What was the greatest motorsport performance in 2011 and why?

Tweeting your answer to this question could win you two tickets to the Autosport Awards courtesy of Castrol.

I’ve never seen tickets up for grabs for the awards show so as soon as I saw this competition being retweeted I had to have a go.

My answer (in its full properly written English form) was:

Jenson Button’s Montreal win. A brilliant drive in an inferior car put Sebastian Vettel under pressure and got JB the win Worth the trip from the UK and getting so wet!

There could be many more moments for me along with Button’s win. The Indy Car drivers performing the tribute to Dan Wheldon just after he was killed stands out in my mind. The fantastic achievements of the WRC MINI team at Prodrive. Vettel dominating F1. Newey dominating F1 for that matter. Loeb winning his 8th championship. Club racing at Silverstone whilst I’ve been marshalling. Webber and Alonso battling up Eau Rouge.  Grosjean showing what he can do and dominating GP2.

So many great moments this year, and there will be more that I can’t remember off the top of my head or in series that I don’t watch. I’m already looking forward to 2012 and this year hasn’t even finished yet! The final F1 race of the season at Interlagos in Brazil is this weekend and then it really will be all over for another year. Lets hope its a good race to finish the year off in style 🙂


My #NaBloPoMo Brick Wall & Kimi Raikkonen

Apparently this week is the hardest for National Blog Posting Month. I haven’t found it that hard so far until today, but I think that is more to do with leaving it until 11pm to try and decide what to write about. I’m exhausted after swimming a mile tonight and just want to go to sleep! Instead I went onto the Blogher site for inspiration to write something at least and not give in on day 23. The prompts of the past few days didn’t grab me, but one of the tips on this article about pushing through did – a photo counts as a blog post. I was going to post a lovely photo that I took for today’s photo of the day, but instead I thought I’d share one of my favourite youtube videos.

Kimi Raikkonen is in the F1 press at the moment for sending the rumour mill into over drive about a possible comeback for 2012.  I am extremely excited as you can imagine and slightly disappointed with the latest rumours that it’s all off. We’ve been here over and over again since he was booted out of Ferrari, so I won’t believe it until I see him on the grid next March.

Anyway, the video.  For all Kimi fans – enjoy. And cross your fingers we get the iceman back next year 🙂

My Top 6 Prediction for the Brazilian GP

So its the final race of the season – hasn’t it come around quickly! Half of me is very relieved as my workload eases off a bit but half of me is wondering what will I do on the weekend? I miss F1 over winter!!

Here is my top 6 prediction for the race:

1. Button

2. Hamilton

3. Vettel

4. Alonso

5. Massa

6. Alguersuari

Unsurprisingly my over riding memory of Brazil is the 2007 race. I watched from the Students Union bar with a group of friends, with Finnish flags painted on my face! I didn’t expect to see my driver crowned champion as he was so far behind, but somehow the unthinkable happened. His amazing form at the end of that season as the two squabbling McLaren drivers tripped up and Kimi Raikkonen was finally crowned the World Drivers Champion. I had hoped for him to achieve this whilst at McLaren but it was not meant to be.

A couple of my favourite photos below, there are plenty more I have saved on my computer but I don’t have a clue who took them so I don’t want to publish them uncredited.

Photo Credit: XPB/LAT

Photo Credit: Reuters

The most emotional finale that I haven’t had an interest in the championship outcome is easily 2008. Massa’s family reacting to the news he was world champion as he crossed the line to win the race will stay with me for a long time, as will the despair as Hamilton passed Glock in the last corner to score enough points to snatch the crown. Massa reacted with huge dignity on the podium that day; if only he could do that again this year after all the bickering and argy bargy between him and Hamilton.

Photo Credit: XPB

The Rally Show at Cornbury Park

Oh dear, the date that the permanent link for the first draft of this post shows that I started it on the 24th May 2011….however compared to yesterday’s post about a photoshoot that took place in February I feel like I’m a bit more up to date 😉

The weekend of the 14th and 15th of May was a great one for motorsport despite there not being an F1 race on – Saturday involved marshalling at a historic sports car meeting at Silverstone and Sunday I went to the The Rally Show at Cornbury Park.

Despite being really close to work, I’ve never ventured into Cornbury Park so on the drive into the event I thought I was going to end up in Wales! Deep in the forest the stream of cars were eventually directed off the track, to a car park. As soon as I got out the car I could hear the revving of engines and something driving around, so I wrapped up well expecting to trudge further into the estate before arriving at the stage – however the car park was right by it! Brilliant! Having taken so long to get into the event I thought I had missed the MINI WRC’s first run of the day, but lo and behold the first car that swept past me was the MINI! Needless to say I got a bit excited!

The event was the first time that the MINI WRC was shown in public in the UK and the whole reason I wanted to go. Dani Sordo did not disappoint and thrashed the car throughout the stage and over the jump – it was great to see!

The rally stage started off in front of the main house, which provided a great back drop. There were tight corners through bales of hay, straight sections where the cars got some real speed up, a jump and finally a hairpin at the end of the stage. All kinds of cars were going down it all day long – from some really old Escorts, to Micra’s right up to the modern WRC cars (the Fiesta was there as well as the MINI).

Several car clubs turned out to show off their members cars, and there was also an area where the main companies had displays. One of the stands was home made ‘fuffle’ – something mixed between truffle and fudge which was lovely!

It was amazing to get so close up to what felt like a real rally stage, and so close to home as well! There was excitement as the drivers were setting competitive times and there was a knockout competition too. Adding in the extra displays made it a great day out and value for money, it was just a shame the weather didn’t get out nicer which would have drawn bigger crowds I think. Definitely worth going again next year! 🙂

Photoshoot with Chris Brock for the UKRC

Last year I was lucky enough to be chosen to take part in the Ingenious Women project run by the UKRC.

The UKRC is an organisation providing support and advice for women in science, engineering, technology and the built environment. The organisation also works with a variety of other organisations to promote gender equality.

The Ingenious Women project was developed to raise the profile of female engineers as only 8% of British engineers are female. You can read my posts about the project by clicking on the Ingenious Women category on the blog.

As part of the project photographer Chris Brock came to work to do a photoshoot.

Chris and his assistant were lovely and put me totally at ease. He told a few stories about the different people he has worked with before to help me relax – apparently even models and sports people can have bad photos!

I love taking pictures but hate having my photo taken, I generally have a lopsided face or lazy eye ruining photographs of me! And then there’s the difficulty of what to do with my hands – J always takes the mickey because apparently when a camera is pointed at me I look like a penguin with my hands at my sides. Luckily Chris is experienced enough to deal with bad subjects!

By the end of the session I was struggling to raise a smile, I now know why models pout! Still it was a fun half hour 🙂

My favourites are below & the rest are on flickr.

Photo Credit: Chris Brock http://www.chrisbrock.co.uk

Photo Credit: Chris Brock

Photo Credit: Chris Brock

His blog post about the project shows a few of the shots of some of the other women involved. Thank you to the UKRC for organising it and to Chris for getting involved.

The happiest moment of my life so far…

Tonight I am lacking inspiration. I want to write, I just can’t decide what to write. So I thought I’d use another prompt from the #NaBloPoMo website.

What has been the happiest moment of your life thus far?

This isn’t that hard for me to answer. I am very lucky that there have been days in my life when I’ve felt like I was about to burst with excitement, I’ve laughed so much I can’t breathe and am crying, and gone to bed with a big smile on my face. Different people and experiences, have all added to the great moments over my 26 years.

The first moment that sprung to mind was the day I found out I had a job at Williams F1 team. I had applied for a year’s placement as part of my sandwich degree and was absolutely over the moon to find out I had got the job and did a lot of screaming and jumping around that day!

Williams is where it all started for me – Damon Hill in the fantastic Williams Renault car of the mid 90’s was what hooked me on F1. Frank Williams and Patrick Head have been heroes for so long and here was little old me, getting a job for their company, the team that had sparked my interest.

Photo Credit: http://www.crash.net

This job offer ended up leading to a rollercoaster of emotions; unfortunately the situation at the team changed and they were unable to offer paid employment for the year. I was unable to live without an income so that dream was put on hold. However it worked out in the end, I got a job at MINI and spent an amazing year at the plant in Oxford. I also was offered a summer placement back at Williams so managed to fulfil my dream in the end!

A Prestigious Day for UK Engineering

Today the Prime Minister David Cameron attended two engineering events, that have promoted the engineering industry. As I write this, the BBC 10 o’clock news has a piece on engineering showing both the prize and the McLaren Production Centre. It’s great to see British engineering firmly in the spotlight 🙂

I have written about the day over at developingengineers.com, a blog written by young members of the IMechE. If you’re interested in what engineers have to say, please subscribe!

Edited Friday 18th November 8.50pm: If you initially read this post last night or earlier today you will have noticed it’s changed a bit! This was the post I intended to write on this blog, but with just a few minutes until midnight, I just copied and pasted the whole of the post to save time and effort. That pretty picture of the McLaren MP4-12c was worth the hour it took to insert though!