Friday 29 December 2017

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Bernie Ecclestone - Ferrari's Breakaway Series

Ferrari's breakaway series is no longer news. In fact, apart from grabbing headlines for the last decade, there's never been further movement. But will the out-of-work Bernie Ecclestone take up Ferrari's breakaway series as a project to bring him back into force in the world of Motorsport? Ecclestone's love for Ferrari is public knowledge, but how serious could Ferrari be?

Frankly, if there's any series who can benefit from Ecclestone's administrative experience, it would be Formula E. But that's for another episode.

In this episode, we talk about Robert Kubica's possible comeback and if he would be the fastest pay driver ever. Did Lewis Hamilton take piano lessons from Adrian Sutil? Will Lewis Hamilton skip the F1 Live events planned in 2018, or will Liberty Media make it mandatory for drivers to attend? Finally, instead of the grid girls vs. grid boys debate, let's have grid pets.

Finally, Formula 1 recorded an increase in circuit attendance in 2017. This is when we registered a 22% increase in our listenership. Thank you for your support, listens and comments. Here's wishing you a Happy New Year. We'll see you in 2018! Tune in!

(Season 2017, Episode 38)

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

Thursday 21 December 2017

Inside Line F1 Podcast - What's The ONE Change Formula 1 Needs In 2018?

2017 was Liberty Media's first full season as the new owners of Formula 1. How well did they fare? Also, what is the ONE change you would like to see in the sport in 2018? Feel free to share your view(s) with us. Also, let's succumb to our fate that the 'halo' is here to stay, so let that not be your answer.

In this week's episode, we discuss various changes that the sport needs to make to secure its future. The changes we talk about go from circuits and cars to engines and tyres and everything in between. Luckily for us, 2018 will possibly see the best driving talent line up on the grid, will Formula 1 make the most of this and offer us a season-long spectacle? Tune in!

(Season 2017, Episode 38)

Daniel Ricciardo Becomes Mobil 1™ Engineer At The Abu Dhabi GP

Daniel Ricciardo recently swapped driver duties for an engineering masterclass, working hands-on with the ExxonMobil trackside team and learning about the critical role Mobil 1 race lubricants will play in this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Australian Red Bull Racing driver underwent a technology lesson from Mike Frost, ExxonMobil Motorsports Technical Advisor, in its trackside laboratory. This included testing a Mobil 1 sample, and learning the science behind the race lubricants and fuels directly attributed in the closest qualifying sessions this year to scoring one place higher on the grid.

Daniel Ricciardo, said: "It was eye opening to spend some time in the TrackLab and witness first-hand the level of detail that goes into sampling and testing the Mobil 1 race lubricants and Esso Synergy race fuels during a race weekend. The ExxonMobil team's expertise and dedication is making a measurable difference to our performance on track – they really are an extension of our team."

Looking ahead to that weekend's Abu Dhabi race, the Yas Marina circuit presents a unique set of challenges for the ExxonMobil trackside engineers. The track demands sharp acceleration between turns putting stress on the engine and gearbox. The dusty conditions in the desert also require specific monitoring of the fuel, lubricants and testing equipment to ensure zero contamination.

The fuel and lubricant formulations brought to Abu Dhabi are part of the ongoing Mobil 1 development program. David Tsurusaki, Technology Motorsports Manager commented: "On and off the track, we have a rigorous development program for our Mobil 1 race lubricants and Esso Synergy race fuels. Hand-in-hand with Red Bull Racing we've made some great steps this season and we’re confident we can carry this forward into 2018."

Tuesday 19 December 2017

Merry Christmas from Talking about F1

Never let it be said that Talking about F1 does not enter into the spirit of Christmas. Which of course means nice presents from Santa.

In this spirit and to keep you all ticking over I have gathered some of my recent and not so recent F1 writing to keep you entertained. And like all Santa presents they are free:

Me. In a Santa hat. Amid some F1 decor. And a Pars flag.
My final thoughts on the 2017 year

Tribute to the 2017 World Champion Lewis Hamilton

My Top Ten Drivers of 2017

My take on every other 2017 F1 driver who didn't make my top ten

My partly-serious end of season awards

All of my race reports from the 2017 season can be found here

And here are my qualifying reports

And a few features too:

Cockpit protection - the infamous halo and fully-enclosed cockpits

Is McLaren making a mistake by ditching Honda?

Me complaining about blue flags

(An appropriate) one from the archives too: F1's previous of races in the Christmas/New Year week

There, more than enough to keep you out of mischief during any down time that may be coming your way. And of course may I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and very Happy New Year.

Sunday 17 December 2017

Final thoughts on 2017: Plus ca change...

It's easy to forget now, but in 2017's early weeks F1 changed almost unthinkably. Bernie Ecclestone, who bestrode F1 for the best part of half a century, was moved on, or rather up (so far up that he couldn't see what was going on, as he liked to quip). The one man band was replaced by America's Liberty Media and its cast of thousands.

Changed, changed utterly - new F1 chairman
Chase Carey of Liberty cleared Bernie Ecclestone aside
Photo: Octane Photography
And even though plenty in the paddock had for years given genuine impression this wouldn't be the case post-Bernie, the sun still rose in the same place. F1, initially at least, continued with barely a ripple.

For a while furthermore it was glad confident morning - hosting deals for circuits would become reasonable; prestige races would return; there would be more money for everyone... Liberty appeared full of ideas particularly in areas that F1 had been left behind in such as promotion and the digital age. The possibilities seemed endless.

And Liberty heralded some specific immediate change. From Melbourne teams and drivers shared more from the pit and paddock on social media; F1 social media accounts were much more active generally; larger numbers on the cars - something wrestled with for years - came in for Spain and hardly caused a problem; the circuits generally had more going on at them for Grand Prix visits; more were invited into the paddock; more events to promote Grands Prix locally, such as London Live, were laid on; the eSports championship was a welcome extension; F1 even seemed to develop a sense of humour with for example the return of the Montreal raft race. All was not before time.

Friday 15 December 2017

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Describe The 2017 Formula 1 Season In One Word, Can You?

It's off-season time in Formula 1; there's no track action whatsoever. But on the Inside Line F1 Podcast, we're still in-season. We've got our latest track of the week out, tune in.

In this episode, we try and describe the 2017 Formula 1 Season in one word. It's tough, we kid you not. But it is fun. Have your say? Let's know what your pick is.

As we near the end of the year, we will have festive specials on our podcast channel for the next few weeks, so remember to tune in every week for your weekly dose of Formula 1 humour.

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

(Season 2017, Episode 37)

Tuesday 12 December 2017

New Motorsport Week article: F1 2017 end of season awards - The Golden Grahams

Photo: Octane Photography
We know how this latest F1 season ended, but who are the real winners? In my latest for Motorsport Week I seek to resolve the matter with my 'prestigious' set of of awards, The Golden Grahams.

Some of it is serious (best driver, best team...) and some less so. Hopefully it'll bring a smile.

You can read my selections and justifications here:

Sunday 3 December 2017

My Top 10 F1 Drivers of 2017: The Rest…

Here are my views on those F1 drivers from 2017 who didn't make my top 10 ranking from a few days ago, which can be read here.

Photo: Octane Photography
The most conspicuous absence from the top ten is Kimi Raikkonen, for whom things somehow never quite came together in 2017. Frequently he looked to have pace but it tended to fall away at crucial moments, not least in the final throes of qualifying including just about every time after the summer break. In many race results too you'd look at the chasm-like gap between the Ferraris and wonder how exactly it came to that. Still pole in Monaco is a feather in the cap and with more benign team strategy he would have won twice. Also in mitigation some of Kimi's race strategies stretched credulity. Once again Sebastian Vettel couldn't live with him through Silverstone's sweeps. But even so it seems the main reason Ferrari keeps him on is that he doesn't offend Seb. On any count.

Going through the rest in the final drivers' table order brings us first to Felipe Massa, who got an unlikely second swansong this year. He started and ended the season superbly, while between times he tended to be solid. Fairly or otherwise the sense persisted though that he remained a few tenths off the ultimate pace; at the very least with a team mate struggling so obviously it was hard to judge the popular Brazilian. In the end he jumped (again) from F1 before Williams – still dithering – could push him, and as intimated he at least went out on a high.

Friday 1 December 2017

New Motorsport Week article: The honeymoon is over - but Liberty and F1 will be a happy marriage

Photo: Octane Photography
Never glad confident morning again, as Robert Browning might have had it.

Lately F1's commercial rights holders Liberty, who arrived amid a wave of optimism and goodwill 12 months ago, has all of a sudden faced a lot of criticism. The latest example being the logo and all that last weekend.

But in my latest article for Motorsport Week I argue that while the honeymoon is over, the signs remain that Liberty and F1 will be a happy marriage. And even the Abu Dhabi weekend contained some good examples of why.

You can have a read via this link: