Honda races to find environmental solutions in F-1 lab

first_img GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES Honda launched its third assault on the Formula One World Championship in 2000 after seven years away from the world’s top tracks. So far, though, success has eluded it — despite this year’s massive $210-million budget, which — according to Euro Business magazine — tops the lot, with Renault second on $170 million, then Toyota ($140m), Daimler Chrysler and Ford ($125m) and BMW ($115m).At this weekend’s San Marino GP at Imola the British-based BAR (British American Racing) and Jordan teams will be using Honda engines. Takeo Fukui, Honda’s senior managing director in charge of motor sports, tells The Japan Times why his company spends so much on F-1 at a time when environmental concerns over cars would seem to take precedence over the pursuit of gas-guzzling performance. JT: What are the aims of F-1 racing for Honda?Fukui: We have three aims this time. Chiefly, we want to train ordinary engineers to become “Honda engineers.” This is because manpower is the biggest asset for a company, so taking part in F-1 is not our final target, but a means of training people. Secondly, we aim to promote our corporate image — though you have to win to do this best. The third reason is because of the technology gained through racing. The late Soichiro Honda, the founder of Honda Motor Co., regarded racing as an “ongoing experimental laboratory,” and our past car and motorcycle racing activities have contributed to the development of production models.What do you mean by “Honda engineers”?The biggest issue for car-makers now is the environment. Manufacturers all over the world are developing fuel-cell cars in response, although these are not yet up to mass-production standard. We are aware that if we can’t find some technical solutions to protect the environment, there will be no more car industry in the future. But gathering intelligent people will not be enough to crack the problem; they must also be aware of their mission — and have a sense of crisis. Racing is one of the best ways of advancing technology, because everyone in it has sense of crisis. So we are hoping to train future “Honda engineers” through racing again.Japanese engineers are world class, but some people say they lack originality. What do you think about this?It is not a problem of originality, but vitality. Japanese industry in general now lacks vitality. Compare Japanese children to those of Afghanistan, China or Thailand. They are more vigorous and hungry than Japanese. What can we do to bring up people who have vitality? In the F-1 world, vigorous people gather from all over the world. They work from day to night to achieve their goal. Still, there is a chance you lose in front of many spectators. These bitter experiences will train engineers . . . who then bring back the know-how to our R&D.To train top-class engineers, does it have to be in F-1?Yes, because it is the hardest racing. We have been doing CART also, but CART is not so difficult as F-1. Also CART has many restrictions so it is hard to accumulate know-how and experience.Honda dominated F-1 during the previous challenge [1983-92], but this time you have not yet won a race. Jacques Villeneuve finished third twice last year and that is the best result so far. What is the difference between the previous challenge and this one?Last time we supplied engines to top teams such as Williams and McLaren. But now we are supplying them to BAR and Jordan. The difference is the capability of the team. Also we are jointly developing chassis with BAR this time. During our second challenge, engine engineers had been trained but not chassis engineers. So this time we want to train chassis engineers as well. This cannot be done with top teams as they develop chassis themselves. I think teaming up with BAR is the best solution. However, we sometimes feel impatient with the situation.Why do you feel impatient?Because BAR will not do what we ask unless they fully agree to our idea. I can hardly say that the project has progressed on time so far. It is almost a year behind our schedule. However, from this year, both the approach of Honda and our partnership have been changed a little, so everything will be better this year.How do you evaluate the past two years’ results?I can’t give any marks. If the pass mark is 80, all the other marks are zero. Soichiro Honda used to say “Second place is same as last place. It means nothing.” Therefore we have only 80 marks or zero. That’s our philosophy and last year was zero.How about the engine this year?Last year we tried to increase the power but could not achieve our target. This influenced the drivers and they became despondent. For this year, we are trying to build a new engine. It will be ready by mid-season and will be one of the most powerful units in the scene. We hope we can overtake the BMWs (Williams) on the straight with this engine.Ferrari won the Championship last year. What do you think is its strong point?Of course its driver (Michael Schumacher) is very fast, and also its approach is to mature its machine. It was using last year’s machine for the first two races this year, although it brought out a new one for the last GP, in Brazil. It was maturing its machines without risking anything, so reliability was very high. But Honda must take a different approach, and we are trying new things. Once our lap time improves to within 0.5 second of the top teams, we will mature our engine.You have Japanese driver, Takuma Sato, this year. He was the 2001 British F-3 champion and also worked as a test driver for the BAR team last year. What do you expect of him?Takuma is a very clever driver and his machine set-up ability is very high. But it is not fair to expect too much of him this year as the F-1 machine produces higher g-force than F-3 machines, and also his rivals this year will be much more competitive. I expect him to gain some points, but next year he will fight for top three places. He also speaks good English. Eddie Jordan (head of the Jordan Honda team) said Takuma speaks better English than the Scottish driver David Coulthard!Do you expect Sato to be a future World Champion?I hope so. But to do so you have to have a suitable circumstance. We have to work harder to prepare better engines. This year, I expect Jacques Villeneuve (BAR), Olivier Panis (BAR) and Giancarlo Fisichella (Jordan) to join the leading group. We will not be satisfied with third place this year.Do you think there is any chance F-1 racing will change direction toward environment-friendly racing in the near future?I don’t think the style will change drastically for another 10 years or so. After that we don’t know what will happen. If we were to use fuel-cell cars in F-1, Honda would precede the others, so other companies will not let us do so. center_img IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5last_img read more

More sports in Briefs

first_img Gabriel Jesus sent quadruple-chasing Manchester City into the FA Cup final by sealing a 1-0 victory over Brighton yesterday. Returning to the scene of City’s League Cup triumph in February, the forward met Kevin De Bruyne’s cross with a diving header in the fourth minute of the Wembley Stadium semi-final. City were fortunate to finish the game with 11 men after Kyle Walker pushed his head toward Brighton forward Alireza Jahanbakhsh in the 32nd minute. Walker was only given a yellow card and survived a VAR review. City will play Wolverhampton or Watford in their first FA Cup final since 2013 when Roberto Mancini’s side were beaten by Wigan. Windies pacer Alzarri Joseph produced the best-ever Indian Premier League (IPL) bowling record as his 6 wickets for 12 runs helped the Mumbai Indians to a 40- run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Rajiv Ghandi International Stadium. Joseph, who was making his IPL debut, bowled 3.4 overs in a devastating showing as the Indians easily defended their score of 136 for 7, which saw another West Indian, Kiieron Pollard, top-scoring with an unbeaten 46 from 26 balls. In-form Juventus teenager Moise Kean continued to increase his stocks after scoring the winner in the Italian champions’ 2-1 come-from-behind win over rivals AC Milan in Turin yesterday. Kean, 19, who was the subject of alleged racial abuse in Juve’s last match against Cagliari, was scoring his 7th goal in six matches for club and country as he followed up Paulo Dybala’s equalising goal from the penalty spot after Milan had taken the lead through striker Krzysztof Piatek. Kean’s strike was his fifth in the league and adds to the two he scored for the Italian national team recently against Finland and Liechtenstein. last_img read more

Take on the #DunderChallenge on Saturday

first_imgThe club’s 2018/19 front of shirt sponsor has launched a half-time competition on home matchdays, open to supporters aged 18 and over.Four fans will randomly be selected to go pitchside during half-time and will go head-to-head as they shoot as many footballs through a D-shaped target as possible, within 30 seconds.last_img

Edwards mows down Essex with fiery five-wicket haul

first_imgLONDON, Apr 7, CMC – Ex-West Indies speedster Fidel Edwards produced a fiery spell on a flat wicket to snatch an impressive five-wicket haul as Hampshire took command of their Division One contest against Essex at the Rose Bowl on Sunday. The 37-year-old, who played the last of his 55 Tests seven years ago, claimed five for 51 to send Essex tumbling for 164 in their first innings, in reply to the hosts’ 525 for eight declared.Batting a second time, Essex ended the penultimate day on 132 for four, still requiring a further 229 runs to avoid a heavy innings defeat.Resuming the day on 25 for one, Essex got a top score of 50 from former Test captain Sir Alastair Cook while Ravi Bopara resisted with an unbeaten 37 and Dan Lawrence, 31. Essex started well and had reached 90 for two before Edwards’s intervention changed the game, as the last eight wickets fell for 74 runs.Bowling a quick, full length, Edwards had four of his victims bowled and one lbw, en route to his eighth five-wicket haul in the County championship.The Barbadian then claimed another wicket in the Essex second innings as the visitors stumbled to 90 for four before Bopara struck an unbeaten 60 to halt the decline. Last season, Edwards topped Hampshire’s bowling aggregates with 54 wickets at an average of 26. He joined the county four years ago as a Kolpak player – he is not considered an overseas player under the deal – and signed a new contract in January.last_img read more

UK players angered at EuroMillions price increase

first_imgShare Related Articles UKGC launches fourth National Lottery licence competition August 28, 2020 Alberto Alfieri: Leading the way for Gamingtec’s B2C growth August 25, 2020 Share Submit StumbleUpon Camelot aims for ‘Big September’ supporting a high street recovery August 26, 2020 UK lottery players have responded negatively to changes made to the EuroMillions game (Europe’s largest lottery draw).Commenting on social media channels, UK players have protested against the increased pricing of the EuroMillions draw, which will see the price of a line go up by 50p to £2.50 from September.Furthermore, the EuroMillions game will feature an extra lucky star which lessens the chances of winning the jackpot from 1 in 117 million currently to 1 in 140 million.Issuing a corporate statement, Camelot the operator of the UK National Lottery stated that the changes had been made in conjunction with the ten syndicated operators of the European-wide lottery game.  Explaining the changes, Camelot management stated that the new format would deliver higher starting jackpots at £14 million, and would see more than twice as many jackpots of more than £50 million a year.Camelot would further back the EuroMillions changes stating that the draw would see local enhancements by increasing the number of ‘UK Millionaire Maker’ jackpots to at least two-a-week, potentially doubling the current number of guaranteed UK winners to 208 per year.Commenting on the changes Sally Cowdry, Consumer & Retail Director at Camelot, said:“EuroMillions has always captured the UK public’s imagination with its exhilarating jackpots and numerous multi-million pound winners – boosting returns to Good Causes in the process. It’s now time to re-energise the game and take it to the next level – and these fantastic enhancements will do just that, helping us to deliver even more for our players and UK Good Causes in the years to come.”last_img read more

First Bank Basketball Finish Third at ACCW

first_imgFirst Bank Basketball Club defeated Vita Club of Congo 93-69 to win the bronze medal at the FIBA Africa Champions Cup for Women (ACCW), which ended yesterday in Maputo, Mozambique.The Nigerian champions played better than in their semifinal loss to host, Ferroviario and looked solid even when they trailed after the end of the first quarter that ended 21-14.The other quarters ended 9-27, 22-23, 17-29 for a cumulative score of 69-93 in favour of First Bank to finish third. The Nigerians also finished third last year in Angola beating host, InterClub.Once again, Jasmine Nwajei led the floor with 23 points, skipper Nkechi Akashili added 15 points, Cecilia Okoye and Nkem Akaraiwe had 11 points respectively, while Malaika Nyree Green contributed 10 points.For the Congolese, Ortice Kabobo Haongi led her team in scoring with 17 points, Marlene Ngobeleza who lasted the entire game added 16 points, while Gracia Mawano Nguz and Alliance Ndiba contributed 13 and 12 points respectively.The Congolese reduced the deficit to eight points early in the fourth quarter but the Nigerians, who were bent on redeeming themselves after their poor performance in the semi-final against the host, seize the initiative and went on a scoring run which extinguished the fire in the Congolese.Akashili stated that third place games are very difficult to play and hailed her teammates for putting in their best despite the semi-final setback.She said bringing in the foreign players at the venue of the competition would not help the team while urging the bank’s management to help reverse the trend.“We had the chance of winning the championship with the calibre of players in the team, but the pros joined us in Maputo and did not understand our play. So it is necessary to bring them in early for the next championship,” Akashili added.Relatedlast_img read more

Guardiola: Barcelona has to improve, or we will lose the title to Real Madrid

first_imgBarcelona coach Pep Guardiola has indicated his side needs to improve in order to retain its La Liga title.The Camp Nou outfit is currently six points adrift of leaders Real Madrid following Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Getafe.Guardiola admitted his side are currently not at the same level as its capital archrival but noted it will strive to see off Jose Mourinho’s men in the upcoming Clasico on December 10.“You cannot always be at the top, but the truth is that this is the first time we are below another side,” he told reporters at a press conference. “This can happen, also because we are competing against Madrid. We know we have a very strong rival above us and we are ready to try [to beat them].”“We will have to improve, or we will not reach them. We are at a good level, but it is not enough to be first in the table,” he continued. “We will try hard until the last day of the season. I do not know if it will be enough to be champions, but we will try.”The 40-year-old went on to reject the suggestion of a crisis at the club and stressed he cannot explain the team’s subpar displays on the road this season. “I do not think that this is the team’s most delicate moment since I arrived,” he noted. “There is not just one factor, because every [away] match is different. We did not play poorly in any match, we always had more chances than our opponent.”Barca will host Rayo Vallecano on Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET.last_img read more

Penguins defeat Predators, defend Stanley Cup title

first_img Related Patrick Smith/Getty Images(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — The Pittsburgh Penguins have defeated the Nashville Predators 4-2 in the series to defend their Stanley Cup title.The Penguins scored the first goal of Game 6 with 1:35 left in the third period. They added an empty-net goal with 13.6 seconds left to win the game 2-0.The victory marks the Penguins’ fifth Stanley Cup win.The Detroit Red Wings were the last team to win back-to-back championships in 1997 and 1998.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.Powered by WPeMaticolast_img read more

Wildfires threaten several thousand homes in Southern California

first_imgABC News/Alex Stone (VENTURA COUNTY, Calif.) — Firefighters in Southern California are battling a new wildfire Wednesday morning that has engulfed an area near the Getty Center and the Skirball Cultural Center.The 50-acre brush fire ignited shortly after 5 a.m. CT near 405 Freeway and Mulholland Drive in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. More than 125 firefighters were on the scene with helicopters hovering above.Authorities have shut down northbound 405 for an “undetermined period” as a result of the so-called Skirball fire, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.Meanwhile, fire crews are still fighting a fast-moving wildfire in Ventura County that officials say has charred at least 65,000 acres of land.Thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes since the flames ignited. The so-called Thomas fire began as a 50-acre brush fire in foothills east of Santa Paula on Monday, and it rapidly grew to 10,000 acres in just four hours, authorities said.Emergency officials originally said a person died in the fire, but later clarified that a dog was killed.More than 38,000 people have been evacuated, and officials have gone door to door to enforce mandatory evacuations.So far, about 2,500 homes were under mandatory evacuation in Ventura County as the flames moved southwest toward the coast. Officials said several thousand homes in nearby areas were also evacuated because of the Thomas fire, though they cautioned that was a rough estimate.“We urge you: You must abide by these evacuation notices,” Ventura County Sheriff Jeff Dean said at a press conference late Monday. “We saw the disasters and the losses that happened up north in Sonoma, and this is a fast, very dangerous moving fire.”More than 150 structures, including a 60-unit apartment complex, have been destroyed by the Thomas fire and over 12,000 structures are threatened, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.The massive fire has also knocked out power for more than 190,000 customers in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, according to Southern California Edison.Intensified by strong winds and harsh weather conditions, the Thomas fire is pushing west toward the Pacific Ocean. At zero percent containment, officials said critical fire conditions are expected throughout the week.California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Ventura and Los Angeles counties.At a press conference Tuesday, Los Angeles County Deputy Fire Chief David Richardson described the unpredictable conditions that firefighters are facing as they attempt to contain the blaze.“You can only imagine the impact this weather is having on the fire front,” Richardson said. “We’re chasing the fire and trying to get ahead of it. And we’re chasing multiple fronts.”Firefighters in Ventura County said they were dealing with winds of 25 to 50 mph, which they said made it impossible to fight the fire via aircraft.“The prospects for containment really are not good. Mother Nature is going to decide when we have the ability to put it out, because it is pushing hard with the wind,” Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said at a press conference Monday night.“As far as getting ahead of the fire, that’s exactly what we’re doing right now, but it’s in defense of structure and property right now, not actually trying to put the fire out,” he added.Firefighters are also battling a growing brush fire in the Kagel Canyon area above the Sylmar neighborhood in Los Angeles that has scorched over 11,000 acres since Tuesday morning.Hundreds of firefighters and a number of water-dropping helicopters were on scene as the so-called Creek fire remained at zero percent contained. The Los Angeles Fire Department said homes in the affected area have been damaged, without providing an exact number.At least three firefighters were injured while fighting the flames and have been transported to a local hospital. They are in stable condition, officials said.Another wildfire that began in Santa Clarita on Tuesday morning has burned 7,000 acres, spreading across the Los Angeles County line into Ventura County.At 5 percent contained, the so-called Rye fire has not damaged any homes but has prompted school closures and the evacuation of 1,300 people, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.A major Santa Ana event with wind gusts up to 80 mph paired with low relative humidity is to blame for the fire emergency in the Los Angeles area over the last two days.Southern California has suffered from exceptional drought over the past several years, causing very dry vegetation and longer fire seasons. It’s fairly late in the year for such a strong Santa Ana wind event; in fact it may be the strongest one to occur in December since 2002. It’s also one of the driest starts to the wet season on record for Southern California, leading to extreme fire danger.Santa Ana winds are strong northeasterly winds that move downslope and offshore in Southern California. They originate from dry high-pressure air masses usually located over the Great Basin, which is the classic setup seen today.High pressure over the Great Basin continues to bring dry, offshore winds to Southern California Wednesday although they are not as strong as Tuesday. Expect those winds to pick up again this evening, however, with the next major Santa Ana wind event is forecast to begin Wednesday night and last through Thursday.Red flag warnings remain in effect from Ventura to San Diego, and extreme fire danger will continue in these areas through at least Friday.By late Wednesday night and especially into Thursday morning, very strong wind gusts will return. Offshore sustained winds at 20 to 40 mph are expected with gusts of 60 to 80 mph. Wind advisories and high wind warnings are in effect until Friday afternoon when they will finally start to subside.Relative humidity values will also be extremely low. Most areas will see humidity in the single digits and teens, with poor overnight recovery.ABC Breaking News | Latest News VideosCopyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.Powered by WPeMatico Relatedlast_img read more

Life sentence for couple who met, married in same courtroom they met in on jury duty

first_img Related iStock/Thinkstock(NEW ORLEANS) — For Kris and Sarah Gerig, their trial has ended in a life sentence of love.The New Orleans couple, who met on jury duty in a theft trial in August 2015, were married March 14 in the same courtroom where they met. Their ceremony was presided over by the same judge who heard the trial they served on the jury for.Kris Gerig felt it was meant to be. “First there were 200 potential jurors, ” he told “Good Morning America.” “Then it was down to 30. Then just six people on the jury, with one alternate. Sarah was the alternate.”“Each step of the way almost missed out on getting to know each other,” he said.Sarah Gerig recalled that Kris was, “well-dressed and cute and was pretty funny. He was the only one with a notebook and pencil.”The two-day trial ended before they got to say goodbye, Sarah Gerig said. But the jury had to return to the courtroom the next week to potentially be selected for another trial.That’s when Kris took his opportunity. He asked Sarah out, and they had lunch that day near the courthouse.The couple were engaged a year later, and Sarah Gerig said the idea to get married in the courtroom where they met was something they had joked about.“I had written a note to Judge Robin Pittman in the meantime letting her know we had met on the trial and were now together and very happy. She [Pittman] wrote back she was so happy for us.”So it was not surprising that the judge, who Sarah described as “no nonsense” during the trial, granted the couple’s request to get married in her courtroom. She also invited them to invite whoever they wanted.“That was so nice,” Kris Gerig said. “We had thought it would be like a four-person wedding, but all of our family got to be there.”The courtroom, which Sarah Gerig had recalled feeling “bigger and scarier” during the trial, was “warm and welcoming” the day of the wedding. “The judge really excited her whole staff, they were so excited taking so many pictures.”And now, according to the couple, Judge Pittman has a heartwarming story to tell her possible jurors: “Don’t dread jury duty, you may meet the love of your life.”Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.Powered by WPeMaticolast_img read more