Tuesday, 15 October 2019

New Motorsport Week article: Formula 1’s only ‘cancelled’ race – the 1985 Belgian Grand Prix

PSParrot [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/
It looked fleetingly last weekend like the Japanese Grand Prix could be called off, with the impact of Typhoon Hagibis.

But the race went on. As in Formula 1 it always does in the end. Literally, as it may surprise to learn that never once in F1 history has a race been scratched after the meeting has got underway.

Well, apart from one time. Sort of. Then the race did happen, but some three months after the Friday running.

This was the Belgian Grand Prix in 1985. In my latest for Motorsport Week I tell the story:  https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/24833

Thursday, 10 October 2019

The rise of Mercedes in F1 from 1994-2019, by Hospitality Finder

If you want an immediate and visual sense of Formula 1 success over the last quarter century, then you won't find much better than this. Here's an impressive interactive graphic highlighting the ebb and flow, and particularly the rise of Mercedes in F1 from 1994-2019, with stats analysed and compiled by Hospitality Finder.

It starts with Benetton on top in its mid-1990s Michael Schumacher heyday; then Williams, McLaren and, especially, Ferrari striding forth. That's before Red Bull and then of course Mercedes start to step in. You'll also see the isolated victories of other teams sneaking in at the bottom...

The original interactive graphic can be found here.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

1994 Japanese Grand Prix review for Motor Sport Magazine

Martin Lee from London, UK [CC BY-SA 2.0
The latest of my historic F1 articles for Motor Sport Magazine is here. And it's from the rich retro treasure trove that is the Japanese Grand Prix - the latest of which is this weekend.

And the one I've gone for is a classic tale of proving your doubters wrong. Damon Hill entered the 1994 Japanese Grand Prix viewed roundly as an impostor in that season's championship fight up against the imperious Michael Schumacher.

But in the most trying circumstances Hill showed he was much more than that.

I tell the tale via this link: https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/opinion/f1/i-was-driving-different-level-damon-hill-s-1994-japanese-grand-prix

Schumacher's Ferrari Controversies, by Ibrar Malik

In 1996 Michael Schumacher moved to Ferrari and by 1997 key former Benetton personnel like Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne (the B194 designer) and Tad Czapski (the engine electronics guru) joined him. Ferrari then went from being an occasional race winner to serial championship contenders over a sustained period. Questions have since been asked, why did Schumacher and his former Benetton colleagues stick together? Was it because they had sidestepped the rules in 1994 and did it subsequently at Ferrari? Dark rumours began to circulate that they somehow knew how to create an undetectable traction control implying they also may have achieved this in 1994.

When Schumacher initially arrived at Ferrari in 1996 he did work with its existing technical team. His sublime performances within a poor F310 car suggested the German's skill didn't solely rely on his former Benetton colleagues. This is confirmed by his then Ferrari teammate Eddie Irvine, "We were really in the shit in 1996. I remember when the car came out I said, 'That looks worryingly different from everyone else's car.' It turned out everyone else was right and we were wrong."

Schumacher won three races in this car which impressed teammate Eddie Irvine who later admitted, "That was the year that Michael really earned his money." 

Friday, 4 October 2019

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Vettel or Leclerc: Who Would You Pick For Ferrari?

Charles Leclerc or Sebastian Vettel, who should Ferrari pick as its 'number 1' driver? We discuss our choices in this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, what would be yours? Tell us!

Also in this episode, we wonder if Ferrari would benefit politically and financially by not renewing Vettel's contract at the end of 2020. Should that happen, would Vettel be Red Bull Racing bound - after all, Max Verstappen could choose McLaren-Mercedes if Red Bull-Honda doesn't deliver to its promises. Lots of speculations, but also, a lot of possibilities.

Finally, Formula 1 is coordinating (or scheming?) to ensure positive communication around the attempted qualifying races in 2020. We can't fathom why they are hell bent on taking our joys away from the watching a Formula 1 car being driven on the limit! And of course, there's the What Wolff Said This Week section for your listening pleasure. Tune in!

(Season 2019, Episode 37)
Subscribe to the Inside Line F1 Podcast on iTunes, audioBoom (RSS feed), Spotify and Google Podcasts for your weekly dose of Formula 1 humour

Other points discussed:
1. Alexander Albon on pole position for a Red Bull Racing drive in 2020 - do you care? Because Max Verstappen doesn't
2. Is Jacques Villeneuve really in a place to talk about 'karma'?
3. Daniil Kvyat loses out for being a good boy with the FIA
4. Why 2019 form factor could matter in 2020
5. Silly of McLaren not to even bother trying to get Ferrari power for its cars 

Thursday, 26 September 2019

New Motorsport Week article: Why Kimi Raikkonen is proof F1 should give experience a chance

Photo: Octane Photography
We often lament that youth doesn't get a chance in F1. But is it in fact more so that those from the opposite end of the driver age range don't get their due look in?

The F1 driver on average is younger than ever. And we have the case of Kimi Raikkonen, who is an extreme outlier, about to become an aged-40-something active F1 pilot. He's still vastly out-scoring his young Alfa Romeo team-mate.

Do Raikkonen's strong showings this year suggest that, on the contrary to the common discourse, F1 discards experience too soon?

In my latest for Motorsport Week I make the case. You can have a read of it here: https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/24595

2017 Russian Grand Prix review for Motor Sport Magazine

By The Russian Presidential Press and Information Office -
http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/54410/photos, CC
BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/
For my latest retro classic F1 race article for Motor Sport Magazine, I had the tricky task of writing about a classic Russian Grand Prix. Tricky, as the Russian race has only been on the calendar since 2014 and, more to the point, in the time since it has hardly been known for providing thrilling fare.

But in 2017 we had a pretty decent one, on a couple of levels. Valtteri Bottas was just three races on from the F1 equivalent of winning the lottery, getting the Mercedes drive. However he already was under pressure.
Yet he always excels at the Sochi track and did do again. Not only did he lead his prestigious team-mate Lewis Hamilton by some way he beat what had looked like untouchable Ferraris to take his first ever F1 win. And he did so under extreme pressure.

For Motor Sport I tell the tale. You can have a read here: https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/opinion/f1/bottas-makes-his-f1-breakthrough-2017-russian-grand-prix

What Motorcycle Parts are Checked at an MOT?

Owning a motorbike is a lot of responsibility. It is about taking care of your ride and ensuring it is legally fit to be on the road. MOT or Ministry of Transport test is an annual test for vehicle safety, roadworthiness aspects and exhaust emissions. To avoid hefty fines of up to £1,000, you need to have annual motorbike MOT evaluation done. In the UK when your motorbike is older than three years you need to get MOT done every 12 months.

An evaluation of the overall condition of the motorcycle helps determine what parts need service and which should be replaced. Also, the cost of Motorbike MOT done by a mechanic is much lower and lets you know whether your motorcycle is roadworthy or not.

If you are wondering what all motorcycle parts are checked at an MOT, here’s a list:

Suspension and Steering

Foremost importance is given to suspension and steering as both are an important part for road safety of the motorbikes. Also, it is important for the safety of others on the road. Your mechanic will go through the most crucial parts that include head bearings, damping effect, swinging arm, forks, handlebars, grips mounting and shock absorbers. All these parts must be secured to your motorcycle and working normally. Any malfunctioning part will need complete replacement.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

2010 Singapore Grand Prix review for Motor Sport Magazine

chensiyuan [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.
My latest historic F1 review for Motor Sport Magazine is here, and this time it's for the forthcoming Singapore Grand Prix.

I resist the temptation to re-tell Crashgate for the nth time, and instead look back to the 2010 race. It's a race that stands up on its own merits. And Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel had a race of their own.

It wasn't one of those thrill-a-minute affairs, rather it was one of those ultra-intense ones. But no less gripping for that.

You can have a read of me telling the story here: https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/opinion/f1/alonso-and-vettel-s-game-two-players-2010-singapore-grand-prix

Friday, 13 September 2019

New Motorsport Week article: Why we shouldn’t write off Sebastian Vettel yet

How exactly could the Italian Grand Prix have gone worse for Sebastian Vettel?

Photo: Octane Photography
The fact that you have to think underlines just how regrettable it was for him.

And ever since, his time at Ferrari, perhaps even in F1, has been declared roundly as akin to the man slung over his associate's shoulder in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Either dead, or it'll be dead very soon as it's very ill.

But, ever the contrarian, I wonder if we're being premature. There remains a possibility that Vettel can recover. Although, for a few reasons, it'll be difficult.

And in my latest for Motorsport Week I explore what might lie next for Vettel. For good and ill. You can have a read here: https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/24403