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Temperatures, tyres and tactics – F1

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Temperatures, tyres and tactics – F1 | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Before Shanghai, I predicted correctly that Kimi Räikkönen and Fernando Alonso would be on the podium, but who would be the third driver to join them? In the event it was Lewis Hamilton, but in truth it could have been any driver in the first half of the field (click here for article).

If only Felipe Massa’s car had not had such a problem with the medium tyres; if only Nico Rosberg had not suffered from understeer; if only Mark Webber’s wheels had all stayed attached; if only Jensen Button’s engineer had got the strategy right to allow him that third pit stop; if only Adrian Sutil had not hit teammate Paul di Resta; if only Daniel Ricciardo had not had to stop for a new nose, and so on.

Strategy was the key to Shanghai, and that has annoyed some old Formula 1 speed heads. But we haven’t seen such exciting wheel to wheel racing for ages. Surely no one wants a return to the dark Schumacher days when he won everything just by having the fastest car, and being prepared to do anything to win?

The medium tyre proved very effective at the beginning of the race when cars were pregnant with fuel. This was so important that those who started on the soft tyre pitted to change boots as quickly as possible.

There was an abundance of overtaking, because strategies required drivers to pass as many cars as possible to gain track position before the next pit stop. Button and Vettel opted to run the soft tyres at the end, which was wrong but gave an electrifying duel all the way to the chequered flag.

So, we had the third winner out of the three races for the season; with world champions holding all top five places at Shanghai. The results initially remained provisional, pending a series of judgements over the use of DRS (drag reduction system) under yellow flag conditions.

Vettel, Webber, Räikkönen, Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Riccardo, Button, Romain Grosjean and Max Chilton were all told to explain themselves after the race. But the stewards accepted that there had been a “degree of confusion” relating to the FIA’s telemetry system, which has been problematic since appointing a new supplier this season. The telemetry system was partially disabled in Shanghai, so race officials could not centrally control DRS as in previous seasons. This was compounded by a one minute delay before yellow flag warnings appeared on drivers’ steering wheel display units.

Last week I asked several questions. Could McLaren possibly get it together? Well – nearly. Could Force India be a force to reckon with? I think they could, if they stop hitting each other.

Lotus was back to form, and Kimi Räikkönen took second even with a broken nose and wing.

In the Constructors’ Championship, it’s now Red Bull leading with 78 points, from Ferrari 73, Lotus 60, and Mercedes 52. In the Drivers’ Championship, Vettel is on 52, Räikkönen 49, Alonso 43, Hamilton 40, Massa 30, and Webber 26. So it’s wide open.

In the Red Bull soap opera ‘Milton Keynes’, Webber could be forgiven for feeling paranoid. He was penalized because his team provided him with insufficient fuel during qualifying, so he started from the pit lane, then he was hit by a sister team Torro Rosso, and finally his wheel fell off in the race.

Meanwhile, Vettel ramped up the tragi-comedy by announcing that he feels no need to apologize for his behaviour at the Malaysian GP. “I don’t apologize for winning,” said Vettel. “I love racing so, yeah that’s what I did.”

It seems Vettel thinks he, possibly with Helmut Marko, is in charge of Red Bull. Maybe he is.

And so it’s on to Bahrain, where Pirelli is providing hard and medium compounds for a circuit dominated by long 300 km/h straights and slow corners. So, brakes will play a significant role. Bahrain demands superb aerodynamics with sturdy low speed traction.

The desert location means track evolution is uncertain, depending on how much sand blows onto the circuit. High temperatures provide a real challenge to cooling systems and tyre management, with heavy demands on rear tyres as opposed to Shanghai where the front left tyre took the brunt of the track attack.

I continue to believe, barring accidents, that three time winner Alonso will triumph, followed by Räikkönen. That elusive third man on the podium could be almost anyone again. JB, Vettel and Massa have all won here before, and Webber, Hamilton and Paul di Resta must all fancy their chances.

Join me by the big screen at Phuket’s Green Man, Chalong (click here for map) on Saturday at 6pm for the qualifiers and on Sunday at 7pm for the race.

— The Digby

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Business

Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 – 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the southern island’s battered economy. Phuket has become increasingly reliant on a steady flow of tourists over the past 2 decades.

The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment

The Thaiger

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Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment | The Thaiger

A man has been found hanged in Phuket Town apartment yesterday. Police are treating the cases as a suicide at the moment.

The man was found hanged from the apartment’s ceiling fan. His lifeless body was discovered around 11am after neighbours complained to the manager about the smell coming from the man’s room.

Police and the local Kusoldharm Foundation rescue workers attended the scene. Police later confirmed the incident happened in room on the 3rd floor of an apartment lock in Soi Phoonphol Soi 1, Talat Nuea in Phuket Town. Police said the man was 35-45 years of age and had a 29 year old girlfriend from Chumphon. He was paying 1,000 baht a month and had been renting the room for 2 months. Police estimate that the man had been dead for at least 3 days.

Police told media that the man had used, what appeared to be a dress, tied around his neck and then to the room’s roof fan. The apartment manager told police that he had been late on on his recent rent, speculating that the man may have been suffering financial hardship.

The man’s identity has not been released at this stage.

His body was taken to Vachira Hospital for an autopsy.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

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Tourism

Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule

The Thaiger

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Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok Airways' ATR72, servicing the re-introduced routes

Some domestic routes are being added as local routes continue to expand. This time Bangkok Airways has announced it’s resuming its Samui-Phuket, Phuket-Hat Yai and Phuket-Pattaya/Rayong (U-Tapao) flights.

The first additions to the schedule will be the Phuket-Samui flights resuming this Sunday, October 25, and the Phuket-Pattaya flights start again next Tuesday, October 27. The Phuket-Samui flights will be operating on Sundays and Wednesdays only on the airlines’ ATR72 turbo prop regional planes, same as before.

A casual search on the Bangkok Airways website, for a return flight from Phuket to Samui on November 1, then back to Phuket on November 8 indicates the cheapest fare (promo) is 2,430 baht. Coming back, the cheapest fare we found, again labelled ‘promo’, was 2,630 baht. Bangkok Airways operate as a “full service” airline and don’t compete with the country’s discount airlines. But they operate these three routes exclusively – like it or leave it.

Bangkok Airways say that the flights will be operated “with the highest preventive measures and standards”. Around the country the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand have eased a few of the onboard restrictions, including the start of catering services which were originally banned under the initial flight rules when domestic routes started flying again at the start of July.

The daily direct services between Phuket and Hat Yai are also being operated on the ATR72 aircraft. The flight to Ha Yai leaves Phuket at 8.40am and arrives at Hat Yai at 9:.45am. The return flights leave Hat Yai back to Phuket at 10.25am each day. The route was very popular for the airline before the ‘disruption’ when airlines had their fleets grounded in April.

The service between Phuket and U-Tapao, linking the party city with the party island, will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, again with the ATR72. Phuket to U-Tapao will leave at 12.10pm and then from U-Tapao to Phuket at 4pm on the three days. U-Tapao is about a 50 minute drive from Pattaya and the airport also serves the greater Rayong area.

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