Haiku and the Ice Man

Circuit of Barcelona Catalunya

For people who follow F1, Kimi Raikkonen is well known for his short and often very succinct communication. In fact, he is also known for saying nothing at all half the time. While this image may not be what his friends and family see, it works wonders for ‘brand Kimi’ and provides the F1 pundits, ironically, with lots to talk about. But now Kimi has a haiku poetry book out and it’s selling far more than anyone would have thought.

Writing poetry?

OK it’s not exactly motorsport news but there is a little more to this than meets the eye. First of all, the book wasn’t actually all written by Kimi. Rather, it’s a collection of haiku – a very short form of traditional Japanese poetry – created using many of the Ice Man’s famous quotes. His communication habits are certainly clear and concise, much like a good haiku, and the fact he leaves literally nothing to interpretation has much in common with much of the poetry out there. He also insisted on some not being the standard length, in typical Kimi style!

Making money for charity

Of course, this isn’t some random money making scheme from an already very wealthy F1 driver. The book was actually created as part of a press kit, but the demand for it got so high that the profits are now benefitting an F1 charity that supports people who work in F1 and whose lives have gone off track. The unsung heroes of the sport, such as trackside teams and more, often need support and this book is helping to raise money for that.

Winnow your Words

The book entitled ‘Winnow your Words’ is now being printed in partnership with Autosport magazine and will no doubt carry on selling a big numbers. In fact, you can buy it here. But we were wondering what might come next? A Daniel Ricciardo Joke Book? Daniil Kvyat’s Book of Relaxation Tips? Perhaps Lewis might do a self-help book on how to achieve greatness…there are a lot of young drivers who might buy that one!

Away from the world of literature, motorsport pushes on with teams on winter breaks and testing, design and new tech always being pushed forward. We work with a number of F1 teams providing them with fire suppression systems right at the cutting edge of motorsport and what we learn and develop there feeds down into our track day and other systems. So if you would like to discuss your fire extinguisher needs get in touch today!

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Getting the Best Out of a Winter Track Day

Car during winter rally competition

If you are an experienced driver then you will have driven in anger in most conditions, including wintery ones. But for a lot of people new to track days, the winter may be a time when people shy away from booking a session.

If you are one of those people then think again – wintertime can be just as much fun but there are a few things you can do to make it better.

The Right Tyres

Tyres play a pivotal role in all motorsport and in all seasons, but in winter they’re even more important. If you are new to track days, you are unlikely to have a set of slicks sitting on your chosen track day car so this may not be an issue, but you must have tyres that can cope with water and running at lower temperatures. Do your research and you will be amazed what the right tyres can do for your confidence!

While you’re about it, if you are getting into track racing, get in touch about choosing the right fire extinguisher system for your car and your preferred type of track day.

Give It Time

One of the big factors in wintertime is giving the tyres time to warm up. In the height of summer, a single lap might be enough to get some heat into the rubber, but it is going to take longer when outside temperatures are hovering around freezing. Give it 2 or maybe 3 laps and feel your way into the speed rather than expecting the grip to be there right away. Remember, if you slow down or stop for any reason, that heat is going to dissipate faster too, so you will need to warm the tyres up again more often.

Rain and Fog

In this country, you might actually be more likely to get rain in the summer than the depths of winter, so rain probably won’t put you off too much. That said, learning to drive in the wet is another skill all racers should learn. It is actually things like fog and low light that can be more of a challenge. Patches of fog can sit on low parts of the track and while you will probably get a warning about it in the briefing, you should really be prepared for it, especially as fog can cause a lot of issues at speed! Make sure you have good lights front and rear and beware of others driver behind you if you panic and slam the anchors on when visibility drops.

A crisp winter’s day can be perfect for a track day. It’s not so hot you bake in your car, the air is clear and cool which can help with combustion and it’s always a treat to get out at that time of year. So don’t shy away from a track day and put it on your last minute Christmas list!

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Hamilton Wants to Shake Things Up!

Lewis Hamilton during European Grand Prix Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton has come out with some bold comments about making F1 more exciting. Maybe everyone should listen.

Falling Asleep

It may come as a surprise to many people, but Hamilton admitted to falling asleep when watching F1 races as a child. He suggested that many people do the same, perhaps setting an alarm so they can watch the end after drifting off when the first few laps have finished. It is certainly something we have heard people mention so he may well be on the money there.

Hamilton is calling for suggestions and ideas to how to make things more exciting, so people are on the edge of their seats for the whole race. He may be thinking more about audience enjoyment but there is no doubt sponsors would be behind anything that kept people’s eyes on their logos for a little longer!

Exciting Cars

Hamilton went on to say that the cars were the most exciting cars to drive for many years and all the drivers felt the same. Many of whom, he said, simply can’t understand why people are not enthralled from start to finish. It is a wise and mature Lewis Hamilton that is able to take a step outside of his position in everything and appreciate that the audience is important too!

Super Weekends?

The World Champ suggested that the same 4-day cycle 21 weekends in a year is dull and that we need some new ideas. He mentioned super weekends dotted throughout the season where the format changes and things get a little crazy. He even suggested reverse grids at some races. We have to say this would be spectacular to watch! Seeing the championship leaders having to grind their way from the back to get a win would be amazing to see. It would also benefit the smaller teams because their sponsors would get more coverage and this in turn would help the sport!

There would, of course, be games played though! You can imagine a winning team having an “issue” during qualifying so they qualified last and then got on the front of the grid, so positions would perhaps have to be decided based on previous race results or something that could not be manipulated.

Bring it on

No one would ever suggest adding more action, more overtaking and more fun to F1 would be a bad thing so let’s listen to Lewis and support some changes that could make for some very exciting Sunday afternoons! We can always grab 40 winks when it finishes!

At FEV, we’re passionate about motorsport and all safety aspects that go with it. To find out more about our MSUK and FIA approved fire suppression systems, give us a call today.

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Ferrari and the Mysterious Camera Cooler!

Ferrari and the mysterious camera cooler Image Credit: Racefans.net

You would be hard pushed to find any sport where competition runs higher and goes into more technical detail than F1. It’s one thing being a football team and watching other players’ videos for hours at a time. But when it comes to F1, the sheer number of people involved and the mind boggling array of technical changes and developments mean there is an almost endless stream of competitor data to be processed.

It seems our friends over at Maranello have decided to “play the game” a little more interestingly recently, with some mysterious objects.

The Onboard Camera

It is no secret that all the teams have access to all the other teams’ onboard cameras during qualifying and racing. This means they can see and try to work out all the settings being used from views of the steering wheel. Each team tends to run different buttons and dials on the wheels, so it can still be hard to work out what is going on.

It is less tricky when it comes to aero bits like front wings where they are out there for all to see but, even so, it can be hard to decipher what another designer has come up with. The onboard camera has become a normal part of the competition and a tool all teams use to a lesser or greater extent.

Camera Cooling?

Ferrari have recently started using a bag filled with dry ice to cover the air intake next to the camera during periods in the pits. They said this is to better cool the engine and camera equipment but it also just so happens to obscure the view of the steering wheel. The FIA have asked them to stop doing it and they naturally complied.

New Object

However, at Monza the team seems to have opted for a different cooling device. It’s an umbrella that also, carefully placed, appears to block the camera. Then, in Singapore, a new airbox cooler with some odd “sticky out bits” was spotted that – and guess what? It also happened to block the camera.

Playing the Game

While all this may seem a little underhand, there is a lot to support the fact that all the teams push the limits of the rules, and this is really quite good fun for F1 fans. It’s always interesting to see how far they go and what new levels of genius they will reach in order to grab 100th of a second over another team in any way they can. Sometimes, though, you do have to wonder if it’s worth it for some of the things they try.

If you race cars in any way, then get in touch about our range of fire extinguishers; we have systems for track day cars right up to custom work for race teams!

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C1 Racing Club – Budget Endurance Racing For Everyone!

24 hour race at Rockingham - Budget Endurance Racing for Everyone Image Credit: Oliver Read

It will come as no surprise that we love motorsport. We love everything from the heights of F1 to club racing. However, there is no doubt that cost can be a barrier to entry for a lot of people and that’s a bit of a shame. That’s why we are always really pleased when someone launches a new racing club that is set up to offer close racing at a reasonable cost of entry – the more people who get into motorsport the better! And even more so when we have the pleasure of supplying most of the grid with our fire extinguishers too!

What is the C1 Racing Club?

Well, as the name suggests it’s a club racing group using Gen 1 Citroen C1s. It is worth pointing out that while engine and gearbox mods are not allowed, all the cars have suspension and safety upgrades because wallowing about on a track using standard Citroen suspension might not be that much fun. The aim of the game is endurance racing. With options for 3, 4, 6 and even 24 hour races in the UK and Europe, there’s a lot on offer.

The Cars

The cars are all very tightly controlled in terms of modifications in order to make the racing close and avoid certain people running miles ahead because they have deeper pockets. The cars do, however, have to have some club specified mods. The suspension mods are to reduce tyre wear and to help handling, as mentioned before. Naturally, roll cages are involved and, of course, fire suppression.

While drivers can choose who they wish to buy from, we have been overwhelmed with orders from this brilliant new club and it’s an honour to play such an important part for so many of the drivers. The club claims you can build a car ready to race for around £3,500 and they even offer hire options too!

The Kit

As this is proper Motorsport UK racing, you do need a licence and you do need all the usual fire proof gear to race. So please don’t apply without either owning or planning to own all the correct MSUK approved kit.

Where to race?

The list of places you get to race is quite substantial, with dates at Rockingham, Snetterton, Anglesey and even the mighty Spa for a 24 hour race!

If you are looking at the C1 club then get in touch. We offer a club discount for members.

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Slipstreaming or Drafting

The dark art of slipstreaming or drafting has long been a staple of motorsport as well as many other sports such as cycling. But what is actually going on when it happens and why doesn’t it work for F1 cars?

The Science Bit

The principle is actually quite simple. As a car moves through the air it creates a pocket of lower pressure behind it. This partial vacuum will allow another car to move with less air resistance.

The lower resistance will allow the second car to move faster but also to move using less power, which means less throttle and less fuel. The principle is the same in water and for any object moving through any medium.

There is, however, an advantage to the front car too, in some cases. By filling the vacuum behind the lead car, the amount of air pushing down on the rear of the lead car is also less. This, in turn, can help the lead car move more efficiently too.

NASCAR

If anyone in motorsport is asked for an example of drafting, they’re highly likely to say NASCAR. The long tracks and relatively simple shapes of the cars make it a perfect place for it. It was actually “invented” at the Daytona 500 in the 60s.

You can easily see long lines of cars all bunched together in NASCAR races. It may look like close racing but they are actually all using each other to increase the overall speed and reduce fuel use and pitstops. Of course, at some point each driver has to pull out and make a leap for the lead, and this is where it can get very exciting.

F1

If you watch F1, you will hear a lot of talk about running in dirty air. It often seems like being behind a car is really bad and goes totally against the principles discussed above. There is, however, a reason for this.

While drafting can help in straight lines or long, banked high speed corners, it does not help in tight twisty bits of track. It also causes issues when cars have very complex aerodynamic systems. F1 cars are very delicately set up and though in one instant they may get a bit of help being behind another car, the minute it comes to a corner it all goes wrong. The vacuum changes shape and the aero is negatively effected by the “wash” from the car in front changing direction.

The 2017 Mercedes cars were designed to lead; they worked best in clean air so if Hamilton fell behind and got stuck trying to pass someone, it made the car handle very badly.

Having said all of that, on the straight the slingshot pass still works in F1. This is where the following driver will gain extra speed in the vacuum behind the lead car and then move out rapidly to overtake and slingshot past them. Of course, this is increased with the use of DRS and the like but the principle is still important.

If you race in any kind of motorsport, then get in touch to find out more about our fire suppression systems. We supply and fit fire extinguisher systems to classic cars, track day car and even F1 cars!

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Get Well Soon Niki!

Image source

According to doctors, the legend that is Niki Lauda was very close to death before he had his lung transplant last week in an Austrian hospital.

It turned out that Lauda’s lungs could no longer absorb enough oxygen due to inflammation of the alveoli, the small air sacs inside the lungs. This inflammation is a kind of auto immune response, meaning the body attacks itself. He was given drugs to suppress the reaction but they did not work well enough. After a spell in intensive care, the point came where the doctors said he needed a new lung. Without having to wait too long, thankfully Lauda was able to undergo a full lung transplant with a couple of days.

The Future

It will come as no surprise to any motorsport fan to hear that Lauda is a fighter and that it would take a lot to bring him down. In true Niki style, he is recovering well and with a bit of luck will be able to carry on just as he was before the problem. At 69 years old, it certainly takes some strength to go through that kind of health issue but we are pretty sure if anyone can take it in their stride, Mr Lauda can!

The Past

If perhaps there are people that didn’t know about his previous brush with death, Lauda was trapped in his F1 car on 1st August 1976 at the infamous Nürburgring. He had raised concerns about the safety of the track that day but raced anyway as he failed to get enough votes for a boycott. He was trapped inside his own burning car for over a minute. This not only severely damaged his skin on many parts of his body but also his lungs, as he was breathing in burning fumes.

After being pulled out, many thought he would never race again but Lauda fought and pushed for a fast recovery and actually ended up racing again in the same season when most people had totally written him off. Just 6 weeks after his crash and after many operations to clear his lungs and rebuild his face, he finished 4th in the championship despite not being able to see very well and still being covered in bandages. They even made him a special helmet that was bigger to accommodate his dressings.

We are very pleased Niki is doing well; he is a true hero and a true fighter. He is also someone who came very close to perishing in the fire we work so hard to keep drivers safe from and, because of that, he will always have a special place in our hearts.

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Beware of the Ring!

There really isn’t a petrolhead out there who isn’t aware of the Nürburgring. And it is highly probable that there are only a handful of petrolheads out there who haven’t at least thought about heading there for a track day – certainly thousands have already done so and will do it again. But despite its popularity, the Nürburgring really is a place that holds a great deal of danger and should be something to consider very carefully…as the video above shows!

There are Track Days and Then There is the Ring!

If you own a performance car it’s only natural to want to take it somewhere you can really open it up. This is why track days are still highly popular but there is a big difference between heading to Rockingham for a session and heading to arguably the most dangerous race track in the world.

Green Hell

The track was nicknamed ‘Green Hell’ because of the number of (green!) trees that line the winding and massively long track. It is also worth noting that when the Nürburgring got its name there was not much in the way off fencing, as Jackie Stewart found out, so the green bit was even more of a factor because of the risk of ending up in the trees! The ‘hell’ part of the name came from the sheer fact that the Nürburgring is not only a brutal and technical track but also such a long one!

Be Prepared

As you can see in the video, people crash – a lot! This is just from a recent collection and there are hundreds of videos showing the crashes each month. It is key for anyone wishing to give the Ring a go to prepare. Not only prepare for the driving by practicing on less tricky tracks locally but to also have the safety side of things covered.

You really do not need much in the way of kit to be allowed on the Nürburgring and you don’t have to have a fire extinguisher on board, but we would certainly recommend that you did. If you want to take your beloved car to the beast that is the Ring, then a simple handheld system would be a great choice along with a helmet, gloves and ideally a race suit!

If you are planning a trip or you plan to start doing track days, even just once a year, then get in touch and we can discuss the options in terms of handheld fire extinguishers that could literally save your life if you have a bad off but may also be useful in a small crash involving fire.

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The new Ford F-250 BTCC Safety Truck

Ford F-250 BTCC Safety Truck ImageImage source

It will come as no surprise that we are pretty keen on motorsport safety here. We love the thrills and even the danger of the sport but feel strongly about safety playing a critical role in keeping the sport alive and well in all its forms. So it was really interesting to find out about the new British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) safety truck…it’s a beast!

The Idea

While the BTCC series has support vehicles already, there was potentially a need for something more. They use a Porsche Panamera at the moment to get a doctor to a scene quickly and a Ford Galaxy to ferry any heavier cutting equipment and the like.

But Alan Gow, the series boss, was inspired by the American NASCAR and IndyCar idea of using a big powerful truck to get heavy things and more people there quickly! Seeing as the idea for the truck came from the US, it seemed only fitting for Gow to order a thumping great American truck rather than “a pathetic local one”, as he put it.

The Truck

The truck itself is an F-250 with a 6.8 litre Ford V8 in it. That is a lot of power, and for good reason. The truck has to carry a huge amount of gear and 4 people, which it can do easily. But the added bonus of all that lovely torque is that it can also be used to tow a car out of a ditch or into a different position, if a driver is trapped for example. The Galaxy was good but ultimately the F-250 holds a lot more and can still get there fast. The 250 was a little more expensive though at over £200,000!

The Kit

The truck carries a lot of equipment to cover many different issues. It obviously has a great deal of medical support equipment and other useful things like self-heating blankets, tarpaulins for privacy and towing ropes. But it’s some of the more heavy duty tools that are really exciting.

Ideally, the safety team like to dismantle a car to get someone out, but in some cases cutting is the quickest and best way to get a driver out. To that end the truck is packed full of battery powered Holmatro tools. These include saws, rams and cutters. There are also a lot of spare batteries onboard.

It is great to see investment in safety going on across motorsport and this is certainly a big move towards an even safer BTCC series. If you would like more information about our fire suppression systems, then please call 01243 555566 or get in touch with our friendly team here.

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Historic Formula Ford Fire at Cadwell Park

A few weeks ago, we were all shocked to hear about a crash at Cadwell Park where a historic Crossle ended up on its roof and on fire. But thanks to quick thinking spectators and a fellow driver no-one was seriously hurt.

Nelson Rowe is a double historic Formula Ford champion, so is no stranger to racing, but everyone gets caught out from time to time. He ended up flying over the top of Cameron Jacksons’ Lola only to finish on his roof. The engine caught fire immediately and Rowe was still trapped in the car.

Callum Grant saw the incident and stopped his car to help. Sadly he was not able to roll the car over himself. He was quoted as saying Rowe’s eyes were closed but he was shouting “get me out”. After the incident, Rowe said he was awake the whole time and could smell the petrol. He felt something wet on his leg but, thankfully, it was just the fire suppressant that was triggered as the car rolled.

Two spectators jumped the fence to run and help Grant get the car back on its wheels. Grant complimented them on their bravery as they were only wearing T-shirts and shorts and certainly nothing made of Nomex! Once the car was righted, Rowe was able to free himself and, with some help, got clear of the car. One of the spectators then ran back to grab a Marshal fire extinguisher to help put the fire out.

Rowe was later spotted drinking tea with his wife and daughter in pretty good health, though he had cracked his helmet and singed his race suit. He is said to have recovered well and only suffered some minor stiffness. Grant, on the other hand, was in somewhat of a state of shock and once back on the grid was sat down under some trees with veteran racer Don Hardman. However, when the race was back underway he went on to take a very emotional 3rd place.

This kind of incident really shows how important fire extinguishers are, not only in racing but also for any road going performance or historic car. The direct plumbed in systems we offer allow the suppressant to be released straight into the engine bay and can give the driver precious minutes to get out, as we saw in this accident.

Of course, for a lot of levels of motorsport this type of system is compulsory but getting the right system and the best suppressant is important. You may have to have one, but you can choose to have the best there is! If you would like more information or to discuss installing one of our systems into your racing car get in touch today.

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