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The Formula 1 soap opera

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The Formula 1 soap opera | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: In the lead up to Shanghai, Formula 1 is full of questions. Can McLaren possibly get it together? The news says “no”, but I think they could surprise us. We are all hoping that Force India will be a force to reckon with, after they sort out the problem with their nuts. Lotus will be intending to get back to form, and Kimi Räikkönen will be looking for a podium finish.

Ferrari team news has been focussed on the relationship between Alonso and Massa, but we should expect a professional performance from the ‘Prancing Horse’. In other news, Ferrari’s special position in F1 has been revealed in the IPO Prospectus. Ferrari may veto any regulations agreed by the FIA. Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull all get bonuses from F1. Ferrari’s guaranteed pay-out each race is equivalent to Malrussia’s entire annual budget, and Ferrari’s Chairman has an option to a stake in the new F1.

But buzz is still being generated by Red Bull. When Sebastian Vettel scornfully ignored team orders and riskily overtook his teammate Mark Webber, and when the Team Principal did not order him to surrender the place, several hares started running, and numerous coursing hounds gave chase.

First they were enemies; then they made-up; Mark is leaving; Mark is staying; Red Bull is considering Kimi Räikkönen.The messages are confusing.

Red Bull has a stated aim to make F1 ‘fun’ again. Their satirical magazine released four times per race weekend is distributed from behind the grandstand at each track. In the 2005 Monaco Grand Prix, the pit crew dressed as Stormtroopers.

In 2006, David Coulthard donned a Superman cape for the podium, and Christian Horner jumped into a swimming pool wearing nothing but that cape. Until someone retires and “tells all”, we will never know the facts, but to the outside observer, Red Bull is looking like an entertaining soap opera. So here is the cast of my soap “Milton Keynes” (It does not sound as catchy as Dallas, but never mind):

As the ‘reclusive billionaire patriarch’: Austrian team owner Dietrich Mateschitz, tycoon and sports team owner. Mateschitz watches F1 on TV despite owning two teams, and listens to those he trusts. Like all family businesses, in Red Bull, anyone’s real place in the team is defined not by his position in the organization chart, but by his influence with the patriarch.

As the ‘diplomatic leader’: British Team Principal Christian Horner, talented enough to win a Formula Renault scholarship. He finished the 1992 British Formula Renault Championship as the highest placed rookie. In 2005, Red Bull brought Horner to F1, as the youngest team principal at the time. He is a diplomatic ego smoother, a much needed skill in Red Bull.

As the ‘éminence grise’: Team Advisor, Austrian Helmut Marko. During the 1972 French GP he was blinded in one eye, ending his driving career. He owns hotels and was manager for Gerhard Berger, another friend of the patriarch, before setting up the Red Bull Junior Team.

Since 1999, he has overseen the Red Bull driver development program, which nurtured Sebastian Vettel. Since 2005, he has been advisor to the Red Bull Team, is a great Vettel supporter and has Mateschitz’s ear.

As the ‘brains’: Chief Technical Officer, genius Briton, Adrian Newey. From 1992-1998, a Newey designed Williams or McLaren won every Constructor’s Championship. Since 2010 he has consistently won again, for Red Bull. He is one of the most important men in F1.

As the ‘spoilt twin’: Driver, German Sebastian Vettel, with the worst haircuts in F1. By first urging management to order Webber aside and then flaunting team orders, he demonstrated power in Red Bull. But Vettel needs a teammate on the track to help him win, and maybe he lost that when he started to believe his own PR handouts.

As the ‘unloved efficient twin’: Driver, dour and dapper, Australian Mark Webber, who’s now at war with his younger twin.

As ‘the sharks’: all the other teams who fancy seducing Mark Webber to their team, or at least undermining Red Bull’s success.

As the ‘mercurial commentator’: combative and controversial octogenarian Bernie Ecclestone, who delights in spectacles of avarice. It was apparently Bernie who suggested Mercedes as a new home to Lewis Hamilton.

As ‘the troublemaker’: Webber’s manager, flamboyant Italian Flavio Briatore, who started as an insurance salesman, was convicted in Italy on fraud charges, which were later extinguished by an amnesty. He created several successful Benetton franchises as a fugitive in the Virgin Islands and the USA.

In 1990, he became manager of Benetton F1, which morphed into Renault F1 in 2002. The driver of his wedding car was Fernando Alonso. Briatore was forced to resign from the Renault team because of the 2008 Singapore GP race fixing scandal. He was banned indefinitely from any events sanctioned by the FIA, but got this ban overturned by the French courts. He is constantly attacked in the media, and makes for delicious quotes.

As the ‘glamor interests’: wives and girlfriends of the principal actors, many successful celebrities in their own right.

As the ‘media interest’: 18-year-old Dutch driver Beitske Visser, the first woman to join Red Bull’s Junior Team.

The plot can roll; lights, camera, action!

Qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix starts at 1pm on Saturday, and the race starts at 2pm on Sunday. Watch both with me at Phuket’s Green Man, Chalong (click here for map)!

— The Digby

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Phuket

Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: ประชาสัมพันธ์ เทศบาลตำบลวิชิต

Hundreds of residents in Phuket’s Wichit subdistrict attended a workshop focused on reducing stress from to the pandemic-induced economic crisis. A psychologist was even on site to help those who had extreme mental stress and a Buddhist monk taught meditation techniques to reduce physiological effects of stress.

The event was planned in response to an online survey conducted by the municipality asking residents about how much stress they were experiencing from the economic climate. They found that some residents had serious stress issues brought on by the pandemic and financial problems, according to Wichit Mayor Kreetha Chotiwichphiphat.

“The loss of income due to the economic crisis brought on by the Covid-19 situation has resulted in some people in the area suffering serious stress, which can lead to serious mental health issues.”

Around 350 people attended the event. The mayor says it was the first step in caring for the residents’ mental health. Local officials plan to hold similar workshops in the future.

“It was a good opportunity for people to realise the importance of mental health and to learn techniques of how to deal with stress, which will help people to maintain their physical health and avoid developing mental health problems.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Phuket

Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | The Thaiger

The Soi Dog Foundation has officially opened its Humane Education Centre, the first of its kind in Thailand dedicated to the welfare of stray animals. The centre, located at the Soi Dog shelter in northern Phuket, forms part of the foundation’s Humane Education program. Rolled out in 2017, the program sees a team visit Thai schools to teach the next generation the basic principles of animal welfare and promote empathetic attitudes towards both owned pets and free-roaming strays.

The program has reached a total of 15,058 students and 861 teachers to date. With a dedicated classroom as well as educational tools and resources now on site at the shelter, Soi Dog will be able to expand the programme and reach an even greater number of young minds.

Co-founder and president of Soi Dog Foundation International John Dalley said, “The cornerstones of what we do – what I believe very firmly are the answers to the stray dog problem throughout Asia – are large-scale sterilisation of stray dogs and cats and education of, particularly, the next generation.

“We see all the time the problems that are being caused through us not respecting the environment and not respecting the other animals with whom we share this planet. That’s why education is so important.”

John also thanked the supporters and donors who made the construction of the centre possible. After cutting the ribbon, the students filed into the brand-new facility for the very first on-site class – a fun and interactive hour of roleplaying, brainstorming and problem solving.

Humane Education Manager Nuttawut “Film” Kumngern. said… “We want to encourage kindness toward animals, especially free-roaming dogs and cats, and teach youngsters to be responsible pet owners. This will sustainably reduce animal cruelty and pet abandonment.”

“We hope to one day see animal welfare incorporated into the curriculum in Thai schools, and our education centre is a great start.”

Soi Dog is ready to welcome school groups from Phuket and other provinces to the centre which can accommodate up to 40 students at any one time. Schools interested in participating are encouraged to email film@soidog.org

Phuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The ThaigerPhuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The Thaiger

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International Schools

Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket

The Thaiger

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Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket | The Thaiger

Chalong police in Phuket say they have yet to start investigating the illegal hiring of foreign teachers at an international school in Rawai, south of the island. Palm House International School allegedly hired foreign teachers illegally in which 2 were arrested by Phuket Immigration police on November 4.

Somkiet Sarasin, the leading investigator of the case, says the 2 Brits were informed that police were processing a charge of working illegally in the country against them, in which both denied the charges. Somkiet says the 2 were released on bail, but did not confirm the amount of bail that was set by the police.

“They are still staying in Thailand. I am not worried. I have their passports. I am not available to explain [any details] because the investigation is still ongoing.”

“This is normal for an investigation when the suspects deny the charge against them. I have to check more information against their claims. This case will probably be concluded next month.”

However, the investigation has yet to begin, with Somkiet saying he has not even questioned the owner of the school, despite his claims the case would be finished next month.

“The investigation into the school will take time. The investigation into the two British people must be finished first.”

Such allegations of foreign teachers working illegally have recently been in the news after Sarasas Witaed Sainoi Pitiyakarn School, in the central province of Nonthaburi, saw 7 foreign teachers probed for being hired illegally. That school, along with others in its private network, made nationwide news after CCTV caught a Thai teacher hitting, pushing and dragging a young student in the classroom. Such widespread violence against students has long been a sad component of many Thai schools, in which some of the teachers are unqualified and unlicensed to teach, but are hired anyway.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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