Sunday, February 21, 2010

2008 F1 season

2008 was a crazy season... the drivers championship was won by Ferrari's Massa for a minute before it was taken from him by Hamilton by pulling a last minute overtaking maneuver on a 5th place driver... The reason 2008 was undecided till the last lap of the last GP in part because of good driving by drivers, and in part because of fumbles in the pit.

Top drivers erred like novices - case in point, a) Hamilton bumps off Raikkonen in the pits when he fails to see the pit lane is closed for exit...Hint for Hamilton : If 2 cars in front of u are stopped, take a cue from them and don't think about your girlfriend when you exit the pits. [Pit light was a stupid stupid introduction in 2008 F1... This is not Nascar... If F1 has lived without pit lights for so long, this rule change was completely dumb and an unnecessary introduction...]
b) Hamilton spun the car on a clear dry track proving again that his focus was elsewhere...
c) Raikkonen takes out a Force India car in Monza and ruins their chances of a point scoring 5th place finish... He demonstrates (again) that he was never totally committed into F1 and bringing him to Ferrari was a humongous mistake by the bosses at Maranello - Raikkonen never truly represented the Fierce Ferrari brand in spirit. It takes something special to drive a Ferrai - a passion that a dead-fish-expressioned Raikkonen can never exude.

F1 is unlike any other motorsport - it is the pinnacle of motor racing - the opportunity to convert a mistake by the opponent and capitalise on it presents itself for a brief moment and in those precious milliseconds, if the driver is not 100% committed and focused on the racing and the sport, it is lost equally fast...

The worst performing team, in my opinion was not a rookie team, but it was my favorite team Ferrari - fumbling in the pits, releasing Massa with the fuel hose still stuck in car, it made the tifosi feel Ferrari drivers are battling internal team chaos along with other teams on the track. They had so many lost chances to clinch the championship - chances that were lost by rookie mistakes made in the pit in earlier races... (Both cars queued up in the pit lane, the early release of Massa are the 2 infamously memorable mistakes that come to mind.) The season showed a lack of spirit... a lack of cohesiveness within the team and the cracks in the team were evidently visible after a long reign of superiority and performance expected from the Scarlet champions.

It was clear from what happened in the season that Ferrari had put their money behind the wrong guy. While it was Massa who consistently delivered superior performance and took the fight to McLaren, his championship was lost in the pits when Ferrari fumbled under pressure and internal team politics. Personally speaking, Raikkonen was never a great racer. he can handle an F1 car, but he cannot bring an underperforming car to the top slot. Also, its one thing to muscle a lower order car out of the way, but another thing to hold back a top driver... This is where Raikkonen fails, and Massa fights - Case in point - Belgium GP when Hamilton takes Raikkonen and later Raikkonen puts the Ferrari into the wall... not because he is trying too hard, but in frustration.

The 2008 season was chaotic... The rule changes did manage to achieve what it intended to do - bring F1 fans a season that was not decided till the last lap of the last race - but the achievement arrived with more drama and less style...

F1 also felt the pinch of the global economic crisis and the year saw 2 teams leaving F1. Super Aguri and Honda. And if these were not enough blows to F1, there was Crashgate when the Renault team asked their driver, Nelson Piquet, to deliberately crash his car at a strategic point, thus prompting the deployment of the safety car, right after their other driver Alonso had pitted. F1 hit an all time low in recent times.

But it was not all bad... there were good moments in 2008 which saw some excellent overtaking maneuvers taking place on the circuit... Hamilton proved to be an expert at muscling the competition out of the way and his aggressive moves on the field were a delight to watch.

PS: Shouldn't McLaren be banned in 2008? In moves 12, 11 and 10 in the above vdeo, the front wing of the McLaren is seen to be flexing at high speeds...... As far as I know, F1 cars are not supposed to have moving and flexible wings... Wonder how that was not caught by any of the other teams (unless all has a similar problem or the rule is non-existent in 2008) - can someone enlighten me on this?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

McDowell Signature Indian Derby 2010

First things first - This blog is alive again... that doesn't mean the other one is dead! Just that with the comeback of Schumacher in Formula 1 racing, I decided its time to revive the blog and keep it exclusive for Formula 1. The other blog can be for other stuff as well as racing :-)

Now before you ask, why am I blogging about the derby here? The answer is simple... Mallya = Force India F1 team... Enough said!

For the uninitiated, the McDowell Signature Indian Derby is THE racing event in the country. If you are a racing fan, this is a must attend event. If you are a horse racing fan, it is a must attend event. And if you are not either, the fashion is simply outstanding! Anybody who is somebody will be seen at the derby. This is one time when the fashion is as competitive off the field as on it. Women in their sexy best and men at their charming best. But wait, the derby is not just about being sexy... Its very important to be elegant as it is to be sexy. Its about being classy and especially about not being cheesy :D

Watching a race on the telly is one thing, and watching it live is a completely different beast! The atmosphere is electric as your favourite horse (or racer) is nearing the finish line with the 2nd place racer pushing him as the finish line draws closer. The roar of the engine and the rhythmic sound of hooves against the dirt are music to the ears of a racing enthusiast - both make the heart pump faster, as the adrenaline rushes thru your veins... will my favourite win? or will the competitor snatch away victory in the final moments... the wait is nerve-wrecking, yet exciting! A test not only of horses and machines, but really of the Jockeys and drivers as well, for the latter have to be equally fit as the horses and the machines they race.

The derby has lots more to offer then just glamour, glitz and racing. Performances by various artists and entertainers are a must watch. And there is the inevitable fashion show - a necessary evil, yet exciting... after all who doesn't like watching the lovely models do their thing on the ramp!

The big day this year is in the coming weekend and I so wish that I could attend it! Who would want to miss a day at the races and if one can rub shoulders with the whos who of tinsel town, its just icing on the cake!

Here are some pics from the 2007 McDowell derby ... enjoy! And if you can make it to the Mahalakshmi Race course on the 6th and 7th Feb, I'll envy you!