Dr. Iain Corness

Thursday, 19 September 2013 15:54

Driver-redundant Benz

Daimler-Benz reported that its S500 Independent Drive has retraced the route of the first long distance auto journey made in 1885 by the wife of car pioneer Karl Benz with the means of eight computer guided cameras and multiple radar sensors.

Thursday, 19 September 2013 15:49

New Lexus LF-NX Concept at Frankfurt

Lexus’s presentation at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show was the world-first appearance of its new LF-NX concept, described as a vision for a mid-size luxury crossover model.

The Williams Group holding company (WGPH) has released its six monthly financial report.

The Formula One business recorded a turnover of £43.5m, closely matching the half year turnover for 2012 of £43.4m.  Williams Advanced Engineering, the division of the Group that commercializes Formula One derived intellectual property and know-how, recorded a lower turnover of £11.2m (2012: £20.2m).  The decline in turnover for Williams Advanced Engineering is due to a reduction in pass-through contracting work.

Overall Group turnover stands at £57.7m (2012: £64.9m).  The results of the investment businesses, Williams Hybrid Power and Williams Technology Centre, Qatar, are progressing as expected and are in line with the board’s long-term business plan.

Speaking about the results, Founder and Team Principal Sir Frank Williams said, “Whilst the 2013 Formula One season has not brought the sort of results expected of a team with our history and pedigree, these half year financial results show that we are well placed to make progress with our business on all fronts.

“We have made strong personnel changes this year that will aid in returning us to winning ways.  Pat Symonds is the new Chief Technical Officer, who brings unrivalled technical and leadership skills in addition to a proven ability to deliver on track results.  We have also announced a long term engine partnership with Mercedes.  The Williams F1 Team also announced a total of nine new sponsorship acquisitions, renewals and upgrades for 2013, with a strong pipeline of potential sponsors in place for 2014.”

Group Chief Executive Officer Mike O’Driscoll said, “Williams Advanced Engineering’s profitability is up and it has enjoyed a strong start to 2013, recently announcing exciting new projects with Nissan’s Nismo brand to build high performance vehicles and the F.I.A. Formula E Championship where we will supply the battery hybrid systems for all 42 cars next season.”

So Williams F1 may be down, but not out!

Thursday, 19 September 2013 15:43

Jaguar releases details on its C-X17

Another release at the Frankfurt show was Jaguar’s small car and a cross-over, currently known as the C-X17.  The development of this car is to meet the BMW X3 Series niche in the marketplace.

Thursday, 19 September 2013 15:42

Autotrivia

Last week I asked which driver in what car started 168th at Versailles, finished 3rd on the road at Bordeaux and won the overall classification?  That was delving deep in automotive history.  It was Ferdinand Gabriel.

So to this week.  A fuel additive company sponsored a trial in which several outhouses were blown up with gelignite.  Who did it?

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, 19 September 2013 11:13

Wines at The Beach Club

The Pullman Pattaya Hotel G is trying very hard to attract Pattaya residents to its Beach Club, with rotating specials and frequent wine tasting evenings.  A couple of weeks ago it was the turn of Anuchit Saeng-on, the MD of the i easywine company, who supplied wines from Italy, Chile and Australia for tasting.

Thursday, 19 September 2013 09:56

Getting “real” medicines!

The stimulus for this week’s article came from poor old Ms. Hillary who had received a letter on the subject of pharmaceutical costs.  The subject matter did not fit her column, so it was passed on to me.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013 17:39

ADB supports Joint Chamber meeting

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) was one of the two sponsors of the latest joint chamber meeting, led by the Australian Chamber (AustCham), with the American Chamber (AmCham), NZ Chamber and South African Chamber joining in as well.

Thursday, 12 September 2013 15:49

The Best Car in the World?

The all-new 2014 S-Class full-size luxury sedan has been described as “the best car in the world.”  One motor noter in the know said, “I don’t think it’s a statement I can argue with.  I’ve never driven or ridden in a quieter, more comfortable or more technology-infused machine.”  All big claims.

Thursday, 12 September 2013 15:48

What did we learn from the Italian GP?

Well we learned, if we didn’t know already, Sebastian Vettel (AKA The Finger) will be 2013 world champion barring major disasters.  His performance all through the Monza weekend showed that he is head and shoulders above the rest.  Of course, some of the results reflect the design brilliance of Red Bull’s Adrian Newey, but there is no doubt that Vettel is an extremely talented driver.  Whilst he is not my favorite driver, he does not deserve boos from the crowd when standing on the top step of the podium.

Teammate Mark Webber, having his final Monza finished well up in third, but gearbox maladies meant he had to nurse the car to the finish.  Newey may design very fast cars, but are they a bit fragile?  Probably yes.

With the passionate Italians, to have Fernando Alonso (Ferrari’s number 1 driver) in second was a consolation, but will Alonso wear down The Finger?  I do not think so, looking at the way Vettel is driving.  Alonso saying, “It’s not an easy task to close down a 53 point gap in the few remaining races, but in Formula 1 anything can happen.”

Massa (Ferrari’s number 2 driver) drove well, but it is too late for the little Brazilian.  The carpenters are already taking down his name plate from his room in the motor home, and a little Italian sign writer is learning how to spell Hulkenberg!

One of the stars of the race was The Hulk, giving Sauber one of their best results all year.  His teammate Esteban Gutierrez was nowhere, so I hope the Sauber team will use some of the large bag of money he brought to the team for a proper send-off for him at the end of the year.

Mercedes, the team which came out of the doldrums, seems to have gone back there again.  England’s white hope Lewis Hamilton did not make the cut for the final 10 in Qualifying, with Hamilton saying, “The pace of the car was great but unfortunately we paid the price for not qualifying far enough up the field.”  And why was this?  Because he was held up by another car in trying for his fastest lap, and the team had left no time for a second try at it.  It is about time that some team managers remember the concept of a ‘banker lap’ earlier in the sessions.  Now these F1 race cars cost millions of dollars and are (supposedly) the finest examples of automotive engineering, but they can’t get the radio to work!  Hamilton saying, “My radio failed right at the start of the race and it’s really tough when that happens as you rely on the advice and information from the team to manage your race.”  I was tempted to offer Mercedes the radio out of my Daihatsu Mira, but then I remembered it doesn’t work either.

For the second race in a row, Rosberg was there, in the middle of the pack, but so colorless that the TV cameras missed him.  However, he does have a watch embroidered on the back of his left hand driving glove.  How exciting is that?

Despite the high speeds at Monza, it really was processional, and even with two DRS zones, there was little passing.  Let us hope that next week’s Singapore GP can put some ‘zing’ back in F1.

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