Introducing the F1 Class of 2014: Through Twitter-Style Poems*.

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(*Expressed in exactly 140 Characters.)

A new F1 season is upon us yet again, and it is time to get to know the new and not-so-new 22 fellas who shall amaze, inspire, irk, annoy, baffle, confound and emotionally-torture us for one whole year through an exercise of brevity otherwise known as the medium of Twitter-style Poetry:

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vettel

Sebastian Vettel

 Seb is a champ, that much is known

He may be flawed, & he damn can own

His job: to race, to fight, to win

Being talented isn’t a sin.

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ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo

 RBR’s new guy is called Dan

To the Aussies, he’s the man

His smile can be seen from outer space

But he’s serious as heck in a race

Multi 31?

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hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

 He does all he can

Just let him drive, man

Don’tcha wish your driver’s H.A.M like him?

Who chases a win even if chances are slim?

Peace out.

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rosberg

Nico Rosberg

 The dilemma of Nico

Is to downplay looks that makes fans go loco

From the track to the pitwall

He’s the fairest of them all

Mind the talent!

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raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen

 They call him Kimster

Poker-faced Finnish gangster

Cold as fire, hot as ice

Mind his mumblings, they’re quite wise

He knows what he’s doing.

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alonso

Fernando Alonso

 The Samurai of Formula 1

His brand of tactics? 2nd to none

You must always give him space

Or get a taste of his gameface

Psych wars, ahead!

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button

Jenson Button

 This lad’s quite spiffy in the wet

And he’s the Brits’ 2nd bet

On track he employs stealth

Off track he values health

Give him proper grip!

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magnussen

Kevin Magnussen

 This McLaren rookie named Kevin

May be young, but he ain’t messin’

First race, p2, this Dane is great

Will a WDC be in his fate?

Stay tuned.

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grosjean

Romain Grosjean

 1st lap nutcase, Smiley Giraffe

That once made plenty on-track gaffe

He was mellowed by his son

& now he is Lotus’ de facto no.1

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maldonado

Pastor Maldonado

 He may have a reputation

That he brings on-track aggravation

So now this Venezuelan laddie

Has become F1’s fave baddie

What will he do next?

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hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg

 Talent & potential? He sure has them

Eye of the Tiger should be his anthem

Hulk is his nickname

Intense racing is his game

Elephant Balls.

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perez

Sergio Perez

 He was on a high then on a low

A bad year doesn’t mean this lad’s slow

New team & new chance for Checo

His partner? Superfast Nico

Game on.

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vergne

Jean-Eric Vergne

 He missed out on an RBR drive

But with STR he’ll continue to strive

Step up JEV & prove your worth

You just might have a racing rebirth

Go!

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kvyat

Daniil Kvyat

 Daniil may look wet between the ears

But he races with no fears

He deftly stole Vettel’s record

Without causing any discord

Doubt-dispeller.

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massa

Felipe Massa

 For years he was Smedley’s guy

A bromance/partnership money can’t buy

New team, new start & new hope

Let’s see if Felipe can cope

Stay cool.

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bottas

Valtteri Bottas

 Cool when needed, nerves of steel

This Finn’s steady behind the wheel

A hashtag? He is so much more

Ready to show what he has in store

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sutil

Adrian Sutil

He’s the odd German out

Who doesn’t hold much clout

The other 3 are going rampant

He doesn’t need to go stagnant

Find the fight, Adrian!

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gutierrez

Esteban Gutierrez

 He can rival Nando’s eyebrows

Had mild highs & rather bum lows

Sophomore year for young Esteban

Can he become Sauber’s main man?

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kobayashi

Kamui Kobayashi

 Now the Banzai Power is back

Expect to see an all-out attack

Kamui’s sweet but he’s also spicy

His on-track tactics? Borderline dicey

Push!

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ericsson

Marcus Ericsson

 He’s the new Swede on the block

Eager to show he’s fast on the clock

He gets to race a car so green

Can he get points, is he that keen?

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bianchi

Jules Bianchi

 The 3rd Frenchman of the lot

He hasn’t yet shown all that he’s got

Push on, Jules & just drive

You can keep your points dream alive

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chilton

Max Chilton

 This lad Max is a noob no more

Time to show us what he’s got in store

Yes he can finish every race

But a point sure would be ace

Step it up!

P.S. If you want legit profiles, Google is your friend.

Introducing The F1 Class of 2013…And Their Alter-Egos.

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The wait is finally over. F1 2013 is upon us and the 22 protagonists have been unveiled. I could easily have written a traditional collection of drivers’ profiles but then again, where’s the fun in that? And so I present to you the drivers and their respective alternative selves for your amusement*:

*Warning: A healthy dose of sense of humour and a certain level of pop culture knowledge are needed to fully appreciate this post.

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Sebastian Vettel and the Road Runner

They’re extremely fast, they’re clever and can be quite funny almost effortlessly. So how come they’re still not universally-liked? To the victor belongs not only the spoils but also the backstabbings and criticisms. Yikes. So watch your back, Seb, there are loads of Wile E. Coyotes out there waiting to pounce on you with their anvils! Focus on your racing and leave them all behind to eat your dust! Meep Meep!

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 Mark Webber and Daffy Duck

He’s not the typical protagonist: He’s outspoken, overtly confident, and aggressive when he wants to be. Things not going his way? Well, he’ll cleverly find ways to remedy that with or without the help of others (*cough*his team*cough*). Oh, and when he starts yapping his mouth off, there’s no telling when he’ll stop. Or what he’ll say about who. He can be intriguingly uncensored. And we love our Webbo (and Daffy Duck) for that.

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Fernando Alonso and the Terminator

Never count him out. To underestimate him would be a horrible schoolboy error. Behind the silly and pseudo-artistic Instagram images and hilarious tweets is a mind of a cyborg that is programmed to do one thing and one thing only: WIN. At all costs. Destroy the competition if he must. He’ll be back. After he waxes his eyebrows, of course.

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Felipe Massa and Robin

Oh Felipe Baby, when will you ever become more than just a glorified sidekick? Still, there are moments when he wonderfully channels the Boy Wonder. He’s perfectly fine when left to do his own battles, but when Batman (or team orders) arrives, he has the tendency to allow himself to be slapped around like a bitch. Wham! Bam! Kapow!

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Jenson Button and Dry Toast

Let’s face it, our Jenson is not the most exciting nor controversial of characters, isn’t he? You might even say that’s what makes him such an “ideal” man for McLaren. On the bright side, just put butter, cheese, jelly, marmite, etc. on top and he can actually be considered adaptable, versatile, and dare I say it, indispensable?! They’re also both better with heat, because it gives them “more grip”.

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Sergio Perez and Speedy Gonzales

He almost always has a smile on his face and he seems so tiny you just want to hang him on your car’s rearview mirror. And he tries, he really does. When he’s quick, he’s unstoppable, and when he’s not, well, he’ll just apologise and smile it off. Bless his little woven sombrero for that.

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Kimi Raikkonen and a Polar Bear

Yes, yes, yes, we all know that this Finn is nicknamed “the Iceman”, but hear me out when I say that he has a lot of similarities with this quite-misunderstood creature: Kimi is like a polar bear in the sense that he looks cute and cuddly, has a tendency to “hibernate”, does not give a shit about what the outside world or the other species think about him, likes the cold, likes to fish, but in the blink of an eye, can turn into a deadly, ferocious hunter to get what he wants. Now hand him a fresh salmon, er, magnum and coke, and leave him alone to chill. This bear knows what he’s doing.

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Romain Grosjean and a Giraffe

You wouldn’t think a giraffe can be so dangerous, but countless watchings of National Geographic have proven that a threatened or panicky giraffe can wreck havoc in an ecosystem (bet you’ll want to youtube that). Much like our Romain, you wouldn’t think his ever-smiley Frenchie face has the capacity to hurt a fly, but he certainly earned the “1st lap nutcase” nickname bestowed to him by fellow racer Mark Webber. Here’s hoping he’ll channel a graceful—rather than a clumsy—giraffe this season, not just for his sake but more for the sake of his fellow drivers.

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Nico Rosberg and Britney Spears

Okay, so I couldn’t resist and left Nico’s popular nickname/alter ego unchanged. They’re both pretty faces that attract fans by the droves. Some say they’re overrated but when they turn up their performance level to the max and show flashes of brilliance, you couldn’t help but be awed. When they’re good, they’re spectacular, but when they’re bad, just…cringe and close your eyes. Look beyond the gleaming blond facade, for there’s genuine talent in there somewhere, believe me. Hit me baby, one more time!

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Lewis Hamilton and Dennis the Menace

He’s not as bad as some people make him out to be, our Lewis. Lewis and Dennis the Menace both start out with good intentions but then certain circumstances develop and things end up in a hilarious, horrible, facepalm-worthy mess. At times, it seems like they don’t look for trouble, trouble’s attracted to them like ants to sugar. But hey, like I said, they’re not all that bad—they both maintain a certain level of enthusiasm that many find contagious and endearing.

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Nico Hulkenberg and Cinderella

They’re tall, lithe, blonde and blue-eyed. Oh, and both have…special feet? The German’s slight problem with his Sauber car during the winter test (i.e. he wore racing shoes that were too big and constantly hit the car’s body which caused discomfort throughout the testing session) got so blown-up by the media that his feet are now as much of a talking point as his racing talent. Question is, will he also encounter evil stepsisters along the way and will he find the fairytale drive at Sauber and live happily ever after?

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Esteban Gutierrez and Bert

They both have bushy eyebrows, let’s get that out of the way. But aside from that, like Bert, he has to play the de facto 2nd fiddle to the more popular, not-just-slightly-preferred “Ernie” of his Sauber teammate Hulkenberg, and that is not an easy task. For now, the young Mexican seems to be good friends with the German, but we shall see whether the two can sustain being BFFs until the end of the season.

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Paul DiResta and a Basset Hound

F1’s Mr. Positive (not) certainly isn’t the most magnetic nor charismatic chap, but like the droopy basset hound, still attracts a…certain set of fans. Surely, he doesn’t consciously try to look gloomy most of the time, but someone should still remind him that a smile (and a positive attitude) every once in a while won’t hurt!

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Adrian Sutil and a Porcupine

Like a porcupine, he usually minds his own business, and yet, there’s still that certain element of danger about him.  So yeah, it’s best to stay out of his way and refrain from sparking his ire (looking at you, Lewis), unless you want to get pricked/stabbed (Oh yes, I went there).

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Pastor Maldonado and a Bulldozer

Pop star Rihanna may have had Pastor in mind when she sang the lyrics, “…I may be bad, but I’m perfectly good at it…” (You can stop sniggering now), because that encapsulates our Pastor quite well. Like a bulldozer, he plows down—whether consciously or subconsciously—everything that gets in his way, and sometimes ends up making a spectacular mess out of it. But hey, at least he doesn’t do anything halfway!

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Valtteri Bottas and R2D2

The Finn that replaced the “spare” Finn in F1 looks to have come from the same School of Word Economy like his fellow Finns, but for now, his personality is still a bit lacking and mechanical, akin to that of the wee robot in Star Wars. Hopefully, he’ll come out of his shell more and prove that he’s far more than just a Twitter hashtag.

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Jean Eric Vergne and a Mime

Jean-Eric seems to be a man of few words. Not in a Kimi Raikkonen-way but in a…more mysterious way, I suppose? Anyway, this Toro Rosso man prefers to go the “action speaks louder than words” route, and so far, it seems to be working in his favour. Although perhaps it wouldn’t hurt for him to express himself more in interviews, oui?

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Daniel Ricciardo and a Jack-In-The-Box

Wind him up, wait, and boom—out he pops! At times, we never really know when this Aussie racer will properly turn up in a race, which can be frustrating considering the potential he has shown in his rookie year. But when he does turn up, he delivers notable performances, which somehow makes the wait a little bit more forgivable.

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Charles Pic and a Mushroom

Sometimes you see him, sometimes you don’t. There’s no denying that Charles Pic has talent, after all, he’s now on his 2nd year in F1 and even got the chance to move to another team. However, like a mushroom, he does have a tendency to become inconspicuous in some (maybe a lot of) races, yet at times, he just seems to pop up from nowhere to join in on the racing mix. Let’s see how he fares this season, perhaps next year I can promote him to being a truffle instead of a mere mushroom.

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Giedo van der Garde and Wine

He’s been in the periphery of F1 for quite a while now, and yet this year is only his rookie year. Like wine, he has been patiently maturing in the barrel for years, waiting for the right moment to be bottled, sold, drunk and evaluated by the public. Will his 2013 performance reviews be sweet and divine or sour and putrid? We shall see.

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Jules Bianchi and Harry Houdini

Just when you thought he’s out of the running for an F1 2013 drive, Jules managed to pull out an impressive comeback so last-minute you’d think it was a work of a magician. And what about that fastest lap in Melbourne that was like only 0.045 seconds off from Vettel’s time? Something tells me this lad may have more stunning “escapes” and tricks up his sleeves this season. Stay tuned.

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Max Chilton and Richie Rich

Poor little rich boy Max will have quite a hard time shaking off the dreaded “pay driver” tag, and the rumours surfacing that his dear daddy might buy his current team Marussia aren’t helping his street cred, either. Should he apologise for having the resources to fulfill his dreams/whims? Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

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So there you have it. Some of them may be harsh, but hey, nobody said F1 fans are easy to please. Welcome to yet another year of this circus, one and all!

 

 

Ruthless Rants, Raves and Reflections: The Non-Standard Issue F1 2013 Preview.

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Every year, I make it a point to write an introductory post on the members of the F1 grid, but in a different and unexpected way. This year, I’m having a bit of a trouble completing it (don’t get me wrong, it’s still going to be bouncebackably awesome, I assure you), and I realized that what’s holding me back was the mixed bag of emotions that I’m harboring towards the upcoming season. I need to let it all out and lay my cards on the table before I can move on, and so this shall be the outlet for that.

I’m not an objective F1 fan. Just thought I’d put it out there. If you want a so-called objective, detailed and technical analyses on the new season, then you can move on. At least I’m not like a lot of legitimate journalists who claim objectivity and yet reek of bias like they’re doused with some class C-imitation perfume. Also, I will not make concrete predictions because I’m not a fortune-teller and I prefer to adopt the ‘Que sera, sera’ attitude this season. Will it work? Maybe not, but don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it.

Now let me get this out of the way: I am incredibly, unequivocally sad that my all-time favorite driver Michael Schumacher will not be racing this season, or…ever. It has been months since he has announced his retirement and yet, I’m still teetering on the ledge of denial. I suppose the finality of his decision will fully sink in on the first GP but for now, I am still wondering on whether I will be 100% emotionally-involved this season.

Before I digress any further, here’s my own brand of an F1 2013 preview:

Red Bull Racing:

Barring their annoying over-protectiveness with their car’s rear parts during winter testing, they still look quite strong and solid, and I reckon they will still be the favorites to win the Constructor’s title–that is, if they manage to avoid any cockfights between their drivers. The so-called “god of aero” Adrian Newey will still be the designer to beat. Sebastian Vettel seems to have matured significantly after winning his 3rd WDC, and if he can carry-over even half of the form he had in 2012 to this year, then his Australian teammate Webber will have a Herculean task of outperforming him. While some fans appreciate the standard “driver equality” PR drivel, we all know that the team’s golden-haired, blue-eyed boy really is Vettel. So better give 200% of what you’ve got, Webber, for this may be your last year with the team and you might as well give your potential future employers a good show.

Scuderia Ferrari:

I sometimes find it painful to write about this team mainly because while I still consider myself a fan, the truth is that I’m not 100% emotionally-involved in supporting them anymore. Having said that, I do like and admire Fernando Alonso’s racing moxie and I believe that he’ll still be Vettel’s biggest rival for the WDC yet again. His teammate Felipe Massa needs to realize how incredibly lucky he is to have kept his job for 2013, and he can start repaying the team by finally getting over his multi-year racing rut, stat. Sadly, Alonso is the clear numero uno and so Massa’s main task is to make sure that he maintains status quo and offer his…full cooperation. The fight for the Constructor’s title against Red Bull may be slightly closer this year, but it is interesting to note that the Scuderia has already enlisted the help of the legendary designer Rory Byrne in designing their 2014 contender. A sign of desperation or an advanced masterstroke? Time will tell.

McLaren:

For the first time in 5 years, they will not be The Lewis Hamilton Team, and for that, my sometimes-irrational dislike towards them has already significantly decreased. Sergio Perez from Sauber was confirmed as the new driver just days after Hamilton’s departure, and not a few eyebrows were raised. Will the Mexican be able to take the pressure of the highly-corporate world of McLaren? Can he fill the shoes of his predecessor? Will he even become a serious Championship contender? I have my doubts, but then again, his teammate Jenson Button is also notorious for needing a “perfect car” to achieve notable results, so in this regard, it will be fascinating to see how the dynamics between these two will play out. Also, will the team back Button more for the Championship by virtue of seniority, or will they solely depend on the results? At least for now their two drivers have already followed each other on Twitter, and that’s like, half the battle, isn’t it?

Mercedes GP:

Lewis Hamilton shockingly left his “racing home” McLaren to take up a staggering offer from Mercedes. The move left a bad taste in the mouths of some fans, especially since it was played out in the media that he was signed behind Michael Schumacher’s back, effectively pushing him out of the team and into permanent retirement. Some Macca fans called him a traitor, while some sadly surmised that he must have had enough of McLaren’s highly rigid rules and regulations. What ever the real story is, Lewis will be watched like a hawk this season, as he tries to prove that his risky move was the correct decision. And let us not forget that he will renew his “rivalry” with ex-GP2 teammate Nico Rosberg, who has been with the German outfit since 2010, and might just be the de facto team leader. This, in addition to the massive personnel restructuring that the team has undergone in the off-season, will make it very engaging to follow Mercedes, as the so-called “Three-Year Project” has come and gone and it is now the crucial sink-or-swim time for them.

Lotus GP:

2012 was a year of clear contrast between their 2 drivers: Romain Grosjean suffered several high-profile crashes and shunts which earned him a race ban and most certainly did not endear him from his fellow drivers, but he also notched podiums and significant points for the team. Then there’s Kimi Raikkonen, who was absent from the grid for 2 years but came back like he was never away—easily scoring points, podiums, a win and finishing every lap barring 1 throughout the whole season. It was almost too good to be true and my fear is that 2013 will see the Finn have some reliability issues with the car, and heaven forbid, a few retirements in the mix. Then again, that’s part and parcel of racing, and we must remember that he’s had his share of those even in his WDC-winning year at Ferrari, so we must not expect a carbon copy of his 2012 season. Raikkonen will definitely be up there in the Championship fight, it’s just a matter of having the car’s cooperation and sorting out his qualifying performances. As for Grosjean, I expect the Frenchman will be a tad “tamer” in his approach to racing, and I believe it will be possible for him to get a few podiums and maybe even his first win. It seems strange but the combination of the poker-faced Finn and ever-smiling Frenchman is working quite well, and I shan’t be surprised if the Enstone outfit does get the coveted-3rd place in the WDC for this year.

Scuderia Toro Rosso:

Strangely, I always seem to forget this team and their drivers whenever I make an F1-related list. It can’t be a good thing when I remember the likes of Marussia and Caterham better than Red Bull’s sister team, no? Perhaps it’s because post-Vettel era, the team has been on a steady plateau in midfield, and while their drivers Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo are more than half-decent and have shown traces of brilliance on-track last season, they badly need to step up their games and show that Toro Rosso is more than just a midfield contender. After all, this is a team that is not afraid to switch drivers mid-season—and with the talks that their two drivers are not “friends” anymore, this may turn out to be quite a turning point for the team.

Sauber:

This team that nurtured talents such as Raikkonen, Massa and Heidfeld is one of the very few teams in F1 that is difficult to dislike, but they confounded many by letting both their 2012 drivers go—Sergio Perez was released to go to McLaren and Kamui Kobayashi’s contract was not renewed. However, the signing of the alleged-Ferrari and Red Bull target Nico Hulkenberg from Force India signaled the team’s intent to improve on their 2012 performance, and might just be the most serendipitous move of the year. The German is joined by GP2 alumnus Esteban Gutierrez, a rookie who has the misfortune of squaring off with the on-form Hulkenberg and filling the shoes of his fellow Mexican Perez in the team.

P.S. Based on their numerous pre-season team engagements, the 2 drivers seem to be getting along swimmingly, and we all know that Sauber has a history of concocting unintentionally-hilarious PR stunts/events, so I personally cannot wait to see what they will make these two do over the course of the season.

Williams:

Pastor Maldonado may be scarily-unpredictable on-track, but the fact of the matter is that he gave Williams their first race win in ages last year and for that, he is now the clear leader of the team. I do not expect him to drastically change his driving/racing style, I reckon his win will have given him tons more motivation and let’s admit it, his crazy on-track reputation has got us all keeping our eyes on him during those frantic race starts, yes? Finally, 2012 test driver Valtteri Bottas will get the chance to prove if he really is worth the type and the famous Twitter hashtag as he takes over Bruno Senna’s seat for this year. I actually think his numerous FP stints in 2012 will greatly aid him and he just might become the best-performing rookie of 2013.

Force India:

They made us wait for eons on who will be their 2nd driver that by the time they did it, it became one big anticlimax. Well done. I have nothing against Adrian Sutil, he’s actually a decent and proven driver. If anything, I’m actually sort of pleased that he came back just so we can see how awkward his on- and off-track encounters with ex-friend Lewis Hamilton will be. As for Paul DiResta, well, he’d better find someone or something to light a match under his bum, or risk being outperformed yet again by a teammate. You won’t land your dream McLaren drive by getting whipped, boy. Overall, I have no strong feelings for this team but I do hope they get over the reported financial troubles and get to stay on in F1.

Caterham:

They not only changed the shade of green of their car’s livery, but they dropped both of their experienced 2012 drivers as well. Marussia’s 2012 rookie Charles Pic joined them and 2012 test driver and GP2 veteran Giedo van der Garde was promoted to a race seat. I honestly do not know what to expect from this team this year, as these two relatively-inexperienced drivers have the task of “defending” their team’s WCC 10th spot, which was delivered by their more- experienced drivers last year with practically sweat, tears and blood. I suppose what will be of most interest is how they will fare against their fellow backmarker team Marussia, especially since there is the element of the Giedo van der Garde vs Jules Bianchi rivalry in the mix.

Marussia:

Just when we thought Force India had the biggest pre-season cock up by massively delaying their 2nd driver announcement, Marussia went one step lower by making a last-minute driver switch. Brazilian Luiz Razia was hired and terminated within 23 days without even getting to test their 2013 car, all because of a sponsor of his that failed to hand over a payment. Shortest F1 career ever? Possibly. Ruthless and humiliating? Very. Razia was replaced by the 2012 Force India test driver and Ferrari Academy alumnus Jules Bianchi, which fuelled the rumors even more that Marussia will switch to Ferrari engines come 2014. And then of course there was the issue of them dropping Timo Glock to accommodate the so-called “pay drivers”, which incidentally includes their first confirmed 2013 driver Max Chilton, who did not win the approval of a lot of the hardcore F1 fans who believe that only his father’s money and not his talent got him the coveted seat. Meeoow.

As for the results of winter testing and what we can glean from them, the short of the long is that testing times mean absolutely sod all. So for those getting terribly excited about it, take a seat and help yourselves to a chill pill.

End of rants, raves and reflections.

The good news is that the Australian GP is only a few days away, and while we still won’t have a clear picture on where the teams and drivers stand after the race, it is historically-impossible for Melbourne to give us a dull GP weekend. Albert Park always delivers cracking, heart-in-your-throat, what-the-hell-was-that types of races, bless its cotton racing socks. So take a deep breath, and before you know it, the sheer madness of Formula One 2013 shall be upon us yet again. Ready? Let’s be honest, could we ever really be?

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Presenting The Class of 2011: F1 Drivers and Their Theme Songs.

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Spare a thought for us, ardent racing fans. We’ve all endured months of motorsport drought, at times desperately pressing Refresh on our web browsers to check on the latest news, gossip and developments from our favourite websites and scouring numerous forums for video clips of the past seasons to analyze and tide us over until March rolls along. Now, the wait is almost over–but before we can formally welcome the new season, we must meet the main characters of this year’s sitcom/soap opera/circus. Who will be the heroes and who will be the villains? We all have to stay tuned to find out.

Meanwhile, if F1 drivers should have their own theme songs, what will they be?

"The winner takes it all...The The loser has to faallll...It’s simple and it’s plain Why should I complain...?"

Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)- The Winner Takes It All by Abba

While his infamous sense of humor makes him the perfect candidate to spontaneously bust out Abba songs during videoke nights, this gangly German is all business when it comes to racing. Going all out on a crucial race even if it means banging into his teammate and being unapologetic for his status as the team’s “favoured driver”, he ain’t called “Baby Schumi” for nothing. Expect the youngest WDC to use all his grit in the fight to keep his title. And then, maybe, he’ll treat us to a rendition of an Abba song afterward for our entertainment.

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"My stupid mouth, has got me in trouble. I said too much again..."

Mark Webber (Red Bull)- My Stupid Mouth by John Mayer

F1’s very own motor-mouth has gained equal parts supporters and critics with his unusual way of publicly voicing out his uncensored opinion before settling disputes and misunderstandings with his teammate, bosses and rival drivers. But let’s face it, F1 will definitely be less interesting without his unique brand of candor and perspective, so let’s hope this Aussie continues to rev up his 2nd engine, as he attempts to prove he’s nobody’s lapdog this season. Get your earplugs ready, people!

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"Everybody's talkin' all this stuff about me, why can't they just let me live? I don't need permission, make my own decisions, that's my prerogative..."

Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)-My Prerogative by Bobby Brown

If winning a WDC gives a driver added moxie, then it’s small wonder that Nando has double the amount of what’s legal in terms of confidence (some will say arrogance). He wears his heart on his sleeve and is not averse to going to the extremes to get what he wants (just ask Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa, Vitaly Petrov. etc. etc.), when he wants it. He’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea (or should that be sangria?), but as long as his hands are firmly grasping a winner’s trophy, this bushy-eyebrowed Spaniard is muy happy.

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"Aint about how fast I get there, ain't about what's waiting on the other siiide...It's the cliiimmmbbb..."

Felipe Massa (Ferrari)- The Climb by Miley Cyrus

He was the driver the Scuderia retained over the likes of Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen (insert collective gasp here), so shouldn’t he have won at least 1 WDC by now? Whether it’s by unfortunate circumstances (note his horrific accident in the 2009 Hungarian GP weekend) or by some unexplained forces, this Brazilian’s quest for his first Championship is proving to be quite a Climb, indeed. Take heed from Ms. Cyrus’ “wise words”, Felipe: Ain’t about how fast you get there, ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side, it’s the Cliiimbbb…

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"Push it, make the beats go harder...Pu-pu-push it!"

Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)- Push It by Garbage

He was groomed to be the boy-next-door, mothers-grandmas-and-fluffy-puppies-love-him F1 ambassador since Day 1 of his career, but his boyish looks belie the hard-as-nails driver persona which surfaces every time he dons his yellow helmet. Fellow drivers must not be fooled by his innocent gap-toothed smile, when he’s in his silver McLaren car, he is unafraid to push the limits, so much so that even Canadian beavers scamper away when they see and hear him approaching.

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"You can't always get what you want...But if you try sometimes you might find...You get what you need..."

Jenson Button (McLaren)- You Can’t Always Get What You Want by The Rolling Stones

It seems never a race passes by without this Englishman being caught on team radio complaining about something in his car: Whether it be vibrations, tyre choice, car balance, or his cup of tea not being hot enough or having enough sugars (okay, I added that last bit), it’s truly an event when he comes out of the car and says he’s “happy” with it. It is hoped that this season, Mr. Button will do more racing and less whinging. Put that 2009 WDC racing skills to good use, will you?

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"And more, much more than this...I did it Myyyyy Wayyyyyy..."

Michael Schumacher (Mercedes GP)- My Way by Frank Sinatra

Say it with me: He’s won it 7 Times. Making an F1 comeback in an age considered ancient by critics is something weak-hearted drivers will not even attempt to do. He does things his own way, never mind what the other drivers and the critics will say. Then again, he is THE Michael Schumacher, the driver that represented a whole era of the sport, and if 7 titles do not give him some sort of entitlement to have some swagger around the paddock, then I don’t know what will. Oh, and he’s probably the only driver in the group (except maybe Rubens) who knows the lyrics to this song.

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"You're so vain...I bet you think this song is about you, you're soooo vain..."

Nico Rosberg (Mercedes GP)-You’re So Vain by Carly Simon

Sometimes, you have to feel for poor Nico Rosberg: He’s a more-than-decent racer, he seems like a nice guy, and it’s quite difficult to dislike him, but why in heavens’ sake is he more known for having the monicker “Britney” inside and outside the paddock? Perhaps it’s high time for him to stop worrying about the state of his golden locks (although I have to admit they are magnificent) and focus more on what his job description primarily entails: winning and collecting points. And fulfilling his potential as The Next Big Thing. P.S. Can you imagine the reaction in the paddock if he ever decides to shave all of his hair off? Just a thought.

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"Baby you're a Fiiireeework... Come on show them what you're worth! Make them go Ohh Ohh Ohhh...As you shoot across the skyyy..."

Nick Heidfeld (Lotus Renault)- Firework by Katy Perry

While it is rather unfortunate that this hardworking German has always been eclipsed by his teammates, his loyal followers will always believe that he is bound to snatch that elusive first race win soon enough. He may not have the flamboyance nor the showmanship of his fellow drivers, but he wasn’t nicknamed ‘Quick Nick’ for nothing. So go grab that brown manbag of yours and show them what you’re worth this season, Nick! P.S. Hopefully, he decides to repeat his infamous dance moves and do them in the podium when (not if) he gets his race win. That would be Epic.

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"So, you're a rocket scientist...That don't impress me much."

Vitaly Petrov (Lotus Renault)- That Don’t Impress Me Much by Shania Twain

The man who marches to the beat of his own drums, the driver who is not fazed by rumours of being replaced by Kimi Raikkonen and refused to kowtow to a double-WDC winner when a Championship is on the line. At times he is completely anonymous, but when he makes his presence felt, he makes sure it’s headline-worthy. So unless you can offer something so extraordinarily out-of-this-world, I’m sorry, but this Russian is just simply too hard to impress.

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"This is my quest, to follow that star...No matter how hopeless, no matter how faaar..."

Rubens Barrichello (Williams)- The Impossible Dream by Jack Jones

We have to give credit when credit is due–Rubens is now an institution to F1, considering that he’s still out there and banging wheels with other drivers who still wore nappies when he was already rubbing elbows with the now-legendary drivers. However, much like Felipe Massa, his continuous attempt to win a WDC may just become a mere pipe dream. No harm in trying, though. So carry on, Rubens, if for anything, at least Schumi still has a batchmate to reminisce those ‘good ‘ol times’ with.

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"Your technique it leaves me weak...My heart knows it's the beat I seek...(And I found it)...Just got lucky...Just got lucky..."

Pastor Maldonado (Williams)- Just Got Lucky by Jo Boxers

Wrangling a racing seat away from the 2010 Brazilian GP pole-sitter and ex-GP2 champ Nico Hulkenberg is no easy feat, and although the cynics say his hiring was more brought about by cold business and the element of luck, this GP2 Champ will be determined to prove his worth and make Williams fans forget about the Golden Boy he supposedly dethroned.

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"Now I'm walking on sunshine (whoa oh) Said I'm walking on sunshine (whoa oh) Said I'm walking on sunshine (whoa oh) And its startin' to feel good..."

Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus)- Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves

Heikki seemed to have missed the “Poker Face” memo circulated among Finnish racing drivers, but that amazingly worked to his advantage. In a racing series that was dominated by the icy-coolness of Raikkonen and Hakkinen, his eternal optimism and ready cheery smile is a breath of fresh air for some fans. Plus, his hardwork, quick-thinking (remember his stint as a firefighter in the 2010 Singapore GP?) and go-go-go attitude makes him a perfect team player, indeed.

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"Do it nice and easy now don't lose control...A little bit of rhythm and a lot of soul...So come on, come on,Do the loco-motion with meeee..."

Jarno Trulli (Lotus)- Locomotion by Kylie Minogue

Seriously, you have not been an F1 fan long enough if you don’t immediately deduce the connection between Jarno and this song. Although he has not driven absolute duds during his career, fellow drivers have always dreaded the thought of being stuck behind “The Trulli Train” at any point in a race. Besides, I bet Jarno must have busted some swell moves to this tune at least once during his younger days.

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"I don't wanna rock, dj...But you're making me feel so nice. When's this gonna stop, dj? You'll be keeping me up all night..."

Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso)- Rock DJ by Robbie Williams

This youngest-ever F1 driver makes incurring penalties from Race Control positively cool. And then goes on to produce sick beats in honor of them. Youth is certainly not wasted on this lad. Future Champ/Icon in the making? Perhaps. I bet he surreptitiously unplugs his earphones from the car radio during races and connects them to his iPod instead. Rock on, Mr. Racer by Day, DJ by night.

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"Woohoo! When I feel heavy metal...Woohoo! And I'm pins and I'm needles! Woohoo! Well I lie and I'm easy...All of the time I am never sure why I need you..."

Sebastian Buemi (Toro Rosso)- Song 2 by Blur

He’s not as outspoken nor as headline-worthy as his teammate, but there’s something about Buemi that’s just intriguing. Is it his mysterious aura? Or is it just because you can’t help but cheer him on when he brashly takes on the more experienced drivers on track? Whatever it is, this song is much like Buemi, it doesn’t always make sense, but somehow, it works.

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"Take on me...Take me on...I'll be gone In a day or two..."

Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber)- Take On Me by A-ha

Hailed by some fans as The Second Coming of Takuma Sato, this fearless Japanese driver has accumulated a cult following because of his impressive defensive driving skills on racedays. He doesn’t care which team you’re from or what credentials you have, if you want to pass him, you have to take him on with all driving skills you have. Good luck with that!

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"Waiting for tonight, whoaaa...when you will be here in my arms...Waiting for tonight...whoaaa..."

Sergio Perez (Sauber)- Waiting for Tonight by Jennifer Lopez

So Alguersuari finally gets a playmate who’s born within the same decade as he was. Sergio may be a new kid on the F1 block, but his racing CV is already as long as a pitlane (okay, I jest). He’s been waiting for this chance all his life and now is the time to dig deep and give it all he has. Besides, he’s probably the only one who can do justice to this song’s Latin beats. Ole!

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"N-n-now that that don't kill me...Can only make me stronger...I need you to hurry up now...'Cause I can't wait much longer..."

Adrian Sutil (Force India)- Stronger by Kanye West

Unflappable. No amount of shunts, crashes nor catfights will dampen the spirit of this…gentle driver, and with every year that he stays in F1, he is getting closer and closer to a podium finish. Can we expect a more ‘gangsta’ Sutil to come out this season? Hopefully.

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"Finally it has happened to me, Right in front of my face My feelin's can't descri-ibe it, Finally it has happened to me Right in front of my face, And I just cannot hi-ide it..."

Paul diResta (Force India)- Finally by CeCe Peniston

At long last, the boy has made it into F1! Is he worth the wait, and can he justify the team’s decision to pick him over the more experienced Hulkenberg? For now, all he has to do is to sit back and enjoy his ride, for no one can predict if he can hold on to it for the whole season.

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"So many tears I've cried...So much pain inside...But baby it ain't over 'til it's over..."

Narain Kathikeyan (HRT)- It Ain\’t Over \’Til It\’s Over by Lenny Kravitz

It’s probably safe to bet that this driver’s favourite saying is “Try and try until you succeed”, judging by his colourful and ‘interesting’ journey in F1. Will his accumulated driving experience in other series help him revive his F1 career? well, it ain’t over ’til it’s over.

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"When the road gets dark...And you can no longer see...Just let my love throw a spark... And have a little faith in me..."

Vitantonio Liuzzi (HRT)- Have A Little Faith In Me by John Hiatt

He may not stay long enough in teams to become eligible for the Employee of the Year Award, but you have to give props to Tonio’s ability in besting younger drivers and snagging racing seats when it matters. Proof that sometimes, experience is preferred over youth and hype, if he can keep the car firmly on the track in as many races as possible, then his work is half done.

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"Hello silence, my old friend...I've come to talk with you again..."

Timo Glock (Virgin)- The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel

Barring his involvement in the 2008 Brazilian GP WDC-gate, this quiet German has remained largely inconspicuous, although he does manage to pull out moments of brilliance when needed (note his 2009 Malaysian GP podium finish). He may have to endure wisecracks on his recent appendectomy going into the season-opener, but he’s still Virgin’s best hope in popping their point-less cherry (Yeah, I just had to use that pun. Deal with it).

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"Let it be...Let it be...Let it be...Let it be...Speaking words of wisdom, let it beee..."

Jerome D’Ambrosio (Virgin)- Let It Be by The Beatles

So he’s the first Belgian racer F1 will have in several years. The question is, will he become a dominant force (especially in Spa-Francorchamps) or a disappointing dud? He hasn’t exactly had a sterling start to his F1 career (causing 2 red flags during testing), but perhaps it’s best to hold off on judgments first and just…let him be.

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Have you picked your bets yet? Choose wisely and buckle up, this season is going to be a cracker.

The Encore: Formula One The Musical.

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Every great musical performance deserves an encore–and since the off-season is stretching out for what seems like an eternity, here is the much-awaited part 2 of the pinnacle of world’s motorsport as a musical:

THE SOLOS:

Ron Dennis, on his unsurpassed devotion to protege Lewis Hamilton, to the tune of Paparazzi by Lady Gaga:

RD Pap

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Jaime Alguersuari, on his post-2010 Belgian GP penalty that robbed him of a precious point, to the tune of Rock DJ by Robbie Williams:

JA RD

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Nick Heidfeld, on his quest for that ever-elusive first race win in F1, to the tune of Someday My Prince Will Come by Disney’s Snow White:

NH SD

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Felipe Massa, on expressing his desire to be a Champion to Ferrari Team Principal Stefano Domenicali, to the tune of Mercy by Duffy:

FM Mercy

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Rubens Barrichello, on his own plight of being the current oldest driver in the grid without winning a WDC, to the tune of Mr. Lonely by Bobby Vinton:

RB ML

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Heikki Kovalainen, on his brief turn as a firefighter/track marshall during the 2010 Singaporean GP, to the tune of Fire Burning by Sean Kingston:

HK FB

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Nico Hulkenberg, on losing his Williams drive for 2011, to the tune of Bye Bye Love by The Everly Brothers:

NH BBL

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Takuma Sato, on his extraordinary skills that made him a cult hero for F1 fans, to the tune of Club Can’t Handle Me by FloRida:

TS CCHM

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Martin Whitmarsh, on his attempt to woo Kimi Raikkonen back to McLaren during the 2009-2010 Silly Season, to the tune of Back for Good by Take That:

MWKR BFG

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THE DUETS/ GROUP PERFORMANCES:

Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton, on their heated battle for the 2008 WDC, to the tune of Shut Up and Drive by Rihanna:

FMLH ShutUp

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Mark Webber and Christian Horner, on career aims and the right way to make the Red Bull Racing Team support a driver’s WDC bid, to the tune of Wannabe by Spice Girls:

MWCH Wannabe

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The German drivers, disputing the Finnish drivers’ claim of being the best and insisting they’re the most dominant force in Formula One, to the tune I Should Be So Lucky by Kylie Minogue

GermanDrivers ISBSL

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Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn, on their reunion for Mercedes GP, to the tune of Especially For You by Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan:

MSRB EFY

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The Virgin F1 Drivers, on their point-less first season in F1, to the tune of Like A Virgin by Madonna:

TGLD LAV

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Fortunately, there’s no fat lady to sing us out for this one.

Introducing the Class of 2010 F1 Drivers…The Stig-style!

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The Class of 2010: Could Any one of them be…The Stig?

Some say they are weird men-robots hybrid, while others say their farts are the reason carbon dioxide levels are rising on earth. Their houses are wallpapered with money and they take champagne showers to keep their skin glowing. All we know is, they’re called…

FORMULA ONE DRIVERS.

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sv

Some say he was cloned using a hair from Schumi’s razor, and that he got a sense of humour after he fell on his head as a baby. His music of choice during racedays is Lou Bega’s Mambo no. 5 and Mark Webber keeps a voodoo doll of him hidden in his trouser pocket. All we know is, he’s called…

SEBASTIAN VETTEL.


fa

Some say he came out of his mother’s womb dancing the Macarena, and that he’s so quick he went from being a newborn to a full-grown man in exactly 7-tenths of a second. His eyebrows require their own personal assistants and he’s known to like riding chickens…er, chicanes. All we know is, he’s called…

FERNANDO ALONSO.

mw

Some say his jaw can cut through diamond and carbon-fiber, while others say he races kangaroos and dingos before his breakfast of shrimp in the barbie. He makes his fellow drivers look like Lilliputians and his motor mouth is far more powerful than his car’s V8 engine. All we know is, he’s called…

MARK WEBBER.

lh

Some say he’s the Second Coming of Sliced Bread, while others say he sleeps hugging his  Superlicence. His gap-toothed smile is his secret weapon, he trims his sideburns to the shape of Spa-Francorchamps, and is known to randomly sing “Don’t cha wish your driver was cool like me,  Don’t cha wish your driver was fun like me, don’t cha?” when Ferrari bigshots walk past him. All we know is, he’s called…

LEWIS HAMILTON.

jb

Some say he’s as cute as his namesake, while others say pundits fall asleep on cue at the sight of him. Vibrations are his number one enemy, Contracts wilt as he drives past and rumour has it that the flavor Vanilla and Toast bread got insulted when they heard they were being compared to his personality. All we know is, he’s called…

JENSON BUTTON.

fm

Some say his first words out of his mother’s womb were “For sure!” and he learned to samba way before he can walk. His skull is now certified Barrichello car-proof and only his nanny Rob Smedley can stop him from crying and throwing his toys out of the pram in moments of distress. All we know is, he’s called…

FELIPE MASSA.


nr

Some say he’s probably the best female driver in the history of Formula One, while others say fields of daisies start blooming and fluffy white bunnies hop in glee as he drives past. His hair is the color of glistening sunshine and smells like strawberries and champagne. All we know is, he’s called…

NICO ROSBERG.

ms

Some say the Holy Grail resides inside his chin, while others say he’s so good in driving in the wet because he started learning to drive while he’s still inside his mother’s womb fighting the placenta. He keeps a mini-trampoline in his back pocket so he can practice his victory jumps anywhere and he can make Lady Gaga weep with his fashion sense. All we know is, he’s called…

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER.

rk

Some say he has the most aerodynamic nose in Formula One, and we don’t mean the one in his car. He’s the only driver who can rival Kimi Raikkonen in a “Best Poker Face” Competition and when he turns sideways, he gets mistaken for a cardboard cut-out of himself. All we know is, he’s called…

ROBERT KUBICA.

vp

Some say he grew up with a pet Sabertooth, while others say he puts vodka in everything, including his car’s fuel tank. He’s the only driver that has his country’s Prime Minister on his mobile phone’s speed dial, and no, he doesn’t give a damn who Fernando Alonso is. All we know is, he’s called…

VITALY PETROV.

nh

Some say he’s Kimi Raikkonen’s brother from a German mother, and that he started celebrating Oktoberfest as soon as he came out of the womb. He doesn’t turn green when he’s angry but water particles dissolve as he drives past on a fully-dry setup. There are rumours that his real product name is Kimbot v2.0, but the lab still refuses to confirm or deny it. All we know is, he’s called…

NICO HULKENBERG.

rb

Some say he has developed a phobia of the number 2, while others say that’s easily cured by getting him drunk and handing him a karaoke microphone. His forehead is sloped like Eau Rouge and the newest clause in his contract states that he cannot ever be teammates with drivers named Michael or Jenson anymore. All we know is, he’s called…

RUBENS BARRICHELLO.

ja

Some say he keeps a mini turntable inside his car and when summoned by the FIA post-Belgian GP, he gave them all a mix CD of Penalisation Rocks in Belgium. He’s the King of Random and Puzzling Thoughts and when asked in the latest GPDA meeting on how to improve the F1 cars, he reportedly answered, “Put wi-fi enabled laptops inside so we can tweet while we race!” All we know is, he’s called…

JAIME ALGUERSUARI.

sb

Some say he’s the poor man’s Vettel, while others say he’s the rich man’s Bourdais. Overtaking him is illegal in 12 countries and he can drive through sand dunes and snow faster than you can say “abracadabra!” All we know is, he’s called…

SEBASTIEN BUEMI.


jt

Some say he was a locomotive driver in his past life and his favourite childhood book is The Little Engine That Could. When he enters a room, Adrian Sutil covers his ears and Karun Chandhok covers his head. All we know is, he’s called…

JARNO TRULLI.

hk

Some say he came from the same factory as Kimi Raikkonen, except he was shipped off to the Surplus Outlet for having processor defects, while others say he’s the personification of Star Wars’ C3PO. He’s so cool he can put off an engine fire by simply staring at it, and no, he won’t look at you if you call him “Hokey-Kokey”. All we know is, he’s called…

HEIKKI KOVALAINEN.

AS

Some say he’s the Elton John of Formula One, that’s because he plays the piano. Why, what were you thinking? He gets teary-eyed when he sees Kimi Raikkonen and his catty claws come out when he sees Jarno Trulli. And just to be clear, his run isn’t girlish, it’s…refined. All we know is, he’s called…

ADRIAN SUTIL.

vl

Some say his hairline recedes with every early race retirement, while others say his forehead makes him more streamlined and aerodynamic. He mixes track dust with his coffee for breakfast
and Michael Schumacher frantically wears his helmet when he enters a room. All we know is, he’s called…

VITANTONIO LIUZZI.

tg

Some say he beat Vettel by a nose in the “Most Smiley German Competition” in the paddock, while others say he still has nightmares of being randomly attacked by overzealous Brazilians. Lewis Hamilton gave him the biggest Christmas card back in 2008 and there’s more to him than puns about his name and clocks. All we know is, he’s called…

TIMO GLOCK.

ldg

Some say he’s the odd Brazilian out, while others say he once beat Bruno Senna AND Felipe Massa…in thumb wrestling. Crossing the Finish Line is no challenge for him, and he keeps proposing a Reversed Starting Grid anonymously. All we know is, he’s called…

LUCAS DI GRASSI.

kk

Some say he’s the last heir of the Samurai, while others say pure Sake runs in his veins. He was rumoured to have  overtaken the speed of light once and Takuma Sato trembles in his very presence. All we know is, he’s called…

KAMUI KOBAYASHI.

pdr

Some say he secretly found the fountain of youth underneath the McLaren HQ in Woking, while others say he has a long-standing bet with Bernie Ecclestone on who can stay in F1 the longest. He’s the not the best secret-keeper in the world and he’s the only Spaniard with the middle name “Official Test Driver”. All we know is, he’s called…

PEDRO DELA ROSA.

nh1

Some say the solution to World Hunger and Poverty is hidden in the depths of his brown man-bag, while others say his racing mojo comes from his ever-present beard. Winning a race is overrated for him and he’d much rather challenge for 2nd or 3rd. He puts Justin Timberlake to shame with his dancing skills and he’s not ashamed to discuss his teams’ “wanking” to the entire world. All we know is, he’s called…

NICK HEIDFELD.

bs

Some say the whole of Brazil faints at the mere flutter of his eyelashes, while others say he was uttering the sound of a V8 engine before he could even say his first words. He’s not a dog’s best friend but his luscious curls are the envy of the paddock. All we know is, he’s called…

BRUNO SENNA.

kc

Some say he should be a stand-up comedian instead of a racing driver, while others say, why not do both? His eyebrows require their own postal code and his head has been certified Trulli Train-proof. All we know is, he’s called…

KARUN CHANDHOK.

sy

Some say he’s the King of Parking in Racing, too bad he does it during racedays and in the middle of the track. The Safety Car and Crane drivers are his best mates and we still don’t know what the heck he was thinking with the pink helmet he once wore. All we know is, he’s called…

SAKON YAMAMOTO.

ck

Some say he’s been with so many F1 teams throughout the years that he can both open his own temping agency called “Temp F1” and sell F1 merchandise on EBay. All we know is, he’s called…

CHRISTIAN KLIEN.