Archive for October, 2011
Despite the terrible tragedies that motor sport has witnessed over the recent weeks, the gloom was lifted with some high quality racing at F1’s newest home – the Buddh International Circuit. The manner in which Vettel raced from pole to the chequered flag was simply put, terrific. To put no foot wrong and race inch perfect, he’s surely the next sorry big GUY in F1!
The dominance of a driver in F1 often times brings out a debate on man vs machine. I recall the amount of moaning doing the rounds when Schumi used to throw everyone by the way side during his all conquering era of 5 back to back titles. When Alonso broke that trend for the first time, he was hailed and when he started doing it the second time, the moaning was back on. It’s back on now and not surprising!
If machinery was everything, the sport won’t be what it is. We saw how in 2009, Giancarlo Fisichella struggled when he went from Belgium’s podium winning Force India to a pretty competitive Ferrari when he stepped into fill Massa’s injury chasing a dream to race for a Ferrari. I’m for a moment not doubting his talent, but his experience at Ferrari showed that F1 is more than machinery alone and there’s a pretty important aspect of driver skill and ability to put it to good use when presented which solid machinery that makes it count.
As I look back at the hugely successful debut for India, I walked away with these takeaways!
“This has to be the pits!” An expression you’d dread to hear in the corporate world!
“It has to be the pits!” An expression everyone in F1 would love to be part of!!
Ironic but true, a word that’s dreaded in the corporate world happens to be the place to be in F1!
The pits are where the team garages are located. The cars are set up here and come in here during the course of the race for that sub 4 second pit stop where teams change 4 tyres and send the cars back out racing. It’s also the place where the team principals and engineers sit, making decisions on the fly in an attempt to either respond to the competition or make changes based on the emerging race situation, often times when drivers are racing at speeds of 320 kmps.
Thank God it’s Friday!!India’s biggest Friday I guess given the eyes of the world were on us in anticipation! The teams had their first chance to test the circuit and burn some rubber in and more importantly,Indiagets to hear the sound of 24 race cars roar on a formula one track! I’m so jealous of my friends who made it there this year and I can tell you now, I will make sure I get there in 2012.
I’m thrilled to hear and see that the Buddh International Circuit is huge hit. The money spent on it has for sure created a product that has set tongues wagging – in a positive manner though!
There’s usually plenty of motivation for the drivers on a Friday. Given practice time is very limited in F1, teams want to make the most of them to try out their tyres, car set ups, fuel load settings and impact on car performance and a whole host of other things .
India is all set to be the latest addition to the glamorous & exciting world of Formula One. With 4 days to go, I wanted to pen down some thoughts trying to get into the minds of the five driver world champions who are at play over the race weekend and highlight key learning aspects for us in the corporate world.
Sebastian Vettel : Double world champion at 24 and the blue eyed boy of Red Bull, he’s barely put a foot wrong in 2011, decimating the opposition by the wayside in the process. For someone as young as him, he’s not let success get to him. He could have easily backed off inKorea saying it’s all over, but the way he drove to help the team seal their title speaks volumes of his character. Always a team man and as cool as a cucumber, he’d want to get his name on the glamorous trophy and be the first winner inIndia. As much as Red Bull racing are known for their after race parties, a young boy at 24 can so easily want to stray and enjoy life – Vettel is different and for me, epitomizes the view that anything is possible if you put in the effort and chase a dream with humility.
Fernando Alonso: A former double world champ himself, he moved to a marquee brand in search of his third title. The team for sure has disappointed him and not delivered him with machinery, that could enable him challenge the guys in front. I am one of several Ferrari fans who are upset with the way the team have performed this season. That said, if you look at the constructors and drivers standings, Ferrari and Alonso won’t be where they are but for one man – Fernando Alonso himself. Driving the wheels of an under performing car with exceptional skill he’s dragged them to where they are. While Ferrari are not improving their current car, expect Alonso to do nothing but earn Ferrari a podium inIndia. The thing that stands out for me with Alonso is the fact that there’s not been a single day when he’s whined and complained about the team, not supporting his quest. He’s stayed the course and delivered some surprising results, carrying the flag all by himself.
Jenson Button: When he joined McLaren as a defending champion, every analyst out there believed what he was doing was short of career limiting and hitting self destruct. He walked into the den of Lewis and in the 2 yrs with them has performed with admirable ease and superiority, settling down in a manner that’s probably got Lewis nervous. With McLaren being the car closest to Red Bull and buoyed by his recent form, he must sure be fancying his chance. Button for me is the perfect role model for keeping a cool head on the shoulder and working out of your comfort zone to get into one.
Lewis Hamilton : Home grown champion for McLaren, Lewis has had, by media standards ,a disastrous 2011. I was reading an article on BBC that had his performances this season tabulated. Fair enough he caused a few crashes and controversies, but he’s done reasonably well in my view. With critics going for blood over his style and performance, Lewis’s fight back inKorea in his quest for redemption was absolutely impressive. He could have blown it up all over again in his exciting battle with Mark Webber, but he for a change stayed out of trouble. The McLaren fan would argue that he’s raced the wheels off his car from wherever he’s started and whatever the stewards threw at him and as someone who appreciates quality racing, one has to but agree to this view. He sure can drive. Wanting to forget 2011 in a hurry, but still having 3 races to go, Lewis would want to do what he loved doing best – conquering circuits. His record at new circuits before the advent of Red Bull is an impressive one and he for sure would want to get that reputation back on track. For me, he stands out as someone who is fiercely ambitious and wants to win always. Idolize those traits, but keep a cool head when it matters hey!
Schumi : The closest I’ve come to him is when he walked past me in the pits in Monza in 2010. I’d like to believe he waved back at me when I screamed his name, but in the home of the Tifosi where he’s still a demi god, I must be smoking…(you know what?). Being 42 and a 7 time world champion with nothing to prove, Schumi came back to F1 because he missed the fun and excitement. Barring a couple of 4th place finishes, his return to racing has been what some people describe as “dismantling his legacy bit by bit”. I personally think that it’s a harsh statement, a very harsh one. Read the “edge of greatness” by James Allen and you will know what Schumi brings to the table. Mercedes weren’t nuts to pay him 7M Euros a year to get out of retirement and for the critics, he didn’t win when he walked into Ferrari on day one. Schumi’s attention to detail, passion, technical knowhow and desire to build something big are traits youngsters will do well to imbibe.
With champions out of the way, I’d be unfair to Narain Kartikeyan and Karun Chandok (if he races on Sat and Sunday) if I didn’t say something about them. In a sport where getting a chance is as hard as keeping a seat, they’ve surely toiled hard to get to where they are and sacrificed a fair bit. To represent your country and have fans cheering for you despite knowing you are not going to win anything even with a miracle, it’s all about pride for these two boys. Absolutely down to earth folks, they for me are examples of staying motivated in tough times and performing when a rare window of opportunity does open and a second chance is no certainty. Keep the flag flying boys!!! To race in the inaugural home race in front of a hundred thousand fans is as good as winning.
I’m pretty certain that Elango would surely be wondering if these champs had godfathers. Knowing him he’s probably of the view that you don’t need one!! Is he right? I don’t know!!
Friday practice is up tomorrow and channels inAsiahave become liberal enough to show them live. I’m going to try and catch what I can and will be back to reflect my thoughts on Friday practice!
Nars work as a HR Director for an American based financial services firm and is based in Hong Kong.
Guess who brought Carpe Diem back to my mind ?
Listening to her say this in the movie Zindagi na milegi Dubara brought back fond memories of Robin Williams urging his students in Dead poets Society eons ago. I just wish she had said with more emotion and not looked so besotted with the hero!
Not only did she bring in the flood of memories..now don’t let your naughty thoughts get hold of you! She also helped me complete this post that has been work in progress for a looong time.