Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Pearl Harbor Pt 3.

The United States Army and Army Air Force

Led by Lt General Walter Short the Army and Army Air Force were responsible for many shore installations and the like including the large number of P-40 Warhawks and for December 7th, incoming B-17 Bombers transferring in from the West Coast. Another factor was that the Army was running a brand new Radar Station that had just been installed. This station actually picked up the incoming air planes and did all they were supposed to, and relayed this information as was their duty.
One flaw however was the placement of aircraft, the decision was taken to put the airplanes as closely as possible, instead of either dispersing them to various fields or placing them at the edges of the runway. The quality of pilots was unquestionable however and their primary aircraft, the P-40 Warhawk was a decent enough aircraft, inferior to the Zero, but was having success enough in China. On the other hand, a few brave men managed to get aircraft off the ground, including a P-36 Hawk, which was beyond obsolete. If asked I will give the names over, but one thing is certain, all did the outstanding work of the day in the air and all went on to have brilliant service records like so many others in the war. It is a little more difficult to leave iconic photographs here, but it is clear that like the Navy, the men of the US Army/Army Air Force did their best during the attack.

The Day of the Attack

Of course the attack came on the potentially most lax day possible. For one it was December, I expect officers and sailors and airmen were preparing for Christmas in addition to the fact it was Sunday. The primary duties of a Sunday were Church, cleaning the ships and getting back to the ship after a Saturday night ashore doing what most sailors do well, all of this meant that it was very easy to guess why Pearl Harbor was surprised by almost 200 Japanese planes attacking the naval and army/air-force installations. The attack was immediate as it was brutal, the aircraft soared into the harbor to hit various targets. One of the first ships to go was Oklahoma, which capsized with multiple torpedo hits, many of her crew would be trapped in her hull, and only a few would be saved by the efforts of their fellow sailors. Maryland, which was inboard of Oklahoma only suffered minor damage and was like Tennessee capable of sailing under her own power later and actually was the first ship returned to service in June 1942. Other ships began to suffer damage, West Virginia took 7 torpedo hits and sank quickly, with her Captain being mortally wounded by flying debris from Tennessee which only took two bomb hits but was trapped for ten days being inboard of West Virginia in the area known as Battleship Row. Arizona, which is the saddest story of all, was hit by a bomb penetrating into the forward magazines and causing a cataclysmic detonation which left the forward half of the ship a shattered wreck and over 1100 crew dead in an instant, a most horrific sacrifice of the men of the United States Navy. The explosion was felt all over Pearl Harbor, and knocked men from their posts and off ships and blew out windows, planes in the air did feel the shock wave as well. The only other battleship in Pearl on active service, was Pennsylvania, which was fortunately in dry dock and suffered light damage as well, it was the second Battleship to return to service after Maryland. The USS Utah, a long since decommissioned WW1 Veteran, was torpedoed and also capsized, she and Arizona are the only two remaining warships left in Pearl Harbor from that day today.

The attacks on the airfields were just as catastrophic, while 8 pilots did manage to get airborne, 300 plus planes were destroyed or damaged, which severely curtailed the Army Air Force. On the other hand, various other installations were left untouched by the fact that the Japanese did not focus on those targets and only launched two waves. Thereby leaving the fleet and army fuel supplies untouched, the Submarine pens were left untouched and various other facilities vital to the future war effort were also untouched. The loss of life was still substantial, 2,403 Military Personnel, 68 Civilians were killed, 1,178 personnel were wounded, and 35 civilians were wounded. It is then fitting that the comment to end this section comes from Admiral Kimmel himself, he was watching the horror of the attack unfold, when a spent fifty caliber bullet crashed through a window and hit his uniform, he stated, "It would have been merciful if it had killed me." Kimmel would be demoted to Rear Admiral just ten short days after the attack, his career and life in tatters like so many on that day. Lt General Walter Short was also demoted to Major General and retired as well. Both officers have not been reinstated to their ranks and the expectation of this happening is low. The entire day really will go down for ever in infamy and it is to the credit of this nation, that for four years afterwards, we did remarkable deeds to both win WW2 and avenge the fallen there at Pearl Harbor. It is with nothing short of astonished pride I have met in my life time any WW2 veteran, to meet any of those that ever survived Pearl and went on to serve further, should count among American citizens the highest honor possible. FDR rallied us the very next day and the rest as they say is history.

Pearl Harbor Pt 2.

The United States Pacific Fleet

Led by Admiral Husband Kimmel and described as the most powerful force in the Pacific and a great threat to the Japanese Navy in it's efforts to conquer the rest of the Pacific. This fleet consisted of many different types of ships, all of which I shall try to describe in this article. I will also try to organize a "Order of Battle" on the day of the fateful attack to give you an idea who was in command and where the ships were and other things.

The Battleships 

The Battleships were still the pride of the United States Navy, and had some of our best officers and sailors aboard them in 1941 and for the duration of the War. At the time however, several Battleships were not near or around Pearl Harbor, and I would like to account here their whereabouts before going into the specific ships at Pearl that were attached to Battleship Force, Pacific Fleet. The New Mexico Class had three ships, New Mexico, Idaho and Mississippi, they had been part of the fleet, but had been transferred to the Atlantic, thereby probably saving them from being damaged or destroyed at Pearl Harbor. Arkansas New York, and Texas were also all in the Atlantic as well, they were the three oldest Battleships and Arkansas herself was nearly 30 years old, but all three ships were either on active patrol against Germany or in refit. The brand new North Carolina class Fast Battleships, were laid up still, having difficulty with vibration. The Colorado was the only ship actually assigned to the Pacific Fleet not at Pearl Harbor and it was in California having minor work done.

That brings us to the ships actually at Pearl. They were from various classes, the oldest being the Nevada class, with Nevada and Oklahoma being the ships of this class, they were a notable class as they introduced a concept called "All or Nothing" armor principle, which meant that the vital areas of the ship were heavily armored, with either end of the ship being lightly armored. They also were the first US warships to come equipped with triple turrets, which as the picture below shows allowed them to be relatively stocky looking ships but also had a 4 turret arrangement which was also to be kept up until the fast battleships were built.

The next class was the Pennsylvania Class, which needs no picture here, the iconic picture of Arizona and the sheer recognizable nature of the class is belied by the fact they were built differently from Nevada in that they had 12 x 14 inch guns in the same 4 turret arrangement. They were also slightly faster and better armored than Nevada. Pennsylvania also served at this time as Flagship of the Pacific Fleet and therefore would be where Admiral Kimmel would fly his flag if the fleet was at sea. The class had served well during the interwar years, but on December 7th, Pennsylvania was in Drydock and Arizona was next to USS Vestal on Battleship Row.

The other two classes represented were the Tennessee Class (Tennessee and California,) and the Colorado Class's, Maryland and West Virginia. The Tennessee class was pretty much run of the mill, though I expect if I said that to a sailor or officer from either ship, I would likely eat teeth. Both ships were built post WW1 and unlike the first two classes had unique lattice masts with the fire control directors atop them, this was held over for the Colorado Class as well. The major difference in these two classes belonged to Colorado and her sisters, they were equipped with 8 16 inch guns, the heaviest armament in the US Navy until the North Carolina class commissioned with their 9 16 inch guns. These then represent the Battleships of the Pacific Fleet, I provide a picture of the Colorado Class for some perspective though, this is West Virginia in 1934.

On December 7, 1941, these were the ships that were the primary targets of the attacking force of Japanese planes, fortunately, thanks to weather, and a few other factors, the carriers were away! As was one of our best Admirals, Vice Admiral William F Halsey.

The Carriers 

 The Carriers were soon to become the last capital ships available to the US Navy, and it was fortunate that they were at various ports of call and the like during the attack. I will not go into as great a detail as I did with the Battleships, but the primary carrier to look at would be the USS Enterprise CV-6, commanded by temporarily promoted Vice Admiral Halsey, who was commanding Carrier Division 2 as well as all of the Carriers of the Pacific Fleet. There were three carriers attached to the fleet in total, the other two were first two fleet carriers of the US Navy, Lexington CV-2 and Saratoga CV-3, all were away at this time, with their air-wings available almost immediately post December 7th and Halsey also carried the fight to the enemy. Among other orders, Kimmel had made it clear that if Halsey ran into the Japanese he had orders to engage. Halsey was so keyed up, according to Time Magazine his operations officer actually got into an argument, but Halsey silenced him stating that he would take full responsibility for all actions. It was all over by the time Halsey got back to Pearl, but that was enough, the rest is history when it comes to the Carriers. I have one image here of Enterprise for historical purpose.

Credit sources on Pictures to my favorite website for pictures, NavSource and a few other places as well.

Pearl Harbor Pt 1.

December 7th, 1941, unfortunately for quite a few of my generation, it's in black and white and there might have been something happening that day. For some of us however, we remember what happened in the then territory of Hawaii at an anchorage called Pearl Harbor.

The Background 
The United States of America in 1941 was a nation of mostly peace, the real war was in the Atlantic, where US Destroyers were actively engaging German U-Boats and the US was giving active support to the British war effort. In the Pacific, until December 7th, it was a game of politics, the United States was trying to find a peaceful solution to Japans rapid advance across all of China and its' very obvious threat to the Dutch, French and English colonies in South East Asia, all very oil rich and all capable of sustaining Japan in a major war for many years if unimpeded. The most significant course of action by the US was to impose sanctions on Japan in July after the Japanese grabbed French Indo-China and was poised again on the remaining French colonies and Dutch and British Colonies. According to our alien loving friends at the History Channel (Older readers ask about that meme!) Japan in one fell swoop, lost 75 percent of overseas trade, and 88 percent of imported oil. The problem then was clear for Japan, either back off and get the oil back, or do something else, unfortunately, they did something else, and it was to have tragic consequences for Pearl Harbor just a few months later.

The Plan

The plan was devised by the likes of Japans best and brightest, and very probably most reluctant, it's a matter of record that Isoruko Yamamoto, the Commander in Chief of Japans largest fleet, and essentially the senior Admiral of the Japanese Navy, was very probably against every militaristic action taken by Japan up to and including the eventual sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. He was well known in Western Circles as a brilliant officer and with good reason, he served at Tsushima and gained experience for almost 15 years interacting with US, UK and other nations naval establishments in various postings. He also studied at Harvard and was keenly aware of the US military. He also kept appraised of other events, especially a raid on the Italian port of Taranto, in which obsolete Swordfish Torpedo planes attacked and sank a substantial number of capital ships in a daring night time raid which proved again, (see Bismarck for an earlier proving of Naval Aviation being a factor in battle,) that planes were rapidly overtaking Battleships as the most effective weapon on the high seas. The Japanese took notice, and had advantages over the British, for one, they included 6 full fleet carriers in the operation, a formidable strike package, they also included the most modern planes, A6M Zeros, the Aichi D3A Codenamed: Val dive bombers, and the Nakajima B5N Codenamed: Kate Torpedo Bomber. All of these planes were brand new compared to the Swordfish, the Zero could engage any fighter in the US Arsenal at the time of the attack and could ensure almost total air superiority very probably even if the strike waves had been met by more than just a few P-40s. The Bombers and Torpedo Planes also were ready, the crews were not per-se green, they had trained during China for almost 4 years before 1941. Commanding this Task Force of Carriers was Vice Admiral Nagumo, considered a steady hand for the job and his deputies on the aerial side of the attack were Minoru Genda and Mitsuo Fuchida, the former who helped plan the attack and devised the methods and the like and personally lobbied for the latter to lead the attack. The primary strategy was to both achieve surprise if possible and launch multiple destructive waves. This then was the attack from which three immortal words were uttered Tora! Tora! Tora!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Jeff Gordon IS BACK! Also Monster and NASCAR

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hark the Angels sing, Jeff Gordon is back in the saddle again and this time he's going to come to us at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. That gentleman racer of NASCAR has decided that he wants to drive a "Slick Black Cadillac," credit there to Quiet Riot, and well Cadillac, their Prototype racing car is of course, black! It's the signal we've all been waiting for, he does not want to stop driving cars, he drank for too many years from that cup of Sunoco and Mobil 1 racing fuel and oil.

What are my expectations, I will not guarantee a win, but I will say, he will finish very high on the ladder, this Cadillac is what Endurance racing calls an LMP2, which is one of the top classes you can race in races like the 24 Hours of Daytona or Le-Mans in France. Also it's signals a major shift from GM from only racing Corvettes to now building a dedicated top of the line endurance racer, and also by the way, outdoing Ford, who only races in the GTE, which used to be GT2, a much lower class in the endurance racing at Le Man and Daytona. What reactions from the rest of auto industry, Ford will very likely have some of it's egg heads and gear heads working on something special for 2020's Endurance season, not to be outdone is the motto of companies when it comes to motorsports. So welcome back Jeff! Many more years of talent and happiness in sports for you!

Now we come to that latest decision from NASCAR. I am really annoyed that people are ragging on Monster and by extension, Coke-Cola from taking a proper bigger place in this industry. Do I agree this is what is going to drag the young back to the sport. The answer is no, engine formula, transmissions no longer extant and a host of other non-stock problems in stock-car racing are what keep the youth away in my opinion. But, Monster is a company with bright ideas and deep pockets, and that's the kind of sponsorship that NASCAR needs in the 2020s and beyond. I heartily approve unlike others, I even like the sound of the name "Monster Cup," it rolls off the tongue in a way like Winston Cup, and Grand National, Sprint and Nextel Cup just did not roll off the tongue and Sprint cars probably weren't thrilled with their being confused with NASCAR. Now obviously they'll come up with a different name, but it just goes to show, the decision was a good one.

Nico Ends in the Gold and F1 Puzzles

Oh Lord, in our time give us another Rosberg winning the championship. Ladies and gents, 1982 was many moons ago, but 2016 gave us that second Rosberg championship. Young Nico decided to win this year and did it in grand style, with a tough teammate and tough challenges all year. All this high riding made 2017 look bright, and this amateur author and professional fan predicted Mercedes locked in for 2017 to do a brilliant job, well I can predict still that Lewis Hamilton will do well. But now, now I have to bid farewell to Nico. He's done what F1 drivers used to do in the past, either retire the season they win their championship, or a single year after they win, mostly with dismal results, Jody Scheckter and Niki Lauda come to mind on that.

Now let me admit quickly, the guy shocked the hell out of me. He's blown me away from all my predictions, things can change quickly in motorsports and Nico proved it here. Now the big question has come, who will replace him, for those of you in the loop, stop saying Alonso. McLaren said they will do better in 2017, he will not break that deal lightly, even for the chalice that is Mercedes. 2017 brings changes to the sport, and he is a calm calculating driver, he will wait and see. Toto Wolff already had people in the very back of his mind, but he never thought he'd have to make those calls starting now. Look to see who is not outright committed to a team passed 2017 and you may get an idea of who could be picked up from inside the circus, outside, there are a host of brilliant drivers in multiple disciplines who would love to jump to F1. Indy Car drivers also seem to be available.

Now I come on to what really puzzles me about F1. You sign Imola up for a contract, (Imola being the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, mouthful that it is,) but you publish a 20 race season that doesn't include this race. What possibly could be the reason, I think myself that maybe a 2018 surprise over a 2017 21 race season. Who knows? Bernie Ecclestone and that's about it. Also! The French Grand Prix is among us in the whispers and hushed triumph, 2018 looks to bring back 21 to 22 races. Looking more and more like the 80s every day it seems. The Turbo Era is going to soon be in it's 3rd year, and looks to be staying around for a long long time. Look forward to 1200 Horses in our future. 230 mph isn't fast enough for the Flying F1 Circus. Also a note on that, the top cars, Mercedes, were not recorded as the fastest cars, that fine distinction goes to Williams!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

F1 2017

We are literally ending the 2016 season after a hot finish, I won't give away the winner of the championship. (It was Rosberg by the way, Hamilton still won the race!) The championship allowed Mercedes to be tested in certain ways. But now, now we get to move on to 2017's season, and it will be a hot season too. I have stated in previous entries that teams are moving much faster season to season in becoming competitive or losing their edges than in past eras of F1. Renault came in this year, and has taken just 8 points. But unlike the first time Renault was in Formula 1, the development of the car has changed radically. Next year, Renault will score many more points and will easily pass 8, a safe assumption but an important one. This is an example to all the teams on the grid for the upcoming year.

Another major factor is that the car is going to look markedly different for the first time in many a year. The biggest noticeable changes, a bigger front wing, a bigger set of rear tires, the rear wing is lower. Another great change is an increase in fuel held and the weight of the car. There is another big change, the number of engines allowed over the course of the season, 4 engines for either 21 or 22 Grand Prix races. That means on average the engines will have to last 5 races or more, one advantage though is that the much hated token system on updating engines is being put in the ash heap of history. Teams will rapidly improve engines and make them go farther probably rather than faster, they will have to last roughly a thousand miles at race speeds.

Predictions will be following soon after we see revealing of the cars by individual teams. Being an American, I look forward to seeing Haas do better. My only real concern is McLaren, who decided to ditch Dennis. I hope they have a good season, but if we have another 2016, they'll be found to have made a mistake after all.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The end of the Ron Dennis Era

This is a shock development, McLaren has ditched Ron Dennis, the most influential man in the teams history, from Alain Prost to Ayrton Senna to Lewis Hamilton, this man was a scion of everything about the sport, both good, and bad.

The firing of Ron, for what ever reason given by McLaren, is not going to give them some magic boost, teams do not suddenly perform better by ditching the leader of the team. In fact, evidence suggests the opposite, from Bernie Ecclestone to Ross Brawn, team leaders who go away from the team they're leading, usually take quite a bit with them, and they definitely see a drop in performance. Brabham definitely suffered as Bernie became detached from that team, and was no longer that much of a problem for the F1 competition after 1987, and Ross Brawn speaks for himself, Benetton, Ferrari, Brawn F1, all three teams definitely had worse seasons after Ross disappeared, especially Benetton and Ferrari, the 96 season for Benetton took them from first place in both championships, to just third, and Ferrari, well you might say Kimi won the 07 Championship, but unlike during Brawn's time, especially 2000-2005, it was won by a single point and if McLaren had not been disqualified from the Constructors championship, Ferrari would have only won said championship by a point there as well. Then Brawn F1, which gave us the outstanding performance of Jenson Button, and it was only a single season team. I could mention a couple other driver/owners as well, Jackie Stewart was a definite plus for Stewart Racing, and today might have been a prominent team on the grid, Jackie gives his reasons for selling the team, and they were justifiable, but the fact is Jaguar Racing was no hit wonder. Bruce McLaren is another, though we tragically lost him, McLaren had a bad season in 1971 after he was gone from the team, and it took some revolution type stuff  and heroic driving that set those drivers apart from so many others, to bring it back. If Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda left Mercedes for 2017, I would expect them to take some kind of hit based on these teams listed here.

Now how do teams do better season by season, they do it by getting better aero, better engines and a better car, not to mention making sure you have excellent drivers and a pit crew that can pull a tire change in less than 3 seconds. F1 has recognized this, the points system on improving cars, has went out the window, now teams can upgrade at will. The way the FIA got the cost down was the best way possible, make the engines last upwards of 5 or 6 races. Reliability is the new battle in F1, and it will see teams try to make 78 laps on an engine, like a thousand miles is on a normal car, typical and not really much impact. But teams will take advantage of this, and McLaren was in a perfect position to really do just that, but now Ron is gone, and the visions of the 1988 season might very probably disappear for even longer.

Do not take this blog post as some tirade against McLaren, they're one of my two favorite teams, Williams being the other. I simply feel as though this was a mistake, and from the outside looking in, one that might cost em some of the 75 points or more if they do another points finish in the final race for 2017. I really do hope I am wrong, I hope they suddenly come out like gangbusters and win 10 races next season, but I simply do not know and I am even less certain with Ron out.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

2017 Driver Team Reviews Pt 2.

Leaving the big league teams, we come down to three teams I really want to get into, Renault, Haas, and McLaren

Firstly, Renault, let me tell you Joylon Palmer really does have the right idea, I am not guaranteeing that Renault is going to perform as they did in 1981 or 1983 when they really contended for wins and the championship, but it's a well known precedent that Renault as a team improves consistently. I expect points finishes and the like in 2017, Palmer is right to stay on at Renault and he is joined by Nico Hulkenburg, who is a points finisher consistently even this season. What may happen might even be possibly hinted at in the off season. The fact is, Renault is points hungry in 2017, and these drivers will see serious effort put in to make them competitive at some level.

Haas, the American team is coming back for 2017 after getting 29 points, and potentially more at the last grand prix coming up, this season, their Number 1 driver won those 29 points and is contracted next year. They picked that modern marvel, Romain Grosjean, and they are sticking with him, which is brilliant for both, from Romain's perspective it is his chance to get more points finishes and look for that first podium for Haas. From the team perspective, they have a driver they have gotten used to, from the smallest to biggest quirks, and his particulars for set up and drive style and this will lead to a better performance in 2017.

McLaren-Honda, Oh Jenson how we knew ye, and how ye have left us for a higher plane. Button is out, in comes the commodity of GP2 racing, Stoffel Vandoorne, he did get a 10th place finish in 2016 and I think he will acclimate quite well in his first season, considering Max Verstappen, we may even see yet another rookie win in his first season. As for Fernando Alonso, credit where it is due, he has stuck with McLaren, I do not know what magic potion they promised for 2017, but it was enough to keep him on, when he could have the pick of the lot and start saving his driving statistics average for posterity. A truly unknown thing to me, what McLaren can do in 2017, they may walk away with the championship, on the other hand, this 2016 season looked rough, they did get points finishes, but I feel as though they want podiums next year at the very least!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

2017 F1 Driver Team Reviews Pt 1.

As I stare at the new line up of F1 Drivers, I find myself greatly pleased to see that some drivers are remaining right where they need to be.

For one, Mercedes has stuck with the two most solid and winning-est drivers in the sport during this new Turbo Era. This is the team from which all others set their standard, and the drivers are really the best, they have talent in addition to the excellent cars that Toto Wolff and Mercedes give them. As I stated in a previous article, this is the winner for 2016, and will with keeping these two drivers represent a potent force for 2017. Mercedes is the team to beat as well, they love winning and will keep on doing so, raking in the trophies.

Red Bull oh boy oh boy, the team that did the remarkable, win races in 2016, and they have kept their all star line up for 2017, Ricciardo and Verstappen are really two great drivers, tough, hard charging and unafraid to cross that limit when they have to, and they have done so, especially in Mexico. Red Bull will contend for wins next year, especially with new engines. Watch Tag Heuer give them something really special for 2017 and then you may watch them give Mercedes real guff.

Ferrari not the best year, but they will have the best drivers for their team, Kimi and Seb are two first rate drivers that make the best out of second rate cars at present, Ferrari has realized this and will be giving them first rate cars for 2017, another team that will try hard for at least a couple to four or five wins in 2017. Who knows what will happen though, the new regulations might mean the cars are totally different. But there are a lot of mights and ifs coming for teams not named Red Bull or Mercedes. Revealing of the car will possibly give us some indication if it will be up to the job. Testing will really tell us enough, but we have to wait till spring to see.

Speaking of regulations, you'll be hearing about those soon in another article after I have done part two of these Driver Team Reviews.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Formula 1 in 2016 Part 3 of 3

Toro Rosso, MRT, Sauber- Excepting Toro Rosso which is not perfect, but was a junior team anyways, and has seen several talented drivers pass through it and score excellent points positions. The other two teams are multi million dollar operations that resemble teams we used to hear about all the time Arrows, Minardi, Lola, sure they're in the Circus, but are they teams with chances to win, not really. But do not discount them on points finishes, it is totally possible they finish in the points in 2017 as there is a shake up on car design.

Pirelli- I include the official tire of F1 here for one reason, they are a winner this year, no real complaints about the wear, or the quality of the rubber, and they've reacted to the 2017 rules by changing the tires again for the future of F1. Count this Goodyear Eagle fan of olden times, truly impressed and I hope 2017 goes well for them as well. The only expectation here is that F1 may open up for companies to buy from Goodyear and Michelin, but I expect Pirelli to be the preferred for some time to come.  

That roughly sums up the Formula 2016 season, who wins the championship? Really both Lewis and Nico, even if Nico wins on points. For one, they both really are the best drivers in the sport, and are made so by their ability and by the ability of Mercedes to build a superb car. 2017 will be a hot season to watch and I encourage all to get ready for some interesting reveals as March draws near. 

Formula 1 in 2016 Pt. 2

McLaren-Honda- Oh, what a load of memories I never personally experienced but I have read about. With 1988 to 1992 being astonishing seasons, perhaps the hype was a little too much, even I was excited beyond reason for their chances. Was this season improved, definitely, but this season was not what was hoped for by the fans. 2017 will likely involve podiums if they truly are done playing catch up to the rest of the field, it's only a disappointment we are only going to have Jenson for an advisor next year, unless McLaren surprises even further and starts running three cars. Great things can still happen in this partnership, but then I think the hype train was wholly overloaded, so I can clarify for some as to why McLaren didn't come out winning 15 or 16 races in 2014. The first Honda turbo engines came in 1983 for Williams, that partnership took till 1985 to produce real great results, and till 1986 to win a championship, and 87 to win a Drivers championship, so the 88-91 seasons were the result of years of progress at Williams. They are not losers by virtue of improving, next year may be particularly exciting however, so do not count McLaren-Honda out!

Renault- two years ago I wrote about how we should have Renault back as a team in Formula 1, they are back and they did manage to score some points, again, we don't have to over hype it, this isn't 77 and the teams are not mixing Turbos and Atmos like then. They will improve with time but again, time is not always kind in Formula 1. Next year look for Renault to try for higher points finishes and see more money invested into the team. When the wins will come, no one knows, but they can happen, just as they can happen with all teams mentioned so far. 

Formula 1 in 2016 Pt. 1

Red-Bull Tag Heuer- The great F1 has seen a number of remarkable events this year. Firstly, Max Verstappen, did something his father Jos never did, win a F1 race, to his credit and to the credit of Red-Bull Tag Heuer, who I suspect may just want to use the 2016 race spec engine for 2017 and they may end up winning three or four races or the whole show considering that Niki Lauda at Mercedes needs to calm Lewis and Nico for 2017 and get them back to being friends, we need no repeats of Prost/Senna, which then does bring us to Mercedes. So watch out for Red Bull, they have not forgotten 2013, and they will not be lax in the off season. Definitely rate them a winner this year.

Mercedes who despite what some people think, has dazzled me with their drive for Number 3 Constructors Championship and now, three in a row for Drivers Championship, something only accomplished by Schumacher and Ferrari and McLaren and Senna/Prost. Honestly we have two of the best drivers in Formula 1 in the same team and making outstanding drives every single race just about. There is a definite feeling in the air, and I can tell this feeling is there, the usual suspects are complaining that Mercedes is winning everything and there is no competition in Formula 1. Despite that feeling, do not think Mercedes is going to rest on their laurels, you can definitely be sure that Toto Wolff and his drivers and Niki Lauda are getting the new car ready right now.

Ferrari has this most unique habit of managing to get two number one drivers on a team and then having a difficult time with them in the first couple seasons. In this case, the working relationship between Kimi and Seb Vettel is possibly the best in F1, so that is a definite plus for Ferrari, the real problem is the car, competitive to say the least, and definitely contender to be best of the rest, but this year, there is a huge problem with the fact they might come third against a resurgent Red Bull. The season started with a potential fight for first with Mercedes. The weight on Ferrari's shoulders was large, and self imposed. 2017 has to be a better year or expect heads to roll at Maranello, definite loser this season, upside? Imola may come back as a track in 2017 or 2018 which would be a good psychological boost as there would be two races in Italy and that always energizes the tifosi. 

Haas, the home team for the first time in my life time, what an astonishing performance on their part, the season isn't over, but we may see at least 30 points from them. Definite wins in the future of Haas and we may see some cooperation with Ford to bring back a new turbo engine from them. Ferrari engines have worked well, outside chance of podiums next year and 2018 might even bring us wins. It could be a stunner to do wins next year as well, a winner this year, and if Haas is impressed with his team, he will probably make a bigger investment. I also have an outside hope that he may pick up an American driver of a decent caliber who has expressed interest in Formula 1 racing in the past, I will not name that driver here, but I will say he has championships under his belt already and while he had retired, is certainly a candidate to go back to racing. 

Force India and Williams- I pair these two as they are the primary Mercedes engine customers and are excellent teams, will I call them winners, not necessarily, Williams has had a weaker season this year, but you have to give all four drivers credit for being very consistent on the points. They share three podiums between all 4 and all have finished in the points at least 10 times, there is no internal conflict in the teams either, two excellent teams who if they had a little extra power in their engines, would have more podiums and give Ferrari and Red Bull and even Mercedes themselves a little trouble. So they are unchanged and are not losers in any respect. 2017 will be interesting among these two teams. 

New Introduction

I originally started this blog in 2014, with the hope that today it would have a large readership and a daily or every other day, new article for readers to enjoy or critique. Unfortunately, time and other things got in the way and I left the blog very much more dead than alive.

Well, in 2016, the world of Motorsports and Cars has definitely changed, and we are in a new era, the dawn of another Turbo Era in Formula 1, the emergence of a new generation of NASCAR drivers with new names and the same old engine, Ford has come back to the Endurance Racing scene with it's brand new GT.  All of these motorsport factors alone should astonish and amaze, however the regular car industry has also improved at a impressive rate.

For one, Ford has introduced a Sporty Fusion, a Sporty Focus and a RS Focus for the first time in ages. These three cars are in the stables as the new Ford has settled back on it's feet after the age of recession in 2007, 08 and 09. Chevy has introduced a hatch back in it's line up for the modern young adult like myself who think Hatchbacks are like Old Top Gear, great and amazing. GM also is going to be giving us a mid-engine Corvette, preferably in red or cherry red to start with. Fiat-Chrysler has done amazing work, the Hellcat Engine with it's 707 horsepower is as mighty as it sounds and has featured along side the revitalization of Jeep and has seen new models in the Chrysler 200 and facelift for the ever popular Chrysler 300. The introduction of a Jeep Renegade which to the author is like a small box, but perhaps more traditionally like a old Jeep than the new Cherokee and Grand Cherokee which introduced in 2014 and has also seen strong sales.

Japanese car manufacturers have came on strong since 2014, Honda has thrown itself into F1 again and also given us the NSX in the guise of it's Acura division, coupled with major updates to the Accord and Civic means they have made a major move into the upcoming 2020s. Toyota is sticking with it's very reliable strategy while also killing Scion off, due to most models easily being made with the Toyota badge and also the name GT86 really does sound better than FRS. Couple this with a few facelift models, and you can see why Toyota is a hard brand to beat. Nissan is a brand I really would prefer not to discuss, they have a host of ancient and ailing cars, to Nissan: It is time for a new GT-R, new Zed Car, new everything, even the stuff that might be new now. Subaru, holy moly, we are proud of them, with their Crosstrek and a brand new Impreza, the darling of any real motor enthusiast, coupled with engine and transmission overhauls, are giving yet another burst of fresh air to the auto community.

Now for the Germans...yes, well, uh, VW! Great car company, will have to make 2017 look like nothing has happened and they will recover. If not, who knows. Mercedes has continued on it's merry way to try and appeal to that middle class that has enough to spend $30k or more to buy a car, and they have been successful in this. A word on VW's brands, they're fine, Porsche, Lamborghini, Audi, they're all brilliant groups doing great cars and great work, the parent brand needs work and hopefully the work will happen.

Jaguar in Britain is now owned by Tata, and credit for them, they did amazing work, the F-Type excites all sorts of passion in people, including myself. So they're doing well enough to give us a Jag SUV for the first time ever. We will see what happens there as well. Aston Martin I do not wish to speak of, they dumped those old Ford engines, and that to a Ford guy like me, you get the picture.

So there is my introduction, I intend to go into motorsports later today, as a great start to my old-new blog!