Thursday, 19 October 2017

USA uses enough oil to fill the Empire State Building 3 times over – every day, by Select Car Leasing

Since President Trump withdrew the USA from the Paris Agreement, Select Car Leasing thought it would be a good time to look at just how much petrol the USA uses when compared with other large economies.

It may not surprise you that the USA 'leads' the world in terms of petrol usage. But it may surprise you when you see just how much petrol they use when compared with other major economies.

The USA uses 19,396,000 barrels of petrol per day. That's enough to fill the Empire State Building almost 3 times over.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

US GP Betting Preview - Lone star in the Lone Star State?

On one level calling this weekend's US Grand Prix at Austin looks a no brainer.

Will it be a close fight between the big three teams?
Photo: Octane Photography
Lewis Hamilton is a Texan specialist, with four wins from five races here. He also is in formidable recent form - winning five from the last seven. Plus the circuit, the first two thirds of it at least, should suit the Mercedes. And 9/10 for Lewis to triumph looks reasonable value.

But dig a little deeper and things may not be that simple in any case. The final part of the COTA lap may not suit the Merc plus tyre warm up can be tricky at Austin - something that on 2017 experience will give the silver squad's engineers a shudder.

Plus its two closest rival teams will enter the weekend with optimism. It's easy to lose sight of that the Ferrari's still looked quick in recent weeks when it's not been breaking down; COTA has a bit of everything about both its layout and its temperatures and these should play into the hands of the versatile red machine. And its reliability woes have to end sometime, don't they...?

Fastest cars on the planet in 2017, by Multilotto

2017 is the year of the ultimate Speed freak. Gone are the days when 200 mph was the holy grail of motoring. Today there are many cars which have breached this once impossible threshold. Indeed, some of the fastest cars of 2017 completely obliterate 200 mph. It seems 2017 has thrown up a new unreachable target, the lords of asphalt are now on a mission to create a mind boggling 300 mph, road legal car.

Here, Multilotto have put together a list of the fastest cars on the planet in 2017. With the price tag which comes with these dream Hypercars, a lottery win is the only way that most of us will be able to afford one of the oh so beautiful beasts.

Sit back, relax, and dream the impossible dream.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Austin Preview: Taking care of business

Unfinished business. The itch it couldn't scratch. Call it what you will, it applied to America for much of F1's history.

F1 has at last found a good home in the US - at Austin
Photo: Octane Photography
The world's largest economy, sports mad and likely unparalleled in its attachment to the automobile; add that F1 purports to have a world championship. Yet somehow for years it didn't amount to pitching a tent Stateside that wouldn't fall down upon contact with the slightest gust of wind.

Demonstrating as much there have been no fewer than ten US F1 hosts (no other country gets close). Contrary to some presumptions F1 did previously get it right in the States, with well-established and popular rounds at Watkins Glen and Long Beach. Both were lost in the early 1980s.

Of the other attempts, some of them have been cringe-worthy; for stretches there was no US round at all. In advance of the latest go in Austin a few expected more of the same.

Yet when everyone arrived for the first time in 2012 the doom-mongers simply could not have been more wrong.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Japanese Grand Prix review for Motor Verso - Deja vu all over again

At Suzuka it was deja vu all over again.

Photo: Octane Photography
Really. For the third race in a row Ferrari compromised itself from the first beat. And Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes helped themselves to a big points gain. Now the destination of the drivers' title their way looks certain.

For Motor Verso I give my take on it all, and shoehorn a few more Yogi Berra lines...

You can have a read 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.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Malaysia Grand Prix review for Motor Verso - Let's twist again

Sepang International Circuit Grandstand Tower 2016 Malaysian GP
By Morio (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://],
via Wikimedia Commons
A little belated (and to some extent overtaken by events) but here's my review of the Malaysia GP for Motor Verso - a weekend wherein F1 said 'let's twist we did last summer...'

You can have a read 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, 8 October 2017

Japanese GP Report - When things run away from you

It was deja vu all over again. Literally. In the Japanese Grand Prix for the third race in a row Ferrari was compromised from the first beat. For the third race in a row (in fact more than that) Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes made a major points gain. And now we're in the endgame.

No wonder he's smiling - in Suzuka Lewis Hamilton
all but wrapped up his fourth drivers' title
Photo: Octane Photography
This time it was a spark plug problem for Sebastian Vettel. Just as with Kimi Raikkonen in Malaysia, the Ferrari mechanics were frantic on the grid around Seb's car. Such reliability niggles are becoming a habit.

Unlike Kimi in Sepang Seb got going but the extent of his problem soon was evident. Max Verstappen ambushed him for P2 at the hairpin first time through, then Esteban Ocon, Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas all swamped him on the pit straight next time past.

Quickly he was pulled in to retire, and Vettel later spoke like a man who knew the championship was gone.

"I think I need to protect them," he said of his team. "We've done an incredible job this year, it's like that sometimes.

Saturday, 7 October 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.

Suzuka Qualifying - Rising star

So reports of Mercedes's F1 death were greatly exaggerated.

Yes to an extent a bounce back was expected. Suzuka, particularly its full noise final part, would suit it. The temperatures - unlike the previous two rounds - were cool, and this the Merc loves. But given recent flailing, much of it unanticipated, no one was taking anything for granted.

Mercedes, and especially Lewis Hamilton, reasserted
control in Suzuka qualifying
Photo: Octane Photography
From an early part of the qualifying hour it looked a familiar story though - Lewis Hamilton and his Merc well on top. He converted his advantage too, taking a pole as balmy as is possible in such circumstances, by a third of a second. It is, astonishingly at this drivers' track, his first ever pole here of his 71.

"I never ever really got a great balance in the past so I never did great in qualifying," Lewis noted afterwards.

"So to finally get the balance behind me with the great work of my engineers and the great timing from all the mechanics, I finally got on track and did the time.

"And the car is crazy here, I wish you could feel it.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Why Microphones To Enhance F1 Engines Sounds Is A Good Idea

Is Formula 1 going too artificial by thinking of introducing ceramic microphones to enhance the sounds of the F1 engines? Or is it an acceptable solution from a sports broadcast point of view? Unlike the DRS, this is one solution that we don't mind supporting the sport for.

In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, we wonder if the race organisers of the Malaysian Grand Prix blurted out the absolute truth about the sport, while also claiming that they wouldn't play host to Formula 1 even if it was offered for free! Ouch!

We discuss Paul Hembrey's idea of introducing 'mini cups' along side the World Championship to make the longer seasons more interesting and Graham Keilloh's novel idea of crowning the driver with the maximum race laps led as that season's Drivers' Champion.

And then of course, we have our usual McLaren-Honda section, along with a much-needed one for Daniel Ricciardo. As we look forward to Suzuka, let's hope Ferrari's engines don't hit Honda mode yet again.

(Season 2017, Episode 33)

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

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

New Motorsport Week article: Why Formula 1 should get rid of blue flags

By Royalbroil (Own work) [CC
BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativec
3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Malaysian Grand Prix weekend was extraordinary. Not so much in thrills necessarily, but in providing things to talk about.

And one from late in the race got me - that Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso had their latest minor spat. This time as Alonso waited a few corners before letting Vettel by to lap him.

Nothing personal to Seb, but it's long been a hobby horse of mine that F1 could do without blue flags. Keep them as advice by all means, but we'd benefit in a number of ways if those lapped were not forced to leap out of the way pronto.

In my latest article for Motorsport Week I argue this case. You can have a read here:

Japanese GP Betting Preview - Turning Japanese

F1's battles at the front in recent times have been three way between Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. And the Japanese round this weekend once again in advance feels a close call between the trio - all approach the round with some reason for hope.

Will the 'big three' teams be evenly
matched again at Suzuka?
Photo: Octane Photography
Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari will not now be taking a gearbox grid drop in Japan, which brings him right back into the game. He has after all been the pace-setter in both of the previous two rounds, and more encouragingly for him the two tracks had very different demands.

It's not clear if the bookies have noticed - or perhaps they've noticed Ferrari's concurrent habit of treading on its own tail. Seb's 14/5 to win in Japan looks generous.

They have noticed Red Bull's improved form though, with Max Verstappen at a much tightened 5/1 (readers of the Malaysia betting preview will know Max could have been backed at 25/1 for his Sepang win) and Daniel Ricciardo at 7/1 to triumph this time. Flowing Suzuka will suit the RB13 - a few think Red Bull again has the best chassis in F1. If you fancy playing safer then Max is at 3/4 and Daniel 11/10 to get on the podium.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Suzuka Preview: Big in Japan

They don't make 'em like they used to.

It's not always true, but it sometimes is. It certainly is with Suzuka, the welcome stop-off for this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix.

Inimitable Suzuka
Photo: Octane Photography
Whatever the newer venues' merits none have got even close to quickening the pulse when cars circulate as they do at this venue. Not all that many of the older tracks have either.

The layout is dominated by challenging, snaking, undulating turns - the sort that separate the great from the good; the sort that would most likely be laughed out of court were they proposed now from the ground up.

The narrow circuit's challenge is like walking an ever-veering tightrope. There aren't vast run-off areas to use as a benign get-out. Precision counts.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Malaysia GP Report - Max power

Rarely can an F1 weekend have contained so many twists. There were planety on Friday and Saturday. And the Malaysia Grand Prix's Sunday had plenty more.

Max Verstappen reminded us of his star
quality with a crushing win
Photo: Octane Photography
And quickly. The first was before the race even started, as Ferrari sank further into its recent quagmire. Kimi Raikkonen reported a power loss on the way to the dummy grid, which proved terminal. He didn't start.

But in another twist this did not give us a Lewis Hamilton benefit run. Mercedes's worries about lacking race pace were founded. Max Verstappen's Red Bull hounded leader Lewis from the off, sailed down the inside of the first turn after four laps, then left him.

On lap 12 he was five seconds up the road; on lap 18 it was nine. Almost like he was driving a Mercedes. He was never seen again.

"I think in the beginning, straight away the car felt good," said Verstappen later.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Sepang Qualifying - Taking advantage of your fortune

Lewis Hamilton bagging pole position hardly seems a surprise. This was his 70th ever, as well as his fourth in a row here. But, boy, did we have a journey getting there.

Lewis Hamilton took brought the Malaysia
weekend full circle by taking pole
Photo: Octane Photography
After his and Mercedes's dash from jail in Singapore, leaving with a 28 point championship lead, the consensus was that was that. Yet once cars started to circulate the Sepang track this weekend no one was quite as sure.

There were reasons to think in advance that Malaysia would not be a Merc cakewalk, but it was off the pace to an extent that shocked. There wasn't an obvious explanation either - nothing peculiar to short runs or to the tyres, or a lack of balance. It just lacked grip.

And Merc and Lewis's direct title rivals Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel stepped into the breach. Suddenly it threatened to be a lot like Singapore's build up - them on top and Red Bull in the mix. The third row looking possible/probable for Merc. And with it a healthy points swing was on for Seb.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Daniel Ricciardo connects with fans over FaceTime

You've got to love Daniel Ricciardo, possibly F1's most glowing personality.

And a sponsor of his Red Bull team, ExxonMobil, gave a few F1 fans - who had used the hashtag #SpeedDialDaniel - an opportunity to speak directly to Danny Ric live via FaceTime and ask him a burning question of their choice.

The results are below. And from what I can see he doesn't mistake any of their nationalities...

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Malaysia GP Betting Preview - Battle of the big three?

It's not just due to geography that the Malaysia Grand Prix this weekend feels a short hop from the previous round in Singapore. They share sapping heat, and it will be if anything more intense this time given it's run in the day time. We've seen plenty - including in Singapore - that Mercedes struggles relatively when the temperature rises.

Will the Malaysian round be a close
battle of the big three teams?
By Morio (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://
by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
And as a partial consequence this race feels a close call between the 'big three' teams.

Here two years ago Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari flat beat Lewis Hamilton Merc on tyre longevity in the tough conditions. Plus the Scuderia has an updated engine this weekend. With all this the 13/5 for Seb to win looks better value than the evens for Lewis.

Like in Singapore too Red Bull will look to this one with optimism. It looked strong in Hungary on the supersoft tyre in hot conditions and this is what it'll get here. The team of course scored a 1-2 in this race last season, albeit aided by a late engine failure for Lewis. But even so its showing was strong.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Did The Success Of The Singapore GP Cause Malaysia's F1 Exit?

After 19 illustrious years, Formula 1 will bid adieu to the Malaysian Grand Prix (and the Sepang International Circuit) this Sunday. While the gesture to release a full-race edit of the 2001 Malaysian Grand Prix is a good one, did the success of the Singapore Grand Prix cost Formula 1 (and us!) the Malaysian Grand Prix? Or have the Motorsport fans in Malaysia chosen MotoGP over Formula 1?

In this week's episode, we talk about the Red Bull Racing-Aston Martin partnership - will James Bond make an appearance in Formula 1? Will Red Bull or Formula 1 use 007 to promote the sport? We were the first ones to suggest this! (Do check our previous episode 'James Bond in Formula 1?' below)

Will the Strolls have a say in selecting the lead Williams driver in 2018? Are McLaren already jumping the gun with Renault? And finally, who will jump on the top step of the podium in Sepang while the FIA have tightened the rule for jump-starters! All this and more in the Inside Line F1 Podcast.

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

Tune in!

(Season 2017, Episode 32)

Monday, 25 September 2017

Sepang Preview: The days of future past

Sepang was the future once. When it arrived in 1999 it was the great leap forward. Bernie Ecclestone hailed the venue for the Malaysian Grand Prix immediately as "the best in the world".

The future once - the Sepang venue makes its F1 curtain call
By Morio (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://
by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
It was a template too. The built-from-scratch all-mod-cons Hermann Tilke typology is now familiar. This was the first.

The template stretches to the circuit layout - a long straight book-ended by tight corners (this track has at least two of them indeed) intended to provide overtaking, with a variety of types of turn elsewhere including a high speed esses section.

Even its motivation was as would become grimly samey - the Malaysian Prime Minister wanted to promote the country as an industrial and business destination and bankrolled the event to this end.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

New Motorsport Week article: Putting the leader first - what happens if F1 titles are based on laps led?

By Suyk, Koen / Anefo / neg. stroken, 1945-1989, 2.24.
01.05, item number 929-3235 [CC BY-SA 3.0 nl
by-sa/3.0/nl/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
You likely will have discerned that I'm one of those who likes F1 history.

With this I like to look for anniversaries, which took me 40 years ago to the 1977 season. I also like a 'what if?' And both of these came together for me to wonder, how would F1 history would look if world championships were based on laps led in the season and not points?

In my latest article for Motorsport Week I investigated. And it's surprisingly interesting, even uncovering a fundamental of how exactly F1 has changed over time.

You can have a read here:

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Do We Have To Blame Someone For The Singapore Car-nage?

Formula 1 tested a live 360 degree telecast of the 2017 Singapore Grand Prix. While this wasn't available for fans to consume, if it was, the footage would've only offered more angles to fans to dissect the Verstappen-Raikkonen-Vettel clash and pinpoint the blame on a driver. But do we really have to blame this on someone? Let's take the FIA's lead, classify it as a 'racing incident' and move on. Or like Mithila said, she'd love to use the 360 degree footage to see Fernando Alonso's air-borne 360 degree spin!

In this week's episode, we tell you why a Lewis Hamilton win in Singapore is actually an unusual result, why Carlos Sainz Jr. might need to drop the 'Jr.' from his name next season and wonder if Nico Rosberg has any clout whatsoever to help Robert Kubica make a heroic comeback to the sport. Also, we can't believe that Daniel Ricciardo actually admitted to farting at an official press conference!

Has Mercedes forgotten their other junior driver, Pascal Wehrlein? And will both of Ferrari's junior drivers (Giovinazzi and Leclerc) make it to Formula 1 next season? And finally, should Jolyon Palmer take the money and make way for Sainz to make his Renault debut in Malaysia?

Tune in!

(Season 2017, Episode 31)

Monday, 18 September 2017

Singapore Grand Prix review for Motor Verso - Not like other sports

For better or for worse, motor sport is not like other sports. We got our latest demonstration of this in Singapore.

Photo: Octane Photography
It was the equivalent of a football team expected to win easily finding themselves 5-0 down seconds into the match. And with no hope of a come back. All due to Sebastian Vettel's ill-fated decision to 'cover off' his fellow front row man Max Verstappen, which went very wrong.

And thus while it looked like Seb could hardly not re-take his title lead, perhaps by a distance, now it looks Lewis Hamilton's championship to lose.

You can read my take on it all 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.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Singapore GP Report - Not drowning but waving

Motorsport, as we are often given cause to reflect, is not like other sports. Just like in those, we predict with confidence. But unlike in most of those, things can and do look unrecognisable in a blink. Things like a rain shower. A standing start. An accident.

Lewis Hamilton was an unlikely winner
Photo: Octane Photography
That's what we got in Singapore. Sebastian Vettel looked serene on pole. Granted the Red Bulls would be strong in the race, but from the championship angle his rival Lewis Hamilton was flailing down in fifth. Surely he would at least re-take his long-held drivers' title table lead. It was a matter of how far by.

It had rained earlier on race day, but it appeared it would matter not. But then more arrived around 10 minutes before the start, meaning for the first time ever we had wet night time running under floodlights in F1.

Rain is frequent in Singapore; perhaps the most remarkable thing was it had never hit running here before in ten visits. Not, that anyone could remember, so much as a practice session or support race. Until today.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Singapore Qualifying - Doing it when it matters

It looked like it would be very different. But, when it mattered, first place looked rather familiar.

Sebastian Vettel against expectations
pipped the Red Bull pair
Photo: Octane Photogrpahy
In this latest Singapore gathering F1, it appeared, was going back to the future. On a twisty track that would suit its car and an aero upgrade under its belt, Red Bull topped all three practice sessions and the first two parts of qualifying. At points of the weekend the RB13 pair looked on another level. Just like old times.

But qualifying is a high bar. Ferrari and Mercedes would crank their power units up. Plus there are more general considerations here. Like Monaco track evolution at Singapore is skyward - good times cannot be sat on. Like there solid things are near to punish those who get it slightly wrong.

It was going well for the Bull pair nevertheless, but then they discovered that Sebastian Vettel sets the bar highest of all. Particularly in Saturday's final throes.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Singapore GP Betting Preview - Ferrari to fly under floodlights

It appears the bookies have done their homework. In virtually every round this year Lewis Hamilton has been their favourite to prevail. But Singapore, in many ways, is different.

Will Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari be celebrating
in Singapore again?
Photo: Octane Photography
The sinewy track is expected to favour Ferrari and reflecting this Sebastian Vettel vaults to the shortest odds this time. Even so 13/8 for Seb to get the win and the same for the pole look well worth your stake. He's a local specialist too, having won here four times.

Red Bull is another that should be suited to Singapore. Daniel Ricciardo finished on the podium in all of his last three Singapore visits while in the last two years these were as a very close second. He is available at a very generous 11/8 to get onto the podium again. His team mate Max Verstappen's odds are slightly shorter, at 5/4, to do the same.

Still if Ferrari is likely to be on top we shouldn't forget Kimi Raikkonen, who has been right there with Seb in the two similar twisty challenges this season of Monaco and Hungary. And the bookies may have forgotten about him - he's a full 14/1 to win, 16/1 to get the pole and even 13/8 to finish on the podium.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Singapore Preview: F1's light fantastic

We all know about F1's gradual shift eastwards in recent decades. It hasn't always been loved either.

F1's light fantastic - the Singapore round
has become a fixture
Photo: Octane Photography
But there's one still relatively new race that was thought part of the furniture in double-quick time. The race is this weekend - the Singapore Grand Prix around the Marina Bay circuit.

For several reasons this one feels a lot like the Monaco for the new millennium. It is a glittering, vibrant event in which the visuals rarely fail to look stunning.

Just like Monaco, Singapore is a city state that is a quintessential Grand Prix host - glamorous and dripping with money. To the point that you wonder why there wasn't a F1 race here decades ago.

New Motorsport Week article: Is McLaren making a mistake by ditching Honda?

Photo: Octane Photography
The end is nigh it seems. Of the ever-embarrassing latest McLaren Honda link up. That of breathless engines that seem forever to find new ways of stopping.

Carlos Sainz is going to Renault for next year they say. Which will placate Renault into letting Toro Rosso pick up the Honda unit before the end of its contract, which in turn will free up some Renault units for McLaren. Sighs of relief all round.

But in my latest for Motorsport Week I ask the unthinkable - might McLaren actually be making a mistake in ditching Honda?

You can read my reasoning here:

Friday, 8 September 2017

Italian Grand Prix review for Motor Verso - Order from chaos

It started with a chaotic qualifying session, but come the end of the race no one sought to point at it as an explanation for the result.

Photo: Octane Photography
Very quickly order was restored, and from there Mercedes crushed Ferrari. Thus in the space of the week Spa succour became Monza malaise for the Italian challenger.

Lewis Hamilton now leads the table for the first time this year, but Singapore is next where Ferrari is expected to be on top again. But then again, this title fight has had a few twists already.

Here's my review of whatr went on in Italy 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.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Italian GP Report - Mercedes mastery

This F1 championship battle seems determined to fox us.

The Italian Grand Prix was all about Mercedes,
and especially Lewis Hamilton
Photo: Octane Photography
In many ways this one at Monza was a lot like the one at Spa a week before. A high speed track that we thought could be designed for Mercedes. Indeed it's likely so to an even greater extent than the Belgian track - plenty of long straights to show its top end grunt; few corners that Ferrari can catch up in. Merc's trimmed set up appears the more efficient too.

And the winner was as expected - Merc's very own Lewis Hamilton.

Highlighting the ebb and flow he thus became the first back-to-back winner this season. With it he took the title lead for the first time.

But just like in Spa the significance for plotting the championship destination laid instead in the margin of the victory. Only this time the other way around - this time Merc was even further ahead of Ferrari than anticipated. Spa titled predictions towards Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel; this one titled them back.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Firstpost Video - Italian Grand Prix Review

The latest Firstpost Video Grand Prix Review is here. Mithila and Kunal (now based in Norway!) of Inside Line F1 Podcast look at yesterday's Italian Grand Prix. They discuss the dominant Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes of course, the other protagonists including Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Ocon, Ferrari's flop at home, as well as other matters of moment such as grid penalties...

You can watch below:

Thursday, 31 August 2017

No Italy qualifying report from me...

By Britcar24 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://
Hello all.

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

As this weekend I'll be at Donington Park covering the Britcar event for Autosport.

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

Normal service will resume for Singapore.


Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Italian GP Betting Preview - Flutter on Ferrari?

On one level the Belgian Grand Prix last weekend went as expected, with a Lewis Hamilton pole and win. But on a broader level, expectations shifted.

Can Sebastian Vettel run with Lewis Hamilton
just like he did at Spa?
Photo: Octane Photography
Mercedes was supposed to dominate at Spa but instead Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari chased Lewis all the way and looked quicker in race trim. Now at Monza this weekend we have another track with similar (ish) high speed demands, plus Ferrari is at home where it historically finds extra oomph. The chat is of a new engine debuted this time.

On the other hand a heavier restriction on oil burning is also coming in this weekend. It was thought anyway that it'd impede Ferrari more than Mercedes and yesterday we learnt furthermore that Merc's new engine - debuted last weekend - won't be subject to the stricter limit.

Still if it's too close to call then Seb's 18/5 to win is better value than Lewis's 2/3. It's still worth backing Lewis for pole - where Mercedes can turn its engines up more than Ferrari- at 8/13. Given both Ferrari and Merc will likely be backing their 'number one' pilot it's likely not worth backing anyone else to triumph.

Belgian Grand Prix review for Motor Verso - The subplot thickens

Photo: Octane Photography
If ever a race demonstrated that it pays to look beyond the topline result.

Yes Lewis Hamilton won the Belgian Grand Prix, as expected. But perhaps greater significance was just behind him, that Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari chased him all the way, at a track that was supposed to be the scene of a Mercedes walkover.

Perhaps therefore a harbinger for the rest of the year?

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.

Monday, 28 August 2017

New Motorsport Week article: Paul di Resta's reminder

Photo: Octane Photography
The F1 reserve driver is nothing like the substitute poised to get on you see in other sports. But in Hungary Paul di Resta got to live up to the role, stepping in to qualifying with less than two hours' notice and meagre recent experience of an F1 machine.

And he impressed, which served as a timely reminder of his talent displayed - but rather forgotten - from his three-year stint as an F1 race driver.

In my latest for Motorsport Week I look back and outline why di Resta's performance should have been no surprise, and why his was rather a lost F1 career.

You can have a read here:

Monza Preview: F1's soul survivor

So what is it about Monza?

What is it about Monza? Well if you need to ask...
Photo: Octane Photography
As Louis Armstrong said when asked to define 'swing', if you have to ask then you'll never know...

On one level it's tricky to explain. The venue lacks the gleaming modernity of some. It has never entirely shaken its air of vague chaos. Aspects of the crowd aren't to everyone's taste. Unlike Spa it isn't much of a driving challenge. It can't even be counted upon to produce a wonderful race - they often are follow-my-leader.

So, what it is? Well we can start with that Monza's heritage is unparalleled - racing cars have been in combat around this Italian royal park going all the way back to 1922, and the layout - other than the addition of chicanes and the coming and going of a fearsome banking section - has remained unaltered for almost all of the time since.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Belgian GP Report - Class of two

"This is a snapshot of 2017 - a class of two out front, head-to-head."

Lewis Hamilton won out after an intense race long battle
Photo: Octane Photography
As Martin Brundle noted it is indeed a familiar story for this season. Whatever we seem to muse in advance somehow it pans out to two men and the teams that they lead. Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes; Sebastian Vettel and his Ferrari. So it was at Spa.

In another story of 2017 this Belgian Grand Prix fight rarely was wheel-to-wheel. But it was intense and unrelenting. Any mistake would have decided it there and then. It never came from either

It even perturbed the best of them. "I would not liked to have driven that one," admitted Niki Lauda. "From first to last lap it was flat out, there was no room for anything."

As ever here the start and first long run to Les Combes mattered - poleman Lewis's launch was better than Seb's in second but he still had to cover the inside line at the top of the hill from his foe. But, crucially, he retained first place.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Spa Qualifying - All about Lew

It can be said that he rose to the occasion. Lewis Hamilton will start tomorrow's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa from pole, but the qualifying session was about so much more than that. In more than one sense.

Spa qualifying, for several reasons, was
all about Lewis Hamilton
Photo: Octane Photography
He was imperious at this most classic of tracks, which was fitting not only to break the all-time track speed record but also to equal the all-time pole total record held by Michael Schumacher. All too on Schumi's most devastating of hunting grounds.

Matters came full circle. We entered the weekend with plenty of reasons to think Mercedes would be on top. Initially in practice it looked that way, but strong Ferrari race running on Friday then an equally strong Saturday morning practice led us to think the red cars might make a game of it.

But as often it was an illusion. Mercedes figures didn't look worried. As usual come Q2 Merc cranked its units up. It has new ones this time too adding to the shift.

Can you guess these UK car badges when they've been altered? A quiz by Select Car Leasing

Select Car Leasing has put together a super quick quiz where it's taken UK car manufacturer's badges and altered them slightly.

Can you guess which manufacturer is which? You can have a go below:

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Why it makes sense for Ferrari to keep Kimi

In some senses it was surprising. But at the broadest level it was not surprising at all.

Photo: Octane Photography
When your boss, and one known for his abrasiveness, says this of you you'd think you weren't long for his employment. "I think Kimi has got to show a higher level of commitment to the process," said Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne recently. "There are days when I think he's a bit of a laggard."

Yet just over a month on it is announced that Kimi Raikkonen is kept on at Ferrari for another year. And as noted it felt nothing like a surprise, and not just because F1 can be strange. Not just either because of the driver market's general stasis in recent seasons, as encapsulated by Will Buxton:
Yes - in the case for the prosecution - Kimi in 2017 has reverted to the norm for his second Ferrari stint. Pace and points conspicuously off his 'number one' team mate. His use strictly that of a useful wingman. Plenty in the tribunes, the Paddock Club and elsewhere wonder what the host of pretenders could do in a red car.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Belgian GP Betting Preview - Silver into gold

As outlined in my Belgian Grand Prix preview, there are plenty of reasons to think this weekend's Spa gathering will be a Mercedes demonstration run. 70% of the Belgian lap is full throttle and there are plenty of quick turns otherwise that'll reward the silver car's long wheel base and aerodynamic efficiency. Temperatures may be cool plus the long lap (for prior to a qualifying effort) and track layout should head off its occasional tyre warm up problems.

Will there be a repeat of Silverstone at Spa?
Photo: Octane Photography
Plenty of parallels with Silverstone in other words, where the Mercs ran away. And Lewis Hamilton did so especially - he can be got at 10/11 to win this time and 7/10 to get the pole.

Still it's worth as ever considering the other Mercedes. Valtteri Bottas's odds remain generous-looking all things considered. He's 5/1 to win and 7/2 to take pole.

Only six of the last 16 Belgian Grand Prix pole-sitters have gone on to win, and it's suggested that with the long run to Les Combes on lap one it's preferable to start second and get the slipstream from the pole man - you can get 9/4 on whoever starts second winning the race.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Spa Preview: Bringing it all back home

Modern F1 isn't all bad. Even though you'd be forgiven sometimes for thinking otherwise.

There's nothing quite like Spa
Photo: Octane Photography
This weekend the sport returns from its summer hiatus, and there could not be a better place to reconvene.

Spa-Francorchamps - its mere mention brings many associations.

The picture postcard Ardennes scenery. The speed. The undulations. The fearsome turns. The inimitable organic feel. The clear thread to the very beginnings of motorsport road circuit racing. No wonder that when you ask F1 drivers, engineers or fans for their favourite modern venue this one is usually said, and often without the slightest hesitation.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Red Bull Supports Vettel, Where's McLaren's Support For Hamilton?

We're back! After a couple of weeks' break, we're back with this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast. Red Bull Racing has publicly supported Sebastian Vettel in his title battle against Lewis Hamilton. Will McLaren come out in support of Lewis Hamilton too?

Reports suggest that Vettel is keen on a one-year contract extension with Ferrari. Is this a learning from Fernando Alonso's Ferrari career, or to leave a door open for a Schumacheresque switch to Mercedes? Btw, our friend and listener, Lucien, shares an interesting numeric perspective on Ferrari's use of team orders in Hungary.

Will Formula 1 and Formula E merge someday? Can Formula 1 become Formula E by just switching to electric motors? And with the 'halo', is Formula 1 moving towards 'closed cockpits'? We discuss these points while applauding manufacturers' interests in the all-electric series which is garnering fan interest slowly and steadily.

And apart from our humourous and funny 'McLaren-Honda-Alonso' section, we also have an 'I Know What You Did This Summer' section. Tune in!

(Season 2017, Episode 29)

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

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

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.