Canadian GP this weekend

Canadian GP.
Canadian GP.

In the 1960’s the rivalry between French and English speaking Canada meant that the country’s Grand Prix alternated between Mosport Park one year and Mont-Tremblant the next. By 1970, however, Mont-Tremblant was deemed too dangerous and the race was moved full time to Mosport Park.

In 1977 the French Canadians, motivated by the incredible success of Gilles Villeneuve, decided to take the Ile Notre-Dame and connected all the island’s roads and made a circuit. The island had been the home of the 1967 World Fair (Expo’67) and was full of futuristic looking buildings.

The first F1 race was held there in October 1978. Gilles Villeneuve, in his first season with Ferrari, was yet to win an F1 race, but at his home Grand Prix he took a memorable debut victory. Following his death in 1982, the track was renamed in his honor.

With the time differential, the Canadian GP telecast will be seen at 1 a.m. Thai time. This does mean that you either watch at home with live streaming, or catch it the next day, as Fletchers Folly will not be open so late. Sorry.

The winners at this Canadian F1 track include Michael Schumacher who holds the record of having won seven times in Canada. It is also the scene of Jean Alesi’s single Grand Prix victory in 1995, driving the number 27 Ferrari, the same car number which was carried by Gilles Villeneuve.

The final corner of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve became well known for crashes involving former World Champions. In 1999, Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve all crashed into the same wall which had the slogan Bienvenue au Québec (Welcome to Quebec) on it. The wall became ironically known as the “Wall of Champions”. The wall also was involved in a crash with Ricardo Zonta, who was, at the time, the reigning FIA GT sports car champion. In recent years, then GP2 Champion Nico Rosberg, CART Champion Juan Pablo Montoya and Jenson Button have all fallen victim to the wall. In 2011 Friday practice the wall claimed the reigning F1 Champion Sebastian Vettel.

Before the wall was named it also claimed 1992 World Sportscar Champion and long-time F1 driver Derek Warwick who spectacularly crashed his Arrows-Megatron during qualifying for the 1988 Canadian Grand Prix.


Fiat Chrysler wants to form global giant with Renault

Paris (AP) — Fiat Chrysler proposed on Monday to merge with France’s Renault to create the world’s third-biggest automaker and combine their investments in the race to make new electric and autonomous vehicles.

The merged company would reshape the global industry: it would make some 8.7 million vehicles a year, leapfrogging General Motors and trailing only Volkswagen and Toyota.

Shares of both companies jumped over 10 percent on the news of the offer, which would see each side’s shareholders split ownership in the new manufacturer.

Renault welcomed the idea. The company’s board met Monday at its headquarters outside Paris to discuss the proposal and said afterward that Renault will study it “with interest.” In a statement, Renault said such a fusion could “improve Renault’s industrial footprint and be a generator of additional value for the Alliance” with Japan’s Nissan and Mitsubishi.

Renault Zoe electric.
Renault Zoe electric.

Fiat Chrysler’s offer comes at a key moment for Renault. The French manufacturer had reportedly wanted to merge with Nissan, but those plans were derailed by the arrest of boss Carlos Ghosn on financial misconduct charges in Japan.

Now, questions are growing over the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, which is the biggest maker of passenger cars in the world. While Fiat Chrysler says the merger with Renault would accommodate the alliance and lead to savings for them, it is unclear how the Japanese companies might react in the longer term to being tied to a much larger partner.

A deal would save 5 billion euros ($5.6 billion) for the merged companies each year by sharing research, purchasing costs and other activities, Fiat Chrysler said in a statement. It said the deal would involve no plant closures, but didn’t address potential job cuts.

The companies are largely complementary: Fiat Chrysler is stronger in the U.S. and SUV markets, while Renault is stronger in Europe and on electric vehicle developments. Together, they would be worth almost $40 billion euros.

Analysts at financial firm Jefferies said it was “hard to disagree with the logic” of the deal as there is a strong fit in the markets each company covers and the brands they offer.

“The elephant in the room is who will run the entity,” analysts Philippe Houchois and Himanshu Agarwal wrote in a note to investors.

Mergers of equals can be difficult to manage over questions of who gets the top leadership positions and which brands are promoted and invested in most. A tie-up between Daimler and Chrysler in the 1990s was billed as a merger of equals, but it collapsed nine years later amid cultural differences and recriminations.

Investors were nevertheless enthusiastic, pushing shares in Fiat Chrysler up 11 percent and Renault 14 percent in European trading.

The French government, which owns 15 percent of Renault, said it is “favorable” to the idea of a merger with Fiat Chrysler but wants to study its conditions more carefully, especially in terms of “Renault’s industrial development” and employees’ working conditions, government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye said.

Such a merger would show “our capacity to respond to European and French sovereignty challenges in a globalized context,” she said. “We need giants to be built in Europe.”

Collaboration between automakers has taken on greater importance in recent years as they seek to build their technological capabilities in pursuit of electrical vehicles, net connectivity and artificial intelligence for vehicles. Automakers are also under pressure from regulators, particularly in Europe and China, to come up with electric vehicles so they can meet tougher climate change regulations and after scandals over the amount of pollutants engines truly emit.


Another movie not to miss

We’ve had the movie ‘Rush’ about Niki Lauda versus James Hunt in their epic quest for the F1 championship. Now sit back and watch the epic quest for triumph at Le Mans between Ford and Ferrari in 1966.

The result is “Ford v Ferrari,” a film that comes out later this year focusing not only on the American manufacturers’ unlikely upset of the Italian juggernaut but on those who made it happen.

Christian Bale portrays Ken Miles, an engineer and driver, and Matt Damon plays Carroll Shelby, one of the most famous American car builders in history. Together, they took the financial backing of Ford and created the GT40, a car that not only conquered Le Mans but swept the 1966 podium.

“Racing is not just about oil and gasoline. It’s about blood and sweat as well as the people inside those cars as well, and that’s what makes it so thrilling,” Bale said.

“Ken Miles was a purist,” Bale said. “He’s someone that would try to win every single battle but often lose the war, and he’d shoot himself in the foot again and again and again. And it wasn’t until Shelby came along and gave him an opportunity that he finally made it on the world stage.”

While Miles was the British-born driver with the sardonic sense of humor, Shelby was essentially his foil: a down-to-earth Texan who had a successful driving career of his own before reaching iconic status as the creator of the Shelby Cobra, a series of Ford muscle cars and, yes, the GT40.

His relationship with Miles serves as the centerpiece of Ford’s dogged pursuit of Ferrari.

Carroll Shelby.
Carroll Shelby.

“He was a really, kind of a bigger-than-life guy,” said Damon, “but I didn’t know this story about their friendship, and that’s why I wanted to do the movie. It’s such a great underdog story.”

The story, the subject of a 2016 documentary entitled “The 24 Hour War,” began in the early 1960s, when Enzo Ferrari expressed interest in selling his company. Henry Ford II spent considerable resources doing background work on a potential deal, only for Ferrari to suddenly shut down negotiations.

That chapped Ford, who ordered his racing division to build a car to beat Ferrari, the Italian sports car company that had come to dominate endurance racing.

But despite pumping untold sums of money into its program, Ford kept running into problems with its project. So it ultimately turned it over to Shelby, who in turn sought out Miles, and together they not only got the program on track but also got it to victory lane in their first try at Le Mans.

“There’s that relationship, right? And the friction in that relationship. They’re opposites in so many ways,” Damon said. “But they have the qualities the other needs. Carroll was great about politics and diplomacy. He could sell you anything. He understood that was a big part of putting a winning team on the grid, was the politics of it. Whereas Miles was horrible at that stuff.”

Walt Disney Studios is due to release it Nov. 15 under the 20th Century Fox banner.


Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I asked who bent a friend’s father’s Mini, then bought it to avoid admitting the damage, traded it for another Mini and after coming second in a hill climb traded it on a Porsche 911? Clue March. It was Niki Lauda and the March was the first open wheeler he raced.

So to this week. What is the connection between Alberto Ascari and Paul Hawkins?

Be the first correct answer to email [email protected] or [email protected] Good luck!


Pattaya Car Club on Monday June 10

Anyone with an interest in motor vehicles – of any sort – is welcome at the next meeting of the Pattaya Car Club held at Fletchers Folly, Siam Country Club Road, 300 meters up from the Chicken Intersection (Mitkamol) and opposite Maxxis tyres.

Ownership of any breed of car is not needed, just an interest. Very informal, we get there around 6.30 to 7 p.m. and have a meal there as well. Looking forward to meeting you.