What did we learn
from the Brazil GP?
The first thing we learned from the Brazilian
Grand Prix was that to make a race nail-biting, bring on the rain!
The ending where Lewis Hamilton regained position on the last corner
of the last lap to win the world championship was almost pure
Three drivers stood out from the mixed conditions. Felipe Massa
(Ferrari) did not put a wheel wrong, and deserved to win a world
championship, but it was not to be. Alonso (I have forgiven him and
will not use the term the “Sulky Spaniard”) drove faultlessly as
well and deserved his second place. Vettel (Toro Rosso) continues to
impress and seems able to temper his youthful enthusiasm with his
sheer car control. He will be a future champion.
Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) managed to scrape in to 5th and won his
first world championship. It was not a great drive, but he kept it
on the island, and did exactly what he had to do to win. I could not
help but feel sorry for Massa’s family who initially thought that
Felipe had won the prize when Hamilton was pushed back to 6th by
Vettel, only to see Hamilton regain 5th at the final corner,
relegating Massa to second. There were those who suggested that
Toyota might have told Glock to move over, and there was even talk
of an ‘envelope’. As our motoring editor at large, John Weinthal
said after the race, “Nobody could offer Toyota an envelope large
enough!” Toyota is, after all, the highest funded team in F1.
So much for the winners. How about the losers? David Coulthard (Red
Bull) did it again! Another first lap crash to end a trail of first
lap crashes in the 2008 season. DC stayed one year past his use-by
date, I am afraid. Nelson Piquet Jnr. also ended his race in the
wall, yet again. Renault cannot possible use him again in 2009. An
envelope probably helped him into F1, but his results have not been
worth it. Another of the losers - Sebastian Bourdais (Toro Rosso).
By all reports, he seems a nice enough chap, but he certainly is not
another Vettel. Having won so many CART championships in America, it
makes one wonder about the standard of our American cousins, I’m
afraid. And the prize for the most heralded talent that has come to
nothing? Nico Rosberg (Williams). Both he and team mate ‘Knuckles’
Nakajima have consistently dropped down through the order all year.
Williams has confirmed both these drivers for 2009. I wish them
well. Another loser was BMW and Kubica in particular. Here was a
driver with a win under his belt, who now cannot even get to the
last group of qualifiers. A driver who was so much quicker than his
team mate Heidfeld at the start of the year, not even a nose in
front and now finishes behind him. And the final loser? Raikkonen.
What is wrong with this man? In one of the two best cars and yet his
last few drives have been lack-luster at best. Ferrari have signed
him again for 2009. Let’s hope he wakes up for the start of the
So that was the final race of 2008. Memorable in many ways, with a
result brought on by changeable weather conditions. To put the
excitement back into F1 make wet tracks compulsory. A cheap
sprinkler system on turn 1 will do!
Last week I mentioned that the KdF turned out to be a very popular car. I asked
who designed it, and who sponsored it? This was easy. The KdF was the initial
name for the ‘People’s Car’, the Volkswagen, the well loved Beetle. It was
designed by Dr Porsche and sponsored by the German government under Adolf
So to this week. The winner of the Chinese GP received an extraordinary trophy
which looked like a collection of Citroen grill emblems - the reversed double
chevron. Forgetting about why the Chinese chose such an outlandish design, why
did Andre Citroen choose the double chevron for his cars?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email
Come and get me, Copper!
It looks as if the Italian Police are set up to apprehend speedsters,
even on the Autostrada Del Sol. The fuzz just picked up a new Gallardo LP560-4
Polizia donated to the Italian State Police by the factory.
This is a very short-sighted act by Automobili Lamborghini. It is now no longer
worthwhile buying a Lambo to have fun, as apparently the coppers have one as
well, and what’s more, theirs was free. Perhaps it might be better to save your
lira and join the police force instead!
Nissan reveal the new Zed car
The 370Z will be officially unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show
which opens in mid-November; however, there have been plenty of ‘security
leaks’ and even the publicity photographs are available on the Nissan
websites. There are also some visual hints of the new GTR in the new Zed.
The new car rides on what is expected to be a shortened platform but wider
track. Bigger wheels, bigger brakes and revised suspension components are
also expected, as well as the 3.7 liter engine.
Rossi to drive Ferrari F1
The rumors are flying again that the Italian motorcycle champion
Valentino Rossi is going to drive for Ferrari. This is not an unfounded
rumor, because Rossi is indeed going to drive the F2008, but it is only a
fun test day for the two wheeled champion. However, with Italy’s favorite
son driving in a race car from Italy’s favorite racing team always makes for
The truth is that it is only a PR exercise. Rossi’s Yamaha bike has Fiat
backing, and Fiat owns Ferrari. This does not need rocket science to put
together the relationship and the photo opportunity. They did this a couple
of years ago, and Rossi was definitely competitive (about one second off
Michael Schumacher’s lap times), but he has already signed another two year
contract with Yamaha, so you won’t be seeing Rossi lining up on the grid for
the 2009 series in a Ferrari.
But it is an interesting thought!
Can we stand two motor shows a year?
Thailand has two motor shows each year. There is the
internationally sanctioned Bangkok Motor Show at BITEC, then there is
another one at the end of the year. Can we stand two shows? I do not believe
Australia has had motor shows in the capital cities, with the Sydney motor
show and the Melbourne motor show being the biggest. The last Sydney show
was memorable in the fact that many of the top brands stayed away, finding
two shows in one year too expensive.
With the current financial downturn, I predict we will see the same here;
however, it should be said that those with deep pockets (and even longer
arms) could still afford to splash out, with buyers placing orders for four
Ferraris, three Lamborghinis, three Maseratis and the Nissan GT-R, which
landed six firm orders.