F​1 is competitive again + a great wearable speaker for your tunes & cellphone calls


In recent years, Formula One racing had often been a boring, predictable procession. Going into each race weekend, the same team — the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team — was likely to emerge victorious.

In motorsports it is difficult to attract a large, enthusiastic audience — live or in-person — when one participant consistently overwhelms all others, yet that is precisely what Formula One racing had become. Barring some unlikely problem, Lewis Hamilton would probably win each weekend. Lewis and his Mercedes were dominant.

Late last year, however, Red Bull Racing Honda’s Max Verstappen was coming on strong to challenge Mercedes’ dominance.

For 2021 Red Bull’s engine supplier, Honda, would be entering their last year in Formula One. They were determined to produce an engine that could challenge and even beat the mighty Mercedes.

In the first race of the 2021 season, in Bahrain, it looked like Max Verstappen could have, perhaps should have won that race. But was that a one-off? Would Max Verstappen, his Red Bull car and the new Honda Formula One engine be truly competitive with the Mercedes at other race tracks too? The anticipation for the second race was intense.

Valtteri Bottas drives around Autodromo Internazional Enzo e Dino Ferrari racing circuit (Imola) on Saturday, April 17, 2021

The site for the second F1 race of the 2021 season on April 18th was the challenging and picturesque Autodromo Internazional Enzo e Dino Ferrari racing circuit — Imola, in Italy. Steeped in decades of F1 tradition and history, it is nestled between the Tuscan hills, Adriatic beaches and Ferrari’s HQ in nearby Maranello.

Shortly before the race was about to begin, it started to rain. That threw the teams’ carefully planned strategies right out the window.

L​ewis Hamilton in the rain-soaked 2021 Formula One Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, on Sunday, April 18, 2021

We were treated to a tremendous race. At the start, Verstappen rocketed from third place on the grid to take the lead. As the rain subsided, a dry racing line soon developed. When drivers dared to venture off of it, the price some paid was a premature end to their day.

Max Verstappen racing the Red Bull Racing RB16B Honda in Imola

In one particularly frightening moment, two drivers whose cars — the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas and the Mercedes-powered Williams of rising F1 star George Russell — collided at high speed at Tamburello as Russell tried to lap struggling Valtteri Bottas. Two following cars narrowly avoided the wreck, as the crashing cars slid across the track, ending up in the grass. Scattered in their wake were razor-sharp shards of carbon fiber, mangled car parts and destroyed bits of advertising signs, causing the race to be red flagged for the cleanup.

V​altteri Bottas pit stop at the 2021 Formula One Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Imola, Italy

Just before that, Russell and Lewis Hamilton had nearly gotten together. Hamilton, making a rare mistake, ended up stopped by a trackside barricade with front wing damage. Nevertheless, he deftly backed his way through the gravel trap, visited his pit for a new wing and, when the race resumed, fought his way back up through the field, edging past the fading McLaren Mercedes of Lando Norris in the closing laps and finishing second to Max Verstappen — who had checked out, scoring an impressive 22-second lead over Hamilton. The Ferraris were fourth and fifth.

L​ewis Hamilton had an impressive drive back through the field, after an off-track excursion

Hamilton leads Verstappen by a single point in the 2021 Formula One World Championship battle. At long last, we are in for a very exciting season of Formula One racing.

L​ewis Hamilton fought his way back to second place

M​ax Verstappen celebrates his decisive victory at the F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, in Imola, Italy

M​ax Verstappen (1st., center), Lewis Hamilton (2nd., left) and Lando Norris (3rd., right) on the F1 podium

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Standing in my kitchen, I was listening to tunes playing from my iPhone, via Bluetooth through the BeHear PROXY’s integrated, high fidelity stereo speakers (stereo enhancement turned on). The music sounded AWESOME, but because it is worn on the shoulders, close to my ears, it was certainly not loud enough to bother my next-door neighbors, unlike my TV used to do.

The sound fidelity of the BeHear PROXY is crystal clear, the tonal qualities are just right and I can hear fine nuances in the music. It is comfortable to wear and so easy to use. Finally, I can listen to my music at a volume that is loud enough for me to enjoy it, but without bothering anyone.

The BeHear PROXY, by Wear & Hear, is ideal for listening to music and answering cellphone calls — at home or on the go, with the wireless convenience of Bluetooth, and extractable earphones for privacy and personal hearing amplification.

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Jan Wagner

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