Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Formula One 2012 preview

Ah yes, my first foray of the year into sporting commentary!

The difficult in making predictions about Formula One is they will most likely be wrong. The difference between Football previews and Formula One previews is that while teams in Football may change, more often than not you get a good idea of how they will perform by comparing last years squad with this years: a few players are a bit older, they're best striker went a bit mental, but they signed Aguero, so probably about the same as last year. In Formula One however, there's no way to know what's coming. Pre-Season testing provides some clues, but even then the car can change drastically between then and the first race. In Formula One the case usually is that by the third race, or the first European Race you get a good idea of what's to come.

The reason is simple. The Car. While some wish to argue the driver is the most important aspect of the F1 team, it is only half true. The car and whats in it or on it makes up for the bulk of performance. Hence a a new wing might appear or a new engine. It are these unknowns of car construction and design that make it predictable. David Silva did not grow a third leg over the summer, whereas a car might...

Anyway, to the matter at hand. I can only see Red Bull continuing to dominate the sport, which is a shame from a purist point of view. Indeed, there is nothing wrong with how the Bulls go about their business, they tend to win pretty legitimately, and have built a sound car with no cheats. However, they represent a change in Formula One towards corporate and financial superiority ruling the roost. Yes, McLaren and Ferrari have money, and that's why they're up there every year, but they have the history and heritage to justify it. Redbull are coming into their 8th year in Formula 1, challenging for their 3rd World Title.

Elsewhere, Mclaren and Ferrari will be the biggest rivals. Fernando Alonso at Ferrari will have had two years now to shape the car to his needs, and will be hoping for his 3rd World title. Both Jenson Button and Lewis will be hoping to rubber stamp their place in history with a 2nd world title.

My interest however, as was the case in 2011, lies in the midfield of Formula One. As it became obvious that Sebastian Vettel would win easily in 2011, my eyes shifted to the battle of the midfield, a compelling tustle between Lotus Renault (now just Lotus), Force India, Mercedes and Sauber.

This year, Lotus seem to be going all guns blazing with a dream driver line up of former champion Kimi Raikonnan and Romain Grosjean. However, in the last week their active suspension unit was banned by the FIA, so that may through a spanner in the works somewhat.

Force India appear to be rising and rising, each season improving on the last. Paul Di Resta has the difficulty now of proving he is a fully fledged driver, not just a talented Rookie.

Mercedes are perhaps my dark horse of the year. Two years of Ross Brawn and i'm wondering if he has brought it all together for Schumi's final season.

Drivers to watch out for are:

Filipe Massa - under much pressure at Ferrari. No doubt he is number 2 to Fernando, but he needs to up his game big time in order to justify his spot on the team. He is aging, at 31 this year he might find himself out of a drive in 2013, as teams say, we'd rather have a young gun with financial backing, than "that guy who was World Champion for 30 seconds in 2008".

Mark Webber - I can see this being his last year too. 36 this year, and will not challenge Vettell. Same case with Massa, teams will be looking for young guys with a big sponsor rather than the Aussie.

Kimi - Can the '07 world Champ return with the hunger to really challenge in that Lotus?

Toro Rosso guys - Ricciardo and Vergne are both pretty much new guys in the team this year. Ricciardo impressed so much last year in the HRT that he was promoted to the Red Bull junior team.

and finally Bruno Senna - Bearing the name of probably the best driver ever, he has a job to prove he is in F1 for the long run. A few impressive performances in the 2nd half of last year justified his selection for Williams, can he (and i hope he does, because i like Williams) bring Williams back to where they want to be?

There are a lot of drivers on the grid this year, young and old, with some notable exits: Sutil (who is caught in a legal battle), Barrichello (who retires) and Petrov (once touted for a Ferrari seat) all leave the sport because their seats have been taken by other drivers. Indeed, the current crop need to be on their game, there is a long list of drivers willing to take their seat, most likely with Petrov at the front!

I'm looking forward to the new season as i always do. I'll of course be rooting for my beloved Ferrari boys to be on the top step of the podium more often than not this year. I'll also be keeping an eye on Lotus, my "2nd team."

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Fuck me, Maggie T.

I'm back.

Last night I watched The Iron Lady. Put it this way, £7 would have been better spent elsewhere. Good films engage you,great films make you think. Unfortunately this did neither. In fairness, when writing a historically accurate/true story film it is hard keep the audience guessing, but this film whilst littered with good performances, it lacked the script to make it a must have on DVD. As i mentioned in person yesterday, i was more concerned about whether or not McDonalds would be open at the end of the film, rather than how Michael Heseltine was going to stick the knife in when ousting Maggie.

As someone reasonable political knowledge, the film really was disappointing. The majority of the film was spent in the present day, as Thatcher's frail health is accompanied by flash backs of semi-relevance to her career as politician. This did not really work. Her life as Prime Minister was far more interesting than present day. Indeed, i wanted to know about how she became leader elect when Callaghan lost a vote of no confidence, not who was coming for dinner that evening in the 2012 Thatcher household.

The main problem however was that the actually political events barely scratched the surface. Perhaps the most interesting of all premierships was never really documented as thoroughly as i would have liked. Indeed, her downfall was touched up in a 5 to 10 minute segment, that in the end rather made her look like the victim. Interesting take, but perhaps the wrong one. I wanted to see heated cabinet discussion as a flailing leader clung to power, as the other ministers grow increasingly restless at her presence, before they all one by one push her towards the edge, when finally Heseltine see's her fall all the way to the bottom.

Further, there were too many slap you in the face lines that were meant to be subtle metaphors. Like when teaching Carol to drive, Maggie is urging her to drive round a cyclist "to the right" with Carol saying "you must not drive to far to the right!!". I rather assumed the director, Phyllida Lloyd, would have given her audience more credit. Then again, she did direct Mamma Mia.

By all means watch this, but if you're after some hard hitting, exciting, heart racing political confrontations...stick BBC Parliament on television, Wednesday at 12pm.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

2011 - a News Review

As always, i like to be queen bee or whatever the masculine form of that title is, i have taken someone else's idea and I am going to attempt to make it my own. Yes indeed, you have already seen a news review, so i feel i should plug said innovators wonderful blog here: Harry's Blog.

Let this blog serve as a reintroduction into the blogging scene, before we attempt far more indepth posts which got me something like 750 hits this summer.

1) The year began with a reminder why we don't do drugs. Indeed, on a drunken New Years Eve (or New years day by this point) in attempting to rescue a lost member of the Trampoline Club we ran into a gentleman who can only be described as "trippin' balls" and was very much aghast at our attempts to reclaim our friend who had wandered into a party uninvited to steal some booze. And here, i thought we were the adults. Anyway, having defused the situation, we moved on to leave this child to writhe in pain at the inevitable stomach pumping that what his 2011.

2) I returned to Uni a changed man. A larger man. Rather like the banking crisis, it started as something manageable, like Northern Rock's collapse. Then, the shit hit the proverbial fan and RBS went right down the proverbial shitter, and we knew we had a huge problem. Yes ladies and gents it was at this point i looked into the mirror and accepted i was now classed as over-weight. Thankfully, i have been able to manage this and haven't continued to balloon. If only the incumbent Tories could manage their crisis.

3) After a pedestrian year in terms of effort, i got a pedestrian mark, which i was happy with. A 2.2 is not what i'm going for, but it is a stepping stone from the disappointment that was sixth form. In fact, i look back and i'm not proud of what I have done beyond academia. At the time i was a man looking to live university life independently from barriers and constraints. Now, i wish i had treated as a stepping stone to something huge, which ideally my life will be. We are back on course i can confirm.

4) This summer i went to my first gig! How is this?! Well, i've never been one to seek music beyond the sound that comes from my head phones, but the opportunity came along to watch Jamiroquai at the marvelous o2 Arena, and my response was why not? Ordinarily i'm inclined to spend my money on sporting fixtures, Football, Rugby and Cricket mostly, which i enjoy. The concert was fantastic though, really good fun and one of those moment i'll look back on for years to come. Such a shame it was my friend was spoken to by Jay Kay rather than myself!

5) I asked a question to a friend, which i wont publish. I will publish his answer. "Nothing with Robots or Animals". Say no more.

6) I returned to Uni a changed man again, this time after lengthy summer recess, where i had a chance to assess my options and make a decision about my life. This time round, i was somehow more chiseled, more experienced. I've been through this, i know this. In light of this i approached the year differently, less gung-ho, less Fresher-Fodder and more measured and calculated. I chose the societies i joined with the here and now, and the future in mind. Go Karting for pleasure. Politics for the Future and Dancing...well tell you the truth i was trying to pull, how chauvinistic, but i can announce it is something more to me now, as i sit on the Executive Committee.

7) The year ended on a sad note, as my mother and aunt had split from their respective partners. It made for an interesting Christmas, as they both toasted themselves into a new year with new men. I worry about mum, she is after a perfect man, which as we all know doesn't exist. I just want her to stop fretting and be happy, and be settled. Coincidentally, she has found a man who is football mad and supports Leeds United, sound familiar? ( father, her first husband is a football mad Leeds fan).

We live and learn. This time next year, hopefully i'll be a millionaire. In all seriousness, this latest semester i have had a different outlike on life. It's not that i'm happier, it's something more than that. I have an energy at the moment, a fire that is getting me going. It's not something i do, nor someone i know that lit it, but it's there. With this in mind, take 2012, and grab it by the horns.

Lets make it a good one. (Also, i couldn't think of a nice picture for this blog, so i've chose a picture of a robot).