Monday, 22 October 2007

They Think Its All Over!

It is now (appeals notwithstanding). Well I think disappointing is the correct word for that. After 4 secs of excitement at the start of the first lap it all went dismally down to nothing for Lewis Hamilton. As the saying goes, not with a bang, but a whimper.

I suppose we should be celebrating Kimi Raikonnen winning the championship and I'm sure some are, but from here it seems as though Lewis lost it instead. After all the drama this season, to have it decided by a mechanical (nearly) failure is just about as typical as it gets. You have to say though, it couldn't have gone to a more dull person. I always try to hold firmly in mind the moment when Martin Brundle found Kimi for a grid walk interview in 2006 at Interlagos. On live ITV with (as Martin likes to remind us once per race) 5 million people watching, the conversation began...

"Did you catch the presentation?" says Martin referring to the Schumacher retirement special which had just finished.
"No," says Kimi, deadpan as ever, "I was taking a shit."

Its moments like that that make sporting heroes, but with Kimi he does his best to send you to sleep the rest of the time.

I still don't get where McLaren's strategist in charge of Hamilton's race comes from. Wherever it is, is not somewhere they value being able to think on your feet or adapt quickly to changing situations. Three pit stops? Hello!! I'm pretty sure that was a bad idea well before the race, but to not be able to see that it was a bad idea during the race is unbelievable.

At least Fernando didn't win though. I think the smugness would have been unbearable. As it is his comments after the race do kind of beggar belief. I think its fairly safe to assume he won't be working with McLaren next year after that little lot. But then again stranger things have happened.

It kind of pains me to be nasty about him because previously I've enjoyed watching his driving. Who can forget the all-time classic "giving the finger to another driver whilst travelling backwards around Monaco with only two wheels on your car". I still laugh about it now, then I remember it was Fernando and I calm down again. That was a moment of genius though. Most people would have been far to busy crashing to even think about it. But again, he has shown extreme dedication to slagging others off when he could just concentrate on beating them instead.

Oh well, I'm sure we'll have just as much fun next year watching the same old circus roll around again. But for now we get a holiday. Lets make the most of it!

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Lewis Hamilton the Bad Guy?
I've been reading a lot of stuff the past few days about how maybe we have it all wrong here in the UK. Lewis Hamilton is maybe not the young gifted driver we all believed him to be and Fernando Alonso has been wronged by his team and relegated to second position by the new British upstart.

There are opinion pieces stating this point of view in reputable publications as well as the old favourite, an online petition.

Maybe they have a point, after all as Brits we are likely to be biased in favour of Hamilton, just like we are in Jenson Button's case. Errr... it kind of falls down just a little there. Lets be honest, the British love bashing their heroes. As a nation its one of the things we excel at. You can't be successful in this country and expect to have everyone love you, it just isn't going to happen. Lewis is, in this respect at least, very much the exception to the rule. Of course that doesn't really count as evidence against the conspiracy theories, so lets try looking at a fairly basic fact.

Ron Dennis hired Fernando Alonso. There it is, a fact. Ron is paying Fernando Alonso a (probably) staggering amount of money to be part of his team and help him win the Drivers and Constructors World Championships. Now I am not an F1 team boss but, it seems to me that if you want a stooge to not contend with your new boy wonder, you could get one a lot cheaper than Alonso. How about Trulli, Ralph Shcumacher, Takuma Sato, lets face it, there are plenty of choices if you want someone to play second fiddle. But Ron went and hired the reigning World Champion.

Of course its not that unusual for Ron to want two top drivers in his team. Remember when Ayrton Senna was team mates with Alain Prost? I wouldn't have been sure before their partnership began, but after it they were arch-rivals. Jaun Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikonnen? Remember when Jaun was meant to be the next big thing and Kimi had already started being it? Ron has put himself in this position before and dealt with it impeccably. It seems odd that after all these years he should make such an enormous mess of it.

Of course some of the suggestions in the petition do make me laugh and for that I am grateful. My personal favourite...
G.P. of Canada (10-06-07) Strange behavior of F. Alonso’s car. Once more, the number one car was not in the same mechanical conditions than L. Hamilton’s car.

If I remember correctly, the strange behaviour involved the car unexpectedly driving on the grass and being quite slow compared to the one Lewis Hamilton was driving.

I like watching a lot of racing series and last year I managed to catch highlights of almost all the GP2 races. After the Turkish race I was in no doubt whatever that I was watching a future British World Champion. Lewis spun on the first lap and regained the track in 21st or 22nd position. He then proceeded to make everyone look as though they had something stuck under the throttle and brake pedals of their cars. He was overtaking people in places where it shouldn't have been possible an ended up in second at the final lap. One more lap would have seen him challenging the leader. It was a drive the like of which has not been seen since Ayrton Senna went from fifth to first in one lap at Donington Park in 1993.

Again good luck to Lewis for the next race, and lets hope that the politics don't get in the way of the wheel to wheel action we all want to see.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Next stop Interlagos.
The last race of the year, the end of one of the most controversial F1 seasons in years, is almost upon us. Interlagos, Brazil, will be the scene of the title decider.

Lewis Hamilton must finish no more than two places behind Fernando Alonso in order to secure the title. And here's hoping that nobody at McLaren does anything stupid in order to screw it up for him. Lets face it they had a pretty good try last time and there have been a few other occasions this year where its not been entirely clear whether the team want him to win or not.

Fernando of course, is worried. Here he is, double world champion, being beaten by the new boy. He's done his level best to get ahead of Lewis all year, even resorting to sitting in front of him in the pits for a while at one stage, but to no avail. Now I'm not saying its at Fernando's suggestion, (who would say such a thing! ;-) ) but it seems odd that the FIA has decided that now is a good time to appoint a special scrutineer to ensure fair play at McLaren.

So when they were investigating McLaren for potential cheating by holding Lewis Hamilton up in the pits wasn't a good time, but now that Fernando has the chance to win the championship it is a good time to investigate fair play? I don't understand it at all! The whole thing seems a bit odd to me. Lets just hope that it all gets decided on the track, where it matters, and not in some race officials office.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Jason Plato Loses BTCC Title

Philosophy is difficult stuff! © Photographer: Yuri_Arcurs | Agency:
Well thats how I saw it anyway. Giovanardi hung on a couple of places in front of Plato the whole way through the third race of the day to take the BTCC title by 3 points.

After Jason's adventures this week filming for the poor man's Top Gear, Fifth Gear, it seems like a pretty poor payback for one of his better years racing. An awful lot of effort essentially gone for want of a better start. I reckon if he had got away with Fabrizio he would have been making life a lot tricker for the Italian.

Nice to see he didn't give up without a fight though, and surprising to see Matt Neal chip in on his future employers side. I was expecting a fight if Plato and Neal got involved with each other but I wasn't expecting Neal to so obviously help out a team he isn't a part of. Team tactics don't bother me in motor racing. I think its as much part of the sport as the occasional bash is in BTCC. But normally you are meant to be in the team before you start playing team tactics! It could just be that its Matt Neal though. He is one of those people who (for some reason or another) annoys me slightly just by being around. Maybe its his extreme height or the fact that he is so ready to blame someone else for ramming him and not so quick to own up when he rams someone else.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Mad Props to Maxi Jazz

I was watching Motorsport UK the other day and there was a Porsche Carrera Cup race at Brands Hatch. As usual it gets to the end of the grid and there is everyones favourite mad eyed nearly rapper Maxi Jazz. As usual this made me smile. I've always found it jarring when, amongst all the Britishness, you suddenly get a dancy/hiphop name like Maxi Jazz turn up. I've never been a huge fan of Faithless either but I can't help thinking of the eyes and "I can't get no sleep!" when he gets a mention.

So the race starts and after two laps there goes Maxi sliding into the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend (I can't get no sleep!). It was while considering this mans unfortunate lack of racing talent that I realised, If I had the money, I'd do it too. And I would probably make just as good an effort as Maxi does. This man spends an awful lot of money gettin into an awesome race car every few weeks, And all he does is remind us all that it really isn't as easy as it looks.

So for that, Maxi, you get a big double thumbs up from me. Keep up the good work, after all you can hardly start doing worse. ;-)

Channel 5 is teh Awesome!!!

That's right, you heard me. Channel 5 is friggin' amazing.

They have quite possibly the widest range of motorsport on any UK TV channel. Of course they put it on at a sensible time of day, usually between midnight and 6 in the morning, but you can't have everything can you. This time penalty doesn't bother me though, because I have technology on my side. I have a freeview DVR.

For those that don't know a DVR is a video recorder for the 21st century. No more mucking around to find a blank tape. No more expensive DVD discs cluttering up the house. It just records directly onto a hard drive with the press of a button.

So every night I scan through the guide (paying particular attention to Channel 5) and line up the next nights viewing. This can include such gems as the NASCAR Nextel Cup, A1GP, Motorsport Mundial and Race and Rally UK. "Perfect" I think, "This will give me something to do when everyone else is in soap and drama land."

So imagine my annoyance when i come to watch (for example) Race and Rally UK. I press play and I am surprised to see baseball. Hmm never mind, lets fast forward. Now I don't know much about baseball (nor do I want to) so I have no idea if its near the end or not. After getting fed up waiting for the show to end I speed up the fast forward.... and again... and again!

Eventually I work out that the baseball has overrun by a full 30 minutes. Race & rally UK is (you can guess can't you) a 30 minute program. So the program I want to watch has just vanished completely, gone, disappeared, done a bunk. Bastards.

It gets worse if the overrunning program doesn't overrun by the full half hour. The program ends and Race and Rally UK (or whichever unfortunate show has copped it this time) just carries on as if it has been going the whole time.Well that's bloody useful then! Now I have half a race recorded. I'm not sure who is in it, where they are, whether there is a championship battle underway. And I missed the start, which as we all know, is normally the best bit.

So this is just a quick note to channel 5. Thanks for the motorsports, but can't you treat it with a little more respect! Even just a banner at the bottom of the screen telling us its been rescheduled would be good. Preferably not for later that night though or I won't have a chance to record it. Cheers.

Friday, 12 October 2007


This is my first real attempt at a blog. Its going to be about my favourite subject, motor racing, motorsports, racing cars and generally driving too fast. I love a bit of racing cars and its easy to get frustrated and annoyed whilst watching and so I have made myself a place to vent my anger and frustration. ;-)

For instance whilst watching what I assumed (along with everyone else in the UK) was going to be Lewis Hamilton wrapping up the World Championship last week. When he spun I was already on the edge of the sofa shouting "Get in the pit! Get in the pit now!!" Except he didn't. Not for another two laps. By which time the tyres are so shot away he can't actually get down the pit lane. I almost turned off the TV right then. But of course I am such a glutton for punishment that I managed to wallow in annoyance for the next hour. All the while muttering incoherently under my breath.

I have never seen a team go to such enormous lengths to shoot themselves in the foot. Mclaren I salute you. No-one has done more for the art of making yourself look like a tit in spite of being the best at what you do.

The most entertaining bit for me is watching the adverts with Lewis and Alonso racing around the hotel. It takes on a whole new significance now that Alonso is almost definitely sticking pins into his voodoo doll of Lewis every night.