Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Abu Dhabi GP Betting Preview - A tale of two drivers

Abu Dhabi for our final round of the year is the polar opposite of the penultimate one in Brazil. If Interlagos is the itinerary's most wacky stop-off this at the Yas Marina circuit is the most standard. And just as was the case at the opposite end of the scale, this create problems but also opportunities for the F1 gambler.

Abu Dhabi Grands Prix are mainly about two men
Photo: Octane Photography
History is helpful - it tells us there are only two places to look for an Abu Dhabi pole and win. In eight F1 visits only two have not been won by Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel. And even if the previous wasn't this stark they'd still be the two clear favourites to be on top this weekend.

Lewis can be got at 19/20 to triumph and Seb at 11/4 - and either looks good value.

They're good bets for pole as well, and again history is on our side as Lewis and Seb between them have five from eight Yas Marina poles. Lewis can be backed at 5/7 to bag pole this time while Seb is at 9/2.

Given all this the rest may be fighting over third place at most, but if the Mercedes is to be strong as it was at Interlagos, and Abu Dhabi's high temperatures should suit the Merc too, then Valtteri Bottas looks reasonable value at 7/10 to finish on the podium.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Can You Tell The Car By Its Daytime Running Lights? Quiz by Select Car Leasing

For the petrol heads who think they can easily tell apart their Hyundais from their Hondas, their Subarus from their Seats and the Peugeots from the Porsches, the ultimate test of knowledge is whether you can still tell these apart, simply by their Daytime Running Lights.

Car leasing experts Select have created the quiz to test your prowess as a petrol head or to see if you'll crash and burn. You can play below.

I got two out of eight correct, and I'm sure you can beat that...

Monday, 20 November 2017

Abu Dhabi Preview - The sun goes down

The sun goes down on another F1 campaign. And with this analogy it's appropriate that the final round is the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - F1's first and so far only day-to-night event.

In an appropriate place, the sun goes down on the
latest F1 season in Abu Dhabi
Photo: Octane Photography
And it's not only down to start time scheduling that the Yas Marina round is a world away from the previous one at Interlagos. If the Brazilian stop-off is modern F1's Bermuda Triangle Abu Dhabi's perhaps is its most standard.

While if the Brazil round possibly is the most old school on the calendar this one arguably is its most modern. Wide, smooth and open replaces narrow, bumpy and enclosed. Nearby things to hit are replaced by vast run off areas. Mighty turns are replaced by fiddly. Rustic and well worn becomes towering and gleaming. Altitude becomes sea level. Weather that can be anywhere in the range becomes that of the unchanging desert...

But there are parallels. Both tracks are two parts full throttle and one part incongruously twisty. And if all (including Mercedes) entered the Interlagos weekend worried that the twisty bit would let Ferrari and Red Bull get ahead, it in fact set the pace. And did so pretty crushingly, even if circumstance kept it away from the top step of the podium.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Inside Line F1 Podcast - The Mika Hakkinen Interview

Here it is! Here's our Mika Hakkinen special episode. We spent much of the last weekend with the Flying Finn as he visited India to promote his 'Never Drink & Drive' campaign. We had the former World Champion on our Facebook Live show as well on our podcast and yes, we did #JoinThePact in Hakkinen's presence. Have you? (Here's where you can:

In this week's special episode, we get Mika Hakkinen to review the 2017 Formula 1 Season, his views on the current superstar drivers (Hamilton, Vettel, Verstappen, etc.) and what he believes the future of his Finnish compatriots (Bottas & Raikkonen) will be. Also, what does he make of Fernando Alonso's quest to be the 'world's best racer'?

Apart from the current season, we discuss Hakkinen's career - his first win and what was his reaction when he lost most of his trophies to a house fire in 2008! Finally, is a McLaren team management role on Hakkinen's mind, and outside of Formula 1, who is his most challenging rival? Tune in!

(Season 2017, Episode 36)
Subscribe to the Inside Line F1 Podcast on iTunes and audioBoom for your weekly dose of Formula 1 humour.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

New Motorsport Week article: Reflecting on Rene Arnoux

By Peter Moricz - Photo taken
by the author, CC BY-SA
 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.
With some of F1's periodic wacky goings-on you may be forgiven for thinking we can never have seen the like before.

Some of the goings-on in Interlagos got very wacky, not least Toro Rosso vs. Renault, and the possibility swirling that the latter may take its engines away from the former forthwith.

But we had seen the like before, and the engines actually were taken away. And to some it will not be entirely a surprise that the culprit was Rene Arnoux.

So for Motorsport Week I wrote about Rene Arnoux. But, frankly, there is never not a good time to write about Rene Arnoux.

You can read all about the inimitable Frenchman, and my thinking, here:

Monday, 13 November 2017

Brazilian Grand Prix review for Motor Verso - More than meets the eye

By Eduardo Guarizo Pimentel - Formula 1, CC BY 2.0,
There's something about F1 dead rubbers; there's something too about races at Interlagos.

The Brazilian Grand Prix simmered rather than boiled, but typical of Interlagos the unusual went on, and there was a bit more to it all than met the eye...

You can read my take on it all for Motor Verso via this link:

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.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Brazilian GP Report - Vettel's victory brings Ferrari fillip

On one level it seemed so simple. Valtteri Bottas's Mercedes was starting this Brazilian Grand Prix on pole, but Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari next up would be happier in race conditions, particularly as the temperature had shot up since the cool of qualifying. It would be a matter of whether he could get by.

Sebastian Vettel took a controlled victory
Photo: Octane Photography
Particularly too as Lewis Hamilton after his qualifying prang then his team replacing various engine bits would start his Merc from the pit lane.

Vettel indeed got by Bottas off the line, not so much from a better launch but a better second phase - with less wheelspin - and sliding up the inside of the Merc at turn one.

"Initially I had a very good getaway and then I had a bit of wheelspin and thought I'd missed my chance," Seb noted later.

"I think Valtteri was struggling even more off the line so I had a chance to squeeze down the inside, I think I surprised him a bit."

This was the basis of his victory. But also this is Interlagos. Things are rarely that simple here.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Interlagos Qualifying - Bottas steps into the breach

Interlagos's reputation lives. The place where things happen - however unforeseen.

Valtteri Bottas stepped up when his team mate stepped out
Photo: Octane Photography
Today's Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying session contained just the latest manifestation. Take the guy who has just claimed his latest drivers' title of four and barely missed a beat in doing so. The guy also that following practice was firm favourite for pole. Who has 72 of the things to his name.

He only went and binned it in the opening seconds - after getting a swapper on at the fast Ferradura turn his Mercedes buried deep in the barriers.

Thus Lewis Hamilton will start tomorrow's race from the back. Thus also qualifying almost immediately had its most potent protagonist removed.

Lewis seemed sanguine afterwards, but equally wasn't full of explanation about what occurred. "It shows we're all human and things happen," he mumbled.

Kunal Shah talks to the legendary Mika Hakkinen

As mentioned in an earlier post, friend of Talking about F1 Kunal Shah and his the famous Inside Line F1 Podcast is proud to announce their association with Johnnie Walker's 'never drink and drive' campaign - #JoinThePact.

And even better for us F1 fans, the legendary Mika Hakkinen is in India to promote this cause and as a part of the association Kunal is getting direct contact with the Flying Finn - and producing plenty of content for us to enjoy!

Here below is the first thing for your perusal - Kunal talks to Mika Hakkinen, in an extended interview live on Firstpost Pole Position.

The F1 double world champion gives his view on #JoinThePact, as well as has plenty to say on this latest F1 season.

This includes his take on Lewis Hamilton's place in history, Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari's challenge, McLaren and Honda, Fernando Alonso, both Red Bull pilots Max Vertsappen and Daniel Ricciardo, as well as on Mika's countrymen Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen.

He also looks back on his own racing career.

There will be content from each day Mika's spending in India - Friday, Saturday and Sunday - that we'll share on Talking about F1, and there also will be an exclusive podcast.

Tomorrow Kunal will be riding in the twin-seater F1-inspired Caparo T1 racing car (see below), so look out for stuff on that too!

Talking about F1 cheered Mika Hakkinen's career all along and now cheers for his social cause #JoinThePact. You can join the pact yourself on his pact's page:

Friday, 10 November 2017

The rise and rise of Mercedes in Formula One, by City Vehicle Leasing

Mercedes has just wrapped up its latest championship double - its fourth in a row. But of course Mercedes's Grand Prix heritage, and one of success, is considerable, and stretches back before even the F1 world championship starting in 1950.

City Vehicle Leasing has therefore charted Merc's long and glittering Grand Prix history in an infographic, which is below.The rise and rise of Mercedes in Formula 1

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Brazilian GP Betting Preview - Brazil nuts?

You know what they say about crises and opportunities. Brazilian Grands Prix at Interlagos may bring an F1 gambler out in a cold sweat, given that it's a place where anything goes down. Even more so than Monaco.

Might it be Ferrari and Red Bull on top again?
Photo: Octane Photography
But with it comes perhaps opportunities to win big, and maybe specifically so this time. Mercedes has been worried about this one apparently and not just because of the Sao Paulo track's idiom. It fears, it is said, that the twisty middle sector will suit Red Bull and Ferrari more. Plus while Interlagos's altitude isn't quite that of Mexico City it's still something and we saw in Mexico last time out that the silver car can be vulnerable when having to pile downforce on in such conditions.

And the bookies haven't quite twigged, still making Lewis Hamilton firm favourite for pole and win. The odds on Sebastian Vettel at 19/5 to claim race victory and 4/1 to get the pole look very generous - particularly the latter as in Mexico Seb showed that he remains a qualifying master even if his car isn't entirely a stick-on for pole.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Interlagos Preview - Not so dead rubber

There is something about 'dead rubber' F1 races. That the titles are decided doesn't necessarily mean a lack of drama. On the contrary, they often can provide more entertainment than the multitude of rounds beforehand that decided the honours.

Inimitable Interlagos
By Eduardo Guarizo Pimentel - Formula 1, CC BY 2.0,
Partly it's atmosphere, most of the usual rancour departs with the title tension. Partly it's that those without a drive for the following year have to make sure they distinguish themselves. And partly, conversely, those for whom the pressure is off simply can go for it.

Some of the very best races in F1 history fall into this camp - Monza in 1971, Suzuka in 2005...

And then there's where this particular dead rubber is taking place.

Interlagos, the venue for this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix, has in recent decades become an F1 calendar outlier - a throwback to the sort of venue that was once common. Here the walls and (numerous, passionate) fans remain close, the facilities remain cramped and rustic, and the driving challenge remains grand.