Dr. Iain Corness

Thursday, 10 April 2014 15:18

MG at the Bangkok International Motor Show

I have a soft spot for MG.  I have owned several models (TC’s and TD’s), followed by MGA and MGB.  MGA was the first car I ever raced, and my MGB was raced by me under the Leyland banner and they claimed it to be the fastest MGB in the world in 1971.  I can even remember my MG Car Club number.  I am an MG man!

Thursday, 10 April 2014 15:18

What did we learn from the Bahrain GP?

Well we learned that I bungled the date of the GP last week, writing it was April 21, when it was April 6.  Sorry!

We also learned that Formula 1 can still produce the goods (even if some of the parameters are ‘manufactured’).  The race at Bahrain was one of the best seen for many a year, with a tight field (and more on that later) and plenty of passing (and more on that later as well).

Another win for Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and a well deserved one at that.  He took the lead from grid position 2 and held it all the way to the chequered flag, despite several moments of side by side racing with team mate Nico Rosberg.  With another 1-2 for Mercedes, Red Bull can see the championship slipping away already.

Force India must be shaking hands with themselves for choosing Mercedes power for 2014.  Six out of the top 10 with the three pointed star in the tail.  Perez claiming third is a great boost for Force India, but he was lucky that Hulkenberg had an ERS problem at the end, as he was certainly quicker than his team mate.

Fourth outright from 13th grid slot and besting the current world champion is on Ricciardo’s CV after Bahrain.  Ricciardo was the driver of the day/night without a doubt.  The Finger will have trouble with the likeable Aussie in the 2014 season.

The Williams duo of Massa and Bottas (Mercedes power) are spearheading a resurgence for the Williams team after a few years in the doldrums.  Massa is surprising everyone (other than himself) and is still showing plenty of tiger.

Ninth and tenth at the flag for the once unbeatable Ferrari team, despite two former world champions in Alonso and Raikkonen, is not good enough.  Raikkonen had a lack-luster evening, and once more I think he will be the only driver in history to be sacked twice from Ferrari.  Luca Montezemolo was in Bahrain to witness the lack of performance, and even left early.  Heads will be rolling at Modena, by the time you have read this.

Spectacular roll by Gutierrez (Sauber), after being given a helping hand by Maldonado, who was given a stop-go penalty and five grid spot demotion for the next GP.  He deserves a stop-go for the rest of the season.  He does not deserve a GP seat.  He will already have cost “Lotus” the sack of gold he brought with him to buy his seat for the season.

Now, despite the fantastic close finish, it should be remembered that the field was artificially closed up by the advent of the safety car 10 laps from the end.  This allowed Rosberg to get on the tail of Hamilton, and brought the Force Indias and Red Bulls together and within striking distance.  Now factor in the ERS power boost and DRS assistance on selected straights and these all help to produce the close racing we saw in Bahrain.

Finally, I read that Hamilton has now equaled the number of GP wins recorded by Fangio.  This is a rubbish statistic.  In Fangio’s day there were only around seven or eight GP’s each year, not 18 as there is today.  If you wish to compare today’s crop of drivers with Fangio, then look at the percentage of race wins and poles.  Fangio won 46 percent of the races he competed in and was on pole for 55 percent of his races and on the front row for over 90 percent of them.  There are none of today’s pampered drivers even close to that.

The next GP is April 20 from China.  Telecast is at 2 p.m. Thai time.

The two most powerful and fastest mid-engine sports models from Porsche have uprated engines and the excellent PASM chassis in the Boxster GTS and Cayman GTS.

Thursday, 10 April 2014 15:16

Mitsubishi PHEV Fuel Miser

The Mitsubishi PHEV (plug in hybrid) claims an official combined fuel consumption figure of just 1.9 L/100 km.  That will make it one of the most frugal vehicles for sale anywhere.  That is less than half of the Toyota Prius fuel consumption, and much less than the Lexus RX450h or the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid SUVs.

I saw one of these last year here in Pattaya for the start of the Asian Cross Country Rally.  Entered by a private team (“Two and Four Motor Sports”), backed by Mitsubishi Motors, the sole Outlander PHEV finished 17th overall with no failure: quite a success for what was essentially a standard car - including the Twin Motor 4WD plug-in hybrid electric drivetrain, as well as the Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) system - the only modifications being the regular cross-country racing routine of upgraded shock absorbers and springs, roll cage, underfloor protection, exhaust and snorkel duct, etc.

Owners can plug the Outlander hybrid into mains power to charge up its batteries before a journey.  Fully charged, it runs for around 50 kilometers on battery power alone - easily enough to account for the average drive into work or school.

The pair of electric motors with a combined 120 kW output use zero fuel for journeys around town, though its petrol motor will cut in when brisk acceleration or highway speeds are called for.

That 2.0 liter, four cylinder engine can be used to power the car on its own, or to charge up the batteries in a similar fashion to GM’s Volt which uses its petrol motor purely as a generator.

Thursday, 10 April 2014 15:15

Natter Nosh and Noggin

The Pattaya car club meets at Jameson’s Irish Pub on Soi AR next to Nova Park.  The next meeting is on Monday April 14 at Jameson’s at 7 p.m.  A totally informal meeting of like-minded souls to discuss their pet motoring (and motorcycling) loves and hates (plus lies and outright exaggerations).  Come along and meet the guys who have a common interest in cars and bikes, and enjoy the Jameson’s specials, washed down with a few beers.  A couple of the members were scrutineers at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, so they may have some scuttlebutt about the F1 scene.  Always a fun night.  Be prepared to laugh a lot at some of the antics of the members (when they were younger)!  The Car Club nights are always on the second Monday of the month (not every second Monday)!

Thursday, 10 April 2014 15:12

Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I asked what car’s chassis was the result of the designer working on the Mosquito fighter bomber in WW II?  It was the wooden chassis Marcos.

So to this week.  What car had this in the design brief - carry two large peasants wearing clogs and 100 kg of assorted goods to market along unpaved roads and drive across a ploughed field with a full load of eggs without breaking any?

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 .

Thursday, 10 April 2014 10:47

What were my test results?

“What were my test results like?” is a query every doctor faces after sending a patient off for a blood test.  Unfortunately, patients do seem to get a little confused about “blood tests”.

Your ‘usual’ blood tests do not test for “everything”.  The reason for this is simple.  There are so many tests that can be done, that testing would go on for weeks if you wanted “everything” checked.  (And let’s not ask the price!)  For example, the Australian Royal College of Pathologist’s Manual of Use and Interpretation of Pathology Tests that sits on my desk lists 150 pages of tests that can be carried out.  These include such items as a Reptilase Time, something I have never requested in 40 years of practice, or a red cell Galactokinase ditto.

No, when we send you off for a blood test, we have to try and be reasonably specific, and sometimes even have to give the pathologists a clue as to where we are heading, and be guided by them as to some specific testing.

However, many times we are really just casting a ‘wide net’ to see what abnormalities we can turn up to use as a pointer towards the definitive diagnosis.  One of the commonest is the “Complete Blood Count”, usually called a CBC, since we medico’s love acronyms, but remember this testing is in reality very far from “complete”.

The CBC does provide important information about the kinds and numbers of cells in the blood: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.  A CBC can help us evaluate symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, or bruising and even directly diagnose conditions such as anemia, infection, and many other disorders.

The CBC test usually includes the White Blood Cell (WBC) count as these cells protect the body against infection.  If an infection develops, white blood cells attack and destroy the bacteria, virus, or other organism causing it.  White blood cells are bigger than red blood cells and normally fewer in number.  When a person has a bacterial infection, the number of white cells can increase dramatically.  There are five major kinds of white blood cells: neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils.  The numbers of each one of these types of white blood cells give important information about the immune system.  An increase or decrease in the numbers of the different types of white blood cells can help identify infection, an allergic or toxic reaction to certain medications or chemicals, and many conditions (such as leukemia).

The Red Blood Cell (RBC) count is also part of the CBC.  Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.  They also help carry carbon dioxide back to the lungs so it can be exhaled.  The red blood cell count shows the number of red blood cells in a sample of blood.  If the RBC count is low, the body may not be getting the oxygen it needs.  If the count is too high (a condition called polycythemia), there is a risk that the red blood cells will clump together and block blood vessels (thrombosis).

Another part is the Hematocrit (HCT).  This test measures the amount of space (volume) red blood cells occupy in the blood.  The value is given as a percentage of red blood cells in a volume of blood.  For example, a hematocrit of 38 means that 38 percent of the blood’s volume is composed of red cells.

Hemoglobin (Hb).  Hemoglobin is the substance in a red blood cell that carries the oxygen.  The hemoglobin level is a good indication of the blood’s ability to carry oxygen throughout the body.

There is also the Platelet (thrombocyte) count, which is an important part of the CBC.  Platelets are the smallest type of blood cell and play a major role in blood clotting.  If there are too few platelets, uncontrolled bleeding may be a problem, such as occurs in Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever.

So even though the CBC does test for many factors, there are still another 149 pages of tests that can be done!  If you want to know your blood group, or your HIV status, you have to ask!  So now you know!

Thursday, 03 April 2014 15:40

Bahrain GP this weekend

The Bahrain Grand Prix will be televised at 10 p.m. Sunday April 6.  We will be lining up in front of the big screen at Jameson’s Irish Pub (Soi AR next to Nova Park - turn right into Soi 4 Pattaya Second Road at the Bangkok Bank and follow it round to the right and Nova Park and Jameson’s is on your left).  We will be getting there around 9 p.m. and watch the dedicated F1 channel which has no adverts during the race, whilst indulging in some palate cleansing beers and the famous Jameson’s Sunday roasts as the kitchen will still be open.  Please feel free to come and join us.  By the way, the Qualifying is on the Saturday also at 10 p.m. Thai time.

Thursday, 03 April 2014 15:31

Bangkok International Motor Show (Part 1)

It was interesting to look at Rolls-Royce and Bentley.  Displayed close to each other, and both (previously) British brands, but now in the hands of Germany with RR part of BMW and Bentley part of VW.  Quite frankly the RR looks like a ponderous pretentious tank and aptly called “The Ghost Majestic Horse Collection”.  There is no comparison to the Bentley range, that are also large cars, but ones that look svelte at the same time.  If you want to spend stratospheric money, get the Bentley!

Thursday, 03 April 2014 15:27

NSX Prototype at Goodwood Festival of Speed

The forthcoming ground-breaking NSX supercar, set for launch in 2015, will take center stage at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed (27-29 June) when it competes at one of the world’s most famous hillclimbs in front of a capacity crowd.  The Festival will provide visitors with a rare opportunity to see and hear the all-new version of a supercar whose forebears gained iconic status around the world.

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