Dr. Iain Corness

Thursday, 28 August 2014 11:54

RHD Mustang is coming

Ford (America) has changed its mind about the Mustang, and for the first time will offer a factory right hand drive in 2015. Other RHD older Mustangs were changed over from LHD to RHD by conversion companies.

Thursday, 28 August 2014 11:51

Personal gyroscopes

With the advent of the Segway a few years ago, personal mobility took on a new technology and direction. Now comes another using similar ‘balancing’ technology, called the AirWheel.

Thursday, 28 August 2014 11:50

What did we learn from the Spa GP?

Well, we learned (if we didn’t know already) Lewis Hamilton is not a team player. The collision with his Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg was avoidable, the damage to his car could have been minimized if he had driven slowly to the pits, and he could have gone on to be an outright contender, as he has the talent - but he chose to take a very sulky and negative stance, literally taking his football under his arm and going home.

There will be much discussion in the media over the incident, with the British press on the side of Hamilton, and the German press siding with Rosberg, but from where I sat, it was totally avoidable. All that was necessary was for Hamilton to give Rosberg some racing room. He still would have come out of the corner in front, and they could have continued racing. For those with long memories and less bias, Rosberg’s maneuver is exactly in the style of Ayrton Senna who would position his car such that you either made room or got hit!

Finally, there is the factor that you can bang into anyone - but not your team mate, and that goes for both parties!

So to something less contentious - another sterling drive from the young Australian Daniel Ricciardo to make it his third win this season. The comparison must be made with his Red Bull team mate, the German driver once known as “The Finger”, who has no wins and 98 points and 6th in the championship, to Ricciardo’s three wins, 156 points and third in the title chase after the two Mercedes drivers. Vettel (Red Bull) was not driving smoothly, consistently with four wheels off the track surface on his way to 5th place.

Another third placing for Valtteri Bottas (Williams) shows just what a talent this young Finn is, as well as the Williams resurgence. Clever strategy, clever racing and a thrilling end to the GP with some very close racing with the senior Finn, Kimi Raikkonen who collected 4th in the Ferrari, and his best finish this year. Has Kimi woken up? We will know at the next race in Monza.

The other Ferrari began badly with the car refusing to fire up on the grid and by the time the mechanics had changed the battery and got it going they should have been clear of the grid, resulting in a 5 second stop-go penalty. None of this would have made his Latin blood run cool and he was definitely erratic towards the end of the race and his 7th place.

One driver who was unfairly penalized was Magnussen (McLaren) who was given a 20 second penalty for not leaving Alonso enough racing room in the last few laps, demoting Magnussen from 6th to 12th. Even Alonso said, “I know the Stewards acted on what happened, but I don’t think it’s that important when you are fighting for sixth and seventh places. You just try to have fun, with safety as well, but it was not a big deal.” (Think again on the ‘racing room’ situation in the Mercedes team!)

Magnussen’s penalty elevated his team mate Button to 6th. Button did show some flashes of brilliance towards the end but then seemed to give up and coast to the finish.

So, another exciting, and controversial Grand Prix. The next chapter will be at Monza September 7.

Thursday, 28 August 2014 11:48

Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I mentioned that in the early T-Model Fords there were three foot pedals. I asked which one was the accelerator? A trick question, I’m afraid. None of the three was the accelerator, as the early T’s had a hand throttle!

So to this week. A novel powerplant was used in a car driven by Graham Hill at Le Mans, where it was placed 10th outright. What was the registration number?

For the Automania free beer this week, be the first correct answer to email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Wednesday, 27 August 2014 15:43

Giving up cigarettes. How to do it!

Last week in this column I wrote about the difficulties involved in giving up cigarettes.  From the outset, I will state that it is not easy.  So if you are an ‘easy way out’ sort of person, then don’t read any further, but make sure your life insurance is up to date.  You will be paying an extra premium as a smoker - ever wondered why?  By the way, dying from lung cancer, like the cowboy in the cigarette advert did, is not a fun way to go!

Smokers are not creatures of habit, smokers are people caught in the clutches of addiction.  A prime example is one of my friends who is on a vigorous exercise regimen and vegetarian diet as he wants to get fit - but is still smoking.  He may as well eat anything he wants, because the cigarettes will kill him before any silly diet does.

To give up cigarettes there are many, many ways, ranging from acupuncture, hypnosis, the I Ching, Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT), chewing gum, patches, nasal spray, amulets and many others all the way through to Cold Turkey.  Hop onto the internet and you are besieged with offers, all of which will make it ‘easy’ for you to stop smoking, and all of which will cost you money!  Let me state again, it ain’t easy!

What you have to realize is that Nicotine is more addictive than heroin.  I know that’s probably hard to believe, but that really is the crux of the matter.  You take Nicotine into all of your metabolic pathways until you “need” to have Nicotine to be able to function.  Nicotine becomes part of your metabolic chemical chains, and they don’t work properly without it.  Now you can see just why you feel so dreadful when you go without cigarettes (nicotine) for any period of time.

Now, leaving aside hypnosis and acupuncture, about which I know very little, but the good books tell me do not enjoy high success rates, let’s look at the other methods.  The majority rely on Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT).  All the gums and sprays do is to make Nicotine available for you in measured doses - much like cigarettes do.  You get the craving, you chew the gum.  You get the craving, you squirt the spray.

Patches are slightly different.  They deliver the Nicotine slowly over a 12 or 24 hour period and are supposed to stop the craving before it happens.  But often do not.

After stabilizing on the NRT it is time to bring the dosage down, which is the next hurdle at which many fall.  The end result can be cigarette smoking plus NRT - a potentially fatal combination.  In fact, I strongly believe that NRT should only be done under close medical supervision.  Too much nicotine can kill too!

So to the best way - Cold Turkey.  The proof is in the numbers.  There has been enough research done and the prime factor is that the quitter has to be committed to the concept of becoming a non-smoker.  Doing it (quitting) for somebody else, because you lost a bet, because you are being nagged into it by your wife, girlfriend, boyfriend is doomed to failure, I am afraid.  This is something which requires your total commitment.  100 percent all the way.  Last week I mentioned just how I thought it would be a bad scene for a couple of days, and then found that it was a couple of weeks of torture.  Here I am many years later and I could begin smoking again tomorrow.  One of my friends even dreams that he cannot find his cigarette packet and he has been a non-smoker for 10 years!  It requires dedication and commitment.  Yours!  No one else’s!

So, I admit that those who go cold turkey may go through a rough time with withdrawals initially, but the majority are still non-smokers after one year.  The same cannot be said for the others.  The “hard” way is ultimately the best way.

You have to make the decision to quit.  You set the day.  You tell all your friends that you are now a non-smoker - and you stick to it!

Become a non-smoker for 2014!

Thursday, 21 August 2014 13:32

Spa this weekend

After the mid-year break, the F1 circus starts again, with this weekend’s race at Spa in Belgium.  F1 returns to one of the best tracks on the calendar - Spa Francorchamps, a circuit that everyone enjoys (are you listening, Bernie).

Thursday, 21 August 2014 13:30

BMW goes FWD

After being a staunch RWD manufacturer, BMW has swapped ends, with the new 2 Series being the first of over 20 vehicles featuring Front Wheel Drive (FWD).  These will include 10 “MINI’s” and 12 BMW’s.

Thursday, 21 August 2014 13:28

Toyota joins the Hydrogen club

The Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) has come to the surface, with Toyota saying that their FCV will be on sale during 2015.

The Toyota FCV Concept is a pioneer in the development of hydrogen-powered vehicles.  The concept boasts a driving range of at least 500 km and refueling times as low as three minutes, roughly the same time as a gasoline vehicle.

With Toyota’s proprietary small, light-weight FC Stack and two 70 MPa high-pressure hydrogen tanks placed beneath the specially designed body, the Toyota FCV Concept can accommodate up to four passengers.

Toyota FCVToyota FCV

The Toyota FC Stack boasts power output density of 3 kW/l, more than twice that of the current “Toyota FCHV-adv” FC Stack.  In addition, the FC system is equipped with Toyota’s high-efficiency boost converter.  Increasing the voltage made it possible to reduce the size of the motor and the number of FC cells, leading to a smaller FC system with enhanced performance at reduced cost.

The new FCV will launch in Japan before April 2015, and preparations are underway for launches in the U.S. and European markets in the summer of 2015.

In Japan, the fuel cell sedan will go on sale at Toyota and Toyopet dealerships, priced at approximately 7 million yen (MSRP; excludes consumption tax).  Initially, sales will be limited to regions where hydrogen refueling infrastructure is being developed.  U.S. and Europe prices have not yet been decided.  Likewise, more detailed information, such as specifications, exact prices and sales targets, will be announced later.

Toyota’s commitment to environment-friendly vehicles is based on three basic principles: embracing diverse energy sources; developing efficient, low-emission vehicles; and driving real and positive environmental change by popularizing these vehicles.

Hydrogen is a particularly promising alternative fuel since it can be produced using a wide variety of primary energy sources, including solar and wind power.  When compressed, it has a higher energy density than batteries and is easier to store and transport.  In addition to its potential as a fuel for home and automotive use, hydrogen could be used in a wide range of applications, including large-scale power generation.

Toyota has been developing fuel cell vehicles in-house for more than 20 years.  Toyota’s fuel cell system includes a proprietary FC Stack, which generates electricity from the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, and high-pressure hydrogen tanks.  In 2002, Toyota began leasing the “Toyota FCHV”, a fuel cell SUV, on a limited basis in Japan and the U.S.

Significant improvements have been made to the FC system since 2002.  The fuel cell sedan Toyota just revealed, for example, features performance similar to a gasoline engine vehicle, with a cruising range of approximately 700 km (according to Toyota measurements taken under the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s JC08 test cycle) and a refueling time of roughly three minutes.  When driven, it emits only the water vapor produced by the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen.

Fuel cell vehicles contribute to the diversification of automobile fuels, emit no CO2 or environmentally harmful substances during operation, and offer the convenience of gasoline-powered cars.  Toyota believes they have a great deal of potential, and are ideal environment-friendly vehicles for promoting a sustainable mobility society.

Toyota Group companies are also engaging in other hydrogen-related initiatives, such as developing and testing fuel cells for use in homes, and developing fuel cell forklifts and fuel cell buses.

The Goodwood Revival began in 1998 and has become a huge event in the UK, with all types of older vehicles on display, with many also competing.  Spectators wear clothes of the era if they wish, and it is a wonderful three day motoring ‘escape’.

1. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull): $31.7 million

2. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari): $31.7m

3. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari): $31.7m

4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes): $28.8m

5. Jenson Button (McLaren): $23.1m

6. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes): $17.3m

7. Felipe Massa (Williams): $5.8m

8. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India): $5.8m

9. Romain Grosjean (Lotus): $4.3m

10. Pastor Maldonado (Lotus): $4.3m

11. Sergio Perez (Force India): $4.3m

12. Adrian Sutil (Sauber): $2.9m

13. Kevin Magnussen (McLaren): $1.44m

14. Valtteri Bottas (Williams): $1.44m

15. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull): $1.1m

16. Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso): $1.1m

17. Jules Bianchi (Marussia): $720,000

18. Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber): $577,000

19. Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso): $360,000

20. Max Chilton (Marussia): $290,000

21. Kamui Kobayashi (Caterham): $216,000

22. Marcus Ericsson (Caterham): $216,000

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