Fikri Harish

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    Fikri Harish

    It’s a WORLD Championship. Having to hop all over the world kinda goes with the territory.
    And hardly fair? Are you kidding me? Abu Dhabi has an air-conditioned pit garage. People get mugged at gunpoint in Interlagos. Yeah, I think they’re miserable having to go to Yas Marina every single year.

    Yes, that’s actually a good point. Single-seaters in particular isn’t a huge thing in Asia. Touring Cars and GT are aplenty, and Moto GP too is pretty huge in Southeast Asia but not single-seaters.
    That still doesn’t mean that there’s no interest in F1.

    What happened to F1 should stay above politics though? I’m pretty sure it’s not in FIA’s guidebook to tell how governments should govern their countries.

    I honestly don’t remember ever seeing empty grandstands in both Abu Dhabi. Bahrain’s been hit by political instability and it did improve now it’s a night race.
    Still, ridiculously expensive ticket prices doesn’t go well with an economical crisis.

    But Sepang and Malaysia both have interest and commitment to motorsport. What, you think Mercedes would have gotten where they are now if Petronas hasn’t been such a great partner?
    And V8 Supercars is racing in Malaysia next year too not to mention Formula E.
    China has their own Formula E Team, annually held the Macau Grand Prix since God knows when and has been running Formula Pilota China since the 2010s.
    The Singapore Grand Prix, even if the race itself is slightly processional has always been a great event to attend even if the country has zero motorsport presence.

    Again, I’m resigned to the fact that Europe will always the center to F1 but that doesn’t mean F1 should orbit themselves around European rounds.
    German has a strong history of motorsport but there are far better place to race in than Nurburgring or Hockenheim. Or Catalunya.

    All I’m saying is, the World in F1 World Championship has to mean something.

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    Fikri Harish

    No, no, no.
    You can drop either Sepang or Singapore, not both. I much prefer Sepang but I understand that Singapore is more commercially important. Those two are way too close in proximity anyway, especially now that Sepang got bumped next to Singapore for next year. Dropping both is an insulting move for us back in Southeast Asia and I hate that people always assume that European fans should always comes first. The racing has always been scheduled at your convenience and almost half of the calendar is in Europe and now you want more?
    Remember the rescheduling for the Q2 and Q3 of 2013 Australian GP? Yeah, that was because of you European viewers.
    The Japanese Grand Prix has always been scheduled so late in the day (3 pm local) in the interest of European viewers and I don’t know, maybe had last year’s race started way earlier than that things could have been different.

    And at the risk of playing devil’s advocate, no more European races. Almost half of the calendar is already in Europe and in the interest of keeping this an actual WORLD Championship, the calendar should be spread evenly.
    Spa, Suzuka, Montreal, a US round (Watkins Glen’s the dream, but COTA’s not bad), Monza, Silverstone (I still prefer Brands Hatch, but Silverstone’s pretty great too), Sepang (yes, Sepang), Monaco, an Australian/New Zealand round, Interlagos are irreplaceable to me.
    In the interest of global availability, both Russia and China are too big to ignore so no matter how much I dislike both, those two are important.
    With Mexico, North America now has three races and while I suppose arguments could be made that that is a rather huge market, I still think 3 races are a bit too much.
    We also have Baku, Bahrain, and Abu Dhabi. Either Abu Dhabi or Bahrain should be cut from the calendar as those two are pretty close anyway. Bahrain should be given the axe as the pit crew deserves an air-conditioned pit garage. I personally think one’s enough for the region.

    Out of 21, 10 got my personal stamp of approval. Russia and China’s too big a market too ignore. At least 1 slot goes to the Middle East for the money.
    In the interest of an actual World Championship, we need an African round. Discounting the regional instability for the time being, that region has been left untouched for too long.
    I second the suggestion for the return of Argentine Grand Prix. South America’s a huge place and we only have Interlagos on the calendar.
    And yes, despite whatever misgivings you guys might have had, India should be on the calendar.

    That’s 16 rounds in total. If you’d like you can still fill the remaining 4 with whatever European rounds that might suit your fancy

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    Fikri Harish

    Yeah, with Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, and Baku in the calendar, adding Istanbul Park would be overkill.
    Dropping Bahrain for Turkey is viable but not if it’s an addition.

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    Fikri Harish

    Berger’s win in Hockenheim 1997 has always been my favorite.
    It was his first race after being sidelined by an illness. His father just passed away and it ended up being his final win in his final season.
    The Benetton was good that year, probably third best along with the Mclaren but definitely nowhere near the Williams and slower than the Ferrari.
    It wasn’t a giant-killing performance but Berger was pretty much unfancied for the win that day.

    I’m biased because Berger has always been a personal favorite of mine though.
    By the way, you could pretty much say that the entire 2010 season was an underdog moment for Kubica, frequently running wheel-to-wheel with the Red Bulls in a much slower car.

    And in the 2012 Malaysian GP Alonso was actually slower than Perez so it’s actually more impressive that Alonso ended up being the one that took the chequered flag.

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    Fikri Harish

    Has anyone seen this?

    Was it seriously that bad?

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    Fikri Harish

    Nah, I suspect it’ll be Kvyat.
    I honestly thought he was pretty amazing last year, especially at Monza right before misfortune strikes.

    Kvyat winning would also mean that we’d finally have an F1 race winner who is younger than me, which would be a sort of the-end-of-an-era moment thingy for me personally.

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    Fikri Harish

    Here’s the rest of them.
    11. Romain Grosjean
    Where do I begin? One of the fastest driver on the grid right now, and being able to hold his own against Kimi in qualifying is no easy feat. Yes, he’s a bit reckless even though he has a lot of experience in GP2 and a half season in Formula 1. His recovery drive in Silverstone proves that he can be aggresive without being stupid. I find him being slightly too careful during the second half though, which left him stuck behind a slower car in India. He’s got potential, but like Maldonado needs to mature fast.
    12. Nico Rosberg
    A long awaited victory in Shanghai in an otherwise problematic season for the German driver. During the early parts of the season, when the car was still competitive, he simply failed to take advantage of it. Given the tendency of the W03 to quickly eat it’s tyres, Rosberg failed to take advantage of the DDRS in qualifying and found himself outqualified by Schumacher despite usually having the upper hand. Completely dominated the Shanghai GP and kept his head down in Monaco but nearly anonymous otherwise other than his defensive driving in Bahrain.
    13. Pastor Maldonado
    The guy everybody loves to hate. He is definitely one of the fastest driver on the grid right now. It’s like he’s a completely different guy in Catalunya, soaking up pressure from Alonso and controlling the pace to give the Williams team a long-waited victory. Excellent drives in Valencia, Singapore, and Abu Dhabi is marred by a boneheaded move on Hamilton and a couple of problems with his cars. Seems to excel in street circuits, I expect to see him more on the podium next year.
    14. Daniel Ricciardo
    The points table might say otherwise, but Ricciardo is definitely the one with more potential of the two Toro Rosso drivers. Managed to sneak his was into Q3 2 times, with one of them being a 6th position in Bahrain, and also coming close to making his way into Q3 a couple other times. Should’ve scored some points in Monza and Interlagos but a mechanical problem and a questionable tyre strategy got in his way. He held his ground in Suzuka with some impressive defensive driving and managed to take advantage of the chaos in the closing laps of the Melbourne GP to score some points in his home race.
    15. Paul Di Resta
    Simply put, I expected much more from him this year. Excellent drives in Bahrain and Singapore in an otherwise disappointing season. Seems to disappear in the final races of the season compared to his teammate.
    16. Vitaly Petrov
    A pay driver, but a really good one. Kovalainen might be better than him on paper, but he held his own against the experienced Finn and it was him who drag that Caterham to 11th position, taking back that coveted 10th place in the WCC for Caterham.
    17. Michael Schumacher
    The unluckiest driver of the season. Like Rosberg, he failed to take advantage of the car when it was still competitive through no fault of his own. Pole position in Monaco and a feisty drive in Valencia being the only highlights of his final season. At least he managed to end his season on a high, using his experience to navigate through a wet Interlagos to finish 7th.
    18. Jean Eric Vergne
    Didn’t impress me this season. All of his points finishes was simply a case of him keeping his head down and driving his car to the finish line. I’d rather have someone like Maldonado than someone who is completely anonymous like him.
    19. Timo Glock
    His Singapore drive reminded me of his podium finish in 2009. Other than that, completely anonymous.
    20. Bruno Senna
    Malaysia and Hungary were the only highlights of his season. He’s actually as fast as Maldonado during the race, but he’s lightyears behind him in qualifying. Completely anonymous this season, even though I was pretty impressed by him last year.
    21. Heikki Kovalainen
    It’s been a disappointing year for him really. Maybe frustration got the better of him? Definitely faster than Petrov, but as the season progresses, he simply lost his footing and got upstaged by the Russian.
    22. Charles Pic
    I don’t understand why he got picked for the Caterham seat. Interlagos is quite possibly the only place where he managed to produce a good result. Never keep tabs on him though, so I might’ve missed something.
    23. Pedro de la Rosa
    The faster of the two HRT drivers.
    24. Narain Karthikeyan
    The slower of the two HRT drivers.

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    Fikri Harish

    1. Fernando Alonso
    His 2nd half might not be as brilliant as his 1st half (mirroring his 2010 season), a charge from 10th to 3rd in Monza, a relentless drive in India and Abu Dhabi being the only highlights, but this is definitely his best season to date. 3 victories and 10 podium finishes in a car that in it’s best days is only the 2nd best car in the field and generally only a faraway 3rd throughout the whole season is a testament of how well he’s been driving this season. Mistakes in Melbourne, Shanghai and a strategic error in Montreal being the only fault in an otherwise amazing season.
    2. Sebastian Vettel
    The youngest triple world champion in the history of the sport. A feisty drive at Spa, a great recovery drive (albeit messy) in Abu Dhabi, and another great recovery drive in mixed conditions at Interlagos are some of the highlights in probably his toughest season to date. Not to mention a complete domination in India, Suzuka, Korea, and Valencia. Yes, he has the overall best car in all of his championship winning season, but so did Schumacher and Alonso. Had a relatively weak 1st half, but a string of victories and great drives put him back on top in the 2nd half, and deservedly so.
    3. Lewis Hamilton
    Together with Schumacher, the unluckiest driver of the season. Definitely the fastest driver of the season, but sadly inconsistent. Coupled with the errors Mclaren made, it’s no wonder he’s only 4th in the points table. 8 pole positions and only 2 of them resulted in victory.
    Out of those 8, he retired from 2 of them while leading by a huge margin, got send to the back of the grid for a penalty in 1 of them, and retired from an unlucky collision in 1 of them. Here’s hoping he’ll have better luck next season.
    4. Kimi Raikkonen
    The only driver to finish every race of the season. Consistent but not as fast as he used to be with the young Frenchman being actually faster than him on pure pace. Bahrain, Hungary and Abu Dhabi being some of the highlights of his season together with a couple of amazing pass on Schumacher in Spa and Interlagos. I was tempted to put him higher on the list for making me laugh in Abu Dhabi and Interlagos.
    5. Nico Hulkenberg
    I’ve finally found another driver to cheer for after Kubica left the sport. On equal footing with Di Resta in the 1st half (which is actually quite impressive considering he spent 2011 on the sidelines), but like Sutil in 2011, as the car got better and better, so does he. A string of impressive qualifying positions in the later stages of the season and an impressive drive at Interlagos in mixed conditions being some of the highlights in his season and who could forget that opportunistic double overtake he pulled on Hamilton and Raikkonen in Korea? Definitely the most impressive midfield driver this season. Here’s hoping he could land a spot in one of the top teams in 2014.
    6. Jenson Button
    Not as unlucky as Hamltion, but not as impressive either. Some excellent drives in Australia, Shanghai, Germany, Spa and Interlagos, but a complete lack of pace compared to his teammate in Catalunya, Montreal and a couple of other races left him sixth on my lists.
    7. Kamui Kobayashi.
    More consistent than Perez, although he is more experienced. Catalunya, Germany, Suzuka, and Interlagos are some of the highlights in what seems to be his final season. His only podium finish was simply on merit, taking advantage of the first corner collisions to take second and holding off Button to take third after getting stuck on traffic and losing place to Massa. Despite being on a worse strategy than Perez most of the time, he managed to score points 9 times to Perez’s seven. He might not have as much potential as Perez, but he has impressed me more this season.
    8. Sergio Perez
    Some interesting facts. 66 points, 3 podiums, and only 7 point finishes. Either the Sauber only performs better in specific type of tracks or Perez is simply a smarter Maldonado. Out of his 3 podiums, 2 of them is courtesy of clever tyre strategies and the C31’s kindness to its tyres. He was impressive in Malaysia but a mistake in trying to overtake Alonso left him only second. Together with a couple of boneheaded moves he pulled late in the season, leaves him 8th on this list.
    9. Mark Webber
    Personally I really liked the guy, and I mentioned earlier in the season that if Alonso failed to win the championship this season, I sincerely hoped it would be him. Unlike Vettel, who seems to shine in a good car, Webber doesn’t. Another interesting fact, he only managed 4 podium finishes throughout the season, 2 of them being victories (although he does have 6 4th place finishes). That’s only 1 more than Grosjean and Perez. Granted, if not for a number of KERS failures, he might’ve produced better results. But this is the guy who I consider to be the most consistent in 2010, and yet he seems to be getting worse each year. Started the season pretty strong, but once Vettel found his mojo back, Webber lost it instead. Controlled the race in Monaco and a patient drive in Silverstone earned him a victory but completely disappointing other than a feisty drive in Valencia.
    10. Felipe Massa
    Team player of the year? Definitely. It’s unfair for people to hate on Ferrari for treating Massa this way considering the amount of support they gave Massa after his accident despite not producing a result good enough for the Italian team. They even gave him another chassis to help understand why he’s been underperforming compared to his teammate. A slow start to the year but seems to gain his footing from Spa onwards. That overtake he pulled on Senna in Singapore was ballsy to say the least. Suzuka, Korea, Austin, and Intleragos are the highlights of his season. If he can continue this form to next year, it’d be interesting to see how Ferrari and Alonso would react.
    The rest is going to have to wait, I’m late for a class.

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    Fikri Harish

    1. Fernando Alonso
    The only driver to score in each and every race so far, 1st in the WDC by 40 points(!), most 1st place finish so far, all done with what can be arguably considered the 3rd or 4th fastest car.
    Every team wants him, and every driver wants to be him.
    2. Lewis Hamilton
    Displayed surprising consistency and maturity this year (especially compared to the last two years). His complete dominance in Hungary mirrors what Vettel did throughout last year.
    3. Kimi Raikkonen
    Being away for 2 years from F1 didn’t do anything to diminish his skill. Really needs to string together a perfect weekend to grab that elusive 1st place finish.
    4. Mark Webber
    Managed to bounce back perfectly after being dominated last season by his teammate. If Alonso doesn’t win the WDC this season, I sincerely hope it’d be him.
    5. Sebastian Vettel
    I expected more from him after 2011. He’s arguably one of the fastest driver on the grid, but his yearly form is erratic.
    6. Romain Grosjean
    Despite some mistakes, he’s shown that he have what it takes to compete with the big boys. Like Raikkonen, he needs to string together a perfect weekend to grab a victory in such a competitive season.
    7. Sergio Perez
    Showed flashes of brilliance, but still lacks the consistency to make it into the bigger team.
    8. Nico Rosberg
    He has both the consistency and speed but won’t be showing his full potential with the Mercedes current form.
    9. Kamui Kobayashi
    Despite showing one of his greatest overtaking moves in Catalunya, he’s sadly outshone by his Mexican teammate.
    10. Jenson Button
    Quick when he’s in the zone, but completely disappointing otherwise.
    11. Michael Schumacher
    Has regained some of his speed, as shown by his qualifying results, but that Mercedes isn’t going to help him extend his career.
    12. Paul di Resta
    Never showed flashes of brilliance in the vein of Perez and Maldonado, but probably the most consistent and mature of the three.
    13. Nico Hulkenberg
    Quite similar in performance to Di Resta, just a bit slower.
    14. Heikki Kovalainen
    Surely some of the midfield teams are considering him right now? Despite not sneaking his way into Q2 as much as Caterham would’ve wanted, he’s done an admirable job so far.
    15. Pastor Maldonado
    He clearly has the speed to compete with the big boys, but needs to get his act straight.
    16. Daniel Ricciardo
    Quite fast in qualifying most of the time, but couldn’t quite make it work in Sundays despite starting sixth once.
    17. Bruno Senna
    Disappointingly average compared to what his teammate has shown with the car. Good performances in Malaysia and Hungary, but other than than, average. He’s been consistently fast throughout last weekend though, so I expect more to come from him in the second half of the season
    18. Jean-Eric Vergne
    Managed to outrace his teammate in the first few races, but is now being consistently outqualified and outraced although not by a huge margin.
    19. Felipe Massa
    I’d hoped 2012 would be a different year for him, but there isn’t much hope anymore is there? Did a respectable job in Silverstone and Monaco and he consistently had good starts but tends to fade away during the actual race. At least last year he did some exciting late-race charge.
    20. Vitaly Petrov
    Did what was required of him most of the time. Mostly outpaced by his experienced teammate.
    21. Timo Glock
    Not much to be said here, still has the upper hand against his teammate, but his recent form is worrying.
    22. Charles Pic
    Again, there’s not much to be said. Did what was expected of him, and manages to outrace his experienced teammate in the last few races.
    23. Pedro de la Rosa
    Still dominating his teammate most of the time and considering his experience, that was expected. Managed to finish ahead of the Marussia once.
    24. Narain Karthikeyan
    Still enjoying his time in the back of the grid. That being said, he’s doing a good job staying out of the way of faster cars.

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