Saturday, 19 January 2019

Why are Finns so Good At Motorsport?, by Select Car Leasing

Another Formula 1 (F1) season draws to its conclusion and it's another drivers' championship win for Lewis Hamilton. It's also been another year that has seen strong representation from Finland on the leaderboard, with Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton's team-mate, finishing in fifth position in the standings and Kimi Räikkönen placed above him in third. The continuing trend of Finnish drivers succeeding in motorsport got us thinking - just how has a nation of only 5.5m people managed to have such a strong influence on the motorsport world?

Select Car Leasing investigated some of the key reasons behind the incredible rise of the Finnish nation over the years.  Here are five ways that have been crucial to Finland's ascent to becoming a motorsport powerhouse:

-       Sisu... The ancient Finnish art inspiring its drivers
-       Forest roads and harsh winters... These allow for drivers in Finland to hone their skills and pave the way for successful motorsport competitors
-       Putting the population through its paces...  Finland has one of the hardest driving tests in the world
-       Folk racing... The Finnish pastime which tests drivers endurance and encourages competition on the road
-       The art of the 'Scandinavian flick'...  How a unique driving style has caught on all over the world

Photo: Octane Photography

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

New Motorsport Week article: The inside story of the new bronze Senna statue

You no doubt have seen the new life-size bronze statue of Ayrton Senna statue by now. It was unveiled at Autosport International Show​ and indeed rather stole the show. Backed by Instituto Ayrton Senna it marks a quarter century since the great Brazilian's untimely death.

And even though there is no shortage of Senna memorabilia out there this one succeeded in providing something far removed from what we might have expected.

At the Autosport show for Motorsport Week​ I spoke to the man behind it, prominent F1 artist Paul Oz. We explored the story behind the work as well as what else Paul gets up to.

You can check our conversation out via this link: https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/21231

Monday, 31 December 2018

Inside Line F1 Podcast - The Inside Line F1 Podcast Awards

As with every year, the last episode of the year is our paddock-famous, funny and most-awaited Inside Line F1 Podcast Awards. Yes, these are our alternative (okay, you can use the word parody too) awards in the world of Formula 1. If our tagline - 'the winner is never who you think it is!' - is anything to go by, we promise you half an hour of laughter as we relive the most-memorable and unforgettable moments of the 2018 Formula 1 Season. In fact, only at our awards ceremony are the nominations as much fun as the actual winners!

Photo: Octane Photography
As we draw the curtains to 2018, here's wishing you and your families a Happy New Year. Thank you for sharing our passion. See you in 2019!

(Season 2018, Episode 42)
Subscribe to the Inside Line F1 Podcast on iTunes, Google Podcasts and audioBoom (RSS feed) for your weekly dose of Formula 1 humour

Here's what's in store for you in this episode:
0:00-4:00: What are the Inside Line F1 Podcast Awards all about?
4:00-8:00: Best Team and the Best Win of the Year awards
8:00-12:00: Silly Move and Best Fans of the Year awards
12:00-16:00: Joke and the Best Radio Message of the Year awards
16:00-20:00: Best Social Media and Changemaker of the Year awards
20:00-24:00: Best Strategy, Worst Mistake and Best Wingman of the Year awards
24:00-28:00: Best Upgrade and Best Performance of the Year awards
28:00-32:00: Best Overtake, Best Race, Comeback of the Year awards
32:00-end: Best Driver of the Year and Lifetime Achievement award

Sunday, 30 December 2018

New Motorsport Week article: Forty years on – the brief rise of Ligier

CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.
org/w/index.php?curid=254468
As we are often told with varying degrees of efficacy, things in the F1 past were very different.

And so it was if we jump back four decades almost to the day. Try to imagine a team known mainly as wayward midfield plodders turning up at round one and jumping clean over allcomers; starting the year with two easy victories. Then try to imagine that after that things about as quickly got difficult again, and the team sank from championship contention.

For Motorsport Week I look back to the 1979 season and the very brief rise and subsequent fall of Ligier, as well as analyse what explains the two sharp shifts.

You can have a read here: https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/21085

Saturday, 22 December 2018

5 Things You Should Know About Selling a Used Car

Cars keep changing in regards to features, technology, design, and performance. The need to sell a used car and get a newer one usually arises when one's financial status improves. In addition, the need may also arise when one gets children or if the old car is damaged and spending money on repairs would prove overbearing. As a car owner, before selling your car, you should know the following:

1) Selling To Used-Car Dealers Is Worthwhile
Approaching used-car dealers is recommended since they will buy almost any car, even if it is scratched or dented. In case the car has any dents, they do touch-ups to recondition it. As a seller, you should check several credible car dealers, comparing their valuations and returns on the sale of your vehicle to avoid being shortchanged. This method is hassle-free as they provide you with full services and handle all the documentation of the sale process. Selling to trusted cash for cars dealers is safe and straightforward as they have a ready market and, so your car is sold fast.

2) Ensure Your Car Has a "Curb Appeal"
The first impression that greets a buyer is the car's physical outlook. Before putting your car up for sale, make sure it is clean. A dirty car leaves the impression that you have not cared for it and this will turn off buyers. It would help if you got it washed and vacuumed. Also, remove all your belongings including custom bumper stickers. Do not forget to wipe the wheels, mirrors, and the windows. Consider implementing some minor upgrades that will not cost you much such as new seat covers and car mats. This will help your car look more attractive for the buyers.

Friday, 21 December 2018

Lehto at Benetton, by Ibrar Malik

1994 was supposed to be the year JJ Lehto became one of F1's top drivers, but the season ended his Grand Prix career. How did such a golden opportunity turn into a poisoned chalice?

Coming into that year Lehto was considered a rising star having tested for Ferrari and secured an incredible third at Imola 1991 driving for unfancied Scuderia Italia. 

After beating former race winner Michele Alboreto to the second Benetton seat for 1994, Lehto would have been forgiven for thinking regular podium visits were just around the corner. This was the Finn's first top F1 drive after five years within F1 and the new Benetton proved extremely quick in Michael Schumacher's hands. But that was as good as things got for JJ because on the 21st January 1994 he was lucky to survive a massive neck-breaking accident while testing the B194 at Silverstone. This month, therefore, marks the 25th anniversary of that. Few realised Lehto's girlfriend had just become pregnant only days before that accident. So you can imagine thoughts of not wanting his unborn child to grow up without him might have been circulating within Lehto's head as he laid in the hospital recovering.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Why Ferrari Codenamed Their Car '670'

Ferrari's '670' (or their 2019 Formula 1 car) will be unveiled to the public on 15th February, 2019. But what significance does the number '670' have for Ferrari? We try to decipher further in this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast.

Photo: Octane Photography
Also in this episode, we replace the What Wolff Said This Week section with What Marko Said This Week, because he did say one thing too many and everything too funny! Charles Leclerc's target of '2 wins in 2019' seem unambitious, we tell you why. Could Brendon Hartley be Porsche's Formula E driver for next year? We share an important life lesson from his Motorsport career. And finally, did you know that Lewis Hamilton is open to playing second fiddle in Mercedes? Tune in!

(Season 2018, Episode 41)
Subscribe to the Inside Line F1 Podcast on iTunes, Google Podcasts and audioBoom (RSS feed) for your weekly dose of Formula 1 humour

Here's what's in store for you in this week's episode:
0:00-3:00: A teaser for the 2018 Inside Line F1 Podcast Awards

3:00-6:00: We speak Formula E; the only series that rewards drivers for racing off the line? Are Formula E cars as strong as go-karts?

6:00-9:00: Why have Ferrari codenamed their 2019 F1 car '670'?

9:00-12:00: What Marko Said This Week - are Red Bull really not interested in Mick Schumacher? Are Red Bull drumming up unnecessary PR with regards to their Honda partnership?

12:00-15:00: WHAT IF Verstappen gets an unreliable and slow engine in 2019?

15:00-18:00: All the funny PR stories from Formula 1 in the last week! Also, we tell you why Charles Leclerc's targets for 2019 are disappointing

18:00-21:00: Life lessons from Brendon Hartley's Motorsport career; will he be Porsche's Formula E driver? Lewis Hamilton is open to playing second fiddle at Mercedes, did you know?

21:00-24:00: Ashley's 2018 Formula 1 Season review

Saturday, 15 December 2018

New Motorsport Week article: F1 2018 end of season awards - The Golden Grahams

Photo: Octane Photography
We know how this latest F1 season ended, but who are the real winners? In my latest for Motorsport Week I again seek to resolve the matter with my serial (or should that be cereal?) set of prestigious annual awards, The Golden Grahams.

Some of it almost threatens to be serious (best driver, best team...); some doesn't even bother going that far. Hopefully it'll all be taken in the nature intended.

You can have a read of it in all its glorious nonsense via this link: https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/21012

Thursday, 13 December 2018

My Top 10 F1 Drivers of 2018: The Rest…

Here are my views on those F1 drivers from 2018 who didn't make my top 10 ranking from a few days ago. If you're interested, you can read the top 10 here.

Photo: Octane Photography
Going through the 'other 10' in final drivers' table order brings us first to Sergio Perez, for whom 2018 was more of the same – for good and ill. He racked up plenty of points plus in the way that apparently only he can bagged a podium finish when the very rare opportunity offered itself. Yet Perez couldn't alter his long-time predicament of lingering in the middle ground between being a good midfielder (with money) and a talent that a top team will covet. It didn't help that, while there as ever wasn't much in it, his Force India team-mate Esteban Ocon had the pace edge for the most part. Nor did his hooligan performance in Singapore, first showing not much effort to avoid a collision with Ocon then – far worse – having a rage swipe at Sergey Sirotkin.

Kevin Magnussen's season was rather a breakthrough. With him at last getting the many benefits of a second season in a race seat, the results flowed particularly in the early part of the campaign. He didn't always string things together though, and more broadly once team-mate Romain Grosjean sorted himself out Magnussen tended to be the second Haas. He also gave more evidence to sustain his enfant terrible image – the criticisms can be excessive but still his move on Pierre Gasly in Baku then on Charles Leclerc at Suzuka were hard to defend. He sometimes gives the impression of revelling in the status but equally it may become a burden.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Man vs. Machine To Intensify In F1 2019

Formula 1 is set to introduce a new television graphics package in 2019. This could mean that drivers will not only battle each other, but against advanced artificial intelligence algorithms that will tell television viewers the probability of an overtake happening. Whether you enjoy such data or not, the 2019 Formula 1 Season will see the 'man vs. machine' fight play out on a different level altogether. Btw, the machines should already know that men have kicked their a**es in Formula 1 since inception!

Photo: Octane Photography
In this week's of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, we discuss the outlandish 'PR statements' made by several teams and drivers, like Max Verstappen claiming that he and Charles Leclerc are Formula 1's new Lewis Hamilton-Sebastian Vettel pairing. Or when Carlos Sainz Jr. hailed the 'great' start to his career as a McLaren driver. Or when Renault claimed that their engine will be on par with Mercedes and Ferrari in 2019. Or when Toto Wolff claimed that Mercedes missed their 2019 engine targets. Or when Marcus Ericsson fuelled the always-on IndyCar vs. Formula 1 debate. Or when Sergio Perez claimed that Lance Stroll has talent. Okay, the last statement might not be a PR one, but anyway, you get the gist of what this episode has in store for you. Lastly, we applaud Kimi Raikkonen's antics at the FIA Prize Giving ceremony. Tune in!

(Season 2018, Episode 40)

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

Here's what's in store for you in this episode:
0:00-3:00: FIA Prize Giving Ceremony, Kimi Raikkonen's applaud-worthy performances! Which act was your favourite?

3:00-6:00: Did Ferrari conspire against Marcus Ericsson? We board the Ericsson-fuelled IndyCar vs. Formula 1 debate - PR statement #1

6:00-9:00: Max Verstappen in the title race in 2019? - PR statement #2; What could plan-B be for Red Bull-Verstappen in 2020? -PR statement #3

9:00-12:00: Statements #4 & #5, Lewis Hamilton could win the Nobel Prize Award, if he wanted to; that's how blessed he has been all year long! The ONLY team to have not invited Hamilton for a test is - Ferrari!

12:00-15:00: Ferrari's improved social (media) manners, a bright sign for the times to come? And several other PR statements (we lost count!)

15:00-18:00: What Wolff Said This Week Section; why would Valtteri Bottas not want to speak to Nico Rosberg?

18:00-21:00: 2019 is going to be well and truly a 'man vs. machine, we tell you why.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

My Top 10 F1 Drivers of 2018

Here is my personal rating of the top 10 F1 drivers of the 2018 season, taking into account their performances as well as the machinery that they had access to. 

A run down of my views on the drivers who didn't make the top 10 will follow in the next few days.

1 Lewis Hamilton
Photo: Octane Photography
A driver who always has been astonishingly skilled, yet these days minimises his previous weaknesses to nearly nothing. Do the math, as the kids say. For Lewis Hamilton it added up this year to a majority of races won and a fifth championship taken crushingly, in a car that for much of the season by consensus was not considered the best out there.

The things we knew already about him were still there. His blinding speed of course, quintessentially with his scarcely-credible Singapore qualifying lap on which the championship momentum shifted irrecoverably. His unmatched skills in the wet as demonstrated in his Hockenheim win and Hungary pole – both vital in stemming the Ferrari tide. His piercing aggression and immaculate judgement when wheel-to-wheel, such as on Monza's opening lap. While those intimated weaknesses were all but eliminated. Off-days weren't conspicuous; he even unlike before kept on winning races after the title was clinched. In China, Azerbaijan and Canada he was slightly subdued but he still in each brought his car home for solid points. His mistakes across the piece amounted to disappearing down a Baku escape road. A formidable force at something like his peak.

2 Max Verstappen
Photo: Octane Photography
It now seems like something from another age, but in Monaco it was open season on Max Verstappen. A qualifying prang there that dashed a victory opportunity, which was the latest of a succession of errors. A 'six crashes in six rounds' count was banded around liberally. Yet from that very moment, almost literally overnight, he righted his ways and his towering talent again came to the fore. Maybe even with a season started in Canada he make a genuine claim to deprive Hamilton of the number one slot.

He admitted that he had changed after his Monaco long dark night of the soul, realising smartly that a Max Verstappen driving within his limits still is considerably faster than just about anyone else. It manifested in persistent astonishing drives, repeated podium finishes and two victories. There still was the odd falter, such as his erratic Monza run while his Brazil antics with Esteban Ocon, off track and arguably on it, still betray creases to iron out. Yet even so we ended this campaign more convinced than ever that Verstappen is a phenomenon who surely is destined to win multiple championships.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Inside Line F1 Podcast - What Year Will Alonso Be Back In F1?

Will Fernando Alonso give us a chance to miss him? What year could Alonso be back in Formula 1 - 2020, 2021 or 2022? Also, more than what year, it will also be a question of with which team. We certainly don't think it would be Ferrari, Mercedes or Red Bull.

Photo: Octane Photography
In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, Mithila and Kunal wonder if Alonso's exit would see a mass exodus of fans from Formula 1 - that's exactly what happened when Michael Schumacher quit. History and statistics tell us why Stoffel Vandoorne can be a Formula E Champion. We offer Racing Point creative ways to announce their signing of Lance Stroll. Did Ferrari back the wrong driver in 2018? Forget a fast car, Renault better have a witty social media team for Daniel Ricciardo. And finally, was Lewis Hamilton's 'shirtey' moment a lame attempt to give us something more than Ricciardo's 'shoey'? Tune in!

(Season 2018, Episode 39)
Subscribe to the Inside Line F1 Podcast on iTunes and on audioBoom (RSS feed) for your weekly dose of Formula 1 humour

Here is what's in store for you this week:

0:00-3:00: Did ALO take a legion of fans away from Formula 1 like MSC did?

3:00-6:00: Will ALO let us miss him in Formula 1? How soon before ALO is back - 2020, 2021 or 2022?

6:00-9:00: History tells us why VAN can be a Formula E champion and can we get started with McLaren-One Plus jokes already?

9:00-12:00: We offer Force India creative ways to announce their signing of Lance Stroll

12:00-15:00: Did Ferrari back the wrong driver in 2018? What if KUB still has it in him?

15:00-18:00: Mercedes win the Esports Championship too. They are the chosen ones this year. Forget a shoey, HAM did a shirt-y!

18:00-21:00: PER has been Force India's saviour in every way this year. Red Bull's discarded drivers coming to to the team’s rescue. But do they really have a future in Formula 1?

21:00-25:00: RIC's Mercedes promotion. No one saw it coming! Mithila's 'What Wolff Said This Week' section.

25:00: Moments in Time with Lucien and the end!