Thursday, 14 June 2018

New Motorsport Week article: The rights and wrongs of flag gate

Photo: Octane Photography
Perhaps it reflected that precious little else happened to keep us distracted last Sunday at Montreal, but you'll likely need to be a cave dweller to not be aware that in the Canadian Grand Prix the chequered flag was waved early.

As an error in F1 it's far from unprecedented, but this time it had one heck of a fallout.

For Motorsport Week I therefore stick my oar into 'flag gate' - and look at its many rights and wrongs, some of which extended far beyond a flag being waved a bit too soon.

You can check out my take here: https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/18617

Motor Verso F1 2018 Season Summary - Canadian Grand Prix review

Photo: Octane Photography
The Motor Verso F1 2018 summary is duly updated with my take on Montreal's Canadian Grand Prix last Sunday and its many implications.

And as ever there's much else added besides for your amusement - the best of F1 video, great photos and an ever-crystallising full season race-by-race review by little old me.

Check it out 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.

Talking about F1 in Feedspot Top 10 UK F1 Blogs

I'm very pleased to be able to say that this very site Talking about F1 has been selected in the Top 10 of Feedspot's rundown of The Best UK F1 Blogs, selected from thousands of UK F1 blogs on the web using a variety of criteria including search and social metrics the Feedspot panel's expert review.

You'll see on the right hand side of this page that our badge saying as much takes pride of place.

You can check out the full rundown of the Top 10 UK F1 Blogs list here - there's some excellent F1 blogs on there for you to check out.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Canadian GP Report - Righting the past's wrongs

In this one, the sense of the past was conspicuous.

In a special place for Ferrari Sebastian Vettel took the win
Photo: Octane Photography
Sebastian Vettel took Canadian Grand Prix victory for Ferrari, astonishingly the Italian team's first win in Canada since 2004. And the previous day he had taken its first pole here since 2001.

All this was done on the 40th anniversary of F1's first Montreal visit which then was won by local hero and archetypal Ferrari pilot Gilles Villeneuve, after whom the circuit is named. The four decade milestone was marked on the track's 'Salut Gilles' etching on the start line as well as by son Jacques taking that 1978 Ferrari on a demonstration lap before the race. Judging by the crowd's response to Vettel's win there remains plenty of Scuderia loyalty here.

"The Canadian tifosi, I think they have been waiting long enough for Ferrari to do well here," Vettel noted afterwards. "Forty years after Gilles won his Grand Prix here, I think it's great to show that Ferrari is still alive, that Ferrari is still there, winning races. I'm just extremely proud to become part of that story."

Saturday, 9 June 2018

New AutoClassics article - How Montreal has established itself as a Formula 1 favourite

Photo: alessio mazzocco/CC
We all know that Montreal's Circuit Giles Villeneuve, host of the Canadian Grand Prix, is an F1 favourite.

And for AutoClassics, marking the 40th anniversary year of F1's first visit to the track in 1978, I spoke to Mario Andretti, Derek Daly, Alastair Caldwell and the designer of the Montreal circuit Roger Peart to find out the fascinating tale of how the Montreal venue host first established itself as such.

For example, did you know that we would never have had a Grand Prix in Montreal had it not been for the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team?

Find out how, and more, via this link: https://www.autoclassics.com/posts/reviews/Canadian%20grand-prix-formula-1-favourite

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Canadian GP Betting Preview - Isle of Lewis?

Races at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve around Montreal's Ile Notre Dame are synonymous with madcap action and results that are hard to predict. Since 2000 not much more than one race in three here has been won from pole. While as usual in 2018 a coherent case can be made in advance for - and against - the prospects of each of the big three teams of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

Montreal wins usually mean one person in particular
Photo: Octane Photography
But on another level a Montreal race is a straightforward call. As Lewis Hamilton has won here six times including the last three. He is very much a local specialist - bravery on the brakes and hustling a car through chicanes with no room for error is just his thing. He tends to beam throughout his Canadian visits.

There is the question of whether Mercedes can master the three softest tyre compounds this weekend as it very much didn't in Monaco, but on the other hand it came to Montreal 12 months ago under a similar cloud and in the event took a comfortable 1-2.

And luckily these sort of doubts mean Hamilton's odds to prevail are a bit longer than they might have been - 7/5 for him to win and 13/8 for the pole both look good.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Montreal Preview - In the spirit of Gilles

If you're looking for an adjective to sum up the F1 fraternity - participants and observers alike - then 'quarrelsome' may be near the top of your list.

Inimitable Montreal
Photo: Octane Photography
It applies to views on the venues too. But there is one on which there is close to unanimity and in the positive - the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix. The latest visit to which is this weekend.

There are many reasons for its popularity. Madcap action is a positive expectation here. The layout ensures plenty of overtaking. The nearby walls can and frequently have punished errors. It even has its own 'Wall of Champions' which as the name suggests has ensnared the best. It is a place that rewards the brave.

Safety cars and carbon shards are a common feature, and these also have turned many-a Montreal race onto its head. Outcomes here are not so easy to predict - since the turn of the millennium only a little over one Montreal race in three has been won from pole.

Friday, 1 June 2018

The Most Successful and Worst Car of 1994, What Do They Have in Common?, by Ibrar Malik

Answer - they shared the same ancestor. The Pacific PR01 car failed to finish a race in 1994 whereas the Benetton B194 won eight Grands Prix, yet amazingly the two cars originated from the same 1991 design. It's just the Pacific was a less refined version of the Benetton.

In 1991 a high-quality design team headed by Rory Byrne and Pat Symonds secretly worked on a Reynard F1 car. However, the project was eventually shelved and the team moved back to Benetton for 1992. "I was a director of the Reynard F1 effort so knew a lot about it," explains Willem Toet, Benetton's Head of Aerodynamics in 1994 and one of the key contributors towards the upcoming book. "Pat Symonds, Rory Byrne and Adrian Reynard were the other directors. Afterwards we all went back to Benetton because Rory did a deal for the whole group. I don't think there is a person on the planet who knows the story better than I do." Their 1991 Reynard design morphed into the race winning 1992 Benetton and the B194 car, which Michael Schumacher used to win the 1994 drivers' championship, was an advanced evolution of it.


Some extremely rare photos of the 1991 Reynard F1 project conducting wind tunnel testing with Willem Toet. 

Thursday, 31 May 2018

New Motorsport Week article: Max Verstappen - why the kid is alright

Photo: Octane Photography
Max Verstappen has become the talk of the F1 town - and not for reasons he'd like.

Instead he's become a pariah thanks to his crash-heavy start to the 2018 season, and this he very much continued in Monaco - losing another potential victory. A 'six crashes in six rounds' figure is floating all over the place.

Yet for Motorsport Week I make the case for Verstappen's defence and argue that we may be over-reacting. Whatever is the case we should cut him some slack.

You can have a read of my reasoning here: https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/18408

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Best Time To Own A Formula 1 Team?

The business of Formula 1 seems to be changing. With Liberty Media looking to restructure team payments, budget caps, standardisation, etc. - is this the best time to invest in a Formula 1 team? Will owning a team finally be about its business rather than passion? We discuss more in this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast.

Daniel 'Shoey' Ricciardo is the hottest property in the paddock these days; we actually celebrated his win in Monaco with a shoey! Lewis Hamilton - will he seriously get to designing race tracks? After Miami, he's shown interest in redesigning the Monaco street circuit. We also tell you why the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix wasn't as boring as some of the drivers called it out to be. Finally, who could replace Brendon Hartley at Toro Rosso? And thank you Pirelli for renaming your tyre compounds for next season; we appreciate simplifying Formula 1. Tune in!

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

(Season 2018, Episode 17)

Monday, 28 May 2018

Motor Verso F1 2018 Season Summary - Monaco Grand Prix review

Photo: Octane Photography
The ever-expanding Motor Verso F1 2018 season summary now has my view on the Monaco Grand Prix added.

In typical Monaco style there wasn't much racing in the latest Grand Prix - but also in typical Monaco style there was a magnificent drive to victory.

This time in Daniel Ricciardo overcoming adversity and achieving redemption.

You can check out the latest article with my Monaco review, lovely photos and the best of the internet, via this link: 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, 27 May 2018

Monaco GP Report - Righting a wrong

It was the Monaco Grand Prix in the here and now. But, throughout, many minds were on that two years ago.

Daniel Ricciardo got his Monaco redemption, two years on
Photo: Octane Photography
Then Daniel Ricciardo dominated the Monaco weekend, but lost the win due to Red Bull botching a pitstop. This time he dominated if anything to a greater extent - topping every single practice and qualifying session. Again he led the race. Again though he met problems - this time with his engine. But this time he overcame them to win. In more than one sense he righted a wrong.

To begin with the race was typical Monaco. The poleman Ricciardo led from the line and looking untroubled. Then after the round of what was predicted to be the solitary stops all among the frontrunners stayed in the same order. And track position is ten tenths of the law here.

But another thing typical of Monaco is that it can bite. Things, somehow, happen here. Ricciardo knows this better than most.