This is message on a BBC report today, but it’s a rather shallow one, as it ignores the way engineers have designed systems for years. They are saying for instance, that trains now report their fault and they’ve learned this from Formula One. But trains have effectively had extensive computerised reporting systems for years. A classic example is the 1995 Stock trains on the Northern Line of the Underground, which were designed with such a system. How good it is, I don’t know!
A lot of improvements in any system, are down to attention to detail and that is probably what Formula One does in spades. But that is just good design! I was on a heavily loaded commuter train yesterday, and the station stops, were very quick, partly because, the train accelerated and stopped quickly, the passenger handholds were all in the right place, the doors were wide and the self-loading cargo, knew how to get on and off quickly.
I suspect this has little to do with Formula One, but some of the parts of the train, may well have been manufactured using advanced techniques developed for motor-racing.
The British Grand Prix was a bit of a farce today, as several drivers suffered tyre failures as the BBC reports.
Now Italians may be good at some things like food, parties and calendars, but it does seem that their engineering companies aren’t up to their past high standards at the moment. After all, I did report on the quality of products from AnsaldoBreda here.
I suspect that just as they have with their economy and their politics, there is a lot of rethinking to do.
The French are getting a bit uppity about the British bikes in the velodrome.
The British have joked that they use round wheels and the French have swallowed the story, hook, line and sinker. Read about it here in the Standard.
But I doubt, that the story is very far from the truth. Even your car from humble run-arounds upwards, has its wheels properly balanced, at manufacture and when new tyres are fitted. We’ve all been in cars, where there has been vibration because of out-of-balance wheels.
So I suspect that British cycling has borrowed from Formula One and other industries that spin things fast, and developed extremely accurate roundness and balance sensing for bicycle wheels. So they run straighter and truer than the best the French can do!
I didn’t do the work myself, but forty years ago, I worked in a department at Plastics Division of ICI, that did a lot of calculations in this area, to try to stop vibrations in chemical vessels. So the theory is nothing new.
It is the application of technology to bicycles, helmets and other things, that have given the British the edge. I doubt that cycling is the only sport to have benefited either!
I can remember as a child, when Mens tennis was dominated by Australians. But this year, those small countries; Scotland and Yorkshire had a better Wimbledon.
What’s gone wrong?
I suppose that Aussies can argue they have a world-class driver in Mark Webber, but even he, needs to drive a car designed and made in the UK.
This has been announced and here is Jenson Button’s views in the Telegraph.
They could always do what Wimbledon has done and put a roof over the circuit.
The helmet was a perfect replica of that worn by the 1976 Formula One World Champion, in the same way that Kimi himself makes quite a good replica of James Hunt.
There are lots of reasons to admire James Hunt, ranging from his “sex: breakfast of champions” overall patch to his comment to Niki Lauda in 1978: “To hell with safety. All I want to do is race.”
I remember meeting someone, who’d been at a black tie do, which James Hunt had also attended. He didn’t do black tie, so turned up in jeans and bare feet.
I should say they don’t make them like Hunt anymore. But then they can’t as he was only thirteen days younger than me and you can’t turn the clock back.
According to this story in the Telegraph, McLaren have offered to loan equipment to Williams, to help them recover from the fire at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Perhaps sportsmanship isn’t totally dead yet!
May I suggest that we all show our disgust at the non-cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix, by not watching or listening to the race. Even without satellite TV, I’m certain I can find something else to watch or listen to.
I suspect that the race clashes on Sunday with the London Marathon and I might go to see that anyway.
I have been listening to the Malaysian Grand Prix today on BBC Radio 5 Live.
It has been a disaster for Sky, as for most of the race, it has been raining cats and dogs.
So as the late great Brian Redhead once said. “If television had been invented first, radio would be the dominant medium, as the pictures are better!”
The BBC commentators are proving him right, by bringing interesting guests to the microphone, explaining everything that is going on extremely well. But then, the BBC has had all that practice with cricket.
If I was paranoid, after reading Brian Redhead’s Wikipedia entry, I’d think I had a ruptured appendix, as he died of one, after complaining of pain in his left side and leg. But I’ve had my pain for years, so it’s probably nothing to worry about.