With 3 races completed and a further 16 left - we're now into the 2010 Season in Formula 1. There was a lot of hype surrounding this year, with promises of an exciting and intense collection of races that will improve upon the last.
However, after the opening Grands Prix in Bahrain, many were criticising F1's superiors for the rule changes and lack of fun for 2010. Without refuelling, Pit Stops have been slashed to sub 4 second times to replace all 4 wheel/tyres on the car and the increased car weights have decreased the chances of overtaking within the early laps of a race.
But, the Australian and Malaysian Grands Prix's proved to be worth watching and put the 2010 season back on the map and suggests we're in for a great year. There have been 3 finishes, each with a different winner - and with the points increases this year, have meant a Driver's Championship with only 9 points separating the top 7 drivers! The qualifying too is exciting, especially as Sepang saw both Ferrari and McLaren knocked out in the first stages. Both Lewis and Jenson drove superbly to creep up from the back of the grid to points scoring positions.
So what should we expect for 2010 and who will eventually triumph?
Red Bull have proved that they may finally have their reliability woes under control. Alonso has shown great talent with a well deserved win for his Ferrari debut and an impressive drive last Sunday, achieving the fastest lap multiple times, even with his damaged gearbox. Button has shown that his move to McLaren was a good choice and that he can rack up further wins after last year's championship, defending his title well. Renault too seem to be more of a contender this year, with a podium finish in Australia and 12 points in Malaysia. The new teams too are proving they can keep up with the big guns, with several overtaking manoeuvres and out-qualifications.
All that's within just 3 races, so already we're seeing a lot of action, contrary to the critic's beliefs.
Personally, I've been a lot more involved with 2010's racing. I've kept up-to-date with the action leading up to the Sunday races, via my Twitter addiction - reading Tweets from BBC's F1 team; F1 fanatics and drivers themselves. I've also caught most of the Saturday qualifying and the pre-race coverage during the preceding hour. I've even ensured I catch the race live, or at least V+ and watched it only a few minutes off.
I'm expecting big things this year and I don't have a clue who will win by the end of the 19 races on this season's race calendar. Though, I've decided to support McLaren this year, with their 2 Championship winning British Drivers (the aforementioned Button and Hamilton). And I've not yet written off Schumacher in his return to F1 - I reckon he's only just warming up after his retirement.
Are you keen on F1 for 2010? Who are you supporting and who do you see winning by the end?
For the past 5+ weeks since I last posted, I've been contemplating what to write about next. There have been a few minor news stories that I could have reflected on and the weather itself has been extraordinary this month for the UK.
However, today's big story had to be echoed - Michael Schumacher is to return to Formula 1 next year! The story goes on - he's to drive for Mercedes (Brawn GP of 2009) alongside a fellow German, Nico Rosberg and with Ross Brawn heading the team who helped him achieve many of his previous F1 wins.
What with McLaren and their 2 British Drivers, Hamilton and Button and now Mercedes with their 2 aforementioned German Drivers it'll be a cracking season next year. The interesting part will be seeing if Michael still has what it takes to be a championship winner. The Brawn/Red Bull match throughout the 2009 season may unfold in the form of Britain/Germany (McLaren/Mercedes) for 2010. Or, he could find that his determination and previous wins aren't enough as he struggles to qualify and race at the same level as before - the field is mostly young drivers these days, most of which has shown promise over the past 3 years since his retirement.
So, the 2010 Formula 1 season is shaping up to be another one worth watching. There are new teams, new transfers, the previous 2 champions racing with each other and now Schumacher's return. Roll on Bahrain!
As The Lounge is becoming full (464+ comments) and summer is pretty much here, I think we should move conversation outside into the sunshine. Hence, The Summer House. Feel free to talk about anything, as before...
After reading several articles today about the demise of magazines as a medium for Games, I've decided to come to a decision on my usage of magazines, as a whole.
Bit-tech's Joe Martin wrote Games magazines on their way out, which prompted me to scour my RSS feeds for similar articles. Sure enough, Digg picked up a story about the Games For Windows magazine ceasing print and going 100% online (which you can read more about from the Editor himself).
It's something I've wondered for a while now - how much longer will the magazine last in this digital era? The internet has become one of (if not) the most popular sources of news and articles for many people. I spend far longer these days reading through RSS feeds and various technology news sites to get my fix of information.
However, at this point in time, the demise of magazines might only be limited to a few genres:
- Computers and Technology
Let's start with Computers and Technology - I've purchased Custom PC since issue one (with a year as a subscriber) and have noticed their online presence has evolved substantially over the past 12 months, with a site re-design and new features, including staff and community blogs. I'm only guessing here, but surely the growth of their site is due to a drop in magazine sales - or at least a realisation that the internet is becoming the dominant medium. And the reason for this? How many times, in the past few years, have you read a news piece within a magazine, that you've not already heard about online?
Auto - perhaps not as obvious as the others here, but Simon made a very good point yesterday, whilst reading this month's copy of Top Gear magazine - it's full of adverts. Sure, advertisements have been a staple part of a magazine's diet, but they now far outweigh articles. Again, this could be due to the rise of the internet and the decline of monthly readers. The Top Gear website is full of great content too, including video clips of previous episodes - which suggests they're ensuring that if the magazine does go, it will still be left with a great site for its readers.
Games - the genre that kick-started this article. Gamers want news on future releases as soon as possible. They want demos as quick as possible and they may want video clips too. All of this is possible with a magazine, but can be delivered instantly over the internet, especially with the rise of online connectivity with games consoles. Take Grand Theft Auto IV as an example - I (and some of you) have been religiously following the updates from Rockstar's official site, to keep me occupied on the run-up to release. With previous GTA's, there were official sites, but none as content rich as the latest. And yet, I've not purchased a single Games magazine to read about it all.
Pornography - I guess there will always be a market for the magazines, as many American truckers don't have internet access en-route. But many would argue - why pay for it when it's available online for free? The internet's growth and popularity is often said to be due to pornography.
Don't forget, I'm only speculating here - though I see magazines being a very niche medium within 5 years. Anneka pointed out that she would still continue to read 'Pick Me Up' held in her hands, rather then viewed on the internet. But, I don't see many people reading about the latest games or technology in a magazine.
Will we see many more Games magazines switch to solely online delivery? Will there be an influx of magazine journalists to the internet, as Joe mentions?
To do my bit, I've decided to completely give up on magazines. Don't take this the wrong way though - I'm trying to speed up the decline of magazines, just end my addiction with them. I've purchased copies of Top Gear, Max Power, Fast Car, PC Pro, Custom PC, Official [console] magazine, MBUK, .NET along with many others over the years. The content of all of these hasn't suffered, in terms of quality - just quantity.
Whilst browsing the aforementioned sites for these magazines, I've noticed that Future Publishing have amalgamated their bike magazines into the one site. According to an old article (2001), they briefly suspended some of their sites, whilst cut backs took place. This suggests that magazines have been forced to re-consider their operations for a good few years now, with the rise of the internet.
From this day forward (14th April 2008), I plan to:
- Never purchase another magazine
- Rely solely on the internet for news and articles
- Save money by completing 1.
- Read books to fill the void that would have previously required a magazine
Currently, I purchase around 4 magazines a month, all of which are around the £4.99 mark. That equates to £259.48 a year! If I don't buy another magazine, but instead read one of the many books I have lying around, I could better spend the money on something useful, that I'd read about online. Any time I would normally grab a magazine to occupy me (bed time, train journey, sofa, holiday), I'll reach for the paperback. Besides, books tend to be a lot cheaper word-per-£ these days, compared to a magazine.
The few magazines that I still have lying around will make their way to the recycling bin - including the issues I've kept for nostalgia, like a 1996 edition of AutoCar, which unveils the McLaren F1; or a 1999 edition of Top Gear, with an article on the R34 Skyline.
Lastly, if I stop buying magazines I'll be doing my bit for the environment - after all, I've probably read through a forest in the past 10 years.
Let me know if you still read magazines; if you've never read them; or if you'll never stop reading them...
Tonight is another milestone in Matt's life...
The Nissan Skyline R32 GTS-T that I've owned for the past 9 months has been sold tonight. It had been on the AutoTrader website; two Skyline forums; Petrol Heads and I've just ended the 2nd eBay auction. I did worry at one stage that I would be stuck with it for life!
The new owner is another Skyline owner, who has a black R32 himself - and my GTS-T was to be his partner's, as she apparently keeps driving his.
I'll miss the Skyline and all the fun associated with it:
- 140mph* on the A1 when driving it back after purchasing it
- Ending up sideways around a corner on 2 occasions
- Racing a Vauxhall Astra VXR (they're quick bastards) @ 120mph* on the A46
- Beating a WRX Impreza from traffic lights
- Watching the fuel gauge drop so quickly
Who knows? Maybe you'll be reading this blog in a few years time, where I'll be raving about it?
For those who didn't see the Skyline in person, there are 90+ pictures on the mini-site I created for this sale. I'll keep it alive for the foreseeable future.
To all members of the police force reading this, these speeds are completely exaggerated as I've never even hit 70mph.