Sunday, 20 February 2011

Don't Bahrain on Bernie's Parade

"Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has said he will leave the decision on whether to hold the Bahrain Grand Prix to the country's Crown Prince"

So say the BBC.

I say "Eeek!"

The Foreign Office say not to travel there on non-essential business.

The race meeting is less than three weeks from now and anything could happen between then and now - the Prince could be exiled to Abu Dhabi by then.

The costs of postponing or cancelling the race would be astronomical but some teams are already threatening to boycott for the safety of their own people and I have to agree with them. According to the article, insurance exists but, as with any policy, they will try to weasel out of it - that's why they call it a risky business.

Bahrain is a geographically and politically very important, oil-rich island so I can see why Bernie wouldn't want to upset them but if I were an opposition protester then this would be too good an opportunity for publicity to miss. That means extra security in place - probably armed - probably army - I dread to think what could happen.

"F1 insiders have told BBC Sport that the teams' contractual commitments to Ecclestone's Formula 1 Management company mean they would be obliged to attend the race if it is held."

So, if they don't get shot by the army, they will get sued by Bernie!

The only other Grand Prix in the Middle East region is Abu Dhabi in November. I would imagine things are much more stable there but who knows?

Gosh, this post looks very serious and sinister.

By the way, did you know that the Bahraini people don't like The Flintstones?

But Abu Dhabi do!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Now this - I REALLY LIKE!

As you will see, I've nicked these pictures from Auto Express although Autocar also had the story. Auto Express seem to be the Mag for Jag stories at the moment though, they got an exclusive last week on Jaguar's potential new small car. That doesn't interest me as much as the beauty pictured above - the B99 or Bertone 99, so called because it is styled by PininfarinaBertone. It's a concept car that could be a clue towards the X-Type replacement.

My X-Type is an estate and, as a rule, besides the practical necessity for me - I actually think estates look prettier than saloons - at least I did until I saw this. My kids are older now so we don't have pushchairs and things to deal with so maybe the necessity side of the argument is waning too - or maybe my heart is taking over control from my head. Or this what is called a mid-life crisis? No, that would be a Porsche 911 Cabrio.

This car has hints of BMW 850 and Dodge Challenger (see below) but is still easily identifiable as a Jag. So it doesn't need the bonnet mascot! Sorry to get bold and italicised there but it is the one tiny bit of the picture that looks completely wrong - lose the bonnet mascot!

Pity it doesn't look more like a Dodge Charger - I could have put up a picture of Daisy Duke - Catherine Bach, the proper Daisy Duke - not that bimbo from the movie.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Risky Business

This is a tricky one for me.

What Car? are reporting that the EU is to outlaw discrimination against men when it comes to setting motor insurance premiums. I've always felt a bit miffed that women get cheaper insurance than men just because they cost less in claims. I haven't said they crash less because I'm not convinced that they do - they just do less damage because they are travelling much slower when they do it.

This is a point I made last Summer when my good blogging friend North of the Border commented in his Blog about poor driving. To quote me last July, "Surely cheaper insurance for women should fall foul of sex descrimination laws? What would happen (and the data must exist) if they started basing premiums on skin colour?"

I am still uneasy about this though, since if they are not allowed to take into account the risk on sex-grounds, will it go further and they won't be able to discriminate against the higher-risk groups like sportsmen and entertainers? Or people who live in inner-city crime hotspots? Or Mexicans?

The main reason for me to comment though is as an excuse to embed this:

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Mexican Stand-Off

Question: What does a Mexican have under his carpets?

Now, is that joke racist? I hope not - I don't like racism or racists. I particularly don't like people who start sentences with "I'm not a racist, but..." Anyway, unless you are a fan of Warner Bros. cartoon Speedy Gonzales and also know a bit about floorcoverings, you probably wouldn't get that joke anyway.

I get the odd hit on my Blog from Mexico and I've noticed a couple this week possibly as the result of some Google searches on Top Gear. This would be due to their show last Sunday when a torrent of abuse was aimed at Mexicans - the BBC covered the furore (that's not a new car from Pagani) thus.

All the presenters joined in with the abuse but it seemed to be Richard, not Jeremy, who had the harshest words. However, at the end of the day - I DON'T BELIEVE FOR ONE SECOND THAT THEY ACTUALLY MEANT IT! Unlike the Sky Sports pundits the other week who thought they were off-mike and said what they really thought. I don't believe the pundits should have gone but that's another argument for a football or feminism blog - or maybe a media or legal blog since Andy Gray was pursuing damages at the time for 'phone hacking from another bit of Rupert Murdoch's empire - ooh controversial!

The team, usually Jeremy, love to wind people up and get publicity in this way - they always have and they always will - and long may they continue. Maybe a carefully worded apology is in order because the attack was sustained and brutal but I am very suspicious that the Mexican Ambassador would have actually been watching - that would imply he was a fan. And any fan knows what to expect from Top Gear.

Two weeks ago, they implied that Scousers stole cars or their wheels at least. The Mail, an evil paper which is so right-wing it makes Jeremy look liberal, reported it thus.

I thought the show was very funny, John Bishop took it in good spirit and most of the comments from Scousers agree too. Any true Scouse TG fan knew what they were doing and would be happy to be part of the joke aimed at us. As usual, the Mail was trying to stir up trouble/hatred/fear - it's our equivalent of Fox News.

As for the Mexican car they were talking about, the Mastretta (not "The Tortilla") - it looks suitably supercar-ish Although I'm not so sure of the front view:

That makes me think Smart Roadster:

At this point, I'm supposed to say, "I'm not racist against Mexicans - in fact some of my best friends are Mexican." Unfortunately, I don't think I've ever knowingly met a Mexican but I do own three Ford Escort Mexicos. Here's a picture of one identical to one of mine: