Friday, 22 June 2018

Inside Line F1 Podcast - The Romain Grosjean Interview

In a bonus episode before the 2018 French Grand Prix, we have the senior-most French driver in Formula 1, Romain Grosjean, as a guest on the Inside Line F1 Podcast. In this week's special episode, we speak to the Haas F1 Team driver about his season so far, emotions about finally having a home race in France, ambitions for a Ferrari drive and his contract extension talks for 2019.

Also, Grosjean, who stood on the podium of the 2013 Indian Grand Prix, has a special message for Indian fans. Tune in!

(Season 2018, Episode 19)
Subscribe to the Inside Line F1 Podcast on iTunes and on audioBoom (RSS feed) for your weekly dose of Formula 1 humour

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Red Bull Demote Renault, Promote Honda

Renault has joined the list of demotions at Red Bull Racing, while Honda find themselves with an unexpected promotion. In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, Mithila and Kunal wonder what would crack first in 2019 - the Honda engine or Max Verstappen? (But of course, we're kidding!). On a serious note, Red Bull Racing seem to have a made a sensible decision, let's see if Daniel Ricciardo thinks so too.

Has Winnie Harlow triggered the FIA to replace all flags altogether and digitise them? Let's hope not! In the digital version of Formula 1 (the F1 2018 video game), fans have the option to remove the central pillar of the 'halo' for better visibility, an option that almost every driver in the real world of Formula 1 would love to have to. And of course, we look forward to this weekend's French Grand Prix. Tune in!

(Season 2018, Episode 18)

Subscribe to the Inside Line F1 Podcast on iTunes and on audioBoom (RSS feed) for your weekly dose of Formula 1 humour

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

French GP Betting Preview - French fancy

As F1 betting calls go, they hardly get tougher than for the returning French Grand Prix this weekend. Partly as it's a Paul Ricard venue that F1 hasn't visited since 1990 (and was very different then in any case) so there is no local form to go on. Also it's been resurfaced for its return so any learning from recent testing there has an asterisk against it too. Plus recent rounds tell us that there is very little to choose between 'big three' of Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull - and that outcomes can be decided in the margins that are hard to predict in advance. A mistake here, an inspired qualifying lap there...

Montreal confirmed that Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari
lead the way in 2018
Photo: Octane Photography
Sebastian Vettel's pole and win last time out at Montreal reminded us that he and the Ferrari have been 2018's most potent combination - something indeed borne out by fastest lap averages from the season so far (even if it hasn't always been borne out by results). And the Paul Ricard track doesn't look all that far removed from Montreal's - lengthy straights separated mainly by technical turns and switch-backs.

Despite this old habits die hard for the bookies as Lewis Hamilton remains their favourite to win this time at 13/8. But given everything the better value is with Vettel, at 9/5 for the win and 7/5 for the pole (Hamilton's odds for pole are 6/4).

Mercedes as we know had a tough time in Canada which came as quite the shock to all concerned. Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas indeed has on this basis declared it a "fact" that Mercedes is not the favourite this weekend.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Paul Ricard Preview - New but far from new

In F1, as we are often reminded, nothing should be ruled out. However absurd it may seem.

F1 returns to a familiar place this weekend
Photo: Octane Photography
The French Grand Prix is an apt tale in this. This weekend it at last returns to F1 after a decade away, at the Paul Ricard circuit near Marseille. Even allowing for the habitual agonising that accompanies the calendar choices, this recent French loss likely has been the most egregious move.

France is where motorsport's roots first sprouted. The first ever organised motor race took place there in July 1894 as did the first Grand Prix in 1906.

And a French Grand Prix appeared on the F1 calendar every year aside from 1955, when it was cancelled in the wake of the Le Mans disaster. Many great French drivers, teams and manufacturers have and still do bestride F1. But after 2008, after years of threatening by Bernie Ecclestone, the round was dropped - the familiar tale of lack of funding. And of F1 pitilessly abandoning its heritage and core audience in the name of chasing quick bucks.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

New Motorsport Week article: The rights and wrongs of flag gate

Photo: Octane Photography
Perhaps it reflected that precious little else happened to keep us distracted last Sunday at Montreal, but you'll likely need to be a cave dweller to not be aware that in the Canadian Grand Prix the chequered flag was waved early.

As an error in F1 it's far from unprecedented, but this time it had one heck of a fallout.

For Motorsport Week I therefore stick my oar into 'flag gate' - and look at its many rights and wrongs, some of which extended far beyond a flag being waved a bit too soon.

You can check out my take here: https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/18617

Motor Verso F1 2018 Season Summary - Canadian Grand Prix review

Photo: Octane Photography
The Motor Verso F1 2018 summary is duly updated with my take on Montreal's Canadian Grand Prix last Sunday and its many implications.

And as ever there's much else added besides for your amusement - the best of F1 video, great photos and an ever-crystallising full season race-by-race review by little old me.

Check it out here: https://www.motorverso.com/2018-f1-summary/

Do check out the Motor Verso site too; you'll find motoring news, car reviews and features - the team on the site carry out week-long test drives of the latest cars - as well as photos and videos of the machines.

Talking about F1 in Feedspot Top 10 UK F1 Blogs

I'm very pleased to be able to say that this very site Talking about F1 has been selected in the Top 10 of Feedspot's rundown of The Best UK F1 Blogs, selected from thousands of UK F1 blogs on the web using a variety of criteria including search and social metrics the Feedspot panel's expert review.

You'll see on the right hand side of this page that our badge saying as much takes pride of place.

You can check out the full rundown of the Top 10 UK F1 Blogs list here - there's some excellent F1 blogs on there for you to check out.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Canadian GP Report - Righting the past's wrongs

In this one, the sense of the past was conspicuous.

In a special place for Ferrari Sebastian Vettel took the win
Photo: Octane Photography
Sebastian Vettel took Canadian Grand Prix victory for Ferrari, astonishingly the Italian team's first win in Canada since 2004. And the previous day he had taken its first pole here since 2001.

All this was done on the 40th anniversary of F1's first Montreal visit which then was won by local hero and archetypal Ferrari pilot Gilles Villeneuve, after whom the circuit is named. The four decade milestone was marked on the track's 'Salut Gilles' etching on the start line as well as by son Jacques taking that 1978 Ferrari on a demonstration lap before the race. Judging by the crowd's response to Vettel's win there remains plenty of Scuderia loyalty here.

"The Canadian tifosi, I think they have been waiting long enough for Ferrari to do well here," Vettel noted afterwards. "Forty years after Gilles won his Grand Prix here, I think it's great to show that Ferrari is still alive, that Ferrari is still there, winning races. I'm just extremely proud to become part of that story."

Saturday, 9 June 2018

New AutoClassics article - How Montreal has established itself as a Formula 1 favourite

Photo: alessio mazzocco/CC
We all know that Montreal's Circuit Giles Villeneuve, host of the Canadian Grand Prix, is an F1 favourite.

And for AutoClassics, marking the 40th anniversary year of F1's first visit to the track in 1978, I spoke to Mario Andretti, Derek Daly, Alastair Caldwell and the designer of the Montreal circuit Roger Peart to find out the fascinating tale of how the Montreal venue host first established itself as such.

For example, did you know that we would never have had a Grand Prix in Montreal had it not been for the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team?

Find out how, and more, via this link: https://www.autoclassics.com/posts/reviews/Canadian%20grand-prix-formula-1-favourite

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Canadian GP Betting Preview - Isle of Lewis?

Races at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve around Montreal's Ile Notre Dame are synonymous with madcap action and results that are hard to predict. Since 2000 not much more than one race in three here has been won from pole. While as usual in 2018 a coherent case can be made in advance for - and against - the prospects of each of the big three teams of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

Montreal wins usually mean one person in particular
Photo: Octane Photography
But on another level a Montreal race is a straightforward call. As Lewis Hamilton has won here six times including the last three. He is very much a local specialist - bravery on the brakes and hustling a car through chicanes with no room for error is just his thing. He tends to beam throughout his Canadian visits.

There is the question of whether Mercedes can master the three softest tyre compounds this weekend as it very much didn't in Monaco, but on the other hand it came to Montreal 12 months ago under a similar cloud and in the event took a comfortable 1-2.

And luckily these sort of doubts mean Hamilton's odds to prevail are a bit longer than they might have been - 7/5 for him to win and 13/8 for the pole both look good.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Montreal Preview - In the spirit of Gilles

If you're looking for an adjective to sum up the F1 fraternity - participants and observers alike - then 'quarrelsome' may be near the top of your list.

Inimitable Montreal
Photo: Octane Photography
It applies to views on the venues too. But there is one on which there is close to unanimity and in the positive - the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix. The latest visit to which is this weekend.

There are many reasons for its popularity. Madcap action is a positive expectation here. The layout ensures plenty of overtaking. The nearby walls can and frequently have punished errors. It even has its own 'Wall of Champions' which as the name suggests has ensnared the best. It is a place that rewards the brave.

Safety cars and carbon shards are a common feature, and these also have turned many-a Montreal race onto its head. Outcomes here are not so easy to predict - since the turn of the millennium only a little over one Montreal race in three has been won from pole.

Friday, 1 June 2018

The Most Successful and Worst Car of 1994, What Do They Have in Common?, by Ibrar Malik

Answer - they shared the same ancestor. The Pacific PR01 car failed to finish a race in 1994 whereas the Benetton B194 won eight Grands Prix, yet amazingly the two cars originated from the same 1991 design. It's just the Pacific was a less refined version of the Benetton.

In 1991 a high-quality design team headed by Rory Byrne and Pat Symonds secretly worked on a Reynard F1 car. However, the project was eventually shelved and the team moved back to Benetton for 1992. "I was a director of the Reynard F1 effort so knew a lot about it," explains Willem Toet, Benetton's Head of Aerodynamics in 1994 and one of the key contributors towards the upcoming book. "Pat Symonds, Rory Byrne and Adrian Reynard were the other directors. Afterwards we all went back to Benetton because Rory did a deal for the whole group. I don't think there is a person on the planet who knows the story better than I do." Their 1991 Reynard design morphed into the race winning 1992 Benetton and the B194 car, which Michael Schumacher used to win the 1994 drivers' championship, was an advanced evolution of it.


Some extremely rare photos of the 1991 Reynard F1 project conducting wind tunnel testing with Willem Toet.