Lewis Hamilton driving for McLaren

On Friday, McLaren announced that Lewis Hamilton would be driving in Formula 1 next year, driving alongside Fernando Alonso. Having seen Lewis Hamilton drive at the British Grand Prix earlier in the year, and then having seen the ITV coverage of his recovery from a spin in Turkey I have been looking forward to this announcement for some time.

On Friday, McLaren announced that Lewis Hamilton would be driving in Formula 1 next year, driving alongside Fernando Alonso. Having seen Lewis Hamilton drive at the British Grand Prix earlier in the year, and then having seen the ITV coverage of his recovery from a spin in Turkey I have been looking forward to this announcement for some time.

It was unclear whether McLaren would announce Hamilton as a full driver, or whether he would get a testing role first. In the event, he has graduated to full driver but this has meant that there is now some people who wonder whether this elevation to full driver immediately was a mistake.

The argument goes that as Hamilton is unfamiliar with a Formula 1 car his performance will not be good as will be expected of him by a overhyping British media. Putting him alongside Alonso will just highlight those shortcomings.

I actually think that the situation is worse than that. It is clear that since Adrian Newey left, McLaren have gone downhill, and instead of being one of the three leading cars, it has fallen back into the category of Honda, and perhaps the surprise of next season BMW.

Nevertheless I think those that express the view that this will destroy Hamilton miss his ability to never give up. It is, I believe, one of those characteristics that is essential in an ultimate world champion. Just think back to two particular occassions in last season with Michael Schumacher to illustrate what I mean.

Firstly, Monaco, when due to that “unfortunate” incident in practice he got relegated to the back of the grid. Monaco is supposed to be a place where you cannot overtake, but in the event Michael came 5th, ahead of Fisichella in the championship winning Renault. He never gave up.

Or the last race of the season at Interlagos, where despite saying his championship was over he still tried. He suffered a puncture whilst overtaking Fisichella and after getting it fixed ended up last. Nevertheless, he charged from the back and finished in fourth place (again ahead of Fisichella).

I think Lewis Hamilton has that very same ability. I have watched his fight back in Turkey and his determination to not give up. But its not only that, its the fact that when under pressure and with the impossible to do, he just gets better. That is the mark of a champion. So despite all the setbacks that motor racing (especially F1) will inevitably throw at a him I think he will continue to work away at getting better. And if the pressure is really there I think he will get better still.

So I think Ron Dennis made the right decision

A Proud Dad

It was just last week that my youngest daughter got offered a job at Bar Honda Formula 1 team and which she will start in only a few weeks

It started with an e-mail circulating around her college that Honda were offering a year placement for students. After making her application and thinking that it had got nowhere she was suddenly called to interview last week.

It was just last week that my youngest daughter got offered a job at Bar Honda Formula 1 team and which she will start in only a few weeks

It started with an e-mail circulating around her college that Honda were offering a year placement for students. After making her application and thinking that it had got nowhere she was suddenly called to interview last week.

I really enjoy watching Formula 1 racing, and so the thought of perhaps visiting the factory and seeing something interesting encouraged me to take the day off and take her to the interview. I am glad I did, because I did get shown over a previous seasons car and have explained all the interesting details of the little bits that made it go just that bit faster.

Anyway two days later she got offered the job.

The real point of this article is to comment on how that makes me feel. It is of course impossible to know what attracted Honda to the letter and CV that my daughter sent in to apply for the job which caused them to select her for interview, or the qualities that she has which meant she was selected for the job after the interview in preference to the other candidates.

But as a parent, what you believe is that is a reflection of character traits both inherited from my wife and myself and developed as a result of the upbringing we have given her. It is also a result of the experiences that she has gained which we encouraged and supported her to undertake. So although this achievement is all hers, I feel proud to have been a part of it.

Of course you feel proud for your childeren for all their achievements throughout their lives, but the graduation of my older daughter, and this job offer for my younger daughter have a special place.

UPDATE June 2010. My daughter was given the wing plate from from the car when she left. The picture at the head of that post is it sitting on the wall in my study at home

Grand Prix Legends

Grand Prix Legends has been the game that has kept me glued to the computer for hours at a time. I started out just driving solo, but once I had discovered onling racing, I spent hours connected to the phone line. On broadband, you can even host your own races. Although I play it less often now, this is still one of my all time favorites.

Grand Prix Legends has been the game that has kept me glued to the computer for hours at a time. I started out just driving solo, but once I had discovered onling racing, I spent hours connected to the phone line. On broadband, you can even host your own races. Although I play it less often now, this is still one of my all time favorites.

What is the attraction? The most important is the physics model. This sim, like no other, accurately models the performance of the car right down to the effects of each individual wheel and the airflow through the engine. This gives a performance and behaviour that feels as close to the real thing as possible. Added to that superb graphics and a reality created through sound used to its utmost and the immersion is almost complete. Make no mistake about it, driving a 1967 formula one car is no piece of cake, and you have to be ready to put in hours and hours of practice to get somewhere. But in the end its worth it.

For me, there is added nostalgia. The sim models the racing year of 1967, just at the time as a teenager I was in to model car racing. My friends and I built a figure of eight track out of hardboard, wooded battens and copper strip, We bought some old post office mechanical counters (from old >telephone exchanges) and made ourselves a control panel with automatic lap counting.

During the summer we would race in the garden with cars that we had built ourselves – right down to re-winding the shop bought motors to increase the power. My car was Dan Gurney’s Eagle Weslake, my friends had a Ferrari, a Cooper (modelling in this sim as the Coventry, and (my memory fades a little at this point) a Brabham(?).

The picture at the head of this post is me leading the pack (2nd overall) on first bend at Kyalami (South Africa)