Formula One 2006

As a passionate fan of Formula One motor racing, I like to write detail accounts on this year’s FIA World Championship. I have created a long thread on the main Eternal Sunset forum and will continue to post Grand Prix stories on the forum and here (plus eMagi).

For those who haven’t read my views on the pinnacle of motor racing, you can start reading this here:

Need a new mobile

After receiving my latest mobile phone bill from Vodafone (£65!), I have decided to ditch this network and go for Orange. Why? The attraction of Orange Wednesdays and free broadband access.

Will pop in to my local Orange shop to get the best package/deal from those sleezy sales people (Just give me a free phone dammit and I’m out of there!). I am thinking of purchasing the new Sony Ericsson K800i as a replacement over my old K750i. Nothing wrong with my current phone at the moment, it’s just that the new one has Walkman functions!

Will post a product review when I get the new Sony Ericsson.

“The worst pirate I’ve ever seen”

No, I don’t mean that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest is a bad film. It’s a quote from Jack Davenport’s character Norrington, when meeting Captain Jack Sparrow for the first time in the original movie.

The second film I have to say is great. It’s quite entertaining and it is nice to see Johnny Depp playing Captain Jack Sparrow once again. His performance as the ‘worst pirate’ with his slurred speech, swaying swagger and slack, waving arms still keep you amused. In fact, he based this characteristic on Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards (who is rumoured to play Jack Sparrow’s father in the third film).

Even though the film is around 150 minutes, there are plenty of action sequences to keep you captivated. And as for the ending, very interesting… We will find out what happened to Jack Sparrow in the third film next year.

I actually prefer the first movie as I watched this on DVD last weekend. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was more satisfying and fun to watch. The second movie lack that certain ‘heart/charm’ that the first film had, which I believe came because the first film was something very different (at that time), which of course this film couldn’t contend with. Still, this movie has a great story, featuring fantastic performances from the stars (Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley and Bill Nighy), superb visuals and plenty of laughs. Looking forward to the next movie!

Leaf on Superman Returns

This summer sees the the release of a new Superman film from director Bryan Singer. So does it match the quality of the original film starring the late, great Christopher Reeve?

Well, the key question I need to ask Bryan Singer, is why is it so DAMN long to tell a story? Superman Returns is over two and a half hours to watch and seems to drag on…

Despite that, the action scenes especially involving the aeroplane at the beginning of the movie was spectacular and the performances from Brandon Routh (Clark Kent/Superman), Kate Bosworth (Lois Lane) and Kevin Spacey (Lex Luthor) was great. Though we do see Lex showing his ‘camp’ side…

The story was a bit weak in my opinion with the main focus on the love between Superman/Lois Lane. Some of the scenes were a bit amusing because you can’t believe what you are seeing (the bit when a bullet hits Superman’s eye for example).

To be honest, I’m slightly disappointed with the movie and I much prefer Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. At least that was action all the way!

And I must admit the casting of Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane was ill-judged by the casting directors. She was far too young (only 23 years old) and her on-screen relationship with Brandon Routh – Clark Kent/Superman – wasn’t convincing.

As for Lex Luthor’s plan to create a ‘Kryptonite’ continent so he can demand world leaders to buy land, oh please(!) What a weak evil scheme to dominate the world.

Plus the dialogue wasn’t that great. What sort of catchphrase is “I’m always around” anyway?

Banner image in place

You may have notice a new image on top of this blog. Create this in a matter of minutes in Photoshop and asked Mike to upload it for me. It looks great! Contrasting black and white images of my favourite items – 24, Super Monkey Ball and Formula One with a colour logo of three ‘leaves’.

Might change the image if it’s too dark…

Right, continue with the set up opitions here.

Red Hot Chili Peppers live in London

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Last night was simply spectacular after one of my favourite band were playing live at a packed London’s Earls Court show.

The band were the Red Hot Chili Peppers and I love the funky music performed by the California-based rock group.

I have always been a fan since buying the last three albums – ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik’, ‘Californication’ and my personal favourite, ‘By The Way’. The new 28-track double album ‘Stadium Arcadium’ released this year is simply fantastic.

I always wanted to see them performing live someday… Well, my dreams came finally true when I saw them that evening.

Anthony Kiedis – the main vocal – was energetic and incredible, John Frusciante – guitar and backing vocals – was on awesome form with the lead guitar. His skills were truly impressive. Flea – playing the bass and providing the backing vocals was superb. And as for Chad Smith – on the drums – he couldn’t stop hitting away and was full of enthusiasm. He later threw his drum sticks to the passionate crowd at the end!

The highlights was the opening song to kick-start the two-hour live show with ‘Can’t Stop’, a fans favourite and my as well. John Frusciante’s sole version of ‘How Deep Is Your Love?’ was wonderful. Followed by a 15 minute guitar jam at the end of ‘Give It Away’… Sensational!

A great night out and I can’t wait to see them live once again.

Schumi – the King of France

Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher won his eighth French Grand Prix (an impressive race statistic) after a dominate lights-to-flag victory over Fernando Alonso. Felipe Massa finished in third position.

Schumacher’s victory has significantly reduced the points gap to championship leader Alonso to 17 points. And with seven races to go, this will mean that we will have a tense and exciting duel for the title.

In the early part of the race, Ferrari were running one-two with Michael ahead of team-mate Massa. But Renault changed their pit-stop strategy (from three pitstops to two), which allow Alonso to jump ahead of the Brazilian and gained that all-important extra points with P2.

Bridgestone was the fastest tyre package in Michelin’s home race, judging by the pace of the Ferraris and the Toyotas. But the Williams team did suffer a tyre problem especially for Mark Webber, who had to retire with a left-rear running over temperature…

Ralf Schumacher finished in a good solid fourth in the Toyota with McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen in fifth. Renault’s Giancarlo Fisichella drove a low-key race and finished a distant sixth, ahead of Pedro de la Rosa in the McLaren. The last point scorer was Nick Heidfeld in the BMW-Sauber.

As for Honda, it was a weekend from hell. Terrible qualifying performance from Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello and then in the race, a lack of race pace which ended in retirement for both drivers…

Exit stage left for Juan Pablo Montoya…

Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya has announced that he is leaving Formula One to join NASCAR racing in America.

The McLaren driver will reunite with Chip Ganassi Racing, with whom he achieved spectacular success when racing in the United States, winning the 1999 Champ Car (CART) title and the 2000 Indianapolis 500.

The shock news was announced by Montoya and Ganassi in a press conference at the Chicagoland NASCAR event on Sunday morning (July 9th).

Montoya’s future has been one of the key talking points of the feverish F1 ‘silly season’.

McLaren had not taken up its option to retain him for 2007 and after a disappointing 2006 campaign to date his place in the Woking team was in jeopardy – especially with a list of other candidates in the frame for the high demanded seat alongside new arrival Fernando Alonso (the current championship leader).

With Toyota expected to re-sign Jarno Trulli for another three years and Red Bull Racing’s interest apparently on the wane, Montoya’s options to remain in Formula One were looking limited.

Ganassi recently expressed an interest in renewing his association with Montoya but it was assumed any overtures would be in connection with his IRL IndyCar squad.

Instead the Colombian will take on a completely new challenge after signing what was described as a “multi-year” deal.

He will become the first big-name F1 regular to compete in NASCAR full-time in the 58-year history of the stock car category.

Apparently Jacques Villeneuve was thinking on the same wave length and joining NASCAR at the end of his F1 career. Even though the Canadian is achieving solid results in the BMW Sauber this season, the team hasn’t made a decision whether he will drive for them in 2007. If Villeneuve leaves, then we have lost another great driver from the ‘pinnacle of motor racing.’

As for Montoya, I think he made the right choice as he seems to be disillusioned by the politics in Grand Prix racing. Plus, since he join McLaren from Williams back in 2005, Montoya has been out-performed by Kimi Raikkonen. It doesn’t help that he had that ‘tennis/motocross’ injury last year…

I will miss Montoya in Formula One as he was an exciting driver to watch. Brave and committed. His passing move on Michael Schumacher at Brazil in only his third race in 2001 was fantastic. And that amazing 160mph+ qualifying lap around Monza in 2002 was simply incredible.