Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Toys and Prams

"Which would you prefer Lewis? The soft teddy? The Sylvanian Families house and figures? Star Wars figures? Action Man doll? Barbie even?"
"All of 'em please Martin. Please please, pretty please with a cherry on the top!"
"Ok but only if you promise not to throw these ones out of the pram I am paying you squillions a year to sit in..."
"I promise, I promise! I'll be a good boy - honest"
"OK,  there you go. Oops, you dropped your dummy now silly boy. There, that's better..."

I have to be honest, while I admire Lewis Hamilton's aggressive nature behind the wheel and would never wish to see him abolish it (contrary to others banging that drum) I am growing tired of his endless moaning after each race as he continues to throw his toys out of the pram.

As with all racing drivers, it is always the fault of another upon matters of contact on the circuit and while it has been hardly surprising to see Lewis adopting this stance in the wake of his troubled runs in Monaco and Montreal recently, his comments regarding the performance of his McLaren and of his title aspirations for the year are it is in bad taste.

Speaking after Sunday's European GP in Valencia where he finished 4th and Sebastian Vettel claimed a 6th win in 8 races, Hamilton said: "It's finished really. In the sense of the championship it's almost over already."

He then did all he could to garner support for his upcoming home race at Silverstone by declaring: "I'm not looking forward to it, I'm really not looking forward to it. I'll be going there as prepared as I can, racing as fast as I can, but we really might struggle." The PR department at Silverstone will no doubt have been raising a glass to those pre-race ringing endoursements...

However the 26-year-old clearly woke up rejuvenated on Monday as he posted on his official Twitter account: "To all our supporters, ignore what u read in the papers today. My team will never give up & I WILL NEVER GIVE UP!!!!
"Bring on silverstone, ur support will make a world of difference to us. I'm going to the factory now to do all I can with our team."

Trouble is Lewis, the papers only reported what you actually said so you cannot lay the blame at their door on this occasion. The Ali G gag after his Monaco debacle went down like the Titanic and his assessment of suitable places to overtake other drivers were highly questionable in the rains of Montreal so a safe game was necessary in Valencia. All the while, Vettel romped to yet another win in a team Lewis unquestionably wishes employed him.

Come to think of it, given his obvious frustration at the inability of McLaren to provide him with a consistent race-winning machine since his title winning campaign in 2008, is it any wonder he is unable to hide his displeasure at being unable to drive an Adrian Newey-designed winner?

He is currently a man ill at ease with himself, his team or the attitude of consecutive Race Stewards and feels his talent deserves more respect. Lewis' attitude suggests he believes he deserves a bye within certain areas of the sport and while his cavalier technique should not be discouraged,it can only be acceptable when applied with correct judgement.

In contrast to the adolescent attitude of his team mate, Jenson Button was also disappointed to have had a poor showing but notably failed to be defeatist.
"We had the fastest race car in Barcelona, Monte-Carlo and Montreal, but we didn't have the fastest race car here in Valencia today,” he said. “However, you can take it as read that we'll be working flat-out over the next ten days to do our utmost to ensure that we have as fast a race car as we possibly can for Silverstone.”

Sure, button also appreciates that McLaren have a lot of work to do to catch Red Bull, but every other driver out there is in the same boat but still they offer no comments of a similar nature to Hamilton.

The new regulations banning the 'off-throttle' devices from next Sunday's British GP could see Red Bull loose their advantage a little but will that be enough to appease Lewis? Who knows but it's going to be fun reporting what he does say after the race-but please remember, don't believe what we write, will you...

Wednesday, 8 June 2011


I tried my hardest but the end result was never in doubt, I cried....
There, I said it. yes, I, cried.

'SENNA' is the work of genius and sitting through the docu-film for over an hour and a half was to re-visit why I fell in love with Formula 1 and motor racing in the first place. It was a wonderful visualisation of a man with a talent not of this world and it is unquestionably a brilliant collage of imagery that beautifully encapsulates all that was Ayrton Senna.

In capturing the main points behind the Brazilian's 10 year grand prix career, the viewer is subjected to footage of artistry in its purest form. Pictures of Ayrton making his Lotus Renault literally dance as he feathered the throttle around the Australian streets of Adelaide in 1985, or those on-board, mesmerising clips of Monaco in 1988 and 1989 as we ride with the McLaren Honda between the tight confines of the principality, all contribute to providing a glimpse into the passion with which Brazil's favourite son drove.

He was an emotional driver in extreemis, and while his blatant denial of wrong doing in the aftermath of the infamous Suzuka collision with Prost in 1990, was almost laughable yet the passion in his voice at the injustice he perceived had been directed at him the previous year, almost made you side with him...

I thought the coverage of that weekend in hell back in 1994 was wonderfully handled and while sad, it was warming to see previously unseen footage of those three days at Imola which ended in such tragedy.
Roland Ratzenburger's crash footage was preceded by a short clip of the man himself in discussion with a member of his Simtek team moments before his fatal run. Explaining that he was trying to stop over driving the car and needed to calm down was harrowing in the extreme when the following few minutes delivered the crash, the terrible scenes after the impact and Senna's clear distress at the fate of his fellow driver.

Since Sunday May 1st, I have always been convinced that Senna was not mentally ready to race that fateful day and upon observing the pre-race images of the triple world champion sat in the cockpit of his Williams Renault FW16, frowning, shaking his head and sighing, I realised that he was in no fit state to race. We had known he was unhappy with the handling of the car until his death and that even during the weekend of Imola he is seen discussing these issues with the car's designer Adrian Newey and race Engineer David Brown. "The car is just unstable in every way" Ayrton is heard saying repeatedly and when you combine such factors with the anguish he was still obviously feeling at the demise of Ratzenburger the previous day, it makes those images of Senna in his final few moments all the more poignant.

The subsequent funeral was mammoth and the footage screened before me brought tears to the eyes and failed to dissipate until I had left the auditorium.

In the final minute of the film, Ayrton is asked who was the driver he most feared and admired throughout his entire career: "Terry Fullerton," is the immediate response.

Don't know who he is? Look him up and you'll see why he was held in such high regard by Senna. 
The fact that Fullerton is not mentioned in the film is the only gripe I have with the movie. Showing Ayrton Senna in every light was not an easy task though personally, I feel that had his early career in karting been given more allocation, a greater picture would have emerged of why Ayrton Senna became the driver he was - and an idol to millions...

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Anticipating 'Senna' movie...

Well, this is it, the moment has finally arrived for me to make my way to the cinema and indulge myself in a couple of hours of joy, laughter and tears no doubt.

Much has been said of the Senna film and the impact it has had on audiences since it's general release in the UK on June 3rd and while non have been more eager to see it than I, knowing the emotions I am going to go through has meant needing to find the right moment to go.

today is that moment and while I am smiling at the thought off seeing this docu-film about a man who was my childhood idol, I am anxious at the thought of what I know will be heart-wrenching for me and countless Ayrton fans the world over.

Imola 1994 was the blackest day in contemporary Formula 1 and the memory of sitting the front room of my parents house,watching the accident unfold alongside my father, the two of us gasping in astonishment, will last forever. Much was said in the years that followed, opinion polls were unanimous in their results that Senna was a legend and in death, will forever remain so.

What many didn't appreciate was that away from the track, Ayrton was capable of such generosity and kindness and from my understanding of the film, this is not lost on the audience and for that, i am thankful. He was a staunch Brazilian national and the people of Brazil worshiped him and both won and lost with him on the circuit during his short F1 career.

He was to me and millions the world over,  a true inspiration and I hope in a few hours time, to be reporting on a wonderful motion picture.

In fact, I know I will.