Monday, 25 March 2013

Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory

McLaren. What is going on at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes? (they won't be called that for much longer)

McLaren had a pretty good end to the 2012 season. They won the last two races to end a mixed year, with the loss of Lewis Hamilton to the Mercedes works team. Now, we know that title sponsor Vodafone are ending their relationship with the team which began in 2007, the year Hamilton made his debut in F1. The reason for this is unclear but I do believe that Hamilton's exit swayed Vodafone. This sponsorship deal was big money to McLaren and losing that deal must be a blow. However, McLaren have announced that a replacement will announced on December 2nd and Hamilton's replacement, Sergio Perez, is backed by a company called Telmex. Telemex is part-owned by a man named Carlos Slim, who is the world's richest man, with a fortune of $73 billion. Can anyone say Telmex McLaren Honda?

As for Honda, well, as I've written in a previous post, are rumoured to be returning to F1 as an engine supplier, in 2015 if reports are accurate. If true, this would mean McLaren sticking with Mercedes next year. What this could mean is McLaren reverse engineering the Mercedes engine with Honda and finding out it's pros and cons. Mercedes have insisted that they will protect themselves from something like this but I'm not sure how they could stop it if McLaren do use them.

Back to this season, it has been, in a word, shambolic. McLaren have been painfully slow and all pre-season optimism has evaporated into thin air. This was surprising given their end of season form last year and the promise they showed at the first pre-season test. The problem is apparently the new push rod suspension system, which is similar to the one Ferrari had trouble with last season.

Sergio Perez driving the McLaren MP4-28.
Will McLaren fix this issue? Possibly. They have three weeks until the Chinese Grand Prix and should be spending it finding why the car is so slow compared to its nearest rivals. McLaren will recover from setbacks, it's in their history.

When Honda pulled out of F1 in the early 90s, after struggling with Cosworth and Peugeot, McLaren recovered. After losing the West sponsorship McLaren came back and they will after losing Vodafone, Mercedes and Hamilton. If they don't then Martin (I can't stop making excuses) Whitmarsh should be fired. Teams have a tendency of bouncing back after losing their Vodafone sponsorship anyway. In 2007, Ferrari's ex-McLaren man Kimi Raikkonen beat the dueling bitch-fest between Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton by 1 point. In the same year, Manchester United came back from 3 years of not winning the Premier League to reclaim their crown, after switching from Vodafone to AIG. Maybe McLaren can make it a hat-trick in 2014?

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Switching on the light

It's been a while but I want to come back and write something. I want  to write about ideas and how coming up with great ones can be a pain in the ass. Anyone can come up with ideas but either they're shit or they've already been done. Both seem common, in all kinds of media.

Take movies as an example, many movies you see releasing at the cinema these days aren't new ideas but ones done previously but with different character names and settings but have been tarted up with special effects and other things. This isn't new but a good example is Avatar, James Cameron's uber expensive cinematic showcase which uses to latest CGI technology to great effect, and profit, since Avatar is the highest grossing movie of all time. However, rip all of that away and what you get is an old narrative, one about mankind and it's selfishness and how it refuses to take others into consideration. How the protagonist, in this case Jake Sulley, is wrong about his views and his journey into seeing the other perspective on things. It also has the classic love story of two complete opposites who in no way should fall in love but they do. If you watch enough times to not be overawed by the visuals you can see that. Avatar is nothing special.

There is a point to this, my point is that coming up with ideas isn't just about the premise or the mechanics, it's just as much as the execution and how it looks at first glance. That's how most forms of entertainment exist today be it movies, TV shows, music and video games. Very few these days is truly original. Of course it's very hard to do something truly original but many don't even try to modify it and just throw something together and hope people like it enough for it to make money. That tends to be driver in a lot of this and also follow what is popular instead of trying to stand out.

As I've said I know it's hard to do something different but you can see what is out there and purposefully avoid doing that will go some way to not being seen as a cheap cash-in. I know how hard it is to come up with ideas myself. As in university I have to come up with an idea for a 30 minute script for a TV show/short movie. This was difficult as there's lot of things out which covers pretty much everything. We had to actually share our ideas in the class to everyone and as everyone was explaining their idea I couldn't help thinking that it had been done before for most. Some were original, like one which is about a girl who wants to bed the hottest girl in school. It got a laugh from the class and I have to admit, it is different. Also, I'm sure you can guess the gender of the person who came up with that.

As for my idea, well, I have to admit something now, I came up with it pretty much on the spot because I had nothing so I quickly scribbled something down. Now, I'm not going to tell you my idea at this moment because it hasn't been written as a script just a first draft of a synopsis which needs refining. I bet you're thinking how much of a cocktease I am after writing all of this for then not to share my supposed idea. I'll probably get accused for being a Jay from The Inbetweeners but I don't care, I have my idea and I'm going with it. Simples. My idea did get a laugh in the class too like the one I mentioned earlier but that wasn't intentional and it did surprise me a bit. My lecturer Anita likes the idea quite a bit and I should probably mention that she is a writer for Casualty, the BBC hospital drama.

This comes back to my original point, amazingly, anyone can up with an idea but whether it's something different or even good doesn't always matter. As proved by many of the popular, books, movies and other stuff. Complete shit sells, somehow.