Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A 1.6 litre Ferrari?

The impending, most drastic change in Formula 1 engine regulations looms in 2013.
The current 2.4-litre normally aspirated V8 engines will be replaced by turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder ones, which are more environmentally polite.
Fuel consumption, it is estimated, will be reduced by a minimum of 35%, more so with a focus on energy recovery that produce power without burning fuel, as in the KERS (kinetic energy recovery system), which already make a return this year, that will be key features on the cars, although initially they are to have mere 5 to 10 percent effect on the power generated purely via these systems.
It is back to the previous turbo era dominated by Honda, where F1 cars were decked with 1.5-litre pieces.
But one man sure can justify his unhappiness. Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo. Of course. The smallest engine currently in production on any Ferrari is in fact their 2,498cc pieces that are on the F10, their Formula One cars. In their road car production, the smallest is the 4,244cc V8 that's in four Maserati models - the Coupe, Spider, Quattroporte and GranTurismo.
No engine below 2,000cc has come out of Maranello since 1986, apart from the F1 turbos that ran until 1988, even those 1.5-litre V6 ones. Ferrari has never produced a four cylinder engine since the Ferrari-Lampredi straight fours designed by Aurelio Lampredi, the last of which came out in 1956!
I personally find it real hard to associate a four-cylinder 1.6-litre heart, with a Ferrari.
So, di Montezemolo calls it 'pathetic' as reported HERE.
But at the other end, Malaysian entrepreneur Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes is all smiles. Having stated his final piece on the Lotus naming controversy HERE, the Team Lotus principal and AirAsia chief says the switch to the smaller engines make F1 more relevant.
He's even calling for tyres to be of the same size as road cars, so as to make them also relevant to tyre development for the road market HERE.

What's certain, the mere orchestra on the starting grid with 24 angry turbos just waiting to pop off the line is a real sexy prospect for the audiophiles.
The bottom line is, F1 evolves on a daily basis and what they're guaranteeing is that it is changing for the better.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My country is Malaysia, not Malingsia

I've been trying to maintain a stance that Malaysia's triumph in the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup, albeit much awaited, is nothing to shout about.
All we've done is emerge champions of the South East Asian region, which doesn't have a single representative in the AFC Asian Cup in Qatar next week that features the top 16 teams in Asia.
I can't blame most Malaysians for over-emphasising the significance of the AFF Suzuki Cup, but there's a long way to go yet. Let's get over it quickly and move on, don't get carried away.
But I also can't help but be drawn to the vicious online campaign that's being staged by some quarters of the Indonesian football fanbase, which is quite clearly being supported by an equally immature press.
Read this RIAU POST article and the comments from the Indonesian readers, you get a clear picture of hatred aimed towards Malaysia.
I can't help but notice in a number of forums, Malaysia is referred to as "Malingsia". The description of the word is available HERE. It is a combination of the Javanese word 'maling' which means thief and Malaysia.
I do not understand what exactly the Indonesians believe we stole from them. Some of them believe it is cultural practices such as certain dances, traditional food recipes, art and traditional costumes. Apparently it is not okay with some quarters that these cultures are shared between the two countries.
I certainly do hope China, India, Portugal, Britain, the Philippines and Thailand are alright with Malaysians practicing some cultures that orginated from those countries because if tensions over these things do boil over the same way they are in Indonesia, we will be heading for World War III definitely.
What I do find intriguing is the contradiction between their claims that Malaysian players Mahalli Jasuli, Safiq Rahim and Amri Yahyah are Indonesian (Mahalli's parents are from Indonesia. Safiq and Amri deny that they are Indonesian); while the Indonesian national team parades so proudly Christian Gonzales, a naturalised Indonesian of Uruguayan origin.
What they are saying is that it's alright for others to migrate to Indonesia, while it isn't right for people with Indonesian heritage to be of other nationalities? This is a ridiculous mentality. They are faulting history for their troubles, whatever that may be.
What is clear is that Indonesia's defeat in the AFF Suzuki Cup has not been readily accepted as simply that - a defeat.
So much so that Malaysia has had to absorb scathing attacks on its persona by irresponsible people who claim themselves to be pure Indonesian. What is a pure Indonesian? I don't want to reprint a thesis on that, but I can say almost all Malaysians trace their origins to too many places that it just doesn't matter anymore. What matters is what we are now - Malaysian.
Well, as I said, it was just a small regional tournament. Nothing to shout about. There's a lot more to look forward to. We'd be better off just cherishing the good friendships we have with the more significant, good portion of Indonesia, rather than be overly disturbed by this aimless propaganda.
There's more to football than the AFF Suzuki Cup, more to life than worrying about pinpointing exactly where which people originated from. Darwin did that centuries ago and discovered we're all apes.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Top of my list 2010


SEBASTIAN VETTEL (Ger) Red Bull Racing (Formula 1) - He's the youngest EVERYTHING in Formula One. Youngest grand prix driver at 19, youngest pole sitter at 21, the same year he became the youngest race winner and to cap it all at just 23 this year, he's the sport's youngest ever world champion.
He topped my list for having survived and won what was an extreme, high-pressure season amidst a field that included four previous world champions in the likes of Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. He came out on top amidst claims of infighting within Red Bull Racing itself as he tussled for superiority with far more experienced teammate Mark Webber. More to come from this baby-faced assassin.


BORUSSIA DORTMUND (football) - I know many will say Spain, Inter Milan or Barcelona. But this young team takes my cake because of their injection of new found belief, in this day and age, that money isn't everything in football.

Coach Jurgen Klopp, a relative unknown outside of Germany, has moulded a squad based on youth with some exciting young talents that have surprised the likes of German moneybags Bayern Munich, VFB Stuttgart, Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg.
A squad boasting some of the most promising youngsters anywhere in the likes of Turkish playmaker Nuri Sahin, German centre-back Matts Hummels, both just 22, 18-year old sensation Mario Gotze and 21-year old Japanese top scorer Shinji Kagawa, Dortmund have shocked the Bundesliga by closing 2010 on top of the league with 14 wins out of 17 matches played and are 10 points clear of equally surprising second-placed Mainz.
Balance that with the value of FC Bayern's squad of 23 and you'd be left wondering what Klopp has been feeding his youngsters. Imagine that Dortmund never even featured among the league's top five in the previous five seasons and you can't figure out how they've come to so effectively dominate this season.
Definitely this squad is already promising more than the Andreas Moller-led team that emerged champions of Europe in 1997.


FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE (ITA) winning the French Open (tennis) - If you'd asked anyone in January to name any of the winners of tennis' Grand Slams, the names that popped up would have been anything between the Williams sisters, comeback queen Kim Clijsters, Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic or any of the current wave of top Eastern Europeans.

Nobody in their right minds would have even mentioned Francesca Schiavone. The 30-year old had been there or thereabouts throughout her career, but even in Italy she'd often lived in the shadow of the more illustrious and popular Flavia Penetta.
But there she was having benefited from crowd favourite Elena Dementieva retiring with an injury in the semi-finals, to set up the surprise final of the decade against Australia's Samantha Stosur. She was seeded 17th prior to the meet and had never ever came within sniffing distance of a Grand Slam title in her career. But she ends 2010 with something even she never thought would have happened this year - a Grand Slam title.


LANCE ARMSTRONG (USA) cycling - Returning to the sport last year targeting a gigantic eighth Tour de France title, the hype surrounding the legend's return totally gripped the cycling world, so much so that people thought he could easily outdo teammate Alberto Contador in the Astana team last year. that triggered friction between the two that resulted in Armstrong and eternal team boss Johan Bruyneel shipping out and coming up with their own Radioshack team for this year.

Armed with the lieutenants of his choice and at 39, named as among the favourites to dethrone nemesis Contador, Armstrong simply fell flat of expectations and will aptly, and for the second time, call time on his career this year.