Thursday, 30 January 2014

Talking about F1's Graham Keilloh on the GPFocus podcast

You may not be aware that I'm a regular guest on GPFocus's regular F1 podcasts. This is a podcast which features many F1 writers and reviews the latest F1 news throughout the season. There is usually a new episode every week when the campaign is in full swing, encompassing race reviews and previews. I think it's well worth a listen, if I'm allowed to comment on such things!

The latest podcast, and the first of 2014, was released yesterday, and in this episode we look at the big F1 issues of the close season, such as:

  • Driver line-up changes
  • New regulations
  • Ugly noses
  • Double points
  • Bernie Ecclestone's bribery charges
  • Michael Schumacher's accident

You can listen to this latest podcast via the link below:

GPFocus #114: Pre-season Preview

And an archive of GPFocus podcasts that I have appeared on (more than two years' worth!) can be found via the 'Podcasts' tab above.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Double Trouble - why I think double points is a bad idea

And so it survives. And does so in the teeth of about as united an opposition as can be reasonably expected in this most disputatious of sports. The world champion is against it, and has said so. As has Ferrari's President. The silence of most other drivers and teams probably is indicative. The vast majority of fans, if the content of internet forums and the like is a guide, are also vehemently opposed. So are many race hosts - feeling somewhat diminished by the move. Finding enthusiasts for it is a challenge akin to pacing a beach with a metal detector in the hope of finding valuables. But the last chance of stopping it in last Thursday's meeting of the F1 Strategy Group was passed up by all concerned. Indeed, apparently it wasn't even discussed. Joy.

This year the Abu Dhabi race will be worth
 twice as much as the other rounds
Credit: JiteshJagadish / CC
Yes, you've probably worked out by now what I'm talking about. Double points, and the fact that in the 2014 F1 season one race will be more equal than the others. In a Bernie Ecclestone-penned scheme the points on offer in the campaign's concluding round at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina track will be multiplied by two. 

Bernie's had rather madcap wheezes before of course, an Olympic-style medals system replacing points being one, shortcuts and sprinklers being two more. But, helped by the fact that none of these came to pass, most of us gave Bernie the benefit of the doubt on these. It's just Bernie being Bernie, we thought. Yanking our chain. And while he's at it getting the sport some coverage on the back pages that it wouldn't have got ordinarily. They were never actually going to happen. But Thursday's events mean that the double points one is for real. It makes you worry that he might even after all have believed in those other ones too.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Help a new film about motorsport marshalling: Trackside

Sometimes if a maxim is overused we can close our ears somewhat. But one that us F1 fans - indeed fans of any form of motorsport - should never forget is that we owe volunteer marshals a considerable debt of gratitude, as almost no motorsport could take place without them. And all the while, on top of giving up several weekends a year whatever the weather, the skills and professionalism that marshals exhibit is astonishing. I know this from personal experience

And it's with this in mind that Edward Sanchez has decided to make Trackside: an independent feature length documentary film following UK track marshals working at various forms of motorsport, with the strapline 'No Marshals, No Motorsport'. It is produced by Soft-Focus Productions

The film will seek to portray what it's like to be a marshal trackside, and will tell the stories of many of them from trainees to the most experienced. It will also tell the story of Steve Tarrant who lost his leg due to an accident while he was marshalling at Goodwood in 2000, and still marshals! Trackside will also contain interviews with several drivers, including with WEC World Champion Allan McNish.

The plan is that Trackside will be shown at various film festivals around the world initially followed by a release on DVD and Blu-ray.

It is an independent production and they have just launched a Kickstarter campaign to help build up a budget for the film, with the aim of raising £5,000. If you'd like to see the film and want to make an investment to help make it happen then you can on the film's Kickstarter page via this link. You can choose the amount you'd like/are able to pledge.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Top 5 F1 Films Of All Time - by John Thomas

Formula 1 racing has been linked closely with film lately, largely thanks to the 2013 release, and enormous success, of Ron Howard's Rush. You will likely recall that we offered a review of the movie some time back. At the time, we suggested that Howard's film may just have been strong enough to be considered the best F1 film ever made, though truth be told (thanks to several stirring documentaries) this is a more competitive field than many might believe.

With Rush now trying its luck on the awards circuit, however, it seems like a good time to follow up on our prior claim with a brief ranking of the top five F1 films ever made. And in case you haven't seen any of these, be sure to keep an eye out for them on Picturebox. This unique streaming movie service offers a bevy of films on a rotating basis, as a specialised panel of cinefiles shuffles through them every few months or so. Now that you know where to look, on to the list!

If you're looking for the best insight into the life of a racing champion - or at least, his mindset entering a major event - this should be a film you mark down. Produced by the great Roman Polanski, the film is a real life look into the 1971 Monaco Grand Prix and specifically follows legendary champion Jackie Stewart as he prepares for the race. It's a rare look. And that's not just in F1, but in sports in general, as it gazes into the true preparation and mindset of a champion.