Monday, 30 June 2008

Bridgestone Motorsport British Grand Prix Preview

Formula One heads to the United Kingdom for the ninth round of the FIA Formula One World Championship where Bridgestone’s hard and medium Potenza tyres will tackle the tough turns of the 5.14km Silverstone circuit near Northampton.

This Grand Prix marks the half way point in the season and only ten points separate the top four drivers. Felipe Massa (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro) currently leads the standings, with Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber F1 Team), Kimi Raikkonen (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro) and Lewis Hamilton (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) all in hot pursuit. Each one of these drivers has been at the top of the standings at some point in the season so far, illustrating the close battle with all drivers using Bridgestone tyres as the Official Tyre Supplier to the FIA Formula One World Championship.

This will be the 59th running of the British Grand Prix, and the 42nd time the event has taken place at the Silverstone track. The circuit is one of the oldest on the calendar and it is characterised by its high-speed layout. Although most of the track is high-speed, there is a slower complex before the main straight, which is a breeding ground for tyre graining.

Last year Kimi Raikkonen (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro) used a medium – medium - hard tyre strategy to win the British Grand Prix by 2.4 seconds from team-mate Felipe Massa. Lewis Hamilton (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) finished third.

Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development, said:

What are the challenges of Silverstone? “Silverstone is one of the more harsh circuits on the calendar, which is why we bring the hardest compound Potenza tyres from our range. It is a tough circuit for tyres in the sense of the layout and the track surface, which is one of the more abrasive we use. Graining is always a consideration when coming into the final complex, and tyre management of this is an important aspect to getting a good result. Drivers require good stability from their tyres to give them confidence through the high-speed turns. Good heat and wear resistance are also desirable here.”

What has been learnt from the latest test in Silverstone? “The medium compound enabled a faster lap time over one lap, and if conditions are similar for the Grand Prix we would expect this to be the preferred tyre for qualifying. The hard compound enabled more consistent performance. However, if teams and drivers are able to manage the graining, the medium compound could be the preferred option in the race. As teams have now tested here so close to the Grand Prix weekend, we should see very close lap times as competitors have a good opportunity to find a good setup and maximise their cars to Silverstone’s requirements.”

Stats & Facts
Number & Spec of tyres brought to Silverstone 2,200 (wet/extreme wets and hard & medium dry)
Pole position time 2007: 1min 19.997 (Hamilton)
Fastest race lap 2007: 1min 20.638 (Raikkonen)
Top three 2007: Raikkonen, Massa, Hamilton

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Marilyn Rocks Rafa’s World

Tennis’ world number two makes his bid for Wimbledon crown by netting an exclusive Marilyn Monroe painting

Fresh from his French Open title and first round win at Wimbledon, Rafael Nadal has picked up an original artwork by renowned Italian artist Daniel Dondé.

The tennis hero acquired Marilyn Rock on the advice of art collector and Dondé’s agent, Daniel Muszkat, and was presented with his new painting earlier this week at the Wimbledon home he is renting for the tournament.

“My agent Carlos Costa introduced me to the work of Dondé. I met Daniel Muszkat two weeks ago in Paris before the final at Roland Garros, and I just fell in love with the painting,” Nadal said. “Not that I am very much in to art but I do like these things, especially paintings.”

Marilyn Rock is regarded as one of the highlights of Dondé’s 30 piece collection. The painting is finished with gold, jewels and other precious stones.

Park Plaza Riverbank London (18 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7DJ) is displaying the remaining paintings in Dondé’s collection until the end of July 2008. Prices range from £3,500 to £5,900.

Dondé’s latest creations celebrate Marilyn as “the modern day Mona Lisa”. Along with more than 20 paintings of Marilyn, the collection includes Bridgitte Bardot, Mona Lisa and a painting of Paris Hilton with Swarovski crystals.

A fan of Glam Rock Art, Dondé has a loyal following among the rich and famous. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Simon le Bon, Sophia Loren, Flavio Briatore, Roger Moore, Prince Albert of Monaco and Giorgio Armani have purchased works by the artist.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Out with Kornikova, in with Ivanovic

A new Ana has emerged on the scene at Wimbledon, and this one is better looking and a much better tennis player.

Ana Ivanovic arrived in SW19 off the back of her first Grand Slam title at the French Open earlier in the year, and she has won over the British public and Press. Ever since the BBC announced that she is single and looking for love, the Serbian has become the most eligible bachelorette on the tennis circuit.

Asides the fact that she is clearly stunning to look at, she plays a beautiful tennis game as well. She hits the ball with power and style, and in a funny but endearing way sounds a bit like a baby crocodile when on court.

Having said that, I don't fancy her for the Wimbledon title this year. The number 1 seed struggled through against Nathalie Dechy by literally a matter of inches, when at Match Point down a shot by Ivanovic hit the net and crept over, proving to be the turning point in the game. At the end of a marathon 6-7, 7-6, 10-8 thriller that lasted 3 hrs 24mis she kissed the net in thanks. My wager this year is on Maria Sharapova who looked very comfortable in her opening game and has clearly made Wimbledon a priority.

And for the men's tournament I fancy Nadal. He is much closer to beating Federer on grass then Federer is to beating him on clay, and he just appears so incredibly focussed this season. I feel the torch could be passed on and the bookies will go home happy.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Lookalike (Euro 2008): Luiz Felipe Scolari & Gene Hackman

Lookalike (Euro 2008): Petr Cech & Crispin Glover

Thursday, 12 June 2008

A Royal Visit For The Brit Oval

As the Twenty20 Cup launches this week, Surrey County Cricket Club are looking forward to more than just cricket with the announcement that The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will be visiting the Club’s home ground on Friday.

The last time a member of the Royal Family visited the Brit Oval was when The Duke of Edinburgh opened the OCS stand at the Vauxhall end of the ground ahead of the historic Ashes series in 2005.

Their Royal Highnesses will be taking in all aspects of the Club’s activity when they visit next Friday, including a look at the Ben Hollioake Learning Centre which sees over 4,000 children a year come through its doors and experience cricket based education programmes. In addition, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will meet both the Surrey and Kent teams ahead of their Twenty20 match, and take in the atmosphere from the 23,000 strong crowd expected on Friday.

Paul Sheldon, Chief Executive of Surrey County Cricket Club commented: “The Prince of Wales has always been a supporter of the work we do here at Surrey, both in terms of cricket all of the work we do with the local community, including a Prince’s Trust cricket initiative. We are looking forward to showing both The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall all of these programmes in action when they visit the Brit Oval on Friday.”

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Lookalike (Euro 2008): Raymond Domenech & Eugene Levy

Lookalike (Euro 2008): Marco van Basten & Will Ferrell

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Countdown to the European Championships...

Who's looking forward to the Euros...?? I'm actually quite excited by the prospect of watching top class international football without that familiar sense of dread associated with being an England supporter...

Footypedia By Daniel Maier

Published in Hardback by Century on May 01 2008, Priced £9.99

To celebrate winning the FA Cup by wearing its lid as a hat.

The smell inside a Ford Fiesta carrying five overweight England fans back to Lincolnshire.

The nagging feeling of resentment when you let a four-year-old score a goal past you in the garden.

The lovely velvety bag the cup draw balls are kept in.
Every football fan has seen or known these things. But who has the words to describe them?

How have we talked about football for this long without a word for surreptitiously timing a pre-match minute's silence, just to see if it's accurate? Or one for the feeling of frustration that the half of the league table you catch sight of on TV is never the half with your team in? Shouldn’t there be a verb that means: to reduce a 2-0 deficit to 2-1 in injury time, grab the ball out of the net and run back to the half-way line with it in order to get the game restarted as quickly as possible, despite the fact that your actions are completely futile since it’s the other team that’ll be kicking off again?

Yes. There should be. And there is. Footypedia: The Alternative Dictionary of Football is the hilarious, insightful and essential repository for all those things in football that up ‘til now have simply taken too many words to describe. The year's funniest, most off-beat and irreverent football book.

Baldock (n) – Inability to tell Thomas Gravesen and Lee Carsley apart.

Foyle (vb) – To ironically cheer opposition fans for their belated attempt to sing.

Quantrill (n) – Training exercise that appears to consist of players in woolly hats having a laugh.

Woffinden (n) – Utterly unintelligible post-match interview with a foreign player, left in the highlights programme solely to give the presenters and pundits something to laugh at.

About the Author:

Daniel Maier has written for television, radio and theatre. His credits include: Harry Hill’s TV Burp, Alistair McGowan’s Big Impression and Big World Cup, and The Peter Serafinowicz Show. He must have a sense of humour: he supports Newcastle United.