Archive for April, 2012

Sonoma County

Friday, April 27th, 2012
I was fortunate to live in the county for a while and I’ve been a regular visitor there to enjoy the wine and racing since 1996! If you are thinking about moving up there check out Santa Rosa homes for sale. Here is one of the pics I took at the 2011 Indy Car race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, it was our last chance to see Danica Patrick before the move to NASCAR.

Indy at Sonoma 2011

Indy at Sonoma 2011

Getting to know Bahrain F1

Thursday, April 19th, 2012
What a complex, fascinating island it is. I think I was in the airport once, back when flying from London to Australia involved a couple of refueling hops. Now of course a conversation about F1 must include it too. Messing around with Google Maps it turns out the Bahrain land mass is almost a mirror image of the San Francisco Bay and delta.

Even before the discovery of oil Bahrain was rich and thriving with ocean traders and pearl divers, governed in some form since 700 BC. It has been controlled more or less by Al Khalifa family since 1790, ruling to this day under Islamic law, with a mix of British common law that is an important component in the liberalization of the island. Despite the massive petroleum wealth discovered in 1932, Bahrain today has a public debt at 75.3% of GDP, with half of the almost totally urban 1.2 million population below the poverty line and/or dependent on the government in some way. All this on an island the size of Durham County, North Carolina or Lake Mohave – 290 sq miles, with immense wealth and power at the top of the income distribution pyramid.

The Al Khalifa family carved a Hermann Tilke F1 track out of the desert, and owns half of the McLaren group. Sakhir circuit is built from gravel shipped to Bahrain from England, with adhesive sprayed on the sand to prevent it from blowing onto the track. I quickly found out the track is not included in F1 2011 for XBox 360 due to the uncertainty and eventually elimination of this race last year. The F1 2010 release has Bahrain, but in the “Endurance” configuration, not the “Grand Prix Circuit” used in F1 from 2004–2009, and from 2012 onwards. I saw an eBay listing for F1 2009 (not available for Xbox) and it was $234! UPDATE: 2012 FORMULA 1 GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX results

Recent adventures with Formula 1

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
Its been a pretty exciting season so far. New team and chassis configurations are randomizing the results through various mishaps as everyone acclimatizes to the new layouts. I decided to get F1 2011 for Xbox 360 to learn the tracks some more. It was great to drive the Chinese Grand Prix before the actual race and familiarize myself a little with the track map and driving experience. I had everything set to full computer assist of course, braking, tires, etc all on auto. And it was still a huge challenge. Coming off a recent run to complete Monster Jam, I was driving the car like a monster truck for the first few rounds with predictable results. Still great to experience the dash to the first turn as part of the pack and then the relentless demand to execute each corner, perfectly, every time or become isolated to the back rapidly. Even as a game developer who has written driving games myself, I’m still amazed how “feel” can be translated through just a screen and controller.