Not all Ferrari’s are red


Not all Ferrari’s are red

The award-winning Royal Cliff Hotels Group and the ultra-exclusive Ferrari Owners Club of Thailand (FOCT) recently combined to support the Pattaya community by giving back to a local charity during the elite club’s recent visit. The president of FOCT, Pol. Col. Apinace Phornphiboon together with the members donated THB 250,000 to the Father Ray Foundation Pattaya who were delighted to receive such a contribution which would help create a positive impact on the development and welfare of children in need.

Guests of the Royal Cliff Hotels Group had a supercar experience as motoring enthusiasts and supercar fans were able to get up close and personal with an eye-catching line up of 24 sleek Ferrari supercars. The elite club also spent an enjoyable weekend visiting the Bira International Circuit and participated in an exclusive kid’s party held at the Funtasea – Kids World.

The Father Ray Foundation provides a home, education, nutritious meals, medical assistance and the opportunity for children and students to reach their full potential while becoming independent and decent members of society. All services are provided free of charge to those in their care made possible by the generosity of the foundation’s supporters and sponsors. By coming together and taking collaborative action to help the less fortunate, FOCT together with the Royal Cliff Hotels Group, has demonstrated the importance of community partnerships in creating a brighter future for these children.

Niki Lauda
Niki Lauda

Obit: Vale Niki Lauda

Andreas Nikolaus “Niki” Lauda, a legendary figure in the face of adversity has died. He was a three-time Formula One world champion who remained a fixture in the sport even after his racing days were long over, according to his family members. He was 70.

His perseverance came after being trapped in a burning F1 car in 1976 which burned his lungs and face. After six weeks he returned to racing, putting on his crash helmet over burns that were not 100 percent healed. ‘Rush’, an excellent movie, shows that period of his life.

He was a thinking driver who evaluated the risk factors and drove within the boundaries of risk.

Unfortunately towards the end of his life, he required a lung transplant and during the recovery period he required kidney dialysis to assist his remaining transplanted kidney.

The motor racing world is a lesser place after his passing. One of the drivers who raced with Lauda was four-time Formula One champion Alain Prost who said former teammate Niki Lauda was a role model.

Lauda and Prost drove together for two seasons for the McLaren team in 1984-85.

“It’s simple. When I started to take an interest in Formula One, I had two models: Jackie Stewart and Niki,” Prost told L’Equipe newspaper. “And I had the chance to spend two years by his side. These were the two most beautiful and best seasons of my career.”

Lauda beat Prost for the title by half a point in 1984, but the Frenchman said he never resented his former teammate.

“He taught me how to put things into perspective,” Prost said. “When I did not feel well, after a loss, he taught me how to get detached. He made me drink my first whisky in 1984 to take things off my mind. He taught me how to compartmentalize. That was his philosophy.”

In his later years he became an advisor to the Mercedes F1 team. Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff said Niki Lauda “will always remain one of the greatest legends of our sport” after the three-time world champion passed away.

Wolff said Lauda “combined heroism, humanity and honesty inside and outside the cockpit. His passing leaves a void in Formula One. We haven’t just lost a hero who staged the most remarkable comeback ever seen, but also a man who brought precious clarity and candor to modern Formula One. He will be greatly missed as our voice of common sense.”


Sao Paulo sells Brazil GP Interlagos track

Sao Paulo (AP) — The Interlagos track which hosts the Brazilian Grand Prix could soon be up for sale, however, the contract with F1 owners Liberty Media will not go with the sale of the circuit.

Interlagos held its first Formula One race in 1972. In 1978, the race moved to Rio de Janeiro’s Jacarepagua autodrome, but it returned to Sao Paulo in 1990 and has remained there.

The Sao Paulo city council approved a bill that allows the sale by a vote of 31-10. The Sao Paulo council’s decision comes after Liberty Media Grand Prix owners said they could return to Rio after the Interlagos contract expires in 2020.

Wheels within wheels note that Mayor Bruno Covas, who crafted the bill when he was a councilor, will have the final say on the issue.

Adding to Rio’s chances is the fact that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has said Rio will have a new track for F1.

With the astronomical expenses involved to build a new circuit, there are plenty of opportunities for money to fall between the cracks. Rio will be the new circuit.


What did we learn from the Monaco Grand Prix?

We learned, if we didn’t know already, that Monaco is not suitable for today’s F1 cars, as passing is impossible. For the final few laps, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen (the fearless kid) was all over the back of Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), but could not get past. All Hamilton had to do was sit in the middle of the road and it was total frustration for the Red Bull challenger. Several times he managed to draw level with Hamilton’s rear wheel, but that’s where it ended.

To add insult to injury, Verstappen was penalized an additional five seconds for an unsafe release from the pit during the race, which meant that instead of second place, Verstappen ended up fourth, having to cede to Vettel (Ferrari) and Bottas (Mercedes).

The race itself was the usual procession, with the most interest being on the Saturday Qualifying. Since passing is well nigh impossible, there is intense rivalry to claim pole position, as he who has pole will normally convert that into the win.

Nine of the 10 teams managed to do their best for their drivers, other than Ferrari who left their young talented driver Charles Leclerc in the garage, thus condemning him to a very lowly grid position. In a Grand Prix where pole is so important, just what was Ferrari thinking? It would come as no surprise if Leclerc jumped ship at the end of this season. After all, it is very obvious that Vettel is the favored driver. More than once so far this season, Leclerc has been told to let Vettel past, even though it is obvious Leclerc is faster. On another occasion Leclerc had been put on the hard (slower) rubber, while Vettel was sent out on the medium (faster) rubber. Leclerc is fighting 19 other drivers and the Ferrari pit wall.

Another young gun, more than holding his own against the well established drivers is Alexander Albon. Alexander is Scuderia Toro Rosso’s newest driver, competing in the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship. Born in London on 23 March 1996, he has dual nationality, being both British and Thai.

Like all F1 drivers, Alex started karting at a very young age, winning the Super 1 Honda National Championship (Cadet and KF3 classes) in 2006 and 2009 and in 2010 he was crowned European Champion. In 2012, he joined the Red Bull Junior Program, racing in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup.

After a difficult year, Albon left the program, but his determination saw him fight his way back to the top: in 2016, he proved his worth, finishing second in GP3, behind winner Charles Leclerc.

For the past two seasons, he has raced in Formula 2, first with ART Grand Prix and then with DAMS, finishing third in 2018 with four wins, three pole positions and four more podium finishes. These results, combined with his perseverance saw him recalled to the Red Bull Program and in 2019, he made his Formula 1 debut alongside team-mate Daniil Kvyat.

Monaco Result

1st L. Hamilton (Mercedes)

2nd S. Vettel (Ferrari)

3rd V. Bottas (Mercedes)

4th M. Verstappen (Red Bull)

5th P. Gasly (Red Bull)


Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I asked: How can you instantly differentiate between an MGA 1500, an MGA 1600, and an MGA 1600 Mk 2 and an MGA Twin Cam without measuring the capacity of the engine? There are four items. Any three will do.

Answer: Different radiator grilles, different side and tail lights, inspection plate inside front passenger wheel arch, and a twin cam badge beside air exit for engine.

So to this week. 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.

For the Automania dehydrated beer this week (just add hops and water and store in a dark cupboard), be the first correct answer to email [email protected] or [email protected]. Good luck!