Friday, April 25, 2008

What I wrote for the e-reporter competition:)

Hahaha, I cant believe I was so anal that I even include references in my submission. Too much literature review, as Shawn said when he read my article:)


Select a famous personality from the sporting, automotive or motorsport world who is newsworthy and currently in the media spotlight. Please clearly state who you have selected, their position within their sport or company and why they are currently newsworthy.

Then as a journalist, imagine you have the exclusive opportunity to interview them.

Write six questions that you would include as part of the interview (max 6 questions).

The person that I have chosen for this interview is Vodafone Mclaren-Mercedes’s driver, Lewis Hamilton. Having garnered various awards and accolades in his amazing rookie season, Lewis has been in the media spotlight since his spectacular 3rd place finish at the Australian GP 2007. Showing both talent and determination in abundance, he has clearly demonstrated that there is definitely life in F1 after the retirement of Michael Schumacher at the end of 2006. Lewis almost became the first ever rookie to win the F1 Driver Championship, only to lose by just 1-point to Kimi Raikkonen at Interlagos, the last race of the 2007 season, having led the Championship since the Spanish GP in May. Recently, he has also won the “World Breakthrough of the Year” award at the prestigious Laureus Sports Award 2008.

1. Do you think Mclaren’s 2008 season has already been compromised due to the fact that several aspects of the car development have to be curtailed as part of the conclusion to the Ferrari-Mclaren spy case?
2. Expectations of you will be higher in 2008 after such a stellar rookie season. How are you dealing with the pressure that comes with it?
3. The biggest rule change in 2008 has been the ban on launch control, traction control and engine braking with the introduction of standard ECU. How are you coping with these changes so far? Are you practicing more grand prix starts during the test sessions?
4. Driving just seems so easy to you. We know you can handle a Formula 1 car pretty well and I’ve seen the lap you did when you appeared on Top Gear. It was really something special to get 0.3s behind the Stig’s lap and you did it in wet conditions as well! How do you make driving a car, any car, super-quick seem so effortless?
5. There was a lot of attention recently on the racism controversy during one of the pre-season tests at Barcelona. Do you think that the FIA has done enough to mitigate the issue or do you think that perhaps the issue had been over-hyped by the media?
6. You’ve just signed a new five-year contract with Mclaren that will keep you with the team till 2012. The financial terms are obviously very lucrative. Having secured yourself financially so early in your Formula 1 career, how do you find the motivations to continue to do well in the sport? Will the glamour and showbiz side of F1 become a distraction to you in the coming years?


Write a 300 word article, including an appropriate headline, on ONE of the following:

1. Discuss the growing importance of GP2 as a feeder series to Formula One.
2. Formula One could return to slick Bridgestone tyres in 2009. Describe what effect, if any, this will have on safety.
3. Describe in what ways Formula One and GP2 make a contribution to the environment through campaigns and technological development.
4. Tyres are the only contact a car has with the ground. Tyre pressure is greatly influential on the overall performance of a tyre. What would be the impact on safety and costs of low tyre pressure?
5. Formula One cars have often been described as works of art and have adopted many different designs over the past 60 years. Choose a famous Formula One car and describe why its design was so ground breaking at the time and what made that design artistic.

(max 300 words).

Topic 3:
Towards a Greener Motorsport Racing

As environmental awareness becomes greater, those at the pinnacle of motorsport racing need to demonstrate their responsibility towards the environment and make racing a greener business. And it does seem that those involved in F1 and GP2 are getting it right. For example, the rather pointless fuel-burning phase in F1’s qualifying session, whereby the drivers go around the track for a few laps just to reduce weight, has been dropped in 2008 by the FIA to show that F1 does not “wastes” fuel unnecessarily.

Furthermore, racing teams such as Honda Racing F1 are using the “advertising space” on their cars to create greater environmental awareness across the globe. In fact, Honda’s earthdreams concept has won the Green Awards’ Grand Prix Winner 2007, presented by the United Nations Environmental Program as a means to ““recognize outstanding creative work…for brands promoting anything from fair trade and renewable energy to resource efficiency and waste awareness.”

On the technological side, F1 and GP2 are taking the lead in developing cutting-edge green technologies which can be applied to production cars in the future. In 2009, the FIA has plans to introduce the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) in F1, where kinetic energy can be recovered from the car under braking. This stored energy can then be used to boost acceleration for overtaking and cornering, whilst maximising energy efficiency at the same time. In the 2008 season, the technical regulations have been amended to ensure that the teams must include at least 5.75% of biomatter in their fuels. This is the first step towards the probable introduction of hybrid engines in F1, further reducing the consumption of non-renewable energy.

Motorsport racing has clearly demonstrated that it is more than aware of its responsibilities towards the environment and those in power are doing their best to ensure that it remains relevant even in the environmentally sensitive 21st century.

1. British Motoring Car Show by BBC: Top Gear,
2. Lewis’s lap on Top Gear,
3. Honda Racing F1’s earthdreams concept,
4. F1 2008 season rule changes,
5. Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS),

Bridgestone E-Reporter Candidate 1


Just got back from Barcelona for the launch....

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bridgestone e-reporter: record entries, nine finalists announced


Bridgestone, exclusive tyre supplier to the GP2 Series, has today announced the nine selected finalists for the 2008 Bridgestone e-reporter young journalists’ competition. The growing popularity of the competition, for students aged 18-30, has been shown by a 50 per cent increase in entries compared with 2007, entrants also representing a wider range of European countries than ever before.

In 2008, Bridgestone e-reporter celebrates its fifth anniversary and, to mark the beginning of the season, will be taking all nine of this year’s chosen finalists to Barcelona, ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, to be part of the official GP2 Series launch event (taking place on 24 April).

Each of the nine finalists, who have aspirations to be professional journalists, will be given the opportunity to attend and report on a GP2 Series race weekend for the Bridgestone website, Bridgestone’s finalists for this season, from across Europe, will be attending the following GP2 events:

Barcelona (26-27 April) Gavin Grace (County Galway, Ireland)

Monte-Carlo (23-24 May) Lorenzo Quolantoni (Geneva, Switzerland)

Valencia (31 May-1 June) Tabatha Valls Halling (Barcelona, Spain)

Magny-Cours (21-22 June) Olivier Cougard (Lille, France)

Silverstone (5-6 July) James Aitcheson (Wiltshire, UK)

Hockenheim (19-20 July) Alan Ng (Bonn, Germany)

Budapest (2-3 August) Guillaume Navarro (Erquy, France)

Spa-Francorchamps (6-7 September) Rutger Wuyts (Ghent, Belgium)

Monza (13-14 September) Tom Drew (London, UK)

Entrants for this year’s Bridgestone e-reporter competition were asked to demonstrate their ability to write both a newsworthy story and topical interview questions. The high standard of entries from students writing in English as their second language was highlighted by the judges, the judging panel including high-profile international journalists.

Gerry Duffy, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Bridgestone Europe, said, “In 2008 we have received the highest number of entries we have ever had for the Bridgestone e-reporter competition. We have also seen a real increase in the number of entries coming from students outside of the UK, particularly from France and Spain, which shows the increasing reputation of the contest within European universities. Bridgestone continues to invest in education and, through the e-reporter programme, provides students with invaluable journalistic experience helping them to build a career for the future. Bridgestone wish the best of luck to all the finalists attending GP2 events through out the season.”

The overall winner of the 2008 Bridgestone e-reporter contest, due to be selected in late September, will continue their work on Bridgestone-backed events and will be offered work experience as part of the competition prize.

Taken from Bridgestone GP2 e-reporter website.

Post Modernism

Something I've learnt during the PCCF Retreat this year. Explains a lot why of us are so jaded and lethargic in seeking the truth sometimes:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

I've been selected!!!!

I'm one of the 9 finalists in the Bridgestone E-Reporter competition!!!!!!!! I joined this competition when I was really bored in Malaysia few months back and wanted to do something constructive. What better way than to marry my passion for motorsport racing and writing. Really didn't expect to win since I felt there were probably a lot of people who could write better stuff than me:)

To be honest, I joined this competition when I was at the lowest point of my confidence back in February. At that time, the long lay-off has really made me feel terribly useless and nothing seemed to be going right then. So I just thought I'll use this competition as an avenue to pour out all my focus and energy. Praise God! It was good enough and things has really been on the rise since I've got back to Bonn. 6 months of pent-up energy is being released full-force at everything I'm doing now:)

Anyway, what's the deal, you ask? I'm going to Barcelona on 24th April (ahem, note anything special about this date?;) to attend the launch event. I'll be taking a 6am flight back on Friday cause I have a lab. I'll be able to cover the Hockenheim race as well on 20th July:) We'll be attending the final GP2 race in Monza as well. The overall winner will get to cover the MotoGP race in Valencia at the end of the year. To be honest, I'm happy enough to be selected as a finalist. Anything else will be bonus!

PCCF Retreat 2008

I'm going back to Edinburgh on the 18th April. I'm supposed to have some medical checkup for the accident claims. And just so nice, PCCF's retreat is on the same weekend too. So, am attending that too!

Pray that this time, I'll be able to come back to Bonn safe and sound:)

Studying in Bonn

Lessons have finally begun in earnest. The 6-month break has made me really eager to start learning again. So I've been super-efficient with any work I've been given:P I doubt this enthusiasm will last the whole semester but we'll see how it goes.

I've finally gotten my own room too and the view from my room is fantastic!

It's very near the Rhine river and very convenient as well. It's 5 minutes walk from a well-equipped gym and cafeteria. It's also 5 minutes away from the University of Bonn's Computer Science Dept. However, there's a flaw to this equation, I don have any lessons there:)) Instead, I need to take a bus and then interchange to a subway to get to the Bonn-Aachen International Centre for Information Technology or B-IT in short for my lessons. Oh, it just takes about 20-30 minutes to get there:)) No complains, Bonn is still fantastic!

Some photos on Bonn city:

Trento and Venice, Italy

Hahaha, I'm not quite done with my travel log yet. The weekend after Düsseldorf, I went to Italy for my scholarship/studies program's workshop. It was a great opportunity to finally meet all the EuMI scholars and get to know one another. We had quite a few fruitful discussions on improving the program as well. Left Bonn on Thursday evening after German language test and arrived in Trento at about 2am. As the hotel was on a hill, we took a taxi, not just any taxi but a Mercedes C-class (could have gotten a BMW 3-series but a fella cut our queue and so we had to wait for another one). The trip up the hill was quite a good lesson on uphill drive. Throughout the whole trip, the guy's revs never went below 2000 rpm. He never braked unless necessary and just relied on down-shifting to show the car down. Fantastic!

Anyway, the workshop lasted till Sunday. Some photos on Trento

Went to Venice after the event as well for a day and night trip with 2 EuMI friends (you'll see a lot of their photos in the slideshow) and another EuMI friend with his family (wife and cute baby:). The place is really beautiful. The first day was a bit cloudy and so the view wasnt so great but on the next day, Mama Mia! I now understand the magic of Venice and its attraction. Just walking around the island, taking photos was quite sufficient:)

Then, I found the Ferrari Store. Being one of the 8 Ferrari stores in the world (a few in Italy, 1 in Spain, 1 in Las Vegas and 1 in Shang Hai), I knew I had to get something there. Bought one of their colognes. Extremely pleased. They had a F2005 on display. Not allowed to take video but you can take photos. I tested that rule and found that they are quite strict in the implementation:P

Then I went on another mini spending spree. I bought a pair of Oakleys. My eyesight's quite bad lately and been wanting to get a pair of sunglasses. What better place to get then Venice, right? No, not really. Everything is super expensive here. But just thought after events of past few months, I needed to treat myself to a few things nice:) I hope people from EuMI dont read my blog:P

The only mistake we made during this entire trip was to fly Ryanair back to Germany. Partly our fault, we didn't do enough research on where we're landing in Germany. Ryanair says we're going to land at Düsseldorf airport when in fact, it's actually Düsseldorf (Weeze). Get the difference? I dont but the difference is that we landed in an airport which has very limited buses back to civilization. So although we reached Weeze at 11pm, there was only a bus at 12am and we finally got to Cologne train station at about 2am. And the next train back to Bonn is at 5am. The travel mishap bug has struck again!! I'm ready for it this time and didn't complain much. Just take it as it comes. Again, I met someone nice to chat with. This time, it's a Romanian journalist who works in Deutsche Welle. We just shared about our traveling experiences and she talked quite a lot on Romania and Transylvannia. Learnt a lot about Romania from this single conversation.

Traveling traveling traveling

It seems I've been hit by the travel bug since I've gotten back to Bonn:)) The plane back to Frankfurt 3 weeks ago was surprisingly smooth. But as usual, knowing my travel fate, there was bound for something to happen:) As it was Easter weekend, there were plenty of people traveling on the train. So the train from Frankfurt International Airport to Bonn broke down due to overload, just 1/2 hour before reaching Bonn:)) I'm not complaining, I'm beginning to find these travel incidents amusing. Lol. Did I say I was stuck in the train for 1 1/2 hours. Hahaha. But did get to chat with a German family (in English of course), who just came back from a skiing trip in Switzerland. Sounds like something I should try.

Started taking German lessons for two weeks after I got back. It was pretty intensive. 4.5 hours a day for 8 days, starting from Tuesday, 25/3 till Thursday 3/4. That's excluding exercises which I had to do after coming back from class. After 4-5 days, I was really overdosed with German words. Now I can speak a few smattering bits of German words. Limited to introducing myself, telling where I'm from and what's the time for now. I can count pretty well (expect nothing less from a Chinese:P)

I went to Düsseldorf on my first weekend. It's the state city of North Rhine-Westphalia, the state in which Bonn is in. It's a really modern and chic city. Loads of wealthy people with too much time. It seems they spent their weekends driving their supercars and luxury cars really loud around town. Check out the photos:

Spot the Audi R8? So cool! Saw 2 within 10 minutes. There's a tall phallic structure called the Rhine Tower next to the Rhine river. It offers a fantastic view of the city and its surrounding. Fantastic!