Saturday, 3 December 2016

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Formula 1's Game Of Thrones

Nico Rosberg's shock retirement has just kicked off Formula 1's silly season to fill THE throne that will be left vacant by our reigning World Champion in 2017. Why the hell did Rosberg quit? We'd have loved to see him defend his title against Lewis Hamilton. But is this exactly why he quit?

We consider his move 'ballsy', given that quitting at the top is not everyone's cup of tea. But has he made sport suddenly look like a sales target? We discuss this in our special episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, also our third of the week! (Thank you Nico for making us work this hard!)

Who will Mercedes replace Nico Rosberg with? And will Rosberg's retirement make them go slow on Hamilton's impending sanction for his disobedience in Abu Dhabi? Talk of Rosberg stealing Hamilton's thunder twice over in the last few days.

Social media is abuzz with suggestions that Fernando Alonso should leave McLaren for Mercedes and Formula 1 should re-live the epic Hamilton-Alonso story that ended abruptly in 2007. Apart from Alonso, we discuss a string of other names only to add to Mercedes' confusion. Irrespective of everyone's efforts, it'll be Bernie Ecclestone's efforts that will count the most to ensure that Mercedes hire a driver who can consistently challenge Hamilton in 2017.

Tune in!

(Season 2016, Episode 42)

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Coin Collection by Rosland Capital

You may recall me a couple of times earlier this season writing about premier precious metals asset firm Rosland Capital releasing and distributing The Formula One Collection, a new limited edition series of F1 themed coin collections.

The limited edition .25 oz gold coin celebrating
the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
This collection includes individual one-quarter ounce gold coins to celebrate a few of the most prestigious modern-day Grands Prix specifically.

And the latest limited edition coin collection is here, commemorating the season-closing and title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The latest addition to the Formula 1 collection includes a .25oz gold coin, 5oz coin in gold and silver, and a 5kg gold coin that commemorate the FIA Formula One World Championship and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Minted by Swiss-based PAMP, the limited edition coins are distributed by precious metals dealer Rosland Capital. For more Formula 1 coin news, fans can follow along with Rosland Capital on Facebook.

You can also find more information, including on purchasing these, on the collection here:

The latest Lights to Flag Podcast - 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Review, Part 2

Here as promised is the second part of our Lights to Flag podcast Abu Dhabi Grand Prix review.

In it Ewan, Adam Corlett and I look beyond the Merc pair to discuss those behind, including Red Bull's strategy and Force India's amazing fourth place finish in the constructors' table. We also look ahead to 2017 with its calendar just published and its new rules.

Part 1, where we discuss Nico Rosberg's shock retirement and the Abu Dhabi title showdown, is here.

You also can interact with the podcast via its Twitter account and on its Facebook page. If you want to appear on it give us a shout too. And if you have comments then get them to us via the various channels and we'll read out the good ones on a future episode!

Friday, 2 December 2016

The latest Lights to Flag Podcast - 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Review, Part 1

The latest Lights to Flag podcast is here, and it's a special one for a few reasons. It's the first of two parts, and the first instalment starts with Ewan and I discussing today's astonishing new that the new world champion Nico Rosberg is retiring with immediate effect. We look at the news, Rosberg's F1 legacy and discuss who might replace him at Mercedes.

Then Ewan and I are joined by Adam Corlett to reflect on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix title showdown wherein Rosberg clinched the championship. We look at the race, as well as have it out on Lewis Hamilton's notorious race tactics.

And Part 2, in which we'll look at how the other teams performed this campaign, the 2017 calendar and revised rules, will be with us shortly...

You also can interact with the podcast via its Twitter account and on its Facebook page. If you want to appear on it give us a shout too. And if you have comments then get them to us via the various channels and we'll read out the good ones on a future episode!

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Inside Line F1 Podcast - What Will Mercedes Do With Lewis Hamilton?

What should Mercedes do with Lewis Hamilton after his public act of disobedience in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix? To us, all of it seems to be extra PR that Mercedes, Hamilton and even Formula 1 are enjoying. But seriously, what will Mercedes do?

As for Nico Rosberg, he settled the 'worthy World Champion' debate by successfully overtaking Max Verstappen (yes, he overtook Verstappen)! In this episode, we also speak about Jenson Button's farewell race and how a retirement before his sabbatical makes perfect sense. Irony of life, maybe. Although, we believe he'll be perfect as a TV host, with or without his bubbly!

We were the first ones to point out that Sebastian Vettel acted on purpose when he held station and not overtake Nico Rosberg in the race. Was this a calculated move by Vettel to ensure that Hamilton's title tally remains at three and not add up to his tally of four? Cheeky!

And thank God Verstappen ran into the other Nico, but given his pace, strategy and Hamilton's disinterest in winning the race, could he have won in Abu Dhabi? Also, Rosberg's title-winning party featured Ricciardo, but did his shoey make an appearance too? Keke believes that Hamilton got lucky twice and we're still scratching our heads about the second instance.  Lastly, we welcome Zak Brown to Formula 1 in our own little ways.

Tune in!

(Season 2016, Episode 41)

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix review for Motor Verso - Sublime and ridiculous

Photo: Octane Photography
It may not always feel this way, but in F1 pretty much anything can happen. Really. I mean someone trying to win a world championship by driving slowly?

We got it. But nevertheless it contributed to an extremely tense title showdown. Yet one that again in a chief theme of recent weeks somehow ended with the drivers' championship rather as you were.

I give my take on all of the Abu Dhabi goings on in my latest Motor Verso race review, which you can read here:

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.

Monday, 28 November 2016

New Grand Prix Times article: Nico Rosberg: 2016 World Champion - Deserve's got nothing to do with it

We could have seen the question coming. Even though it's a silly question. As no driver, certainly not the front-running ones, has likely ever defied allocation quite like Nico Rosberg.

Photo: Octane Photography
The silly question being whether the newly-crowned Nico is a deserving champion. Even though the World Drivers' Championship isn't the sort of prize that you can just fall backwards in to.

In my latest for Grand Prix Times I explain that with Nico's world title, in Clint Eastwood's words, "deserve's got nothing to do with it". That he's a worthy champion for a number of reasons, as well as look into why he might have been so hard to pin down in the public mind for all of this time.

You can have a read here:

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Rosberg Wins, But Was Hamilton Fair?

In a special and unplanned episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, we celebrate Nico Rosberg's first-ever Formula 1 World Championship victory. We debate whether Lewis Hamilton's tactic to slow down Rosberg was fair. A clash of objectives between a team trying to win every race it can and its driver trying to win his fourth Drivers' Championship!

How will Mercedes settle Hamilton's disobedience of a team instruction? And should Mercedes have interfered this much in the race given that the Constructors' Championship was sealed many races ago?

Tune in!

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Abu Dhabi GP Report - A drawn out affair

So the chief theme of recent weeks continued, somehow. After more than an hour and a half of racing in Abu Dhabi's season finale we ended up where we started, somehow.

Nico Rosberg, once again, did what he had to,
and the championship is his
Photo: Octane Photography
It was not a final round containing a dramatic final twist. Or great drama of any variety. Indeed calling it racing as I did above probably is stretching matters a little. But what we did get was tension. A lot of it.

The chief theme of Lewis Hamilton winning and Nico Rosberg following him in was unabated, and it meant that Nico indeed takes the 2016 World Drivers' Championship.

But more broadly we got whatever the F1 equivalent is of a Dutch auction, when the imperious Lewis made his final throw at retaining his world title. By driving slowly. He was warned by his team in advance not to do any backing up of the chasing Nico into the following cars, but it didn't stop him trying - indeed nothing was likely to stop him in his quest. We had an extraordinary situation of a driver - a la Michael Schumacher in Malaysia 1999 - spending most of the way trying to go slowly. But still leading. Just like 17 years ago you'd have forgiven him for for looking in the mirrors and wondering where the competition was, and why they weren't getting a move on...

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Abu Dhabi Qualifying - It all makes sense

There were plenty of reasons in advance to expect that, whatever else happened in our latest F1 title showdown, that Lewis Hamilton would annihilate them on track.

Lewis Hamilton has dominated this Abu Dhabi weekend
Photo: Octane Photography
On the top of his form and mood, having won the previous three from pole. Determinedly relishing the role of the previously-unfortunate and currently-unlikely comeback kid. Plus he's quite the specialist at this Yas Marina track in Abu Dhabi, particularly its final sector. And so far annihilation is what we've got. Even F1 makes transparent sense sometimes.

It's looked that way all weekend. The title-battling Mercedes pair have been on top for the most part, and Lewis of them has looked a step ahead almost always. This story continued unabated in qualifying. Lewis was smooth, immaculate and imperious throughout, and set a stunning final time of 1m 38.755 to bag pole position for tomorrow's decider, seemingly without effort.

"Lewis did an incredible job, an incredible lap - you can't say more," an observing Niki Lauda noted, as ever summing matters up succinctly.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

The latest Lights to Flag Podcast - 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Preview

Here's the latest Lights to Flag podcast. Ewan, Jack Amey and I to look ahead to our showdown to the 2016 drivers' championship in Abu Dhabi, and our Nico vs. Lewis battle. We look at what we can expect, both for the Mercedes and for their rivals.

We also look at other recent F1 matters, such as that it's likely to be Jenson Button's final Grand Prix, the regulation changes that await for next year, Zak Brown's appointment at McLaren, as well as the upshots of Bernie Ecclestone's recent comments on the future of certain races as well as the mooting of shorter Grands Prix.

You also can interact with the podcast via its Twitter account and on its Facebook page. If you want to appear on it give us a shout too. And if you have comments then get them to us via the various channels and we'll read out the good ones on a future episode!

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Inside Line F1 Podcast - The Best Driver Did Not Win

As the Hamilton vs. Rosberg title battle goes down to the wire, the big question is who will win the 2016 World Drivers' Championship. While the odds may be stacked in Rosberg's favour, this is Formula 1 - and nothing's over till it's over. Could Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing be Lewis Hamilton's best ally in the 'duel of the desert'? Here's a prediction we're going to stick our heads out and make - respective of the outcome, when fans look back on the season they'll probably believe that 'the best driver did not win'.

Niki Lauda thinks that Max Verstappen could be the greatest ever Formula 1 driver - but he needs to be "careful" on his way. Cute that Lauda still thinks that Max will listen to him. As we all know, Max Verstappen listens to NOBODY! Meanwhile, Carlos Sainz admits that the drivers themselves don't understand Formula 1's rules. What hope do we ordinary mortals have then?

Bernie Ecclestone said some pretty interesting (and scandalous) things last week. He said Singapore "was just an airport" before Formula 1 happened and talked about Americans and their short attention spans. Bernie proposed a new double header race format and we tell you what we think about it. Of course, as fans, we're thrilled!

Mithila's wish for Abu Dhabi is for fans to be treated to a serious Hamilton vs. Rosberg wheel to wheel battle on track. Could there be a better way to decide the World Championship? Formula 1 bids goodbye to two great drivers, Felipe Massa and Jenson Button. Finally, we make a confident prediction about Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. Tune in!

(Season 2016, Episode 39)