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#RunIntoOrbit and the Gentle F1 blog

28 Jan

Currently, as it stands I have run 27km of my run into orbit challenge, that’s about 16 miles or so, which is pretty awesome in my book!

I’ve only had to repeat one week of my training plan because I was a bit ill, but at least it means I’m not hurting myself like I was before! I’ve also learnt that by SLOWING DOWN you can run a lot further, yeah I’m not sprinting but it’s still running!!

Onto a different note, easing you in gently, the first F1 test of the season has just finished in Jerez in Spain, and far from any major surprises as it could be. The redbulls, Lotus and Ferrari were all fast, whilst the drama and attention that Lewis Hamilton died away quite quickly after he did a typical Mercedes driver stunt of parking badly. Granted it wasn’t his ego that took up 6 car parking spaces, but a rear break pressure failure that cases him to skid across the gravel into a tyre wall.

Not much else could be said that happened, Paul DiResta is still a lonely meme theme at Force India and the new drivers at Marussia are impressing as was to be expected, they both did well in GP2.

A shame for Davide Valsecchi who couldn’t find a seat in F1 even after winning its feeder series. Not too much of a surprise though, as although he seemed to be a lovely guy, he had a washboard personality….

Our beloved DLR managed to gain a seat in a Ferrari as well, it’s just a shame that it lasted but a few laps before the gearbox blew. A sign to come perhaps? Or not, at least, Fernando Alonso wasn’t worried enough to tweet positive things about it to hide his underlying fear!!

My bet for this year? Why, Mark Webber to win the WDC. Obviously. Hamilton to only make a second place and for Perez to almost win the championship. Just for giggles.

I won’t get started on livarys. McLaren=chrome….. RBR has PURPLE ON IT and the Sauber looks alright now. Yep I think that sums it up!!!

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Today: Cheltenham Science Festival

15 Jun
Mike Gascoyne at the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix.

Mike Gascoyne at the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Cheltenham Science festival, somewhere I have never been, something I have never heard of, with someone I didn’t expect.

I moved to Cheltenham in November 2011, and the festivals they hold annually were all becoming an interesting adventure. Adventures I didn’t really have tome to go on. Until my fiance Charlie sprung surprise tickets for me and him for the science festival.

Expecting an obscure lecturer talking about a new exciting subject, I was thrilled. But I never knew just how thrilled I would be. Sponsors GE Aviation were there, and as i approached the tent the familiar noise of an F1 car filled my ears.

It was none other than Caterhams Chief Technical officer Mike Gascoyne being interviewed by BBC radio 5 lives F1 commentator James Allen.

I loved it, I honestly couldn’t fault the interview. We found out how he effectively lucked his way into what turned into a very lucrative F1 career, how he met a long-haired 18 year old Spaniard called Fernando Alonso, and how the mute button at Jordan Grand Prix was a useful tool when dealing with Eddie Jordan.

There was even time for a Q&A session from the audience, and I’ll run through a couple of questions that I remember, as not only did I find the questions interesting, some of Mike Gascoyne’s answers were very telling of an incredibly intelligent man.

Question 1 was about more woman on F1. Not only drivers, but as team members as well. The question came from a woman in the front row, who obviously (or what seemed to be) was trying to get a generic “well boys are stronger than girls” answer. But his response was different, far from a political answer about fairness and equality, he went down the ‘hired on merit’ route. Which is correct. The fact of the matter is, there are more male’s doing engineering than females, more males who prefer motorsport, and so the odds are stacked against us in making up any form of majority.

James Allen also pointed out that there are plenty of girls in karting, but it is a challenge to get to the physical fitness, and to get the sponsorship. Something that is a struggle for both sexes.

The next question i remember was regarding innovation and the budget cap. Mike Gascoyne lis in favour of this budget cap, however the person asking the question also asked if he was in favour of scrapping all the limiting technical regulations. Something which Gascoyne said no to.

“…all regulations are to do with speed. The drivers body may survive a high speed impact but his internal organs would be scrambled…”

Seems legit to me.

Another question related to the one above, about the budget cap, but was related more along the sponsors route. This flustered Mike Gascoyne and from what I could tell there was no actual answer to the question. He skirted around it whilst mentioning resources from GE aviation and the resources of RedBull and Ferrari.

My opinion? GE are providing alot of ‘in-kind’ contributions if the budget cap goes ahead.

The final question was just annoying because somebody hadn’t done their research. It mentioned specific formula one degrees. Which there are none, there are motorsport degrees, which won’t become redundant after 1 season, which is what she was suggesting. Someone just wanted to ask a question…

i loved it all. I’m gutted I didn’t get to ask my question regarding tyre testing and practice sessions, but my desire to work in science and engineering has been re-ignited. Thank you Cheltenham Science Festival!

Today: The F1 Glamour

26 May

Boats, Girls, Legs up to the ears of the tallest of the drivers and some motor racing.

It must be the Monaco race!

Although the race is not without its controversies, Currently we have Pastor Maldonado with a 10 place grid drop for “loosing the car and accidentally driving into Sergio Perez” [ie, being a hot headed tit and driving like a moron] and we have Michael Schumacher, who after “Having Bruno Senna drive too slowly and cause a crash” [ie, not being aware of his surroundings, showing his age really] has a 5 place grid drop.

After taking pole initially for the race, this is a massive kick in the venires for the German, who up until this race, has had a piss poor return to the sport.

This promotes my personal favourite driver [he used to drive a green car, I was young ok?] Mark Webber to pole position. Great for my fantasy league as I have predicted him for the race win. Miracles do happen.

Felipe Massa has had a better time of it this weekend as well, making into the top 10 shootout of Q3 for the first time this season, is it enough to improve Ferrari’s no-tolerance approach to losing? Unlikely. However it does put the Brazilian’s confidence through the roof again, which has been lacking since his unfortunate accident in Hungary in 2009. I’ve personally missed it, he’s too much of a lovable cuddly bear to leave F1. He also took no shit from Lewis Hamilton, something which he will forever have my respect for.

There is something a fair bit odd about this year compared to last year. The top teams (McLaren, Ferrari and RedBull) haven’t dominated in the way that usually occurs, infact, it’s been so topsy turvey that nobody knows what’s going on, the Pirelli guys are just smiling and being smug in their chemistry labs!

McLaren seemed to have solved Jenson Buttons “lack of rear grip”, however that could just be because he was going so slowly compared to the rest, that he can’t tell whether he is going backwards or not -he starts 13th tomorrow. Lewis Hamilton had an all-round OK qualifying – he will start the race in 3rd tomorrow.

RedBull have had a tale of two halves again, however, unlike previous weeks where it has been Sebastian Vettel taking the limelight, it’s Mark Webber who will take the pole position grid slot, whilst Sebastian will start from 10th, after the team decided to save tyres.

Lotus, now here is a team who are improving, and are starting to light a fire under the top teams, they regularly do better than Ferrari, and are a clear leader of the mid-field teams… Meaning tomorrow’s race is going to be EPIC.

Today: An unexpected result

12 May

Watching Qualifying for the Formula One today, I was expecting a Redbull pole with Ferrari yet again under performing whilst only one of the Mercedes cars made an impact.

So… I was right… but totally wrong.

I say I’m right because in all intense and purposes, if these scenarios were reversed then I would be right.

Redbull didn’t get pole and in a strange event, Sebastian Vettel didn’t even try and be last to cross the line with the fastest lap. settling for a more conservative approach, a better result that my favourite driver however, Mark Webber, who falsely assumed his safety in Q2, and watched as his time was smashed and smashed again. Finally starting in P12.

Mclaren were a team of 2 halves, whilst Lewis Hamilton topped each of the qualifying sessions, Jenson Button had a fluke change of heart towards his car, suffering understeer through out. Something the FOM thought would be useful to mention in every session. Not. Pole for Lewis Hamilton, 0.5 seconds ahead of his nearest rival and 11th for Jenson Button who apparently had an understeer problem…

Ferrari were expected to just be on the track. Nobody expected anything, and Felipe Massa delivered that prediction, quite successfully by starting in 17th. Fernando Alonso seems to have received black magic from his home crowd and starts 3rd…

The rest of the field is quite predictable with 2 exceptions, Williams were again a story of 2 halves where Bruno Senna qualified 18 after encountering alot of traffic and spinning on his final flying lap, parking up in the gravel, Pastor Maldonado however parked his car on the front row with Lewis Hamilton. Good luck Pastor, if you do go backwards at the start please don’t do a Daniel Ricciardo.

Sauber hit it good as well with both cars in the top 10, showing good pace for the race!

i’m excited for the race, we will have to see why Lewis Hamilton had to stop on track, as if it is something like say… a gearbox change as the rumours around the track are saying, he won’t start on Pole! Maybe Maldonado won’t go backwards? Hopefully Mark Webber will just go forwards.

Now you’ll have to excuse me, I’m just watching the rest of GP2 (basically Formula One but without the manners), Sky really have opened up motorsport to the wider commmunity!

Today: Formula One returns.

28 Mar

This weekend saw the second race weekend of the 2012 calender and what a couple of races it has been! Australia was full if drama right up until the flag, and Malaysia produced a surprise result that caught the entireity of Italy offguard.

A bonus for me as a Mark Webber fan is that he out-qualified Sebastian Vettel twice, and finished in the points both races, unlike the young double world champion, which after a season full of not being on the same playing field as his team mate, is a massive relief and makes this season even more exciting for me!

However the drama was nothing compared to what Felipe Massa is going through now, its now a case of ‘will he won’t he’ be racing for the entirity of the season, after finishing outside the points whilst Fernando Alonso took a surprising victory with a car that ferrari has admitted isn’t the best, and Sergio Perez of the ferrari young driver program took a second place in what was an epic battle for the line. Till he took a trip round the curb to add a few more seconds to the gap he had closed. This was after he got told to ‘be careful’ by his engineer, but we aren’t pointing any fingers at the young ferrari prodigy who drives for sauber who have ferrari engines. Nope…

It all kicked off with Sebastian Vettel and Narain Karthykaen (whose name I have spelt wrong… Sorry I’m on my phone!) When seb.decided to show an unfamiliar finger to the ‘young’ Indian driver, they then seemed to exchange insults via the media for the world to see. I can’t even remember the petty incident they are stropping about but for sure (I could be a formula one driver now) will this not be an easy thing to shake. Vettel has been called a bully, Narain has been branded a cry baby and neither of those is a good name to have. Personally I don’t really care what they call each other. As ling as they respect each other on the road. Yes that means moving out the way for the lapping car, but also not moaning if the slower car is in a fight for position. They should just cuddle and say that it was all heat of the moment, which it was.

I’m excited for China, if the current track of results is anything to go by then, for sure (driver in the making right here) it will be an awewome race.