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.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

These are the best places to watch the Monaco Grand Prix, by Rob Antonis

The Monaco Grand Prix is easily the most exciting and iconic Formula 1 event that can be attended. Its setting in the harbour and streets of Monte Carlo offers a very unique feeling, as the compactness of the race allows you to feel really close to the action. It is of course a prestigious event, and the average Formula 1 fan may not be able to afford the premium packages on offer, but any chance to attend this great race should be jumped on immediately!

Photo: Octane Photography
The excitement of a Monaco Grand Prix is always best experienced when you're there to see and feel it, and that's why every Formula 1 fan with the means to do so should attend without question. The world's rich and famous know this and, for this reason, they can often be spotted in various premium locations at this event. You won't usually see them in the stands exposed to the elements though, as there are way better places to watch the racing action like the large variety of luxury hospitality packages that enable stunning views of the race combined with the highest levels of food-and-drink service for those who can afford it. Three viewing points that offer unique angles on the action are listed below.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

An Exclusive Preview of the Upcoming Team Lotus Print Book... by Ibrar Malik

Team Lotus: Struggling Beyond The Post Colin Chapman Era (print version) is almost upon us! Its expected release date is 1/5/2020 and if you would like to find out more please click here. Within that link it is explained if a certain number of people pre-order the book it will reduce its price. If you would like to pre-order the print book, then please contact me here with your name and what Lotus F1 car from between 1983 to 1989 you would like your special Team Lotus A4 print, that will come with the book, to be of. There is no deposit required at this stage, and you will then be contacted in due course with further details on how to pre-order the book.

***Please note we are only planning to print 100 copies of this book, and unless demand dictates otherwise that will be it. Thus pre-ordering is highly recommended to avoid disappointment***

Meanwhile, an abridged Audiobook or E-Book version is currently available to buy by clicking on the relevant links. More details over what is included along with a free sample is also contained within those links. It is worth noting the E-book is merely a "demo" for the print book (to use a gaming analogy) to satisfy ourselves there would be enough interest. It is also why the E-Book and Audiobooks are priced so cheaply at only £9.99. Click here to read Motorsport News's review of the E-Book which had a lot of positive things to say about the book's level of research and detail. Obviously we will work hard to ensure the other comments are used to constructively improve the print book's conclusions. The E-Book and Audiobooks (which should be available on Audible shortly) are really for people who can't afford £25.99 for the print book. Below helps you decide which book is best for you.


New Motor Sport Magazine article: When Ayrton Senna was nearly banned from F1

By Gabriele - Cropped from Image:
Ayrton Senna Imola 1989.jpg. Original at
 https://www.flickr.com/photos/gabriele/
46502612, CC BY 2.0, https://
commons.wikimedia.org/w/
index.php?curid=1036511
Imagine Ayrton Senna being banned in advance from the 1990 Formula 1 season.

That rather than claiming the second of his three world title he'd been forced to sit the season out. And that the driver replacing him in a race seat at all-conquering McLaren Honda was Jonathan Palmer.

Imagine too that this followed weeks wherein McLaren as a team being kept off the grid looked a possibility too.

It all seems unthinkable. But almost exactly 30 years ago it, briefly, happened.

For Motor Sport Magazine I tell the tale. You can have a read here: https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/articles/single-seaters/f1/when-ayrton-senna-was-nearly-banned-from-f1

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

New Motor Sport Magazine article: The races that never happened: F1's cancelled grands prix

Hamel Alrayeh [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org
/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
Today the not-exactly-surprising confirmation has landed that the forthcoming Chinese Grand Prix, scheduled for April 19, is at least postponed due to coronavirus.

But as with most things in Formula 1, grands prix being postponed or cancelled is far from being new.

So for Motor Sport Magazine I have taken a look at five notable previous times that F1 races were canned.

You can have a read here.

Saturday, 1 February 2020

New Motorsport Week article: Alonso’s Formula 1 return – is it all that unlikely?

Photo: Octane Photography
So, as far as Fernando Alonso is concerned Formula 1 is "unfinished business". And any return would not be on the basis of merely making the numbers up.

His driving talents are not in much question, but as often is the case with Alonso matters are not quite as simple as that.

With all this, for Motorsport Week I explore how likely a comeback is.

You can have a read here: https://www.motorsportweek.com/2020/02/01/feature-alonsos-formula-1-return-all-that-unlikely/

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Top Performing Sunglasses For Winter Sport

Snow is one of the most reflective surfaces when it comes to light, so wearing sunglasses for winter sports is absolutely essential to avoid harmful UV rays, even without direct sunlight. Snow blindness (when bright light reflected from snow affects vision) is a real threat when skiing or snowboarding, particularly at high altitudes and travelling at high speeds.

Hitting the slopes this winter? Make sure your ski goggles or ski glasses lenses provide 100% UV protection to ensure the best experiences.

To make choosing the ideal pair of winter sports eyewear easy, SmartBuyGlasses provides you with a list of the top recommended products which are worth to be invested in before heading to the mountains.

Top Recommended Goggles

If you're planning on skiing or snowboarding down the slopes this winter, consider equipping yourself with some quality ski goggles; they are your best choice for comfort, visibility and eye protection.

In low-light and fogging conditions, yellow, gold and amber lenses filter out blue light. Shadows are emphasised to see better the contours in the snow. They also work well in moderate and variable light conditions. Check out the Bloc Evolution E014 or the Bloc Small Fit Moon JM01.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Win a Team Lotus Audio Book by Ibrar Malik

On Talking about F1 we have been very pleased to feature blogs previewing the books of Ibrar Malik.

Ibrar's debut work delved into the controversial 1994 Formula 1 season, and he has just released his second book: Team Lotus, Struggling Beyond The Post Colin Chapman Era.

And we have five copies of the audio book to give away to Talking about F1 readers.

All you have to do is answer the very simple question below.

Addendum 19/01/2020: Apologies, something I forgot to mention when initially publishing this is that the audio book codes we have to give away only work in the US, Canada and Australia, so the competition is only open to those based there.

We will pick five winners at random from the correct answers and will be in touch if you're one of the lucky quintet. Good luck!

THE COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED

Team Lotus, Struggling Beyond The Post Colin Chapman Era, is now available to purchase in E Book format here (a free sample is contained within that link) or Audio Book format here.

You can also read more detail about the book here: http://www.1994f1.com/lotusbook/

Friday, 17 January 2020

New Motorsport Week article: When Jim Clark took part in the RAC Rally

Leo A Capaldi [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.
org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]
Fernando Alonso has been keeping us entertained recently, by having a go at the Dakar Rally. This is the latest leg of his outlier path of being a Formula 1 star trying his hand at other motorsport disciplines.

But it's also a throwback path, as such an existence used to be common. And even making the large shift from F1 all the way to rallying is not entirely new.

For Motorsport Week I look back to 1966 and Jim Clark taking on the RAC Rally, the Rally GB of its day. And he performed sensationally.

You can have a read of the tale here: https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/25827