Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Oh! It’s you! Let’s ease ourselves back in gently, shall we?

Though a Vettel by any other name would drive as quickly, it cannot hurt the modern racing driver to make himself stand out as far as possible in the minds of fans, potential employees and prospective sponsors. Some have the advantage of looks – put a call in to Central Casting asking for a racing driver and they’ll probably send you the spitting image of Carlos Reutemann. Others – Hunt, Raikkonen, Depailler – became favourites through devil may care spirit, embracing the idea that you only live once and enjoying that one shot to its fullest.

It has often struck me, though, that it can only be a good thing to be the owner of a memorable name. Take, for instance, 1985 British F3 National Class winner Carlton Tingling, then see if you can forget that handle in a hurry. Hungry? Have a Bertrand Baguette with some Thornton Mustard, another British F3 name from times past.

There are the urologically sound (Dick Passwater), the born-to-do-it (Lake Speed won at the highest level, Scott Speed whined there), the translator’s dream ticket (Libero Pesce, translated literally from Italian, is “free fish”) and the oddly relevant questions (Willy Vroomen? His team boss hopes he will). Famous landmarks (Ricardo Londono-Bridge) vie for attention against modes of transport (Ric Shaw), those with time to fill and a means of filling it (Fred Wacker) and those still more practiced in the same art (Kye Wankum, Dick Creamer, and it goes on – a rich seam would appear to have been struck here).

Some press officers are never more than one false key press from disaster (Buck Fulp, Vanina Ickx) while others dare not let their drivers have control of the barbecue (Bernd Burger), the length of their leash (Kiki Wolfkill) or anything else at all (Ken Klutz). Certain drivers have a career on the dirt tracks mapped out from birth (Dusty Rhoades) while others know broadly what to do but can’t commit to a specialism (Bernard de Dryver) and still others had a change of heart once they’d thought about it (Dick Salesman).

Perhaps some aren’t stand outs by themselves – Will Power may argue that he is, but when teamed with Andrew Ranger in ChampCar, he’s one half of an unbeatable duo. In this sub-category, file those who didn’t drive together but ought to have done, such as the ultimate missed opportunity, a Patrick Watts/Cristiano Da Matta endurance partnership (imagine Murray Walker at full tilt and consider their surnames – you’ll be in agreement soon enough), and those a bored reporter slipped past their editor (the Kamiya Iwanalaya/Onri Wenyapaimi sportscar pairing, as brilliant as it is fictitious).

Before we get back to the relatively serious stuff, let me know if I’ve missed out one of your favourites by leaving a comment. If you happen to be any of the above-named, I am genuinely interested to know if your name brought you any advantages (or disadvantages, come to that) when pitching for sponsors and so on, so please do drop me a line.


Alonso: I would support Massa if needed.

In other news this evening, Petrolhead Blogger: I would become trapped in a lift with Beyonce if needed.

Sorry about the dust.  I’ll tidy up in a bit, I promise.

I’ve been moved to write to you all again by Romain Grosjean’s ban, incurred for causing an avoidable, spectacular and potentially lethal shunt during the field’s first trip through La Source in yesterday’s Belgian Grand Prix.

I’m not against the ban.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  The message needs to be given, not just to Grosjean but to those climbing the ladder, that motor sport is dangerous and that drivers should appear at least a tiny bit aware of that danger.  Anyone who wishes to question the wisdom of that idea would do well to watch a recording of a GP3 or Formula 3 race and then, once you’ve managed to prise your fingers away from your eyes and convince yourself everything’s going to be fine, come back and let me know what you thought of it.  The example set by such leading lights as Senna, Schumacher and latterly Vettel has led those climbing the ladder to lose sight of what constitutes dangerous driving, not just at the start of races but throughout their distance; anything that brings that back into focus is worth applauding.

The team aren’t against the ban either, at least not publicly.  Here’s an excerpt from an FIA statement:

“The stewards regard this incident as an extremely serious breach of the regulations which had the potential to cause injury to others.  It eliminated leading championship contenders from the race. 

“The stewards note the team conceded the action of the driver was an extremely serious mistake and an error of judgement. Neither the team nor the driver made any submission in mitigation of penalty.”

Fair enough.

Hang on, though.  It eliminated leading championship contenders from the race.”  This is undeniably true – it removed Lewis Hamilton from contention and came within an ace of removing Fernando Alonso’s head from his shoulders – but unless you’re wanting people like me to infer that Grosjean wouldn’t have been penalised had he hit Petrov and Karthikeyan in the same petrifying fashion, it’s absolutely not the kind of thing you should be putting in an official statement.

You might also be tempted to wonder why, if Romain Grosjean causing an accident merits a ban, Pastor Maldonado deliberately using his car as a weapon on two separate occasions doesn’t.  The stewards change from event to event, as does the driver appointed to assist them in their decision making.  Nigel Mansell was the driver for both of Maldonado’s efforts while Eliseo Salazar made his stewarding debut this weekend, so the inconsistency must stem from Mansell and Salazar having slightly different views on what it’s like to be attacked by another racing driver.

Yes, I’m going to link to it.  Of course I’m going to link to it.

When last we spoke, we touched upon the idea that life is to be lived and enjoyed, since it can come to an end at any time.  Much as I wish it didn’t, that idea leads us into this little post.

I wish it didn’t because as well as being England’s only world rally champion and a magnificent driver, Richard Burns was a thoroughly nice man.  Survivor of countless runs through the dark, foggy forests of Kielder, the Kenyan desert and the Australian outback, Burns lost his life in November 2005 as the result of a brain tumour.  Unfairness, huge unfairness, of a kind Richard couldn’t possibly have influenced.

The Richard Burns Foundation works to provide support to those similarly struck down by serious or terminal illness, as well as working with the Brain & Spine Foundation to improve the amount and standard of neurological care available across the United Kingdom.  To illustrate why this is a cause worthy of our full support, Richard’s family and friends have produced a short video showing who he was and how his illness came to affect him:

To find out more about the Richard Burns Foundation, please don’t hesitate to visit their website.  Along with more on how the foundation came to exist and exactly what they do, you’ll see pictures of some familiar faces signing orange t-shirts produced to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Burnsie’s 2001 world title triumph.  If you’d like to show your support, you can place an order for your own Paint It Orange shirt here.

Welcome to an occasional feature in which we highlight the most peculiar search term used to visit my little blog this week.  Our winner, an unnamed entrant from a location I haven’t been able to determine, is the somewhat puzzling “how to spell Jenson in China”.  In order that I might get a higher number of entrants in future, let’s shamelessly tag this post with ‘Google search’ or something similar and see what happens.

Sorry for the downtime, lads and lasses.  I realise that some of you only check in when there’s a race weekend on, but those who don’t might have expected me to write something in the 3 weeks between China and Turkey.  Instead, I’ve been at work, pausing occasionally to get over whatever that recent sickness actually was.  I’d like to put a few things together over the long weekend coming up, so do please stay tuned.

Don’t call it a comeback

Posted: December 7, 2010 in Uncategorized

This would have been but it turns out that someone registered that domain two years ago.  There isn’t a single post on it.  Oh, you’d have looked too.

Petrolhead Blogger is, you’ll not be at all surprised to learn, an attempt to revive, a moderately popular blog which recently died a slow and agonising death for reasons I shan’t detain you with here.  It looks different, the URL isn’t exactly the same and it involves half the number of people (which is why the hosting I’m using is free and the theme is a default one, fact fans) but the aim is to provide broadly the same kind of content.  For the uninitiated, that means a racing fan discussing news, current events and the twists and turns of every Formula One race weekend in what I’m contractually obliged to describe as “his own unique style”.

The old site had all kinds of category menus, a beginners guide and a few other features.  I haven’t forgotten them and I’ll try to add them in as we go along.  I also remember that whenever I posted a picture, some extra wild stabs in the general direction of wit could be accessed by hovering your mouse over the image.  I’ll keep doing that too.  It can be our little secret.

All that remains for this introductory post, this appetiser before the badly constructed and inevitably libellous main course, is to send you my thanks for sticking with me.  I really appreciate it and I’m looking forward to having you around over the coming months.