For Sure (52.94%)
It is what it is (11.76%)
It's making progress (11.76%)
Pirelli have made a balls of it (17.65%)
It's too easy with Dictionary Reference Sources (0%)
Mark Webber's Jaguar lying in bits on the straight at Brazil (5.88%)
Well half the racing seems to happen off track at the moment, with so much interest in what the drivers are saying. In times past, most of what they've said is predictable, such as
"For sure, it's.."
"The guys back at the factory..."
"a big step for us..."
So harkening back to a thread on a Brawn GP fansite, I'm tracking the "For Sure" Championship. This will be a season long event, across all FIA-sanctioned press conferences, whereby the drivers will compete for the honour of most inane repetitions of common F1 phrases. So for each race, there will be a Thursday press conference, a post qualifying, podium interview and post-race presser. Podium and post - race pressers will be combined into a single report.
The championship will track each driver's number of appearances, the number of answers they give, and how many times they say "for sure", "looking/going forward", and any combination of "factory", "progress" or "step" in a "the guys back at the factory are making great progress and we're hoping this is going to be a good step for us" type of affair.
Rankings will be according to who has the most number of "For Sure"s overall. In the event of a tie, "looking forward"s and "factory progress"s will be used to determine the winner, as 2nd and 3rd place finishes respectively.
As the sport is a statistician's dream, the ratio of "answers per appearance", "for sure's per appearance" and "likelihood of a 'for sure' in any given answer" will also be provided.
I did consider a constructor's championship based on the Friday team pressers, but they appear to be less generic in their responses, which is frankly no fun at all. Note that pre and post race team PR releases are not counted for the championship, as they do not take place under FakeCharlieWhiting's auspices and teams have too much freedom to game the system. Also, I'm far too lazy to comb through them.
Having said that, here are the standings to date:
Due to overwhelming demand* the stats for the China race are now up.
Quite a tedious race this one, with no real spark from any of the podium finishers and a generally processional affair where everyone seemed keen to pace themselves, without stretching their capabilities or pushing the limits of the dictionary.
Battling through a lot of damage to get to second place on the track, Kimi was similarly the one stretching up to the occasion, delivering the only "for sure" of the interviews, early on when talking to Coulthard. It was his penultimate question when Alonso's strategy finally showed itself, delivering a solid "looking forward", but that leaves Kimi still on top on 8 with 3 rounds gone, and a 3 point lead over 2nd place man Vettel.
Unlike previous years, "the boys back at the factory" aren't in the limelight this year, with some blaming the Pirelli tyres. As Button is in the Thursday conference tomorrow, and with McLaren's technical struggles to date, it's hopeful that those guys will start getting some verbal attention in an official forum.
*mass apathy the likes of which has not been seen since drivers were asked for their comments on Suzie Wolff's driving skills in the recent documentary.
For sure it'll be tough keeping up with the amount of repetitions, but going forward I'm sure you;ll handle it
Well the media have been all set for tension in Bahrain, and it didn't disappoint in the Thursday "Presser of Boredom", where one driver was lighting up the skies.
Coming into the Bahrain event, Button was expected to put in serious effort to recognising the steps made by the guys back at the factory who were making progress towards the front, but yet again McLaren's season is falling flat. His first visit to the press room yielded an impressive 6 answers, but not one of them hit the mark and it seems the boys from Woking just can't get comfortable enough to slip into some lazy platitudes.
However, an old master was in today, and months of pent up tension living in his teammate's shadow finally got an outlet, resulting in Massa delivering a massive 7 "for sure"s from 7 answers, featuring a massive 4 in a single answer, a performance nobody else has come close to. Although not his record of 8 from the 2009 campaign, in a single race the little brazilian has done enough to leapfrog the table into first place on 9, from only 2 starts, and tops the ratio tables at 69% likely to deliver. Suggestions that his teammate could not comment due to being an observer of another 69 were impossible to confirm at this time.
Clearly inspired by the presence of the master, spanish speaker Maldonado shoehorned 2 "for sure"'s into a single answer, but Generic Vergne was overwhelmed by the onslaught and ended up with a muddled "step forward" which, being neither a clear step or looking forward, had to be investigated by the stewards. After a significant delay, they judged that the confusion was warranted, and elected to add to it by awarding points under both "looking forward" and "making a step", before changing their minds a few hours later and reducing it to a single point for "step".
All in all, we're teed up for an impressive race this weekend and it's clear that if Massa can get his foot in the door of another official meeting it'll be quickly followed by a burst of mildly incomprehensible chatter.
Finally, it was pointed out to the race organisers this evening that prior to this event neither Force India driver had been included in the official standings. Organisers, having investigated the cause of the matter fully, found that this was due to the fact that both drivers are so narcoleptically boring that their existence simply slipped the minds of the recorder. The recorder could not be reached for comment, as simply typing Paul di Resta's name caused them to stare blankly at the wall and wonder why the thought of chipboard was on their mind, an impressive feat considering they are someone who job is this spreadsheet. Di Resta was heard to complain that the championship failed to play to his strengths in being woodenly tedious, that his team were beneath him anyway, his teammate was cheating, and that in any case he beat Vettel in a game of pictionary about 10 years ago, so the whole thing was immaterial anyway and he should just be given the trophy now.
Unfortunately he was speaking to an empty room as the press corps trampled each other to get out of the room before the overwhelming whinging brought the walls down.
That's quite funny...looking forward to the next instalment
Well Bahrain threw up two surprises for the Mercedes team on Saturday; the top layer of Lewis Hamilton's tyre, and Rosberg on pole. A boost for Nico after 3 terrible events, his domination of the press conference was complete, delivering 7 answers to Alonso's 4 and Vettel's rather deflated 3. Having put himself in such a good position, Rosberg made sure to maximise his opportunities. Pacing himself well, he delivered a whopping 6 for sures, and made sure of the result with a "look forward" to give him a better ratio of countback in what promises to be a tight season so far.
While Vettel managed two for sure's, Alonso seems to be content to let his opponents steam on ahead, delivering absolutely nothing of note during the presser except some well thought out and comprehensive answers to frankly stupid and meaningless questions. While that may display the calm and intelligence of a master strategist, you have to be concerned that with 6 appearances, his 10% likelihood of a "for sure" is going to risk throwing away the championship while concentrating on less important endeavours such as winning races.
Although Vettel has the same number of appearances, and a similarly low 15% delivery rate, the fact remains that he's delivered 3 more for sure's than Alonso at this stage of the championship, and the three-horse race between the leaders to date (Kimi, Vettel and Alonso) looks like it could be seriously derailed if mid-grid challengers like Rosberg or Massa manage to get in front of any more microphones.
With Rosberg, you have to say that a steely determination sits under that smile, as he was still delivering "for sure"s in BBC interviews, despite the non-championship nature of the event. If he can stay out of trouble during the race tomorrow, you've got to fancy his chances of taking the lead from the mercurial but unreliable Massa tomorrow.
Should also add Kimi's latest "it is what it is..."
Although everytime I see Massa all I can think of is "fosho"!
Well the race took a while to shake out, but I think that after qualifying we were all fairly sure that Rosberg's further progress up the table would be determined by matters outside his control, namely the performance of his car, rather than his impressively loquacious vocabularosity. Sure enough, once the race was on he was soon swallowed into Vettel's gaping maw. And having swallowed the SweGerMonagasque driver, it appeared Vettel had little appetite for anything else, lumbering across the line with the minimum of effort, and showing a similar performance in the post-race presser where he delivered a single For Sure and a looking forward just to make certain of the result.
The impossible to guide Kimi was on hand, and seemed wholly uninterested in proceedings, with the fewest answers of any of the podium finishers, and refusing to engage with the competition's needless verbal gymnastics. Unsurprisingly, his answers per show is the lowest of the frontrunners, and experts don't expect that to change over the course of the season. With Kimi, it's all about quality over quantity however, although that too will have to improve as thanks to "looking forward" count, he now trails Vettel in the standings.
Grosjean made his first trip to the podium, and appeared to have more gas in the tank than his flat teammate, delivering 5 answers to Kimi's 4. However, the Frenchman failed to capitalise and didn't deliver a single generic reply. Critics have pointed in the past to Romain's lack of awareness, and certainly a better driver would have recognised a genuine opportunity here and taken it. His speed may well take him towards the front, but you have to wonder if his lack of brains will stop him from reaping any reward.
Thursday. Thor's Day. The Day of the God of Thunder.
Not wishing to be left wanting, 6 drivers sat with faces like the eponymous god, such was their overwhelming sense of girlish thrill at the prospect of another Presser of Doom. Looking from one face to the next, the sense gathers that at any moment, the whole flimsy podium facade may be tipped over, and a chorus line of delighted, fresh faced, well scrubbed millionaires might start tap dancing their way around the room, top hats and canes in hand.
Certainly, there was no attempt to tap dance around the leaden and obvious questioning of the press pack, who duly trotted out the same questions as last week with little to no variation. Tyres are challenging, teams hope to improve, two drivers are not fighting at all having cleared the air in a 5 minute conversation in an airless hospitality cupboard, and everyone is looking forward to a scintellating race at a fantastic circuit where the fans are guaranteed a good time. The response to one question regarding the possibility of overtaking with DRS led to some heroically hard work from Vettel, who managed to waffle for 100 words before reaching the limits of credibility. This led to easily the highlight of the conference with the following exchange from Alonso and Perez in response:
Nail biting stuff there I think you'll agree sports fans. Where would we be without the Thursday Presser? A measly haul of one For Sure each for Alonso and Bottas, and that is, as they say, that.
Jesus! What a qualifying session! This championship, which was looking like a clean-run contest between Vettel, Kimi, and whatever Ferrari driver could get in the room, is being turned upside down by the improvements at the Mercedes team, and their star driver.... Nico Rosberg.
A man who wasn't expected to hold his own against 7-time champion and living legend Michael Schumacher, was then steamrollered in China by the PR machine of Lewis "unbeatable" Hamilton, just showed the more regular faces that just because he hasn't had the opportunity in times past, doesn't mean he lacks the ability.
Shoving past Lewis to get to the top of the timesheets, Rosberg decimated the two world champions, answering 11 questions, and delivering another 7 "for sure"s, a "looking forward", and made sure to mention the boys "back at the factory" to sweep the honours board, and leave his competitors picking up the scraps. Vettel, never one to leave points on the table, picked up a single "for sure", but that was the totality of his contributions from 9 answers, so you've got to think he should have done better. Lewis, meanwhile, is still clearly ingratiating himself at his new digs, making sure to tip the hat to the "guys back at the factory" who he knows will be the key to getting this Mercedes car to keep its race pace going.
Always a fan favourite, Rosberg showed last week that he's a steely competitor with the hunger to grab this championship and run with it. If the Boys Back At the Factory can get these tyres sorted out, I think Vettel is going to look like a pussycat compared to the man with four more "for sure"s from only one third of the appearances. Stunning. Just stunning.
Hamilton is looking like an also-ran already, with a paltry 0.17 ratio, although he'll probably take secret pleasure from the performance of last year's teammate, struggling at the bottom of the table with nothing at all to show for his efforts. He might as well be driving a Marussia!
Well another processional race delivered by flaky tyres, but it threw up the chance for the battle we'd been waiting for all weekend. Finally, Felipe Massa was back on the podium, and with passion in his heart, and a fire for recognition burning in his soul, the stage was all set for the Big Hitter, the numero uno, the bravo from brazil to make his mark.
With baited breath it was that we saw another maverick of the microphone stride confidently onto the stage as the podium dwellers calmed their emotions ... Eddie Jordan, a man who no producer, script writer, or teleprompter could ever stand up against. As Eddie bounced from one part of the stage to another, at some points appearing to address an invisible giant somewhere off in the outfield, Alonso reeled off as many answers as he could, but still seems to be stuck in that mode whereby he thinks about the questions and reels off a non-repetitive answer which makes some sort of sense.
Chroniclers are starting to wonder if he even understands the rules of the competition.
Meanwhile, the spotlight shone on Massa. A loquacious interviewer who would allow all sorts of leeway. Two sets of questioning opportunities. His family here for support. What would the diminutive chappie make of it? Sadly, he appeared to be more keen on joking with Kimi on the podium about Jordan's hairpiece than concentrating on the matter at hand. Would he fare better in the press conference? Hardly a peep. While he got in his "for sure" out in the free air of the podium, he weakened in the press conference and made no further contributions. Sensing weakness in his old teammate, Kimi pounced with an additional two "for sure"s, bringing him back up to second in the table.
Amazingly, Alonso managed to work through 16 boring questions, more than the other two competitors combined, without stooping to a single "for sure"! Some are beginning to question if he is really a racing driver at all.
I've got at least 4 likes on this whole thread that says otherwise.