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Monthly Archives: January 2010

Well, the 74 year wait for a male British singles Grand Slam Tennis champion continues. This morning Roger Federer tore Andy Murray apart in straight sets 6-3 6-4 7-6 (13-11). Federer won his 16th Grand Slam and his 4th Australian Open and 1st as a father. He just seemed to have an answer to everything that Murray had. Even as they just started the first set –Federer was 2-0 up at the time – I thought to myself ‘Andy isn’t going to be able to live with this’. I was hoping that I was going to be proved wrong, but sadly I wasn’t.  

Federer enjoys his 16th Grand Slam victory

Elsewhere, Sauber launched the C29 today at the good Valencia race track. As Renault launched their car – the R30 – they announced that Russian rookie Vitaly Petrov will race alongside Robert Kubica this season. I also found out on Saturday that it was Lewis Hamilton himself who put Jenson Button’s name forward as a replacement for Heikki Kovalainen. Lewis said that he wants to win the Constructors Championship with McLaren, and said that he couldn’t do it on his own. Hence Heikki goes and Jenson comes in.

The new Sauber

The new Renault

New boy, Vitaly Petrov

Jenson and Lewis play with their new toys

 

Egypt won the African Cup of Nations for a third straight time and 7th in total as they beat Ghana in the final 1-0, scoring in the 85th minute. In the 29 games played, 71 goals were scored at an average of 2.45 a game. Yesterday (Saturday) Nigeria took the bronze medal with a 1-0 win over Algeria. However, I am extremely angry with CAF – Confederation of African Football – because they have banned Togo from the next two tournaments. What crime did they commit I ask you? Why should a team, who suffered so much outside of football, be punished inside of it? This is one of the most ludicrous sporting penalties I have ever heard of. TOGO, YOU HAVE MY BACKING!

Sorry about the lay out.

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The McLaren MP4-25 was officially unveiled at Vodafone’s HQ today by Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. It looks like a monster, but then all McLaren cars have done (well most of them). If it can win us both world titles this year, that would be fantastic. Yes I know Lewis won the title in 2008, McLaren’s first since Häkkinen in 1999, but we haven’t won the Constructors Championship since 1998! We have to win both to prove that we are the best team on the grid.

My favourite part of the car...the number 1

As I’m sure you are aware, Roger Federer now stands in Andy Murray’s way in Sunday morning’s final down under. He beat Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2 6-3 6-2. The pair met in the 2008 US Open final which Federer won, but Murray leads their head-to-head record 6-4. This will also be the Swiss legends 21st Grand Slam final, and only Murray’s second. But Federer won his first Slam at his 17th attempt. This is Murray’s 17th Grand Slam. I really can’t call this one. We will just have to get up for 0800 on Sunday morning and tune into BBC 1 or HD to see what happens.

In the African Cup of Nations, Egypt exacted revenge on Algeria for their World Cup play-off defeat with a crushing 4-0 win to set up a final with Ghana on Sunday late afternoon. Ghana will be going for their 5th Championship, their last being way back in 1982. Whereas Egypt will be looking to win the tournament for a 3rd straight time, and record enhancing 7th. In fact by beating Algeria, they set a record of 18 consecutive matches unbeaten. Good thing England don’t have to play them in the World Cup. Oh wait, we have a friendly against them at Wembley on the 3rd of March. Hmmmm…

Now before I go, I must offer my congratulations to the BBC F1 team. Their coverage of the 2009 Monaco Grand Prix won the award for best sports broadcast at the Broadcast Awards during the week. I’ve seen so many F1 pre-qualifying and pre-race shows that they don’t really stick in my head. However the film below blew my mind, and it has earned a place on my blog for all of you to see. 

Ferrari became the first team to launch their 2010 F1 car today.  Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa will hope that this is the machine that will steer them towards a third and maiden title respectively. Last year’s car, the F60 was by Ferrari standards, a great disappointment. It failed to score any points in the first 3 races of the season, took just one win and fastest lap and didn’t take a single pole-position. It also saw Felipe Massa come a hairs width away from death in Hungary. But the F10 will be looking to put all that behind it, and will try to make life as difficult as possible for everyone else on the grid.

The Ferrari F10

McLaren will launch the MP4-25 tomorrow (Can’t wait). Then Renault and Sauber on the 31th of January. The first test at Valencia the next day will see the debut of the new: Mercedes, Toro Rosso and Williams. On the 10th of February at the second test in Jerez sees the new Red Bull and Force India, and hopefully the new Virgin put on display for the first time. Lotus and Campos hope for the 12th and 17th of February respectively. US F1 are the only team who haven’t made public their launch date. They just say ‘Early February’. All new cars will appear on this blog if possible.

To the Tennis now, and Andy Murray stormed into the Australian Open final with a 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-2 win over Marin Cilic in just over 3 hours. If he beats either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or the legendary Roger Federer in the final, he will be the first British male to win a Grand Slam event in 74 years. COME ON ANDY! 😀

Roll up! Roll up! Get the tennis ball in his mouth and you win a car!

Breaking news. Ghana have beaten Nigeria 1-0 and are through to the African Cup of Nations Final.

Let’s see now…

Mercedes showed off the livery of their new F1 car on a 2009 Brawn. Why did they need to do that? It was going to be silver with some green bits on it. In fact I would have been surprised, alarmed and saddened in that order if they had chosen any other colour than silver. Silver is the national racing colour of Germany after all. Why do you think Ferraris are red, it’s their colour. In fact while I’m on the subject, I get very picky about what colour a car should be, it’s just the way I am.

US F1 have finally named a driver for this year. He is Argentinean Jose Maria Lopez, he is 24 years-old and used to be a test driver at Renault. Argentina hasn’t had a driver in F1 since 2001 when Gaston Mazzacane left the old Prost team. No, I don’t remember him either.

Come and go Spanish driver Pedro de la Rosa, 38, has joined the Sauber team after spending the last few years as McLaren’s test driver. So far his best result was second place at the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix, the very same race that saw World Champion Jenson Button score his first and only win out of a Brawn car. In fact, 2006 was the last season de la Rosa raced in F1, standing in at McLaren for Juan Pablo Montoya decided he was bored with Formula 1 and went off to race in NASCAR half way through the season.

Finally, McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh is now the chairman of the Formula 1 Team’s Association (Fota). 🙂

Andy Murray is in to the Semi-Finals of the Australian Open after Rafael Nadal was forced to retire with a right-knee injury in the third set whilst Murray was 6-3 7-6 3-0 up. He is the first brit in 33 years to reach this stage in the Ozzy Open, and will play the Croat Marin Cilic for a place in the final.

In the African Cup of Nations, the scores for the Quarter Finals are as follows,

  • Ghana 1 – 0 Angola
  • Algeria 3 – 2 Ivory Coast (AET)
  • Egypt 3 – 1 Cameroon (AET)
  • Nigeria 0 – 0 Zambia (AET)    Nigeria beat Zambia 5 – 4 after a Penalty Shoot-out.

In the semis, Ghana will play Nigeria, and Algeria will play Egypt.

Super Bowl XLIV will be played out between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts. Both teams where the best teams in both of the leagues this season, with records of 13-3 and 14-2 respectively.

Away from sport, and the film ‘Avatar’ has surpassed ‘Titanic’ as the highest-grossing film of all time. James Cameron must be rolling in it since he: directed, co-produced and wrote both of them. Due to ‘Avatar’s’ monumental success, Cameron has hinted at the possibilities of their being an ‘Avatar 2’ and an ‘Avatar 3’. Now you couldn’t get that with ‘Titanic’ could you?

The other night, I (with my Dad’s help) came up with the ultimate ‘A Question of Sport’ line up. Just picture it, the opening titles have just finished, and you see yours truly sitting in the hosts chair. To my right you see team captain Ayrton Senna, with his guests Don Bradman and Jesse Owens. To my left we have team captain Muhammad Ali with Pele and Martina Navratilova. What would be yours?

In F1, Michael Schumacher has swapped his number with Nico Rosberg from 4 to 3. Forget about his odd number superstition, I reckon he just wants to be seen as the Mercedes team leader.

The African Cup of Nations Quarter Finals kick off today, with hosts Angola taking on Ghana, and the Ivory Coast vs. Algeria. Tomorrow will see Egypt vs. Cameroon and Zambia doing battle with Nigeria.

State-side now and the American Football divisional Championship games take place today. The AFC Champions will be either the Indianapolis Colts or the New York Jets. The NFC Champions game will be played out between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings. The winners of each game will advance to Super Bowl XLIV (44) in Florida.

That’s all for now, and PS, this is my 50th blog! 😀

Michael Schumacher has told the German press that has asked Ross Brawn if it is OK for him to swap the number 4 for his team-mate Nico Rosberg’s number 3.

This is because Schumacher has said that ‘Ross knows that I like odd numbers.’ You may think that this is slightly odd 😉 (two in one!), but he actually has a point. Michael Schumacher has started 249 grand prix, and had an odd number on his last 248.

His first ever race was the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix racing for the new Jordan team (now Force India) with the number 32. He retired before the second corner on the first lap with Clutch failure.

He then moved to Benetton (Renault) for the rest of 1991 and 1992 with the number 19. In 1993 and 1994 he raced with the number 5.

As reigning World Champion in 1995 and 1996 at Benetton and Ferrari respectively, he was awarded the number 1.

1997 saw him race under 5 again. In 1998, 1999 and 2000 he was number 3.

From 2001-2005, the number 1 never left his car. Finally, in his last season until now in 2006, Schumacher was yet again number 5. Had he been fit to race in 2009, he would have had Massa’s number…number 3.

Today I finally got to play a bit of Futsal.

Futsal is a type of football played indoors, but with no barriers, so the emphasis is on ball control. Now I don’t have much ball control as anyone who has seen me play will tell you so I stayed in my favoured position which is Goal-keeper.

In one of our games, I was left in no-man’s-land by a ball played square across me. The goal was left open with the ball rolling menacingly towards it. I threw myself onto the floor and palmed the ball away to safety. Then the pain kicked in. What I had done was I had landed on the hard sports hall floor straight onto my right knee, jarring it to the point where I had trouble standing up. My left knee wasn’t so lucky either. It suffered a burn that is currently bright red and stinging quite a bit.

Hopefully next week I’ll be able to come off in on piece.

The 1966 triple Oscar winning film ‘Grand Prix’ follows the lives of four drivers through a fictional version of the 1966 Formula 1 World Championship. Jean-Pierre Sarti (Ferrari) is a double World Champion in what is probably the last season of his career. Pete Aron (Yamura) is a driver on the come-back road. Scott Stoddard (BRM) is desperately trying to follow in his late brother’s footsteps after suffering a near fatal crash in Monaco. Nino Barlini (Ferrari) is the season’s hot shot rookie, and a three times Motorbike World Champion. The sub plot of the film follows the lives of the drivers ‘WAGs’, who have to live with the men who do one of the most dangerous sports on Earth. All four of the main drivers in the film win each of the nine races of the season.

  1. Monaco Grand Prix: Sarti wins. Aron blocks his BRM team-mate Stoddard from lapping him, and the pair crash. Aron is sent into the harbour and Stoddard is almost killed. Aron is fired from the team.
  2. French Grand Prix: Sarti wins again, inspired by his mistress. Stoddard misses the race through injury and Aron is now a TV pundit and starts a fling with his ex-team-mates wife.
  3. Belgium Grand Prix: Aron wins his first race back driving for the Yamura team in a rain affected race. Sarti was leading with a few laps to go, but crashes and kills to young boys who were watching. Stoddard is still out injured.
  4. German Grand Prix: Aron wins again.
  5. Dutch Grand Prix: Stoddard makes a surprise winning return to racing.
  6. United States Grand Prix: Stoddard wins again.
  7. Mexican Grand Prix: Stoddard wins his third race in a row.
  8. British Grand Prix: Barlini wins. Stoddard leads but is forced to retire after he falls unwell as a result of taking too may pain killers. Aron crosses the line in flames as he risks his life to beat Sarti into third.
  9. Italian Grand Prix: Sarti is killed whilst hunting down his Championship rivals. Barlini is called in by Ferrari whilst leading as a mark of respect. Aron and Stoddard battle it out for the lead. Aron wins by just a few inches to become World Champion.

As you all know, I am a lifelong follower of Formula 1. My first race was the 1996 Australian Grand Prix when I was not even 3 and a half. I have waited to see this film for a very long time, and I am glad that I finally have. Despite it being set in the mid 1960s and incredibly cheesy in places, it is a brilliant film. The parts that stand out the most in the film are obviously the then ground breaking in car and on board camera shots, which are still a draw after well over 40 years. I do have to see the film again however, because most of the time I was looking out for cameos played by the name drivers of that era. These being: Phil Hill, Graham Hill, Jim Clark, Jochen Rindt, Jack Brabham, Richie Ginther, Bruce McLaren and Juan Manuel-Fangio. At first the drivers and teams, particularly Ferrari didn’t want anything to do with the film, but after Enzo Ferrari saw what the film might be, he and the rest of the F1 world were keen to help.

How some of the shots were filmed is fantastic as you will see in the video below. No need to use painful to look at moving screens whilst the driver ‘drives’ when you have the 1961 World Champion in your crew. Phil Hill drove a camera car during the 1966 Belgian and Monaco Grand Prixs to get as much action as he could. But in Belgium it rained hard, but he didn’t stop filming. The four actors playing each of the drivers had varying driving skills and talents which also lead to filming issues. One couldn’t drive at all, one was slow and nervous, one was scared of driving at high speeds and had to be towed, and one was so competitive that he took up racing as a hobby after the film was finished.

An excellent film and a must for all F1 fans.

F1 new-boys Campos Meta have said that they will definitely be on the grid for the first race of the season in Bahrain. They also said that the team-mate of Bruno Senna will be a rookie as well, with three drivers from GP2 rumoured to be in talks with them. Speculation has been placed on the spanish team, as well as US F1, that they will not be ready for the first races of the year. US F1 have also said that they will be in Bahrain.

Crash-gate driver Nelson Piquet Jr. has announced that he will be driving in the American NASCAR series this year, and not in Formula 1. For those of you who may not know, NASCAR is the American touring car championship.

Michael Schumacher has said that he felt ‘comfortable’ and that he enjoyed his wind and rain limited GP2 test run of 52 laps at the Jerez circuit is Spain.

Now for the African Cup of Nations update. Defending Champions Egypt beat Nigeria 3-1, and Mozambique drew 2-2 with Benin.

In sadder news today, Miep Gies, the last person alive to have help Anne Frank’s family evade the Nazis in Amsterdam for over 2 years has died at the age of 100. After the war, she found Anne’s diary and presented it to her father Otto. Without her, Anne and her family would literally have just been numbers. In a way, we have lost one of the most important people of the 20th century.

Miep Gies (1909-2010)

Lewis Hamilton is now on the market (dating wise) if any girls out there are interested. It was announced today that he and his Pussycat Doll girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger have ended their almost 2 year relationship. The two met at the 2007 MTV Europe Music awards in Munich, and have been seen together throughout the 2008 and 2009 seasons. In a joint statement, they said that they are going to go their separate ways so that they can focus on their racing and singing careers. I read that Lewis was not yet ready to settle down, (since he is constantly globe-trotting doing the best job in the world). In their statement, they also said that they would remain friends. They have since got back together.

Michael Schumacher will be spending this week at the Jerez circuit in Spain testing GP2 cars so he can be ready to test Mercedes’s new car next month. While testing the car for Formula 1’s feeder series, we will be helping to develop the series’ 2011/2013 car.

 Just before I wrote this blog, I saw that the FIA are appealing the overturning of Flavio Briatore’s lifetime ban. Good!

 Now, to the African Cup of Nations. Togo, it turns out, wanted to play in the tournament in honour of the men who died. But the Togolese government ordered them home. I was all in favour of them not playing, but know I have seen this; I’m not sure what I would have done. What would you have done?

 The first game of the tournament started with a minute’s silence for the fallen Togolese, then 4 goals from the hosts Angola. But in the last 12 minutes, Mali produced a fantastic comeback to draw the game 4-4. Earlier today, Malawi squashed England’s World Cup opponents Algeria 3-0. In tonight’s other game, the Ivory Coast drew 0-0 with Burkina Faso.

In American Football, the Arizona Cardinals beat the Green Bay Packers 51-45 in overtime. In the NFL post-season, this is now the highest scoring game ever. We now know the last 8 teams left in contention to win the Super Bowl. The NFC (National Football Conference)’s divisional playoffs are, the New Orléans Saints vs. the Arizona Cardinals, and the Minnesota Vikings vs. the Dallas Cowboys. The AFC (America Football Conference)’s games are, the Indianapolis Colts vs. the Baltimore Ravens, and the San Diego Chargers vs. the New York Jets. Follow all of that?

Good news for real music lovers everywhere, with the news that Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix will be releasing new albums in 2010. Page, the Led Zeppelin legend, has said that he will make a ‘radical’ statement with his first solo album since 1988. He also plans to do some live shows this year as well. 🙂

Hendrix however, will not be playing any live shows due to the fact that he has been dead since 1970. But that hasn’t stopped the completion of the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s new album ‘Valleys of Neptune’. Songs on the album range from ones that were left off of the group’s first three albums, and others that were recorded after the release of ‘Electric Ladyland’, which was the last album Hendrix released before he died. ‘Valleys of Neptune’ will also feature a cover of Creams timeless song ‘Sunshine of Your Love’. This features one Eric Clapton on guitar, so God knows what it will sound like with Hendrix playing it. He was extremely good at covers was Hendrix. Bob Dylan was so impressed by Hendrix’s cover of ‘All Along The Watchtower’, that he sings and plays to Hendrix’s music, and not his own.