the infrastructure, services, and stability others provide.

    • BobCon says:

      Another way to look at the difference is seeing restaurant workers in Germany v. the US.

      Here we have low minimum wages (lower for tipped employees than regular) and shaky health benefits, on the hope and prayer that tipping from willing customers makes up for it.

      In Germany you get minimal tipping balanced out by decent guaranteed wages and a very good national health system. Almost always the combination of regulation and basic benefits works to the advantage of everyone in Germany.

  28. observiter says:

    earlofhuntingdon, thank you for your comment re “charity.” I appreciate a perspective I hadn’t considered before. So, the Earl of Huntingdon was/is thought of as the real Robin/Robinhood?

    Re cars, a friend’s father was an executive at Ford Motor Co. The father owned a Ford dealership north of San Francisco, but then became an executive and moved the family to Detroit. The father carpooled with Lee Iacocca and Robert McNamera. After high school, my friend relocated back to San Francisco for college, etc. I met him towards the last 15 years of his life (he died of glioblastoma multiforme, that terrible brain cancer).

    You can imagine the stories he told. We went to car shows together. Though I’m a novice regarding cars and Ford history, it was extremely fun. An amusing story he once told was about when he was young and came across his also-very-young cousin cleaning the interior of the cousin’s father’s convertible by sticking the hose head into the interior and turning on the water (father wasn’t home).

  29. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Matt Gaetz is stepping on his dick again. Or would be, if he had one. That’s the thing about thirty-eight year old congressmen who have to reach into high schools and college dorms to look for sexual partners. They know they lack a certain je ne sais quoi, but are determined to prove otherwise by finding partners too relatively immature to know what’s missing. It’s a power play, a cheap dominance trick, pure and simple.

    Fortunately, Gaetz is no more competent at defending himself than he is at anything else. Fortunate, too, that Gaetz’s daddy can’t fix things with a little money or a secret society handshake, and that Trump’s coattails are so frayed that there’s not enough for Matt to hang onto anymore. The only thing missing is a column from Taibbi or Greenwald, whinging about the DoJ tilting at windmills and wasting taxpayers’ dimes.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      One of Gaetz’s less well-thought out defenses is that he was not paying for and travelling across state lines with a seventeen-year old woman. For Gaetz, a seventeen-year old is not old enough to be called a woman.

      Here, the press – after checking Florida and federal law – might take him at his word, and report that Gaetz was travelling with a seventeen-year old girl. I don’t think that improves Gaetz’s position – it paints him as even more of a predator – but it would hoist him on his own petard, the position he seems most comfortable in.

      • Fran of the North says:

        I have yet to watch the Tucker Carlson interview, but from what I’ve read it sounds as though the Congressman is setting himself up for that highly effective defense:

        “But everybody else does it too, and btw, they’re all going to get indicted with me if I have anything to do with it.”

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Tucker apparently tried to scrape Gaetz off his shoes afterwards. Good luck with that.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Matt seems awfully confident that TrumpWorld won’t turn on him. It might come as a surprise to Matt that turning on its own is one of its defining characteristics. But Matt just reinforces the impression that Matt is as dumb as a post, which is what he always seemed to be. Gaetz’s gazillionaire hospice-running former politician daddy can’t do anything about that.

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          To your point, from The Daily Beast:

          “Republicans Waste No Time Burying ‘Meanest Person’ Matt Gaetz After Teen-Sex Allegation

          Hours after it was reported that federal investigators are investigating Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) for an alleged relationship with a 17-year-old girl, his Republican colleagues could barely disguise their glee. Speaking to Business Insider, a string of anonymous GOPers jumped at the chance to unload on Gaetz as he faces a scandal that could abruptly end his political career. One former senior Trump White House aide described Gaetz as “the meanest person in politics,” and said other ex-Trump aides “feel a little vindicated” by the news. A former congressional aide said Republican leaders will enjoy sitting back and watching Gaetz “completely implode in a matter of days,” while another another ex-Trump White House aide wrote: “Good riddance… It sounds like he let whatever BS power he thought he had go to his head.” Gaetz has denied the allegations, claiming that he’s the victim of an extortion plot masterminded by a former Justice Department official.”

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Throwing Gaetz under the bus, Shirley, but it also smacks of desperation. Goopers desperately hope that if they go off on his failings, voters will mistakenly assume that many of them do not also apply to all the other Republicans.

        • punaise says:

          “the meanest person in politics”

          That’s a crowded field. Just off the top of my I could quickly list Senators Cruz, McConnell and Paul. Not to mention the entire FreeDumb Caucus.

    • MB says:

      All of the “rising stars” of the current GOP are lacking a certain je ne sais quoi, not just Matty boy. The normalization of feeling free to perform acts of blatant lying in public, and the door-opening to that which was largely caused by the man with the frayed coattails, is in full flower now. There are loads of mini-Trumpettes now running around trying to see if they can pull it off for themselves – lots of hubris going on.

  30. Molly Pitcher says:

    The screws are tightening

    “New York prosecutors subpoenaed a Trump insider’s bank records, in an apparent bid to gain his cooperation in their inquiry into the former president.
    Wednesday, March 31, 2021 3:13 PM EST

    State prosecutors in Manhattan investigating former President Trump and the Trump Organization have subpoenaed the personal bank records of the company’s chief financial officer and are questioning gifts he and his family received from Mr. Trump, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

    The executive, Allen Weisselberg, has overseen the Trump Organization’s finances for decades and may hold the key to any possible criminal case in New York against the former president and his family business.”

  31. Molly Pitcher says:

    Susie Wiles

    A name from the past rises up from the turgid swamps of Florida to help the former President.

    From the Politico Playbook this morning:

    “It’s been barely three months since he left office, but former President DONALD TRUMP is already reorganizing his nascent post-White House political operation, bringing in veteran political consultant SUSIE WILES to instill order.

    Wiles has been tasked with overseeing Trump’s fundraising operation and creating a system for issuing endorsements. Notably, she will layer over Trump’s former campaign manager BILL STEPIEN and deputy JUSTIN CLARK, as well as the committee of people who currently help decide endorsements. While Trump has expressed frustration with Stepien and Clark — as he has with many of his previous chiefs of staff and campaign managers — he is not firing them.”…

    “In addition to the money operation, Wiles will be in charge of vetting candidates seeking Trump’s endorsement, including evaluating their votes, their past statements on Trump and their polling numbers.”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Hotels and golf resorts are bankrupting him. Selling endorsements must be his retirement planning. What happens when nobody cares? Besides, selling indulgences didn’t work out so well for the pope, so an antichrist wannabe selling endorsements might not work out so well, either.

      • bmaz says:

        He had no real estate skills or ability left, just name branding, and that was shrinking with time. Probably why he finally turned to politics, where the grifting is easy.

        • Max404 says:

          Also known as the “Berlusconi Gambit”.

          But Berlusca, a much more skilled operator, lasted 20 years before the show got old for enough people to push him to the side. When he “came down onto the field” in the wake of the massive corruption scandal (“Clean Hands”) that decimated the old ruling parties, he was over his head in debt and his particular cash machine, television repeaters in legal gray areas, needed to be “regularized”. Interestingly his first action as PM was to eliminate the estate tax completely, accomplished during August when nobody was paying attention. He then transferred his assets to his children, no cost. He had some clever people working for him, unlike Trumpkins who only attracted the … worst.

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