Category Archives: Indian F1 fan

The ‘Fantastico’ feeling with Tata Zica at Goa!

The cars and Goa have an innate connection with my life and driving those charming drives in Goa is only too exciting. Another chance, another TATA car and you could not have asked for more.

This time with Indiblogger and Zica the new hatchback which will debut in the market early next year from the Tata stable. Of late with the introduction of Zest and the automatic version from the Tatas they have been making a serious effort to redefine the brand imagery that they have built from their first ever Indian Car – the Indica.

Here too the Zica is a short version of Zippy Car, which we soon found out that it lived up to its name. Zippy Car.

My travel perhaps to Goa was the longest or the lengthiest in relative terms which was a flight from hometown Coimbatore to Bangalore a day earlier on 4th and then joining the Bangalore buddies at the Bangalore Airport on the 5th early morning. Not to mention a flight missed getting back and then again Bangalore to Coimbatore.

Having a cousin in toe was nice. Arunraj, now an entrepreneur was also making his impact felt on the blogging scene and it’s nice to see him a part of the 60 lucky bloggers to drive the Zica.

The Indiblogger team left no stones unturned to make it a special trip right from the moment we got down at Goa to the time we got back. All those moments were special thank you so much Indiblogger and Team Tata Motors

The Zica a product of three year Research & development at the Tata Motors will be a defining moment for them. The classic Tata Grill has got a make over this time all black finish and a chrome logo and looks like a a bit of Jaguar impact on the front. The gleaming lines which take you to the sides and the headlamps all have been worked to a perfect drill.

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The colours are a treat to the eyes and I can foresee these gleaming beauties parading across the streets in the days to come.

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Ok let me make a confession this is going to be very exhaustive review. Like they did the ZEST as a platform, Tata Motors have come in with Zica as a Platform. A new challenger in the mid entry segment it boast of features that are on par with high end models. We will wait on the pricing and that would do the trick.

So this Zica is a passionate team work of three years as I had already mentioned, with inputs from their Italian counterpart, Tata was only willing to sport the international look that redefines the Tata stable.

Design Next

The classic example is the redesigned and revamped front grille, giving you ample sturdy and communicative look and adds to the aerodynamic stature of the car. The hexagonal imprint is very nice on the car. The head lamps, the parking lamp and tail lamps have been spruced up to make for a impact of a big car. This is as expressive as it can get greeting you with a confident and agile stance, talking of which I answered agile when asked about Messi in one word.

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Drive Next

And now the heart of the matter, er the car, in two fuel variants petrol and diesel have nice set of engines which will get you the power in the city’s traffic and also the fuel efficiency that matters to every Indian. The car which we drove came up with 30 kmpl on the Instant Fuel efficiency on the dashboard.

The petrol version sports the Revotron 1.2 L engine with first in segment multi drive modes on City and Eco giving us a peppy drive around the city and furl economy.

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The Petrol version is powered by the Revotron 1.2 L engine delivering a power of 85PS and torque of 115Nm @3500 rpm. All aluminium makes it light and fuel efficient.

The diesel version is an all new 1.05 L Revotorq engine indigenously developed in-house deliver s optimum power of 70PS  and I must add it’s an aluminium engine which delivers a refined superior engine.

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Advanced dual path suspension gives you enough leeway to go over the bumps and potholes that our Indian roads are famous for and 9th gen ABS is a standard with corner stability control for safer driver around the corners.

Connect Next

And talk of interiors and a fantastic job again here, the dashboard is very very chic with a body coloured lining in the sides sporting awing like feature and use of space to accommodate everything you wanted to get inside the car. Water can, a Pepsi can your iPad the way it should be taken up and a 240 litre space to boot.

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You have the Connect – an integral part of Tata these days with their navigation system powered by Mapmyindia and a new music system of hotspots with a Juke Car app. Now everyone in the car becomes a DJ and put the next song on the line.

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So that was about the car in simple words… now to the event.

We all reached Goa, checked in to the Aliva Diwa, a beautiful place in its pristine beauty, red brick structures giving it an enamoured look.

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Post registrations and refreshments and lunch, we started the day on a serious note going to the beach, white sand beaches and they had para gliding happening and it was a sight to watch.

Playing by the waves and some action filled football game later we returned back to the hotel around 5 pm. The game had its share of excitement and injury time, courtesy yours truly trying to save a goal and failing and crashing on the goal post. Roshan was summoned immediately  and he went into a doctor mode with some fine dressing on the toe.


The evening started off with some discussions on the fellow bloggers on how blogging is all happening and things like that. Some cool questions were laid to rest on the participation of food bloggers at an auto event.

The real event was the invite from Tata Motors to go to the Locker Room and find it an awesome place. We had a tshirt decked properly with our name card and a bit of information booklet the file a pen and the cute little pendrive. There was the nice water sipper too.

It was a beautiful scene to watch as everyone found theirs and were looking in awe, selfies and photographs were being clicked incessantly.

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As this was on, they announced the arrival of the coach – Cyrus Sahukar, who came in with a whistle and lo the party began in all earnest in the dressing room.

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The story of how Messi became the brand ambassador for Tata Motors and the reason why they took to Messi was shared fascinatingly by Delna Avari the Head of Marketing and Communications, Tata Motors. Then it was followed by the techno analysis and a passionate presentation of the car and its highlights by Prathap and Sunil.

Then the car was unveiled right in the middle of the field. And the whole team was there who were an integral part of the team Zica.

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We got to ask question and got answers to how Zica is set to redefine the way the people look at the cars.

The evening then was led by the DJ and fellow bloggers taking to the stage not to mention Cyrus Sahukar also making it happen. A great end to an exciting day if you thought the advernture was yet to begin. Well the cars were to be driven tomo.

There are things which happen on a Sunday like a 5.45 am alarm from your hotel staff, that they were so duty conscious. Never mind some folks had slept a few hours before or may an hour before.

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Team D4 : Vaishaki Mishra, yours Truly and Arun Raj

 

And we got ready to set out to drive and explore the countryside too we did really explore we will tell sometime later. We got a diesel car and it was nice, they already had a predetermined the route map.

They also had all the media one pen drive, one set of songs on the phone etc so we can use all the functionalities. The bottle holders were a sight to see.

In  one of the discussion with the teams they said its actually minor details that makes a lot of difference. One such minor alteration in the placement of partking brake handle gave a lot of space for one more bottle holder. Makes sense, Zica Sense.

The steering and the drive platform was almost the same as Zest, having tested the one it was nice. Very responsive and the turning radius was awesome you could cut corners without any hassle. The dashboard sported a nice look with instant fuel efficiency being marked as you drive.

The suspension didn’t disappoint it could take on large craters on the road, for a small car like this. The ride on the diesel was good on the long one and the switching between the City and Eco has an a telling impact in the way it responds with the bit of earnestness in City mode.

Check these pic on the modes and I also wanted to test the gears at each of their levels I think 4th gear stood on without much strain as you can see from this pic. Well add this you know which gear you are on on the dashboard!

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The Music System on the Juke app gets connected and you can line up the songs – democratic setup everybody gets to line up their fav. In course of the presentation day before Delna has indeed put this up from the real time experience when you also want to listen to your fav.

Looks like there has been a lot of consumer insights which has gone into the interiors. check some of the offerings:

  • An ipad / tab holder
  • A Cold drink holder where it will remain cold for you to drink, preferably a can that is
  • A place near the steering for the driver to keep things handy
  • Enough and more bottle holders – 7 bottle holders and 2 cup holders
  • Charger on usb mode
  • Parking Ticket holder
  • Speakers on four doors giving you the best entertainment on the go

The AC works fine and is able to get to the back seat and that’s nice given that there are no special vents.

The have two sets of suspensions that take you on the most inimitable Indian roads. Well the boot space is optimum with 240 liters of boot space and there is a separate partition for tool kit.Image 2

Overall a nice package and I must say Tatas are making the strides by leap and they will deliver the punch that the market is so expecting them to in the next few days.

One thing I should mention here is the way the #madeofgreat campaign was brought about and made an impact to take Tata Motors to a different realm, I think that needs a separate blog by itself.

Thanks to Tata Motors, Indibloggers and a whole lot of our blogger friends making this event a fantastico for ever.

I leave you with this video, pardon me for my low voice.

Senthilkumar

#madeofgreat Narain Karthikeyan and my boss

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There comes a time in your life when you would say yes without looking at any rational things like how far will it hold and will this help you in your career, etc. That moment was when I was offered to join Narain Karthikeyan as his Manager way back in 2004.

Those people who noticed the Formula 1 calendar were considered a bit elitist. This was a sport which is one of super human endurance to say the least. I remember the ode by a Hindu columnist when Narain started his first race at Melbourne Australia. You get to see the bit of the eyes thorough the visor, his head nodding through the corners as if he is enjoying a song on the car at speeds that you can only imagine but cant live in reality.

But this is not about the Narain that we know once he started racing in F1 circa 2005. But well it about those traits that made him scale that peak of being the first F1 driver ever from a billion Indians, truly #madeofgreat.

There is a saying that some are born great and some make themselves great, quite a rarity that these two go together. Born in a family of noble men / dewans if you know there are no titles these days, Narain comes from a family which has a legacy of textile mills, an education conglomerate and ofcourse a champion rally driver as dad. As if these were not enough Coimbatore was also the motorsports capital of the country.

The road to the legacy or history was not an easy one. There is a saying that an overnight success is a result of years of hardwork and dedication to the goal that one is attached to.

Coming back to my learnings, there were many aspects but I will restrict it to few awesome qualities that will hold us to greatness.

Focus

There is a story in Mahabharatha. The guru Dronacharya is among his pupils, he has set a target for his wards in archery. So he asks everyone to take an aim. One by one the students take aim and when Drona asks them what do they see, he gets different answers, like there is a tree, there is a branch, there is a parrot and it is green in colour and the like. It was the turn of Arjuna, when asked what did he see, he answered ‘Gruruji, the eyes of the parrot.’

That was knowing what you are upto, being precise and I have seen this focus on mission mode in Narain, the lifetime ambition burning bright, to be in Formula 1. I saw it clear and loud, whenever someone asked him what is he upto. Probably no one had an iota of belief that it would be possible at some time in the distant future. He knew he wanted to be there and as specific as to be in the Formula 1 where his role models Ayrton Senna and Micheal Schumacher raced. The best part he was happy to be racing alongside Micheal Schumacher that year when he made the debut. The icing was Schumi was in his rear view mirror when Narain made the best of the rain hit qualifying and well if you know Narain was always a master racer in the rain. No rain could stop Narain!

Self Confidence

Quite often in life, its with the measure of what others say that we decide our lives, not with what we are or what we could be. I learnt this lesson straight from him. Well there is a a borderline difference about self confidence and over confidence though. It more about not letting others let influence you on your path of success. If you were to be led by others in the country then I am sure we would not have had the first F1 driver in India. You know what you are doing and that’s the most important part of your life. Be very clear on that and well you are confidence personified. The best part is that you cannot put on confidence, and that will show badly. So every time when people almost wrote off he would bounce back with a show of best results to be on podium in the racing series he was on. Never allow any one to affect your self confidence. It has to be intact and it has to be boosted with every step that gets you back.

And when you are confident I am sure the world will conspire to get it done and make it happen. It was the confidence in Narain that saw him go through all the years of hardwork from testing with Jaguar, Honda and Minardi and landing up at Midland F1. It was quite a long way literally if you know he tested for Jaguar in 2001 its so long ago in F1 terms.

Excellence

Excellence is never an accident and it holds true to the way Narain made it happen. You know you need to be the best in the trade you are at. If you yearned to be a racer you got be racing at the pinnacle of motorsport F1. Nothing less would do. And its an art of fine tuning oneself to reach the goal. Its nearly impossible for Bolt to do what he does on the Olympic arena coming out of bed. It was all hard work and sheer tenacity that holds you there. So too was Narain’s path loaded with hard work and keeping him fit and not losing sight of what he wants to do and where he wants to go. One of those things that surely will #makeyougreat.

Perseverance

As you might be aware this sport of F1 is exacting one when it comes to physical fitness. And I have seen him in action when he had his own national racing teams his affinity to physical fitness was there for all to see. You need to be at the gym / workout everyday. You can skip a day or take time off. Your dream or vision needs to be like that. You know if there is a drop the average of your performance take a hit so much so that you need to work twice that effort to make it average your result.

Never let it go, I have never seen him miss his gym session and when people ask me why is he not stopping from racing some series or other, it helps you be in the thick or thin, except the format is different but you need to be fit in the rightest way if I may put it. Keep doing it till we achieve the result, making it worthwhile.

Humility

There is a saying that the moment you think you are humble it gone for a six, well the last part going for six is my contribution, its gone thats it. Be humble at all times I don’t have to narrate any incident because he is one, whatever the achievement, it was like that equilibrium of that lotus leaves that waves cannot override.

I know I can write on many of the traits of Narain say charity and the like, but these have had me in good stead and helped me overcome my personal challenges quite often. That everlasting impact is what I have been able to pass it on to those who I have come in contact, so the life becomes better for the future.

It been a nice way of looking back and thanks so much to this hashtag #madeofgreat. Do check out more here http://madeofgreat.tatamotors.com/

I leave you with this video too!

Senthilkumar

PS: its no sheer coincidence that TATA Motors was his principal sponsor that day when he made over 1.2 billion Indians proud, probably only TATA Motors could identify someone #madeofgreat.

Narain Karthikeyan makes history #6thMar2005

Its almost 10 years now since Narain Karthikeyan scorched the tracks at Australian GP in 2005. The season opener had good news for the Indian since Schumi acknowledged him during the Press Conference on Thursday.

I know Narain would have been on cloud nine, why not that was his idol Schumi talking about him. He has always said this about Schumi – He is like red wine and the more the years, the more better he gets. We do hope Schumi gets back to normalcy at this juncture and yes we do know his son Mika is getting into his boots.

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That pic is a memorable one for the reason that an Indian was taking part in the parade for the first time. Back home it did create a lot of expectation for him to win the races. Well it was a well intentioned thought, though from people who didn’t know Narain did all he could with the machine at his disposal.

There was a placard held by a girl in the stands which read “Marry Me Narain”

The qualifying was a classic affair giving Narain the rain master as he is nick named a chance to prove his mettle. He went on to start the grid on 12! A great way to start off the season.

There was a big headline I remember which said, Narain will carry on the big hopes of a billion people, it was true and it indeed was a moment to cherish.

Formula One World Championship

Narain finished a creditable 15th on the grid on the race day 10 years ago at Australia.

That was a start of a roller coaster ride for an Indian in F1. Will get you more on this series.

Before I sign off this one, I should mention the critical part played by the sponsors and especially Mr. Ratan Tata who endorsed Narain’s talent to be a part of this big league. Thanks to TATA Motors, Bharat Petroleum Speed, JK Tyres, and Amaron Batteries.

This is the 2nd part of the series #MyF1years getting you some inside moments during the year.

Senthilkumar aka – Indian F1 fan

My F1 years! #NarainKarthikeyan #F1

Narain Karthikeyan (IND) Jordan has his seat fitting. Jordan Seat Fitting, Jordan HQ, Silverstone, England, 3 February 2005. DIGITAL IMAGE

Narain Karthikeyan (IND) Jordan has his seat fitting.
Jordan Seat Fitting, Jordan HQ, Silverstone, England, 3 February 2005.
DIGITAL IMAGE

Formula One World Championship

Narain with team mate Tiago Monteiro and Trevor Carlin

Dear Friends,

I will be writing about the first F1 years with respect to Narain Karthikeyan. Come Jan 31st it would be 10 years since that announcement that Narain Karthikeyan went on to make history as the First F1 driver from India. In his own words, ‘there are fewer F1 drivers than astronauts on earth’ that was an achievement only he could have earned and deservedly so.

As it was about to sink in, and the pulse racing on how it would all go that year saw a great revival in Indian’s fortunes and some near misses. The Australian GP was one of its kind. I can easily recall that qualifying under the rains and Narain was in his elements and lo the he had Schumi the God on the track in his rear view mirror when he started that first race of the reason.

It was a drive for Narain and an aspiration for a billion people lived that moment when he raced past the chequered flag completing the race. Bringing home the car mattered the most. In a nation that took time to understand the sport and with people looking to Narain to win a race, it was all like they say in a race – eventful year for Narain and Indian motorsports.

It was during the Thursday’s press conference Narain was acknowledged by the Master Schumacher saying ‘I saw him drive’. With a billion aspiration on his shoulder Narain set out to race in one of his life’s unforgettable moments. His close knit family travelled to see the event unfold, the Australian fans waving the Indian flags and it was a sight to watch when he was aboard the car during the parade moments preceding the race on Sunday.

I still remember a poster which said ‘Narain Marry Me!’ from one of the fangirl.

On March 18, 2005, the yellow coloured Jordan No.19 was cynosure of all eyes in India glued to the TV screens and that signature Chakra & tricolour helmet was all we could see in action as he set out to drive the race of his life time. Its no mean achievement to be the first Indian F1 driver. History was made! He finished 15th!

We shall relive all these moments in the series starting now. And you cant forget TATA, Speed by Bharat Petroleum, JK Tyres, Amaron and Raymonds and JCB later joined the party!

Senthilkumar Rajappan

Pics Courtesy: Jordan F1 2005

When Hello was the last good bye!

NSDF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have had the best part of my life with the fastest Indian in the world. Well you guessed it right. Narain Karthikeyan is his name. The fastest Indian was the best speed master you could ever watch in action on the track. But come to city roads, especially the normal roads, the master would get to be a normal driver with a sense of responsibility that is reflective of a true dutiful citizen.

I think that was one of the most important way he had a message – Safety begins with me.

With the advent of mobile phones and other gadgets which have become very personal, everybody is ON literally even while driving. Checking updates on Facebook, Whatsapp, and may be on the BBM, and ofcourse a call to disrupt the smooth drive.

Its quite often the instinct that makes us take calls, not understanding the risk that it poses to us and other people around or on the road. The best part is that even in the most sophisticated cars I have seen people holding to the mobile phone and a slanting head talking vigorously on the phone.

I know there are things which will need your immediate attention, but not that to the cost of a dangerous driving. I recall having paid a fine, for taking a call. This happened some 10 years before. I had just answered a single phrase after switching on the phone. “on my way” was all I said, but then I was already in the sight of the police officers as I turned the bike. That was the last time I took a call on a bike or when driving a car. People have got used to the fact that if I am not answering a call – driving could be one of the reason.

I hold myself valuable to the missed call and to that effect I reply them as soon as I get down.

The word initiative in English starts with ‘I’ and so much relevant to anything we would like to start positive. Possibly smile at people on the road and thank them when they are courteous would make a lot of difference. We need that initiative to start from our side so we can make for a better roads to drive and ensure safe journey.

Welcome to NSDF!

Nissan has been championing the cause of safe driving and today has touched over 2 lakhs citizens through the initiative – Nissan Safety Driving Forum.

The program which began as an annual activity in 2012 covered three main Indian cities – New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai – and since then has gradually expanded to several additional cities across India.

This year, NSDF all set to cove 8 new cities in Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Jaipur, Vadodara, Nagpur, Chennai, Mangalore and Kochi. The overall reach and engagement levels have phenomenally grown and NSDF has effectively reached close to 2 lakh citizens. It continues to stay committed to its core objective of promoting safe driving behaviour in India.

Did You know you could actually get real action during the event – how safety works?

Through this initiative NSDF aims to make safe driving a priority and also gives knowledgeable insights into driving and other safety features with its interactive activities. This would contribute to a young mobile and vibrant country in the long run.

It would be great if more people came forward to be a part of this initiative and make it happen – reduce fatalities in the roads. Here three cheers to the inititaive

So to achieve a great safe road, some basics that needs to be done irrespective of the fact whether they are mandatory or not, we need to follow these basic rules. Why I used the word mandatory in the previous sentence is because, I hail from Tamil Nadu where Helmet and Seat belts are not mandatory while its mandatory in Kerala and Karnataka! The govt could be least bothered with our lives doesn’t mean we can also be careless. For that matter when has the govt been careful or had worked towards a great roads.

Rule 1. Stick to the right side of the road – In India its the left of the road.

Rule 2: Wear Helmet on a bike and ensure seat belt in a four wheeler.

Rule 3: Never take a call on a ride or a drive.

Rule 4: Don’t exceed Speed limits even if there is on one on the road.

Rule 5: Start early and don’t have to be in a rush.

Rule 6: Follow traffic signal lights – helps everyone especially when the traffic police is not there.

Rule 7: Use headlights judiciously, high beam and low beam only to communicate.

Rule 8: Do not overtake from the left.

Rule 9: Follow all the above and have a great time driving. Life is a journey! Enjoy the drive!

Before I end I leave you with a small video from Think

And also a nice read about a gentleman constable in Bangalore. Click here!

Now to the headline, I thought we need to drive the message that a Hello need not be a start to a conversation especially when driving, it could be the last good bye!

Senthilkumar

F1, Narain and India…

The news of Narain Karthikeyan getting back to F1 made up for an almost lost opportunity to have an Indian driver don the tricolors during the inaugural Indian Grand Prix this October. Watching it from close quarters, it was a foregone conclusion that Narain would be the best bet. I would have preferred him drive a Force India F1 any day, but lets get back to reality.

When I met him a couple of months back, the same questions popped up, whats are the plans like, hows he liking the NASCAR drive, et all. As we conversed, we knew this year is will be more emotional than ever, may be far more than the 2005 year start at Melbourne. I still remember he had Michael Schumacher in his mirror. He felt this is also a very important for us in India to showcase what we can achieve, in terms of Infrastructure and as a nation with a sporting culture what we can pull off especially when its the first Indian GP. The dream of having an Indian driver at the Indian GP is now a reality.

It is a long dream come true, that its there finally on the calendar, we were close to a Hyderabad F1 track way back if I should say, but we never know how political equations can hinder or bolster things up. Then waiting for almost last three years on tow and this years officially being up there near New Delhi in Noida.

Its great to see the place coming up at a brisk pace, and will get ready to host the event. The Commonwealth Games last year, sans the corruption story was a great reminder that India can host the best given an opportunity. We can be sure that Indian GP will also be an event which will change the way F1 looks at Indian market for sure.

Now we have three people to cheer, two FF1 cars and one HRT, and if you thought we will be spoilt for choice, its not simply true. Narain will be most watched, riding on a billion dreams next only to the Cricket World Cup aspirations that Indians religiously have and pray for. We will still be looking out for FF1 cars!

Despite of his age, Narain is a fast driver and a quick learner, so the challenges before him in terms of the change in technology and rules should be easy for him. Adaptability is his forte. Doing what he likes is one of his hallmarks and inside the cockpit he forgets the world around him.

It would be unwise to expect any miracle from HRT on day 1, nevertheless, it might be that he should look for opportunities wasted by those ahead of him and for sure, we will be a happy lot. Now waiting for the Bahrain GP to kick start the circus as we all know for this year!

Will be back with more!

The news was shocking as much as bitter for the fans of motorsports especially when it is has a message of Rest In Peace. I went to bed with an official update from FIA Safety official that Henry Surtees after that crash in the F2 race at Brands Hatch has been stabilized and is in a London Hospital only to see this morning that he is no more.

I have had to watch this F2 series, an Indian intent with Armaan Ebrahim in the race. Only two weeks back we were told of his accident and there was this assurance that “safety” records of the motorsports in general, and especially for the drivers and personnel safety on the track and off it. Armaan crashed and hit the armcore at over 200 kph. He was geting back and did race in the last race yesterday.

Watching last week’s television coverage on F1 with ESPN Star Sports (Official Broadcaster Asia Region), I was really stumped by a viewer question, on how the Brawn GP team was allowed to operate a pit stop without the helmets for its mechs, the footage revealed it true and glare, the incident in question had thrown all safety measures to wind. The answer ofcourse was that FIA would have taken note of it.

Coming back to Surtees Incident, it was not a bit of his fault, how unlucky should that talent called Henry be, with a podium just weeks ago to his name and making his intent on following his father the great John Surtees.

The television video showed how out of nowhere he was involved with a tyre going all the way to hit his helmet and his car going straight crashing and spinning all over.

That a wonderful and great talent has been shortcircuited in an accident, is of great shame to the sports, though we cannot blame anyone in particular.

My deepest and sincere condolences to the family and his team in this moment of grief. We pray his soul REST IN PEACE.