Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Ayrton Senna's Lotus years, by Ibrar Malik

As we mark the upcoming 26th anniversary of Ayrton Senna's passing, most will undoubtedly dwell upon the more celebrated cornerstones of his extraordinary career. His obliteration of the opposition during qualifying at Monaco '88, or the race at Donington Park '93. His compelling personality which shone through during interviews. Or what might have been with Williams had he not tragically met his untimely death at the '94 San Marino Grand Prix. This blog aims to be slightly different, by briefly looking at Senna's formative years at Lotus.

Coming into 1985, the Norfolk-based team had not won a race since the sudden death of its charismatic founder, Colin Chapman, in December 1982. Lotus had endured a turbulent '83 season. But it bounced back superbly to become a regular frontrunner again during '84, enjoying its most successful season since 1978. The newly-released book, Team Lotus: Beyond the Colin Chapman Era, details precisely how the team achieved this. But by the end of '84, it seemed a key ingredient to elevate Lotus back to the winner's circle was missing. Enter, Ayrton Senna – Lotus's new signing for 1985. 

Senna was widely touted as a future world champion following his stellar performances within the unfancied Toleman during 1984

Monday, 13 April 2020

Monza 1994 - Team Lotus's Last Hurrah, by Ibrar Malik

One of the victims from a turbulent 1994 F1 season was Team Lotus, which finally succumbed to its financial struggles during the year. Like Brabham two years earlier, a once-great name would vanish from F1. Lotus was Jim Clark, Jochen Rindt, Emerson Fittipaldi as well as Ayrton Senna's first top team in F1. The upcoming 1983-'89 Lotus book (http://www.1994f1.com/lotusprintbook/) charts how Team Lotus went from being regular a frontrunner during the mid-1980s to a midfielder only a few years later.

After its release on May 1 2020, we then intend to write a follow-up print book covering the team's final years of 1990-'95. This follow-up book explains how Lotus then changed ownership at the end of '90 and went from merely surviving that winter to finishing an incredible fifth in the '92 constructors' championship. It seemed the former seven-time world champion team was on a clear upward trajectory having re-establishing itself as a regular point scorer. More good news came in the form of its leading driver, Johnny Herbert, re-signing within the team for another five years by the end of 1992. Unfortunately this revival under Peter Collins proved short lived because behind the scenes debts were still piling up. The team only survived two more seasons in F1 after '92.

Monday, 30 March 2020

New Motor Sport Magazine article: Nelson Piquet - the underrated three-time F1 champion

By Zocchi Massimiliano - Own work, CC0,
https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/
index.php?curid=15885577
Nelson Piquet is a three-time Formula 1 world champion. Yet you would hardly know it. Or you wouldn't if you use as your sole guide the usual debates about F1 greats, at any stretch.

So why is this? The expressed consensus view is that Piquet impressed and won his first two titles at Brabham where all was laid out for him. Then he moved to Williams alongside Nigel Mansell and was 'found out'. But, as is often the case, the consensus view doesn't tell the whole story.

In my latest for Motor Sport Magazine, and with the help of Piquet's long-time Brabham team manager Herbie Blash, I seek to unravel the mystery.

You can have a read here: https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/articles/single-seaters/f1/nelson-piquet-the-underrated-three-time-f1-champion

Saturday, 21 March 2020

New Motor Sport Magazine article: Ayrton Senna - the forgotten great drives

By Instituto Ayrton Sennaderivative work: Karpouzi - This file
was derived from:  Senna 1992 Monaco.jpg, CC BY 2.0,
https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28935488
Monaco 1984. Estoril '85. Donington '93. Some of the great drives by the revered Ayrton Senna fall from the tongue, and are harked back to regularly.

But even so there are some Senna Formula 1 performances that are about as magnificent but perhaps crowded out from the retro features.

So, on what would have been the late great Brazilian's 60th birthday, for Motor Sport Magazine I have looked back at some of the somewhat more forgotten, but still sensational, Senna drives.

You can have a read about them here: https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/articles/single-seaters/f1/ayrton-senna-the-forgotten-great-drives

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

New Motor Sport Magazine article: Alesi vs Senna: the battle for victory in Phoenix

By ALESI_Jean-24x30-1999.
jpg: Studio Harcourtderivative
 work: Materialscientist (talk)
 - ALESI_Jean-24x30-1999.jpg,
 CC BY 3.0, https://commons.
wikimedia.org/w/index.
php?curid=15699671
Thirty years ago today, Jean Alesi in a Tyrrell announced himself to Formula 1 with an incredible performance, including an incredible battle with Ayrton Senna's McLaren-Honda, in Phoenix for the United States Grand Prix of 1990.

In my latest for Motor Sport Magazine, I tell the tale.

You can have a read here: https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/articles/single-seaters/f1/alesi-vs-senna-the-battle-for-victory-in-phoenix

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Win a copy of Formula One: The Champions, Maurice Hamilton's new book

The latest book by the noted Formula 1 writer Maurice Hamilton, Formula One: The Champions, is released today, published by White Lion.

The book is made up of individual portraits in pictures and words of every one of F1's 33 world champions going back to the championship's inception in 1950. So it's from Giuseppe Farina through to Nico Rosberg, stopping off along the way at Jim Clark, Ayrton Senna and Lewis Hamilton among many other legendary figures.

For this weighty 240-page book, just as in his 2016 title The Pursuit of Speed, Hamilton has teamed up with father-and-son Bernard and Paul-Henri Cahier of The Cahier Archive photographic collection. And it contains some never-seen-before photographs. There is a foreword by Bernie Ecclestone.

And we have a copy of this fine book to give away to Talking about F1 readers.

All you have to do is answer the very simple question below. We will pick one winner at random from the correct answers and will be in touch if you're the lucky recipient. Good luck!

THE COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED

You can also buy the book, as well as find out more detail on it, via this link.

You also can read my thoughts on the book here.

Monday, 2 March 2020

Review of Maurice Hamilton's new book 'Formula One: The Champions'

Formula 1 world champions are indeed an exclusive bunch. Only 33 have reached the status from over 600 to compete in F1 across 70 years, not to mention the innumerable additional group who have not even made it that far. Few therefore would dispute long-serving F1 correspondent Maurice Hamilton describing F1's title as "the ultimate accolade in motorsport".

And Hamilton's latest book, Formula One: The Champions, is a fitting tribute to them. Released tomorrow on March 3 and published by White Lion, it is a stylishly-presented and sizeable 240-page hardback made up of written and photographic portrayals of every one of those 33, from Giuseppe Farina through to Nico Rosberg, stopping off at legends such as Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher, among several others, along the way.

Hamilton for this has allied his words with the photography of Bernard Cahier and his son Paul-Henri of The Cahier Archive photographic collection, reuniting the same trio that brought us 2016's The Pursuit of Speed title.

The task of portraying all the title winners going back to 1950, who as Hamilton notes at the outset are a diverse band in an ever-changing category, is a sizeable one. Yet these authors are well-placed to take it on, with Hamilton offering 40 years on the F1 front line as well as a keen eye for its history, and The Cahier Archive stretching back to the F1's beginnings and, uniquely, remaining throughout that time in its original hands.

Monday, 24 February 2020

New Motor Sport Magazine article: Prost's greatest drives in Formula 1

By StuSeeger - photo taken by StuSeeger. Source: Flickr,
CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/
w/index.php?curid=1058979
Today Formula 1 legend and four-time drivers' champion Alain Prost reaches his 65th birthday.

His F1 career of course had no shortage of high points. And to celebrate Prost's personal  landmark today, I have for Motor Sport Magazine looked at five of what were even his finest races from his decade-plus time in F1.

You can have a read of it all here: https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/articles/single-seaters/f1/alain-prosts-greatest-drives-in-formula-1

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Why pre-season testing is better than ever for F1 fans

"It's the most wonderful time of the year." So sang Andy Williams about Christmas. But Formula 1 fans might argue that right now pips Yuletide. Yes, pre-season testing at Barcelona has just got underway.

Photo: Octane Photography
Test one stretches until this Friday, February 21, then all reconvene one week on, from Wednesday 26 to Friday 28 February.

The excitement this time of year at the season stretched ahead is inimitable. Of course, in an accompanying annual event, testing will come with health warnings about not reading too much into things. But it doesn't stop us trying...

And there's never been a better time for F1 fans to follow it all. Not all that long ago, testing coverage would broadly amount to a few paragraphs and lap times in Autosport. Even until fairly recently the concept of televising testing was not something of this earth.

Not now. As F1 TV Pro – F1's digital platform – will be broadcasting the six days of testing live from 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm (CET). Plus it's added 11 new countries to its roster, bringing the total to 70 which includes the United States.

And if you subscribe to F1 TV during this testing period – from today until February 28 – you will get 25% off. There are more details via this link.

This year we'll get even more to look at too as for the first time the tests are organised directly by F1 which means, among other things, those dreaded screens in front of team's garages are banned, unless they are repairing the car after a crash or failure.

The F1 TV coverage will include the on-track running, pitlane and garage filming, graphics and pit and trackside reporting, plus there's a range of on-demand content.

In another innovation, there will be press conferences with drivers and team representatives, footage available on demand, in every test day's lunch break. F1 TV Pro subscribers also get Sky UK and F1's daily round-up show, produced in the paddock in the hour after testing finishes.

The inimitable Will Buxton will also each day host 'Tech Talk' and on either Friday host 'Paddock Pass'. There also will be round-up 'What we learned' programmes on either Saturday, while on Friday February 28, after the final test concludes, Jolyon Palmer will give his take plus his predictions – no doubt in his usual no-holds-barred style.

Live Timing has also been beefed up and this, as well as features, clips, 'Paddock Pass' and 'What we learned', will be accessible on Formula1.com too.

Why the UK’s F1 fans won’t miss out on pre-season testing

For Formula 1 fans there is nothing quite like pre-season testing. At this time of year any number of possibilities stretch ahead, and testing offers our first clues for resolving the big questions.

Photo: Octane Photography
This year is no different. Will the dominant Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton be toppled? If so, will it be by Ferrari or Red Bull? At Ferrari, can Sebastian Vettel strike back against his young team-mate Charles Leclerc? Who will top the midfield? Can famous old Williams recover from its woeful 2019?

The opening test starts today and continues until Friday, and test two is exactly a week on, from Wednesday 26 to Friday 28 February.

And this year F1 fans will be able to follow in more detail than ever. The UK isn't one of the 70 countries with access to F1 TV Pro which is televising testing live, but it's far from the case that UK fans will miss out.

As for the first time they will be able to watch all six days of testing live on Sky F1, starting at 8am UK time and stretching through each day to 5pm, with an hour's lunch break. Sky F1 also has a 'Story So Far' hour-long round-up show from the paddock at 5pm each test day.

What's more, UK-based F1 fans can get F1 TV Access. Its subscribers get F1's live timing, which via the F1 app is much richer this year. Fans will not only be able to follow drivers' times in the usual three in-lap sectors, but also in detailed segments within the sectors. They also can compare drivers' performance via a new tab, as well as see real-time telemetry, tyre usage history, driver maps and hear the best of team radio.

F1 TV Access also is a treasure trove for lovers of F1 history, as you can watch footage from over 650 historic races, starting from the 1981 season, as well as exclusive documentaries.

F1 TV Access costs just £19.99 a year or £2.29 a month. And if you subscribe to F1 TV Access during testing – from today until February 28 – you will get 25% off. You can subscribe or find more details via this link.

There also is plenty available via F1's website, Formula1.com. In addition to full live timing, there's content including, among other things, clips from testing as well as F1 TV's 'Paddock Pass' and 'What we learned' programmes providing additional insight from Barcelona.