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Redders1989 Blog

The week that has been

It's been horrible. Absolutely horrible. A dark cloud lingers over any motorsport fan right now. In just eight days we have lost two of the biggest stars in motorsport.

I could write here about both Dan Wheldon and Marco Simoncelli, but through my own personal blog I have already done pieces individually. So instead of taking up a wad of space here, you can find both pieces below.

Dan Wheldon | Marco Simoncelli

May heaven look after both these amazing, incredible people, and may they both rest in peace.

THAT deal that's been announced...

So, as I write I should be enjoying FP1 on BBC TV. But instead, I can't. And I'm very sure you reading this can't either.

As I woke up this morning, I went on to Twitter, and had a bit of a giggle at what I thought was a joke by someone I follow saying about BBC only showing half the races from next year. And then whilst the radio was on, it was announced on the news there. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

Put it this way: as of this present day, I have seen 137 races in-a-row live, without fail. I bleed Formula One, it is my life. And now for me to follow my life, I have to pay for it.

I first watched a Formula One race in 1994, at the nice ol' age of... 4. My Mum was out in the garden and wanted to know what was happening with Damon Hill and how he was doing. Me with my Aspergers, I ended up running in and out every lap letting her know. I became hooked quite easily.

Back in those days, the BBC didn't show all qualifying sessions, but in the majority cases attempted to show all races. Back in those days, though, Formula One wasn't as big in the UK as it is now.

In 1997, ITV then took the rights to F1, and provided every qualifying session and every race without fail. It was awkward with the adverts and all, but it was every qualifying, and every race. Being able to watch the entire season was great. The fan base was building, and natually they wanted more. Eventually, they were calling for coverage of Free Practice. In ITV's final year, 2008, a last-minute deal was made to show the practice sessions on Friday on their website. More coverage for a sport building bigger and bigger.

BBC re-gained the rights in 2009, and even when people thought ITV had done a fantastic job building up the UK support in F1, the Beeb blew them out of the water. Every session became available, as well as an hour long forum after the race. Along with Lewis Hamilton being a World Champion and Jenson Button on his way to World Title glory, the UK's love for Formula One was brilliant. Sometimes pulling in ten million viewers for a race, pretty much 1/6th of the entire country, is phenomenal.

The BBC have helped viewing figures reach a ten-year high, and the Formula One races haven't been this good in a long time. And now this deal has been announced.

Of course, not many details are known about it - will it actually be PPV, or on Sky Sports - but for those who don't even have Sky Sports, it's a subscription for ONE THING. I mean, let's look at Sky currently.

They, themselves, have done nothing wrong, but they're put in the same category simply because of the owner. Rupert Murdoch. As is well known, Murdoch's News Corp is facing heavy heat because of the phone hacking scandal with former newspaper News of the World. To be associated with the man is humiliation enough as it is, and now Bernie Ecclestone has done a deal with him, in the middle of this whole fiasco. It's embarrassing.

The teams of Formula One, quite rightly, are questioning what is going on. This deal actually constitutes as a breach of the Concorde Agreement, signed in 2009, which runs until the end of 2012, as Formula One MUST be shown on free-to-air TV in the UK. Theoretically, you can say yes, it's still on the BBC so maybe it's not a breach, but remember - it's not every race live. This is a denial of service to the fans who should not have to pay for this sport.

Martin Whitmarsh has already commented on the matter, saying "We've got a range of safeguards within Concorde, and the right thing to do is to explore how the Formula 1 coverage is going to be dealt with in the future, and take a view from there."

For HD coverage, 20 races a year, early reports seems to say, will cost £600. That is a ridiculous amount of money to pay for anything TV coverage-wise, and SD is rumoured to be about £300. If these come to fruition, all the hard work done by ITV and BBC to build up such a phenomenal fanbase within the UK will be absolutely destroyed in a matter of moments.

Martin Brundle is out of contract, and he is unimpressed. I'm not surprised. I feel so bad for the BBC F1 employees, but I feel nothing but hate for Murdoch, Ecclestone, the BBC and Sky. This is a dark day for Formula One, and an utter disgrace.

The Lewis Hamilton Debate

So, I know this is a dodgy topic. Some won't agree with me, and others will. It's just in the nature of what this man has done to the fans recently. Yes, I'm now an ex-Lewis fan, but let's realise one thing: I have always been known to be the unbiased, and most fair, voice around. I will make this blog how I see the scenario, but be fair about it as well.

I first discovered Lewis Hamilton when he was in GP2, as I stumbled across a race a few hours before Felipe Massa would go on to achieve his first ever F1 victory. On lap 2, he spun out whilst at the front and ended up right at the back. What would happen next had me absolutely glued to the TV. Hamilton would then go on to pass everyone, except the race leader who was just that little bit too far out in front. Despite being at the back, Lewis tore through the field with unbelievable and extraordinary overtaking manouvres that made my jaw drop. In one race, I saw a star flying. Stunned at what I witnessed, I went on the internet to try and find some other races he'd done, and it wasn't a one-off. I could see it instantly, this kid was gonna be great when he entered Formula One. He went on to win the GP2 title the same year.

One December morning, my Mum shouted from the bottom of the stairs and said "Have you heard? There's a new British driver at McLaren with Alonso!". I replied "Is he called Lewis Hamilton?", and my Mum said "yes, you know about him?". I told her then and there: "Fantastic, because he's gonna be fighting for the title come the final race".

Final race, and he has a four-point lead over Alonso and seven over Raikkonen. Granted, he didn't take the title, but a nation took notice. The Formula One fanbase grew rapidly. He'd just lost the championship, but Lewis was so grown up when he spoke after the race. Instead of bemoaning the fact he lost the title, he was ecstatic because he'd finished second his his first ever season of F1. That was truly a great moment for me, even though I was feeling down because he'd lost it.

And then everyone started asking those questions to me. "If Lewis can do that in his debut year, why has Button never been that good?". The frustration that grew inside me when I kept getting asked that was unbelievable. Hamilton, once picked up by McLaren, pretty much had everything he needed. All Lewis had to do was keep doing what he did best, and that's exactly what he did. Jenson had to do it by himself, with only his Dad for support.

As 2008 went on, again, I was happy that Lewis was heading to a title win, but more people became ever-more vocal about Button not being on Lewis' level. These are clearly the people that believed F1 started in 2007. Button already finished best of the rest behind the dominant Ferrari's in 2004, and had won a race in 2006 as well. People just didn't believe, as the first two years of Lewis' F1 career Jenson was in a backmarker car. In '08, Lewis did make the odd silly move, but it could still be put down to inexperience slightly - it was only his sophomore season, after all.

2009 rolled along, and Button's team all of a sudden became dominant, whilst McLaren dropped in to the midfield whilst it tried to gain ground again. But guess what? Everyone now claimed Button had lucked in to a winning car, which is why no one could stop him. Erm... didn't Rubens have the exact same car? Anyways, moving on...

2010 was an interesting one. Lewis was in the lead of the championship for 5 races of the season, but when Webber took it back eventually, Lewis ended up retiring from three out of four races. One of those was out of his hands entirely being a mechanical failure, but the other two was one silly move trying to go up a gap which wasn't there against Massa, and the other an unfortunate racing incident with Webber. He then ran wide and crashed out during free practice in Japan, making him involved in a crash in three consecutive weekends. It was signs of frustration, but Lewis calmed it down and got his mindset back.

And now in 2011, that frustration has come back. In a manner totally unlike Lewis, however, he's let it get to him, and I really don't know why. Vettel has won five of the first seven races, yes, and is already 60 points clear in the championship. That would mean Jenson would have to win the next three races with Vettel no-scoring in two of them and only being 4th in the third before Button would take the lead of the title race - and even then, it'd only be by two points. But in recent races, I've become concerned about Lewis.

What was an excellent overtaker, he's become a lot more reckless recently. Yet, he can still have his moments of brilliance, too - his move on Schumacher in Monaco was something else, it truly was. Easily best overtake of the year so far. It seems Lewis' head isn't in the right place currently. His move on Massa? Clumsy. His move on Maldonado? Clumsier. And him blaming those two for the accidents? Silly. Brundle was spot-on, it's always someone else's fault according to Lewis.

And it wasn't just held back to Monaco. Just the week prior, Lewis claimed it was Schumi, then the Toro Rosso's fault that Hamilton couldn't beat Vettel in Spain. Sorry Lewis, you did good, really good, but Vettel just had the defending perfect.

The real low blow, and what made me lose my respect for Hamilton, was his Ali G comment. Whether joking or not, it was totally unacceptable, unnecessary and downright disrespectful. Lewis needs to remember a lot of people, including children, started following F1 when he came along, and he is a role model to these. And to come out with comments like that... just, wow.

Two weeks on, he'd written letters of apology to a few people, apologised on Twitter and spoke to Massa and Maldonado personally to apologise (of course, none of this would've needed to happen if he just kept his mentality in check after the race), and he was at Canada. We know what Lewis does after a bad weekend, he bounces back up and pretty much annihalates everyone. Instead, he pulls a move on Webber that only a rookie could really get away with, and then gets involved in a racing incident with Button which could've been easily avoided had he gone right, instead of left, which is where Jenson went to take the racing line. His mind really isn't in it yet, and if he really wants to challenge Vettel, he needs to get back in to the groove which makes him the real Lewis Hamilton. Because right now, he's not himself.

And through all this time, there's people that still believe Lewis is on another level to Button, even despite the fact Jenson just took not only his best win of his career, but one of the greatest victories in F1 history. One of the best EVER wins. Problem is, you can't compare the two until their time with each other at McLaren. Lewis has always had a race-winning car, and Jenson had to work his way up. Here's the stats of their time at McLaren:

WINS:Hamilton 4, Button 3
PODIUMS:Hamilton 12, Button 11
POINTS: Hamilton 325, Button 315
QUALI: Hamilton 19, Button 7
RETIREMENTS: Hamilton 5, Button 2 (Driver Errors: Hamilton 3, Button 0)

Yes, Lewis is beating Jenson. But only just. One more win, one more podium, and only 10 points more than Jenson. The only stat that goes in his favour well is qualifying - validating the point that Lewis can be the out-and-out faster of the two. But take in to consideration the retirements which I've thrown in there, as well. Only two of the five retirements for Lewis were out of his hands, the other three were his clash with Massa, the 50/50 with Webber, and the incident with Button. Neither of Jenson's retirements have been his fault though - a bung left in the car by a mechanic, and Vettel slamming in to the side of him. It goes to validate Jenson's stronger mentality when in a race compared to Lewis. It's one thing being faster as Lewis is, but look at what Jenson's calm mentality has brought him - only slightly worse stats against his teammate. It kinda proves if Lewis gets his mindset back on track, and calms it on the track, maybe he could actually start leaving Jenson behind as so many people claimed he would do. It's not out the realms of possibility, and if Lewis wants to win this title, he needs to look at where he is, become his true self again, and get back on it.

Let's discuss the past.

Recently, there's been a past event that's run through my mind that happened on the F1PU, and it's making me see things in a different light.

Nearly four years ago, there was a revolt on then-leader of the F1PU, Aloushi. At the time, he was in the middle of his University course and was struggling to find time to lead the union - even at times going for months without notice. Eventually, people got tired and thus, a major argument broke out.

Having only just been promoted to an officer role at the time, I was keen to keep myself on a neutral side. The union was suffering, but Aloushi shouldn't suffer in his degree. of course only being an AS student at the time, I didn't know how much work he may or may not have been doing, so I couldn't make a legitiment complaint really, although I did want him to fulfil his role as leader.

I myself am now closing in on finishing my second year at University, and I'm not gonna lie - the stress I've had for the past four or five months has been, to say the least, ridiculous. And on top of that, I've also been doing my best to keep the F1PU flourishing, as the last thing I'd want to do is disappoint everyone.

Since January, I've had major deadlines to meet on an almost weekly basis, as well as having to prepare content for two radio shows a week and sitting in here and there for others. I've had to work my backside off to help my local Band Club survive in these difficult times, even becoming a committee member to represent the disco entertainment side (as effectively head DJ). And yet through it all, whether beneficial or detrimental to my work, I've still been coming along to the F1PU to ensure everyone has a place where they can discuss the sport and have all the info they could ever want.

Suffice to say, the F1PU, right now, is my lowest priority. And quite frankly, I bet it was for Aloushi too.

The simple matter of fact is, I want to remain leader, and so did Aloushi. The difference is he took time off to actually look forward to his future career, whereas I've taken the risk of throwing this in to the balancing act of looking to better my future career, whatever that path may take, and my passion for Formula One.

Unless you've been in this position, you don't understand how difficult it is to not only have to look out for number one, but to please everybody else as well.

A lot of nasty things were said to Aloushi, and as we've grown up and moved on with our lives, I think it's time to realise what the real situation was here. Between a forum of about 300 people and bettering his future career aspects, he chose the latter. And in all fairness, I think he chose the right option.

For me, I will continue to balance both. I've met many fantastic people on this union, and whilst the market for such a union is a major struggle on such a website (we could be on a different forum. We could have thousands upon thousands of more members), the group that we have are all polite, kind, caring and play by the rules. In three+ years of running the union, I've never had to complain once to anybody.

I think where I'm going with this is the following: For those who thought Aloushi neglected us, for those who thought he didn't care, look at where we are now. I know I've got the struggles in life right now, and I'm sure everyone else who is at University can agree that currently, times are not easy. But Aloushi chose his future - not because he didn't care about the F1PU or the people, but because he didn't want a future of a horrible job and regretting not taking the chance. He wanted to do the best he could, and in order to do that he had to make a sacrifice. It took me having to go through exactly what he did for me to realise it.

Workload Overdose

Seems even with the short-ish amount of time since I last blogged, so much has gone on.

Heck, last time I blogged, I hadn't even been to the Renault factory - and now I'm inundated with so many things to do.

So visiting the Renault factory was tremendous fun, seeing all the trophies around and all the cars too, as well as meeting Vitaly Petrov, but you guys know about all that already.

I was told University opens all kinds of doors for students whilst they were there, and for the first year and a half that never rang true. Until December, that was. I was given the opportunity to start hosting a radio show on Thursday mornings, and given I started Radio Production in October I saw this as a chance for getting more experience in the field if I ever wanted to pick it up later on in the future. Little would I know that, less than two months in, I'd be quite strongly involved with the radio station. Already I am one of the producers for a show, and may become a producer for another show as well. This, on top of my own radio show to do as well. It's a fast climb for someone not even two months in to the job.

Then there was the New Year's Eve gig. DJ'ing for seven whole hours. Now that was tiring. Not the fact that the work itself was difficult, that's still just a case of pushing a load of buttons and controlling sliders, but having to do all of that whilst also screaming down a microphone in quite warm temperatures meant the sweatbuckets were on for a long time - the end result was me looking like a stressed out maniac come 2AM. But still, what fun it was nonetheless.

Then, most recently, comes my trip to the AUTOSPORT International 2011. Videos are already on YouTube and the links can be found in the Formula One Passion Union, and my write-up will be available soon, as well as on the Lotus Renault Formula One Team website.

And through all of this also comes two pieces of coursework, both having two-week extensions, that are due this Thursday and Friday. Yet I sit here writing up this blog instead. Whoops.

Anywhoos, if you're interested for whatever reason in listening to my ramblings on-air, you can hear me doing the "Blender Rewind" 10AM GMT on Thursdays on - so there ya go!

Erm... think that's about it for now so... yeah. Until next time.

So, could I have lied?

Well, by me simply typing this up, I guess you can say I have.

So, why return when I claimed it was the end all those months ago? I guess I need somewhere where I can be informal and blog. The Red Light is merely a formal blog regarding Formula One and I can't give the personal feel in those blogs which I can here. Besides, with work and University priorities, I've been struggling to even find time to write up my usual Grand prix preview blogs - that's even with Wednesdays and Thursdays off.

Still, the question remains: Why, at half 1 in the morning on a cold and miserable winter night, do I start blogging? Boredom? Not really feeling tired? Who knows, but I guess as Racky_rules claimed in my last blog, it was "good to hear about the man behind the green leadership badge". As a leader, I can't really delve too much in to "about me", per se, because of the duties that come with it: ensuring peace and tranquility is not disrupted (thankfully, during my reign as leader I've never encountered this), as well as providing all the GP threads and Prediction Championship games. I seem to be becoming the businessman that appears to have no social life, I guess. You know,the one that appears at work that you never quite know that much about because the personal touch isn't quite there. Maybe this blog provided that in the past, and maybe it should be resurrected so that the personality hidden behind that small, green tag reading simply "leader" is released once more in to this world.

Can I promise a monthly blog like in the past? No.
Can I get 40+ comments like I see with the majority of people on my friends list who blog on this blog itself? Highly Unlikely.
Could I care less? I guess not.

I guess the end result of why I've returned then would be that I feel I've lost that "human touch" - or whatever you'd call it - with the members of the union, and that I should regain it and not appear like a robot - as is so easy for people with Aspergers, like myself, to do.

So, with that out of the way, what has gone on in the life of Redders since the 11th of May, 2010?

I suppose if we start with F1, the main point would be that Jenson Button is now an outgoing World Champion, whatever happens. Of course, this makes me sad, but I'm also in a way happy because, in no way shape or form, did Hamilton annihilate Jenson, like so many people predicted. Heck, even I had my doubts, but when you look at the performance of JB over the season, if he was ahead of Lewis it was, for the most part, quite a margain between the two, and when Lewis was ahead it was, for the most part, quite a small margain (Korea being one of the notable exceptions).

The thing is, so many parts of the media keep telling us consumers that "all the championship contenders made mistakes". Now, either they didn't consider Button a championship contender, or I missed something here, because I'm pretty sure both of JB's retirements came from other people's mistakes (pit crew member in Monaco, Vettel in Belgium). If one was to criticise Jenson, and fairly, then they would take a look at his qualifying performances. That's what ruined JB's chances this year. Just once this year has Button started a race from the top three, which was always going to put him at a disadvantage come race day where, once again, he proved to be much stronger. Unfortunately, the job needs to be done on a Saturday as well as the Sunday, and who knows where Jenson could've been relative to the championship battle if he didn't spin off in Q1 in Malaysia.

I suppose the next step is to talk about the title fight itself.

Presumably, the majority of you have picked up on the fact I would like to see Mark Webber become World Champion in Abu Dhabi this weekend. When you look at the remaining challengers, Mark appears to have made the least mistakes (Australia, semi-Valencia and Korea) and in my honest opinion, has driven the best this year. Has Alonso come on strong at the end of the season? No doubt about it, but part of being a great driver is to be strong-minded and not let things get to you - Fernando mid-season was nothing like that at all. He was fragile, weak, and seemed to be blaming everyone else for Ferrari's problems. Did they have a case in Valencia? I guess they did, but it's not Hamilton's fault he was able to drive fast enough to negate the drive-through penalty, is it? The whole Kubica incident in Britain - what was so difficult in just lifting for a few seconds to let Kubica past again? Clearly there was no way for them to know Robert was about to retire anyway, but what could've been a good points haul turned out to be nothing, just because he felt he was in the right.

And yet, this is the same man who's won the most races out of anybody this season, and has what I like to consider a 1-point "fair" lead. If anyone asked me if the championship would be tainted if Alonso won it, I'd tell them "only if it was 7 points or less" - so despite all the weaknesses he's shown (and, let's be fair - whilst brilliant in his race wins, this is the worst we've seen Alonso in a LONG time), if he took the title by 8 points or more, it's a fair title win in my books and he'd be deserving of it. In a way, if anyone asked in the future what was the best and worst of Alonso, Fernando himself has summed it up by his 2010 performances.

Then, there's Vettel. Young? Yes. Naive? Quite possibly. Still got a way to go? A little. But unlucky not to have had this title wrapped up ages ago? Absolutely. As a result of mechanical failures, Vettel has lost a whopping 65 points - that's more than two and a half race wins - and adding the points lost by mistakes (Turkey, Britain-ish, Hungary, Belgium), that's another 61-78. Arguably, Vettel could've had 126-144 points more than what he does and - without doing the maths for moving everyone else - meant he could've been champion a good two or three races ago. But no driver can be perfect, and Vettel will be aware of that himself, just like all the other contenders.

Lastly, Hamilton. He has a Button-sized mountain to climb if he wants to win the title in Abu Dhabi - Alonso no-scoring? Seems hard to envision, but saying that, was it not Hamilton who dominated in Abu Dhabi until he had a mechanical failure? It's not impossible, but to win the race in a car which is arguably behind the Red Bull and Ferrari in terms of pace will not help his case at all.

What about me? Well, I've finished my first year of University, had my summer break, and now well in to year 2. Over the summer, I've been doing my best to help my workplace stay open (as you're well aware, the economic crisis hasn't helped anyone - especially pubs and clubs, and the Band Club I work at is no exception), and we seem to be turning a leaf now. It's slow, it's painful, but we're getting there.

Speaking of which, Children In Need isn't far around the corner, and our place is running a Talent Show throughout the night to raise money - and yours truly is involved in it. My part involves signing some cheesy songs, so enjoy this setlist that I'm performing on Friday 19th November:

- Rockin' All Over The World - Status Quo
- A Little Respect - Wheatus
- Uptown Girl - Westlife
- Spirit In The Sky - Gareth Gates
- Footloose - Kenny Loggins

FOFA-wise, it's been a little quiet in recent months, however come the end of this month I'll be having a tour of the Renault factory (and possibly having a little trek beforehand to go visit some of the other nearby factories too), so keep an eye out on a blog soon about that.

An hour or so on from asking myself why I decided to blog once again, I seemed to have opened up to everything that is now recent within my life. Has the missing "human touch" been restored? I guess we'll find out over time.

The man behind the green leadership badge is back.

GS Blogs...

...for Redders, end here. Mainly because I move on to bigger things from here. Obviously, I'm now working alongside FOFA, who are trying to become the main force for the fans of F1 and work alongside FOTA and FOM (the last FOTA survey done, in association with F1 Racing, was agreed upon when FOFA suggested the idea - questions raised from the survey were mainly influenced by FOFA).

Therefore, my work with GS blogs will come to an end. However, I understand for the few of you, there are those who enjoy reading my blogs, and therefore I ask you if there is a topic you would like me to cover, please just ask ahead here and I'll see what I can do.

Otherwise, I'd like to point out some contact links to keep in touch with:

The Red Light
This website now contains the race preview blogs, along with any topics of which you guys ask me to cover.

Redders1989 on Facebook
Just one request - please mention which GS user you are if you do choose to add me - I am likely to decline requests from people who don't make clear who they are.

Redders1989 on Twitter
I don't really use this all too often but... sometimes I do!

Redders1989 on FormSpring
Yup, even got one of these...

Redders1989 on YouTube
You see, occasionally I make videos as well, being a Media Production student...

Just a quick message

Hey guys, long time no blog.

I think it's become clear to everyone now that an emergency broke out for me at the end of January, and I'd like to thank all for your kind words and thoughts in my abscence.

There's not exactly been too much to blog about recently, but I'll be getting to work on some new stuff soon, including a new website for the blogs. I'll provide a link soon, but it'll be working alongside NonStandard Productions and the F1PU in order to try and spread the thoughts of this one University student's brain every so often. It will include The Red Light's main feature, the previews of each race as was compulsory in 2009. I'm working on it right now and will have it up and running in time to start before the Bahrain GP in mid-March.

The Life of a University Student: Part 1

Well, there's been a fair few big topics to talk about in the F1 world recently, but during the winter things tend to calm down. Whilst it would be all too tempting to talk about the British GP remaining in my home Shire, I think it's time to take a break - after all, it's been a while since we've had a Redders blog.

I'm one week from finishing my first semester at University, and it seems to have flown by. To think, in just over a week I'll be back home for three weeks for Christmas. It's been a busy two and a half months, but hey, I've loved the Uni life so far, and to think this is only two and a half months of my future three years, there's plenty more fun times to come.

For those of you who aren't aware, I'm at De Montfort University studying Media Production for a BSc. In this first semester, I've only had one piece of work to hand in, which is a group piece on creating a website using HTML. But it this way, it drove me mad, and made me quite happy I don't have to look at it again. I still have to give a demonstration on how it works first before I know how well we did, but hopefully it will turn out well. Sadly, we already know we're losing about 10% of our overall mark because we implemented Javascript into our website - and because it's not HTML strict, we can't validate our page, which means we get marked down. Considering they'd never teach us how to implement it anyway, surely we should be rewarded for testing new things out, not punished?

Otherwise, the course has focused upon GCSE level Maths (no kidding, it's that simple), Social networking (oh yeah, even MORE easier), building an AM radio, and Photoshop. The latter is interesting, given we have to make a photomontage by 28th January, and for those who have seen my Photoshop skills previously will know they're far from decent. I'm looking forward to the 2nd semester though when we move on to moving images. Hooray, my field is finally gonna be taught!

As for the actual move away from home, it's been a lot less stressful than first anticipated. Probably made easier by the fact I still go home every weekend, it's good to know that the comfort factor is still there. On the other hand, I think I'd be okay to stay here for a lengthy period of time, as I've got settled in to the Uni way of life.

On the other hand, some people keep bugging me by asking me the same question, usually said in the following manner:

"Hey Redders, why haven't you applied for the X-Factor?"

Yes, the number of times this has been said since I moved to University has increased dramatically. In fact, at one point someone asked why there wasn't a Facebook group to get me to sign up to it... I'm in two minds about it. Firstly, if I wanna go in to the music industry, I want to do it the normal way, but on the other hand if Jedward can make it to the final 12, surely I'd make it easily to the finals? Who knows...

Oh, and one last thing: does it really count as a "date" if one guy and one girl go out for a meal together? I've done this and am gonna be doing it again soon, and everyone seems to think this girl has an interest in me - is the Aspergers really making me blind to all this?

I don't think there's much else I can bring up now other than... I'm a Uni student, and I love it!

Jenson Button to McLaren - why it is NOT good!

On the 16th November, it was announced that Brawn GP would become Mercedes Grand Prix for the 2010 season. This leaves a nice little piece of history for the record books, as Brawn GP - despite competing in only 17 races in their history - will be the most successful F1 team ever. Winning 100% of every championship they fought for, and winning 47.04% of all races entered too.

However, there is a major downside to this move to Mercedes Grand Prix - and that is it now seems likely Jenson Button will be leaving the team to join McLaren. Don't get me wrong, McLaren is a fantastic team with brilliant employees who can build great cars, but Button doesn't need to go to Woking, especially when the current line-up consists of Lewis Hamilton.

The problem is that Hamilton and McLaren is the equivalent of Alonso and Renault - except in this case, done a bit more fairly. In the case of the Macca boys, at least they acknowledge they have a 2nd driver. The problem is in comparison to Lewis, Jenson is still unlikely to get the same treatment as Hamilton. Lewis, being the protoge of Ron Dennis and growing up within McLaren, knows everyone, gets on with everyone and is a vital part of the team. Button's only links to McLaren are through running the Mercedes engine this year.

Secondly, the team are still not perfect - yes, they were much stronger in the second half of 2009, and Hamilton did score the most points - but the car is still not perfect given even through those good times, it could only win two races. In that same period, Red Bull won 4 races, Brawn GP won two and even Ferrari managed to take a win. Yes, they were on the backfoot because of the 2008 title fight and the massive changes in regulations, but starting the season 2.5 seconds off the pace of the fastest car is plain awful. Whilst the regulation changes for now and 2010 are nowhere near as big, it must be taken into account they - along with Ferrari - now need to learn how to set up the car without KERS. There have been times when both teams ran a race without it, but those were both when the car was performing awfully. Again, this change could initially hinder the likes of McLaren.

Let's not also forget the way both men drive their cars. Lewis loves a car on the edge - one that tries to fight him but that he can fight back - a car that puts plenty of demand on the tyres as he'll drive rough, as most drivers do. Then there's Jenson, who could not be any more different in his way of driving. He loves a car that has a tiny bit of understeer, one that works for his way of being easy on the throttle and brakes - his way requires next to no demand on the tyres at all. There is no way McLaren can produce a car that suits both of their needs, and so they can only go one way - and given this is Hamilton's team, it's a pretty safe bet Jenson's gonna get the raw end of the deal. Therefore, it's gonna be safe to say that with a car that doesn't work for Jenson but works fantastically for Lewis, McLaren will end up making Jenson another Kovalainen, another Coulthard, another Prost.

Still, you're probably asking "it can't be thatbad though? He's with a top team, he'll still be in a competitive car!"

That may be so, but compare it to what he could have:

Brawn GP is now Mercedes Grand Prix. Ross Brawn is still at the helm, and is probably the God of Formula One right now. He turned a team which was stuck in the backmarkers into a team that won both championships in 2009. Even with no capabilities to fend off McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull near the end of the year, they were STILL beating them, and took 11 points in the final race of the season where Macca and the Scuderia both took nothing. Now, it's a manufacturer again, and has major funding from Mercedes. They already have a strong car, it never ran KERS in 2009, so needs only minor changes in comparison to McLaren. That instantly puts them in a strong position for 2010 - all it needs is a brilliant driver line-up. In Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button, that's a guarantee and a pretty good shot for keeping the titles where they currently reside. In Nico Rosberg and Nick Heidfeld, it's a guaranteed loss. Nico could take the Drivers Title if given the right car, but that's not for certain, and Heidfeld still hasn't even won a race, let alone been a contender for a title. Then again, Button never had been a title contender until 2009.

Mercedes say they don't need two German drivers, then I have to ask why they're contemplating it. Heidfeld - as much as I rate his talent - would be a real boost to one of the new teams in getting them off the ground and helping them become more competitive. If Mercedes really wants a shot at both titles, they need Button and Rosberg as a team. That too also allows Raikkonen to team with Hamilton - and when you think of it that way, look at what the top 4 teams would be:

Mercedes Grand Prix: Jenson Button & Nico Rosberg
Red Bull Racing: Sebastian Vettel & Mark Webber
Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton & Kimi Raikkonen
Scuderia Ferrari: Felipe Massa & Fernando Alonso

That alone would make eight genuine contenders for the Formula One World Drivers Championship. If Button joins Hamilton and Heidfeld goes to Mercedes, that really only makes six - because Jens wouldn't have the support Lewis does, and Heidfeld just hasn't been fully able to get the break he needs in a good car. If we had the line-up as shown above, it truly would show the eventual World Champion as a deserving one given how close these four teams will (hopefully) be in 2010.

So Ross... you've got the funds to do it now - up Jens' salary and keep him with the right team!