Saturday, 12 August 2017

New Motorsport Week article: The top ten drivers of the 2017 Formula 1 season so far...

Photo: Octane Photography
Everyone loves a top ten. And now that we're in F1's summer break as well as at, roughly, the halfway point of the season I've compiled my own top ten drivers' ranking for the year so far for Motorsport Week.

In addition to the ranking order I've written something on how each of those selected have done this year and my reasoning for placing them where I did.

You can have a read of it all via this link:

Feel free to let me know why I'm wrong or even shock horror if you agree with any of it...

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

How F1 Teams Move Across the Globe in 48 Hours! by Storage Centres

The F1 travelling circus is about to start its well-earned summer rest for most of August. Well-earned as its globetrotting is no simple undertaking, and especially not in logistics.

Storage Centres therefore has looked at how F1 teams can travel around the world to different race events within 48 hours, how they store individual car parts and how they're transported. It's outlined in the infographic below:

How F1 Teams Move Across The Globe In 48 Hours by Storage Centres. How F1 Teams Move Across The Globe In 48 Hours by Storage Centres.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Hungarian GP Report - Vettel battens down the hatches

"Our car is not always easy to set up. We have become much better at doing so. I would like to see Budapest, how the car works with a low speed and high-track-temperatures track. Then, maybe, I will have a more complete picture."

Hungary was the scene of a red revival
Photo: Octane Photography
It took Mercedes boss Toto Wolff of all people to bring us into line in advance. After Silverstone we thought it simple. Lewis Hamilton had in a single afternoon all but wiped out Sebastian Vettel's long held title lead. Ferrari hadn't outpaced Merc since Monaco in May. Plus Hungary next up is happy hunting ground for Hamilton.

But F1, as well as rarely pure, is never simple. Wolff's words were prophetic.

Flowing Silverstone could have been designed for Merc. The Hungaroring near Budapest, as Wolff intimated, is very different. And contains many things that's given the silver car bother this year - medium speed turns, a smooth surface, scarcely a straight worthy of the name...

Hungarian Grand Prix review for Motor Verso - Red Revival

Photo: Octane Photography
F1 likes to remind us not to look too far ahead.

After Silverstone we thought everything was going Lewis Hamilton's way, as in a crushing win he wiped out almost all of Sebastian Vettel's title lead in an afternoon, and we noticed that Ferrari hadn't outpaced Mercedes since Monaco in May.

But in Hungary Seb took most of the points loss back. Likely not coincidentally it was at 'Monaco without the houses', the Hungaroring. But like Monaco too, despite dominating on raw pace Ferrari's path to its one-two was not straightforward.

Here's my review of it all for Motor Verso

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.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Does Kimi Räikkönen have what it takes to make up points on the leaders? By Steven Critchley

Ten years ago a champion, today a relative also-ran. Kimi Räikkönen is perhaps one of the most underrated racers in the roster today. And with Finland's record for producing F1 talent, it may pain him particularly to see a less-experienced countryman – in Valtteri Bottas – occupying a coveted Mercedes car. Naturally, where Räikkönen's title win of 2007 is concerned, cynics would be quick to point out that it was won by just a single point, and afforded him in some part by a period of indifferent form for both McLaren drivers. Today, a long win-less run, spanning back to the 2013 season opener in Australia, as reported on BBC Sport, stands out as particularly galling for Räikkönen. Yet, until his retirement at the Spanish Grand Prix, Räikkönen's early 2017 form on was strong and consistent.

‘Kimi Räikkönen’ by Mark McArdle
via Flickr (CC-BY-SA-2.0)
Whether Sebastian Vettel's continued dominance over his team mate is part of some intricate Ferrari strategy remains to be seen, but as of 24 May 2017, where he is an 80/1 outsider (Source: Betway Sports), Räikkönen's ability to mix it with the elite remains firmly in question. Naturally, in light of the downturn in form he suffered at the end of 2016, with two retirements in the final four races, most experts would have dismissed Räikkönen's title hopes long before even the pre-season tests of 2017 began. These same 'experts' could forever analyse Räikkönen's situation, but the sole fact remains obvious – Räikkönen must begin winning races, and quickly.

No Hungary qualifying report from me...

By David Merrett from Daventry, England - 1982 Lotus 91/5,
CC BY 2.0,
Hello all.

Just thought I'd let you know that I won't be able to do a qualifying report for the Hungarian Grand Prix this time.

You may or may not be aware that these day I'm a member of the Autosport Academy, and this weekend I'm at the Silverstone Classic covering the event on Autosport's behalf.

And while there will be a Hungary race report it will be on the late side...

Normal service will resume after the summer break!


Friday, 28 July 2017

Autonomous Vehicles & the Trolley Problem, by Select Car Leasing

With the imminent arrival of Autonomous Vehicles to the roads, many people have started worrying about the safety of this new technology, especially when an issue arises to do with choice.

In this infographic Select Car Leasing has delved into the issue of the "Trolley Problem" and how AVs will deal with this and whether or not all manufacturers have the same stance.

Trolley Problem
Trolley Problem by SELECT CAR LEASING.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

How Self Driving Cars Impact Traffic Law Enforcement, by Denmon & Pearlman

Self-driving cars are, it is often predicted, the future. Yet, we have little idea how it will impact our daily lives, insurance premiums and traffic law enforcement. Who will get the ticket in a car accident?

This infographic by Denmon & Pearlman compares self-driving cars to human drivers and explores the impact millions of self-driving cars could have on traffic law enforcement.


Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Hungarian GP Betting Preview - Hedge with Hamilton at his happy hunting ground

Just as a week is a long time in politics, an hour and a half on a Sunday is a long time in F1. And how the dark clouds parted therein for Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone. After a dominant win, allied to late tyre failures for Ferrari, it all looks good for him. He's but a point off the drivers' table top and suddenly it's conspicuous that Ferrari hasn't out-paced Mercedes since Monaco in May.

Hungary is the happiest of hunting ground for Hamilton
Photo: Octane Photography
And even better for Lewis this round coming is at the Hungaroring. It's long been his happy hunting ground; he's won here five times and adores the go kart track challenges. The 23/17 available for him to win looks well worth your wager.

It might get even better for Lewis as pole position will mean he equals Michael Schumacher's all-time record for F1 poles, and even at odds on - 11/13 - it may still be where the smart money is this time.

You also can get 5/4 for a Lewis fastest lap - and he's got six fastest laps from 10 rounds this year, as well as three from the last four.

Inside Line F1 Podcast - James Bond In Formula 1?

Basis recent reports, Aston Martin are considering Formula 1 - that is if the costs of operations are affordable, of course. If Aston Martin do join, we're betting on a James Bond sequence in Formula 1 as one of their cross promotions. Brilliant advertisement for Formula 1 too.

Wishful thinking aside, we're excited about the Hungarian Grand Prix, a race fans usually aren't the most excited about it. But this year's interest lies on the Monday after the official Grand Prix event, for Robert Kubica's super-human comeback attempt to Formula 1.

Lastly, the FIA confirmed the 'halo' for 2018. Since this ruling doesn't seem like it'll be rolled back, we discuss how teams could compete next season for the best implementation of this life-saving but visually-disturbing device. Tune in!

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

(Season 2017, Episode 28)

Monday, 24 July 2017

Hungaroring Preview: Who can halt Hamilton?

The more things change the more they stay the same. It applies to F1, and perhaps befittingly it can do so in a back to front manner too - that our view of things that stay the same in fact changes.

Tight and sinewy; much depends on the start.
The Hungaroring challenges are familiar
Photo: Octane Photography
Take the Hungaroring, the venue for this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix. When the fraternity rocked up to it for the first time in 1986 it wasn't too impressed. Its facilities gleamed; everything had been thought of. Indeed in many ways the fork in the road for the sport was right here - the sort of purpose-built from-the-ground-up immaculate autodrome that now dominates the calendar. All being bankrolled by the national government keen to 'brand' the country.

The problem was the layout. Nigel Roebuck noted of the 'purpose-built' venue that "we swiftly concluded that part of that purpose had been to prevent motor racing. Tight and sinewy, it amounted to a prescription for soporific grands prix."

And three decades on that's broadly how things remain at the Hungaroring. It still has the lowest average speed of any purpose-built track on the calendar; piling on as much downforce as you can is the default. Overtaking hardly is on the agenda. Little wonder 'Monaco without the houses' became the description of choice back in that first visit. Yet, as with a few other venues that were unloved initially, its popularity somehow has crept up over time.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

New Motorsport Week article: Forget the halfway house halo - F1 needs closed cockpits

My latest for Motorsport Week, inevitably, is about the halo.

Photo: Octane Photography
It's lingered for a while; been resisted at least once. But the FIA confirmed in the week that it's happening. Next year's F1 cars will feature them.

Few seem happy with this, and while I can understand to some extent how we've got here, there remains on this plenty we can question the FIA about.

Not least why after years of cockpit protection investigation the halo is the only show in town? And more broadly, why don't we go the whole hog and enclose the cockpit, rather than wrestle with halfway house solutions?

You can have a read of my take on it all here:

Friday, 21 July 2017

Ayrton Senna Coin Collection by Rosland Capital

You may recall last season me telling you about premier precious metals asset firm Rosland Capital releasing and distributing The Formula One Collection, a limited edition series of F1 themed coin collections.

The Ayrton Senna 30oz gold coin
Building on these, Rosland Capital this year has a latest project, which celebrates the late great Ayrton Senna.

The limited edition Ayrton Senna coin collection, designed in collaboration with the Ayrton Senna Institute and with Formula One Management, features a 30 oz gold coin, a 2.5 oz gold coin, and a 2.5 oz silver coin, all featuring the legendary racer.

Minted by Swiss-based PAMP S.A., a portion of the proceeds will directly benefit the Ayrton Senna Institute. These limited edition coins are made available by precious metals dealer Rosland Capital.

For more Formula One coin news, follow along with Rosland Capital online on YouTube.

There are a few more images of the collection below. You can also find more information about the collection on Rosland Capital's website via this link:
The gold and silver 2.5oz Senna coins
The 2.5oz silver coin
The 30oz gold coin in acrylic

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Ferrari and Mercedes Control Alonso's Fate In F1?

Ferrari & Mercedes don't seem interested in hiring Fernando Alonso's services for 2018. But by not willing to offer McLaren their power units for 2018, they're not helping McLaren (and hence, Formula 1) retain Alonso either. Are Ferrari and Mercedes controlling Fernando Alonso's fate in Formula 1? In fact, we think they are certainly controlling the 'competitive quotient' of Formula 1 too.

From power struggles, Formula 1 is now witnessing power unit struggles! In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, Mithila and Kunal discuss Formula 1's partnership with Snapchat, the business of the F1 Live Events (we can't wait for the next one!), Formula 1 drivers releasing their personalised emoji packs (we can't wait for Raikkonen's) and how another 'Sebastian' might join the grid in 2018.

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

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Firstpost Video - British Grand Prix Review

The latest Firstpost Video Grand Prix Review is here. Mithila and Kunal of Inside Line F1 Podcast this time look at the British Grand Prix, including Lewis Hamilton's crushing win, the fun that took place far behind him, and the latest state of an intriguing championship fight. And Snapchat...

You can watch below:

British Grand Prix review for Motor Verso - Lewis's perfect day

For Lewis Hamilton the British Grand Prix was, as Lou Reed might have it, such a perfect day.

Photo: Octane Photography
Not only for himself, as usual crushing in his home event, but with what befell his title rival Sebastian Vettel. Suddenly there is but a point in it for the title and equally suddenly, having had a maddening time in the preceding two rounds, all momentum now seems with Lewis.

And who knows? With him all alone missing London Live in order to concentrate on his preparations for this one, perhaps Lewis reaped just what he sowed? He says stretching the Perfect Day theme beyond its limits...

Here's my review of it all for Motor Verso:

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, 16 July 2017

British GP Report - Home run

Some fates seem set in advance. That, like Oedipus, no matter what you try to avert things you end still with the preordained outcome. Lewis Hamilton in the British Grand Prix benefited from just that, claiming his fourth home win in a row.

Lewis Hamilton cruised to victory
in a near-inevitable outcome
Photo: Octane Photography
Around Silverstone the Mercedes driver was as usual on another level. In advance we realised only the unusual could deny him, and nothing of that ilk materialised.

A poor start? It wasn't brilliant yet he held Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari off to lead. Rain? No - that stayed away (though as if to show how things smiled upon him, it arrived in a big way shortly after the chequered flag). You can guess the rest.

He simply moved clear. After the solitary stops he was more than 10 seconds away from the next guy. He won by 14. It was a Grand Chelem also - pole, fastest lap, win and led every lap. All appropriate. It was in more than one sense quite the home run.

And of course he was delighted. "That was amazing, oh my God, greatest day," Lewis beamed.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Silverstone Qualifying: Exercises in futility

Some things seem inevitable. Not only in having an insurmountable advantage, but also that over and above everything somehow will go for you. We got both this time, and it felt like something we'd seen plenty before. Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the British Grand Prix, as he always was going to.

Lewis Hamilton once again dominated in Britain
Photo: Octane Photography
The Silverstone circuit could be designed for the Mercedes, and it showed. But even of the Merc pair Lewis seems to have inherited Nigel Mansell's traits for his home round. Ensuring his adoring public is not disappointed by being on another level of all others. That for the rest it will be an exercise in futility for first place.

And Lewis got some luck he hardly needed, with not only the similarly-equipped Valtteri Bottas but also an expected close (a relative term) challenger Daniel Ricciardo getting five-place grid drops in advance for changing their gearbox, thus making the pole fight for them properly futile.

It looked in advance too that the British summer weather might be Lewis's only impediment, as rain was supposed to arrive for the end of quali. As it was it arrived for the start, as drizzled gathered minutes before the get-go. Yet it proved the most minor of irritants, particularly as it didn't hang around long.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

New Motorsport Week article: Why Lewis Hamilton is the perfect Ferrari driver

Photo: Octane Photography
Mighty oaks from little acorns grow. It started with Ben Anderson in Autosport interviewing Lewis Hamilton. And noticing that he said a few nice things about the Scuderia, as well as wasn't ruling out a Ferrari move one day.

It's a prospect that long since has been nagging at me. Not as any sort of contribution to silly season, instead that Lewis Hamilton has long struck me as an archetypal Ferrari driver. The sort that the tifosi would really take it their heart.

I outline my reasoning for thinking this way in my latest Motorsport Week. You can have a read here:

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

British GP Betting Preview - Channelling your inner Nige

Perhaps you need to start listening to me. A disturbing number of calls in last week's Austrian Grand Prix betting preview came in: the Valtteri Bottas pole, the pole winning margin, Daniel Ricciardo to get on the podium, as well as Romain Grosjean and Lance Stroll to get points.

Lewis Hamilton has a very strong record at his home round
Photo: Octane Photography
And now we have the British round. As outlined in my event preview there are reasons to think Mercedes will be on top - both to do with recent form and with the Silverstone track specifically. While of the Merc pair there are plenty of reasons to expect Lewis Hamilton to dominate.

He appears to have inherited Nigel Mansell's old knack of finding additional resolve for his home race. And, oh yeah, he's won the last three British Grands Prix. Therefore the evens available for Lewis to win again looks rather like a steal.

His odds for pole are a little more swingeing, but might given everything still be worth backing at 11/17. The other Merc of Bottas at 7/2 to get pole appears a good outside bet.

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Ricciardo: The Only Happy Red Bull Driver

What does Max Verstappen need to do to finish a race this season? His dismal luck reminds us of Michael Schumacher's 2000 title campaign! Either way, it is time Verstappen goes woo-ing his Lady Luck, again. Maybe, Red Bull Racing needs to rename the RB13 to get rid of the bad luck!

In the Red Bull Racing ecosystem, Daniel Ricciardo seems to be the only driver 'happy'. Carlos Sainz Jr. had a public spat regarding his future; given Red Bull Racing's attitude, he should be glad it wasn't a public slap. As for Daniil Kvyat, he was let off leniently by the FIA for his 'torpedo' move, but will Red Bull Racing let him off as lightly?

In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, Mithila and Kunal wonder how and why are people expecting Valtteri Bottas to be the third title contender for the season. Has he done enough to warrant a contract extension with Mercedes? Similarly, Fernando Alonso is in high demand. Maybe he should approach a multi-team contract option for 2018. You'll have to tune-in to understand this crazy idea of ours better.

Finally, McLaren have suggested that Formula 1 should purchase Silverstone. Given McLaren's recent Formula 1 decisions, we'd advise Carey & Team to just ignore that suggestion. Tune in!

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

(Season 2017, Episode 26)

Monday, 10 July 2017

Silverstone Preview - Patriot games

Every year at around about this time I experience conflict. I'm not one driven by patriotism, and this applies especially to F1 wherein nationalities have never mattered a jot to me. But even I cannot deny that there is something about the British Grand Prix.

There's something about the British Grand
Prix, and Silverstone
Photo: Octane Photography
It can't even be said that its hardy host Silverstone has universal appeal. It's not glamourous, nor picture postcard. Its look is rather lunar. The late Christopher Hilton once suggested, possibly harshly, that "people get emotional at Silverstone but not emotional about Silverstone. Even when they're trying to save it, they're doing it because they want the British Grand Prix to survive, not because emotion dictates Silverstone."

Yet still few refute that the Northamptonshire circuit bows to almost none in being part of the F1 furniture. And this is for a number of reasons.

Chief among these is that it is F1's home gig. Seven of F1's ten teams are based (or in Haas's case has a base) in Britain, and six of these are within a few miles of the Silverstone track. So are a myriad of companies that supply them in this sport's equivalent of silicon valley.

Austrian Grand Prix review for Motor Verso - Bottas joins the party

Perhaps F1 squeezed all of its current quota of frolics into the last round in Azerbaijan. As in Austria, despite reasons to expect thrills the race provided very few of them. Not before the very end anyway.

Photo: Octane Photography
But still there was plenty to admire about how Valtteri Bottas dominated for much of the distance, then - in a spooky parallel with his previous win in Russia - was unflinching as Sebastian Vettel chased him down in the final throes.

And the race could be significant too, as while this season we've relished our two's company world championship fight, Bottas may be turning it into a crowd of three...

Here's my take on it all for Motor Verso:

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, 9 July 2017

Austrian GP Report - Bottas barks

It was, as Sherlock Holmes might have it, the dog that didn't bark. Rarely had we entered a race with so many apparent variables as today's in Austria. Lewis Hamilton from starting eighth would come through the pack. The higher temperatures made tyre life - particularly via blistering - unknown. Some would have to switch to the soft compound having hardly, or in some cases having never, run them this weekend. Rain was around too, a few putting the likelihood at 80%.

Just like in Russia, Valtteri Bottas took a fine win with
Sebastian Vettel breathing down his neck
Photo: Octane Photography
None of these things happened. Instead we got a study in domination from poleman Valtteri Bottas. Fine it was too.

He started as he meant to go on. His race get-go was so good that some thought it was too good, and the stewards investigated a jump start. Second-place starter Sebastian Vettel considered the Finn bang to rights. "From my point of view, he jumped the start - I was sure that he did," said Vettel later. "It looked like it from inside the car, but it's not for me to judge at the end of the day."

Simply not moving before the lights go out ain't necessarily enough; if you're moving within two tenths of a second of it - beyond human capability it is thought - you'll still get penalised for an anticipated launch. And Bottas clocked it at... 0.201secs. It appears instead it simply was the perfect start.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Red Bull Ring Qualifying - Hamlet with the Prince

It looked like qualifying would be Hamlet without the Prince. But we had a Prince, just not the one anticipated. The pretender stepped up.

Valtteri Bottas, it turned out, was the prince of qualifying
Photo: Octane Photography
Yesterday around Austria's Red Bull Ring Lewis Hamilton looked on a plateau. Easily quickest in all circumstances it seemed. Enjoying a Mercedes that seems now shorn of its diva leanings; happy on all tyre compounds.

Yet after the day's running we found out it was not quite as it seemed, as gearbox damage from Baku (no, not due to that) meant that wherever Lewis 'qualified' in Austria he'd add five to the number.

Thus the qualifying hour became a lot about his team mate Valtteri Bottas. The onus was on him to tape up pole instead, not only for himself but to help his colleague.

He did his bit. Lewis didn't. In the first goes of quali's final part the Finn posted a decent 1m 04.251 to top the charts, though his lap was by no means perfect (he did get a nice tow from a Force India however and aced the second part of the lap). Lewis after a scrappy run posted a 1m 04.424. Worse it allowed the perennial Sebastian Vettel to sneak between them.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Ferrari's Most Crucial Race Of 2017 Yet?

Ferrari arrive under pressure at the Red Bull Ring - one of the most beautiful circuits on the Formula 1 calendar. Has the FIA evened out the supposed bias towards Ferrari? On one hand, it's let go Sebastian Vettel fairly leniently (says the public!) and on the other hand, it's clamped down 'oil burn' which most rivals believe has slowed down Ferrari. The general perception is that Ferrari is back to chasing Mercedes; so is the 2017 Austrian Grand Prix Ferrari's most crucial race of the season yet?

In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, we applaud the FIA's humour on the serious investigation of Vettel's transgressions in Baku and we wonder whose word we trust more - Toto Wolff's or Eddie Jordan's? With nearly a quarter of a million pounds after his McLaren exit, should Ron Dennis buy-out Force India - or the to-be-named Force One Formula One Team? Finally, Robert Kubica's heroic comeback will be granted super-heroic status if it is with the scarlet red Ferrari instead of the taxi-coloured Renault. Tune in!

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

(Season 2017, Episode 25)

Austrian GP Betting Preview - Clear view in the Styrian hills?

Lately, for the first time in 2017, we perhaps are getting some clarity at the front in F1. Ignore Baku's hoo-ha, for our purposes the big steer therein is that Mercedes dominated on pace and the best Ferrari was upwards of a second off Lewis Hamilton's pole time. Merc also got a one-two in the preceding race in Canada. And this weekend's challenge in Austria - mostly straights and tight turns - is similar to those.

Lewis Hamilton will be looking to capitalise on Mercedes's
recent improved form
Photo: Octane Photography
To some extent this is reflected in the odds, yet 9/10 available for Lewis to win the Styrian race and 7/10 for him to get the pole may still be worth your while.

However Lewis at the Red Bull Ring in qualifying at least hasn't always had the happiest time, as in his first two visits after F1 returned in 2014 he botched his final Saturday effort. With this, how about his team mate Valtteri Bottas takes advantage to pinch pole? You can get 9/2 on him to do so.

Times in Austria often are close - due to a short lap and a layout that doesn't discriminate as much as others between good and not so good aero packages. And you can get 13/8 on there being a pole winning margin of less than a tenth of a second.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Red Bull Ring Preview - Changing of the seasons

F1 has developed a season. A bit like the tennis calendar has a grass court season (though that phrase always amuses me given it seems to consist solely of Wimbledon and some warm-up tournaments for Wimbledon). It now is in a mini-run of tracks cut from the same cloth.

The Red Bull Ring has become a popular stop-off
Photo: Octane Photography
We had Montreal, then Baku, and the run is completed this weekend by the Red Bull Ring in Austria. These circuits each are made up mainly of straights, some long, separately almost exclusively by slow turns. Point and squirt, as we used to say. Straightline speed, braking stability and traction are the chief discriminators.

The image of the Red Bull Ring has over time shifted about as frequently as its name. When F1 first rocked up in 1997, to what was then called the A1-Ring, many struggled to forgive it for trampling the magnificent Österreichring underfoot. In sharp contrast the new version seemed then achingly tepid.

It dropped off the calendar after 2003, but then Red Bull money - as evidenced in the current nomenclature - brought it back for 2014. And we then got a demonstration that time is a great healer, or else that things are judged in their context. Suddenly the track had developed a charm in the age of the cavernous Tilke-drome (ironic as this was in fact Hermann Tilke's first F1 effort). It seems now to be a firm fan's favourite.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

F1's engine conundrum

Theoretically the F1 engine spec is set in stone until 2020. Yet the debate about what happens then has started early. The sport's brave new world put in place at the turn of the year coincided with a starting gun being fired for wrangling over whither, and more to the point whether, the current hybrid power units.

F1's debate about the future of its engines has started early
Photo: Octane Photography
The resultant conundrum brings us quickly to a core debate. Does F1's technology not matter much so long as the racing is good? Or should F1, to coin the phrase, also be about 'improving the breed'? In other words, should it provide a test bed for road car manufacturers, as it virtually always has at least to some extent?

If it is the latter, then as things stand the disconnect is becoming clear. As the redoubtable Dieter Rencken observed when visiting last year's Geneva International Motor Show, while F1 references were thin on the ground any number of manufacturers were at pains to flaunt their connection with the new-ish all-electric motorsport category, Formula E.

They're voting with their feet too. "In 2016/7, the number of manufacturers represented on FE grids (Renault, DS, Audi, VW, NEXTEV, Mahindra, Jaguar, with Nissan possibly joining off the back of alliance partner Renault) could outnumber automotive brands currently in F1 by eight to five, if, that is, one views McLaren-Honda as two entities," noted Rencken.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Inside Line F1 Podcast - A Lose Head & A Loose Headrest

The 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix did test the usage of the words 'lose' and 'loose'! In this week's episode, we wonder if Pirelli will soon run out adjectives for their 'soft' tyres and if they'll debut a mega ultra super soft tyre someday soon. And mind you, a single set of this compound might last the entire race duration too!

We look back at Daniel Ricciardo's 'curse of the No. 3' that actually worked, the much-debated Hamilton-Vettel clash, Valtteri Bottas' recovery drive to P2 and has Lance Stroll proved his critics (including us!) wrong already?

A triple header Formula 1 weekend in 2018 will be a treat for the fans, but if you're a die-hard fan, you can forget about planning a holiday in June/July 2018!

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

New Motorsport Week article: Fernando Alonso to Mercedes or Ferrari for 2018 – is it that unlikely?

Even if he does nothing on track (which in itself is pretty rare) we know that Fernando Alonso is always good for entertainment. Intrigue, it seems, follows him.

Photo: Octane Photography
And in the Azerbaijan weekend just passed he and his people were on manoeuvres, all to do with where he'll drive next season. Some of Alonso's comments were fascinating, including that he expects to be in a 'safe' winning F1 car next year - which surely means Mercedes, Ferrari or at a stretch Red Bull - and that there will be more driver market movement that we currently are assuming.

In my latest for Motorsport Week I try to unpick it all and look into just how likely a Mercedes or Ferrari move for 2018 is for Nando. Maybe they're more likely that we'd first think...

You can have a read here:

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Firstpost Video - Azerbaijan Grand Prix Review

The latest Firstpost Video Grand Prix Review is here. Mithila and Kunal of Inside Line F1 Podcast this time review the extraordinary Azerbaijan Grand Prix. It includes discussion of Lewis-Seb gate, Ricciardo's drive through the pack, and - befitting of the race we got - plenty else besides...

You can watch below:

Azerbaijan Grand Prix review for Motor Verso - The wild ones

It was one of those where it's hard to know where to begin. The Baku race started as very ordinary for 2017 - Lewis Hamilton leading from Sebastian Vettel. But then they had a contretemps. Then they both had delays - in Vettel's case related to the contretemps.

Photo: Octane Photography
Others had their bad luck too. There was plenty of disruption. And through it all came none other than Daniel Ricciardo to win. And in case you think that sounds halfway normal then consider that he had dropped to 19th place after an early unscheduled pitstop. It was that sort of race.

In my latest Motor Verso race review I do my best to squeeze in the important bits:

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, 25 June 2017

Azerbaijan GP Report - Ricciardo cruises through the carnage

Daniel Ricciardo won today's Azerbaijan Grand Prix. He started tenth after a qualifying crash, and worse made a stop on lap six to clear debris from his brake ducts, leaving him down in 19th.

Daniel Ricciardo came through the Baku carnage to win
Photo: Octane Photography
Valtteri Bottas finished second in today's Azerbaijan Grand Prix. And in case you think that bit sounds halfway normal then consider that the Finn lost a lap at the start of this one, after a second turn collision with Kimi Raikkonen. And that he only got his second place literally on the finish line, by a tenth of a second. F1 imitating the end of the Derby.

Lance Stroll finished third in today's Azerbaijan Grand Prix. He started eighth, and up until two weeks ago was considered an F1 pariah. Yet possibly this weekend he made fewer mistakes than anyone.

Only then did we have the season's chief suspects Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.

Yes, it underlines what a unlikely race the Azerbaijan Grand Prix was. Sometimes you should judge a book by its cover.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Baku Qualifying - Expecting the expected

It looked in advance like it was happening again. And it did happen again. Just not in the way we thought it was happening again.

Lewis Hamilton stunned on his way to another pole position
Photo: Octane Photography
In yesterday's practice Mercedes struggled, and the story seemed familiar. A low grip, temporary track. Slow corners. The car struggling apparently to get its tyres in range. Montreal, wherein it had bounced back in just those sort of circumstances, was by the looks of things a one-off.

Yet, when it mattered, not a bit of it. Come this morning's running silver was back on top in that highly familiar way. But in another as-seen part of the tale it looked that of the Merc pair Valtteri Bottas - like in Sochi and Monaco - was the better equipped in such moments. Come qualifying though, not a bit of that either.

Lewis Hamilton on a track that requires brave shaving of walls and acrobatic skills was again on another level even of the two Mercs. At last providing a bit that makes sense. And Mercedes more generally looked even further ahead of the rest than before.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Azerbaijan GP Betting Preview - A close call

This column is losing what little reputation it had. In Monaco I backed Lewis Hamilton to win and we got Sebastian Vettel. In Canada? Yes, you guessed.

Sebastian Vettel versus Lewis Hamilton
continues to be hard to call
Photo: Octane Photography
And this one in Azerbaijan is far from safe ground to strike back. As in advance it looks a very close call between the usual suspects Ferrari and Mercedes - or more to the point between Vettel and Hamilton. This is reflected in the odds, with Lewis even money to win this Sunday and Seb 2/1.

Prior to Montreal we felt safe in assuming that this street track in Baku was the sort to trip up Mercedes in 2017 - low grip, slow turns... But in Montreal as the opening paragraph intimates Merc surprised us by taking a one-two on precisely that type of circuit. This weekend much will hinge on whether the Brackley squad has indeed had a eureka moment, or whether Canada was a one off.

Adding to the confusion, last year in Baku Lewis on Friday looked set to dominate - which made sense given it's an acrobatic track that rewards bravery. But after that he went on to have one of his off weekends.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Baku Preview - Through the looking glass

As we know, F1 does like to exist beyond the looking glass.

Last year's inaugural Baku race was not as expected
By crossland_alan -
@N07/27719040512/in/dateposted/, CC BY-SA 2.0,
Twelve months ago the sport rocked up to a new street circuit in Baku, Azerbaijan, expecting something "not like anything we've seen before in F1".

Certainly its challenges looked different. A real downtown circuit. Plenty of forbidding walls. Much of it claustrophobic with a twisty narrow section around the castle reminiscent of Mirabeau-Station Hairpin-Portiers at Monaco. But also a 2.1 km straight longer even than anything at Monza.

In the event much was familiar though. Based on the GP2 races we expected frolics aplenty - safety cars and trips down narrow escape roads making it a lottery. Also there was an ultra generous DRS zone with even quicker cars vulnerable to being overtaken, particularly on restarts. All making it a matter of survival.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Firstpost Video - Le Mans Special

Even your average F1 fan knows that in motorsport there's nothing quite like the Le Mans 24 Hours. And in a special extra Firstpost Pole Position video, Kunal Shah of the Inside Line F1 Podcast tells you why you should tune in this weekend. You can watch below:

Friday, 16 June 2017

New Motorsport Week article: The relentless Sebastian Vettel

Photo: Octane Photography
Sebastian Vettel's run of finishing in the top two of every race in 2017 ended in Canada last weekend. But even so his momentum felt unchecked.

That's because it was another fine drive, recovering from an early delay from changing his front wing. The Ferrari challenge again doesn't appear to have much intention of leaving the stage.

In my latest article for Motorsport Week I explain why Lewis Hamilton will have to go some to beat Sebastian Vettel in 2017. Because he's gone into relentless mode, the sort that we've seen precisely before now

You can have a read here:

Inside Line F1 Podcast Special - Karun Chandhok Talks Le Mans & F1

There's seemingly more excitement and anticipation about the 2017 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Is this thanks to Fernando Alonso's efforts to bring the 'Triple Crown of Motorsport' back in the limelight?

Photo: Octane Photography
In this special episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, Mithila and Kunal talk to Karun Chandhok, former Formula 1 and Formula E driver and India's Le Mans specialist, about the legendary endurance race this weekend, his best memory of this race and who he thinks are the favourites to win.

If you're a Formula 1 fan all confused about the various 'classes' at Le Mans (the LMP1, LMP2 and the others), we have Chandhok explain it to us in his typical simplistic style. And of course, since we had Chandhok captive, we decided to ask him some Formula 1 questions too. Tune in to know who his bet for the 2017 Drivers' Championship title is.

(Season 2017,  Episode 23)

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

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Inside Line F1 Podcast - What VER Has In Common With VAN, STR & ERI

Max Verstappen is 'fed up'! But he's had such a start to the 2017 Formula 1 Season - 3 DNFs out of 7 races, so we don't blame him. If he's 'fed up' in just 7 races, we wonder what state would poor Fernando Alonso be in after nearly 50 such races with McLaren Honda.

Alonso to Williams in 2018? Or will it be the IndyCar series? If only the McLaren win in the 'F1 Raft Race' influenced his decision. But very coyly, McLaren seem to be distancing themselves from Honda's recurring and seemingly unsolvable woes. What are their plans for 2018? Renault?

In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, Mithila and Kunal express disappointment with Daniel Ricciardo, debate Force India's no-use of team orders, and wonder if Toto Wolff has a veiled message for Nico Rosberg - should he decide to make a comeback. Tune in!

(Season 2017, Episode 22)

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

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

How To Conquer 24 Hours of Le Mans, by Select Car Leasing

With the 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend, Select Car Leasing thought it'd delve into the event and check out the cars in detail and see how they're made in order to deal with this gruelling race.

It also got Giedo van der Garde to tell us how he prepares for Le Mans 24 Hours and about the chief differences between Le Mans and Formula 1.

While in something that is vital to many motorsport fans it's also thrown in a few tips to help you watch the full 24 hours without nodding off...

How To Conquer 24 Hours of Le Mans
How To Conquer 24 Hours of Le Mans by SELECT CAR LEASING.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Firstpost Video - Canadian Grand Prix Review

Here's the latest Firstpost Video Grand Prix Review.

Mithila and Kunal from the Inside Line F1 Podcast look at last weekend's Canadian Grand Prix. They talk about Mercedes's post-Monaco bounce back, Sebastian Vettel's comeback, the Force India pace and soap opera, Romain Grosjean, Fernando Alonso and other Montreal matters. You can watch below:

Canadian Grand Prix review for Motor Verso - Great expectations

Photo: Octane Photography
Most of the expectations in advance of the Canadian weekend, and race, were in the event confounded. Perhaps appropriate given Montreal races are known for being off the wall (metaphorically and sometimes literally).

Yes Mercedes bounced back at a track that was thought to be the sort it struggled on, and claimed a one-two. And of the pair local specialist Lewis Hamilton was on another level. But equally Ferrari isn't relenting, and the quality of Sebastian Vettel's recovery drive underlined the point.

So not all expectations were confounded.

Here's my review of the Canadian GP action for Motor Verso:

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, 11 June 2017

Canadian GP Report - A walk in the park

Apparently Mercedes's calculations in advance called it a dead heat. There was, we expected, to be nothing between Merc and Ferrari in this one.

Lewis Hamilton won in a race of one
Photo: Octane Photography
We should have known though that things are rarely that simple in Montreal. The bald facts are that in the Canadian Grand Prix Merc took an imperious one-two. And of its driver pairing Lewis Hamilton made good on his local specialist status by existing in another race, to the point that the TV director appeared to disregard him. Lewis's engineer, not just because of the Ile Notre Dame surroundings, called it a "walk in the park".

It was made so from the off. Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari usually is to be feared from the launch but today it wasn't stellar and from second he was mugged at turn one by a racy Valtteri Bottas (who looked for a nanosecond that he might spear his Mercedes team mate) and a racier Max Verstappen, who came from nowhere to sweep around the outside to take second place. Seb thus was fourth and already the race had gone a long way to be framed.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Montreal Qualifying - The empire strikes back

It could hardly have been in a less appropriate place. But in usually-madcap Montreal, normality returned.

Lewis Hamilton - and Mercedes - struck
back in Montreal's qualifying
Photo: Octane Photography
It was the sort of track that had been tripping previously-imperious Mercedes in 2017 - low grip; slow turns; softest tyre compounds. But the silver team might be learning at last.

Practice running suggested it was at least in the game this time; unlike in Monaco its pace didn't evaporate as the weekend went on. And in qualifying the story got more familiar, with the Mercs growing in potency as the hour went on.

And Lewis Hamilton - who'd especially struggled in the circumstances outlined - claimed pole position by acing the Montreal track. That last bit being something altogether more usual. Ever the showman he saved by far his best for last too.

In Retrospect: The 1999 European Grand Prix, by Steven Critchley

F1 action will return to Baku's treacherous street circuit on 25 June, after a successful hosting of last year's European Grand Prix, which returned to the calendar after a three-year absence. This time, it will be host to the inaugural Azerbaijan Grand Prix, once more testing the technical abilities of constructors in a more diverse way, while also forcing drivers on the circuit to time their overtakes to perfection.

As a street circuit, Baku offers little margin for error from anyone, regardless of how experienced or decorated they may be. Another battle of Ferrari versus Mercedes is expected, but the negation of the disparity that once existed is reflected by Mercedes's Valtteri Bottas being priced at 28/1 on bet365's F1 betting odds to win this year's title. However, the unpredictability that typically characterises a new F1 circuit was in full evidence last year, when Sergio Perez enjoyed a rare moment in the sun in an unfancied Force India car and finished third.

19 June 2016: Drivers speak to press after the inaugural F1 race in Baku. 

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Canadian GP Betting Preview - Value with Vettel

Pride comes before a fall, as my mother likes to say.

There are plenty of reasons to think Sebastian Vettel
 will lead again this weekend
Photo: Octane Photography
After starting to crow last time about how this betting preview column was developing rather a charmed existence, in Monaco it had a car crash. But for a few reasons, Canada this weekend could be a good place for a bounce back.

A few themes have developed in 2017 F1. Ferrari is good everywhere. Mercedes is not good on low grip tracks that are made up mainly of slow corners, as well as on softer tyre compounds. See Russia and Monaco. And in Montreal it'll face pretty much exactly the same again.

Therefore the smart money could be on Sebastian Vettel, and he's not even odds on for the Canadian pole and win. He can be backed at 21/10 for the former and 8/5 for the latter, and both appear great value.

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Indy vs. F1, Settle This The Boxing Way

There's Lewis Hamilton on one side and ALL the Indy drivers on the other. They're at a war of words, thanks to Hamilton questioning the level of talent competing in the American open-wheel single-seater series. How do we settle this? Let's have the world's best racers challenge each other, boxing style. A fully blown PR event, racer vs. racer - in a single-make car, anyone like this idea?

In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, Mithila and Kunal talk about the upcoming Canadian Grand Prix, a possible reunion between Alonso-Renault, Red Bull Racing's silly caravan racing video and if like the Indy Car Championship, should Formula 1 publicise driver earnings for each race too? There's just so much both the series can learn from each other.

Finally, which driver will crash into the Wall of Champions? And with a 25 points deficit, Canada is definitely going to see some 'HAMmer Time'!

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

Tune in!

(Season 2017, Episode 21)

Monday, 5 June 2017

Montreal Preview - In the spirit of Gilles

You've probably noticed by now that the folks in and around F1 don't always agree on everything. Or on much at all.

The Montreal weekend has an inimitable quality
Photo: Octane Photography
And that applies absolutely to its venues. Yet there are a few on which there is nevertheless close to unanimity. One is that the annual visit to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix, the latest of which is this weekend, is one to relish.

There are many reasons for this. Gripping drama and madcap action are positive expectations at this race. The layout ensures plenty of overtaking opportunities. The nearby walls at the parkland track can and frequently have punished even small errors. It even has its own 'Wall of Champions' which as its name suggests has ensnared a few of the best.

It is a place that rewards the brave. The track with the nearby walls cited is made up essentially of straights separately by chicanes and a hairpin. Pivoting and hustling the car through the chicanes, being bold on the brakes and shaving the forbidding concrete at great speed are what's needed.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Fernando Alonso, Motorsport's Disruptive Force

Fernando Alonso, arguably Formula 1's unluckiest double World Champion, is he Motorsport's most disruptive force right now? His exploits at the 101st Indianapolis 500 almost stole the limelight away from Formula 1, Monaco, Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel. Can the current and next generation of racers take inspiration from his move? Has Alonso's target of the 'Triple Crown of Motorsport' suddenly brought it back into the spotlight? Will there be more drivers gunning for this crown?

In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, Mithila and Kunal discuss how easily and with open arms did the Indy 500 welcome Fernando Alonso. Would Formula 1 ever be able to replicate this gesture to any of the Indy 500 drivers?

At Motorsport's BIGGEST weekend ever, was there conspiracy at both the iconic races? A Japanese driver won in the Honda car in a team sponsored by a Japanese company whereas in Monaco, we all know how the Ferrari-Raikkonen-Vettel over cut strategy turned out. Congrats to Haas for their double points finish, btw.

Finally, we'd love for Lewis Hamilton to participate in the Indy 500 than doubt the existing talent there. Tune in!

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

(Season 2017, Episode 20)

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Monaco Grand Prix review for Motor Verso - Much ado about nothing

On Ferrari 'tactics' it was much ado about nothing; on Ferrari pace it was something that there should be much ado about.

Photo: Octane Photography
As is often the case this Monaco race was far from a thriller, but it provided plenty for us to chew on.

And perhaps in our determination to find Maranello skulduggery we're missing by far the most important take-out. That Ferrari dominated, particularly in Sebastian Vettel's hands. And the Mercedes, at least for Lewis Hamilton, experienced a conspicuous trough for the second time in three rounds.

You can read my Monaco GP review for Motor Verso here:

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.

Firstpost Video - Monaco Grand Prix Review

Here's the latest Firstpost Video Grand Prix Review.

Mithila and Kunal from the Inside Line F1 Podcast discuss the Monaco Grand Prix, the notorious question of Ferrari's pit 'tactics', and other matters from the weekend. You can watch below:

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Monaco GP Report - Making it work

In F1 even fairy tales tend to be stalked by a wicked witch. There scarcely was a dry eye in the house as Kimi Raikkonen bagged his first pole position in nine years yesterday, and here in Monaco, the most important pole of the year. Yet there was an inevitable accompaniment.

Sebastian Vettel triumphed in the Monaco Grand Prix,
and extends his title lead
Photo: Octane Photography
'Will Ferrari issue a team order in the race?' Or rather 'when will Ferrari issue a team order in the race?' After all from the championship side for the Scuderia it's all about Sebastian Vettel, who lined up alongside the Finn on the grid. The consensus remains that Mercedes will improve. And titles have been lost by far less than the seven-point difference.

As it was the red team did something between issuing an order and not. It gave Seb an opportunity. And he seized it magnificently.

Kimi led Seb off the line, and for the opening stint it was nip and tuck between the two imperious red machines. Kimi quickly established a lead of two seconds or so, but Seb then periodically took bites out of it. Later, particularly as they hit traffic, he got it to under a second.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Monaco Qualifying - The boy is back in town

"This is Monaco, mate," said Esteban Ocon's engineer to his young charge in morning practice, explaining away one of the place's many peculiarities. And at the same time all the other ones.

Kimi Raikkonen stunned by taking his
first pole position in nearly nine years
Photo: Octane Photography
For more reasons than mere prestige Monaco's is the most important qualifying session of the year. It also is the most challenging. And unpredictable. It's not just due to the casino that the Principality is associated with games of chance.

And the pole man we got this time is none other than Kimi Raikkonen. As you'll now be familiar it's his first pole since the French Grand Prix of 2008. Or 129 Grands Prix ago if you prefer. You'll also be familiar that in the common consciousness he's for a while been the other Ferrari pilot.

Following the practice sessions things appeared to be crystallising. It looked Ferrari's and particularly Sebastian Vettel's to lose, the German chucking out times clear tenths quicker than the rest, seemingly at will. Mercedes was neither as quick as the red car nor as good on the rubber.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Why Raikkonen Will Never Race The Indy 500

As Motorsport's most-awaited weekend nears, Mithila and Kunal had to make a tough choice while deciding what to speak about first - the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix or the Indianapolis 500? We can't possibly wonder how Fernando Alonso made up his mind! And damn the Indy 500 traditions for not being Raikkonen-friendly.

In this week's episode, we discuss the long and short of wheelbases, Jenson Button's return to Formula 1, Carlos Sainz Jr.'s most-certain departure from Toro Rosso for 2018 (and how he should NEVER take career advice from a certain Fernando), Pastor Maldonado's misconception, Hamilton's love for Indian food and how we hope and pray for a combined racing weekend of MotoGP and Formula 1 action at the same venue. Now, wouldn't that be most epic?

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

Tune in!

(Season 2017, Episode 19)

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Monaco GP Betting Preview - Lewis's to lose?

This column, by accident or design (more likely the former), seems to be on to something. The last betting preview, for the Spanish Grand Prix just passed, played quite the blinder, featuring the odds for the correct race winner and pole sitter, as well as highlighting punts on the pole winning margin and for Daniel Ricciardo to finish on the podium that also came in.

Is Lewis Hamilton the man to lay your money on?
Photo: Octane Photography
Now we have Monaco - a place associated with games of chance. Perhaps appropriate to its F1 race given that event's madcap reputation. Yet as explained in my event preview Monaco's status as being a place where the unusual happens can be overstated, and may be this time.

Some think Ferrari's shorter wheelbase than the Mercedes's will serve it well at the sinewy track, but using the common guide of speed in Barcelona's final sector last time out Mercedes in fact looks on top and Lewis Hamilton especially so. Lewis can be got at 13/10 to win and 7/5 to get pole. Both look good value.

Plus if you like to use what's happened in the past as a guide (and I've heard it said that gamblers who know what they're doing do), the Scuderia hasn't won in Monaco for 16 years...