Tag Archives: carnage

Romain Grosjean working hard to shed "first-lap nutcase" tag

Grosjean insists he's working hard to shed 'first-lap nutcase' tag after big crashes

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UPDATED:

12:39 GMT, 11 October 2012

Romain Grosjean has vowed to take a careful approach to the opening lap of Sunday's Korean Grand Prix, in order to avoid another costly accident.

The Frenchman has shown impressive speed on the occasions he has managed to keep himself out of trouble, but all too often his Lotus has been at the centre of first-lap carnage.

Grosjean, having only just returned from a one-race ban for his role in the startline pile-up at Spa, was involved in his eighth opening lap incident of the year in Japan last weekend.

Plenty to ponder: Lotus driver Romain Grosjean (right) in the paddock at the Korean International Circuit in Yeongam

Plenty to ponder: Lotus driver Romain Grosjean in the paddock at the Korean International Circuit in Yeongam

He misjudged his entry to turn two as he focused on the Sauber of Sergio Perez on his outside, and unceremoniously turfed Mark Webber onto the infield, ending the Red Bull driver's hopes of victory and denting his fading title hopes. That led Webber to dub Grosjean a 'first-lap nutcase'.

The former GP2 champion was quick to apologise to the Australian.
He said: 'Mark came to see me and I completely understand, all I could say was to apologise.

'I am working to change a lot of things, but that does not come from one day to the other.

Pushing hard: Lotus mechanics work on Grosjean's car on Thursday ahead of the Korean Grand Prix

Pushing hard: Lotus mechanics work on Grosjean's car on Thursday ahead of the Korean Grand Prix

'There is a process going on, I was
very sorry, I am not stupid and I am conscious of the risks and
hopefully this weekend it will be a different story and I won't make the
mistake of focusing on the wrong target.'

When asked how he planned to reverse his fortunes, the 26-year-old Grosjean said: 'Not having any contact on the first lap, that's clearly one of the objectives. I'd say there is work in progress and it takes a bit of time. It's a cycle as well: things have been going bad and then the more it goes bad…I'm conscious of the risk at the start.

'The Spa accident was quite impressive and I was the first to be happy that Fernando (Alonso) was not injured. I am conscious of the risk, I paid the price for my mistake. In the team we spoke quite a lot, they are not happy.

Big guns: Grosjean (top, centre) spoke at a press conference along with Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel

Big guns: Grosjean (top, centre) spoke at a press conference along with Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel

'I am not happy with the way we have been going through the first laps. There are 550 people working at Enstone to give us the best car and if you ruin everything in the first 110 metres it is not good.

'I am conscious of all that and will try to take as many precautions as possible to go through the first lap – and then normally in the race we are okay.'

Webber, for his part, added he had accepted Grosjean's apology for their clash at Suzuka.

He said: 'I went to see Romain, we had a discussion about it and that was that.'

Michael Schumacher given penalty after Jean-Eric Vergne crash

Schumacher slapped with 10-place grid penalty after crashing into Vergne

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UPDATED:

18:13 GMT, 23 September 2012

Michael Schumacher has been handed a 10-place grid penalty for the Japanese Grand Prix after smashing into the back of Jean-Eric Vergne in Sunday's race in Singapore.

Seven-times world champion Schumacher admitted liability for the accident that occurred just after the midway point of the race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit. It followed the restart after a safety car period for HRT's Narain Karthikeyan hitting a barrier across Anderson Bridge.

In what was a repeat of two previous incidents – one at this track last year and one earlier this season when Schumacher ran into the rear of Williams' Bruno Senna in Barcelona – the stewards decided to heavily penalise the 43-year-old for the next race in Japan.

Mistake: Schumacher was penalised for crashing into the back of Jean-Eric Vergne

Mistake: Schumacher was penalised for crashing into the back of Jean-Eric Vergne

Schumacher collected a five-place penalty for the subsequent race in Monaco after hitting Senna, one which saw him start sixth after he had set the fastest time in qualifying.

On this occasion, given it was a repeat offence, the punishment was doubled, with the stewards stating: 'The penalty takes into account this is the second similar offence by the driver this season.

'The driver admitted the collision was his error due to the failure to anticipate the braking performance of the car with lower grip following a safety car period.'

Carnage: Schumacher admitted guilt for the accident appearing to apologise to Vergne (below)

Carnage: Schumacher admitted guilt for the accident appearing to apologise to Vergne (below)

Carnage: Schumacher admitted guilt for the accident appearing to apologise to Vergne (below)

For his part, Schumacher said: 'It was obviously a very unfortunate ending to my race when I ran into the car of Vergne, who accepted my apology straight afterwards.

'I am not totally sure why it happened. I was braking, but the deceleration was not as strong as it usually would be and I could not avoid running into the car in front of me.

'We have to find out what happened. Up until then I think it would have been possible to get some points.'

Sorry: The veteran is facing a ten-place grid drop at the Japanese Grand Prix

Sorry: The veteran is facing a ten-place grid drop at the Japanese Grand Prix

As the two men climbed out of their cars, Mercedes driver Schumacher waited for Vergne to come across, immediately putting his arm around the Frenchman before they headed back to their respective garages.

Toro Rosso driver Vergne said: 'I was focussing on catching Perez at that point, trying to brake late to catch him, so I am not too sure what happened exactly.

'I assume Michael braked a bit too late and could not avoid running into me.

'There is no sense in being angry about it because these things happen in racing and even the most experienced driver on the grid can make mistakes. 'He said sorry and that's the end of it.'

Becher"s Brook on trial after Grand National fatalities prompt safety review

Becher's Brook on trial after Grand National fatalities prompt safety changes

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UPDATED:

20:05 GMT, 20 September 2012

The RSPCA have issued a thinly-veiled threat to the British Horseracing
Authority by saying the future of Becher's Brook will be on trial in
next year's Grand National.

Britain's most important animal welfare group was reacting to the
announcement of only minor changes to the most iconic fence in jump
racing following the safety review prompted by two fatalities in last
year's race.

Carnage: Several runners fall at Bechers Brook last year

Carnage: Several runners fall at Bechers Brook last year

It was the second year running two horses have died in the most-watched steeplechase of the year.

As expected, the most significant move announced by Aintree and BHA
concentrated on the start which will be 90 yards nearer the first fence,
reducing the four mile four furlong race by nearly half a furlong.

Other changes include:

Doubling the size of the' no-go' zone between horses and a more visible starting tape to 30 yards

Trialling prototype fences with a more forgiving 'core' at the Becher Chase meeting in December:

Spending an additional 100,000 of improving watering capacity

Additional efforts to catch riderless horses.

But there will be no reduction in the 40-runner field.

Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised fell at Becher's last year
before galloping on riderless and breaking a leg while the second 2012
fatality of According To Pete occurred when he was brought down at
Becher's on the second circuit.

The RSPCA issued a statement saying: 'While the proposed improvement at
Becher's by the additional levelling of the adverse slope on the landing
zone can only be beneficial, we belief that the remaining many
complexities of this fence mean that it continues to pose a serious and
unacceptable threat to horse welfare.

Changes: The 2012 Grand National brought more chaotic scenes

Changes: The 2012 Grand National brought more chaotic scenes

'We will watch carefully the impact of this change at Becher's at the
2013 Grand National. This is the BHA's last chance to show that this
fence can pose a fair and safe challenge to horse and jockey.'

The BHA and Aintree hope that by moving the start 90 yards away from the
buzz of the grandstands, it will create a more 'controlled atmosphere'
for a starting procedure that has been intermittently chaotic since the
1993 void race. Last year there were two false starts.

Director of Raceday Operations Jamie Stier added: 'It could have the
effect of reducing the early speed of the race. If this were to be the
case, it would be an added benefit.'

Stier repeated the findings of the preliminary investigations that the
two 2012 deaths were neither 'foreseeable or predictable'.

The BHA had introduced a number of changes for the race in April, which
included reducing the height of the fourth fence, reducing the
magnititude of the drop on the landing side of Becher's and beefing up
the entry qualification for runners.

He added: 'There has only been one Grand National since these changes
were made and there has to be time to assess the effect of them.

'Following this year's race, our priorities were to establish the facts
surrounding the incidents that occurred during the running of the race
and, secondly, to review the events which led to what was an
unsatisfactory start to the race.

'We have worked closely with Aintree and consulted widely with jockeys,
trainers and legitimate welfare organisations – the RSPCA and World
Horse Welfare – on a range of elements related to the race.'

John Baker, the newly installed supremo at Aintree, added: 'Balancing
the Grand National's enduring appeal whilst working to reduce risk in
the race is a delicate but important balance to strike.

'In recent years, we have made significant investments in safety and
believe today's announcement demonstrates we will continue to do so
whilst preserving the unique character and appeal of the nation's
favourite race.'

Former champion jockey and Racemail columnist Peter Scudamore, welcoming
the changes, said: 'Animal welfare has always got to be the priority. I
think the vast majority of the public accept there is a risk with the
race that is acceptable as long as the people in charge strive and are
seen to be striving to make the National as safe as possible.'

The truth is that for all their work, Aintree and the BHA could be undone by a few moments bad luck, just as they were in April.

The future of the Grand National has become as hot an annual topic as who wins the race.

Ian Bell promises England fightback against South Africa

Bell promises England fightback after humiliating Oval defeat

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 24 July 2012

The day after the nightmare before and England vowed to fight to retain their hard-earned position as the No 1 team in Test cricket on Tuesday after arguably the worst defeat in their history.

Andrew Strauss's side now have a week after their humiliation at The Kia Oval to dust themselves off and somehow try to hit back against a South Africa team who will replace them at the top of the ICC rankings if they win one of the two remaining Tests at Headingley and Lord's.

Bounce-back ability: Bell says England will react after their first Test defeat

Bounce-back ability: Bell says England will react after their first Test defeat

But Ian Bell, one of the few England players to emerge from the first Test carnage with any credit, is adamant the home team will cling on to that status by remembering what got them to the top in the first place.

'We're all very proud that we got to No 1 and we all want to stay there for a long time,' said Bell (left).

'We know this defeat wasn't good enough but we must not get away from the things we have done well over a long period. Then we will look at the issues where we should have done better.'

Steny remover: England were bowled over by South Africa at the Kia Oval

Steny remover: England were bowled over by South Africa at the Kia Oval

England have lost five of nine Tests since defeating India last summer and rising to No 1, perhaps reinforcing South African claims before this Investec series that they were the more consistent team in all conditions and more deserving of the 'top dogs' tag.

Not so, says Bell. 'You don't just look at the last nine matches, you look over the last two or three years. That's why we're ranked No 1,' he said. 'It's been a consistent effort over a long period from us.'

Lee Westwood blasts HIMSELF for Dubai Desert disaster

I deserve a slap! Westwood comes out of 16-hour sulk after Dubai disaster

Lee Westwood left nobody in any doubt about how disgusted he was by his last-round display at the Dubai Desert Classic.

Westwood chose not to speak to reporters immediately after suffering a surprise one-shot defeat to Spain's Rafael Cabrera-Bello.

But on Twitter on Monday morning he declared his '16-hour sulk' over and said: 'Well tossed that one away nicely! Carnage on the greens! Managed not to break or smash anything post round!

Can't watch: Lee Westwood endured a dreadful final round at the Dubai Desert Classic

Can't watch: Lee Westwood endured a dreadful final round at the Dubai Desert Classic

'Waved the putter at it 33 times. Not even good enough for the monthly medal with form like that.

'Have now given Billy (caddie Billy Foster) approval to slap me (within reason!) if I don't run the ball at the hole with pace over the next three weeks!'

Must do better: Westwood shunned his post-round media opportunity

Must do better: Westwood shunned his post-round media opportunity

Westwood was the third-round leader at the Emirates Club and two shots ahead when he sank a 40-foot eagle putt from short of the green at the second hole.

But he then bogeyed the fifth and his only birdie came when he missed a chance for another eagle from under 10 feet on the long 13th.

That brought him back level with Cabrera-Bello and Scot Stephen Gallacher, but while he missed putt after putt over the closing stretch the Canary Islander birdied the 17th.

Westwood did go back to world number two ahead of Rory McIlroy by finishing joint runner-up with Gallacher – McIlroy was in a tie for fifth – but neither is playing this week and under the two-year ranking system they are likely to swap places again going into next week's Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona.

Manchester United win Christmas Truce youth tournament

Miracle of the Christmas Truce game reconnects with a new generation

Eight o’clock, Friday night, Ypres, Belgium: an 11-year-old boy from Manchester United stands amid the angelic white light of the Menin Gate and reads the Ode of Remembrance.

It is a ceremony that has been staged every night there since 1928, barring four years in the Second World War. Applause, it is stated, is unwelcome.

The hundreds, sometimes thousands, who observe daily do so in brilliant silence. Almost a century on from the carnage that consumed this rural town, it is an act that provokes tears.

In memory: Manchester United remember the First World War dead

In memory: Manchester United remember the First World War dead

Above the United boy, among the thousands of names carved on these walls built in honour of the dead of the First World War — walls pockmarked by bullet holes from the Second — is that of Gerald Rowan. Rowan was this boy’s great, great grandfather.

He died on these Flanders fields in February 1915, seven months into a war meant to end all wars. Gerald Rowan was 21.

Some 24 hours later, in a room packed with adults and around 60 of his peers, the United boy stood up and said: ‘I am honoured to be here.’ He had been preceded by an official from the local club, Ypres FC, who spoke in Flemish, German and English about ‘the absurdity of war’.

French was used too, because FC Lens were here. One of their boys recited the famous poem In Flanders Fields — in English. Prior to that a boy from Borussia Dortmund referred to the ‘horrific history’ all around them — in English.

Then these 11 and 12-year-olds from United, Lens, Dortmund and Racing Genk exchanged presents and handshakes.

Earlier they had played against each other, nine-a-side games on small-sized pitches. They were at it again on Sunday morning, their invigorating enthusiasm spreading across the same yet very different Flanders fields. That vigour means that this, the first Christmas Truce tournament, may become an annual event.

Itwas an idea sparked by Roz Donnelly at the Premier League, who organised and funded it. There are many youth tournaments across the globe but when Brian McClair, the head of United’s youth system, described the weekend as having ‘awe-inspiring moments’ it revealed thatthis is and could be something else, particularly as the centenary of 1914 looms.

History lesson: The Armistice Day football match at Dale Barracks

History lesson: The Armistice Day football match at Dale Barracks

It was outside Ypres on No Man’s Land that German and British troops staged their impromptu truce on Christmas Day, 1914. A ball was produced and at least one game was played. According to a German lieutenant, Johannes Niemann, it ended 3-2 ‘in favour of Fritz against Tommy’.

On Friday the boys of United visited No Man’s Land. Instinct took over, jumpers went down and the 11s played the 12s. ‘I’ve always had a romantic view of football history and what happened on Christmas Day 1914 was remarkable,’ said McClair. ‘It transcended life, universe, everything and they chose to play a game of football.

‘When we visited No Man’s Land and the boys got out a ball and played, that was, well, wow. There’s a connection between football and a terrible part of history. And there’s sadness. These boys now have a direct connection, every one of them is experiencing something new, something they’ll never forget.’

McClair has been coaching boys for a decade. It is his vocation. The same can be said of Ged Roddy, director of youth development at the Premier League. He works closely with Sir Trevor Brooking at the FA. They are men about to change English football culture at this level via the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP). Part of it foresees the likes of United’s boys being tested more regularly against European counterparts.

A fine example: Manchester United academy director Brian McClair

A fine example: Manchester United academy director Brian McClair

That’s on the pitch. Off it, EPPP may see clubs set up their own schools, with Everton expected to be the first. ‘It is a great privilege and responsibility to be tasked with education,’ said Roddy. ‘We have a fantastic opportunity in youth development to do these things.

‘You had the German boy here speaking perfect English. Lessons come in different ways — on the pitch Brian will tell you that he and the United coaches learned something there today. Doing this, you want moments that are inspirational. And at this age the boys are like sponges, they soak it up.’

There was homework on view; the First World War is on the Year 7 curriculum. There were some fine players on show too. United won the final 3-0 against Dortmund, though as their coaches stressed, that was only a part of this. One of Dortmund’s coaches is a former British soldier, Gary Gordon. He saluted ‘the friendly, open atmosphere’ and ‘the boys’ awareness — they are children’.

Heightened awareness of football and everything else, connections fresh and refreshed, the first Christmas Truce tournament can quietly feel pride.

‘Actually not the first,’ was Roddy’s gentle reminder of why all were in Ypres. At the Menin Gate last night, tonight and every tomorrow night they won’t forget that.

They don’t, not here. As Roddy pointed out with a nod of the head: ‘There was a Belgian man at this table who listened to the boys and just wept.’