Saturday, January 30, 2010

Formula 1: Official launches

I am like a child left alone in a candy store. Perpetually drooling over these cars unveiled before the official start of the 2010 Formula One season, a single bib wrapped around my neck wouldn't suffice.

Official launches and lunches. My thoughts spin on each. Costing a million dollars each, these 600-kg, 700-hp, 2.4-liter behemoths represent the pinnacle of motorsports design.

Mercedes GP. First to come out in its original silver livery was the MGP W01. The Brackley-based team of 7-time World Champion Michael Schumacher and former Williams driver Nico Rosberg is the most anticipated this year.

Resurrected from the ashes that was Honda then coming to win in the 2009 season as Brawn, the German outfit now competes not only as a manufacturer but a worthy team on the grid. It's last race as a solo team: 1955.

Ferrari. The only team ever to compete in all 60 seasons of Formula One, the Maranello-based Scuderia boasts as a proper team and manufacturer in one.

Driven to success with 16 World Constructors' Titles, the team this year promises to rebound from an unsuccessful championship bid in 2009 by taking in double World Champion Fernando Alonso from Renault paired with current veteran driver Felipe Massa.

Radical in its design, Ferrari's F10 sports a brand new red and white combo finish, it's front wing and tail displaying Ferrari's biggest sponsor the Spanish banking giant, Santander.

McLaren. Though still supplied by Mercedes engines, the Woking-based team is composed of former Champion Lewis Hamilton and current Champion Jenson Button from Brawn. This is the strongest driver pairing to date.
The current MP4-25 comes out unveiled in silver and red. It's 3-plated front wing is its most remarkable feature.
The 2010 Formula One car spec this year has a longer wheelbase to compensate for its bigger fuel tank as refuelling has been discontinued.
It's not about the car. It's not about the driver. But it's about both car and driver. A bull and a matador. Each compensates for the other.
The possibilities are endless. I need a bigger bib.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Formula 1: The Return of the King

Starting in March, Formula One fans will be treated to a season with four Driver’s Champions in one grid. After a 3-year hiatus, 7-time World Champion Michael Schumacher returns to drive for an all-German team in Mercedes GP, while current Champion Jenson Button drives alongside former Champion Lewis Hamilton in the Woking-based McLaren Mercedes. Double World Champion Fernando Alonso drives for Scuderia Ferrari.

You could not ask for more!

But the question in most of everybody’s mind is how fit Michael Schumacher can be. Formula One is a physical sport and the gravitational pulls (G) a 700 hp technically-defined sophisticated 2.4-liter V8 is beyond compare to other forms of motorsports racing. No other sport comes close.

Imagine driving a car with a 0-60-0 mph acceleration to braking range in 3 seconds or less.

But Schumacher is no ordinary driver. Voted by experts, together with Alonso and Hamilton, as one of the naturally-gifted modern drivers able to maximize a car’s potential of any make, the German is the epitome of fitness in F1.

Back in the 90s until 2006, Schumacher pioneered cardio and resistance training helping him stay fit and win all of his 91 Grand Prix wins, an unbroken record to date.

Indeed exercise has become the norm nowadays among F1 drivers. When not in training, Australian Red Bull driver Mark Webber has been known to go cycling and mountain biking while Jenson Button runs marathons.

For Schumacher to compete in the highest form, his level of fitness should anything be but extraordinary. Current drivers of NASCAR and the IRL could not be compared.

For a 41-year old, his work ethic as a sportsman is similar to other top athletes in the younger generation, namely: 7-time World Champion Manny Pacquiao of boxing, 15-time Grand Slam winner and current #1 Swiss Roger Federer of tennis and the world’s fastest man, record breaker and sprinter Jamaican Usain Bolt.

Backed by a reliable Mercedes engine and technical genius Ross Brawn, who engineered all of Michael Schumacher’s 7 Driver’s titles and 91 Grand Prix, reaching a hundred wins this year is a possibility, 18 races to go beginning in Bahrain.

The top 3 picks for this year? Schumacher, Alonso, Hamilton.