Euro GP is being held at the Nurburgring circuit in Germany this weekend.
With the German brothers Ralf and Michael Schumacher running head to head
at the last GP in Canada two weeks ago, both of them will be wanting to do
well in front of their “home” crowd.
It seems as if the Williams Team has really spent some
time getting their act together and have not just taken the race up to
McLaren, they are now in front of them on the track. Whilst everyone
thought it was Jordan who was going to be challenging, it has instead come
from the renewed and revitalized Williams. The BMW engine being used
appears to be not only very fast, but very economical as well. Remember
Canada where Ralf stayed out for four laps further than his brother’s
Ferrari? That was the sign of a very fuel efficient engine.
There is much talk that Honda will only support one
team next year, and with both Jordan and BAR running the Honda engines,
each of these teams will be desperate to do well. Neither of them covered
themselves with glory in Canada. It will also be interesting to see if
Heinz-Harald Frentzen races in front of his home crowd. He missed Canada,
suffering from a concussion following a heavy shunt in Monaco and another
two weeks later on the Friday before Qualifying in Canada.
The star of the future has to be the youngster Kimi
Raikkonen in the Sauber. Regularly out-qualifying his more experienced
team mate Heidfeld, he finished 4th in Canada. It will not be long before
he gets that Sauber onto the podium. Even Hakkinen praised the
youngster’s driving in Canada.
On the other side of the coin, Jenson Button is not
doing his career much good this year. From being the shining hope of 2000,
he has trailed behind Fisichella every race, both in Qualifying and during
the race proper. Undoubtedly the Benetton is a veritable dog of a motor
car, but you are measured against how well you do compared to your team
mate. Like the Barichello and Schumacher equation, Button is lagging
Join me at Shenanigans in front of the big screen at 7
p.m. (I think) - but check with the UBC catalogue or with Landlord Kim
TGTC Round 2 this weekend
been a busy month at the Bira Circuit, with the Hong Kongers two weeks ago
and now Round 2 of the local series for the Thailand Grand Touring Cars as
well as the Sport Grand Champion (born Concept II) and the Concept I
series. Racing will kick off around 11 a.m. on Sunday 24th and it should
be a good day. The AIM Motorsport organized events generally are of a much
higher standard than some of the other race day promotions at Bira.
The Dither Factor
Honestly, there’s no smoke without fire as they say,
and I am sure this will bring feminine wrath down upon my head, but in my
mind, there is little doubt about it - the old adage is true - women as a
group are not good drivers. I was following one along Pattaya 2 the other
morning and there she is, employing the Blissfully Unaware method of
driving. Dribbling along at 20 kph and any lane will do. Even if it has a
bus in it. The only way that kind of lady gets anywhere unscathed is
through the abilities of the drivers around her.
there is the Dither Factor. There is a centre deep in the brain of our
women-folk that precludes their making up their collective mind in
anything that could be construed as a hurry. This is particularly obvious
when parking. Give ‘em a choice of parking spots and the Dither Factor
clicks in. The greater the choice, the longer the dither. Am I not
Now before the entire female population descend on the Pattaya
Mail offices waving cudgels and other implements of mutilation, there
are exceptions to every rule. My first wife was a motor racer of no mean
reputation in Australia and the equal of many a male racer. Then
internationally there was Lella Lombardi who raced Formula 1, Janet
Guthrie who raced at the Indy 500 and Christabel Carlisle an ace Mini
racer - but it stops about there, girls. Sorry.
BMW AG Management in Thailand to discuss further
expansion of BMW presence
The above was the heading on the latest press release
from my good friends at BeeEmm. Apparently Prof. Dr. Joachim Milberg,
chairman of the Board, BMW AG, and members of BMW top management visited
Thailand recently to discuss the possibilities in extending BMW’s
presence over here.
release went on to say that the board’s visit demonstrated BMW’s
commitment to establish Thailand as the ‘Munich of Asia’. What between
the ‘Detroit of the East’ and now BMW’s claims, the next will be
Toyota proclaiming itself to be the ‘Tokyo of Thailand’ I imagine.
Prof. Dr. Milberg also expressed his optimism towards
the implementation of the AFTA agreement. He stated that the free market
among ASEAN countries was only a question of time, “It took European
countries 50 years to integrate themselves to be a cohesive union.
Therefore, it would be unrealistic to expect that AFTA could be fully
implemented in less than a decade after its initiation. However, we expect
AFTA to be established much faster than the EU.” Additionally he stated,
“BMW has always been positive on Asia, and we are strong supporters of
the political move to develop a more integrated, free market.” Nice
rhetoric, but hardly amounts to much. Everyone is sitting on their hands
waiting for AFTA but I wouldn’t be holding my breath either. There’s
too many vested interests out there in “Asialand”.
I really think the big nobs were here to see if we
(Thailand) should begin production of the 5 series or the 7 series at the
Amata City plant. Put your money on lucky number 7. You read it here
Fossil Fuels - on the way out? Do people really care?
A couple of weeks ago I had the temerity to say that I
really did not care if there was no petrol left for my grandchildren to
drive to the shops. This was not said in an unfeeling way, nor can you
construe from this that I am an anti-environmentalist. No, I believe I am
a realist. The stuff is going to dry up at some stage, so let’s look at
what we can use as an alternative. It appears I am not the only one to
think this way and the following is part of a Q&A session run in
Automotive News with Ron Zarrella, president of GM North America
Q: What about fuel cells? Are you seriously into the
gasoline reformer technology?
RZ: The reformation question with fuel cells is, can
you get it done at gas stations - which is what we prefer - or do you have
to do it on board? It is a lot more complicated and a lot more expensive
if you have to do it on board. We’re working with companies like BP
(Amoco) to look at the options for reformation at the fuel pump and how
you store the hydrogen on the vehicle. How you store it safely and in
enough quantities so that you have an effective range. There’s an awful
lot of basic research going on with hydrogen storage. We’re actually
partnering with some universities.
Q: Do you think that within the next decade fuel cells
will be a significant contributor to environmental progress?
RZ: I think fuel cells will be commercially viable in
the next decade. We’ve got a pretty big effort in our fuel cell
development. I don’t want to go into detail other than to say that
we’re really pretty encouraged with the progress being made in the
efficiency in size and cost of fuel cells. It’s happening faster than we
might have thought. We still have a long way to go. And the first
application will likely be in stationary power distribution. We’ll learn
a lot from that, and we’ll be able to parlay that into operating fuel
cells in vehicles that people can actually afford.
There you are, GM, BMW, Toyota and every other thinking
manufacturer is well down the track with the alternative fuel sources. Use
as much gasoline as you like. It doesn’t matter!
Last week I wrote about American, Frank Lockhart, in
his Stutz Black Hawk who attempted the world land speed record in 1928. He
did 203.45 mph in one direction, but it did not do the necessary run in
the opposite direction. The question was - why?
The answer was simple. Unfortunately Frank had a
monster accident with the car and he was thrown out at over 200 mph and
died. A great shame, as Frank Lockhart was probably the class act of the
day in American motorsport.
So to this week. Works Mercedes driver Herman Lang won
the Swiss GP in 1939. The next time a Mercedes won the Swiss GP was in
1954, when the late and great J.M. Fangio stormed home to win, leading
from start to finish. The question is - why did Mercedes never compete
again at this GP?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first
correct answer to fax 427 596 or email [email protected]