Saturday, December 26, 2009

SCHUMACHER RETURN THOUGHTS


Here's another thought on the Schumacher return which is not like the others and more like mine. See, I'm not a Schumi fan nor am I a hater (like some people who pretend to be neutral about Lewis Hamilton but are in fact haters). I'll admit that Schumi is a good driver, most drivers are damn good, if not they won't be F1 drivers in the first place.

But I have a feeling that Schumacher might find the going tough as James Allen has put it:

"As e ex F1 driver put it to me last week, “I don’t care if he is Michael Schumacher, when he’s wheel to wheel against Hamilton into a corner his brain is going to say, ‘I’m 41, he’s 24, I’m going to be the one who lifts off here. ‘ It’s human nature and you cannot fight against it.”
And I also agree on some points raised by DoctorVee especially the one about it being a marketing ploy by Mercedes. The name Schumacher generates a lot of interest and it will definitely bring a lot of benefit for Mercedes and their sponsors.

But personally, as much as I'm convinced that Schumacher will have a tough time next year there is also this nagging feeling that he might just surprise everybody with some good performances because of the Mercedes engine and the package that Ross will have put together. Here's hoping that McLaren will do better and Lewis will outgun everybody.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

SCHUMACHER : THE RETURN


Well, it had to happen. After all the rumours and posturing, it has been confirmed, by the man himself no less, that Michael Schumacher - the 7 time F1 world champion and undisputed greatest driver of all time (so far, although some people do beg to differ), will return to racing.

He of course will drive for Mercedes GP, even after Norbert Haug and some people at Mercedes/Daimler have said before that they are not looking at an all German team. Hmm, we now have an all German team.

What do I think of his return? It's great news as the show will get interesting. It would definitely be interesting to see whether he still has it in him and how he will adapt to the new cars. Do I think he will be competitive? He certainly seems to think so. But then again all F1 drivers are supremely confident of themselves, if not they won't be where they are. But personally, I'm not so sure he will be competitive unless the car is supreme again like this year. if Button can win it in that car then Schumacher can too.

What I am looking forward to is watching Lewis take on Schumacher. I've always wanted to know how that would work out as does Lewis. Now we'll get our chance and Schumi will be in a good car...hopefully.

Anyway, good luck to Herr Schumi and here's looking forward to seeing him being beaten by Hamilton, Vettel and Rosberg.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Yoong speechless at Petronas deal


Well, finally Petronas signs back into F1 after flirting with a possible move to Sauber to Lotus F1. I knew somehow Petronas wanted to stay in F1 and that the strongest candidate would have been Sauber but I did not expect this at all.

Now all Mercedes will have to use Syntium instead of Mobil 1 and Petronas ads will use Mercs instead of BMW cars. Should be exciting times for Petronas staff as they'll have new merchandise to use. I can't wait to see the new livery and merchandise.

The best piece of news is that Alex Yoong is speechless. Ha ha..what did he expect? That Petronas would just roll over and obey? Support a so called national team? Petronas is not stupid, they have been left in the dark before by these useless glamour hungry idiots and they won't repeat the same mistake.

Yoong said on Twitter:
"Petronas signs with Mercedes GP," he wrote. "Words fail me. Mercedes is a good team, no doubt, but what Lotus is doing is completely ground-breaking and brave and Petronas not seeing that fills me with shame."
What fills me with shame is having the name Alex Yoong associated with F1 and Malaysia in one sentence. BTW Alex, what Lotus is doing is not "ground-breaking and brave", it is either foolhardy or just plain stupid, expecially with all the marketing statements made by the people in the team who have no knowledge of F1. Shame.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lotus F1 names Trulli, Kovalainen and Fairuz


Finally, the drivers have been named. It was not so much of a surprise to see Trulli confirmed but I was surprised to see Kovalainen there. I'm not sure he'll fit in comfortably though but then again, he has nowhere to go. Better here then nowhere.

Fairuz I think deserves his place now as test and reserve driver. I think he has what it takes and just needs a chance. At least he's better than Alex Yoong as has been proven many times in A1GP and the World Series by Renault.

The funny part of the announcement and I should use the word "stupid" really is that an F1 team line up was made by a Prime Minister of a country. The Lotus F1 driver announcement was actually made by PM Najib with his speech read out by the Sports Minister. Didn't I say it's about glamour?

Friday, December 11, 2009

New points system to be launched in 2010

It is a foregone conclusion that next season will see a change in the points awarded for races. Since there will be more cars on the grid, the FIA has seen it fit to increase points collection positions from 8 to 10 and the points collected for each position also increases.

This is how it works out:

1st: 25
2nd: 20
3rd: 15
4th: 10
5th: 8
6th: 6
7th: 5
8th: 3
9th: 2
10th: 1

This probably will make it more interesting but it would be a chore to be calculating the points and drivers positions on the fly. We'd definitely need a paper and pen handy everytime during a race.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

BRITISH GP SAVED


One good news today is that the British GP has been saved with Silverstone being given the rights to host the race for the next 17 years, although it seems that there is a clause for both parties to go separate ways after 10 years. Whatever it is, it's still good news as Silverstone not only has the history of being the first race in the history of the official F1 series but is also a pretty good track.

Lewis Hamilton is happy that the track has been saved and will host more races in future. He won there convincingly in the rain. It would be great to see him racing Button there next year too.
"The place has an atmosphere money can't buy and I have some fantastic memories of the track, winning both races in GP2 in 2006, getting an incredibly emotional and satisfying pole in 07 and winning in the wet in my championship year (2008). "

Monday, December 7, 2009

Lotus F1 appoints Yoong, two others to key posts

Well, it was bound to happen, just a matter of when the announcement would be made. And here it is:
"..former Malaysian F1 driver Alex Yoong as Head of Driver Development (Asia).."

"Yoong and Judge will co-host Lotus F1 Racing’s driver development programme with the aim of nurturing young drivers for future development in Malaysia, Asia and Europe."
I wonder what kind of advice would Yoong be giving - how to spin more than 8 times in a single race perhaps. Or how to be snot nosed in public.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

OPINIONS

Well, it has been some time since I've been writing here, it feels like an eternity. I think I stopped just before I went to Abu Dhabi for the inaugural race there. We had 4 simulators going and placed at the new track for Etihad, the title sponsor of the race. It was a blast and I will definitely have to post a story on that with pictures after this.

I guess my 'disappearance' so far has something to do with my personal life. I apologize to my readers for the absence but it seems that my mind has been filled with thoughts of a certain young lady who has captured my heart and attention. F1 being in the off season didn't help either. But I will try to post regularly as much as I can, starting with my opinions on some recent news.

1. Silverstone announcement on Monday

One of the hottest topic around for some time is whether Britain will host a race or not next year. With Donnington bitting the dust, I for one favor Silverstone as it is a challenging track, not to mention the history. And you can't have 2 British world champions back to back and no British GP. Where's the sense in that?

2. A
lonso 'better' for Ferrari claims Domenicali

This is a hot one. Stefano Domenicali seems to think that Alonso is in the Schumacher mould and would be better to carry Ferrari development and winning ways. He says that Alonso won't have a problem at Ferrari like he had at McLaren because "
At Maranello that will not happen. I can guarantee that." Hmm..a guarantee like that means that Massa has or needs to be tied down and put in his place. What irony then after all the heated exchanges Massa had with Alonso in the past. I like this as Massa is not known to take it sitting down.

3. Ecclestone confident Renault will remain in F1

The rumblings at Renault based on what has happened this year in F1 and in the car world does not bode well for their continued participation. The borad of Renault will meet soon to discuss their position and personally I don't see them continuing next year. The boss of Renault Carlos Ghosn is not known as spending man. I see Renault pulling out, the team being bought by Prodrive (that would be fantastic) and Renault supplying engines.

4. B
rawn on Button's McLaren challenge

Again, the topic of Jensen Button leaving Brawn GP and putting his reputation at risk by joining McLaren and jumping into Lewis Hamilton's cage is being talked about. Personally, I don't think Button will survive at McLaren although he will be better at bringing the points home compared to Kovalainnen. even without McLaren being built around Lewis, Button is not of the same calibre and Lewis will run rings around him.

5. R
aikkonen inks Citroen WRC deal

Ah Kimi. No surprise this, we all knew that he was forced out of F1 because of his couldn't care less attitude. He is fast but not a team player and he can't talk much. What else was he supposed to do? If you're a Finn and a previous world champion, go rallying.

6. S
auber confirmed as 13th entry

This is a happy piece of news. I'm glad that Sauber got a spot. I think they have a good car for next year and a good team. Hopefully they'll be able to find some good drivers too. Petronas will definitely follow Sauber and not Lotus as they know as much as we do what a disaster Lotus will be with all those political crap attached to it.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Looking for the ultimate F1 gaming experience?


12/11/2009

Never mind buying F1 cars off Ebay, race fans with a little bit of dosh can now buy the exact same equipment used by top racing drivers and engineers to improve their race craft and evaluate new tracks and car settings.

Cruden B.V. - the world's leading designer and manufacturer of interactive motion-based racing simulators - is offering its new racing simulator as an extreme alternative to popular home gaming equipment for affluent motorsport and performance driving enthusiasts.

The Hexatech - a professional full motion simulator with six 'degrees of freedom' (6DOF), realistic g-Force simulation up to multiple g's, seat belt tensioners and 100 per cent realistic steering feedback - is normally found in Formula One factories and automotive research centres.

Now, this same sophisticated equipment can provide the definitive motorsport experience at home, with prices for the base simulator package starting at £120,000.

"Snooker rooms, swimming pools, gyms and cinemas have been done time and again. Now, enter the professional racing simulator," says Frank Kalff, Cruden's commercial director. "Let's be clear: this is not a video game linked up to a steering wheel, race seat and pedals. Although easy to operate, this is the exact same equipment used by the top racing drivers and engineers to improve their race craft and evaluate new tracks and car settings. Our simulator and the software it uses cannot be bought in a store."

The Hexatech promises years of highly challenging entertainment both in terms of durability - it is built to endure hundreds of thousands of 'driving' miles per year in almost constant use and lasts 10 to 15 years without major overhaul - and in ensuring drivers never get tired of the quest to improve.

Kalff explains: "Driving a real Formula One car is not easy and getting fast and consistent laps in the simulator isn't either. The simulator takes minutes to learn and enjoy but a lifetime to master, unlike most driving games which are conquered and then discarded before too long. The immense challenge of honing the same level of driving skill as a top racing driver is unbelievably addictive and satisfying."

Creating a bespoke simulator - or even multiple linked-up systems - will introduce an unrivalled centre-piece within the home. The Hexatech is now available as a three-seater (3CTR), where passengers sit either side of the driver to experience the ride together. Cruden can supply open or closed cockpits, fit bodywork or use actual vehicles, and apply the livery of a race or road vehicle according to customer preference. Owners can choose between three 'wrap around' 42 inch screens or (stereo) projectors to view their virtual world of state-of-the-art graphics. Friends and family can watch the race projected onto nearby screens or walls. There is a wide variety of software packages and competition settings to chose from, allowing customers to host fast lap shoot-outs, 24-hour endurance races and full championships, as well as to select race tracks and cars; for example from F1, rally, NASCAR and sports car racing.

Ownership is made easy with full installation, training, access to upgrades and on-call support provided as part of the purchase. The electro-mechanical system typically requires only five KWh of electricity, making the Hexatech economical to run. The simulator has a footprint of 2.3 m x 3 m, requires a floor loading of 1,000 kg/m2 and a minimum ceiling height of 3 metres. Cruden also makes static and 3DOF simulators to customer order.

For more details visit the Cruden website, though be advised it is currently under construction and will not be running until Sunday (November 15).


Article from Pitpass (http://www.pitpass.com):

Published: 12/11/2009
Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2009. All rights reserved.

Friday, October 16, 2009

ALONSO vs MASSA


This season still has not ended yet and next season is still along way to go but it seems that the rivalry between Massa and Alonso has already started to simmer. Massa again was accusing Alonso of knowing about the plot to crash at the Singapore GP last year but a few hours later and after a dressing down by Ferrari, he issued another statement playing down his earlier accusation.

The second statement, although almost denying the first one still had some unhappiness sprinkled over it. One thing is for sure, Massa was extremely upset not to win last year's championship and is still looking for somebody else to blame. Lewis lost it to Kimi by 1 point and he lost to Lewis by 1 point, deal with it.

I'm looking forward to the Massa-Alonso rivalry next year. That should tear Ferrari up from the inside or at least trip them up through the season.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

FIRST FOOTAGE OF YAS MARINA CIRCUIT


James Allen has published the first on board footage of a lap of the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi in a 2 seater open wheel race car driven by Bruno Senna. The track looks awesome and drives awesome too. At least on our F1 simulator. I was thinking it would be a good looking track but boring to drive but surprisingly, it was quite fast and challenging with some great 3 apex turns at high speeds. Can't wait to go to Abu Dhabi on 27th Oct. Woohoo.

Friday, October 9, 2009

MASSA TO WAVE THE FLAG AT INTERLAGOS

This is an interesting bit of news. It seems that the organizers of the penultimate race of this season at Interlagos, Brazil have decided to have some fun and add some novelty to the race by having Felipe Massa wave the chequered flag to signal the finish of the race.

Taking into consideration what happened to Massa and the fact he is currently out of the racing, that sounds nice and sweet. But imagine if the race was won by Lewis Hamilton this year? I can't imagine the look on Massa's face having to wave the flag for Hamilton at his home race after losing the championship to Lewis last year in such dramatic fashion.

Image courtesy of The F1 Files.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

MASSA TO RACE IN 2009?


That's what the rumours are saying. I'd be very surprised if he did. Currently his fitness is not known so it's just speculation. Although he did come back to Maranello for meetings and sessions in the simulator. It also turns out that Ferrari have asked the stewards whether massa could test the F2007 with GP2 tyres just like Schumacher.

Williams have given their blessing to the test and Ferrari are not saying whether it is confirmed or not. But it seems we'll know something by next week.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

JAPANESE GP 2009 RESULTS


Well, that was quite an exciting race. I say "quite" because it is not really exciting or great. I was expecting more based on what I saw during qualifying yesterday with all the crashes and spins and drama. There was a safety car today though and a heavy crash but still the results were no surprise. By that I mean the top 3 started and finished in the same position.

The start was exciting, yes more exciting than quite exciting, but that was it. Lewis had a good start overtaking Trulli into the first turn and almost taking Vettel with him but the run down to the first turn was too short for his KERS to be effective. On top of that, Vettel had an amazing start, defended his line well and just pulled away like he had an extra 200 horses on that Red Bull. He never looked back since.

Lewis took Trulli into that first turn and stuck to Vettel. All 3 of them had a pretty relaxed race all the way except for when Lewis' KERS gave some problems and switched off. Lewis couldn't restart the thing and it proved fatal in his bid to take Trulli later. Lewis' second pitstop exit was delayed by a couple of tenths. These 2 factors contributed to him unable to pass Trulli when Trulli was exiting the pits. Damn.

Alguersuari had a pretty big spin at 130R and whacked the tyre barriers pretty hard. It was a spectacular crash which brought out the SC with 11 laps to go. The field bunched up and upon the restart, again lewis couldn't take Trulli cos the KERS wasn't working. He also couldn't get near him as the Toyota was pretty much on the pace also.

The Brawns were pretty much in the midfield this race. Button just needing to take it easy and making sure he got some points not too far away from Barrichello which he did by finishing P8 behind Barrichello's P8. He was almost taken by Kubica though, the BMW Sauber looking quite fast hassling Button.

Kovalainnen again drove a "mising" race. By that I mean he was missing most of the time. The only time he stood out was when he was overtaken in the pits by Fisichella and wrestled his position back just after leaving the pitlane. It was a close fight and he won it.

Kimi was his usual self, sleeping from the start of the race and deciding to wake up and really race when the race was run to about 90%. He didn't do too bad though, finishing P4. Poor Mark Webber not only started from the pitlane but had to pit 5 times and finished 2 laps down. Taht was a nightmare race for him.

Overall, quite an exciting race but not exciting enough. I thought the way this track was laid out would give more overtaking opportunities and some brave driving. But in the end it was quite straightforward and by the book. Looking forward to Brazil which is also a damn good track which should produce some exciting racing.

If not for an exciting race, I'd stay up just to see Massa going round telling everybody how he was robbed by Piquet last year at Singapore.

Results
01 S. Vettel Red Bull 1:28:20.443
02 J. Trulli Toyota + 4.877
03 L. Hamilton McLaren + 6.472
04 K. Räikkönen Ferrari + 7.940
05 N. Rosberg Williams + 8.793
06 N. Heidfeld BMW + 9.509
07 R. Barrichello Brawn GP + 10.641
08 J. Button Brawn GP + 11.474
09 R. Kubica BMW + 11.777
10 F. Alonso Renault + 13.065
11 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 13.735
12 G. Fisichella Ferrari + 14.596
13 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 14.959
14 V. Liuzzi Force India F1 + 15.734
15 K. Nakajima Williams + 18.973
16 R. Grosjean Renault + 1 lap(s)
17 M. Webber Red Bull + 2 lap(s)
Did not finish
18 J. Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso + 10 lap(s)
19 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 42 lap(s)

RESHUFFLED SUZUKA GRID POSITIONS

Following the various penalties given to drivers for speeding during a yellow flag, driving around a damaged car and gearbox changes, the new grid positions for today's race will be as follows:-

1st row:
Sebastian Vettel (GER/Red Bull-Renault)
Jarno Trulli (ITA/Toyota)

2nd row:
Lewis Hamilton (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes)
Nick Heidfeld (GER/BMW-Sauber)

3rd row:
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Ferrari)
Heikki Kovalainen (FIN/McLaren-Mercedes)

4th row:
Nico Rosberg (GER/Williams-Toyota)
Robert Kubica (POL/BMW-Sauber)

5th row:
Adrian Sutil (GER/Force India-Mercedes)
Rubens Barrichello (BRA/Brawn-Mercedes)

6th row:
Jaime Alguersuari (ESP/Toro Rosso-Ferrari)
Jenson Button (GBR/Brawn-Mercedes)

7th row:
Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA/Ferrari)
Sebastien Buemi (SUI/Toro Rosso-Ferrari)

8th row:
Kazuki Nakajima (JPN/Williams-Toyota)
Romain Grosjean (FRA/Renault)

9th row: Fernando Alonso (ESP/Renault)
Tonio Liuzzi (ITA/Force India-Mercedes)

Pitlane: Timo Glock (GER/Toyota)
Mark Webber (AUS/Red Bull-Renault)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

JAPANESE GP 2009 QUALIFYING


That was an incredible, action filled qualifying. I have never seen the Japanese GP at Suzuka as the place was closed for renovations since 2006. I played the circuit on our F1 simulator this week and found the track to be awesome, challenging and unforgiving to mistakes, even the slightest one.

Yesterday, both free practice was spoiled by the weather. We couldn't really see the cars at their full potential as the best time recorded was 1.47.xxx when I could do 1.32.853 on the simulator. Today, the sun came out and the cars were able to do fast laps on slicks. Boy, were the times telling. Fastest time recorded was 1.30.385 I think. So, I've got some work to do.

And what action this track produces. There were 4 crashes, 1 serious with Timo Glock warded at the hospital with possible leg injuries. Nobody is sure whether he can race tomorrow. There was 3 red flags, multiple yellows and the crashes were spectacular.

The qualifying was close but it was never in doubt that Vettel was on fire the whole weekend. He topped the timesheets in Q1, Q2 and Q3 taking pole by a margin of 0.060 secs. It looks good for him to win but that depends on whether Lewis in P3 can take him before the first corner with KERS and whether his engine can take the heat.

The other Red Bull didn't make it as Webber crashed his car in practice and had to change the chassis thereby starting from the pitlane. It looks like their title challenge is over. Toyota did good with Trulli in P2 but Glock crashed heavily in Q2 and might be hospitalised.

McLaren didn't do too well either even though Lewis got P3, Kovalainnen crashed in Q3 and will start P9. Lewis looked to have the pace but was really beaten by Vettel. It's not too bad though as he starts behind Vettel and has KERS, although the fuel weights will play a factor.

Ferrari fared quite bad as Kimi got P8 and Fisi was way down the order in P16. They don't seem to have a good package for this track. BMW was a surprise as Heidfeld snuck in quietly into P6. he always does that. Kubica though is in P13. The surprise was Sutil, who put his Force India in P4. It seems that Sutil is a very good driver given the right equipment. McLaren might do good to consider him next year.

Alonso didn't look too happy to end up P12. He seems to have blame Buemi for crashing at the right time to disturb his flying lap. Rosberg's lap too might have been spoiled by Buemi. The yellow flag brought about by Buemi it seems was ignored by 4 drivers including Alonso, although he says he was innocent. The result - 4 drivers were given 5 slot grid penalties including Alonso. Anyway, that's racing and they'll have to take it as it is.

The fuel weights reveal different strategies but Lewis might have some advantage with KERS. The grid penalties have also turned things upside down, sad for Sutil. He seems to be struck with bad luck all the time.

Can't wait for the race, it's gonna be a cracker at this track.

Times before penalties
01 S. Vettel Red Bull 1:32.160
02 J. Trulli Toyota 1:32.220
03 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:32.395
04 A. Sutil Force India F1 1:32.466
05 R. Barrichello Brawn GP 1:32.660
06 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:32.945
07 J. Button Brawn GP 1:32.962
08 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:32.980
09 H. Kovalainen McLaren no time
10 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso no time
11 N. Rosberg Williams 1:31.103
12 F. Alonso Renault 1:31.638
13 R. Kubica BMW 1:32.341
14 T. Glock Toyota no time
15 J. Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso no time
16 G. Fisichella Ferrari 1:31.704
17 K. Nakajima Williams 1:31.718
18 R. Grosjean Renault 1:32.073
19 V. Liuzzi Force India F1 1:32.087

Thursday, October 1, 2009

ALONSO CONFIRMED AT FERRARI


And there you have it, finally and officially. Fernando Alonso has been signed by Ferrari to race for them in the 2010 F1 World Championship, reportedly at a cost of GBP55 for 3 years. Nightmare come true.

But there is a silver lining. The championship next year should be interesting as Lewis can now fight with Alonso again as Alonso will be in a competitive car. Plus Kimi will probably replace Kovalainnen at McLaren, thereby giving Lewis the push he needs to become better and better.

The rest of the driver market is pretty open for now. Read here for the possible outcomes.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Show me the money

Re-published from Malaysian Insider by Justin Ong

Sept 27 — Motorsports costs money. All sports, to some degree, cost money but more to the point, motorsports costs a lot of money. So much money that only the rich or very talented ever get to participate here in Malaysia.

First there’s the vehicle itself, but rather than being the bulk of your investment, it is merely the gaping hole into which you would proceed to pour all your money into. Modifications can and often do cost more than the car itself. Or even several times the cost of the car.

Once it’s up and running, you need more money to keep it going. Maintenance can be frightening, as things which last years on a normal car regularly run only two or three events, not to mention racing parts are often a magnitude more expensive than standard items. Beyond parts, you’ll also need a crew to keep the vehicle running. That’s money, too.

For the average guy thinking of trying to self-finance his own motorsport career, let me tell you now that it is a financially ruinous venture. Before you know, you’ll have pumped in more money than you actually have. And when you win, you discover the purse barely even covers your tyres.

I’ve seen some amateur participants at local events where it’s blatantly obvious there’s more heart than money. Sometimes that’s just life; these people are in it solely for the thrill. Other times, it’s a crying shame because some of the drivers, if they could find the money, might have gone somewhere.

That’s simply weekend warriors who harbour minor ambitions in auto racing. It’s saddest when professional drivers, people who have bet their lives and livelihoods on the sport, barely scrape enough money together to make the entrance fee. That’s not a shame, that’s a bloody disgrace.

While the country is now supposedly throwing its weight behind the Formula One team currently in conception, it didn’t do very much to help one who was already a proven winner and world champion. Karamjit Singh’s tale is not only poignant, it is the story of motorsports here in Malaysia: Good enough to win, but couldn’t afford the bus fare to get there.

If you followed the travesty of Karam’s troubles — which got so bad he couldn’t even pay to ship his car back from a race — you’ll know motorsports here in Malaysia is a non-starter. If you can’t wrangle enough sponsorship money when you already can show you’re a winner, what hope is there where you’re just starting out?

Maybe rallying is too mucky, too spectator-unfriendly. But then A1GP’s Team Malaysia hasn’t fared much better either.

If there was a motorsport where the whole country could get behind, A1GP has to be it. Billed as the World Cup of motorsports, it pits country against country on the circuits. Now doesn’t this sound like the type of competition that could fuel national pride?

But like most other forms of motorsport here, it’s barely managed to get any kind of serious sponsorship. Certainly not anywhere remotely near the kind of money that’s being touted for the upcoming Lotus F1 team. Though they carried Proton’s emblems on their cars, I don’t know if they ever got paid for it. Or if they did, whether they were paid very much.

Malaysians couldn’t be roused to support a Malaysian team battling it out against Indonesia, Singapore, China, et al. Is there any reason they would back Malaysia versus Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, and Toyota? I can’t say for sure; maybe they will or maybe they won’t.

But what’s for certain is the reason why Karam and A1GP Team Malaysia have had such a hard time finding sponsorship dollars is because, by and large, Malaysians don’t care for motorsports. Corporate sponsors know this and thus are reluctant to pump any kind of money into it.

Beyond just F1, Malaysia hosts numerous other racing events — both amateur and professional. While the disciplines are diverse, the one unifying characteristic that ties all these races together is the dearth of spectators. Few know about them, and fewer still attend.

It’s just not in our culture. It can be, of course. Just not how it currently is. But until there is concerted effort to promote, cultivate and support the races and racers we already have, it’s going to be hard to see why we should take the Lotus F1 team seriously as a Malaysian motorsport effort. And harder still to see where it can all go.

As a Malaysian-owned venture, sure. As a questionable advertising blitz, maybe. But as a team that’s supposed to mean something to Malaysians all over the country? 1 Malaysia F1 — DNS.

SINGAPORE GP 2009 RESULTS


McLaren are back! Well, at least half of McLaren. Lewis Hamilton won the race from lights to finish in formidable form and without KERS. His start was impeccable and his lead was never threatened even when his KERS malfunctioned and with the numerous on track incidents with the safety car.

He started well off the line, controlling the pace after that being chased by Vettel and Rosberg. Rosberg also made a great start, overtaking Vettel into the first turn. Both Vettel and Rosberg pressured Lewis but Lewis kept his cool. Unfortunately, both Vettel and Rosberg suffered in the race which cost them a place on the podium.

Kovalainnen again disappoints. Not only did he start the race in tenth but he virtually disappeared fir the whole race. Not much coverage was on him and nobody talked about him in the live online blogs/forum.

Rosberg had a moment when exiting the pits at his first stop and crossed the white line thereby incurring a drive through penalty and Vettel damaged his car, first losing a rear view mirror then breaking off the rear diffuser and damaging the bottom of the car on a kerb. Both dropped down the order, Glock and Alonso benefiting with 2nd and 3rd respectively.

It seems that Singapore is a good hunting ground for Alonso. Both times here he finished on the podium, last year famoulsy winning the race with a little help from Nelson Piquet. This year, a few more incidents and another safety car helped him again.

The Brawns were not on the pace much, concentrating mainly on securing as many points as possible. It seems that the title race will be decided between Button and Barrichello as both Red Bulls screwed up their race this weekend. With no more engines for the rest of the season, it seems unlikely that they will pose much of a threat to the titlle ambitions of Brawn.

Much more of the pace and virtually unheard of during the race (as per Kovalainnen) were the Ferrari duo of Kimi Raikonnen and Giancarlo Fisichella. They were just fighting for scraps in the middle of the pack and were not seen or heard of much (which is the way I like it, I have to admit).

Other than that, the race was quite boring, as I imagined quite a few people will admit to. The track and atmosphere looks fantastic at night but seriously, the racing action is few and far in between. Even on the F1 simulator the track feels quite easy to master and not much of a challenge.

Looking forward to Suzuka next. That is a real racers track with its twists and turns.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

SINGAPORE GP 2009 QUALIFYING


Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the 2nd Singapore GP tonight with a blazing lap of 1.47.891 while Rubens Barrichello crashed into the barriers red-stopping the qualifying session with 30 seconds to go. Lewis was fast all night although it was possible that either Vettel for Rosberg could have beaten him to pole without the red flag.

It could have been a close fight with the pole sitter decided after the chequered flag had fallen as has happened many times before, which would have made it that much more exciting. In fact, Vettel was on fire on that last lap that Rubens crashed with a purple sector 1. But then again Lewis could have been unbeatable as his car was rebuilt overnight after some electrical problems and according to Lewis the car was fantastic to drive and he could have gone quicker if need be.

But that is racing and it does look like the start later could be an interesting one. Fuel weights could play a role later. We'll see.

The Brawns were quite a disappointment with Rubens crashing. Although he stayed at P5, he did change his gearbox and will take a 5 grid place penalty. That still puts him in front of Jensen Button who starts a disappointing P12. The championship battle seems to be between Barrichello and Button but with both Red Bulls in front of them, Vettel P2 and Webber P4, things could still go to the wire at the end of the season.

Kovalainnen again disappoints with a P10, not showing much life throughout the whole qualifying session. This does not bode well for his seat next year. Honestly, McLaren needs Rosberg or Vettel there next year as they can't win the constructors championship with just one driver scoring points.

Ferrari are in for another difficult race with Kimi P13 and Fisichella P18. It looks like the Ferraris are not well balanced here. Last year they left Singapore without any points as Kimi crashed and Massa finishing out of the points after the safety car came out and he tore his refuelling hose.

The 2 BMWs are looking strong with the new updates that they have and could finish in the points with both cars in the top ten after qualifying. These last few races are their chance to show that they can start strong next year and are worthy of a big sponsor. force India disappoints with both drivers languishing near the bottom, expected maybe that their car is not so good with higher downforce tracks.

Others are not even worth a mention as they were not even covered much by the TV cameras. Looking forward to the race later, something tells me with the very dusty track and tight turns there will probably be another safety car which will re-arrange the order halfway and throw out some strategies. Hopefully, some strategies does not include purposely crashing a car again.

Times
01 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:47.891
02 S. Vettel Red Bull 1:48.204
03 N. Rosberg Williams 1:48.348
04 M. Webber Red Bull 1:48.722
05 R. Barrichello Brawn GP 1:48.828
06 F. Alonso Renault 1:49.054
07 T. Glock Toyota 1:49.180
08 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:49.307
09 R. Kubica BMW 1:49.514
10 H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:49.778
11 K. Nakajima Williams 1:47.013
12 J. Button Brawn GP 1:47.141
13 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:47.177
14 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:47.369
15 J. Trulli Toyota 1:47.413
16 A. Sutil Force India F1 1:48.231
17 J. Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:48.340
18 G. Fisichella Ferrari 1:48.350
19 R. Grosjean Renault 1:48.544
20 V. Liuzzi Force India F1 1:48.792

Saturday, September 26, 2009

1MALAYSIA F1 TEAM MORE INFO


It seems we were wrong about the government wasting our money on an F1 team in next years' championship. Or are we? A news report, and this was published in Singapore not in Malaysia (I can't seem to find anything reported in the Malaysian press except by Paul Tan), says that the Malaysian government will not be funding the team. The arrangement is as follows:

The Malaysian Government has no equity directly or indirectly in the team, and the team will be funded by a group of companies including Litespeed (which submitted an application to join Formula 1 next year under the name Team Lotus), Naza, and the Tune Group, run by Tony Fernandes, current team principal. Petronas, a very familiar name in Formula 1 (BMW Sauber’s sponsor), is expected to join the team via its Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (a Petronas university in Malaysia), which will collaborate with the team together with UTM (University Teknologi Malaysia – a state owned university) to help develop future Malaysian engineers.

A company called Composites Technology Research Malaysia (CTRM) will also be involved in the team. The Malaysian-based (92% owned by Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance and 8% by Petronas) company produces composite materials for companies like Airbus and Lotus (composite body shell for Lotus Europa S). Team Lotus will be run by Litespeed. Litespeed is an F3 team that is founded by Nino Singh Judge and Steve Kenchington, both ex-Lotus employees. As revealed earlier, the team is expected to introduce its driver line-up by the end of next month.

No equity directly or indirectly? That maybe the case but the government does own 92% of CTRM. And since CTRM will be involved in what I assume to be the carbon fibre components of the car, a lot of money will be spent as carbon fibre components are not cheap to produce.

The report also says that Proton will only license Lotus technology and/or name to the project. What kind of technology will Proton license? Lotus does have F1 heritage but all Lotus cars run around with a Toyota engine. The F1 engine to be used will probably be Cosworth as it is the cheapest one available and the FIA has insisted that new teams use them.

And the chassis will probably be from Litespeed which is not free or cheap. That obviously comes with a set of systems and support which is on a retainer basis. And these don't come at your basic retainer rates.

So, it seems that Naza and Tune will be footing the bill. All a billion of it. Does that make sense for Naza and Tune? Especially since Tune is also sponsoring Williams to the tune (pun intended) of a few million dollars a year. Can Naza or Tune afford the whole setup, maintenance and running of an F1 team? Somebody convince me my money will not be used in this mess?

Sauber confirmed to be using Ferrari power


Well, the horse has spoken from the mouth. Dr Mario Theissen has confirmed that if and when the new Sauber team gets on the grid next year, they will be using Ferrari engines.
And should the team make the grid, their 2010 challenger will be equipped with Ferrari engines. "It will run a Ferrari power-train," Theissen told Autosport.
Shame no more BMW engines on the grid. And I had so high expectations for my favorite car brand. Well, back to WTCC.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Lotus F1: World’s most expensive paddock club pass?


Re-published from Malaysian Insider

SEPT 20 — Alex Yoong. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you see the name? If you’re anything like the average Malaysian, Yoong’s name will have become practically synonymous with an internationally broadcast debacle.

Which is a bit of a shame, really. Although Yoong did not make a very strong case for himself in that, the pinnacle of motor racing, he’s actually quite a handy racer. His numerous wins in touring cars are testament enough to his skill and talent behind the wheel. Make no mistake, Yoong was good. Just not good enough for F1.

I admit I was one of those baying for blood after I watched a struggling Yoong — running sixth in a Melbourne GP that looked more demolition derby than Formula One — meekly make way for seventh place Mika Salo, surrendering without a fight what would have been the sole championship point of his career. That was simply too much.

From then on, Yoong’s Formula One career was one embarrassment after another. It came to the point that television commentators, usually quite reverent of F1 drivers, began ridiculing him. The ignominy of it all...

After Yoong lost his F1 drive, I thought he would be consigned to oblivion. Who would want to be associated with a virtual emblem of failure? To his credit, Yoong persevered. For a time, he languished on the sidelines, with part-time drives in minor series, before he finally redeemed himself with a stellar showing in A1GP.

I’ve grown to respect the man. Not for what he did in Formula One, but for what he’s done since. A lesser person who have been crushed by the negativity of an entire nation weighing on him. Enough to maybe make peace with god before going down on a 12-gauge. Not Yoong; he got on with life, got on with the job.

Many, probably most, still associate Yoong with his craptacular performance in Formula One. That’s how life is: when you do good no one remembers, when you do bad no one forgets. And that’s also probably why the upcoming Lotus/1 Malaysia/ Formula One team has been so poorly received.

And I don’t even begin to blame them. Politics and innuendos of public monies being railroaded to fatten some crony’s pockets aside, Formula One is no free ride in the park. So far, we’ve heard figures ranging from RM160 million to RM1.6 billion being talked about as the annual cost of running the team.

The higher end is, of course, what it costs for the teams that want to win. The lower range is, unfortunately, what it’ll take just to come along for the ride. Remember also that this number is only what it will take to run the team. To set it all up, well, that’s going to be quite a bit more.

So where do we want the team to be? Actually challenging for victory or are we happy if we don’t end up holding the wooden spoon? Which then begs the question: If we’re not in it to win it, why are we even doing it at all? Just to be there? To simply make up the numbers? If that’s the case, I can’t see how it would be positive to have Malaysia associated with also-rans, unless that’s what the government is planning to market the country as: mediocre at best.

Because Proton is involved, there’s also talk of “technology transfer”. But seeing as A) they already own Lotus and B) the only thing an F1 car has in common with a road car is they both have four tyres and a steering wheel, you’ve got to wonder just what kind of technology is going to be transferred. Probably the kind that makes better badges — “Handling by Lotus F1”, that’s got to be worth another couple of thousand cars a year at least.

You know how all the companies that sponsor F1 (even if it’s just some sticker on a driver’s helmet) will tell you how their products have “F1 technology” or are developed from “experience earned on the race track”? Not to put it too bluntly, it’s all bullcrap. Nothing in F1 gets into your car, and nothing from your car is used in F1. It’s all chalk and cheese.

I have no idea how much money this entire exercise will cost Proton, but when comparative giants such as Honda and BMW cannot justify the expenditure, can Proton really do so? Also consider that these companies sell on a global scale, so they’ve got even more reason to be there. Proton, well, I guess we’re about due for another Special Edition...

Right now, the details are still sketchy so it’s too soon to point the finger of death at Lotus/1 Malaysia/ F1. Maybe it’ll all get going without the risk of us having to read about a RM12 billion Lotus/1 Malaysia/ F1 scandal a decade from now.

Maybe they’ll actually figure out some way to get up to speed without putting Alex Yoong at risk of losing his status as the butt of every joke involving a Malaysian F1 entry. If they do, they could probably sell the blueprint to Toyota, god knows they could do with one.

Right now, however, I can’t help but think the happiest man in the world goes by the name Alex Yoong.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

THE FIA WILL CONTINUE TO BE USELESS


It seems that the Renault scandal decision was already decided before the WMSC hearing took place. Discussions were made behind closed doors and a decision was made to keep Renault in the championship in the interest of having more teams on the grid and keeping the money making machine rolling. According to Mohammed ben Sulayem, FIA vice-president and United Arab Emirates' automobile club president, "everybody" wanted Renault to stay in the sport.

Everyone with something to gain, that is. According to him, Abu Dhabi made sizable investments into the Abu Dhabi race and they wanted Renault as part of the show. Therefore, Renault couldn't be thrown out but instead they'll throw out justice and rule of law.
"We are not here to hang teams, we did our negotiations before and everybody is happy with the result.

"Protecting the investments Abu Dhabi has made into Formula One is my duty; it is a big show and it needs teams. But this is the pinnacle of motorsport and it needs teams to follow the rules.

"In the current crisis, you cannot go around hitting people and causing severe damage.

Funny, they hung McLaren out to dry and fed them to the dogs after that. It turns out that Sulayem is Jean Todt's man. Is this the kind of future FIA management of F1 that we want to have? Max Mosley controlling the sport from the shadows, manipulating it as he always has. If this is the future, then we are in for a stressful life indeed.

Doubts over Formula for unity

Re-published from The Sun

I AM not going to be a wet blanket, in prematurely criticising the government’s plan to enter Formula One.

The timing – in the midst of the global financial crisis – is probably questionable as this will cost us at least RM1 billion. The bulk of this money comes from national carmaker Proton, which in effect means the people are funding it.

There is a theory that the Finance Ministry will approve more special draws to help fund this venture.

However, in the long run, this may be one of our best investments; one of the best things Malaysia could have done in putting itself on the map. In terms of branding we are exposed 18 times a year – the number of races – to a global television audience of around 600 million.

Let’s not forget the potential tie-ups, endorsements and sponsorship deals which are a usual spin-off of a massive agreement such as this.

It also creates jobs and other opportunities through massive R&D investments, offering limitless prospects to local students for internships, training and attachments.

Ferrari, for instance, has a team of close to 800 people, including 200 frontline crew involved in pit and technical aspects of the race.

Now, with the Lotus name we cannot go wrong. The name itself evokes memories of the 79 grand prix wins that the team had before it folded and was bought by Proton.

But as the Malay saying goes, let this not be a case of "kera dapat bunga". In the hands of Datuk Tony Fernandes, one is more confident that our second foray into F1, albeit ambitious, will not go the way of our first venture with Team Minardi in 2001, with Alex Yoong being the country’s first ever F1 driver.

Minardi languished at the bottom and Yoong could boast of a position no higher than seventh place in Melbourne, when the other teams crashed out. Malaysia spent what is estimated at RM120 million in the tie-up and Yoong returned to the less competitive A1 race.

The worry is while we can impress with high-tech facilities and state-of-the-art headquarters complete with wind tunnel at the SIC (Sepang International Circuit), whether we can produce world-class performances from our drivers and technology is another story.

We can spend big bucks and pay millions for top notch drivers, but then, he will only be as good as the car he is driving.

Vitantonio Liuzzi, who is at the bottom of the drivers standings, cost Force India RM5 million a season, while Force’s chief engineer Mike Gascoyne is F1’s most expensive engineer at RM28.8 million a year.

Can we afford these kinds of salaries for average showings?

In our quest to put a Malaysian face in the cockpit, do we sacrifice quality and experience for Malaysia Boleh?

Probably, and we could end up a laughing stock languishing at the bottom of the 13-team race.

Hence, we need to be practical and ask ourselves what is the main motivation for the conception of the 1Malaysia F1 Team. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak’s explanation: "It will be a national team under the 1 Malaysia banner which stands as a unifying foundation for all Malaysians to come together in celebrating the cooperation between our multiethnic, multicultural and multireligious society through sports."

If one needed to use sports as a unifying factor, one only needs to go back in time to the era of the Malaysia Cup, the Thomas Cup and the Razak Cup to witness how for the sheer love of sports, Malaysians irrespective of ethnicity came together to cheer the multiethnic national teams.

The last time we witnessed a dramatic surge in national pride in the sporting arena was the 1998 KL Commonwealth Games.

Nicol David had succeeded to a certain measure in becoming a unifying factor through sports. The only set-back is that not many people follow squash.

If enhancing national unity is the main agenda, perhaps instead of spending RM200 million a year on an F1 team, we could explore strengthening the sports we already have.

Football has a tremendous following from Malaysians of all walks of life. It was only 30 years ago that we wore Pahang, Selangor and Kedah shirts with the same pride that we have today in adorning jerseys of Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid.

Perhaps tweaking the organisation of sports associations and getting the deadwood out of the Football Association of Malaysia would be a cheaper and sure-fire way of getting football stadiums full again and reviving some of that national pride.

There is nothing to say Fernandes and the executives at Naza are not going to do a good job. Probably if anyone can get our F1 dreams on track it is the team unveiled by the prime minister on Tuesday. But at the end of the day, they are businessmen whose main focus is flying low-cost carriers and selling cars.

Malaysians would want to know what was the fine print when they signed on the dotted line and when do we pull the plug if this ends up draining our coffers yet again.

THE FIA IS USELESS


I say it again, the FIA is useless, fucking useless. The inconsistencies in their regulations and the way they enforce it is really making me sick to the core. I'm of course talking about the latest round of crap policing in the wake of the Nelson Piquet Jr/Renault race fixing scandal of the 2008 Singapore GP.

The excuse given by FIA president Max Mosley is so stupid it beggars belief. Even a non F1 person would find it hard to believe such stupid excuses given by Max. He said:
"The penalty that we have imposed is the harshest one we can inflict, which is disqualification, and it is complete expulsion from the sport," Mosley said. "However, because Renault demonstrated that they had absolutely no moral responsibility for what took place – that is to say Renault F1 the team did not know and still less did the company have any responsibility – it would be wrong in the circumstances to impose an immediate penalty. I think we've demonstrated that we've dealt with it."
Dealt with it? Nothing happened to Renault. Only Flavio and Pat Symonds bore the brunt of the action. Renault were only made to pay the costs of the investigation, which costs as much as Max's sex romp with a couple of prostitutes for an hour. It's unbelievable, Max called the punishment "unparalleled severity", the rest of the world feels it's more like "unparalleled leniency". Damon Hill says it's a crying shame and it's just a game by Bernie.
"Formula One has to ask itself, is it just a very expensive form of entertainment or a proper sport? There is a whole book on what's wrong with Formula One. It's called Bernie's Game and the history of this episode is typical."
What is needed is a radical change at the FIA with people who have some form of consistency and righteousness to manage the sport. Planet F1's editorial seems to have hit it spot on then they said:
The affair only reinforces the view that there needs to be a new broom at the FIA and that when Max Mosley retires, Ari Vatanen should take over. Most important is the consistent application of F1's rules. Had the Singapore race stewards enforced the rules that were so strictly adhered to in Belgium (about leaving the track) just two races previously, then Alonso would have been serving a drive-through not cheating his way to victory. Also, it was the poor framing of the Safety Car rules that led to Briatore and Symmonds being able to exploit a situation where cars couldn't pit for fuel when they needed to, without a penalty.
The only certainty that we have from this episode is that if it was McLaren, it would have been much much more severe. It shows what a fuckhead Max Mosley is and how insane are the powers that control the FIA are. Both Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone have to go for the good of the sport. Keith from F1Fanatic puts it squarely:

Max Mosley refused to acknowledge the craven manner in which the FIA backed down from punishing Renault yesterday.

He insisted the team received “the harshest [penalty] we can impose”, which was patently false given that they kept all the points and money earned by their ill-gotten victory, and have not been banned from any events.

With every race my enthusiasm drops by a point. I still love the technical aspect of the sport, the prowess of the drivers, the many other detailed things that make F1 great but seriously, the politicians in the sport must go. They are fucking up a great sport and entertainment for us fans just like politicians in Malaysia are fucking up a great country.

A lot of people have argued about Renault, Alonso, Piquet, Flavio, Symonds, cheating, can we believe what ever is happening on the track, is it all fixed? In the end, it all comes down to the FIA. The Fia has to be cleaned up. No more dodgy rules, no more dodgy race stewards, no more decisions that looks to be favoring one side only. The sport will fix itself because it won't have to play safe or try to cheat because the FIA is creating the wrong environment for it.

Clean up the FIA and the sport will clean itself up. We will have cleaner, fairer and more entertaining races. Real racing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Renault slapped with two-year suspended ban


What did I tell you? I'm somehow not surprised that they wouldn't be thrown out of the championship or receive a heavier penalty. What did we expect? Their team name does not spell McLaren. It seems to me that Flavio got out just in time and Max got his going away present. Perhaps losing BMW and the threat of Toyota leaving was just too much of a drain on the sport.

Seems that the rules can be bent for some people for not for others. Makes me sick just thinking about it. You can see how short this post is as I'm lost for words.

2010 F1 RACE PROVISIONAL CALENDAR


The WMSC has unveiled the provisional calendar for the 2010 World Championship and it has 19 races on it with Canada still awaiting approval. I do hope Canada is confirmed soon. So far it looks good with Korea the newest track there.


Formula One 2010 calendar
Mar 14 - Bahrain (Sakhir)
Mar 28 - Australia (Melbourne, starting at 1700 local time)
Apr 4 - Malaysia (Sepang, starting at 1600 local time)
Apr 18 - China (Shanghai)
May 9 - Spain (Barcelona)
May 23 - Monaco (Monte Carlo)
May 30 - Turkey (Istanbul)
Jun 13 - Canada (Montreal, provisional)
Jun 27 - Europe (Valencia)
Jul 11 - Great Britain (Donington Park)
Jul 25 - Germany (Hockenheim)
Aug 1 - Hungary (Budapest)
Aug 29 - Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps)
Sep 12 - Italy (Monza)
Sep 26 - Singapore (starting at 2000 local time)
Oct 3 - Japan (Suzuka)
Oct 17 - South Korea (Yongam)
Oct 31 - Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina, starting at 1700 local time)
Nov 14 - Brazil (Interlagos)

Monday, September 21, 2009

WOULD MASSA HAVE BEEN WORLD CHAMPION WITHOUT CRASHGATE?


A lot of people are speculating about this issue, whether the Crashgate incident would have affected the 2008 championship. Of course Massa fans now are crying foul and speculating left, right and centre how Lewis didn't deserve the title and how Massa should have won it and now the proof is there with Crashgate. They will continue to whine about it with or without Crashgate anyway.

The way I look at it is that it didn't make a difference. As Lewis has stressed, he deserved the title and fought hard for it. He was hampered a few times by the rules but he still won anyway. There are a few things that could have happened with Crashgate:
  1. There were a few more races after Singapore, even if Massa won there Lewis could still win the other races or Massa could have screwed up and Lewis would still have been champion.
  2. Or Massa could have won the other races and become champion outright but he didn't. It still came down to the wire in Brazil.
  3. During the Singapore race, Massa/Ferrari screwed up and ripped the fuel hose thereby fucking up his pitstop. Without Crashgate, his race was still fucked and he didn't score points.
Actually, come to think of it, Crashgate had nothing to do with Massa losing the title. The fucked up pitstop did it. Everybody needs to get over it. Talking about this incident, now Alonso has been summoned to appear at the hearing today and was he surprised. I said before that it's impossible for him not to know something was going down.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

LEWIS vs MIKA


Lewis is at it again. The last time he started by fighting with Alonso over who was better, at the hotel, on the road and almost everywhere else. They were both trumped by Mika in the end. Then Lewis tried it again with Steve McQueen. Now, he's arguing with Mika over whose idea it was to come out with the Johnny Walker Join The Pact. If you don't believe me, watch the video here. Picture courtesy of emercedes.com

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fernandes to quit as Lotus F1 team boss soon


What rubbish is this? Just announced the setting up of the team with his name as Team Principal then now saying he'll be TP for a few races. Just to taste the glamour of being TP is it? Able to hang around with Vijay and Martin on the pitwall for a few races. My advice is don't even bother. Let somebody like Gascoyne run the show from the start and get things moving.

Also, they announced the car will be ready by January and testing in February. 1 month of testing with last years' car is bad enough as we've seen before but this is suicide. I'm sorry to berate the team so much but I can just see their downfall. I just can't stand the wastefull lifestyle that these people lead. If they waste their money it's ok but this is our money. What the hell?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

NEW SAUBER MIGHT USE FERRARI ENGINES


Reports from German press are speculating that the new owners of BMW Sauber might be using Ferrari engines and transmissions when they line up on the grid next year. The entry is almost a certainty on then grid as the team has been sold for EUR80 million to Qadbak Investments and all the infrastructure is already in place.

I'm just sad to see no BMW engines will be on the grid next year. I'm such a fan of BMW (the car) and was hoping they'd be able to show their engineering prowess there but F1 is such that the whole has to be more the equal sum of its parts to succeed. Enter the Malaysian F1 team....sigh.

BRIATORE AND SYMONDS LEAVE RENAULT


It's official, Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds have stepped down from their positions at Renault in the middle of all this crashgate fiasco. Or were they asked to leave by Carlos Ghosn the boss of Renault? Could be either way.

At the very least, Max got his going away present, that is to see another team boss axed. I'm not sure though whether this has any bearing on the on going trial for cheating by Renault F1. Renault has decided not to contest the charge which leads one to believe that they admitted to cheating and voluntarily causing the crash.
A statement from the team read: "The ING Renault F1 Team will not dispute the recent allegations made by the FIA concerning the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.
The radio transcripts were also released but did not show much. It does sound genuine but then again, there's always 2 sides to every story. If you were going to cheat, you wouldn't want to make it look like you were cheating right? It seems that in this case, anything goes. But the part that I dislike the most is that a lot of people are guessing that even if Renault were found guilty by the WMSC, they won't be thrown out of the championship like McLaren was 2 years ago. Now, how fair is that?
The FIA have the power to exclude Renault from the Championship, although it is anticipated such a strict penalty will not be administered.- Planet F1
This charge and the result of the actions during the Singapore GP 2008 was and is more serious than what happened with McLaren in the spygate saga. How can Renault not be thrown out of the championship and fined a record amount? That should be the minimum punishment. If the WMSC does not mete out this punishment then it would be clear to all that they and the FIA are not relevant anymore.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Malaysia’s own F1 team


Oh My God! That was my first reaction when I heard rumours about Malaysia wanting to have a F1 team. I fainted when the news came true. This is the last thing that we need. There are so many reasons why we shouldn't just jump into it like this.

I am so pissed off that these people actually thought about it. The first and most important reason that we shouldn't jump into this is because it was thought up, run by and will controlled by politicians. Like most Malaysian sports, it will be fucked up because these people are in charge.

Secondly, we have no racing history and knowledge to speak of. There are not that many Malaysians trained and with experience in motorsports of any level. We don't even have a proper grassroots program. The absence of such a program speaks volumes of the government's commitment to motorsports. What makes them think they can just create a F1 entry and become successful at it?

Thirdly, the Malaysian government's attitude is not like other countries especially Dubai where they get the best for the best results and give full control and creative freedom to achieve the targets. The Malaysian government is too scared to give freedom to the people assigned to do their jobs. Just look at how the many talks between Proton and VW that have failed. This attitude is what is hampering foreign investments and growth in this country.

Looking at the proposed structure of the F1 team, Mike Gascoyne has been made Technical Director but not Team Principal. That job goes to Tony Fernandes. See what I mean by control? Gascoyne will be frustrated within 6 months at all the bureaucracy bullshit and the team will get nowhere.

As a follower of F1, even without in depth knowledge of how the sport operates, I know that even with 1 element out of place the team will not succeed at much. The Malaysian team is the other way around, they probably only have 1 element that is working and not the rest. This looks like another huge waste of money again, something which the Malaysian politicians are so good at. They just want the glamour.

Another thing, the announcement came so fast that the Malaysian team has been accepted into the 2010 Championship ignoring other established and deserving teams like Prodrive. Even the BMW entry has been given the cold shoulder and might be considered later as a 14th entry. What does that tell you? That means that Bernie has some of my money already. How did Malaysia suddenly have so much influence at the FIA and FOM?

I'm really lost for words for these people. Something is wrong when they announced the entry and Petronas was not there. Petronas has years of experience being a sponsor of a team in F1 and they are missing. What does that tell you about this venture? Petronas not being around also means that the taxpayer is footing the bill.

I won't be saying that I'm from Malaysia anymore when I join online F1 forums from now on. Of course I want my national team to do well but this effort is just about glamour and sucking money from the country. The money is better spent on developing a national grassroots program starting with go karts. Somehow I just can't see it working out. And Lotus has a prestigious pedigree in F1, these people better not screw that up.

Monday, September 14, 2009

ITALIAN GP 2009 RESULTS


What can I say? It was shaping up to be a great race and in a way it was. Lewis was on pole, Sutil in the Force India was P2, even Liuzzi was up there in 7th. A lot of cars were on a one stopper which should have mixed up the strategies.

For the first time in years, the start of the Italian GP at Monza did not have a first turn smash up. That first turn is notoriuosly tight and is at the end of a long straight. Either there is a mash up there or people would be all over the place cutting corners. Surprisingly, everybody got through safely. The only close call was when a few cars touched here and there causing damage to front wings like Kubica.

The worth mention was Brawn GP and Ross Brawn. A brilliant strategy from Ross, with both his drivers starting from 6th and 7th but with a one stopper and the pace that they had, they managed to win the race with a 1-2.

The thing that wrecked my weekend was when after chasing down Button from 4s to 1.2s, Lewis was pushing too hard and crashed his car on the last lap. On the last lap. He should have known that with 1.2s apart and a lap to go, there was no way of catching and passing him. He should have just kept 3rd place. It would have been a good 6 points and kept Raikonnen from the podium. But both have lost their chance at the title this year and it could be over for the Red Bulls too.

And not helping was Kovalainnen who got overtaken so many times I lost count. He even got overtaken by Liuzzi at Parabolica. It looked like he was giving places for free all day. Seriously, McLaren cannot rely on just 1 driver to get the points next year.

Sutil was incredible, the Force India car is incredible able to keep pace with Raikonnen and sometimes kissing his ass. But that KERS was keeping him from swallowing Kimi up. Other than that, there was nothing much to shout about besides the fact that the 2 Toyotas were battling each other out like it was a do or die battle for the championship. Trulli made a mistake with Nakajima, lost position to Glovk and didn't want to back off. He slid off the track trying to overtake Glock on the outside of Lesmo. Crazy.

Now looking forward to Singapore. Wished that I could go there.

Results
01 R. Barrichello Brawn GP 1:16.21.706
02 J. Button Brawn GP + 2.866
03 K. Räikkönen Ferrari + 30.664
04 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 31.131
05 F. Alonso Renault + 59.182
06 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 1:00.693
07 N. Heidfeld BMW + 1:02.412
08 S. Vettel Red Bull + 1:05.407
09 G. Fisichella Ferrari + 1:06.856
10 K. Nakajima Williams + 2:42.163
11 T. Glock Toyota + 2:43.925
12 L. Hamilton McLaren + 1 lap(s)
13 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 lap(s)
14 J. Trulli Toyota + 1 lap(s)
15 R. Grosjean Renault + 1 lap(s)
16 N. Rosberg Williams + 2 lap(s)
Did not finish
17 V. Liuzzi Force India F1 + 31 lap(s)
18 J. Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso + 34 lap(s)
19 R. Kubica BMW + 38 lap(s)
20 M. Webber Red Bull + 53 lap(s)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

ITALIAN GP 2009 QUALIFYING


That was one of the tightest qualifying ever. It was bright and sunny in Monza, a perfect day for getting the tyres up to temperature and pushing the car through Parabolica. McLaren did an excellent strategy and both cars got into the groove pretty easily and quickly in every session. Q3 was the most interesting as Lewis did a fast 2 lap run on the soft tyres to make sure he stayed near the top and then with a few minutes remaining changed to the harder tyres for the banzai lap that got him the pole from Sutil. He was surprised though at his pace.

And talking about Sutil, what a performance. He was on fire the whole day and would have gotten pole if not for a small mistake in the last lap. In fact, the situation tells us a few facts about the current balance of power. It seems that Force Indis has found the sweet spot on their car since Spa. It has performed incredibly fast and well balanced. Not only was Sutil fast without KERS (a he managed to stay about 2 tenths apart from Lewis) but Liuzzi without testing could bring the car home in 7th.

Both force India cars are in the top 10 and that is great. It shakes up the grid and will give the front runners a fight. I can't wait to watch the race. I wonder if Fisichella is having nightmares now? He must be kicking himself in the ass for leaving Force India when they have a solid car that can compete with the likes of McLaren, Ferrari, Brawn or Red Bull. Imagine being beaten tomorrow by Sutil or not even scoring points while Sutil or even Liuzzi does.

Ferrari is there again hanging at Lewis' coatails. It seems that Kimi is always just behind Lewis. It will be interesting to see how the start pans out tomorrow with 3 KERS cars surrounding Sutil. I have a feeling he will get boxed in before the first turn.

Kovalainnen again is disappointing as he managed 4th in the same car as Lewis. Rosberg although languishing at the back somewhere must be grinning. with him in the other McLaren, not only will McLaren score more points as a team but Lewis will be pushed to achieve greater heights.

The Brawns are not a s strong as expected on a hot track today but they are just within reach so I'd not bet against them. Also Alonso as he has the KERS on his car this weekend. The Red Bulls were disappointing but it was expected as they have very little engines left and have to conserve them. a shame really as I wanted to see Vettel finish strongly this season. A stupid regulation scuppered his hopes and a fantastic battle ahead.

Surprising also was a double engine blow up for BMW. Both cars ended up in the midfield. And the worst of the pack was Williams with both cars at the back of the grid. Toyota also not looking good, doesn't bode well for their continued participation in F1.

All in all, an exciting qualifying because lewis was fighting a Force India for pole and pole was grabbed after the flag was thrown. The race is gonna be a cracker.

Times
01 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:24.066
02 A. Sutil Force India F1 1:24.261
03 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:24.523
04 H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:24.845
05 R. Barrichello Brawn GP 1:25.015
06 J. Button Brawn GP 1:25.030
07 V. Liuzzi Force India F1 1:25.043
08 F. Alonso Renault 1:25.072
09 S. Vettel Red Bull 1:25.180
10 M. Webber Red Bull 1:25.314
11 J. Trulli Toyota 1:23.611
12 R. Grosjean Renault 1:23.728
13 R. Kubica BMW 1:23.866
14 G. Fisichella Ferrari 1:23.901
15 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:24.275
16 T. Glock Toyota 1:24.036
17 K. Nakajima Williams 1:24.074
18 N. Rosberg Williams 1:24.121
19 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:24.220
20 J. Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:24.951