Monday, June 20, 2005

Turn 13 Controversy

Wow! Second post of the day and this one too is on Sports. And I felt like writing this because something unique happened yesterday which the sport has never ever witnessed in its history and I just wanted to record the same in my blog and also let my views on this controversy which would be debated for a long time.

Turn 13 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the centre of all the controversy, those unique turns, 12 and 13 of this circuit,which you travel at around 200 miles per hour for a duration of around 20 seconds(this is a curved oval part of the circuit ) and once you reach the start finish straight, you still carry the same speed until you break late for the turn 1. So literally for more than 30 seconds, you are inside a car which is travelling at more than 300 kmph.Scaring !? And how about doing this for 73 times on a race day? Ready for it? I wont have the courage to do it even in my dreams. What happens when you take the turn 13 is that the whole stress shifts to the left rear tyre and makes it vulnerable to wear and that is where the controversy lies.

Indy circuit has a lot of history behind it. It is the second oldest track on a F1 calendar. Though F1 came to Indy only in 2000, other forms of racing have been going on since early 1900's.What happened exactly was our dear Ralf hit the wall at turn 13, literally at the same place like what he did last year at a speed of more than 200 mph. Last year, he was out of action for months, but good news this time, he was fine, but wont be able to race for this race atleast. Though replaced by Ricardo Zonta, the replacement also had his share of bad luck. He also crashed like ralf because of tyre failure.Michelin supplies tyres to 14 out of 20 drivers, and after the double accidents that happened on friday,michelin were unable to identify the reason for the failures exactly. They felt the current setup of tyres might not last the race completely and it was dangerous to race with this tyre setup.

Now, comes the first question. Why didnt Michelin bring the right set of tyres for the race? The regulations introduced this year clearly states that you have to have the same set of tyres for the entire race weekend,you cannot change the tyres during the pit stops of a race, so they know that they have to get the tyre setup right. And they have been doing it perfectly well for the first 8 races of the season so far: all the first 8 races of the season have been won by a michelin runner. There were even speculations that ferraris on bridgestone tyres are suffering a great deal because of their tyre package, bridgestone seem to get it all wrong for a race: to find tyres that would last the race distance since you cant change it in between. Number of times we have heard Rubens and Narain this season saying that they were running conservatively to preserve the tyres. So it was always michelin who got it all right. What happened this time? Indy is not a new track for them. They have been racing for 5 years now and in fact Mika Hakkinen in his michelin run mclaren had won there once. So its not that the circuit is new for them. They know how it is. So how could they make the mistake at the first place. Of course, they should have had backup tyres and tyres for all possible conditions and surfaces and why did they miss on it? Formula 1 is such an advanced sport in terms of science and technlogy and how could michelin not have simulated all the race conditions and get a suitable tyre for the teams?

Ok, I am agreeing that we all make mistakes and I can forgive michelin for that.How can you ask to introduce a new chicane just because you failed to provide the correct set of tyres? Bridgestone has done a good work in getting correct set of tyres for the race and why should ferrari agree to that proposal? It is totally unfair.This is what Rubens had to say regarding this at the post race conference, which is true: "I mean, if I had changed one of the corners in Bahrain, my tire would have finished, it wouldn't be in such a problem and I probably would have finished even on the podium. So why would we have to agree to that? People think, okay, you put in a chicane, but we haven't tested with that chicane so that could have been even more dangerous. If you take a different line and people spin to the other side, crash into the side wall, how can we do it? It's silly."

Also, taking turn 13 at low speed is a stupid idea as well. You have been accustomed to taking it at a high speed until qualifiers and suddenly to take it at a low speed is nonsense. Also, the guys who raced, proved that the corner as such is not unsafe, all the six of them finished the race without any accident. So I dont agree to the statement that the corner was dangerous in the first place. And, I am disappointed by the rules of F1 as such: Why is this new rule that you cant change in the tyres during the race? If that had not been the case, it would have all become so simple for everyone. Everybody would have been able to change their tyres in between if they seem to be wearing out. Some rules like these are too stupid. May be FIA can think abt it.

And what about moral ethics? Seeing so many teams retire, shouldnt ferrari also declined to race? Ha ha ha. why should they? They have done everything right this time atleast and F1 has become so competitive that every single point you score is very important. So why should ferrari throw it all away? They have been getting it all wrong for 8 times now. Then there was no complaint.You were all enjoying it. Now if you get it wrong and they get it right this time, why should they suffer for something wrong with you?

Whatever the argument be, at the end of it, there was not a single person who could do something that would be aggreable to all the teams. Everybody seemed to be right in their own way, it is really sad that there was not a single person to get them all to a compromise. The sport suffered because of it and so were the thousands of fans who came down to watch something which they can watch only once every year. This incident has put a big '?' over the future of the sport in US and I sincerely hope that things like this dont repeat ever. But US Grand Prix 2005 would go down in F1 history as one of the black days for the sport.Hope it all changes in Magny Cours, which incidentally is the home grand prix for Michelin!

It is that time of the year

"Ladies and Gentlemen. Play suspended".

We would hear that a lot during the next fortnight where we would definitely see this guy Alan Mills holding the microphone and continuously watching the sky, with a hope that "Lord, let it not rain heavily today".(He cant ask for "Lord, let it not rain", thats overambitious, but he might be lucky on few days though)

So, action shifts to the most famous lawns of the world, once again to SW 19, London today. I have been watching tennis for more than 15 years now: my memory stretches back to the good old DD days, when we never used to get DD metro at our home and whenever DD-1 used to broadcast its daily news in the night, 8.30pm - 9pm in Tamil and 9pm -9.30pm in English, when our hearts used to palpitate, "Oh, God, who would have won Steffi or Seles?".. "Damn it, why do the four metros alone get this DD-2?"

Though we have four grand slams, not many of them care about the Aussie and the US open. There is something magical about Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Its these two that fascinates people a lot. And may be for differernt reasons: the french tests your endurance, stamina and patience. It takes really a lot of these qualities to become a winner of Parisian clay.

But, Wimbledon...It is that time of the year, (two weeks after the french open as always), when we have this limited grass court season. It is that time of the year, when we would see Spanish players(males specifically) would get mysterious shoulder injuries and pull out of 'The Championships'. It is that time of the year when Serena Williams would seriously think about her tennis. It is that time of the year when 'Henman Hill' would be bustling with hysterical people,hoping that their hero would win atleast this year and simultaneously,It is that time of the year when British newspapers would carry the headlines "Why Henman cannot win at Wimbledon". It is that time of the year when we would have mindboggling truth revealed by few players: "Grass is for cows to eat". And more importantly, It is that time of the year when more than a century old tradition would sketch one more beautiful episode on the grass.

Wimbledon is all about tradition: starting from the first match on the Centre Court which would always feature the defending champion of the 'Gentlemen singles', to even the way in which matches are scheduled and the time they are scheduled: It is unique. Second tuesday always the 'Ladies Qtr Finals' day,Second wednesday Qtr finals for men and so on with semis and finals: Its always scheduled the same way every year(what happens actually is left to the rain gods). Dress code has to be maintained strictly: Only whites. The way ball boys and ball girls pass the balls to other side is itself a pleasant sight to watch.Compare the same to that of US open and you would see how it all sucks at Newyork. I guess Wimbledon would be the only grand slam still where doubles event for men is still played as best of five sets. No where else you can find the same.

But, yeah, the most important thing about Wimbledon is the surface itself. Agility is the word. How quick can you move,how quick you can respond, how good are your reflexes. I was watching yesterday on TV a Bjorg-Mcenroe final at Wimbledon, what a match that was!It is really sad that we are losing a breed of tennis players - serve and volleyers I mean. We have very few left: Henman, who else? Anybody?Atleast I cant think of anyone among men, you can say Federer would adapt himself to the surface and do the same, but among women, forget it.The last I saw was Jana Novotna.

And now to My pick for this year's Championships: Among men, no doubt, definitely I am going for Federer, I guess he is the most accomplished player out there and when asked whats his top priority for this year, he said, "To defend my Wimbledon title and to keep my top ranking". Thats something he has won for two years now, and he wants to emulate Sampras' record of seven titles and he is very serious about it. And of course, he has lost twice this year at the semifinal stage at a Grand slam and so he would be more than desperate to win here. I guess he would be less threatened here.

Among women: This is what Serena Williams remembers from Sharapova's victory speech after accepting the trophy last year(I am recalling whatever I could remember)."I know you like to have this trophy.But I like it very much as well. I am going to keep this trophy away from you for one year atleast". And Serena cant wait to avenge that defeat last year to the russian.She does not like to lose and particularly at Wimbledon. I am going to stick with Serena this time.

Interesting fact is: Serena, Henin and Sharapova are in the same half of the draw.Sharapova is scheduled to meet Henin at the quarters and Serena in the semis. I guess even if serena falters, it is gonna be Henin or Sharapova who is gonna win this time. And my choices are in this order
1. Serena
2. Justine Henin Hardenne
3. Sharapova

What happens actually: Time would tell in two weeks. Well, leave you with the most famous lines of Rudyard Kipling written for the players before their entrance to the Centre Court at Wimbledon:

If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same

Actually, I found the whole of the poem here. Check it out.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Whats up 'dude'?

I dont know why, but I don't seem to like this word - dude. Everytime, I hear something like:
"Duuuuuuuuuude, how are you doing?"
"Dude, whats up?"
"Dude, lets go for lunch"

I feel little irritated. I seem to be ok with maams, machi, machchan,(Mera Des Mahaan) but a big NO to dude. Apart, from being a slang, for a guy, fellow, what else does this four letter word, mean? Merriam gave me these answers

Dude : refers to a person who is a dandy - that is a person who takes excessive care for his dress, look and appearance.

Dude: refers to the person who is a city dweller unfamiliar with life on the range; especially : an Easterner in the West - that means a person who feels out of his place.

So, my aversion for the word, I can supplement with above definitions. But, yeah, I thought a little bit more about this word. If dude is a slang, 'dud' is also a slang and what does dud mean?

Dud: A person who is a failure, ineffectual.

So, dude is a person who is, a dud from the east, I can say, because the definition of dude, applies mainly to easterners in the west. So, dont be surprised, if you get a crossword clue someday which says:

8: Fellow: Useless one from the Oriental(4).

You now know what is the answer to that clue. So next time when you are in a cross continental conference call and its a monday evening for you and monday morning there and if somene asks you, "Dude, how was your weekend?", one of the possible ways you can interpret that question is : "Hey, useless fellow,(I know you would not have done anything good or achieved anything great), how the hell did you spend your weekend?"

No wonder, I dont like this word...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


I dont know why, but YM has been blocked at work since last thursday. I would be available on MSN though, whenever am free. Of course, Skype is there. My Skype ID is my firstname_lastname, same as that of MSN.

Would let you all know when I am back to 'the beautiful world'

Monday, June 06, 2005

Click Click Click

The little queen from Liege smiled - the final battle was won easily after all
The young king from Manacor 'left' his stamp firmly-sanguine one remember!
As the crowning ceremony happened at the Chatrier, everything everywhere was getting smeared in red.
Alas, the skies opened up heavily at the IS valley,
And I was getting fascinated by the series of double entendres thrown at me
As things ended happily and 'final'ly at Louvre - Was that a coincidence?
The 'Beautiful King' (thanks to the Greek legacy) fed his subjects 'happily',
When the temporary silence was broken at last and in the way I wanted it to happen.
How? Why? Dont as me those questions. The answer is silly and stupid, I am aware of that!