Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Spa 2010


I'll tell you all about it when I get back I'm sure.

What a lovely way to celebrate the end of a very, very long F1 summer holiday.... by getting to see the cars in the metal.

Go go go Jenson, Mark, Timo, Bruno and Bob.  Not to mention the almighty Pastor Maldonado. And Sam Bird. And Jack Harvey. And Adrian Quaife-Hobbes (Quaifey). And James Jakes. And Oli Oakes. And everyone else I'm going to be cheering like a crazy person over the weekend.

Can't. Wait.

...Eau Rouge!

Apparently I can't type in sentences anymore. So I'll sign off.

I'll be back in a week or so.


Friday, 13 August 2010

Zonta: He's always been the (GT) one for me...

I went to see the GT1 race at Silverstone a couple of months back, when it was the first race weekend at the new track there. I was very excited to see the first race held on the new section (and we sat at the top of the grandstand on the inside of Maggotts and had THE best view of half of the track, I would highly recommend it to everybody).

Since then, I've watched the odd bit of the GT1 series online, as all the races are shown live on www.gt1world.com

I watched it online the other weekend, and found something absolutely glorious. Not only was Ricardo Zonta driving in GT1.... Ricardo Zonta was WINNING GT1.

But even I was surprised by the fact that I simply burst into tears as he grinned from ear to ear as his co-driver took the chequered flag.

Top spot - R. Zonta. Look at that!
When I thought about it, it's not so surprising that I got uber-emotional. I just AM emotional about motor racing. (I tend to well up every time someone says the phrase "Jenson Button, Formula One World Champion".  Hell, even just typing it gave me a bit of a shiver. Good times.)

Also, and apologies for being such a girl, but Ricardo Zonta was my first ever F1 crush. I remember he was 23 at the time. He's now 34, which puts the whole timeline into a bit of perspective and makes me feel a bit old.

The funny thing is that only 3 or 4 days before I watched him win this GT1 race, I'd been sitting here thinking about him. I'd gone to his website for the first time in ages. (Over the years my occasional trips to his site have taught me such invaluable Portugese as "carregando" [loading] and "em breve" [coming soon]) and I had a look at the latest news to see what he was up to. A big part of me hoped he'd have a race at Silverstone so that I could marshal his race. (And end up living happily ever after with him, naturally. That's how it works, right?)  But I was disappointed because it only said he was doing American races, and that's no good for marshalling, living happily ever after, or even watching him race on TV.

And so to find him in the GT1 race came COMPLETELY out of the blue for me (apparently they hadn't got round to carregando up his most recent news yet. Hopefully it's em breve).

The fact that he won it just absolutely made my weekend. I couldn't stop smiling all day. I've always joked that he was a good guy to support in F1, because if he made it to lap 10 then it felt like a victory. But really, it was fairly heartbreaking supporting him in F1, and then he's been hard to properly follow since (although I do remember getting up at stupid o'clock to watch him in the World Renault Series one year). So after all this time, to be able to watch him on the top step of the podium.... hell, that was better than seeing him get to lap 11 in a woeful BAR.

Tonnes better.

Look at that happy face (even though he appears to be being eaten by a man in a hat)

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Pastor in F1 in 2011?

I just stumbled across an article about Pastor Maldonado on one of my least favourite F1 websites, Planet-F1.

In order to not have to tell people to look at that website to read the article, I've found the same thing elsewhere - on the lovely GP Update, a website where I used to live during my teenage years, back when it was F1Racing.net and had a chat room for us to play in.

Anyway, before I get too nostalgic, back to the article. It basically just says that Nicolas Todt is Pastor's manager, and so he's pushing to get him into F1 next year. Sauber is currently being rumoured.

I hadn't realised that Todt was Pastor's manager. I've never been much of a fan of the Todt family to be honest (mostly because of the Schumacher/Brawn/Bryne/Todt Team of Doom). But I can't help but think that right now, Pastor should be in good hands with NickyT on his case. He knows what he's doing and so will hopefully be able to get Pastor a drive (especially if Pastor does his bit and keeps bringing home the results).

It will be terrifying having Pastor in F1, because I will be so worried at all times about what kind of impression he's making. But it'll be very exciting. I can't wait. Fingers hugely crossed.

Friday, 6 August 2010

When I grow up I want to be...

When I was about ten, my best friend's dad asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I told him I wanted to be, and I quote, a "pitlane blonde".

He was just a tad surprised, and my mother was mortified.

Now, please, let me clarify....!

I didn't mean that my life's desire was to be scantily clad whilst holding an umbrella. I didn't mean that at all.

All I saw with my innocent little eyes, was that there were ladies that got to spend all their time in the F1 pitlane/paddock/grid.  They got to be around beautiful amazing racing cars, in amongst the exciting racing and all the people that make racing happen. I wanted that.

I still want that.

What I ACTUALLY meant, back when I was ten, was "I want to work in motorsport".  But my response had been warped by the fact that the only women I'd really seen in F1 were the ones holding flags or car numbers. (Other than Louise Goodman... when did she start?)

All these years later, I still want to work in motorsport.  More than ever.  And luckily, now I know a bit more about what opportunities there are out there, I've got my sights set on something real.

Give me a few months. Maybe a year or so.  I'll get there.

And I'll make sure to come back and quote this blog when I do.

PS - Don't get me started on my rant about the grid girls (and other fairly undressed girls scattered around all car-related events). It's not so much the 'oh, objectifying women, how disgusting' thing, as I'm not very good at angry feminism, and the girls have made their own choice to do it... it's the fact that (some) men are just so *stupid*. A lot of these women aren't actually beautiful - admittedly some are, but a lot of them simply aren't that good looking, they're just wearing skimpy clothes. But guys fall over themselves to have their photos taken with them (and - worst of all! - have their primary-school-age sons have photos taken with them!!!) as if they're the most stunning women on earth (and even then, that'd be weird).  I just... hmm.... It creeps me out massively. [/mini-rant]

PPS - In other women-in-motorsport news, it's nice that Lee McKenzie will get to host the Japanese GP and become the first woman to host an F1 show. I think she'll be really good actually, and it'll be fun to see her keep DC and EJ in check.  I look forward to it.  (Although I'll miss Jake. I've adored him since his CBBC days, but more on that another day. I need to make myself a cup of tea now.)

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

F1 Looky Likey #1

Bear in mind I only have two F1 looky likeys up my sleeve, and this is the best of the two. So enjoy it while you can.....

That bloke from Family Guy

Michael Schumacher

PS - When I first made this observation, my friend Buzz had a bit of time on his hands and decided to take it a step further. I might as well go all out and share this too:

The Flying Chin

This is what Joe Saward has to say about Michael Schumacher, in his latest blog:
Readers of this blog will know that I am not really a big fan of Schumacher. One cannot question his talent and it is impossible to argue about the statistics of his career, but no-one can force me to like the way he goes about his racing. I thought his manoeuvre on Damon Hill in Adelaide in 1994 was despicable. I was delighted when a similar move on Jacques Villeneuve at Jerez in 1997 failed. I thought his celebrated “parking” job in qualifying at Monaco a few years back was utterly underhand and not worthy of a great champion. In addition I have my doubts about the use of traction-control in 1994. The FIA could never prove it was used, but that does not mean it was not. This is all water under the bridge, but these are the things that create the impressions that people have of a driver. They will be taken into account when it comes to the history books being written, when the sycophants have disappeared and everything is being judged at face value.
It's like I wrote it myself.

Joe later goes on to mention how Schumacher never let his team mates have a fair chance. This is another thing that winds me up. I've heard people very close to Johnny Herbert talk about what it was like when Johnny was team mates with Schumacher. And it's just not cricket (or, indeed, sporting in any way at all).

And don't get me started on how much it riles me that having Schumacher back on the grid means that there is one less space in F1 for a youngster who's desperate to start/continue his F1 career and win his own world championship or seven....

Anyway, I didn't really want to start ranting about him. I just wanted to flag that Joe Saward basically stole the thoughts right out of my brain.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Post-script... (and letting go)

In follow-up to yesterday's little rant about how there's absolutely no media communication at all about what happened with this whole black flag malarky - I just read the GP2 Insider magazine.

I love the GP2 Insider, it's short and sweet and teaches me often useless snippets of knowledge about GP2 drivers. (Vladimir Arabadzhiev likes playing football! File that one away for future dinner party conversation...)

I know it's only 6 pages long and is covering 2 race weekends... but this edition doesn't even mention that Pastor got black flagged!

So yep, it still seems that I'm pretty much on my own in the realm of 'people who give a damn about this issue'. Oh well. I'll just have to let it go. Instead I'm going to refocus on the fact that he's broken the GP2 records by winning 5 feature races in a row. Clever Pastor. :-)

Click to read the GP2 Insider and find out about Vladimir's other hobbies...

Monday, 2 August 2010


Picture this. The man that’s second in the championship spins. The guy that’s leading the championship can’t quite avoid the spun car, tags it, and royally messes up his front wing. He manages to keep going, but he’s losing a second or two per lap... yet he doesn’t pit. After a few laps, he’s shown the black-and-orange flag. He’s still losing time, but he still doesn’t pit. Eventually he comes into the pits, but it’s too late – he’s been black flagged.

Imagine if the championship leader in F1 got black flagged. Imagine the media melee.

But not in GP2. This is what happened to Pastor Maldonado, GP2’s championship leader, in Race 2 at Hungary this weekend. And I want to know what the hell was going on.

I’ve hunted around for all the info I can. I’ve commented on the GP2 website (but my comment has never appeared?!). I’ve tweeted relevant insiders to see if they can tell me (but been ignored). The only thing I can find is half a sentence in the race summary on www.gp2series.com :

The Venezuelan was soon shown the black and orange flag for his broken front wing, which rapidly turned into a straight black version when he failed to return to the pits
I need MORE than this!

Before he got black-and-oranged, Pastor was losing close to 2 seconds a lap. I know a pitstop would have put him to the back of the grid, but at least he’d have had a fixed car and he could have done a Sam Bird and had a fun 20 minutes overtaking a few cars. But instead he kept going.

And then he got the black-and-orange flag, so he HAD to come into the pits. Fine. He clearly needed to anyway, he couldn’t keep going with the wing getting worse and with him losing so much time. OK.

But he still didn’t pit. I don’t understand. Here’s the scenarios I’ve got in my head:
  1. Major communication failure. He somehow didn’t realise he had to pit.
  2. Major stupidity. He thought he could get away without pitting.
  3. Major conservatism. He/the team decided it’d be better to call it a day without risking bashing up any other bits of the car. Perez and Clos were out of the points, so the championship lead would stay intact. Now, who fancies some brunch?

I'm not happy with any of these. They don't make sense. Surely communication couldn’t break down THAT badly? And wouldn’t he at the very least know his car was broken and slow? Or did he think it was the newly introduced and little-advertised Let's Drive Through Treacle race? 

And would he really have not pitted through simple bloody-mindedness or silliness? I don’t know. That seems... well... a bit bloody-minded. Or very silly. I can't get my head around it.

But would they really have got him blackflagged on purpose just so they could have an early bath?? Surely not?

I’m being driven to distraction. WHY DID HE NOT PIT?! Why am I the only person who cares?!


It’s like the “what on earth happened to him on the formation lap of Silverstone Race 1?!” question - utterly mystifying.

If you know what happened, or if you have a better theory than any of mine – do let me know.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

This is me...


OK, so let's get everything clear before we set out. This is me:

* I'm a 24 year old girl, I started watching F1 when I was about 8 years old.

* I started watching F1 because I'm a big old Daddy's Girl. My Dad, like many Dads, used to work in an office till the evening time, and then evenings were over all too soon, so weekends were the prime time to see him. And I realised that he spent many of his Sunday afternoons in the front room (a room where I was only usually allowed at Christmas or Easter or when we had guests)... I figured out that this meant there was a couple of hours where I could not only spend time with my Dad, but also be in the room I didn't normally go in. I was eight. This was good stuff. I can still vividly remember sitting on the floor by my Dad's chair, looking up at the big old TV, asking Dad all sorts of questions about what was going on in the race.

* My long-term favourite racing driver is Johnny Herbert. He's who I began supporting back in those days of sitting looking up at the big old TV. It was Hill's heyday, and DC was up-and-coming... and then there was this Johnny fellow that didn't seem to get mentioned very much, but there was his name with the little Union Jack next to it and I started to follow his every move on the racetrack.

* Anyway, so that's the history. What about now? Well, I still adore F1. My second love is GP2. And then otherwise I just watch whatever motor racing you put in front of me.

* My favourite F1 drivers are: Jenson Button, Mark Webber, Timo Glock and Bruno Senna. And I have a fondness for Jaime Algersuari (Bob for short) because he's stepped up his game this year. I also love Pastor Maldonado (currently in GP2).  And of course, Johnny Herbert is still the man.

* Oh, and just so that all my cards are on the table: I'm not a fan of Schumacher or LH. I'm aware that they're both very good drivers. That doesn't mean I have to like them.

OK, that'll do. Everything else we can deal with as we go along. And plus, it's late, I want to go to sleep.