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.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Inside Line F1 Podcast - The Daniil Kvyat-Max Verstappen Equation For 2018

You already know the equation between Max Verstappen and Daniil Kvyat. Each time Kvyat has lost out, Verstappen has won that very race. But for 2018, there's a chance that Kvyat will lose out on an entire season, in which case, will the same Kvyat-stat work to crown Max Verstappen the 2018 Formula 1 World Champion? Dreamy stuff!

Btw, we're proud to announce our association with Johnnie Walker's 'never drink and drive' campaign - #JoinThePact. Mika Hakkinen will be in India to promote this social cause and as a part of our association, we will have opportunities to generate exclusive content with the Flying Finn! Remember to tune in to our podcast over the next few days to hear Mika speak on some really interesting topics about his career, the 2017 F1 season and about his Finnish compatriots - Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen.

Also, we're supporting #JoinThePact and we will 'walk our talk' and sign-up ourselves when we meet Mika in person in India. Here's your chance to sign-up too.

In this week's episode, we praise Liberty Media's efforts to grow the sport of Formula 1, while debating if Bernie Ecclestone did actually help Ferrari! Will the Formula 1 - Netflix deal led the sport to a new viewer market? And given how Formula 1, the teams and drivers have taken to social media, should we announce a Formula 1 Social Media Championship?

Lastly, since we started with Daniil Kvyat - the man who has been orphaned by the Red Bull Racing camp, we will end the podcast with him too (he definitely needs some love!). Can he do a Nico Hulkenberg, join Force India as a reserve driver for 2018 and make a comeback in a race seat in 2019? If he does so, Force India will have to make space on their pink cars for the new Russian sponsors.

Subscribe to the Inside Line F1 Podcast on iTunes and audioBoom for your weekly dose of Formula 1 humour.

Tune in!

(Season 2017, Episode 35)

Friday, 3 November 2017

FF1600 website: Walter Hayes Trophy 2017 picks

You may be aware that I've started to write for the new FF1600 website.

I reported from the paddock at Brands Hatch a couple of weeks back for the website's Formula Ford Festival coverage and wrote various reports during the weekend.

And my latest writing on there is just published, as I took part in the site's round table discussion making our predictions for this weekend's Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone.

You can have a read here (and do make sure to check the website out more generally...):.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

New Motorsport Week article: Why Lewis Hamilton is better than ever

Photo: Octane Photography
Discussing Lewis Hamilton is fun. Most other drivers you can grasp. Their trajectory likely steadily upwards.

Not so with Lewis, whose F1 career has been of astonishing peaks and troughs. Prodigious skill, dramatic legend, but also - sometimes - unfathomable lows.

We've therefore had false dawns with Lewis before. But now with his fourth world title won after an magnificent run of form since the summer it's tempting to conclude that this is the best Lewis we've ever seen.

I explore the matter and why it might be in my latest article for Motorsport Week. You can have a read of it here: