The start of the new season is looming large with the first of the 3 winter tests starting this weekend. Last year I was out in Jerez, with my ‘Godspeed Jenson’ banner, to get an early look at the new cars. Given the lack of reliability at the test the teams did well to get so many to the end of the race in Australia.
A season dominated by Mercedes to the extent that it made the driver championship a 2 horse race. Given that any of the 22 drivers on the grid would have finished in the top 2 if they had been in a Mercedes car, was it really a World Championship. To win a race of 2 hardly seems to justify the title of World Champion – a little like the ‘World Series’ baseball tournament, played only in North America.
Until they get each driver to drive each car then the claim to be World Champion is a little hollow. Wouldn’t it produce a closer and therefore more exciting championship if each driver got equal opportunity to be in the best car. The drivers, perhaps employed by the FIA, would be all paid the same basic and then so much a point. They could also arrange their own sponsorship but this approach would mean that the best drivers would compete not the best financially backed.
As a big JB (Jenson Button) supporter I’m hoping that Honda and McLaren have sorted the car out so that he has a chance at repeating his 2009 triumph. Obviously Fernando Alonso will have something to say about that but JB’s team mates often end up coming second best.
For those F1 fans that like to keep up with what is really going on in the sport, rather than much of the unsubstantiated gossip keep an eye on
which is the blog of Joe Saward a trusted journalist.
The first Saturday in August is traditionally the day of the Sudbury Rowing Club Regatta and yes this year it was the 134th anniversary. Having competed in rowing regattas and head of river races during the late 80’s and early 90’s it was good to see others toiling for perfection on a difficult course. I wonder whether if, back in 1880, the river was straight.
The club is going from strength to strength even having a crew at Henley this year. My involvement with Sudbury Rowing Club really began at the end of the 80’s – when we decided to move Alton Blades Rowing Club from Alton Water in Stutton. The reservoir was a lovely tract of water but the management at the time totally favoured wind powered craft. We were not allowed on the water without their safety boat which meant that when the conditions were best – at the beginning and of the day – we could only look at the still water. I understand that the new Alton Rowing Club has much more freedom and I wish it luck.
Rowing is perhaps the purest team sport – you use most of the muscles in your body and you have to be totally in time and coordinated with the rest of your crew. Unlike football, rugby, cricket, etc there is no time for ‘taking a breather’. Imagine a 400 metre track race where all of the runners had to keep level – even round the bends.
The photos are of an eights sprint, using just the straighter bits of the river! You haven’t lived until you feel the power of 8 people in sync.
The contact details are: www.sudburyrowingclub.org.uk and www.altonrowingclub.com
Are decisions made under extreme time constraints easier or harder? If you had to give an instant answer to whether your favourite colour was red or blue it would be easy – subconsciously you would have worked this out over your life and anyway there would be no consequences if you get it wrong. So what makes a team decide to put wet tyres onto Jenson Button’s car instead of the slicks that is on everyone elses? A safety car in the Hungarian Grand Prix gave Jenson the opportunity to grab a huge advantage. The first decision – come in and change tyres or not – was made in an instant … come in – CORRECT.
From entering the pit lane to reaching his pit box would take about 15 seconds – so dry or wet tyres …. wets – INCORRECT. Of course it’s easy to be wise after the event but unfortunately for the person making the decision there is more time to analyse its correctness than there was to make it. Why does this justify a post? Well before you make any decision you gather background information – even in an instant decision like this there is a huge amount of ‘inherent’ knowledge.
Jenson had won twice at this track before – in very similar conditions – by being quickest on a drying track – on slicks. Everyone said that ‘twinkle toes’ Jenson’s best chance of a good result was if it rained and then dried. The track had dried sufficiently to be on slicks. The radar of 10 of the 11 teams said no more rain. The answer to question, slicks or wets, was obviously slicks so why did McLaren convince themselves to go for wets and effectively write-off any chance of a good result?
No idea …. unless they want to get rid of JB at the end of the season and don’t want him to outperform / score his team-mate. F1 loves a good conspiracy!
The race was full of incident with crucial decisions being made up and down the pit lane. Cars were crashing into barriers and each other, drivers ignored team orders, there were different tyre strategies, huge variances in lap times and as a result the finishing order was in doubt until the last corner. Fantastic …… unless you had made the decision to put wet tyres on Jenson’s car!
I love it – the headline was ‘Flying Dutchman’ as RVP scores the equalising (diving header) goal against Spain in the their first World Cup match. Was it the trigger for an unbelievable second half performance by the Dutch, scoring 4 goals without reply are the simple stats but it was like a skilled butcher dissecting a lamb. If this is the standard to match then England have a mountain to climb – I’d love them to do it but….. ….. 24 hours later and we know the answer.
Ironically the headline of ‘Promised So Much But Failed To Deliver’ could apply to both football team and the rugby. Needing to win the 2nd test in NZ to keep the series alive England approached half-time with a 10-3 lead and Manu Tuilagi screaming down the touch-line with just one man to beat – Smith. Such a common name but such a unique talent, not only did he stop the try but turned it into a NZ attack that resulted in 3 points. 10 – 6 to England instead of 17 -3. Huge, and NZ came out pumped up for the second half and soon generated a match winning gap. England refused to give up and closed towards the end.
The footballers failed to take their chances, of which there were many, and failed to snuff out the threat down their left-hand side, which was constant. What surprises me most is how these professional footballers seem unable to go 90 minutes in the heat. Perhaps they should trade in their Bentleys for bikes – push bikes! There is still hope that we can get out of the group – just beat Uruguay and Costa Rica easy ……………. !
Good to see another European victory on US soil – Martin Kaymer comprehensively outplayed the rest of the field at Pinehurst No. 2 in the US Open Golf tournament. Perhaps we also witnessed the ‘birth’ of another British superstar – the young amateur Matt Fitzpatrick who had a final round of 69, one of only 11 under par. Today he heads to Ireland as a professional – I hope he has a great career.
Not a great start to the weekend with Andy Murray being crushed by Nadal. After a very strange quarter final, where Andy let a 2 set lead slip in dramatic fashion only to find a new lease of … Continue reading