🏎 Testing, Testing

Posted by February 21, 2024 in The Money Lap

Money Lap 

Good morning! 🚨 F1 CARS ARE ON TRACK TODAY! 🚨 Preseason testing gets underway for the next three days in Bahrain. And it wouldn’t Formula 1 without at least a little off-the-track drama… Look out for teams sandbagging, some deception, misdirections and any other mind games you can think of. 🤔 

Parker’s POV

Written by: Parker Kligerman

Stockholm syndrome occurs when an abducted person starts to develop positive feelings for their captor—or something like that. I can’t be bothered to look up the actual definition, as I’ve just finally woken up from my week in a Daytona hotel room. Right, that’s being a bit dramatic, but there’s no doubting that when the Xfinity race was postponed from 11 am to 9 pm on Monday morning, there were a few in the series who wondered if we might ever leave Daytona.

But it wasn’t all bad. After being canceled on Saturday due to inclement weather and realizing the Daytona 500 had little chance of occurring on Sunday, over dinner with my parents, my girlfriend and I hatched a getaway plan. We texted my whole team and offered them the chance to join us. The plan? Make a run for it around 10 am on Sunday morning.

Escape the surroundings of a wet and cold Daytona for something drier and way cooler—SPACE! Not in terms of room to move, but the thing surrounding everything outside this blue marble we call Earth. It’s been a bucket list item of mine to one day see a Saturn V rocket in person. Why? Because I’ve watched basically everything about them since I was a kid. There was a short time, when I wanted to be an astronaut. That was until I realized my intelligence level was better suited for going in circles rather than figuring out the square root of them.

The Saturn V rocket, which took the Apollo astronauts to the moon, is considered the most complex machine ever built by humans. It had over three million parts that all needed to work in harmony perfectly. Then there’s the size. These rockets stood over 300 feet tall, or basically a 30-story building, and would be propelled to a speed as fast as a bullet, all towards another rock suspended in the nothingness of space. In today’s money, each launch cost over $1 billion US dollars.

When you stand near it, eventually, you realize it flies, and then your mind shifts to the tippy-top, like the lead end of a pencil, which is where the three guys sat with absolute balls of steel. Most likely thinking at some point, “Why in the hell did I agree to this?!”

Which is basically every race car driver on the morning of a Superspeedway race. Although not nearly as deadly if something goes wrong, the fact is, as a NASCAR driver, your chances of hitting something really, really hard and testing the wherewithal of your safety equipment are quite high. But that’s the good part—safety equipment. The astronauts of the Saturn V era weren’t so lucky if things went wrong. Welcome to the big sleep.

Really there is no reason to compare astronauts and race car drivers. We all know without a doubt that the braver, more heroic, and steelier nerves belong to the astronauts. Because, in typical Superspeedway fashion, when the races finally were run, there were a lot of big crashes.

I was in one of them, which sadly took one of the fastest superspeedway cars I’ve ever had the pleasure of driving out of contention. But with lots of big hits, many scary-looking, everyone went home.

Albeit for us in the Xfinity series, it meant very late. Personally, I got to my North Carolina bed at 5 am, making it an almost 24-hour day. Then I thought, ‘What would the Apollo astronauts have given for just a split second of assurance, the moment the Saturn V rocket engines fired, that they would have another long day?’

Back on Track

Just when we thought we’d caught our breath from 2023’s finale in Abu Dhabi, F1’s off-season has been anything but quiet. Here is a quick recap:

Andretti’s bid was denied

Toto and Susie Wolff were investigated

Christian Horner is now being investigated

Lewis Hamilton is making a groundbreaking switch to Ferrari

Team names have gotten WAY out of hand

Netflix superstar, Guenther Steiner, was fired from Haas

And that’s just a few of the changes…

In the mix of car launches and team name changes, Fernando Alonso voiced a critical concern over the lack of time to test the car ahead of the season: “I cannot understand why we don’t go to Bahrain for four days,”. No one tell him that there was no practice before qualifying for this year’s Daytona 500. 😳

As teams gear up for Bahrain’s testing, all eyes are on Red Bull’s RB20, a testament to “controlled aggressiveness” according to Max Verstappen. With the paddock split between revolutionary designs and evolutionary strides, the real question is, can and will the RB20 be stopped?

However, that is a question that probably won’t be answered until March.

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