PHUKET: We are seven races down in a nineteen race season. It is a good time to reflect.
Pirelli succumbed to pressure and ran Montreal on intermediates instead of softs on a surface as smooth as a worm’s belly. That proved what we all knew; with tyres that do not degrade on a smooth dry track, the fastest car will win. In good conditions, Christian Horner, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber are all good enough to keep Newey’s great car on track to win. But therein is the problem. TV coverage in Montreal ignored Vettel, because starting first, racing away, and finishing first is dreary. Happily, there were great dogfights down the order, which maintained my will to live.
My Montreal “Man of the Match” was Fernando Alonso, who qualified sixth and finished second, going ahead of Kimi Räikkönen in the Championship. This year’s Ferrari is a step up from 2012’s, but still cannot qualify well. Ferrari probably cannot reduce the technical gap to Red Bull this year, so the team’s fate rests on Alonso’s astonishing skill and resolve. Felipe Massa is struggling, with just one podium finish so far.
Similarly, Lotus struggles to qualify, but also races well thanks to good tyre management and a great driver. The car looked bad in the wet Montreal qualifying and little better in the dry race. It seems Lotus has not managed its upgrades as well as Ferarri, and without improvements, I fear they will lose Kimi. They just lost Technical Director James Allison. Allison drove the Lotus vision, and it’s hard to find a replacement of his calibre with their budget. But they are promising more for Silverstone; I’m looking forward to it.
Lewis Hamilton drove a blinder in Montreal, qualifying second and finishing third. His body language, however, still showed a man in a dark place. It could have been the rumbling Tyre Wars episode in Spain but that was Ross Brawn’s problem. Or it could be Lewis’ own issues. But he has certainly shown that on a glossy dry track even a Mercedes can manage its rear tyres. The FIA met on June 20 to hear the “Tyregate” case, and duly delivered Mercedes a minor slap. So all is back to normal.
McLaren is starting to look like a great aristocratic family fallen on hard times. McLaren is sixth in the constructors’ championship, with the budget for a top three team. That cannot be sustained, so they are looking down the end of a barrel, with a colossal shortfall in prize-money to make good unless they can do something. They have promised it for Silverstone. I would love it if I am wrong, and they can do it.
When Ron Dennis ran McLaren, there was a visionary at the helm, and from 1997 to 2006 they had Adrian Newey as their technical lead. McLaren was undone by the “Spygate” scandal in 2007 where, for many, Alonso covered himself in slime. Dennis handed over to Martin Whitmarsh as Team Principal in 2009, and he has yet to win a title. The McLaren increasingly looks like the proverbial camel built by a committee designing a horse. Even McLaren’s public reactions are corporate, dull, bureaucratic and repetitive. If McLaren could get James Allison from Lotus, that could be an answer. But the clever money is on him joining Ferrari.
Force India will be pleased to have had two cars in the points at Montreal. It is now the leading team of the second division, and is pushing for promotion. The car is not on the pace, but is excellent on tyres – in Montreal Paul di Resta amazingly completed 56 competitive laps on one set of mediums. Williams, which must have hoped for a point when Valtteri Bottas qualified third, ended with nothing. Williams is another grand old team wandering in the wilderness.
Pirelli announced that their tyres will remain unchanged. Teams failed unanimously to accept the prototype tested in Canada, so “The tyre construction will remain unchanged, contrary to Pirelli’s initial plans”, said the Italian manufacturer.
But Pirelli also announced the tyres for the next three races; harder compounds than last year. Silverstone and Hungaroring get the two hardest compounds in the range; Nurburgring gets soft and mediums. Lotus has already criticized the exceptionally conservative choice, which favors Red Bull and Mercedes. The sound of Pirelli crumbling under pressure is starting to mimic thunder.
Red Bull looks formidable and, having gained from “tyre wars”, I fear a return to the dark Schumacher days. And I am not the only one. The mind-numbing Vettel Factor has affected Silverstone, where tickets are not sold out. Fans are voting with their feet.
Given the tyre choices, I dread seeing nothing but Vettel’s exhaust pipe for the next three races. The podium in Silverstone looks like being Vettel, Alonso, and Hamilton or Räikkönen. Let’s hope I am mistaken. Silverstone is a classic track, the home track for so many teams, and one of the fastest circuits in F1, and there is always the possibility of rain. Let’s hope for an upset! And look for something from Force India.
Join me at the Green Man to watch the race on the big screen on Sunday at 7pm. Qualifying rounds are at the same time on Saturday (click here for map).
— The Digby
‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people
On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.
From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.
The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.
One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.
There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.
This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.
This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.
The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations
PHOTO: Hello Phuket – destined for huge tourist growth in the next six years – fodors.com
In 2018, international tourist arrival traffic grew by 6% to reach a total of 1.4 billion world tourists, according to research by UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. And there’s a lot more to come with international travel predicted to increase by a massive 35% over the next six years to 2025.
But where is all that extra traffic going to go? Which destinations are quiet now that might be swarming with tourists in the years to come? Two destinations in Thailand are set for a prosperous future, according to the data. Whilst almost all the growth is excepted to be to Asian destinations, an under-visited resource for world tourism so far.
Euromonitor data has been used to simulate tourist growth models and reveal the fastest growing projected visitor arrivals in major cities and destinations around the world for 2025, compared to arrival figures in 2018.
In Thailand, Phuket’s tourist traffic is poised to increase up to 85% in the next six years, from nearly 12 million arrivals in 2018 to over 22 million in 2025. Bangkok is predicted to see the 8th most prolific rise in tourist traffic, with arrivals in Bangkok set to swell an additional 68% during the same period. Doha, the capital of Qatar, is set to explode with 104% increase in traffic over the next six years.
The data also predicts that both Bangkok and Phuket will rebound big time in 2020, Phuket in particular with a growth of around 20% for the next year, accord to the data from TravelSupermarket.com.
By 2025 the data predicts that Bangkok will be the world’s #1 tourist destination, a position it’s held before in recent years. The Thai capital will be followed by Singapore, Dubai, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, making South East Asia the world’s emerging tourism hotspot.
Some of the world’s favourites – New York, Paris, London – will continue to grow their tourist numbers but not at the rate of most Asian destinations.
You can read the full list HERE.
Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com
Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com
Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works
The Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority says Rawai’s mains water supply will be shut off tomorrow (Tuesday, October 15) as new water pipes are fitted in front of The Title Beach Front condo resort complex on the town’s beachfront.
The mains water supply will be shut off from 9am until 4:30pm along the beachfront strip.
The PWA says the areas affected will be along Wiset Road along the Rawai beachfront road, as well as Soi Yanui and Soi Ruafaed.
Residents and businesses are being urged to collect water for use during the day today, before tomorrow morning’s shut-off.
As usual, the PWA say…“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Contact the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority on 076 319173 or 082 7901634 for more details.
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