1/26/09

The Old Switcheroo - UOWWB Weekly Question


This weeks weekly UOWWB question is in regards to the current F1 World Champion and current Indy 500 winner and ICS Champion.


If Lewis Hamilton and Scott Dixon switched places for the 2009 season, how would
each driver fare in the other's league? Who would be more successful in 2009?

I guess to answer this question, we'll go through a bunch of different circumstances to each ride.

Now, you have to take into consideration where you think Vodaphone McLaren Mercedes is aerodynamically this year compared to where they were in '08. With the new regulations, that could definately affect Scott Dixon's ability to win the 2009 F1 World Drivers Championship, while you have to assume that Ganassi would still have the top cars in 2009 with the lack of development available to teams.

Advantage Hamilton

The tracks that each driver would be driving on would be a huge change. Dixon would be going from the tight turns of street circuits and the long sweeping pedal-to-the-floor ovals to the winding historic tracks in Europe and the new Tilke tracks that have been designed to create good racing and challenge the drivers. Hamilton would be going from these long european tracks to the IRL tracks. I would think the transition from road courses and street courses in N.A. to road courses and street courses in the F1 world would be easier for Dixon since Hamilton would also have to learn how to run ovals flat out, and he would need some time to determine if he had the balls to do it.

Advantage Dixon

Again, I think the atmosphere would be difficult for Hamilton to overcome since he would be going from a place where he is barely seen on race weekends by fans to a place where he would be swarmed in the paddock area by media and fans alike. Also, the added pressure of being the first black driver to contend for the championship would attract even more media attention to Lewis. As much as I think Dixon likes the fans and enjoys the atmosphere of the IRL weekends, the switch to a nice relaxing weekend in the F1 paddock where you only need to be out in the public for practice, qualifying and racing would be easier to do then to move into America where the atmosphere is much more intense, media wise.

Advantage Dixon

Dixon has sat in an F1 car before, and tested for Williams-BMW in 2004 after his first ICS championship. Lewis Hamilton has not run a Dallara Indycar before, and I doubt he has run the amount of different cars Dixon has run over the years so I have to give the experience edge to Dixon in acclimating to new cars.

Advantage Dixon

Year after year, Ganassi and Penske and AGR are the top three teams in F1, and lately, AGR seems to have fallen off the pace leaving just 2 Ganassi drivers and 2 Penske drivers to compete for the crown. In 2008, F1 saw more winners then usual, and it seemed as though more teams were able to compete at the top echelon with Renault, Ferrari, BMW, McLaren and even the baby Red Bulls. I think Hamilton has less competition in the ICS then Dixon does in F1.

Advantage Hamilton

The hardest thing to judge is raw talent. Who is the better driver in the exact same equipment day after day? They have both proven to be at the top of the class in their respective divisions, but, will we ever know who is a better driver? I don't think we can answer that unless we see both in the same car on any given weekend.

Draw

I assume both Hamilton and Dixon would be extremely competitive in the opposite series. But I think Dixon would have the better season since he would not need time to adapt to a new form of track whereas Hamilton would have to learn the ovals in his first year which could cost him a few points in the first few oval races.

If this question asked who would have a better career in eachothers series, I would give the nod to Hamilton due to his age and his time to learn and improve in America. But I think I have to give this one to Dixon. I think he would definately have the better season in 2009 if he were in a Vodaphone McLaren Mercedes F1 car.

Winner, and still Indy 500 and ICS Champion, Scott Dixon

NHL All Star Game IRL Tidbits


In class at the moment, so I'll keep this one short.

Noticed a couple of things on the NHL All Star game broadcast that relate to the IRL.

- First of all, the game was broadcast on Versus in the US, just like the IRL will be broadcast in 2008.

- The majority of the players in the game were foreign, just like the IRL has been the last couple years. In fact, there were 4 americans who either were selected to the All Star game or played in it (due to injuries), one less then confirmed american drivers in the IRL this coming season.

- Versus began promotional work on for the IRL on Versus during the All-Star game telecast.

- Alexei Kovalev, the All-Star game MVP was awarded a Honda Ridgeline.

- There were probably more goals in this All-Star game then the race at Sonoma (which is also on Versus) will have passes in 2009.

Just a few things that caught my eye. I'll throw something else up soon, but I should probably pay attention in stats class.

1/24/09

CSI - IRL?


A week ago we were waiting for confirmation from Robert Doornbos and NHLR announcing that Graham Rahal would actually have a teammate for 2009 in the IRL.

A couple of days ago, we were told to expect confirmation of Sebastien Bourdais securing the Toro Rosso seat, thus eliminating him from this crazy 3-car NHLR rumor (which I would had loved to see by the way).

Throughout the off-season, many of us expected to see D&R return with atleast one car, if not two, with basically the same driver line up.

As the mediocre Horatio Caine once said, "We are being detoured into the land of make-believe."

Well, maybe that wasn't the proper quote for this blog entry, and the title probably doesn't go all that well with the content provided for your reading pleasure, and it was a good excuse to use this fancy CSI logo my girlfriend made me (she is quite amazing by the way, incase she reads this). But the point I am trying to make is that we can't rule anything out in this time of economic uncertainty. Even a series that seems like it is going to pull through quite well in this time has some tricks up it's sleeve.

I am selfishly hoping that Bourdais does return the IRL, and that NHLR, or anyone for that matter can find the money to run him for the whole season. But chances are, we will be led around a little bit more before these confirmations come together.

"Bag it, tag it and let's see what else is there!"

Thanks Horatio.

1/22/09

Honda doing the Conway


A couple of days ago, Dreyer & Reinbold made a lot of people happy by signing a driver, thus confirming atleast one car, but they also made some people upset when that driver wasn't Buddy Rice or Townsend Bell. Instead, they picked up a 25-yr old British driver by the name of Mike Conway.

Now, I'm not here to tell you all the news, you've all got your own sites for that. But there are a couple of things that got me thinking when learning he was signed.

a) This Mike Conway (who I must say, looks much more like 15 years old then 25) has a decent record over in Europe. He has won a couple of championships, as well as winning the Macau GP in Formula 3, and the Monaco street race in GP2. So you could say he is among the upper group of ride buyers around, and he just happens to have won a few street races, giving him the upper hand in the IRL with the schedule bending towards more street venues.

b) This guarentees that D&R runs atleast one car, but it is probably making Buddy Rice, Townsend Bell, and Milka Duno worry about their futures in the IRL. It had been speculated that Buddy Rice would return to drive the Dad's Root Beer car, and most people had him down as probable. Curt Cavin reported in his daily Q&A that he had spoken to Robbie Buhl, and that a second car was likely, but that Buddy Rice would most likely not be returning.

So does that leave Ms. Grand Am as the front runner? Or does D&R have another trick up their sleeve. Maybe Townsend Bell goes full time, or they acquire one of the top free agents at a discount?

We will see who they put in the second car, if it does in fact come to fruition, but atleast it is good news that we can expect 2 D&R cars at St. Pete.

c) You have to wonder how, if in anyway, Honda was involved in this signing. Conway was a test driver for the Honda F-1 team in 2008, and they apparently set him up with the Panther test earlier this year.

Is Honda providing the backing for Conway to run at D&R in 2009? Probably. It is most likely a favor for the testing job ending this season.

But the bigger question in my mind is this. Is Honda starting to align itself with teams it wants to keep on it's side when the new engine suppliers join in 2011?

You might not think of it much now, but Audi has been putting out feelers to teams to gauge their interest about running a V-W or Audi badged engine in 2011. Honda might be trying to pick their teams now, and providing D&R with a talented driver for the season might be the beginning of just that. Let's not forget that Honda has placed Hideki Mutoh with AGR and paid for his 2 seasons now, and you can assume that Honda would like to see AGR stay with them in 2011.

You've got to think the wheels are in motion for the future, and this could be a sign of it.

1/19/09

My First UOWWB QOT!

Well, I guess it's time for me to answer my first UOWWB Question of the Week.


Is the prominence of foreign drivers in the league hurting the IRL?


Well, I don't believe it is hurting the IRL anymore, however, it definately isn't helping the situation either. I know what hurt was when it actually happened and US Drivers were being left out of the series for Euro and South American drivers. Obviously, that is when most of the fans left the IRL that wanted to see US Drivers running, but now that it's been this way for a few years, I don't believe it's hurting at the moment. I do believe more American drivers would help the series, but right now, we aren't being hurt by the lack of American drivers.

I don't even think it is American drivers we need, but we need names that sound good for Americans. I think it is all about how the name sounds to the audience. I think having drivers like Vitor Meira, E.J. Viso, Hideki Mutoh and Bruno Junqueira are the ones that have trouble gaining fans, and attracting fans to the league. North Americans (and more specifically, Americans) find things they are used to friendly to them. I think names like Scott Dixon, Justin Wilson, Will Power, and Ryan Briscoe can blend into the American audience's minds much easier then european names. What I am trying to say is, when you hear the name Scott Dixon or Justin Wilson, you don't automatcally think of foreigner, whereas names like Helio Castroneves and Hideki Mutoh remind the audience of foreign drivers.

I think more US drivers will help the series, but I think running foreign drivers with more American sounding names can trick the audience for a while, not nessicarily forever, but for a while, maybe long enough to get that audience to think of them as their favorite drivers.

1/15/09

Welcome to The Other Side

Well ladies and gentlemen, the time has finally come for me to venture into the world of American Open Wheel blog-a-thoning. Before I go any further in this first post, let me introduce myself to what will hopefully become my loyal readers.

My name is Matt Chamois, and you'll often (or always) see me posting under the name Chamoo on this blog, as well as other various AOWR forums and boards (Motorsport forums, Indycar.com Talkback, Champ Car Fanatics ect...). I enjoy sharing my views on all things motorsports and do my best to provide those that don't have the news the best information I have.

I grew up just outside of Toronto, Ontario, and travelled to Mosport International Raceway with my father to watch the Atlantic races, Trans-Am races, Endurance races, ALMS races, FF races and the list goes on. Most saturday nights we'd go to the oval track and watch the saturday night races. That's where my passion for motorsports grew and prospered. I was turned onto CART by my father, listening to Paul Page and watching Paul Tracy and Jacques Villeneuve and Gil de Ferran and Greg Moore and Jimmy Vasser and Juan-Pablo Montoya.

As the split between the IRL and CART grew wider apart, I stayed true to CART and later CCWS. I always enjoyed road racing over oval racing, but thats not to say I do not like oval racing. I supported the CCWS until it's death/mergification, and unlike many other Champ Car fans, I decided to follow the Champ Car teams and drivers to the IRL, not because I wanted to see them squash the IRL teams and not because I liked the drivers coming over. I followed those teams and drivers going to the IRL because I have a love for American Open-Wheel Racing.

Hopefully, as readers, you will enjoy reading my opinions regarding the IRL and AOWR in general. You will come to see that I do hold a spot in my heart for the CCWS, and that is the main reason this blog is called The Other Side. However, please understand that I am just as much an IRL fan as the rest of you out there in cyberspace and that my CCWS connection will not turn you away from this blog.

I have also been invited by Kohl to join the UOWWB, so you will see my weekly responses to the UOWWB questions.

Anyways, I look forward to the coming weeks as I plan to have this site going full speed, as well as hopefully having a Silly Season page on here to help keep folks informed. Hope to have you all back on here in the future to share your opinions with me and we will try to have some fun in the process.

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