Formula One back on the grid; Shell stays with Ferrari; a UN-backed decade of road safety, it's official; automotive April Fools; and the world's largest meatball.
Formula One roared back into action with its usual mix of controversy and surprises. A number of rule changes were hastily introduced by governing body, the FIA, ahead of the new season in the interests of making 'more exciting racing'. This included a ban on refuelling during the race, with cars only entering the pits for tyre changes.
The opening race, with a debut for the glittering new Bahrain circuit, turned out to be arguably one of the most unexciting witnessed in F1, with drivers and team owners quick to criticise the new rules. Victory went to Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
However, after appeals for time to allow the rules to take effect, the subsequent Australian and Malaysian Grand Prix proved considerably more entertaining with different winners and teams - McLaren Mercedes and Red Bull Racing taking the honours respectively. The Mercedes-powered Force India team are among some of the newer names to feature towards the top of the leaderboard. An interesting season may be ahead after all.
Shell used the Australian GP to announce a further five year sponsorship deal with Scuderia Ferrari, taking the partnership through to 2015. The race was the 450th of the relationship.
Launched by the FIA's UK-based Foundation, and backed by a host of motoring celebrities and organisations, the Make Roads Safe Campaign was also given backing by the United Nations with the news that 2011-2020 will officially be the global Decade of Action for Road Safety. With around 1.3 million people killed annually on roads worldwide, the campaign is set to arrest the dramatic rise in deaths predicted over the next 10 years.
A tradition going back centuries, much loved by the British and also embraced by other nations, 1st April is April Fools Day, when practical jokes are the norm (but only before Midday). Car makers in the UK have turned this into an artform led by BMW, who this year decided that with the election of a new government planned for 6 May, all UK BMW owners could demonstrate their voting choice with a limited edition roundel badge for their cars in the colour of their chose political party.
In the US, Mini announced a revolutionary new paint system that allows owners to change the exterior colour of their car depending on their mood. But the OATS favourite was the announcement from Switzerland of the new Infiniti Gastronomi. Apparently, the luxury Japanese car brand had developed new technology to establish when a driver is hungry using noise detection. When stomach rumbling reaches a certain volume, on-screen information is relayed to the driver with directions to local restaurants that suit both personal tastes and finances.
World's largest meatball (wrapped) Image: Jef Rietsma for the Kalamzoo Gazette
And on the subject of food, but not an April Fool (no, honestly who could ignore news of a successful attempt at the world's largest meatball? Constructed in Centreville, Michigan, the 400 pound (181 kilo) meatball included 327 pounds of beef chuck steak and almost 50 pounds of 'additives' (not of the lubricants kind including oregano, garlic power, salt and oatmeal. The record-breaking meatball took more than a day to cook and was designed to feed around 800 people. A number of charity events took place as part of the record-breaking attempt including donating a large percentage of the meatball to local 'meals on wheels' for the elderly.
All together now: "Ohh where is my meatball....."