Tag Archives: Cars

Second in Formula One; and remembering Ayrton Senna

The word “second” has suddenly got an amazing importance for Brazil in the Formula One championship this week, after the Spa Francorchamps race, in Belgium. Let me show you why:

  1. Felipe Massa, Ferrari’s team brazilian driver, has guarded safely the second position in the driver’s championship for, at least, one race. Also, he is only two points behind the leader, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton.

    Kimi and Hamilton fight for the lead

    Kimi and Hamilton fight for the lead

  2. This approach has happened because Massa, who finished the last race in second place, inherited the victory after the checkered flag because the actual winner, Hamilton, got a penalty for cutting the chicane and getting advantage improperly. Click here to see Hamilton’s maneuver.

  3. After Massa’s lucky day, Ferrari started to rediscuss the team’s strategy from now until the end of the championship (only five races left), in order to possibly change Massa’s status from second driver to first driver, since Kimi Räikkönen, his team companion, lost important points to fight for the trophy.

Massa, Hamilton and Heidfeld on the podium before the after-race changes

Massa, Hamilton and Heidfeld on the podiumbefore the after-race changes

There’s been a lot of arguments in the web trying to answer if Hamilton’s penalty was or wasn’t fair. Personally, I believe it wasn’t. I’m totally in favor of “agressive” driving in F1, to avoid races becoming a car parade. Also, I don’t think the british driver commited any foul.

That said, the main reason of this post is: Felipe Massa has a real chance of winning the championship after last weekend. And, if the competition stays balanced like it has been so far, the title may be decided here, in Brazil, home of the last race of the season.

Felipe Massa talking to the press

Felipe Massa talking to the press

Can you imagine the thrill it will be for us if Massa decides the title with Hamilton in Brazil? I can’t wait.

It’s interesting to see that a brazilian driver has finally reached a good point count in the near-end of the season. I’m thrilled, some people are also. But I must say that I’ve seen Brazil’s REAL thrill when the subject was F1. You probably know about who I’m talking about.

That’s right: Mr. Ayrton Senna.

Senna and his unforgettable winning gesture

Senna and his unforgettable winning gesture

It’s a fact: from his tragical and unforgettable death until today, F1 has never been the same for brazilians. I remember the years that followed 1994, and they were sad, even with our national soccer team winning the World Cup that same season (even the soccer team paid an homage to Ayrton Senna after the final whistle of the title-winning match)

Sundays lost their morning fun (morning for us) and F1 reached an aversion level never seen here. It couldn’t be other way. In a day, we had a three-time world champion, charismatic, patriotic and brave in tracks driver. In the next, we didn’t. Also, we watched live that terrible wall in Tamburelo’s turn getting near and near Senna’s Williams. 14 years later, I can’t write this without getting a little uncomfortable.

Brazil saying the last goodbye for Senna

Brazil saying the last goodbye for Senna

Felipe Massa knows that. He, himself, says that Senna was his personal idol, and his death marked him forever. But now, the young driver has a chance to carve his name in our driving history and start to give us back that glow on our faces when someone starts talking about Formula One.

Let’s wait to see if Massa will have the honor of sharing a place in the hall of champions with the one and only Ayrton Senna do Brasil (“do Brasil” means “of Brazil”).

For now, click here if you want to feel the energy of Mr. Ayrton Senna’s victory in Brazil, back in 1993 (english subtitles). The jingle song that starts right after he crosses the line, named “Victory Anthem” and created specially for him, is played until today when a brazilian driver crosses the line in the first position, or any other sports person or team wins anything. It’s a touching song for us.

Check the first 10 drivers classification with five races to go:

 To view the entire table, click here.
 To visit the official F1 website, click here.
 To see several Ayrton Senna’s videos, click here.
 To watch Felipe Massa’s victory in Brazil 2006, click here.
 To read someone in favor of Hamilton’s penalty, click here.
 To read someone against it, click here.

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Cheers! Or not…

Last month, Brazil’s government approved a new law, popularly named “dry law”. As the name suggests, this law forbiddens any quantity of alcohol to be consumed before driving a car. If someone drinks a can of beer or a single glass of wine and gets pulled over by the police, a fine up to almost one thousand Reais is given (something like US$600) and the driver’s license is apprehended for one year.

Brazil has a sad characteristic of having laws that no one respects, mostly because the lack of fiscalization. But with the dry law, things are happening in a different way. You actually see lots and lots of police barriers in the cities, specially on fridays and saturdays, pulling over drivers near known bar areas. Nationwide press is showing these actions almost everyday. Government representants are saying that car accidents have dropped almost 20% in the entire country after the law began to take effect.

At a first glimpse, some may say “well, that’s excellent! Nice job!”. But there a few points that should be taken in consideration before judging.

As I said before, no alcohol is permitted before driving. Neither a small cup of wine, or fifty packs of black ale. But I believe there’s a difference in there. Here in this country, it’s part of the culture to meet friends, loved ones and family at a bar just to chat and cheer something. This practise doesn’t mean that everyone is going to get their heads blowing drunk every night. No, far from that!

Also, it’s no longer permitted to go out to a restaurant and ask for a fine glass of wine with your wife or your friends to celebrate a birthday, an engagement, a job promotion, or anything. If you drink, you will be treated like a criminal.

This law is unnecessarily harsh. I’m strongly in favor of hard punishment for drunk drivers who put other people lives in danger. But that’s not what this law is about. It has actually reduced the penalty for those who commits a crime while drunk driving, like hit someone else. It’s totally nonsense.

There’s another point. Before this dry law, Brazil had another similar law, but not that severe. The difference is that when that old law was on, police didn’t care. There was absolutely no barriers, no fiscalization, no equipment to detect alcohol, nothing. But now, with a new sensation and with the media daily coverage, policemen and government are having their 15 minutes of fame. All on the people’s back.

To finish, car accidents are not caused only because of alcohol. Amongst the several causes, we can list badly conserved streets and roads, covered with holes; lack of signalization; narrow two way roads; cars with absolutely no conditions to be on the streets, but out there anyway; lack of driving education; animals on the road, and so on. All of those items listed we have plenty here in Brazil, and many others I’m forgetting right now.

If you want to visit Brazil and taste the famous Caipirinha, remember: don’t rent a car!