Sunday, 19 April 2015

Blank blank blank ..... red wine

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah .................. nope, I'm struggling to think of anything interesting to write about that. How would you describe it then ..
Workman like.
Routine, perhaps ?
No it was just dull. Oh it was and you know it was deep down inside. Hamilton went out, dominated all weekend and Nico tried his hardest to look he had some bones. Vettel fumbled around for some talent and Kimi reminded us all how good he used to be.

I don’t want to bang on about it here, but the WEC race at Silverstone .. No wait, the entire weekends racing at Silverstone last week was some of the most amazing racing I’ve seen in years. F1 has lost the point of racing, its blank, sterile ... its androgyny write large. Desperately wanting to be interesting, it needs your attentions but it is too coy to flirt with you or show you the goods behind the velvet curtain. It wants to lead you on this interesting adventure and tell daring tales, stand in the moon lit forest glade, howling at the moon as the burning embers spark and scatter into the dark abyss.  

But we’re just left bored and unsatisfied, the old men that run this sport stand around and argue about the number of cylinders the engines will have in two years time. Whilst we the dwindling band of (mostly) older men, fail week after week to show our children, the future fans of F1, why Formula 1 is interesting. My son isn’t interested in the number of elements on Hamilton’s from wing or the amount of fuel Vettel has used this lap. He’s upstairs playing Minecraft and making youtube video.
F1 isn’t talking to that generation. It’s not connecting with the fans of the future because it’s too concerned with not giving anyone else an advantage and making sure they’ve got enough money to pay for the air freight to Do Darr land and empty grandstands next week.

Maybe I'm just getting old! I’ll watch it next time; I always watch it next time. Like red wine and pork scratching I keep coming back even though I shouldn't.


Hamilton won, made it look easy yet again.  If you didn’t have him for the win, you’re missing the point of the game!

Kimi was second and looked like the Kimi of old, the one we used to rely on for fastest laps and daring do.  And to a large extent the shot of the Ferrari garage as they watched the start and Kimi’s over take of Nico was the old Ferrari I used to love too. That garage has got some fire and passion now; they’re hunting for win’s not points anymore. They’ve got a car and two drivers they can believe in and they’re hungry for the good old days. Mercedes have got a real fight on their hands.

Nico was third, and after getting a bit of kicking yet again on Saturday, he came out fighting on Sunday. Not enough to actually win or anything but at least he didn't whinge about it this time. I think he still believes he’s in this championship fight and all credit to him for not giving up, but he’s in a race the first loser now.  

Bottas was fourth and everyone at Williams clapped themselves on the back for that. But hang on, Vettel didn’t look like he was going to pass Bottas at the end there. No that Ferrari looked a bit ordinary when it was stuck behind that Williams, Vettel made a few half hearted moves but move out of desperation than expectation. Maybe .. Just maybe if Williams actually believed in themselves they could be ahead of Ferrari at the start of the race and then finish on the podium with Mercedes. Now wouldn’t that be a thing!

Vettel was fifth because he made too many mistakes and couldn’t pass anyone in the pits and make it stick. Nico seemed to pass him with ease and he seemed to make mistakes with ease. An off day you may think ... I think his unnatural luck deserted him for a change.

Ricciardo was sixth and blew his engine up spectacularly on the finish line. I think that’s his third or four engines for the year ... though he may possible have a spare recon unit knocking around the back of the garage. I'm not sure what happens when they use up their fourth engine, if the grid penalty is applied each race or just for the first race they use that fifth engine.  Well we won’t have long to wait until we have an answer at least.

Grosjean, was in a Lotus

Perez was apparently in the race

Kvyat .... this
Is that a moustache he’s trying to grow !!

And tenth Massa. Look, see that’s how good the Williams is, he started form the pit lane and still ended up tenth ahead of some good cars and the McLarens ... come on Frank, let the boys have at it !!

Blah blah blah , the bottle is empty now booooooo. No WAIT ... I HAVE SOME PORT ... ooooh i’d forgotted about that. Happy days !!!!!!!!

Kimi was fastest, hurrah. I love Kimi, he’s ace. Miserable and Finish or Danish or something , but ace yeah defiantly ace.

Oh and a Manor Marussiam was last  .. can you guess which one ? .. Good because that’s the point of this game, well done., you’re improving.  Oh yeah, it was Merhi again.  He’s got interesting hair, he’s one of those new kids that thinks spiky hair jell all over the place makes him somehow more interesting to look at. I know, what an idiot. Hoh ho. Yeah last, three laps down. Spiky hair pffft.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Sir, sir, it's all so unfair sir ....

Okay, we’re all back on track now. 

Bahrain then this weekend. Another straight fight between Lewis, Vettel and the increasingly petulant Nico. You know you can always tell the good from the merely right place, right time drivers. The good ones say things like, “Well I didn’t really get the car going the way I wanted it, but we learnt stuff today so, we’ll do better next time”. The not so good say, “ Sir, sir … he was backing me up and going too slow and I couldn’t over take because  the tyres sir, yes the tyres were round and black sir, I didn’t want to wear them out sir and he made me go too slow sir”.

Everyone who heard or read those words from Nico must have reached pretty much the same conclusion as me … “Well why didn’t you overtake Lewis then, if he was going too slow ?”

And I can’t really think of a reason as to why he didn’t, can you? Someone pointed out to me that Lewis spent last year tucked up behind Nico waiting for that mistake, the split second when he could make the move and take the win.  He’d rag the tyres till they bled, push the car till the brakes cried enough. But he’d get the points and Nico would stand on the lower step, bottom lip trembling slightly as the champagne hit him in the face.  

Lewis didn’t complain that Nico was too slow! No, he berated himself for not qualifying better and allowing Nico to dominate on Saturday. Then he’d win and  make it look easy, Nico became increasingly desperate with the last lap crash in qualifying in Monaco and the elbows out crash at Spa. The crowds responded to this petulance by casting him as the panto villain and booing him on the podium. It wasn’t until Abu Dhabi, when Nico asked to be allowed to keep going till the end in his sick car, that the crowds forgave him for the tantrums and unsporting behaviour.

Nico is no fool, he is a pretty good driver, but he doesn’t seem to have that thing, that edge, that ability to win races when he doesn’t have the best hand of cards to play.  Where Lewis or Alonso will just keep going, dragging whatever car they have under them to victory, Nico like Vettel needs a winning car before he can win. The two of them can get the best out of the car, but nothing more.

And Vettel has a very good car, Kimi is showing us that. For too long Kimi has been bored and dismissive during interviews. Mono syllabic answers, hiding behind big dark sunglasses and batting inane questions away with a lazy flap on his hand. Last year you could be forgiving for wondering if he actually turned up for the races he was so under the radar. Now though, robbed of a result in Australia, a drive back through the field to fourth in Malaysia and what I assume was another easy fourth in China and Kimi has his mojo back. Not enough to beat Vettel  yet, but then he isn’t as lucky as the German.

So then last of the season opener fly away races, Bahrain was fantastic last year. It was Merc letting rip and showing just how fast they were. Nico and Lewis put on a show as Lewis stamped his authority all over Nico and showed him what was really required to win a championship. Going on past form, I can’t see there being much difference this year. Vettel … well Bahrain isn’t normally a high tyre wear circuit, so I think third again here unless Lewis does a better job of backing up Nico this time ;)

Williams next again .. Massa, what the Sally Hill has happened to Felipe Baby then? He’s got his act together and is showing Bottas the way home. Not the story I was expecting!

Then you get to choose from Nasr in a resurgent Sauber, Danny in a woefully poor Redbull and Grosjean in an unlucky Lotus. Although the championship points don’t really reflect it, the one to take a punt on would be Verstappen, who is raising plenty of eyebrows with feisty and controlled drives. I still think he’s a bit young, he doesn’t look like he even shaves at all, but he’s go the talent to get noticed, now he needs the talent to bring it home consistently.

Worth a punt too would be Perez, who’s looking pretty handy in a the Force India. I think the Hulk is looking at his exit strategy to Porsche and Le Mans now, so he’s taken his eye off the F1 ball for now. Perez has been almost exciting at times this year, jus the car letting him down a bit.

Further back and  McLaren are sort of moving forward. But every time they tell us they’ll turn the engine up and start winning, I look at the car and think, “That car looks a bit of a handful”.
I don’t think turning the wick up is going to deal with the snap over steer or random handling quirks, she’s a bit of a handful and mistake. I think if they can get in to the bottom of the top ten before  Italy in September, they’ll have done well.

And then we have Manor Marussia and they are still there, still plugging away. They’ve lasted longer than I expected and go on them for that. I ‘m not sure who’s going to be driving for them this weekend., I thought Merhi was only on a 3 race contract. Let’s see if he came up with anymore cash shall we.

Right that’s your lot.

You can update your predictions here if you so desire.  

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Chocolate is my excuse.

Sorry, sorry, sorry.

I know this is a bit late, but it’s been a busy week of eating Easter eggs and painting a nursery.  So, yes this is a bit late.

It’s the Chinese GP this weekend and not one I’m particularly eager to get up early for. It’s a dull, soulless circuit on a drab industrial estates in the middle of nowhere, which seems to typify the circuits we go to these days. There’s almost no various in the height of the track and the stands are virtually empty for much of the weekend so it doesn’t look like there’s much atmosphere to be had. Which means the racing is usually a bit tedious.

 So this year we have to hope that the Ferrari win last time out wasn’t just blind luck and they are going to make season of it. It’ll be interesting to see how close the Ferraris will be to the Merc boys here. Vettel had enough speed to stay ahead of Lewis and Nico, who were basically looking after their tyres, meanwhile Kimi went from the back of the field to fourth. The only cars he didn’t overtake were the two cars considered the class of the field and his team mate. So Ferrari are fast on hot sticky tracks … tick.

The pundits are still calling this a race Mercedes can only lose, it’s cooler than it was in Malaysia so tyre wear is less critical allowing the Merc to turn the wick back up to 11.  It’s also a tighter track than the open flowing Sepang circuit, traction and handling are the keys to a fast lap here. I think you’ll be brave to have anyone other than a Merc driver on pole and the top step. The trick will be predicting who joins them on the podium.

Where will Williams be then? From, “Just waiting to be winners” last year, to “Scratching around for the scraps” this year. It looks like they’ve seen off Redbull, but Ferrari sneaked round the back as they were slapping themselves on the back for a job well done! Although you could argue they were caught out by the same tyre wear issue Mercedes, but they didn’t do anything other than be ultra conservative yet again. They need to think big, go for broke and take the fight to the front, not this pussy footing around avoiding confrontation. Toro Rosso could be knocking on the door asking for entry to the big boys club at this rate.

Talking of which, do you not find it odd that Redbull’s Christian Horner has done nothing but bang on about how awful the Renault engine is, and yet Toro Rosso has had its best start to a season in years. Max and Carlos look like they’ve arrived to prove a point, they’re racy and feisty, the team is on an up and the supposed lack of engine power doesn’t seem to be affecting them too much.
 Sauber has had its good result for the year and looked much more like the old grey team of yore in Malaysia. Force India are struggling with what is effectively last year’s car until we get back to Europe and Lotus are struggling to understand its new Merc engine. Meanwhile McLaren are furiously redesigning their car/engine/battery/sunglasses  to make it all work together for more than 10 laps. So there is no midfield scramble at the moment, no teams “almost there” to pick up points left by the big boys Toro Rosso have stepped into this large midfield hole. They’ve got a reliable car and to handy drivers.

So , Mercedes, Ferrari, Williams. I’d pick Toro Rosso over Sauber but you might have more faith in Redbull. Force India need time and money and Lotus haven’t really arrived at the party yet. The Lotus should be fast, if they didn’t have Maldonado, they just need a bit of luck to string a weekend together until the chequered flag.

McLaren were talking their Malaysian experience up after the race with positive messages about getting further and being faster. But you can be the fastest car on the planet, if you don’t make the end of the race it’s all for nothing. However, they still didn’t whinge about anything so let’s not stick the boot in just yet.

Manor too, have stuck at it even after Bernie gave them a bit of a kicking  after Australia. Hopefully this time they’ll get both cars to the starting grid.

And good luck J

Oh, just to say, the results will be late as well. I’m off to the first round of the WEC at Silverstone on Sunday.