Introducing The F1 Class of 2015: Game Of Thrones-style.

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After I started watching the HBO Masterpiece Game of Thrones, I now categorize people into two sections:

1. People who love Game of Thrones and; 2. People who have no idea yet how much they’re going to love Game of Thrones.

The show, adapted from George R.R. Martin’s series of books titled A Song Of Ice And Fire, contains drama, sex, wars, power plays, politicking, violence, and hedonism, among others. What’s not to love? Also, doesn’t it sound a lot like the world of Formula One that we love (and hate)?

And so this season, I have decided to imagine F1 in terms of the GoT World. Shall we get to know the main characters who shall contest the Iron Throne…er, the 2015 WDC?

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LH

House Hamilton

Led by: Lord Lewis Hamilton

Liege to the Realm of Mercedes

House words:

“Only God Can Judge Me.”

He is the current ruler who the rest will do their best to dethrone. His swagger is immeasurable. His temper flares, unpredictable. And he’s too #Blessed to care what other people think of him. Stay pressed.

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NR

House Rosberg

Led by: Lord Nico Rosberg

Liege to the Realm of Mercedes

House words:

“The Pretty Remembers.”

Beneath that blonde gleam is steel. Valyrian steel. Don’t provoke him and make him channel his inner Lannister, this heir to the 1986 F1 WDC is both beauty and brains and he knows how to play this game pretty damn well.

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DR

House Ricciardo

Led by: Lord Daniel Ricciardo

Liege to the Realm of Red Bull Racing

House words:

“We Do Not Frown.”

This Aussie’s biggest, and possibly most baffling weapon in his armory, is none other than his ability to maintain a smile upon his face. Do not be fooled by it and be lulled into thinking he is a racing pushover, for you just might wake up his alter ego, the honey badger.

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DK

House Kvyat

Led by: Lord Daniil Kvyat

Liege to the Realm of Red Bull Racing

House words:

“A Russian Always Pays His Debts.”

He may be young, but you would not want to mess with this one. His teenage looks belie the ice (vodka?) in his veins, and while it is easy to dismiss him as one of those entitled, backed-by-wealth racers, he has already shown flashes of brilliance that neither money, nor political influence, can acquire.

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SV

House Vettel

Led by: Lord Sebastian Vettel

Liege to the Realm of Ferrari

House words:

“The Finger Is Coming.”

Having been dethroned after ruling this racing kingdom for four straight years, Sebastian has switched allegiances and is now ready to take back what was once his. Can he channel his inner Targaryen and restore House Vettel’s prestige? Watch out for the Finger, it may have been down, but it’s certainly not out.

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KR

House Raikkonen

Led by: Lord Kimi Raikkonen

Liege to the Realm of Ferrari

House words:

“Racing. Fishing. Screwing.”

Way before his now infamous quote, “Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing.” the verbose (not) Finn has already made it known what his life priorities are (actually, that’s what he said Finns pretty much do). And who can blame him? Sounds like a life truly worth living. Carry on being you, Kimi.

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FA

House Alonso

Led by: Lord Fernando Alonso

Liege to the Realm of McLaren-Honda

House words:

“Scheming Strong.”

There is no one more savvy on the grid when it comes to politics and psych wars than our beloved Fernando. He makes hardcore politicians and champion chess players look like amateurs compared to his tireless tactics. Could he be F1’s very own Peter Baelish, aka Littlefinger? Think you can stay one step ahead of him? He’s already plotting your downfall as you read this. So good luck. And better leave him space.

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JB

House Button

Led by: Lord Jenson Button

Liege to the Realm of McLaren-Honda

House words:

“Get A Grip.”

Our Jenson is like a Tyrell—rich (in racing talent), popular and attractive but seemingly lacking in ruthlessness that is necessary to claim the throne in not-so-perfect conditions (i.e, not having the ideal/dominant car). His time may be running out soon so he’ll want to up the ante, lessen the groans and grind it out each race. And with a teammate like Fernando, it’s more than necessary for him to watch his back!

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Williams F1 Driver Studio Images. January 2015. Felipe Massa. Photo: Williams F1 (Copyright Free FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY) ref: Digital Image WILLIAMS JAN1240 Edit House Massa

Led by: Lord Felipe Massa

Liege to the Realm of Williams Racing

House words:

“Uncrowned. Unbent. Unbroken. For Sure.”

He was World Champion for a few precious seconds in 2008, until…he wasn’t. Still, despite a change in teams, this peppy Brazilian has not given up on that crown and is still actively contributing to the number of “For sures” in every article/press release.

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VB

House Bottas

Led by: Lord Valtteri Bottas

Liege to the Realm of Williams Racing

House words:

“See Me Soar.”

Because he is the new Flying Finn. Get it?! Besides, we should know by now that Finns would rather show than tell.

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NH

House Hulkenberg

Led by: Lord Nico Hulkenberg

Liege to the Realm of Sahara Force India

House words:

“As Tall As Talent.”

He stands out in the paddock for more than just his height, and yet he is still waiting for that Eureka Moment (i.e, a top team to sign him up) to arrive. Nico is like a Lord in the Vale: Well-regarded, yet often overlooked and vastly underestimated.

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SP

House Perez

Led by: Lord Sergio Perez

Liege to the Realm of Sahara Force India

House words:

“I Don’t Know Nothing.”

People are quick to criticize Sergio when he makes on-track mistakes, but they forget that he was a podium finisher twice in his young F1 career now and has proven he can dice with the best of them.

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MV

House Verstappen

Led by: Lord Max Verstappen

Liege to the Realm of Scuderia Toro Rosso

House words:

“The Seed Is Strong.”

Father Jos may not have set the world of F1 alight, but the son has already set the record for being the youngest-ever F1 driver in history at the age of 17. Max has been touted by pundits and insiders alike to be the 2015 Rookie to watch out for. Premature hype? Watch Lord Max prove his critics wrong.

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CS

House Sainz

Led by: Lord Carlos Sainz Jr.

Liege to the Realm of Scuderia Toro Rosso

House words:

“Fire In (Spanish) Blood.”

He is not the offspring of the Carlos Sainz for nothing. And he has already shown that he is not scared of going wheel-to-wheel with veterans and newbies alike. Could this hombre be out to dethrone Fernando Alonso as the Great Spanish Hope? I smell a n F1 Kingslayer in training…

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PM

House Maldonado

Led by: Lord Pastor Maldonado

Liege to the Realm of Lotus

House words:

“Ours Is The Notoriety.”

You know you’ve made it into F1 Infamy when you have your very own website dedicated to your on-track snafus: http://www.haspastormaldonadocrashedtoday.com

Nevertheless, let us not forget that this is the last driver to have won a race that is not from Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes or McLaren. There is clearly talent there, but hey, good on Pastor for owning his notoriety so well that it’s only a matter of time before critics can’t use it against him anymore.

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RG

House Grosjean

Led by: Lord Romain Grosjean

Liege to the Realm of Lotus

House words:

“Mistakes Are Wind.”

Who are you calling “1st Lap Nutcase”? Romain has surprisingly shed this infamous nickname this past couple of seasons and has emerged a calmer, more…subdued racer. But to be honest, more than a few fans are missing the ballsy Romain of old. Lets’ hope he finds that precocious balance between calm and ballsy this year and regains a valuable place in the pecking order.

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ME

House Ericsson

Led by: Lord Marcus Ericsson

Liege to the Realm of Sauber

House words:

“Stealth Is Wealth.”

Hands up if you still remember what Ericsson achieved last season and what team he drove for. Anyone? Well, what is important is that he is still on the grid, waiting for that one chance where he can do something spectacular that will make the racing world remember his name once again.

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FN

House Nasr

Led by: Lord Felipe Nasr

Liege to the Realm of Sauber

House words:

“It Is Known (I Am My Own Felipe).”

It is not easy to enter F1 when the name Felipe is automatically connected to Massa, but this seasoned young racer is already debunking the “there can only be one” memes out there with his early results. Can he sustain this good fortune and win the Battle of Felipes this season? Stay tuned.

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WS

 

House Stevens

Led by: Lord Will Stevens

Liege to the Realm of Manor GP

House words:

“Now My Race Has Begun.”

After a lot of…roadblocks and difficulties, Stevens has finally made his proper F1 debut, and already had a race finish under his belt! Now the question is, until when can he extend his stay and can he do the impossible and fill the boots of Jules Bianchi?

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RM

House Merhi

Led by: Lord Roberto Merhi

Liege to the Realm of Manor GP

House words:

“A Start Is A Start.”

His future in F1 is as unknown as Jon Snow’s parentage, but perhaps Merhi can take comfort in the adage, “Enjoy the present, for it is a gift.” Take it one race at a time, and let’s see where that leads…

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Which House will win the F1 Game Of Thrones 2015?

All I know is that: All Men Must…Race.

 

 

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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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Battle of the F1 Boybands: F1 Direction vs. The Stewards’ Wanted.

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Admit it, we’ve all been a victim of LSS (Last Song Syndrome) courtesy of one those pesky boyband songs at one point in our lives (or many points. Wait, is that just me? Moving on).

Whether you’re a fan of them or not, looks like the boyband craze is here to stay, and it has now invaded Formula One! Allow me to introduce you to the hottest rivalry in F1 right now:

They’re boyish and clean-cut, and they drive the girls crazy wondering what their brand of shampoo and conditioner are. Some say they make sure to floss regularly to maintain their pearly-white smiles. They’re sugar and spice and everything nice (until 1 of them swears on the podium…oops). They’re…F1 Direction!

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Bruno SEnna, Nico Hulkenberg, Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg and Sergio Perez: Too pretty for their helmets?

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On this corner, on and off the track, they’re naughty as can be, they tweet all sorts of stuff, including telemetry. Some say they believe in the saying, “Banging is racing”.  Stay away from these Hard As Mutharacers…They’re…The Stewards’ Wanted!

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Kamui Kobayashi, Pastor Maldonado, Lewis Hamilton, Romain Grosjean and Jean-Eric Vergne: Five badboys with the power to rock you! Blowing your mind so you gotta get into…!

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Hang on, so how can we settle the question on which is the better F1 Boyband? By a Sing-Off, of course! Below are the 2 boybands’ anthems. Go on, then, I know you want to sing along!

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F1 Direction Presents…

What Makes You Beautiful

(A Song For Our Cars)

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You’re insecure

Don’t know what for

You’re turning heads when you exit pit doors

Don’t need decals

To cover up

Being the way that you are

Is enough

Everyone else on the grid could see it

Everyone else but you…

Chorus

Baby you warm up my tyres like nobody else

The way that you shift your gears gets me overwhelmed

But when you activate KERS it ain’t hard to tell

You don’t kno-oo-oow

You don’t know you’re beautiful

If only you saw what I can see

You’ll understand why I want your seat desperately

Right now I’m racing in you

And I can’t believe

You don’t kno-oo-oow

You don’t know you’re beautiful

That’s what makes you beautiful!

So c–come on

You got it wrong

To prove I’m right

I put it in a song

I don’t know why you’re being shy

And turn away when the wet racetrack turns dry-yy

Everyone else on the grid could see it

Everyone else but you…

Baby you warm up my tyres like nobody else

The way that you shift your gears gets me overwhelmed

But when you activate KERS it ain’t hard to tell

You don’t kno-oo-oow

You don’t know you’re beautiful

If only you saw what I can see

You’ll understand why I want your seat desperately

Right now I’m racing in you

And I can’t believe

You don’t kno-oo-oow

You don’t know you’re beautiful

That’s what makes you beautiful!

Nanananananana nanananana…

Baby you warm up my tyres like nobody else

The way that you shift your gears gets me overwhelmed

But when you activate KERS it ain’t hard to tell

You don’t kno-oo-oow

You don’t know you’re beautiful

Baby you warm up my tyres like nobody else

The way that you shift your gears gets me overwhelmed

But when you activate KERS it ain’t hard to tell

You don’t kno-oo-oow

You don’t know you’re beautiful

If only you saw what I can see

You’ll understand why I want your seat desperately

Right now I’m racing in you

And I can’t believe

You don’t kno-oo-oow

You don’t know you’re beautiful

You don’t know you’re beautiful

That’s what makes you beautiful!

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The Stewards’ Wanted strike back with…

Glad You Raced

(A Song For Our Rivals)

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The sun goes down

The lights go out

And all that counts is here and now

My race record will never be the same

I’m glad you raced…

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You want to race with me

Race with me

You hit me like the sky fell on me

Fell on me

And I don’t care about penalties

Penalties

So let’s go somewhere the stewards can’t see

You and me

Turn the lights out now

Now I’ll take you by that turn

Hands firmly on the wheel

Pass me if you can

Can you spend a little time

Time is slipping away

Away from us

So race

Race with me

I can make

Mae you glad you raced

 

The sun goes down

The lights go out

And all that counts is here and now

My race record will never be the same

I’m glad you raced

I’m glad you raced

You want to race with me

Race with me

You hit me like the sky fell on me

Fell on me

And I don’t care about penalties

Penalties

So let’s go somewhere the stewards can’t see

You and me

Turn the lights out now

Now I’ll take you by that turn

Hands firmly on the wheel

Pass me if you can

Can you spend a little time

Time is slipping away

Away from us

So race

Race with me

I can make

Make you glad you raced

The sun goes down

The lights go out

And all that counts is here and now

My race record will never be the same

I’m glad you raced

Oooooohhhhh

I’m glad you raced

Oooooohhhhh

So glad you raced

I’m glad you raced

I’m glad you raced…

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The sun goes down

The lights go out

And all that counts is here and now

My race record will never be the same

I’m glad you raced

I’m glad you raced…

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Have you picked a side yet*?

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*This is what the off-season does to me.

Introducing The F1 Class of 2012…Through Limericks.

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There once was a sport called F1,
Whose drivers are on par with no one.
They earn loads of dosh,
And live lives so posh,
Is that where all good men have gone?
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Formula One Drivers are used to having hundreds, even thousands, of words written about them, whether positive or negative, in the form of articles, essays, or commentaries. However, I believe one of the best ways to honor someone or something you love is through poetry. Below are some limericks to describe the 24 esteemed drivers who shall be competing for the 2012 F1 World Drivers’ Championship. Some are facts, some have tad of fiction, and some are just downright silly. Who’s the fairest (or should that be ‘the most badass’) of them all?

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Sebastian “The Finger” Vettel.

The Sebastian Vettel Limerick:

There once was a racer named Vettel,
Whose mad skills can raise on-track hell.
He likes waving his finger,
‘Cos it gives him that swagger,
Why not? His titles have now proved his mettle.

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Mark “Motormouth” Webber.

The Mark Webber Limerick:

There once was a racer named Webber,
Two ain’t his favourite number.
When he opens his gob,
He can sound like a nob,
Don’t hate, he just feels like chopped liver.

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Jenson “Vanilla” Button.

There once was a racer named Jens,
Who sees F1 through rose-coloured lens.
Some daresay he is boring,
Unless his car is a-roaring,
Either way, fans and critics are on the fence.

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Lewis “I’m Cool” Hamilton.

The Lewis Hamilton Limerick:

There once was a racer named Ham,
Who has been through many a-racing jam.
His fashion shoots may be frightening,
But on-track, he’s like lightning,
His mojo storage is deep like a dam.

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Fernando “The Eyebrows” Alonso.

The Fernando Alonso Limerick:

There once was a racer named Nando,
His rivals never made him preocupado.
He dislikes the word “fail”,
He’ll move mountains to prevail,
For sure, he is one hombre determinado.

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Felipe "Baby" Massa.

The Felipe Massa Limerick:

There once was a racer called Flip,
Whose form is now suffering a dip.
He used to be the team’s fave,
But now his job he has to save,
The Scuderia’s close to giving him the snip.

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Nico “Pretty Boy” Rosberg.

The Nico Rosberg Limerick:

There once was a racer named Rosberg,
Whose good looks is just the tip of the iceberg.
They may laugh and call him “Britney”,
But this golden lad’s ain’t a ninny,
Dontcha know he’s the heir of Keke Rosberg?!

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Michael “The Chin” Schumacher.

There once was a racer named Michael,
Who’s always involved with some on-track battle.
He cried “That’s just a nick!”
Still, they called him a prick,
And went to the stewards to tattle.

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Kimi “Oops” Raikkonen.

The Kimi Raikkonen Limerick:

There once was a racer called Kimster,
Iceburn-ing the press? He’s the master.
This champ has proven his worth,
Is this return a racing rebirth?
Oops! watch out for his moves so gangster.

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Romain “Croissant” Grosjean.

The Romain Grosjean Limerick:

There once was a racer called Romain,
Who fondly gets called “croissant”,
He is paired with The Iceman,
But he shall fight like a Frenchman,
To underestimate him? Thats an affront.

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Paul “Long Face” DiResta .

The Paul DiResta Limerick:

There once was a racer named Paul,
Who drives very close to the wall.
He’s had many a-shunt,
But he’s still worth a punt,
And so with the punches he’ll roll.

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Nico “Kimi 2.0” Hulkenberg.

The Nico Hulkenberg Limerick:

There once was a racer named Nico,
Whose pole in Brazil made us go loco.
Some say he looks a bit like Kimi,
That is why he’s so dreamy,
Now if only he can race like a wacko.

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Jean-Eric “Frenchman no. 2” Vergne.

The Jean-Eric Vergne Limerick:

There once was a racer named Vergne,
The ways of F1 he wanted to learn.
He may be a noob driver,
But his swag shall not waver,
His critics, he hopes to iceburn.

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Daniel “That Other Aussie” Ricciardo.

The Daniel Ricciardo Limerick:

There once was a racer named Dan,
Who’s a really big Toro Rosso fan.
Now his patience paid off,
Jaime and Seb got sent off,
For the seat, is he really the right man?

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Kamui “Samurai” Kobayashi.

The Kamui Kobayashi Limerick:

There once was a racer named Kobayashi,
Who’s sometimes too quick for his chassis.
When he races full speed,
He’s like a noble steed,
A cult fave who is never ever flashy.

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Sergio “Mr. Smiley” Perez.

The Sergio Perez Limerick:

There once was a racer called Checo,
Who had a massive shunt in Monaco.
He survived it still smiling,
For racing is his calling,
His fans love this lad muy simpatico.

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Heikki “That Other Finn” Kovalainen.

The Heikki Kovalainen Limerick:

There once was a racer called Heikki,
Who bumped his head on a shunt in Turkey.
It’s been years since his last win,
But he stays cool, ‘cos he’s a Finn,
He works hard so his fans’ hearts won’t go achy-breaky.

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Vitaly “Cyborg” Petrov.

The Vitaly Petrov Limerick:

There once was a racer called Vitaly,
Scary self-contained, almost an anomaly.
He edged out the Trulli train,
Much to some fans’ disdain,
Is he worth the team’s gamble? Totally!

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Pastor “Last Lap Menace” Maldonado.

The Pastor Maldonado Limerick:

There once was a racer called Pastor,
He once had Rubens as a teammate and mentor.
But the Brazilian got the boot,
Cos Pastor’s backers have more loot,
And now he became Rubens’ tormentor.

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Bruno “The Nephew” Senna.

The Bruno Senna Limerick:

There once was a racer named Senna,
Who thought, “To just be my uncle’s nephew? I don’t wanna!”
And now with Williams he is back,
For another F1 attack,
Stay tuned–will his suerte be buena?

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Timo “German no. 4” Glock.

The Timo Glock Limerick:

There once was a racer named Glock,
Who is one of the F1 German flock.
His potential’s still unused,
The fans remain bemused,
His time in F1 is crooning tick and tock.

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Charles “Frenchman no. 3” Pic.

The Charles Pic Limerick:

There once was a racer named Pic,
Who fancied himself a bit quick.
But he’s a rookie in this joint,
Will he even score a point?
Let’s see if his sleeve has a good trick.

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Pedro “Grandpa” Dela Rosa.

The Pedro Dela Rosa Limerick:

There once was a racer named Pedro,
Who once had skills and speed so raw.
Now he’s back for yet another shot,
Against a quicker, younger lot,
Will he still have cojones to show?

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Narain “I Just Won’t Go Away” Karthikeyan.

The Narain Karthikeyan Limerick:

There once was a racer named Narain,
Who sometimes get confused with Bahrain.
He may be old and a slowpoke,
And for some, a recurring joke,
Just how will he cope with this new terrain?

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Welcome to F1 2012!