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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Sophia Floersch – Big Formula 3 Crash

As we have said so many times before, motorsport is dangerous. From time to time, there is a big crash. Thanks to years of research and untold millions spent, most of these crashes look worse than they are, and last weekend saw a very serious crash in Formula 3 that, while still serious, could have been a lot worse.

Sophia Floersch is 17 years old and already a very highly regarded driver, one of a number of strong female drivers coming up through the ranks to hopefully one day join the F1 grid. The German driver races for Van Amersfoort Racing and is currently in Formula 3.

The details of the crash are not very easy to isolate but the footage circulating the internet shows a static corner shot when Floersch comes in at full speed, clearly out of control. She clips the car of fellow racer Sho Tsuboi and takes off. Sophie clears the barrier in the air and smashes into an advertising billboard above a photographer bunker at high speed. It is certainly a spectacular crash!

Injured

As you might expect, Sophia was injured but she was conscious after the crash and was immediately taken to hospital. Along with Sophia, two photographers, a marshal and Tsuboi were also taken to hospital. The initial reports suggest she has a fracture in her spine but was conscious and able to tweet:

 “Just wanted to let everybody know that I am fine but will be going into Surgery tomorow [sic] morning. Thanks to the @fia and @hwaag_official @MercedesAMGF1 who are taking great care of me. Thanks to everybody for the Supporting messages. Update soon.”

As far as high speed crashes go, you don’t get much faster than a Formula 3 car. The incident was over before anyone could work out what was happening. It was certainly a crash that, had it happened 20 years ago, would have had a very different outcome indeed!

Safety in motorsport is very close to our heart. At FEV, we provide a number of racing teams with fire suppression systems. If you would like to find out more about our systems for your team or your own personal track or race car, then get in touch.

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Billy Monger on the BBC

For some time now, we have followed the recovery and progress of the British driver Billy Monger. Billy had a massive crash at Donnington back in 2017 and after a mad dash to hospital in the helicopter and a lot of amazing work by doctors, he unfortunately lost both his legs below the knee. Did this stop Billy “the whizz”? No, it did not! Now you can watch his story on the BBC!

Initial Recovery

After being put into a coma by doctors, Billy came round to face the knowledge his body had been changed forever by the crash. No-one would ever have blamed him if he never raced again but the 17-year-old almost immediately started planning his comeback. During his hospitalisation drivers from all disciplines pulled together and raised over £500,000 to help set up Billy’s home to make it suitable for him as well as many of the other essentials for anyone learning to walk again on prosthetic legs.

Adaptations

Billy was very soon back in the car again, but with some changes to allow him to use his hands to brake and use the clutch. It wasn’t long before he was racing again. 18 months on, he is racing in the Formula 3 British Championships. So far in his first season he gained four podium finishes and ended the season 6th overall. He is now looking for sponsors for his next season.

The BBC

On 18th November, the BBC aired a programme telling the Billy Monger story which no doubt will inspire thousands of people who perhaps feel that a disability is holding them back. Just as his idol, Lewis Hamilton, kept Billy going he will no doubt hope he can pay it forward to other people. The programme is called “Driven – the Billy Monger Story” and is available on BBC iPlayer here if you missed it! It is certainly well worth watching for all motorsport fans and drivers! We hope Billy continues to excel and maybe one day we might even see him in Formula 1!

If you would like any information about our fire extinguishers for racing cars, track cars or historics and classics then get in touch today.

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McLaren Speedtail Gets a Little Closer

It’s coming! The logical and emotional successor to the mighty F1 that came out in – wait for it – 1993! – is finally looking like a reality. It is not going to be a track monster, but it is going to be quick!

Power House

The stats being realised show the Speedtail will have a twin turbo V8 as a main power plant, but this will be augmented with an electric hybrid power unit that will bring the power output to a whopping 986bhp or maybe even more! Sadly, McLaren haven’t mentioned anything about 0-60 times but they are looking at a top speed of more than 243mph – enough to make everyone in and out of the industry sit up and take notice.

The Family Line

While the Speedtail is essentially the “F2”, it follows on perfectly from the P1 and the Senna hypercar. Massive cost, massive power and serious speed! However, there is a little difference with the Speedtail. The Surrey gang are very much suggesting this car will be a GT rather than a track focused rocket. This will come as a surprise to many but perhaps it is the right move. There is, of course, the usual argument that anything approaching that level of power is all but useless on the road but, as ever, that is missing the point. Having a car that can do those kinds of speeds but is also capable of carrying someone in reasonable comfort further than 15 miles is a big plus!

Central Seating

As with the F1 the Speedtail will have a central driver’s seat and will be paired with two passenger seats either side. It does mean the passengers have to get out before the driver can, so chivalrous door opening men may find this a challenge if they are escorting two ladies.

Big Behind

The teaser images show a rather long and pretty massive rear end to the car. It certainly looks nothing like the rest of the family and this, again, is probably a good thing. All the other models are stunning but that doesn’t mean McLaren should always make the same style of car.

Big Budget!

All 106 Speedtails that will be made have already been reserved and paid for at £1.75 million each, plus tax! If you were planning on buying a new one, it’s too late! Though a used one might pop up for double that about a year after its launch in 2019.

This car is going to be something special: high speed but not a car built for cornering, luxury, “comfort” and potentially iconic styling! We can’t wait.

If you own a super car, do get in touch about how we can help protect your investment and make sure you have the right fire suppression systems on board.

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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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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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Will Alonso Leave F1?

Fernando Alonso

In a recent interview, the mighty Fernando Alonso suggested that he will decide on his future plans after the summer break this season. If he leaves, it will certainly be a blow for the sport, as it is when anyone so important chooses to leave.

It is no secret that Alonso has not been happy with the cars he has been given over the last few years but he did state he was currently pleased with the improvement and direction McLaren was going in. The former world champion has not seen a podium since 2014 and not stood on top of one in F1 since 2013, which is a long time in anyone’s book.

Triple Crown

This all comes as Alonso tries to get the triple crown of motorsport with an F1 world title and World Endurance wins, and he is pushing for his Le Mans 24 Hour win next month. He is running his 2018 F1 fight alongside racing in the World Endurance Championship for Toyota in which he won his first race at Spa recently.

Time

One of the issues Alonso seemed to allude to is a lack of time. The F1 calendar is very busy this year and it seems that he might be struggling to fit everything in. Despite F1 being the pinnacle of motorsport in many peoples’ eyes, it may soon be playing second fiddle to the Endurance Series for Alonso.

F1 – Predictable

In the interview, Alonso seemed sad about what he called the predictability of F1. He suggested it had got to such a state that you could predict qualifying times for most races and more. He said it was sad that everything went in the direction it did.

When talking about his future plans, it was clear he was using these issues to weigh up his future in F1. He certainly doesn’t seem to want to leave motorsport but it doesn’t look very good for his presence in F1 itself.

Alonso is clearly one of the best drivers in the world, and during recent years battling hard for mid field positions he has put in some of the best drives of his life. We really hope he stays; it would be great to see him grab another title before he called it a day on racing altogether.

While we cannot offer you help and advice on your chosen form of motorsport, we can cover everything to do with fire safety and motorsport fire extinguishers. FEV provide systems for F1 teams, WRC teams and cars in almost every aspect of motorsport. Contact us today for more information.

Fernando Alonso during Formula One Test Days

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New FIA 8865 Products

FX G-TEC2900R3 Image

After a great deal of testing, we were really pleased to get the seal of approval from the FIA on our 8865 products some time ago. They have proved very popular and once again take great steps forward in safety for drivers. Because of the demand for more products that meet the 8865 standard, we have launched two new extinguishers that are now available to order.

The FX G-TEC2900R3-D and the FX G-TEC2900R3 are both at the cutting edge of motorsport fire safety. These units are essentially the same, apart from the size and shape of the cylinder. This variation gives customers a choice when it comes to placement in the cockpit. Both units consist of a remote charge FX C-TEC+ADS Extinguisher with 2 engine nozzles and 1 cockpit nozzle.

The 8865 standard is already in place in the WRC as well as for S2000 cars and R5 cars. Although not compulsory, it is recommended for all FIA racing and will come into force in the GT categories this year.

These extinguishers are compact and use just a single cylinder. They are affordable and highly effective. The FX G-TEC gas is excellent at suppressing a fire very quickly as well as reducing the overall temperature of the fire area which, in turn, helps prevent re-ignition.

One of the key factors about this systems is the suppressant itself is designed to be safe for the cockpit occupants as well as performing well against fires.

The control box is water resistant and all the parts have been developed to deal with very high temperatures without failing. Racing is hard on equipment, but it is paramount that your fire suppression system can cope with the physical strain put on it. These systems have been designed for racing and can cope with anything a race track or rally course can throw at them.

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New Closed Road Hill Climb in Cornwall

Watergate Bay Speed Climb Image

Thanks to some brand new legislation, Watergate Bay in Cornwall will play host to the first closed road hill climb in the UK this year. The legislation enables motor clubs to organise events and to close a section of road for them. This, of course, only works with the permission of the local councils and the MSA but it brings a new lease of life to small motorsport events and hopefully lots of fresh spectators and competitors.

The event will take place on the 15th and 16th of September at a beautiful location in Cornwall. A maximum number of 90 cars will be allowed to compete, which should give spectators a great range of cars and times to enjoy.

It seems since the new option to organise events like this was announced last year, this is the 3rd permit to be granted. With any luck, this is just the beginning. The idea of more events springing up across the UK is really exciting because it allows local people to turn up and enjoy some real motorsport right on their doorstep. Many will hopefully go on to go to more events at tracks as well as closed road races. This kind of event can also provide the inspiration for many younger people to take up the sport.

Hillclimb Cornwall Image

We provide fire suppression systems for a huge range of motorsport classes from Autotest to F1, and hill climbing has always been something we all enjoy. We work with 100s of customers who run their own hill climb cars so we know the cars and the needs to the drivers very well. For many people, it is a case of installing an extinguisher in their weekend fun road car or even their day-to-day road car. For others it is about working with a specific custom built car or bike or bringing something historic up to date in order to be allowed to race. Whatever the car, we can help make sure it has a world class fire suppression system on board.

If you would like to discuss your vehicle then get in touch with our friendly team today. If you are new to motorsport, please feel free to call us and ask about MSA regulations and what you may need in order to enter a hill climb near you!

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