WS K88

WS K88
Erich's new place where different things will happen, but still the center of the universe and the navel of the world

Sep 29, 2008

Congratulations Singapore GP- Congrats Alonso

I applaud the organizers and all people involved in pulling out the most spectacular F1 Grand Prix ever.
But it was the total package that made visitors praise our Grand Prix. We certainly have a gorgeous skyline around Marina Bay and the bright light bands made it really glow. The organisation was great and perfectly done in such a short period of time since they got the race awarded. The few hick ups and teething problems can be easily solved till next year.
Now they have to make sure this success is not a one night stand but to build brand around the Grand Prix and travel destination Singapore to become a "must see" for F1 enthusiasts and all other travellers in the upcoming years.
Make sure prices and hotel prices in general are fair and you will see a higher occupancy rate. Find solutions for the malls blocked out during road closures, they should not suffer while others are making big bucks.
I received emails from many of my friends from overseas during or right after the race saying that watching the race on TV made them think planning a trip to Singapore soon again.

That's it for the first Singapore Grand Prix and the first night race in Formula One history. See you all next year.

Sep 28, 2008

Erich's busy with TV and News teams shooting background stories

Erich all prepared for Formula One Night Race.
Erich had a busy week not only selling sausages but also giving interviews and posing for photos and cameras for TV and News-teams from all over the world.
However the interview he definitely enjoyed most was for "his" Austrian National TV Station- ORF. He was proud to tell them his success story and even prouder when he heard that this interview will be aired as part of a support story about the host city, right before the start of Singapore's first F1 Grand Prix.

The TV crew was stunned by Erich's professionality during shooting and interview. However for Erich it was already kind of a routine since TV teams show up almost every month.

The other thing the team was pleasantly surprised of was the excellent quality and "home like" taste of sausages, Sauerkraut and bread they usually only get in Austria.

They liked it so much that they almost forgot to return in time to the race course for the Qualifying.
Erich had a big grin in his face when they finally left but promised to return soon.

Felipe Massa takes pole but some drivers complain about bumpy track

Massa put in a stunning last lap in his lightly fuelled Ferrari in qualifying Saturday to snatch the pole position away from the McLaren driver for F1's first night race.
Hamilton was in provisional pole in the dying seconds of qualifying, before Massa's final lap beat the Briton's time by six-tenths of a second.
Almost everything seems to be perfect praises from Bernie Ecclestone to team owners and racers for the organizers for the spectacular show they put together. The only complain so far seems to be about the track being to bumpy.
Bad luck for Alsonso after a good performance in the free training.

Sep 20, 2008


This guy from the most western part of Austria is so far the latest of our F1 hopefuls:
Christian Klien (1983)
Klien had his first successes in karting as did quite a number of F1 racers. Moving through different classes of racing such as the Formula BMW Junior championship, the Formula Renault championship where he became German champion in 2002.

From there Klien climbed to the F3 Euro Series in 2003 and won four races, taking six pole positions and nine podium finishes as well, which was enough to get a second position in the championship and to attract enough attention to obtain his biggest promotion for 2004: a place as a regular driver in Formula One at Jaguar. With the blessing of Jaguar sponsor Red Bull, Klien enjoyed a solid first season in Formula One, scoring a solid sixth position at Spa Francorchamps.

With Jaguar Racing being taken over Red Bull Racing for the 2005 season, Klien went head to head with F3000 Champion Tonio Liuzzi for the second seat in the squad alongside David Coulthard and competed in all but four rounds of the 2005 championship for the team. Klien finished in seventh and eighth positions for the squad in Australia and Malaysia respectively while an electrical fault ended his Bahrain race before it even got underway. Liuzzi took over the ride for the next for races, with Klien returning to the driving seat in Montreal.

He would complete the season and secured a fine fifth position at the season finale in China. No longer a rookie; Klien was looking forward to a full season with Red Bull Ferrari in 2006. 2006 was a season to forget for Klien. The season started well enough with an eighth place finish in Bahrain, but he would have to wait another ten races before he would score another championship point. By this time relations between Klien and the Red Bull management had become strained and the drinks firm had offered a fully funded Champ Car ride for the 2007 season having opted to retain Coulthard and recruit Mark Webber for its 2007 F1 campaign. Honda recruited Klien as test and reserve driver for the 2007 season.Christian however made clear that his desire was to return to competition.
With the blessing of Honda he tested with Spyker mid-season and then again with the newly renamed team - Force India - at the end of the season. Klien lost out to veteran Giancarlo Fisichella for the race seat while former team-mate Tonio Liuzzi landed the testing role. Klien has proven his ability to bounce back and a few weeks later it was announced that the Austrian will be the test and reserve driver for the BMW Sauber squad in 2008.

Sep 18, 2008


Alex Wurz, son of former rallycross champion Franz Wurz, took the BMX championship in 1988 before turning his attention to four wheels. After a couple of years in karting, the Austrian moved up through Formula Ford and the German F3 series. By 1996, Wurz was busy in various categories of motorsport, the highlight being the Le Mans win in the Joest Porsche WSC95. Tests followed with Sauber and Benetton and his Formula One career was firmly on track. Taking a testing role with Benetton Renault in 1997, Wurz got the call-up to the race seat when race regular Gerhard Berger was sidelined due to illness. He made his F1 debut in Montreal retiring with a gearbox problem and a spin followed in France. However, a strong performance at the British Grand Prix saw him take his first podium position as he chased team-mate Jean Alesi across the line.
With Berger back to full fitness, Wurz sat out the remainder of the season before signing up as race driver with the team. Wurz would finish eighth in the standings in his first full season with fourth places in Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Canada and Britain, and a fifth in France. His season was remembered mostly for his battle with Michael Schumacher at Monaco and his spectacular roll at the start of the Canadian Grand Prix. While 1998 was a good season for Wurz, the following year was disappointing with two-points paying finishes. 2000 saw Wurz in the points just once at Imola and the Austrian was dropped from the line-up at the end of the season.
A new career with McLaren Mercedes followed as he took the testing option with the team. 2005 McLaren drafted Wurz in to replace the injured Juan Pablo Montoya. A confident and aggressive race from Wurz showed that he had lost none of his pace displayed back in 1998 and he brought the McLaren home in third position to claim the second podium position of his career. The race outing was a one-off at McLaren and Wurz opted to leave the team at the end of the season to take a testing role with Williams Cosworth. The move paid off as Wurz teamed up alongside Nico Rosberg at Williams in 2007. Although Wurz took third position in a rather chaotic race in Montreal and a fourth place finish at Nurburgring, the season as a whole was a disappointment with Wurz struggling in qualifying in particular. Following the Chinese Grand Prix in which he finished 12th, the team promoted test driver Kazuki Nakajima to the race team and Wurz sat out the season finale in Brazil stating that he was to retire from active competition in Formula One. For 2008, Wurz joins the Honda team as test driver. Alex Wurz will also be in Singapore tuning the Honda for the race.

Sep 12, 2008


Gerhard Berger (born 1959)
Gerhard had started out racing AlfaSuds before jumping via a few Formula Ford races into the German and European F3 Championships. By 1984 he was a leading contender, and his performances earned him a chance with the ATS F1 team in his home GP in Austria. Berger had hurt his neck in an accident, but said nothing and dragged himself to a test at Zandvoort.

In four races, he proved himself erratic but fast, and soon switched to Arrows and its BMW-powered team the following year. With Benetton in 1986 he made full use of the turbocharged four cylinder BMW's prodigious power, and won his first GP, in Mexico, after a canny performance on Pirelli's tires.

Berger’s spells with Ferrari and McLaren earned him another eight victories and the reputation as a fast and safe driver who, while perhaps not quite in the Senna/Prost/Mansell mold, was quite capable of fighting at the front in the right machine.
After the fire at Imola in 1989, when Gerhard crashed his Ferrari at the same Tamburello corner that would later claim Senna, he was back racing within weeks. The depth and honesty of the emotions he explained in the aftermath of the deaths of Ratzenberger (another Austrian diver) and Senna were indications of a pure heart. When Berger was in the cockpit, a dedicated professional took over, and Benetton had good cause to appreciate that in a difficult 1996 season. One year on, as he was suffering from debilitating illness and his father was killed in a flying accident, Berger returned to the cockpit at Hockenheim and annihilated his opposition. It was his final victory, and at the end of the season he retired. Berger went on to to become the manager of BMW's competition program in F1 with Williams but in 2004 he left that role. At the start of 2006 it was announced that he had become a 50% shareholder in Red Bull's Scuderia Toro Rosso.

Sep 7, 2008


Andreas Nikolaus “Niki” Lauda was born to a well-to-do Vienna family on February 22, 1949. Lauda became interested in motor racing from an innate interest in automobiles dating to a young age. When he was twelve, visiting relatives were letting him park their cars. He got hold of, in his early teens, a 1949 Volkswagen Beetle convertible in which he would ride roughshod over a relative's estate. He entered his first race, a hill climb, in a Cooper in 1968 taking second in class. Thereafter, despite his father's insistence that he stay away from racing, he competed in hill climbs and later Formula Vee. He did his stint hauling a Formula 3 car on a trailer to races around Europe. In the course of this he scared himself into a certain amount of sanity, and, in 1971, abandoned the wildness of Formula 3 to take the plunge on his own in Formula 2.
In 1974, his first year with Prancing Horse, Lauda scored the first of his 26 F1 victories.

He, as well as teammate Clay Regazzoni, with good cars
under them, challenged for the championship. Lauda took it in his second year with the team in a car that was technically far superior to any of the competition. He had 5 wins and a huge margin over second place. Niki called 1975 "the unbelievable year."
But things must go wrong in motor races as well. Especially in these years cars didn’t come with mono-cocks and other life saving safety features yet racing involved powerful machines carrying extraordinary levels of kinetic energy. So when something does go wrong, people could get badly hurt or killed. Niki Lauda suffered severe injuries in the 1976 German Grand Prix at the old Nurburgring, in the process setting up what may have been the most dramatic championship that F1 has yet seen.
Lauda had taken a significant early lead in the points despite having cracked ribs as a result of rolling a tractor while mowing his Salzburg property.
F1's reigning playboy, James Hunt, was more than 20 points down to the Austrian by the German Grand Prix.

Lauda's Ferrari unexplainably swerved off to the right, impacted an embankment, bounced back across the track, was collected by Brett Lunger and caught fire. Several drivers including Lunger, Guy Edwards and a fearless Arturo Merzario managed to extract Lauda from the burning wreck. Although he was able to stand after the accident, it soon became evident that his injuries were grave.
Hot, toxic gases had damaged the inside of his lungs and his blood. His helmet had come partially adrift and he had suffered severe burns to his head. He lapsed into a coma. For a period of time his life was despaired of. However, he rallied and, in a show of courage that is difficult to overstate, was back in a Ferrari cockpit at speed six weeks after the accident (he later revealed that at the time he was virtually petrified with fear).

Lauda's return to competition at Monza produced an amazing 4th place and 3 points. An impressive run in both North American races pulled Hunt to within 3 points of Lauda with only Fuji left on the calendar. The race started in a monumental downpour, and after 2 laps Lauda abandoned saying it was crazy to drive in such conditions. He was probably correct, but he was probably also still affected by his Nurburgring accident. In the event, the rain soon slacked, and Hunt finished third despite a late tire change, collecting 4 points to take the title.
In 1977 Lauda cruised to his second championship with Ferrari despite winning only 3 races. After some bad seasons, 2 years of hibernating from F1 and starting his airline business Niki returned in 1982 for, by his own admission, financial reasons and signed up with Ron Dennis and McLaren to partner John Watson for plenty of money.
It didn't take long for him to reacquaint himself with winning. At Long Beach he won in only his third race since returning. He also won at Brands Hatch that season. '83 was a no win year but '84 ended with Lauda back at the top of F1. He won the '84 championship by a mere 1/2 pt.
His second and final departure from F1, at Adelaide in 1985, was typical of his whole approach to racing and to life - quick, with no frills and no glance over the shoulder. He was flying his McLaren down the long straight when his front brakes had failed him and he was skittering into the runoff area and up against the wall. The next after that he was out of his car disappearing behind the barrier without a look back and with the next flight out on his mind.
Niki Lauda is still into airline business and a F1 commentator for a German TV station. The red cap he's been wearing since after his accident became his trademark.

Lauda will be in Singapore for our race of course and attending President Nathan’s dinner.

Sep 4, 2008


Austria has quite an impressive racing history, despite the small size of the country. In rally sport, motocross as well as in F1 our country, over the years, has produced some renowned racers and world champions.

The three best known I guess are Jochen Rindt, Niki Lauda and Gerhard Berger but also Alexander Wurz and Christian Klien made their name in racing.

JOCHEN RINDT (1942-1970) started his career successfulIy in Formula 2 (by winning for instance the 1964 London Trophy) but kept on choosing the wrong F1 cars. He made his F1 debut for Rob Walker Racing Team in the 1964 Austrian Grand Prix. Having raced for Cooper Car Company and the Brabham team Rindt, an exceptionally fast driver with superb car control and reflexes, moved to Lotus and it was with Lotus that his career took off.

1970 his life ended tragically during the fifth lap of the final practice session for the Italian Grand Prix in Monza. Braking for the Parabolica corner Jochen's car weaved slightly and then swerved sharp left into the crash barrier.
A joint in the crash barrier parted, the suspension dug in under the barrier and the car hit a stanchion head on. The front end of the car was destroyed. Although Rindt was rushed to hospfital, he was pronounced dead. Jochen had only recently acquiesced to wearing a simple lap belt, and had slid underneath where the belt buckle cut his throat.

He was the second Lotus team leader to be killed in two years, as Jim Clark had been killed in 1968. An Italian court later found that the accident was initiated by a failure of the car's right front brake shaft, but that Rindt's death was caused by poorly installed crash barriers.