The best, albeit sometimes inane, conversations had between Formula One drivers and their respective teams.
Bekas juara MotoGP, Nicky Hayden telah meninggal dunia selepas terlibat dalam satu kemalangan serius ketika menunggang basikal minggu lalu, lapor sebuah hospital di Itali di mana dia dimasukkan pada hari Isnin.
“Doktor telah mengesahkan kematian pesakit berkenaan,” kata Hospital Bufalini di Cesena dalam satu kenyataan.
Hayden, bekas juara MotoGP yang berusia 35 tahun, telah dilanggar oleh sebuahg kereta pada Rabu minggu lalu ketika menunggang basikal di bandar Riccione, tiga hari selepas berlumba di trek Imola untuk Kejohanan Superbike Dunia.
Dia berada dalam rawatan rapi selepas dibawa ke hospital dan doktor melaporkan pada hari Khamis bahawa dia mengalami poly-trauma yang serius dan menyebabkan kecederaan otak yang serius.
Hayden, yang dilahirkan di Amerika Syarikat terkenal dengan jolokan ‘The Kentucky Kid’ menjuarai Kejohanan MotoGP pada tahun 2006 dan telah beraksi untuk pasukan Honda dalam kategori Superbike sejak tahun lalu.
Laporan media tempatan di mana kemalangan tersebut berlaku, Rimini Today, menyatakan bahawa pihak polis telah memiliki bukti video berkenaan insiden tersebut.
Menurut laporan tersebut, satu video dari kamera keselamatan dari sebuah ruamh berdekatan telah berjaya merakam kemalangan berkenaan dan pemilik rumah tersebut telah membenarkan pihak polis Riccione untuk mengambil video tersebut.
Selain itu, beberapa komen dari orang ramai yang melihat video kemalangan tersebut mendakwa bahawa Nicky Hayde telah dilanggar di sebelah kiri oleh sebuah kereta berjenama Peugeot ketika Hayden sedang melintas.
Rakaman video tersebut dipercayai akan dapat membantu menentukan kelajuan Hayden dan pemandu kereta tersebut ketika kejadian tersebut berlaku, dan sama ada Hayden tidak menyedari kehadiran kereta berkenaan selepas sebuah iPod dijumpai di kawasan kemalangan.
“The Iriz is perfect for rallying.”
Those are the words from MEM World Rally Team boss, Chris Mellors.
British firm MEM (Mellors Elliott Motorsport) will be reconstructing the Proton Iriz so Proton can make a comeback in the World Rally Championship 2018.
The new and improved Iriz will make its debut as Proton Iris R5, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed next month. It is currently still under construction at the MEM’s Derbyshire factory.
Proton’s last campaign at the World Rally Championship ended four years ago, after the Proton stopped the production of the Satria Neo.
“We started looking at this with Proton last year and straight away we were excited by what we saw with the road car.” MEM boss, Chris Mellors said.
“The size and shape of the Iriz is perfect for rallying.” he added.
“Everything is in the right place: the overall length of the car is shorter than the Satria, but the wheelbase is longer; the strut tops are in just the right place; there’s lots of frontal area which is great for cooling.
“We’ve got a great base car and into that we’ve put all the right ingredients.”
Chris Mellors added that Proton has never lost its interest to compete in rallying, they just needed a practical car that was suitable for the World Rally Championship. So far, Proton is satisfied with the progress that MEM is making.
“We’ve still got a lot of work to do, we’ve got a lot of testing and development to do – and the debut at the Festival of Speed is pretty ambitious, but we’re well on with the job.” Mellors added.
The Iriz R5 will be available by the 1st of January 2018 for homologation — the process of certifying and approving the car to make sure it meets safety and technical requirements.
Back in February, Malaysia’s Grand Prix racer Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah bagged the People’s Choice Award at Malaysia’s first motorsports awards, the SIC-MAM Awards after an impressive year on the tracks.
The 23-year old, also known as Malaysia’s King of the Pocket Bikes, competes in the Moto2 category and has taken Malaysia to various international arena over the years.
He recently made Malaysia proud again by winning the Moto2 European Championship at the Circuit de Albacete on Sunday.
The young racer outclassed his rivals Hector Garzo and Augusto Fernandez as he completed the 20-lap race in 31:13.926. Garzo and Augusto finished second and third respectively.
“This is good training for me ahead of the European races in the World Championship (starting with the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez next weekend).” The Star quoted Hafizh Syahrin as saying.
“I am grateful to Petronas for getting a wildcard for me to race in the European Championship.”
Hafizh Syahrin is currently ranked 14th in the Moto2 World Championship overall standings.
“This win is for Malaysia, my fans and my sponsors.” he added.
Hafizh Syahrin also said that this win will help him to do better in future tournaments, especially in the impending World Championship.
The initial news was that the Sepang International Circuit will not be renewing their deal with F1 after 2018, so we still had two more years to go. The contract they have signed is from 2016 until 2018.
However, a recent statement on Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Facebook page clarified and confirmed that 2017 will be the last year that Malaysia will host the event, after a 19-year run.
“The Cabinet has agreed to end the contract to host F1 races from 2018 as it is evident that the returns are diminishing compared to the costs of hosting it,” the prime minister said, according to the statement.
So what happens to the Sepang International Circuit from now on? And what about the funds allocated for F1? Where will it go?
During a live Instagram video on Monday (10th of April), Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin was asked what would happen to the funds allocated for the F1 race — now that Malaysia is pulling the plug.
“That’s a very good question.” the minister commented. “It was a tough decision to pull the plug, but it was about time. The returns are not great, viewership has gone down.”
“The money allocated for F1 will be given to the drivers for private development. We will invest more in the drivers, like Jazemann, Akash Nandy, and more. We want to give more to the drivers.” the minister explained.
Investing more in young drivers is always a good thing — it will give them a chance to get world-class training and improve their skills as race car drivers.
Hopefully they can represent Malaysia and win in future F1 events!
Things are looking good this year for Malaysian racer Jazeman Jaafar!
Earlier this year, Jazeman was named the Best Driver of the Year for Four Wheels at the inaugural Sepang International Circuit-Motorsports Association of Malaysia (SIC-MAM) Awards for 2016.
Now, Jazeman Jaafar made an announcement on his official Instagram account that he is officially a McLaren GT driver.
Jazeman, 24, has signed a contract with the McLaren GT Driver Academy, and he is set to race in the Blancpain Endurance Series this year.
The young lad previously finished as runner-up at the Blancpain Edurance series with HTP Motorsport.
“2017 is here! A new chapter unfolds as I’m an official driver for McLaren GT!” the caption on his photo reads. The post has since garnered over 900 likes and flooded with well wishes from his fans.
Jazeman, who was also the first Malaysian to win the Formula Renault 3.5 series in Monaco, will be driving the Strakka Racing McLaren 650S GT3 car.
He will also begin his two-day Blancpain GT Series test with the McLaren 650S GT3 today, a model he has already sampled late last year in Valencia.
“I’m very proud to have inked this deal with McLaren GT and have a place in the Driver Academy. It has been an ambition to be part of a Factory programme and joining McLaren GT is a real privilege for me.” an elated Jazeman told the media.
“This truly British car manufacturer produces the most beautifully engineered supercars and to be driving the racing version is going to be a fantastic opportunity.” he added.
Jazeman is a new addition to the GT Driver Academy program, and he will be joining other newcomers, Ben Barnicoat, David Fumanelli, Loris Hezemans to make their racing debut with McLaren.
A press release on McLaren’s official site proudly introduces Jazeman Jaafar as the 24-year old Malaysian “who has made appearances in various single-seater series as part of his budding career — including multiple seasons in Formula Renault 3.5 in addition to his GT commitments in both the Blancpain Endurance and Sprint Cups.”
The Blancpain Endurance Series will kick-off in Monza, Italy, from 22nd to 23rd April.
10-year old Putra Adam Halim is the embodiment of the saying that age is just a number.
The young prodigy from IS racing emerged overall champion at the go-kart X30 Asian Challenge 2017 at the Sepang International Circuit between 18th and 19th February in the cadet category.
He crushed his opponents from Thailand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka to emerge on top by registering 11:23:599 minutes.
Indonesia’s young racer Aditya Wibowo (Prodigy Racing) came in second after clocking 11:25:822, while Sri Lanka’s Yevan David (Energy Corse Asia) came in third with 11:28.52.
In the junior category, another young Malaysian racer, Nik Zamir Zakwan from IS racing finished on top after an intense battle with Bianca Bustamante (from Auto Inc Racing) and Amer Haris Jefry (also from IS Racing) who came in second and third consecutively.
“This success is an important motivation for me to keep trying and win other races. I have another race in Indonesia this week, and another WSK Super Master Series next month.” he told Berita Harian. He also thanked his sponsors and fans for their unwavering support.
Prior to this, Putra Adam Halim had just made record as the first Malaysian go-kart racer to get on the podium at the WSK Super Master Series, a feat he achieved two years in a row.
Apart from that, Putra Adam Halim will also be making his trip to Italy next month. He has one race at the 7 Laghi Kart International Circuit in Italy from the 2nd until 5th of March, followed by another race at the Circuito Internazionale Napoli, Sarno from the 6th until 9th of April. All the best to him!