Last week I asked did Karl Benz work for Gottlieb Daimler, or
did Gottlieb Daimler work for Karl Benz? Their legacy is of course the Daimler-Benz
company which builds the Mercedes cars. A bit of a trick question. The answer
was they never worked for each other. It was many years later that the two
companies amalgamated. Sorry about that.
So to this week. Which driver has won the German GP six times?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct
answer to email [email protected]
What did we learn
from the Malaysian Grand Prix?
Well, firstly we learned that the team managers of McLaren
and Ferrari should be sacked for gross incompetence. The background to
Qualifying had shown that for the previous two weeks it had rained every
afternoon at Sepang at 4 p.m. It is, after all, the monsoon season, so to be
‘caught out’ and surprised by the weather showed that basic homework was not
done. To then have your drivers, which included three world champions (Alonso,
Button and Hamilton) sitting in the garage praying that the monsoon will end in
five minutes shows a supreme, but misguided, faith in the Almighty, even though
it was Easter. Of course it didn’t stop. In fact it got worse. Multi-million
dollar idiocy! Martin Whitmarsh from McLaren said, “With hindsight it would
therefore have been better if we’d sent our cars out at the beginning of Q1.”
Mr. Whitmarsh, that is the first rule of running any race team, at any level. In
Qualifying, get a ‘banker’ lap in first and then see what happens later.
Whilst Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) showed a great tiger spirit
to get up through the field at the start of the race, the tiger turned into a
pussycat at the end playing follow the leader rather than really attacking. Why?
The air doesn’t get any more ‘dirty’. My personal theory is that in the latter
half of the race, the drivers get into the easier ‘follow’ mode and hope the guy
up front makes a mistake. This makes for a dull and uninteresting visual
Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) can be forgiven for what was in
reality a lack-luster performance as it turned out he had a gear selection
problem right from the start. He at least did try to pass Jenson Button (McLaren)
and was through until the engine decided it had had enough of the racing too.
Please advise how you say the Italian “Oh cacato!” in Spanish.
Alonso’s less illustrious running mate Felipe Massa put in a
solid race and passed Jenson Button (McLaren) very cleanly, and is now leading
the driver’s championship. He will not stay there long.
Two drivers who did fight were Petrov in the Lada Renault and
Jaime Algywotsit in the Toro Rosso. Both of them showed that neither was
impressed by the illustrious CV’s being shown to them by the top echelon
drivers. Jaime deserved his points for 9th place at the
end and Petrov was just unlucky that he was stopped with a gearbox problem.
The ‘all-British’ Lotus team, which currently holds a
Malaysian passport bought for it by AirAsia’s Tony Fernandez, did not have a
good race in front of their ‘home’ crowd, despite being visited by the Malaysian
PM. Enthusiastic post-race press releases claiming that both cars made it to the
finish were fine examples of spin doctoring. One car was circulating 20 seconds
a lap off the pace at the end. That’s about Daihatsu Mira times with three
passengers and a month’s supply of rice in the rear. Gimme a break, Tony.
Must mention the sterling (or is that Deutschemarks?) drive
by Vettel in the Red Bull. Unfortunately for the Webber fans, Mark’s star has
passed its ascendancy and he is now a very good number 2, ready to take over
when required. Sorry.
Another good race from Kubica (Lada Renault) and Sutil (Team
Poppadum) and first podium for Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) even though he did not
actually fight with anybody all race long. Michael Schumacher’s nuts fell off
and he was a non-finisher.
Keep praying for rain for China next weekend!
Some Lowlights of the Bangkok
International Motor Show
It may look as if I am picking on GM each year, for yet
another large display area with a bunch of cars thrown at it using no
imagination whatsoever. Definitely a ‘run-out’ show for GM, with Aveo and Optra
looking to be given the push any day soon, while the company anxiously awaits
the Chevrolet Cruze, which has been the savior overseas. Colorado is about to go
as well, so GM were certainly short on new product. So what did they do? Their
PR people managed to come up with the exceptionally contrived unveiling of a
more advanced ‘Bowtie’ logo. You will be enthralled to know that this new logo (which
looks just like the old one) consists of three elements including Bow Tie,
Advancing Diamond and Open Road, conveying optimism, inspiration, freshness and
unrestrained creativity. Hmm. Yes! Talk about the emperor’s new clothes! On GM’s
report card: Can do better.
6,000 horses let loose
In the US, the home of oddball automotive creations, comes
this, the ultimate tractor. A 42 cylinder, 8,757 cubic inch behemoth.
For those who like to read specifications, take in these numbers:
42 cylinders heptagonal-star/6 cylinder rows
Diameter 160 mm, stroke 170 mm, capacity: 143.500 ccm (8.757 cui)
7 over head camshafts driven by shafts, central steer time adjustment
4 valves/cylinder, 168 valves operated by roller rocker arms one cam moves an
exhaust valve and an inlet valve
Rotational speed: up to a maximum of 2500 rpm
Torque: about 15000 Nm (approx 11063 ft/lb)
Power: about 4500 kW (approx 6034 hp)
Fuel consumption: 205 g/kWh resp or about 800 liters diesel/h
Direct injection 9-hole injector
Decentralized fuel injection pump, per cylinder p ~ 1.000 bar
Turbo compound: 1 step axial turbine and 1 step radial blower (p ~ 2,1 bar)
joined with crankshaft via 3 parallel hydrodynamic couplings
Compressed air start system is at work with 150 bar compressed air on 2 cylinder
banks (12 cylinders)
Engine dimensions: diameter 1,600 mm, length ~ 2,000 mm
This thing could tow the Chaophya Park Hotel all the way down Ratchadapisek Road
and across town, though it might have to stop for refueling before crossing the
6,000 horse tractor