Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Azerbaijan GP Betting Preview - That perilous stuff

Betting on F1 in 2018 is a perilous business. A towel can be thrown over the 'big three' teams Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. Adding to the confusion the Pirelli tyres are knife edge - this has manifested most noticeably with Mercedes dropping off the pace in Bahrain and China qualifying, but Merc insists others have had rubber related variation too such as Ferrari being off it in Melbourne.

Potentially madcap Baku presents problems,
and opportunities, for the gambler
Photo: Pirelli  Media
Adding further to the confusion the claustrophobic Baku street race for this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix is one that could more generally go either way. On the basis of its inaugural race two years ago it could be a soporific demonstration run. On the basis of last year's it could be raucous with incidents, safety cars and jumbles of the order aplenty. Demonstrating as much Daniel Ricciardo won it having been 17th after an early unscheduled stop while the unlikely Lance Stroll finished on the podium.

If it remains quiet then this weekend seems a good time for Mercedes to bounce back from its woes. It dominated in Baku last year on the stopwatch particularly in Lewis Hamilton's hands - he took pole by half a second and was over a second clear of the nearest non-Merc. Dodging acrobatically between walls is just his thing.

Bookies still seem to like him and Merc but with the recent failures their odds to prevail are a bit longer than usual and may be worth your wager - 5/4 for a Lewis pole and 13/10 for a Lewis win.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Baku Preview: Contrast and potential

In 2016 F1 rocked up to a new street circuit in Baku, Azerbaijan, told to expect something "not like anything we've seen before in F1".

The Baku street circuit's challenges are unique
Photo: Pirelli Media
A lot of things have been seen before in F1 of course, but in fairness this track's challenges are somewhat detached from the modern norm. Not least in their contrasts.

A real downtown circuit. Plenty of near-to-hand walls. Much of the track claustrophobic with a twisty narrow section around the old city walls redolent of Mirabeau-Station Hairpin-Portiers at Monaco. Yet there's also a 2.1 km straight longer than anything at Monza. Appropriate for a city that likes to say it blends old and new; east and west...

Appropriately also on the basis of the two F1 races here things can go either way. We expected frolics aplenty in the first visit - safety cars and trips down narrow escape roads. Also an ultra generous DRS zone leaving even quick cars vulnerable to being overtaken, particularly on restarts. The GP2 rounds indeed gave us all of that.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Max Verstappen Should Get A Sports Psychologist

There we said it, well someone had to. We know Max Verstappen has been smug about working with a sports psychologist, but maybe it is time that he does? Some of the world's top athletes do so and Verstappen is on his journey to becoming one - this is one vital support system that he should definitely consider as we all wait for his temperament to come on par with his talent!

In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, Mithila and Kunal talk of Mercedes' multiple errors in the opening three rounds of 2018. Despite their shortcomings and lack of performance, how is it that Mercedes are still the favourites for the season? They celebrate Daniel Ricciardo's win while also hailing Red Bull Racing's impeccable team work. Also, would you rather that Formula 1 be a sport or a spectacle or both? Hear our views, tune in!

(Season 2018, Episode 13)

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

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

New Motorsport Week article: Why drivers still make a difference in Formula 1

Photo: Octane Photography
There are many common modern F1 laments. And common among them is that the driver doesn't make a difference, not like back in the day at any stretch.

In my latest for Motorsport Week I put the claim to the test.

Point one: do we overstate the extent that in previous eras drivers could make a difference over and above their equipment? Point two: even these days are there not plenty of examples of drivers making a difference? A driver's impact is not always in the ways we may expect either.

You can have a read of my thinking via this link: https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/17758

David Leslie: 10 years on his legacy remains

Photo by Tony Harrison from Farnborough, UK (BTCC
David Leslie Brands Hatch 1996 Honda Accord) [CC BY
2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)
%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
You may be aware that I've become a regular contributor to the new FF1600website, a site covering various UK FF1600 series from paddocks, and which is looked after by Autosport Academy writers.

We've just put together a very nice article looking at David Leslie's legacy 10 years after his sad passing.

Leslie for many is most associated with being a regular BTCC race winner in the Super Touring era, yet he was about much more than that and his legacy is one that remains tangible in today's racing.

You can read all about it here: https://ff1600website.com/2018/04/16/david-leslie-10-years-on-his-legacy-remains/

Monday, 16 April 2018

Tips To Maintain Your Vintage Car's Look

Most cars are meant to be practical for everyday use, but some purely exist just for pleasure. If you're the owner of a vintage car, then you understand. You also know that even though you don't drive your vintage car that often, it still requires routine maintenance to keep it in excellent condition. Whether you're a new owner or a veteran one, you can benefit from these tips on preserving your car's awesome look.

By Rept0n1x [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/
licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/
copyleft/fdl.html)], from Wikimedia Commons
Use Auto Covers

You may already know to use a cover, but not all auto covers are the same. Different varieties exist to serve different purposes. Lightweight covers are best for indoor use or transporting your car to a show. If your car stays outside, you need a heavy-duty, all-weather type for maximum protection. Get a custom cover for the right fit.

When inclement weather occurs, a car storage bag guards against flood damage. For long-term storage, a storage bubble is the safest option.

Regularly Care for the Exterior and Interior

Make time to regularly wash, wax, and detail the exterior and to wipe down the inside. Keep sunlight from harming the interior by using sun shades and other protective accessories. Always keep a quality cleaner on hand for unexpected stains.

Remember To Maintain Internal Components

When it comes to vintage cars, admirers care about more than just the paint job and leather seats. They also usually want to see what's under the hood and hear the powerful performance of your car. Avoid embarrassment (and costly damage) by undergoing regular maintenance, such as getting the oil changed or the engine inspected. Drive the car often enough to keep it running.

Boost your ability to keep your car attractive and working well by checking out California Car Cover. You can find the best indoor car cover, auto care products and kits, and more to help you achieve your car's perfect look.

Motor Verso F1 2018 Season Summary - Chinese Grand Prix review

As mentioned my Motor Verso race reviews this year will all be going into a single F1 2018 season summary article, and we'll be adding my view on each race after they happen one-by-one.

Photo: Pirelli Media
And my take on a thrilling Chinese Grand Prix has just been added. We entered the weekend wondering if we'd get confirmation on whether Ferrari or Mercedes are on top, but in the end Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull ambushed both of them.

You can read my latest thoughts 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.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Chinese GP Report - Bull run

There is a theme developing in this F1 season. We think we're getting one thing; something that looks very simple. But then suddenly we get something else entirely.

Daniel Ricciardo took an unlikely win
Photo: Octane Photography
If the opening two rounds left us confused on whether Ferrari or Mercedes was on top this year, China seemed initially to provide a coherent answer. Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel dominated once again. Seb led from pole and was controlling things in that way we got used to in his Red Bull pomp. Replete with the heavy sense of inevitability that the win would be his, which in this case would make it three from three. Yet come the end it seemed something from another age.

Actual Red Bull ambushed the race. The unlikely figure of Daniel Ricciardo took the win.

Valtteri Bottas's Mercedes was chasing in second just as he was in Bahrain yet Vettel was three seconds clear and looked to have everything foreseen. But then his day started to unravel. In the pitstop round Bottas got ahead with an undercut. He appeared out of range but the combination of a powerful new tyre effect, a mighty out-lap and a slightly tardy in-lap from Vettel and a similarly tardy stop from Ferrari combined to do the deed.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

New AutoClassics article - How Gold Leaf sponsorship irreversibly changed Formula 1

Photo: Jim Culp/CC
Particularly proud of this one. We're 50 years on from the start proper of F1 sponsorship with the Gold Leaf Lotus.

And for AutoClassics I spoke to Gold Leaf's man in F1 at the time, George Hatfield, as well as Clive Chapman, son of Lotus kingpin Colin, to hear the fascinating tale of sponsorship's advent in F1. One that reaches far further than you might think.

You can have a read here: https://www.autoclassics.com/posts/reviews/gold-leaf-sponsorship-formula-1

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Take a Time Warp Back to the Mid-1990s, by Ibrar Malik

This is the first of what will be several guest blog posts on Talking about F1 by Ibrar Malik, about his forthcoming book 1994 – The Untold Story of a Tragic and Controversial F1 Season. This book will aim to offer much additional insight into this turbulent season and much else besides. You can find much more detail on this on his website at: www.1994f1.com

Want to know what the internet looked like back then? There is one website that hasn't been modified since 1 October 1995…that of the Pacific Grand Prix team.













They weren't the greatest F1 team but Pacific's website certainly is memorable.

1994 was the Pacific and Simtek teams' debut F1 season. It proved a baptism of fire because it was one of the sport’s most turbulent years - as the upcoming book explains. After the Imola tragedies extensive, and some might say rushed, car modifications were imposed upon teams in the name of safety. Keith Wiggins, the Pacific team boss, summed up his thoughts at the time; "If my engines don’t bankrupt me, this stands a pretty good chance." Pedro Lamy suffered a massive testing accident which many claimed was a direct result of the FIA’s safety initiative. "That is self-evidently nonsense," retorted FIA president Max Mosley, meanwhile the Portuguese driver was lucky to have survive the crash, albeit with extensive injuries.

Hot Hatches – Where Are They Now? Infographic by All Car Leasing

Everyone at All Car Leasing has always been big fans of hot hatchbacks. So they've decided to take a look at a handful to see how many are now left on British roads, in the infographic below.

Hot Hatches – Where Are They Now? Infographic
by All Car Leasing

Hot Hatches Where Are They Now?

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Chinese GP Betting Preview - Chinese Chequers

It all looked so simple. The Melbourne season-opener seemed to confirm the pre-season testing grapevine without the most minor variation. Yes a mid-race Virtual Safety Car shuffled the end result, but that was happenstance.

The Bahrain round contained a major departure in
F1 form, but Mercedes could bounce back in China
Photo: Pirelli Media
Then the Bahrain round comes along next and dashes just about all of our certainties. It started at the front - Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton wasn't strolling the 2018 season after all as Ferrari plain out-paced the silver cars at the Sakhir circuit in qualifying at least. Then on race day Sebastian Vettel held them off to win again and make it two wins from two.

And so the big question as we head into round three in China is was Melbourne the unusual case, was Bahrain, or is the norm even something else entirely?

You can make a coherent case that Mercedes will bounce back this weekend. If the heat of Bahrain was Merc's problem then Shanghai will be much cooler. If the abrasive surface in Bahrain was Merc's problem then Shanghai's is much smoother. And even with all its problems Mercedes probably should still have won in Bahrain; it probably would have without Hamilton's grid penalty.