As some of you already know (either by my blog from yesterday or from other sports news sites), Formula 1 race car driver Felipe Massa suffered a nearly lethal crash at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix due to a freak accident - a random car part coming off another vehicle which subsequently hits Massa in the head, leaving him temporarily unconscious. Well, Felipe's racing career hasn't been all bad; in fact, he had an impressive year racing for Formula 1 in 2008 where he garnered 6 wins and finished in 2nd place in the overall standings. (Coincidentally, the … Read more
Jimmie Johnson's victory at the Autism Speaks 400 wasn't the only big news coming from the racing world two weekends ago. The FIA Formula One World Championship held its annual Hungarian Grand Prix that same weekend, and while Lewis Hamilton picked up his first win of the 2009 season at this race, perhaps the biggest news concerned the horrific accident that befell Brazilian F1 driver Felipe Massa on July 25 while attempting to qualify for this championship race.
I was only able to locate one web video of the accident, and while it isn't of the highest … Read more
So you think minivans are only for mommies? Try this one...
It's the Renault Espace F1, a concept vehicle cum hot lap publicity machine created in 1994 by Renault, Matra, and the Williams Formula One team, which put the 3.5-liter Renault F1 engine featured in the Espace F1 to good use by winning the F1 World Championship in 1993, with Alain Prost driving. Prost drives the Espace F1 in the video, too.
Where the standard Espace had a small engine positioned transversely in front, driving the front wheels, the F1 was a little different. Out that went, replaced … Read more
Sony's XDR-F1HD HD Radio has developed a real buzz among my audiophile pals; on second thought maybe buzz isn't the right word. It's the quietest, noise-free radio I've ever used.
These guys can be real snobs and only listen to ultra-high-end components, and some wouldn't be caught dead using mainstream gear with their hi-fis, and yet they're all going ga-ga over the Sony. We're all thinking it's too good to be true.
I originally heard about the Sony from Steven Stone, a writer friend, and then from an engineer at an American high-end audio company known for making awesome tuners that sell for thousands of dollars. The engineer was positively gushing about how good the XDR-F1HD is; not just that it sounded great, but also because it pulls in tough-to-receive analog stations with lower noise and distortion than tuners that sell for big bucks. You can read my full CNET review here.
I rushed right out and bought an XDR-F1HD from Amazon, and sure nuff, it's true, the little Sony is no baloney. Analog FM stations came in like gangbusters, clean as a whistle, and HD stations, like my favorite jazz station WBGO had "CD quality" sound. That phrase is tossed around a lot, but this time it's for real. I listened to WBGO with the Sony over my high-end system with Magnepan 3.6/R speakers, and the sound was amazing. It's day and night better than what I get from Sirius Satellite Radio, which is almost unlistenable over those speakers. … Read more
As someone who's never been a big fan of AM/FM radio, I never really saw the advantage of HD Radio. At first, the all-digital format promised little more than CD-quality digital transmission of existing stations. Then the broadcasters added multicasting, offering "HD2" stations that weren't available at all on analog hardware. They even sweetened the deal by temporarily reducing or suspending commercials on those HD2 stations (though that program has recently ended).
But the thing that most retarded the growth of HD Radio adoption was the price of the hardware. The earliest tabletop HD Radios, for instance, cost upward of $500--not exactly an impulse purchase. In the years since, prices have tumbled: tabletop and in-car models hit $200 last year, and newer HD-enabled clock radios can be found for less than $100 now. Still, as far as in-home options go, none of the models we'd tested had really blown us away.
That's finally changed with the Sony XDR-F1HD.… Read more
When the streets of Singapore come alive with Formula One action this weekend, it may be easy to forget how much technology is involved to enable the cars to whiz through the track at breakneck speeds.
Perhaps the most noticeable equipment will be the lights lining the track. Designed by Italian lighting contractor Valerio Maioli, the Philips-made system will involve some 1,500 lighting projectors around the track, lighting it to the level of 3,000 lux--nearly four times brighter than that of a typical sports stadium.
Provisions have been made for wet weather in the tropical city: the projectors will beam light on the track at different angles, rather than vertically, to minimize glare off the road surface, should it rain.
The power requirements of these lights are correspondingly stringent. While many of the teams will plug their back-end IT systems into the country's power grid, Valerio Maioli has fitted 12 twin-power generators to power the lights. These 24 generators are also fail-resistant--the second generator will pick up the load, should the first one fail, to keep the light levels consistent.
But environmentalists should rest easy, a Philips representative told ZDNet Asia. The lighting system is 16 percent more energy-efficient, compared to competitors' products, the representative said.
Another noticeable addition to the track from Valerio Maioli will be digital flags--electronic light displays that will replace the traditional colored flags used in day races, for better visibility at night. These 35 panels will communicate vital information to drivers.
Supercomputing in Formula One Behind the scenes is where you will find the heavy-duty computing power. Alex Burns, chief operating officer of the Williams F1 team, described to ZDNet Asia in an interview the magnitude of the systems involved, both leading up to the event and during the actual race.
Burns said the team takes 35 Lenovo ThinkPad laptops to the circuit, to be used by race engineers. In the garage by the pit stop, there are another eight racks of servers: two for the data coming off each of the two cars, and another two for each car's engines, he said. … Read more
Earlier today, we had a go on SingTel's F1 simulator. Designed by U.K.-based BallRacing Developments, this machine is not your usual arcade fare. The Singapore operator commissioned it to simulate just one track, the one that F1 drivers will actually use in Singapore come September.
Not only does it look like an F1 car, but it feels real, too. You're almost fully reclined while an assistant adjusts the foot pedals to the reach of your legs. The steering wheel is then snapped on, just like the real thing.
Once you start the engine, the entire machine vibrates. Though you are controlling what happens on the screen, the "car" moves according to your driving. Granted, it won't spin you around like a theme park ride, but it does add to the sensation that you are really in an F1 racer.… Read more
Formula 1 has long been considered the pinnacle of automotive and motorsport technology. Many advancements on road cars, including paddle shifters, traction control and improved tire technology, have come out of the development of these engineering marvels.
Sir Stirling Moss, who drove in 66 Grand Prix races between 1955 and 1961, was an honorary judge at this year's Concours d'Elegance at Pebble Beach. While he was carefully studying the lines and mechanics of this year's competitors, we had a chance to ask Moss, now 77, a few questions about his role in racing and how today's … Read more