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Month: May 2006

I want my 4 hours back!

I want my 4 hours back!

Did you see the Grand Prix yesterday? You did? What, all of it? You didn’t slip into a coma after 20 minutes? Well, congratulations…

What’s happened to F1 then? The last 2 races really have been dull as ditchwater. Cars only overtake in the pits because it seems that every track is “notoriously difficult to overtake on”, yet other series don’t seem to have the same problem. Drivers are encouraged to turn their cars down because to actually try to race might jeopardise their car’s performance at the next meeting. Everyone seems to have forgotten that the main point of racing is to race, to duel, to be better than the other guy. Now it’s all about not risking the points you have for the chance of a few more. It’s about hoping your pit crew, strategy, or reliability is better than the other guy’s.

It’s not about racing. It’s about boring the proverbials off of spectators.

So what can they do? Garry and I were having a bit of a discussion (or moan, rant, call it what you will) yesterday, and came up with a few (semi serious) ideas:

  • One point for a win. Zero points for losing. That’s it, none of this “saving the engine and taking 2 points” rubbish, you win or you don’t. You score or you don’t.
  • Bring back slick tyres. F1 cars can’t overtake because they rely so much on downforce, and the aerodynamics go all wafty when you’re in the car in front’s dirty air. They rely so much on downforce because they have to use those silly grooved tyres. Scrap the grooves, reintroduce slicks, outlaw most of the downforce devices. You’d get closer racing and real overtaking.
  • Let the teams do whatever they want between races. If they want to rebuild the engine between weekends, so be it. It just means they’ll be too busy doing that to spend time on R&D. Penalising a team for dropping an engine is just silly.
  • Grid = reverse of last race’s result. Let’s see just how good those drivers are. If you win race 1, you start race 2 at the back. Cue lots of overtaking, lots of swerving (“who left that Stupid Aguri Honda there!?”), and all round merriment. I can see the drawbacks of this, but it’d be a laugh.
  • Ban electronic driver aids. An actual serious suggestion. Things like ABS, Traction Control, and Electronic Stability Programs reduce the amount of skill required to get the car round the track, and remove some of the opportunity for driver error (replacing it with the opportunity for malfunctions, of course). Let the cars wheelspin and lock their brakes – it looks better (we like smoke), and you never know, the guy in 2nd place might just get up to 1st when the leader out brakes himself.

I’m sure there are more, but that’s about all I can remember for now.

I realise that F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport, and that a lot of the rules we’re moaning about are there to help ensure that there is a series to watch and moan about, and that the series has more than just 3 teams, but things are getting silly. I didn’t see a single overtaking manoeuvre yesterday, and that’s absurd.

Oh yes, and as for those 4 hours… If a certain Mr B. Ecclestone would like to offer some recompense for the time spent enduring the “spectacle” of the last 2 Formula One Grand Prix, then I think a suitable rate would be something like £100 an hour. Many thanks…

The new arrivals

The new arrivals

Just in case there’s anyone out there who doesn’t know, we have kittens! Kitty and Kaboodle (geddit?) arrived the Friday before last, and they are lovely. When they’re not knocking my speakers off the desk, or climbing the curtains, or chewing electrical cables, or having litter fights… 🙂 Obsessive readers will probably already have noticed the link over on the right, but they have their very own website at… I’m trying to prevent this site turning into one of those mushy “look at my pets, aren’t they cute!?” sites. Damn. Too late.

Look at my pets, aren’t they cute?!

Over the hills and far away

Over the hills and far away

A while back, Mary’s brother Anthony decided to go and live with his other half in sunny North Wales. Over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, we thought it would be nice to pay him a visit, so Mary, Harry, Mary’s Dad and I squeezed into the (still troublesome) A4 and set off. Bank Holiday traffic was, well, predictably horrible, but 7 hours later we arrived – somewhat tired but glad of the M6 Toll Road.

Our first evening saw a trip up the local hill for a panoramic view of the surroundings. The area seems so big – with actual proper scenary with hills and mountains and rivers and, and features. It’s ‘spectacular’ 😉

A couple of guys were out flying a radio controlled glider from the top, and using a petrol-driven scooter to retrieve the craft after its 2.3 seconds of flight – somehow, the scooter-guy seemed to be having more fun…

The following day, we jumped into the car and headed into Snowdonia for a very enjoyable walk around Llyn Idwal (map). Amusingly, the kind fellows who put the path down at the lower levels seemed to have thought better of it by the time you get about half way round. Not surprising really, as you start going up more than along. Anyway, a path would probably take all the fun out of it. It would stop small people causes quite so many near-heart-attacks, at least…

The walk brought back memories of a trip to the area during my days at Barton Court (not a girls’ school). Sure enough, on checking the map when we got home, I found that I’d walked around the very same lake about 12 years ago on the way to the top of ‘Y Garn’ (another map). Back then, of course, we carried on up rather than taking the right turn at the big boulder and got back to the minibuses at the end of an exhausting day (we were only youngsters!)

On Sunday, we southerners felt the effects of our exercise and ached profusely. The adult males took refuge at a local hostelry, whilst Mary, Cally and Harry went shopping at a place which seems to make stuff you never knew you wanted, but can’t, apparently, do without. Our as-yet-still-with-their-mum kittens got an ‘Activity Centre’ (a furry triangular structure with holes and hanging mice), whilst Mary returned with knitted slippers. They’re very comfy, I’m told, and I should stop smirking at them… 🙂

Monday was going home day, and so we sat in traffic with the rest of Wales whilst the tiny A-roads tried to deal with about 1000 times their normal throughput. It was another 7 hour trip, but we eventually got home and collapsed onto sofas, arm chairs and beds.

I’d like to say a big thanks to our hosts for a lovely weekend – see you again soon 🙂