I’m now part of an F1 Team

I’ve been given the honour of being a moderator on the Official Sauber F1 Team Community on Google Plus, for apparently being “passionate and knowledgeable about F1 motor racing”.

Sauber F1 Team Google Plus Community Moderator

So I’m officially part of the Sauber F1 Team! Sauber are the first team to jump into Google Plus so far and have done so in a big way, supplying great insight into the team and being very engaging with their fans and so it has been easy for me to become a fan. My job as Community Moderator is just to make sure conversations stay on topic and people don’t use rude words, but pretty soon I fully expect to become a test driver and perhaps earn a seat in an F1 car just like Sebastian Vettel did all those years ago.

Sebastian Vettel, Sauber, 2007

Finger-boy in 2007 for Sauber

The most awkward F1 podium ever

So, the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix was run and won yesterday with Mark Webber Sebastian Vettel taking the chequered. flag.

Yep, it was pretty much Mark Webber’s race, with Vettel under orders not to overtake Webber in the closing stages and not to challenge for the lead. Webber was leading and on his way to the win. The team technicians advised he needed to conserve fuel and tyres, so he “dialed his car back” meaning he changed fuel and power settings and wasn’t as aggressive into corners.

But, on the 46th lap (5-6 laps remaining) Vettel launched a huge attack on Webber, ignoring team orders and overtook Webber to essentially steal the win.

Contrast to the Mercedes team of Hamilton and Rosberg in 3rd and 4th. Hamilton was in pretty dire circumstances with fuel and needed to coast for the last 8-10 laps. Rosberg was behind and repeatedly asked to overtake Hamilton so he could challenge the Red Bulls. He was repeatedly denied and ordered to keep his distance which, to his credit, he did and allowed Hamilton to step up to take third place on the podium.

This lead to one of the most awkward podiums in history.

There was very little celebrating happening. Webber was sore at Vettel who knew he messed up. And Hamilton knew that Rosberg should have been standing there instead of himself.

The interview after the race was equally painful. I thought Webber was going to punch Vettel in the throat at one point. It was painful to watch. Vettel did himself no favours in the team, and put pressure on an already strained relationship.

Some quotes:

“You’ve got some explaining to do” – Christian Horner to Vettel via the team radio after crossing the finish line

“The team made their decision. Seb made his own decision and he will have protection as usual” – Webber at the post-race press conference.

“Hai guise! Bye Guise!” – Hamilton, now racing for Mercedes, to the McLaren pit crew after pulling into the wrong garage for fresh tyres.

We also managed a Malaysian Seafood Laksa, with mine being washed down with a celebratory Red Bull beverage.

My walk along the Singapore Formula 1 track

I finally ticked one item off my bucket list this week when I took a walk along a real life Formula 1 track.

Singapore F1 track walk

It took me a little over an hour to walk the 5 and a bit km after work. I stuck as close as I could to the track, but along the start/finish line on the east side it was closed off. They were taking down the seating for the Chinese New Year parade. I had to jump a fence and duck in and out and get a photo:

From our office at the Raffles tower (at the marker on the above map) you get a good view of half the track. I’m trying to swing it so I can be here for the next race and watch it live.

My thoughts on Danica Patrick and her Daytona 500 pole position

Oh, this title…

Danica Patrick working that poleDanica Patrick has leapt back into the motor racing headlines by becoming the first woman to secure pole for the 2013 NASCAR Cup opener at Daytona. Previously, the highly popular 30-year-old American, who is stealing the show at the pinnacle of US motor sport, has insisted she has little interest in exploring her options in Formula One. But could more doors open now?

Good grief, I don’t think so. And neither do those in the know:

Sebastian Vettel : “First of all, hats off to Danica for her achievements. But motor sport in the US just has a completely different culture.”

Helmut Marko : “You have to look at Danica’s results in the road races. It’s not enough. We are looking for drivers based on performance, not by quota.”

Niki Lauda : “For ten years. I’ve told Bernie Ecclestone he’s dopey for not getting a woman into Formula One. If we could get a woman into the top six, you would immediately have twice as many fans in front of the TV. It has to be said that the technical level in the US does not compare to the level in Formula One. This is also reflected in the drivers. The last American who had success in Europe was Mario Andretti — and that was in my day!”

The sad thing is, Lauda is right. Chuck a hot woman into the mix and you’re gonna get bums on seats and eyes on the TVs. Take a look at Anna Kournikova who, while a competent tennis player, never won a Grand Slam title and often was never seen after the first round. But her hot little ass was guaranteed to sell more tickets and get higher TV ratings and so she was always invited to tournaments in which she had no chance of progressing to the final.


The list of female F1 drivers is pretty short and unfortunately the latest candidate, Spaniard Maria De Villota, crashed and lost an eye while testing for Marussia last year. She was talented, and at the end of the day I’d rather watch talented drivers than attractive drivers in the World Drivers Championship.

Our 2012 Indian Grand Prix meal

A pretty unimaginative, but tasty, Balti beef curry meal with some home made puppadoms and Narn bread.

It was a fairly sedate race on a very fast track. Tire play didn’t really come into play as the Pirellis didn’t have anywhere near the degradation they suffer on other tracks for some unknown reason. Vettel cruised to victory from Pole, while Mark Webber dropped second to Alonso about three quarters of the way through due to faulty KERS. It extends Vettel’s lead over Alonso to 13 points with three races remaining, which makes for a very exciting last few races!

Our 2012 Japanese Grand Prix meal

Obviously, Sushi.

F1 SushiGrosjean was up to his old tricks, taking out competitors on the first corner. This time it was poor Mark Webber who started 2nd behind Vettel. Further back in the field, but actually before Big John’s idiocy, Alonso got put into the kitty litter on turn one.

Vettel went on to win with Massa (of all people) coming second and Kamui Kobayashi picking up third in front of his home fans, the first Japanese podium since Aguri Suzuki in 1991. Good on him, I hope his success continues. The upshot is that Vettel is now only 4 points behind Alonso on the leader board and is gunning for three championships in a row.

Our 2012 Singapore Grand Prix meal

So this weekend we had traditional home-made Chicken Laksa, and our own version of non-alcoholic Singapore Slings with Cherry juice, Lime juice, Lemonade and crushed ice. They went really well together.

Chicken Laksa

Singapore Sling

The race was long. Well, no longer in length that most other races but it’s a slow track. A stark contrast to last weeks race at Monza. After 59 of the prescribed 61 laps, they called it a day after 2 hours. Vettel took a big chunk out of Alonso’s lead in the standings by taking first to Alonso’s third. Button was second, Di Resta impressta with fourth and Daniel Ricciardo again managed points in ninth, actually beating Red Bull’s Mark Webber in tenth. Webber later got docked time for a questionable incident which dropped him to 11th and robbed him of his point. Schumacher liked the look of Vergne’s back end and drove right up the back of him on lap 38.

Our 2012 Italian Grand Prix meal

So for the thirteenth round of the 2012 Formula 1 World Championship, we went with Pasta Carbonara using bacon, parmesan cheese, onion, cream, egg and black pepper. With a side of garlic bread and salad. It was rich, like evil rich. But it tasted great.

Current championship leader “He who must not be named” must be pretty chuffed with the result. Despite finishing third (and being out qualified by a flying Massa) he actually extended his lead in the championship rankings by thirteen points by virtue of Red Bull finishing outside of the points. Not a bad race, and it was good to see “Checco” Perez in the hunt right at the end with some good tire strategy.

Mark Webber better get a wriggle on if he hopes to rein in the leaders. He’s had some less than inspiring results since re-signing a few months ago.