Monday, 23 November 2009

Mrs. Thatch Wasn't a Complete Nutter After All!

As anyone who knows me will testify, I believe Mrs.T to be the Devil Incarnate - guilty of many varied crimes against humanity. The most serious being leading us into a War that could have been prevented by letting the Argies know we were actually intereseted in the Falklands after all. This was at a time in 1982 when her economic policies were not working and her Government was actually quite unpopular so she needed something to distract the general public and make everyone feel good about her. Yes, I know Tony Blair also led us into a pointless and unnecessary war - I haven't a clue why, but he did it with the knowledge that it may well make him very unpopular - and it did!

On a more motoringy front, Mrs.T was pivotal in the demise of British Leyland deciding to sell it off at a bargain price to her chum Roland Smith, or, more precisely, BAe, the Company he led. There were certain "protections" and "guarantees" in place such as BAe had to be committed to BL for at least five years and, sure enough, as soon as five years had passed, BAe disposed of it to BMW for a very nice profit thank you very much. BMW were not geared up to deal with a then mass-market car manufacturer and subsequently had to dispose of it themselves and the rest is history.

All of this made me very worried by Saint Jeremy Clarkson's column in the latest issue of Top Gear Magazine. I'll not reproduce what he wrote because it's not my place and I'd probably get sued by someone anyway but the gist of what interested me is that Mrs.T was a seemingly lone voice at the start of her tenure in speaking up for lean-burn engines rather than catalytic converters as a way of cleaning up exhaust gases. This would have dramatically reduced the amount of carbon dioxide emitted but nobody apart from Chemistry Grad Mrs.T was too worried about CO2 then. I must admit that I do remember Ford and a few other companies dropped/postponed development of lean-burn around that time because World Governments were not interested.

I have an awful lot of time for Jeremy's views, despite him being further to the right than Tory Central, he does put over his views in an intelligent and amusing way so if he's right on this one, and I've no reason to doubt it, then Mrs.T did actually speak some sense once and nobody was prepared to listen.

Maybe because she came over as a complete nutter.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Jenson Button will not be World Champion in 2010

After a dire history of being in the wrong car in the wrong season, he's finally had some luck. He was teamed up with Ross Brawn and proved many people, myself included, wrong showing that he is actually a very good driver.
He made some very unfortunate decisions in the early-noughties with contract disputes and team moves between Williams and Benetton/Renault and BAR/Honda - each time leaving him in mostly uncompetitive cars and unable to achieve that all-important maiden GP win.

Now he's made another career-changing decision - he had two choices:
1. staying with Ross Brawn, the technical genius behind Benetton in the mid-nineties and Ferrari a decade later not to mention Brawn GP this year.
2. joining Lewis Hamilton at the now more in-form McLaren for more money and an all-British set-up.

He has, of course, gone for option 2 and probably not for the money. The only problem there is - he is not as good a driver as Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton's natural talent has led him to achive what he has at such an early age - Button was young when he started in Formula 1 but was regularly outpaced and out-scored by his team-mates.
Don't forget, also, that Hamilton is also extremely well ensconced within the McLaren team and knows the cars and the personnel inside out, and they know him. If McLaren have a good enough product to win the 2010 Championship, they will win it with Hamilton ably supported by Button - not the other way around.

If Jensen had stayed with Brawn (or Mercedes GP as they are now - including the backing and money that goes with that name) then it was quite realistic for Ross Brawn to pull off another piece of technical wizardry and have back-to-back winning drives.

Jensen's only hope for a 2010 Championship was to stay where he was. I don't mind being proved wrong though.