Category Archives: Motorsports

Cracker of a race in Bahrain – Hamilton finishes on top with Rosberg behind…

What a team win that was!

That was a race that would be remembered for a long time to come. The V6 era has come to stay and the change in attitude of the teams led to what was a redefinition of the wheel to wheel racing at the first night race ever at Bahrain International Circuit. In an incident filled race, where quite a few teams even traded the fastest laps, Lewis finished P1 and Rosberg finished P2.

The qualifying was an anti climax with Lewis not making it on top though it was a 1-2 Mercedes front grid. He made it up in the first corner going ahead of his team mate and maintained the lead till the chequered flag. Not before we were witness to some of the best wheel to wheel racing moments. There were no team orders and it was fun for the fans, ofcourse they had to intervene to just say ‘Bring home both the cars.’ I think that resonated well with all the teams, the Sahara Force India, the Williams and the Redbulls.

The sun had set and it was an evening of sheer magic for the fans watching the show on television. The way the front lead cars battled out for the prized top spot on the podium was an exhilarating experience that was special in a way the team mates took out on each other at every given opportunity and made come backs too. The camaraderie of the sport was in full glare when Lewis and Rosberg were all smiles and Rosberg acknowledged his teammate’s performance, though he did warn Lewis on a tweet that he is going to be back to see how he can be at No.1.

The other team which delighted us to the core was the Sahara Force India, coming in at P3 and P5 and it was a terrific drive by Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg. The pit stops were clean and then the drive super smooth. Wheel to wheel, overtaking and everything you wanted happening around the racetrack.

The RedBull also had a great race considering that the cars started at 10th and 13th and finally finishing at P4 and P6 with Riccardio and Vettel. There were moments when they were struggling a lot and they managed to overtake and get themselves to the best results they could achieve.

Williams also added to the fury of the speed when at the start Massa went off  a dream start and I thought they had some problems and settled for the best places Massa at P7 & Bottas P8. There were spurts of excellent driving in the race by these two men.  The last 2 in the top 10 were taken by Ferrari Alonso and Kimi in that order.

There was a Safety car moment when Maldonado went straight into the Guiterrez and flipping his car over track. Luckily he was unhurt, which actually wiped off the advantage the race leader Hamilton had built up.

But the Mercedes were at their best check the lead of over 24 seconds that splits the top 2 and the rest of the teams. Now this race is gonna be remembered for long for quite some time!

Well, you now know what happens if the teams can just shut and let the drivers race!

Indian F1 fan

Race Results

1. Lewis Hamilton Britain Mercedes-Mercedes 57 laps 1hr 39m 42.743s
2. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes +00m 01.0s
3. Sergio Perez Mexico Force India-Mercedes +00m 24.0s
4. Daniel Ricciardo Australia Red Bull-Renault +00m 24.4s
5. Nico Hulkenberg Germany Force India-Mercedes +00m 28.6s
6. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault +00m 29.8s
7. Felipe Massa Brazil Williams-Mercedes +00m 31.3s
8. Valtteri Bottas Finland Williams-Mercedes +00m 31.8s
9. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari +00m 32.5s
10. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari-Ferrari +00m 33.4s

11. Daniil Kvyat Russia Toro Rosso-Renault +00m 41.3s
12. Romain Grosjean France Lotus-Renault +00m 43.1s
13. Max Chilton Briton Marussia-Ferrari +00m 59.9s
14. Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Lotus-Renault +01m 02.8s
15. Kamui Kobayashi Japan Caterham-Renault +01m 18.3s
Rtd Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes +2 laps
16. Jules Bianchi France Marussia-Ferrari +3 laps

Rtd Kevin Magnussen Denmark McLaren-Mercedes 40 laps completed
Rtd Esteban Gutierrez Mexico Sauber-Ferrari 39 laps completed
Rtd Marcus Ericsson Sweden Caterham-Renault 33 laps completed
Rtd Jean-Eric Vergne France Toro Rosso-Renault 18 laps completed
Rtd Adrian Sutil Germany Sauber-Ferrari 17 laps completed

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Schumi! You can do it!

 

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I didnt think when I resolved that I will blog more on F1, I would have to have a different Schumi story to start with. The news from the Alps from France was like a thunderbolt, which has muted so much of enthusiasm for the fans aross the world.

Micheal Schumacher, the 7 time world Champion is in coma after a skiing incident. The irony of the accident is we have seen Schumi drives at speeds over 300 kmph and the safety of the F1 car giving its drivers the best on what it can offer today. This incident probably brings back a lot of memories of the past era espeically the accident of Senna which happened during a race. It took a long time for those fans to recover.

Accidents like these have demonstrated the will power of extraordinary sports persons to fight against all odds. The latest news coming from the hospital bulletin and social media updates do give the feeling that Schumi is not the one to give up.

I always have Robert Kubica in mind and the eternal fighting spirit that he personified since his accident and getting back to drive in world rally a few years later. I have always believed the sports person have this innate ability to come back, mentally stronger and physically robust after every fall.

The outpouring of grief and the prayers are testimony to the way the man and way he handled the mean machines – the way Schumi has impacted a generation of motorsports fans across the globe. I am sure these are extraordinary times for the immediate family and the friends.

Yeah Schumi, you will win, and you are fighter and only known to cross the line with finesse and great elan. While we await your recovery here’s praying that you get back and see the flood of emotions that the world had for you.

I know Schumi, you can do it and you will, for the world is just waiting to see you back.

Your fan always!

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Amaze-ing Honda Hangout! #amazesmeontheroad

It was a nice setting, a Saturday morning in Bengaluru’s weather and driving the pot filled roads. I reach Taj Vivanta not before being introduced midway to Karthik, a privateer rally driver. Very interesting exchanges on motorsports and entrepreneurship follows.

At the venue of Honda Hangout, get to meet those bloggers at arms and the Bloggers Mind team! And we settle after a nice breakfast! I could see cars lined up for the day.

The official itinerary had the normal stuff and we were led through a very long and interesting presentation on the Honda Amaze and how it came to be the car that it is today.

Also got to see a couple of nice Honda television commercials: Check this one!

The Honda Amaze is a greatly conceived car and has the Honda DNA and the Diesel version has the power and sensitivity to a great extent. This is a culmination of studies and insights from ground zero. In one of the answers the team said they had studied some 20 different road bumps to get to the right ride height. The space in the back seats also marks the importance of leg room and they have optimised the boot.

So we were all set, in groups of three people and a member Bloggers Mind. It happened that I was a part of the first car!

All set the first impressions were obvious ones, a grand looking car, nice front grill with trademark Honda Logo the lights were also clear and flowing with the lines, then there was the fog lamps.Oh these cars comes in beautiful colours too!

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The back of the car was also very well styled. Looks pretty with the lights on! The chrome band adds to the look.

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Look inside is a nice console, would have loved the music system and the AC panel flowing down rather than being two different sets. You will find three colours on the panel , its pretty sleek to an extent, and the plastic look actually makes it little cheap.

Otherwise the dual tone interiors are a delight to soak in. One serious stuff they missed is the BLUE TOOTH! Yes it doesn’t have blue tooth connectivity.

The steering is collapsible ie tiltable, has Airbags, has music controls at your fingertips, so you dont strech yourself in the city riding. On the other hand the seat has a height adjuster, so you know if you are not able to reach the clutch, you know what to do!

The wind shield is a special one with heat control, another amaze-ing feature if you can call it.

I must admit that noise control is par excellence, you would wonder if the car is on, well checked with revs to confirm it.

The ORVMs can be handled from inside and it also has a sporty feel to it with the indicator lights on.

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So we were all set to drive and test it to the limits, yeah we mean that! :)

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Before that let me add the cup holders were a delight it actually was able to hold real 2 bottles. The back seat also had bottle holders very amply spaced out.

A tidbit here: The product team actually collected over 200 bottles from the people at office to finalise the size of the holder.

So we hit the road!

The car was responding so well to the city roads!

Very comfortable in 2nd and 3rd gears too, pretty responsive steering and very close turning radius helps you navigate the city, the traffic the signals and the pot holes in abundance.

The verdict is out half way – very nice city car!

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So we would be touching the high way to actually try going that extra distance and feel the car.

And here we tested it to limits, just look at the snap below! Its a manual setting in the camera, and i was able to take this shot on the highway, it felt like breeze no hangups and no pretence of being fast!

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Pretty nice build I must say! But when I drove I was wondering if we needed an extra bit of power, may be its the light weight on the aluminium engine that makes you feel so! So far its been a great ride and Honda Amazes truly!

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The engine is pretty powerful and makes for a great drive in city and also on the highway! A 1.5 L iDTEC gives a 100 ps power! Very peppy and responsive as already discussed.

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The boot space is optimum, and you have a nice package from Honda! Altogether a great packaging for the Indian consumers and Amaze does the most important thing in fuel efficiency, we did clock over 18 Kmpl on the go and we had really taken it for a ride literally, while another team did make it at 22.4 kmpl! Thats the one big news you were waiting for. So you have a cool sedan and a nice mileage, did someone ask kitna deti hai? ;)

A very nice package value for money and you will love the Honda tag! Going by the waiting period you know they have done the rightest thing, and they are working overtime to reduce that to a half the time with a third shift at their facility.

A nice Honda Hangout with even the team coming from Product management and the marketing made it awesome, simple because they were all ears to the feedback, and that I would say would make all the difference.

Some offbeat shots below!

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Thanks to Bloggers Mind for this wonderful opportunity! Had a great time and will cherish this experience forever. It was different social media experiment taking it offline :) and discussing things online!

Senthilkumar Rajappan

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The Ambassador and the car #replug

Ambassador from HM

My take on Ambassador was revived once I read this article from Firstpost, and here we go with down memory lane! The following is a blogpost I did in 2005!

While I was driving down the office these cars today caught my attention at the traffic signals. Well I am talking about the white Amby with a siren decorated atop and a sunshade to complement. And the usual red board with golden letters whatever…Commissioner, Judge, Mayor….. So today two such cars caught my imagination.

Here are some facts, Since its inception these cars have been used as the official cars except under very strange circumstances. There are a real show of power especially white ambassador cars and has been in use even now as a the car of the politically powerful. Every farmer makes Ambassador their first car.

With so much to styling and the aerodynamics in car design, Amby has always stood its mite being the same car for almost over thirty years. No major design changes have happened in the car and it keeps going strong. Of course you should not take it face to face with todays cars in terms of sales but I believe it had had its enduring value as a car and more to do with politics. It will be sometime before these cars can be replaced. Just imagine if Laloo Prasad Yadav or anybody comes in a Merc, it will be a real contradiction.

As for safety, this car is the favorite, they even had a campaign running how reliable these cars are since the army is using them out there in the borders and other terrains.

Probably ask Mr. Chandrababu Naidu, he would vouch for the safety of the Amby. Analyst say no other car would have made it through if not for Amby during a grenade attack on the Ex-CM.

Ask some of the best people in tinsel town. they use an Amby, The southern superstars, Rajinikanth and Mamootty still own an Amby and Rajinikath is supposed to be really driving it around.

And abroad there is a Car Rental company in UK which runs only Amby and you wont get it cheap, you got to pay more to go in these cars. Japan also imported these cars for their sturdy ‘design’.

And come to choosing colors, I am reminded of Ford who said ‘any color is fine with me as long as they are black’, but then as for Amby any color is fine as long as it is white.

It rules the roost atleast for a topic like this. And to remind you this year Amby celebrates the fiftieth year in being of service to this nation. Long journey ahead and you could always take your bet on an Amby. It is an enigma on Indian roads, which will last for a lifetime.

Senthilkumar Rajappan

(This is a #replug and was posted at http://o3.indiatimes.com/provokingthoughts/archive/2005/09/01/238886.aspx on Sep 01, 2005 )

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TATA Indica Vista D90 – the all new sedan class from TATA!

So that’s was a pleasant surprise when I heard from Blogadda that I am getting to test the all new Tata Indica Vista D90 the one which is yet to be launched.

The car arrived at my office on that day, was feeling elated, it’s a new car and few people have access to it. The ever smiling Tushar Shah from Tata Motors was my connect for the car.

Very sporty look with a dual tone alloy wheels, and a standard TATA front grill, chrome plated fog lamps (front & rear) and a pretty wide eyes – triple barrel headlamps almost going to the door greeted me at the first look! The car comes with ABS, the airbags as standard, in the car I drove which is spice red it had a contrast roof a black one!

You open the car doors to a wide interiors looking menacingly with the beige interiors adding to the space. You could seat comfortably smug in the bucket seat and with steering tilt adjust it to your convenience.

A look at the steering wheel and you get the smart controls at your finger tips. The music, the phone which can be connected via Blue tooth and much more! A peek into the clean dash board gives you the nice interface on the speedometer and the rpm you rev.

The centrally located dashboard  has the 2din music system which has connectivity on USB and also the Blue tooth! You could pair upto 5 devices and the moment you are in the car it will automagically connect you to the device, well you could prioritise the device list.

So you know you got to only think about driving your passionate vehicle and only enjoy the drive. You can pick up the call right from the steering wheel, don’t have to take your hands off anytime.

Just above the console that houses the time machine blinking on the you, is all new Driver Information System. Mindblowing insight into consumer insight is my way of looking at that. It gives you the distance left to the Fuel station, the average mileage that you are clocking at any instant and also the temperature and the time all at alternate clicks of the button.

The leg room is ample for the fornt seat as well as the back seats and the back seat can comfortably seat three people. Behind the seat is a socket for you to charge your electronic devices. Just in case the battery charger is in use near the driver’s console.

The back seat also folds itself to give you more space in case you want at times.

Now you start the car and it responds with a low sound, and you would want to confirm yourself with pushing the accelerator, then you know it’s a diesel engine. Once you get into the driving mode the engine responds so very agile and gets to push faster of course if you have a clear road ahead.

The engine throwing up 90 bhp and with VGT as the state of the heart, responds quickly even at low rpms for you to navigate the city traffic and the traffic signals with ease.

Driving in traffic, it squeezes through cutting corners with the very responsive power steering and the turning radius is awesome to say the least.

The engine responds with a 0-100 kmph in over 15 seconds flat and can touch a top speed of over 150 kmph.

Sometimes intelligence is also at the back of the car like here in D90, where in case its raining your rear wiper will go into action automatically when you are reversing the car.  Yeah I had forgot to mention the rear demister too!  May be two days later I would have got the wind of the same in Delhi when it rained.

A very nice package from TATA and looking forward to it being a runaway success. A very powerful car in its class and with the host of new features it would be a great steal! I am sure you are gonna enjoy the long drive!

Some pictures! 

 

This is a part of Blogadda Sponsored Review Program! (http://blog.blogadda.com/2012/12/27/30-bloggers-review-vista-d90-diesel)

Senthilkumar Rajappan

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Michael Schumacher on Pole!

Well that was the headline that was not to be! Micheal Schumacher the seven time World Champion and the Mercedes Team driver went on to finish on top of the Qualifying Session, except that a 5 place grid penalty was hanging right from the last grand prix and would start 6th tomorrow!

It has been quite a while since the fans and the teams have looked to Schumacher to regain his stronghold, and the time has come today when he went on take the pole. Monaco is one of the trickiest circuit in the calendar and just when people were discussing how other teams were doing the best, Mercedes seems to have got it right this time with two of it drivers in a clash of making it to the top three.

Tomorrow it going to be a great day with the order looking very solid and Webber who is now on pole would not want to miss out on such an opportunity especially at Monaco.

Now will wait and watch how it will unfolds tomorrow and with no margin for error the driver who steers a nice drive can be sure of a lights to flag, and yes will it rain????

R Senthilkumar

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My reply to Firstpost.com article on Narain!

Here’s my answer to the article titled So Narain, why are you in Formula One?

Dear Ashish,

I couldn’t stop myself from replying to this, most of the readers have already made their views felt. I am sorry I dont know how much you know F1 or for that matter, the financials and how it all works.

If you know how Narain performed on the A1 GP or even the F3 alongside Button, you would have stopped yourself from continuing to trash.

Yes the 107% rule did forbid the team from participating, but you have to know the reasons behind this. The teams at the top for want of running a few seconds faster on a lap spend almost 10 x the money this lower rung teams spend. They get the best of the R&D to support them while these lower rung teams help the wannabe drivers to test and help themselves establish.

Unfortunately there are only 24 drivers today and to be a part of that it makes it absolutely a great achievement. Look at the grid before you write, 6 champions and a whole lot of veterans and then you got to look at the teams. By your logic teams like Williams and even Renault would have to hang up their boots and look for alternatives.

Sportsmen go through some ups and downs but just because you have been out of a race you dont need to take a stand like this.

I dont understand your logic with respect to Pedro de La Rosa, why do you think Narain is inferior to Pedro? Narain hasnt had the luxury of even having 2 full season under his belt. You would not have known why he had to drop put last time? or he had a chance to drive a Minardi long time back.

Or take the case of Adrian Sutil, where is he now after so long a stint with the Force India now Sahara Force India, chances are Narain could have done a better job, its all in the long drives that you do.

And for all those asking why Narain couldn’t make it better than his team mate, let me tell you probably he is/was only one of the driver who had to drive, do the sponsorship bit and do everything on his own unlike the counterparts he has had in other countries. And sometimes even have to read such articles.

The paddock knows Narain for his drive albeit a wild driver with instincts that are fully of those a race driver. But see how Jenson Button was an unsung hero for over 150 GP starts and now he is celebrated. I am sure none of the British Journos would have derided Button after say just one full season and a part season after long.

The most laughable part you have mentioned is about the advertisement. Unfortunately drivers of the low rung teams dont have the luxury of pocketing the money. Especially when we should raise 5 crore to a million in Indian Rupees, while its just a million for others in the world and it helps if you are in Europe to do a Euro transaction.

Nobody has ever told him he is Micheal Schumacher that is a ROFL statement you have made to make you unworthy of what you are writing. Comparing Schumi’ years of experience and just a season needs some humorous instinct.

As for the tag line, the fastest Indian in the world, it was given by the British Press and I still think no one has taken it away from him at least as of now. If there are people who shall do it then of course he can claim that title to be his but that doesn’t change the facts.

Wrong comparisons does more damage than really making critical insights, please back up with what you are writing. Its easy to key in because you hold a view but also be sure that if its held to a mirror you should be able to stand to it.

It is also a matter of jumping the gun, especially in F1 the cars are never equal and the treatment too is never equal even within a team. WIth such a background it would have made better if you had called for Narain in Sahara Force India than this since its Kingfisher’s advertising expense which runs the team in a way.

And if you think you can win races with HRT then I can see you comparing Maruti 800 and a Honda Civic. Only parameter Maruti wins is the price.

My last request to FP please refrain from these style of reporting or ideations, it does no one any good.

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The return of Narain Karthikeyan!

That was a very pleasantly surprising news, when HRT announced the lineup with Pedro De La Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan for the year 2012. I am not going into the specifics of sponsorships especially when even the last year HRT ran with TATA as the main sponsor. A season aborted last year and making a historic appearance during the Indian GP, I remember his exact lines.

Driving in front of the home crowd cheering [me] on is going to be a surreal experience, a once in a lifetime experience and I feel extremely fortunate.

That he could make it irrespective of the competition so hard speaks volume about the confidence in the way he can pull it off. I am not talking about the monetary part, I have had the opportunity to see him at close quarters and let me admit that he has this confidence of pulling it off when people almost have written him off.

I remember even the first season, it was a great debut going by what he has been through, and sponsorship issues which stopped him from racing with the erstwhile Minardi for a couple of races in 2004. It was always his optimistic outlook which saw him in good stead even when the critics wrote him off and that included some of the reporters who were reporting F1 for the first time.

His presence augurs well for F1 in India and most importantly the Indian GP. This will also boost the fortunes of the young drivers especially the likes of Armaan Ebrahim and Aditya Patel and others. Karun ofcourse will be a reserve driver.

In his Q&A on the sidelines of the HRT announcement Narain says F1 is a continued dream…

For me, Formula 1 is a continued dream, it is always ultra-competitive and competing at the pinnacle of the sport is what I love. So I am very happy to have the opportunity to continue living my dream and I have every intention to make the best out of it.

As for the sponsors they will be able to leverage the last year one off sponsorships to a more sustainable year long affair. I am happy to see an Indian on the track who is a cynosure of all eyes in the paddock. In one of my conversations with a F1 driver, he saw Narain as a natural & gifted driver and lets not forget what his team mate at Carlin Motorsports the present day Mc Laren driver Jenson Button had to say. He was in praise of him infact he had beaten Jenson in British F3.

Talking about Carlin Motorsports, I am reminded how close Trevor Carlin was to owning an F1 team and that would have changed Narain’s career in F1 and also the Indian connection would have had far reaching effects. Having said that, lets resign to the fact like what Narain said all’s well that ends well.

With India solidly a part of the F1 calendar we can only hope for the best to happen and wish it had happened a little earlier it would have been far better and more robust Narain with better experience and far better team to contend with.

Lets hope for some real stellar drive from the fastest Indian! This season gives another opportunity for the Indian F1 fan to root for another car apart from the Sahara Force India F1 team.

Now the most important thing which made me blog this post was this part of the Q & A:

Q: How would you define yourself as a driver?

NK: One thing’s for sure – I never give up. I’m here, against all odds and expectations, which wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. I have worked incredibly hard, I believe in my ability and know that I am as quick as anyone else out there.

Here’s wishing him all the best and salutation to his never say die attitude which  has got him back to where he rightfully belongs.

R Senthilkumar

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