Friday, May 22, 2009

Ferrari lose appeal

I was rather disappointed to read that Ferrari has lost its appeal against the FIA budget. The future of F1 is on the line now and things are not looking good. But what was somewhat of a surprise to me were the views given by Ferrari and Fernando Alonso. If you had read my earlier post dated the 17th of May, you'd know my sentiments of the whole saga. I wrote then that F1 will no longer be F1 if they go ahead with the budget cap. Shockingly those were the same words said by both the Scuderia Ferrari and Alonso in the papers on the 21st of May! As Ferrari said, looking at the team names interested to join the F1 next year, it can hardly be referred to as F1 anymore. It's more like GP3! Seriously who are Wirth Research, Lola, USF1, Epsilon Euskadi, RML, Formtech, Campos, or iSport? I've hardly heard of any of them (except maybe Team Lola). Where are all the big names? Yes I agree, the economic reasons the FIA is giving does make a little sense. But have they thought about the hundreds of workers from the bigger teams that will have to made redundant should they adopt the cap? That cannot be acceptable now, can it? People are already losing their jobs as it is. Fernando Alonso has threatened to quit F1 and he is not the only one. He said " If the big manufacturers leave F1, then I don't want to race with the small teams because it is not F1 anymore, and there are many other categories." He further said " To lose the big manufacturers, you also lose the best drivers in the world. It becomes no more interesting, F1." My sentiments exactly.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Good, The Bad and.. . .

F1 drivers are indeed a colourful lot. They come in all shades, don't they? I only started taking F1 seriously in around 1996. Before then, there was no way to watch it 'live' on TV. Or if there was, I didn't know of it. Sure there were small articles of it in the local papers but I think that was about it. Through the years I learned a lot about F1. The technicalities, the ever changing rules, the politics etc. Then, of course there were the drivers. There were those whose faces and names were everywhere. You couldn't just not know them. When you think F1, it's their faces that will come to mind. When you talk F1 at work with friends, it's their names that will be mentioned.
Then there are those who are like ghosts. You hear the commentators say their names during a race but you just can't put a face to that name. After a season or two, they are replaced and they never register in our brains anymore. Then a few years down the road and you read their names in an article somewhere and you go ' Hey this name sounds familiar'.
Like I said on an earlier post, I don't consider myself as a fan of any particular driver. That is not how I enjoy this sport. But I did mention that I prefer certain drivers to others based purely on their attitudes and style of driving.
My favourite driver of all time is Mika Hakkinen. Remember , when I say 'of all time', I mean as far as I'm concerned and based on races I've actually watched. I've not had the privilege of watching the late great Ayrton Senna or Alain Prost race.
By Olvo's F1 Wallpapers For me, it was Mika Hakkinen who got me hooked on F1. He is what I'd call a drivers' driver. He has a gentlemans' style of driving. There is no air about him, no arrogance. When he was in Singapore before last years race and he was demonstrating his F1 car in front of the Padang, he waved at the spectators and even engaged in casual chit chat with the crowd. I was fortunate to have been one of them.
Michael Schumacher, probably the greatest driver ever, even once said that of all the drivers he has raced, he respected Hakkinen the most.
Speaking of Michael, he is another of my favourites. Yes he has had his run-ins with the law and he has even been accused of cheating more than once, but you just can't help but admire the guy. He is, if I dare say, a god behind an F1 wheel! This man can do no wrong. And even when he does, he's still right! His position on the throne of being the best F1 driver ever will take a long time to replace. Then we have Rubens Barrichello, David Couldhart, Jenson Button. All nice people in my book. Rubens made me laugh last year during the Singapore race. His car came to a halt on the Esplanade bridge near the Merlion. He got out and started waving to the fans in the area despite his misfortune. Very sportsmanlike, no? Then as he walked along the barricade, he took his gloves off and promptly threw them to his fans. Only problem was, he ended up miss-aiming and threw them into the river. Just imagine, an F1 driver with precision in his blood to make sharp corners in super high speed, and he couldn't even throw straight. He looked down into the river, shrugged his shoulders and waved apologetically to his fans who all cheered him on still. Now lets not forget the bad and the not very nice, well for me at least. Please don't feel offended if they're among your favorites. These are just from my personal observations. Among the drivers that I find not to my liking are Juan Pablo Montoya. I remember him as being a rather reckless driver. Though in a way, his recklessness did contribute to him being probably the best in overtaking among his peers, but still there were moments when I thought it was just too much. I also remember him as having a few hissy fits during his races. Think 2003 and the vulgarities he exchanged with his pit crew. Then we have Lewis Hamilton. When he came to the scene in 2007, I thought he was a little over enthusiastic and that contributed to him making some reckless moves. But what got the cake was when he wrote an autobiography somewhere in the middle of the year. I thought what cheek this guy has of writing a book about his life when he has barely just entered manhood! What arrogance!

Mika Hakkinen and Lewis Hamilton. By Nancarrow But as you all know, I have since eaten my words. I met him last year and we spoke. I was so wrong. He is extremely humble and very polite. (read other post). He has been caught in a very dirty political world that only wants to milk money out of him. In a recent interview he has said so himself. He only wanted to race but he is now instead thinking about leaving F1 altogether because of the politics. He is, for me, my favourite driver right now. Fernando Alonso is a driver who has it all. Except another thing he also has is greed. After 2 years with back to back championships with team Renault, he turns his back on them and joined McLaren for a better deal. Thinking he was Gods gift to F1 , he demanded he be given the status of 'main team driver' for McLaren. One year and Lewis Hamilton later, he had to have his ass saved by the very team that he left, Renault. Now he's contemplating joining Ferrari in the not too distant future. Greedy and ungrateful. But I think he's still alright. I'll write about the driver I like least in my posting below.

and The.. . .not very nice.

Now I come to the one man whom I think should get his butt kicked out of F1 for good. Kimi Raikonnen. First of all, when Kimi joined McLaren from Team Sauber in 2002 to replace Mika, I thought very highly of him. I saw the hunger in his eyes just like his fellow countryman. He didn't seem too interested about anything else except racing his car. Just the way a driver should be. Even his post race interviews were something we use to laugh at (we still do). It was obvious he wasn't interested in giving them. The next few years he earned even more respect from me. I really enjoyed his driving skills. He had everything to take over Michael Schumacher as the greatest ever. Then I started noticing a change in his driving. Somewhere around 2006 he started getting erratic. His focus seemed to be disappearing. The turning point for me was in the Chinese Grand Prix in 2006 ( I may be wrong with the date, but not with the incident). He had engine problems and he had to retire. As he was getting out of his smoking car, one marshal was trying to get him to safety while the others were putting out the fire. I was shocked to see him turn around and push that marshal who tripped and fell over! That poor marshal got up and still tried to guide Kimi out who once again swung his arm around against that marshall. I don't care who you are, or how frustrated you may be with the race but I cannot accept such behaviour. The poor man is trying to save your life and you take a swing at him for doing his job? There are young children watching you on TV and they think the world of you, and is this the attitude you wish to teach them? Also in the same season. In Monte Carlo, he had a problem with his car midway through the race during the safety car period. I was shocked to see him get out of the car and with his helmet still on, he simply walked along the sidewalks and headed towards the harbour. He then got on board a yacht and was later seen without his shirt and drinking champagne with his very drunk friends. All this 'live' on national TV! Shouldn't he have walked back to his garage to discuss the problem with his mechanics? Or maybe he just wanted to continue with that strip dance for those lap dancers like he did before. He's also been known to get drunk in public very often. Here watch this video and I hope you have a good laugh like I did. So he won his championship in 2007 by a single point. Good for him. He's not been doing very well since and I understand it's because of the lifestyle he is leading. He is a known playboy and a heavy drinker. He partys like there's no tomorrow and he has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. He is not doing any justice to the US $50+ million he gets annually, being the highest paid driver right now. I believe Team Ferrari would drop him after this season and I would not be surprised. His fame and fortune has obviously clouded his thinking. Now I'm not one to hit a man when he's down but I sincerely hope Kimi gets his head out of his arse and start thinking straight. Personally I believe he will. I feel he still has it in him. But he needs to focus. He needs to start talking with his mechanics. Work with them. Let them know what he needs and work alongside them as they improve on the car. Forget about the women, the booze and the partying. Because if he continues like this, he'll just become another one of those drivers we don't talk about anymore after a while. And I'd hate to see him forgotten like that.

Monday, May 18, 2009

My Precious

This is Gizmo.
    We've had Gizmo and Chuee since they were about 5 months old. This was somewhere around 1998. 

     My brother was in the Police Force at that time and he had a colleague whose female cat, or correctly referred to as queen, gave birth to a litter. His colleague had a bit of trouble finding proper homes for them, so my brother agreed to adopt one. 

     He had seen the kittens in her home and he fell in love with them immediately. One thing that caught his eye the most was they were of a Persian breed.He roped me in to help him convince my mom to agree as she wasn't very keen of cats. 

    My brother brought two of them home on the understanding that he was to pass one on to a friend who lives nearby. Just another of our neighbourhood friends who is also an avid animal lover. We had to wait a few weeks as they were not of age yet to be removed from their mother.  
       On the day they arrived my family was in awe of them both. They were just so gorgeous! They were two small extremely fluffy fur balls that were just beginning to get their proper footing. They moved around so funny, like two very clumsy miniature dinosaurs. Truly adorable beyond believe!  

       They had such a strong impact on us that my parents refused to give either one away. So much for our neighbourhood friend. She was OK about it at first when my brother told her but one day when she came over and saw them for the first time, she was heart broken.  
        It was difficult to differentiate their gender at that age, but one was somewhat more playful and daring than the other. So we assumed that that might be the male or Tom. It had a beautiful grey white coat and it had this rather unique black stripe running down its forehead.  

        We remembered this movie called Gremlins where this furry little things create mischief throughout the show. One of them was called Gizmo. It had the same markings on its forehead too. Since the character and the appearance fit, we decided to call it that!  

        The other one was actually a little tinier then Gizmo at that time. It was all white with a tinge of grey near its tail. And it was rather timid. It used to even get bullied by its sibling, especially during feeding time. 

       My mom gave it the name Chuee which in Punjabi actually means 'female mouse'. How horrible we were, huh? Boy were we in for a surprise! As time went on and as they grew larger, we soon found out that Gizmo was actually a queen and Chuee was a tom. Chuee even started to outgrow his sister. He became a lot more territorial and practically dominated the home and even the neighbourhood. He would chase any stray cat that so much as come up the corridor. 

        At night when we all go to bed in our rooms, he would station himself at the main door even though it was shut. He would roam around the hall and the kitchen like a King. Well, in a way, he was one. Gizmo would sleep in my parents room and get comfy on their bed. Weeks turned to months and months to years. My whole family grew very attached to Gizmo and Chuee. They became family. Our relatives and friends would come over and totally fall in love  them.

        They have also been very well trained, by yours truly. Every time they need to relieve themselves , they would do so only in the toilet. And if you happen to be using it, they'd let you know they need it too by scratching on the door and meowing loudly till you get out.  

        Chuee was the notorious one. Being a Tom , he'd go around the house and 'mark' his territory. We'd scold him for it and he'd just run and make us play a game of catching with him. He'd sharpen his claws on the furniture but I soon taught him to use some old bicycle tyres. 

       On September 19th 2006, Chuee fell ill all of a sudden. He had severe breathing difficulties that morning and my mom and I brought him to the family vet. The vet told us that he had fluids in his lungs and that the chances of him making through were slim. Needless to say we were devastated. I called my brother and he soon arrived with his lady riend. Ling was already there with me. 

     Chuee was breathing very erratically and the vet had to place him on an oxygen mask. That night we went home as there was nothing more we could do and the doctor told us that he and his nurses will be monitoring him and that they would call us should anything change. The following morning, we went back to the clinic and things seemed pretty much the same. As the day went on, we got news from the doctor that things seemed a little improved but Chuee still had to be on the oxygen. We felt somewhat relieved but still felt that it was not right for him to still be on the mask. 

       I remember my mom, my brother and myself that evening at the clinic as we were leaving. We kissed and hugged Chuee as we left for home. For the first time in two days we saw Chuee sit up and turn to look at us. He sat there in that huge cage with that plastic mask over his head. He gave a very short purring meow. His head was turned towards us and we could see his eyes. They looked so tired. I'll never forget that look. 

       Chuee passed on early the next morning. We rushed down to the clinic with tears in our eyes. We saw his lifeless body on that basket and we all broke down. I understood then that that last look and meow he gave us was his way for saying goodbye. It was so difficult to let him go.  

       Chuee was cremated and his ashes given to the sea. There is never a day that passes by when I don't think of him. All of us for that matter. It affected my brother the most as they were very close. We have posters and photographs of him at home.  

      Gizmo took a while to understand that her brother was never coming back home. For the first few days after his passing, we would see her sometimes roaming around the house to all their usual hiding places. She would meow as if calling out to him. She'd then sit down and look at us with a sense of confusion in her eyes. It was so heart wrenching to see.  

      Gizmo has since taken over as the master of the house. She no longer sleeps in the room but in the hall where Chuee used to sleep. She now chases stray cats away instead.
Gizmo on her super long leash just so that she doesn't venture off too far.
Sometimes, only sometimes, late at night, I still see her suddenly waking up from her sleep, and roaming around the house. I know she still remembers her brother.
I too, still think of you, Chuee. Everyday.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

F1 in Trouble

Formula 1 as we know it is in serious trouble. The FIA's decision to alter the rules for next year has not been taken too kindly by most of the current constructors. Some of the changes set by Max Mosley, the president of FIA, include a budget cap for each team to £40 million per year. Teams that agree to it will receive greater technical freedom. This budget cap does not include the drivers' salaries or the cost for engines. The primary technical freedoms the teams get to enjoy includes movable wings, both front and rear, and an engine which will not be subjected to minimum revs. These teams will also enjoy unlimited off-season testing. They will even receive free transportation for 2 chassis and freight up to 10,000kg and 20 free air tickets for economy class. This basically means we will end up with two different sets of rules for the teams. One for those who agree to these terms and another for those that opt out. Those richer teams that can afford to spent more will indeed be severely restricted by these rules. It's basically a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't! Right now Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone, F1 commercial rights holder, are playing good cop bad cop with the teams. Where one makes ridiculous threats, the other tries to smooth things down. This new rules will create a very uneven playing field to the teams. When actually the whole reason the FIA say they are doing it is to make the teams challenge on even par. Not that it is any more fair now, since the richer teams do always end up at the top, and the weaker ones last maybe a couple of races before they give up too. But to have a two tier system kinds of makes a real mess of it all. Needless to say some of the teams are furious. Ferrari is leading them in a all out war against these rulings. Team Renault, Toyota, Red Bull and Toro Rosso are among the others. In fact Ferrari has just launched a legal challenge against the FIA. These teams have also threatened to quit F1 if things don't came to an agreement. It's not that surprising to notice that Mclaren are keeping very hush about the whole thing. I guess after the 'liegate' incident, they know better then to stir up the hornets nest. You might remember they got away very lightly with that one. I can't say I care too much about the other teams, but F1 without Ferrari is no longer F1! They have in fact been a part of Formula 1 since its inception since 1950. The plan by Max Mosley is also to bring in new teams. British car makers Lola have already submitted their entry for next years race. That would mean the target, set by Mosley, of having 13 teams next year, instead of the 12 we have now, would be met. There are also a couple of other teams that are showing interest. But really what's the point when the greatest team in F1 history is not participating. Yes, I would like to see a minnow team like Force India making it to the podium. But I'd like to see them doing it against the Scuderia Ferrari, or any of the top teams for that matter. We watch Formula 1 to see the greatest teams in the world, spending whatever money they want, to make the most powerful cars they can, go as fast as it's possibly imaginable! Anything less, is not Formula 1.

Or they might as well be 'driving' around in this.

To read more of the new rules, go to: £40 million budget cap and 13 teams for 2010

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Depeche Mode - Wrong

Here's the video of the much awaited new single by Depeche Mode called 'Wrong'. If you are a fan of the movie 'Saw' or its sequels, then this is a must watch. Totally way different from most of their previous videos. Very twisted. I like. Depeche Mode - Wrong Video Clip The Director for the video is Patrick Daughters. The guy driving the car is actually Julian Gross, the drummer of the band Liars. And the 'stuntman' who gets flung over the top of the car is, believe it or not, Spike Jonze! The Academy Award - nominated director and producer! Bloody Cool!

Friday, May 15, 2009

My Titanics

Here are 2 model Titanics I made. The smaller one is a 1:600 model (44cm). I built that in 2002. The larger one is a 1:400 (69cm) scale and it was a gift from Ling. She got me that in 2008. Model Kit building is just another one of my many ridiculous hobbies. It took me a fair bit of time to complete, espescially the bigger one, as the painting required more work.

The Fallen Lady

Here's a little something written by Ling. Those that heard of her, Can only envy or hate her. That left many to lust after for her. Even sought changing identities just to be seen with her. For she was the ultimate symbol of majestic glory. Great abundance & Glowed with Lavish beauty. She had it all. Not christened on launching As she have faith in herself than luck. She was set to dance on the stage of the deep blue sea that unpredictable stage for all. She almost collides with another, but only to get away with her arrogance. No one seems to notice her ballet shoes come undone for now she will be in dire straits should she ever fall. She could feel tremendous heat building within her though she sways & glides gracefully against the waves. Just minutes before the grandfather clock could strike the fifth midnight, she paused. She had stomped onto Poseidon's trident despite repeated warnings, her ears fell deaf. Blinded by her self-obsession, believing she can get away, again. After all she has it all. Amused by her arrogance, Poseidon's trident has transformed into an ice dagger. It pierced through her side. And slid down her flesh. She could feel that she was falling apart despite it's being just a cut. Though she still tried to hum a melody to keep her in ease. Once on her right she started to bleed. She could not believe there was nothing that can keep her through. Her extravagant luxuries began to weigh her down. Her ballet shoes are only a burden to her now. Still flickered & glittered in her grandeur, she finally broke apart & collapsed. There is no turning back now. As Poseidon had embraced her fall And claimed her as his bride. In the abyss. Lays her wrecked body. Still dressed with her expensive jewelry. But nothing more than just homes for Poseidon's subordinates, algae & fishes. Who would have thought, her maiden journey would be her last dance to her wretched fame. As Time exchanged hands We still remember her name. She is Titanic.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ferrari, The Clowns

The recent start to the European leg of the F1 season has somewhat proved what I expected of the teams. Clearly all the teams are beginning to improve on their cars. But more then anything, it also proved that Team Brawn is also improving on their own cars as well. Button and Barrichello made sure of that. But what in the world is happening to Team Ferrari? 5 races and only 6 points? First of all let me make something perfectly clear. I am not a Mclaren fan or a Ferrari fan or a fan of any particular team for that matter. I am a F1 fan, period. Honestly I don't see the point of supporting a particular team or driver. (Though I do prefer certain drivers' attitude more then others). Should Raikkonen and Hamilton swap teams tomorrow, where should your loyalty lie. F1 is a sport you need to enjoy in its entirety with as much knowledge of every component of it as you can. OK, now back to Ferrari. We knew this was going to happen to them eventually. We saw it coming. When Ross Brawn left the Scuderia in 2007 and then went for a years sabbatical, we knew it was coming. Then when Jean Todt left around a year later, we knew it was coming. This 2 guys together with team president Luca di Montezemolo were basically the masterminds of Ferrari. Notice how Michael Schumacher left around the same time too. Ross Brawn was the Technical Director and Jean Todt was the Team Principal. Todt did stay around but in a very different position until he totally left the Scuderia Ferrari on the 17th of March 2009. He was replaced by Stefano Domenicali. Now Stefano Domenciali is the guy I really want to talk about. He is probably the reason Ferrari is in the situation they are in right now. And he is The Clown of all clowns. If you'd recall the Singapore race last year you'll know what I'm talking about. Team Ferrari screwed up big time in that race and what did Mr Domenciali say? He complained about everything. He said the track was like a brick road, too bumpy (he must be thinking about Alice in Wonderland and her Yellow Brick Road). He said the night race in those lights was not good. He yakked away about everything except his team. He then ended it all by saying the Singapore race was not worthy to be in a F1 calender. He called the entire thing a Circus. Very funny. Bernie Ecclestone, the F1 supremo, got pissed off. Remember, he is like the 'godfather' of F1. So he really gave it to Domenciali. Bernie said, if that Singapore race was a Circus, we must thank Ferrari for providing us with the clowns. Ha! Ha! Good one Bernie. If you were there or if you watched the race you'd know why he said that. First we had Felipe Massa and his sudden desire to take his refueling hose for a ride down the pit lane. And as he drove off with his new found friend , he knocked one of his mechanics down for good measure.

The hose on the right belongs to Felipe Massa. That's the one that went for the ride. I took this photo of it on the Thursday before the race. I didn't know then that it would get this famous.

I still remember seeing his poor mechanics running down the pit lane after his car. And the way the mechanics of the other teams clapped and cheered them on like they were running the Olympics. Then when they finally got it off the car, they walked back to their garage holding it like a fat silver anaconda. I don't wish to laugh at someone else's misfortune but that was hilarious. Then we had Raikonnen. He gave a whole new meaning to the phrase 'flying lap'. He had only 3 laps more to get himself a fourth place finish when he suddenly decided to take his car for a flight. He flew off a chicane and when he landed, he found himself facing a wall. Unbelievable. This year we have seen more of the same from Ferrari. Some of the mistakes they have made are just too amateurish for a professional team. In Malaysia, they gave Raikkonen wet tires when it hadn't even started to rain yet! And by the time it did, we all heard him on his radio telling his mechanics that the tires were gone.

Then, in the last race they actually thought that his timing in Q1 was enough for him to stay in the garage and not go out to improve on his time. Well he stayed in the garage alright, eating ice-cream. He started the race from 16th spot. In the last race,in Spain, they failed to refuel Massa's car with enough fuel for him to complete the race properly. He had to surrender 2 places to save fuel just to finish the race. He actually didn't even have enough to bring his car back to the pit after the race! What a shame. Team Scuderia Ferrari needs to get their house in order. And they need to do it by yesterday. This is the worst season they've had, so far, in a long time. Because if they continue to make such silly errors, then they deserve the title handed to them by Ecclestone, Ferrari the Clowns.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Jack of all Trades. Master of Some?

I've always been good with my hands (don't get any funny ideas.) Ever since I was a lot younger, I've always enjoyed fixing stuff. I've always enjoyed the complexity of how things work. I remember when I was a child, my dad used to work overseas. He works in the oil industry, so he'd be away for weeks stationed in places like the Middle East or other parts of Northern Asia. I remember how my younger brother and I would miss his presence. Every time he was back home in Singapore, he'd take the whole family out almost every other day. And every time he came back to Singapore , he'd buy us the most amazing toys and presents. My brother used to be crazy about toy guns and such. Me, I liked those built it yourself gizmos. Sometimes, when I got bored with all those toys, I'd find anything else I could take apart just to see the insides. Even if it was my brother's toys. Slowly I got bored of that too. I then found other things to dismantle. I remember taking my moms old radio set and opening it with my mediocre set of tools. Oh yes I also remember the whacking I got from her as well. But she forgave me when I managed to put it together. Later on, a little older, I moved to bigger things. The TV, HiFi set, I even opened the fridge once. I had this dining table then, and I remember making it into my makeshift play house. I would wrap the sides with a big blanket just to make it look enclosed to the outside world. I had a knack for wires and such then, so I rigged the underside with light bulbs and tape. I had an old remote control car that didn't work anymore. I fixed it as best as I could and it was alright for a while. But a few weeks later it died on me. I knew it was gone for good then. So I opened it up as I knew there were a few things in there I'd be able to salvage. I used the little motor in it to rig up a small fan for my playhouse. It worked fine. Slowly, bit by bit, my playhouse got more high tech. Even my neighbourhood friends wanted to hang out in there. That's when I got bored with it. So I took it apart. Besides my mom ' convinced ' me. (The rattan came out lah). Today my family is happy to let me take things apart. Every time something gets broken down in the house, they don't need to call the repairman. They call me. They are happy cos they save money, and I'm happy to get to take it apart. Of course there are times when I can't fix it. Then we call the professionals with the right tools. Or we just buy a replacement. ( I just repaired my moms blender earlier this evening.) Sometimes even my relatives call me over to help them fix something. They don't pay but I demand a hot cup of good chai. ( I mean seriously, what is life without good tea?) I am not a technician by training, but I know I can just about fix almost anything. Don't mean to sound like I'm blowing my own horn, but I am proud of the fact. Being inquisitive has made me understand how things work. And I can therefore apply it to my various hobbies. Whether I'm doing my gardening or fishing or even when I'm cooking, I understand the 'machinery' involved. I do a lot of camping and tracking as well and there are moments when situations become tricky, dangerous even. During times like this, you need to be able to think on your feet, literally. Sometimes you'd have to make things out of whatever is around you or even use what nature provides. These are the times ( and believe me I've had plenty) that I feel thankful to have that little bit extra knowledge that helps me through just one more day.

Monday, May 4, 2009

F1 Bahrain

Photograph: Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images The 2009 Bahrain F1 race in Sakhir was without a doubt the best race I've seen in a long time. And yes I'm including the previous seasons as well. Clearly all the new rules and the controversial manner some cars were designed have actually tightened the race. Gone are the days where everything was Ferrari or McLaren (at least for the time being). The race started off real tight and it ended the same. The first three cars came in within 10 secs off each other. There was excitement throughout the race with great overtaking and superb defending. Also for the first time this season the race didn't end under strange weather or timezone problems that interfered with the drivers' visions. (Although the track temperature was astonishing!) The really great thing is that the best is yet to come! Think about it. The issue with the double diffuser that some teams were using has been settled. The FIA has rendered it legal. So that means back to the drawing board for the rest of the teams. No big deal cos almost all of them are getting ready with it. They are all back in Europe where their bases are and that's where they do all their testings. That means by this weekends Barcelona's race, they ought to have installed the diffusers in their cars and performed some decent testing in it. So we'll be seeing some very improved cars from the rest of the teams. That in turn is going to blow the whole season wide open. Without a doubt Ferrari will be staging their big comeback (though they may need a couple or more races) but it's inevitable. So will the rest of the guys. Fernando Alonso, who had practically crawled out of his car after the last race due to a malfunction in his drinking device, will be back with a Bang! Imagine in a situation with that heat and all that extremely hard work and yet not drinking any water for almost 2 hours! That to me is a truly dedicated driver. He certainly earned my respect. Unbelievable! So more power to him. But wait, don't forget, just as all the other teams start installing their diffusers, Teams Brawn, Red Bull and Toyota, would be improving on theirs. They are the teams leading the constructors right now. They are not just gonna sit on their bums and let the other teams play catch up. No, so that's why I say that this may just be the best season we've ever had in a long time. One in which we cannot, even now, predict who's going to be a champion in the end. I believe we will after the next 2 races. But then again, you never can tell.