Friday, 19 October 2018

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Please Don't Take Away Our Chequered Flag

Will Lewis Hamilton clinch his 5th World Championship title at this weekend's United States Grand Prix? Will Donald Trump follow Vladimir Putin's lead and attend the race at the Circuit of the Americas? Well, what we are more concerned about is Formula 1 not replacing our beloved and iconic chequered flag with a digital version next season.

Photo: Octane Photography
Also in this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, we express surprise at how soon before Michael Schumacher and Valentino Rossi's records in Formula 1 and MotoGP (respectively) could be broken. It seems funny to see Lance Stroll give 'Formula 1 career advice' to Mick Schumacher. And of course, at Liberty Media's home race, we applaud their marketing efforts, but wonder if they are running out of time to implement their changes for 2021. Tune in!

Here's what's in store for you:

0:00 - 3:00: Donald Trump would prefer HAM winning his fifth title in the USA over Mexico. But of course!

3:00 - 5:00: The average age of the American Formula 1 is 59 years! Yikes! Will Formula 1 run out of time to implement changes for 2021?

5:00 - 8:00: Addition in 2019: rear-wing end-plate lights; will they work as turn indicators?

8:00 - 11:00: MSC and ROS's records are out to be broken very soon; can Formula 1 rivalries be like they are in the world of boxing?

11:00 - 14:00: Could ALO have won the title for Ferrari in 2018…you think so?

14:00 - 17:00: How is ALO still 7th in the WDC? HOW!? The mid-field battles are really intense.

17:00 - 20:00: Digital Chequered Flag in Formula 1? No, PLEASE, NO!

20:00 - 23:00: We understand why RBR refused VER to test a MotoGP bike; btw, COTA has installed a 'Verstopper' & Mithila's 'What Wolff Said This Week' section

23:00 - 26:00: From no seat in 2019, to a seat with Mercedes in 2020…too good to be true?

26:00 till the end: Moments in Time by Lucien, Predictions & Bye-Bye!

(Season 2018, Episode 35)

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

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

New Motorsport Week article: Carlos Reutemann and F1’s most mysterious championship showdown

By Dijk, Hans van / Anefo /
neg. stroken, 1945-1989,
2.24.01.05, item number
931-6476 - http://proxy.
handle.net/10648/ad025
b24-d0b4-102d-bcf8-
003048976d84, CC BY
-SA 3.0 nl, https://commons.
wikimedia.org/w/index.
php?curid=25071869
This weekend at Austin the latest Formula 1 world drivers' championship may be decided. But whatever happens it'll have to go some to beat the title showdown that happened in the same country  37 years ago today.

If it wasn't necessarily the most thrilling finale it almost certainly was F1's strangest. And if you want an enigma, then you can hardly have a more fitting driver in the central role than Carlos Reutemann.

In my latest feature for Motorsport Week I look back to 1981, Las Vegas and the unresolved mystery of Reutemann's (non) showing.

You can check the story out here.

US GP Betting Preview - Lone Star State

Appropriate to the Lone Star State, F1 therein has a lone star. Lewis Hamilton tends to be untouchable in his visits to Austin, Texas.

F1 races at Austin are usually about one man
Photo: Octane Photography
The numbers pay testimony. He's won five of F1's six Austin races. Taking it back further he's won six US Grands Prix of the last seven. Taking it instead to the most recent general form he's also won six of the last seven rounds anywhere. This weekend for the latest US Grand Prix he'll have the scent of a fifth world championship in his nostrils, so there'll be no shortage of motivation. He beams throughout his Austin weekends and it shows in his driving.

For the race win at least backing him seems what they call a no brainer. His odds are appropriately short, but still the 8/13 you can get on a Hamilton victory looks worth your wager.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Austin Preview: Endgame

Lewis Hamilton's fifth world championship, up for grabs in 2018, has suddenly became a matter of when not whether. And with this weekend's gathering being the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, perhaps even the 'when' part is redundant.

Lewis Hamilton usually has Austin races to himself
Photo: Octane Photography
Of F1's six visits to Austin Hamilton has won five of them; taking it back further he's won six US races from the last seven. He's also won six of the last seven rounds anywhere. Do the math, as I believe the youth like to say.

Plus if Hamilton wins again this weekend then the title is done unless his foe Sebastian Vettel follows him home in second. And we have reasons to doubt that Vettel will manage that. In recent weeks Ferrari has both lost competitive pace and unravelled organisationally. While Vettel, perhaps in the same way that a dog imitates the characteristics of its owner, has similarly wavered. Any one of the last four grand prix results replicated will make Hamilton's latest world crown official.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Motor Verso F1 2018 Season Summary - Japanese Grand Prix review

Photo: Octane Photography
If the Japanese Grand Prix felt familiar that's because it was. The themes of recent weeks barely altered; the previous momentum was unchecked - maybe even accelerated. Lewis Hamilton won imperiously. Ferrari if anything got more risible than before. Lewis now has world championship match point.

The Motor Verso F1 season summary has been updated with my take on the Japanese weekend. As ever it's illustrated with fantastic Pirelli photography and my selection of the best of F1 content on YouTube.

You can check out the latest summary here: https://www.motorverso.com/2018-f1-summary/

Monday, 8 October 2018

Japanese GP Report - The Big Mo

"You wouldn't want to get in the way of the World Championship battle, would you?," asked David Coulthard of Max Verstappen after qualifying. The Dutchman's reply was typically pointed. "Is it still a battle? Not sure."

Continuing the recent theme, Lewis Hamilton won again
Photo: Octane Photography
Formula 1 is a lot like US presidential nomination races. While that may seem an unlikely analogy in either pursuit 'The Big Mo' - the intangible called momentum - counts for a lot.

In either pursuit too such runaway handcart scenarios can be felt in the positive or the negative. We're seeing both in F1 right now. The theme of recent weeks scarcely altered in Japan. If there was a shift it was only to gather pace in the direction it was already headed. Lewis Hamilton won from pole, barely looking troubled as he did so at this Suzuka track that perhaps suits the Mercedes better than any other.

While Ferrari's momentum in the negative also accelerated. It was perhaps further off the Merc pace than previously. And again Ferrari when up against it made things worse with acts of self-sabotage. This time it entered the realms of farce. Late in qualifying it sent both cars out on intermediate tyres - rain was expected at some point but in that moment the track was bone dry. The sight of the two cars crawling around the lap on utterly unsuited rubber was risible.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Inside Line F1 Podcast - What Could Be Sebastian Vettel's Future In F1?

Will Sebastian Vettel go the Fernando Alonso way? Or will he retire from the sport as a quadruple World Champion? Or will he follow Michael Schumacher's footsteps and take on a team management role? What are the chances of Vettel jumping ship to Mercedes; a German driver racing for a German team and all of that...! Let alone young drivers, the lack of competitive teams in the sport could catch out this former World Champion too! From fighting Mercedes, Ferrari seem to be fighting within themselves.

In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, we tell you why Red Bull Racing should sell its vacant Toro Rosso cockpit to a wealthy pay driver. We applaud Daniel Ricciardo's comic timing while also questioning why Vladimir Putin arrives closer to the end of the Russian Grand Prix every year. Finally, we predict by what race this season would Lewis Hamilton seal the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship. We picked Brazil or Mexico - what's your pick? Tune in!

00:00-2:00 - Should Sebastian Vettel be called title contender for 2018 anymore?
2:00 - 5:00 - Will Vettel go the Fernando Alonso way? What could be Sebastian Vettel's future in Formula 1?
5:00 - 7:00 - Red Bull Racing to make money from their vacant cockpit at Toro Rosso?
7:00 - 9:00 - Good timing for Ferrari to introduce a new livery? Should Formula 1 allow teams to use one-off liveries?
9:00 - 11:00 - How would Mercedes deploy team orders in case they had a three car team & all three of their cars were 1-2-3?
11:00 - 13:00 - Daniel Ricciardo's comic timing - he cracked a doping joke at the Russian Grand Prix!
13:00 - 15:00 - Why does Vladimir Putin arrive closer to the end of the Russian Grand Prix every single year?
15:00 - 17:00 - What Wolff Said This Week section + Looking forward to Suzuka & the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix
17:00 - 22:00 - Moments in Time with Lucien; by which race would Lewis Hamilton clinch the 2018 Formula 1 Championship?

(Season 2018, Episode 34)

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

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Japanese GP Betting Preview - Hi ho silver

The Russian round last weekend felt like a moment of realisation. Ferrari it seems doesn't have the inherent pace advantage; not anymore at any stretch. Perhaps, some reckon, the FIA had a word in its ear about its famous engine mode.

Lewis Hamilton now has the upper hand on Sebastian Vettel
Photo: Octane Photography
So the championship points table is not a trick of the light. Mercedes and particularly Lewis Hamilton are indeed worthy favourites. And they should especially be worthy favourites at Suzuka this weekend, scene of the latest Japanese Grand Prix. Flowing tracks such as this one are usually where the Merc is at its most potent and a silver car has won the last four here.

Hamilton and Merc being favourite isn't good for the flutter-minded F1 fan as their odds tend to be pretty tight at the best of times. Nevertheless you can back Hamilton for pole and win at 5/6 at 11/13 respectively.

There are though a couple of points to consider. One is Hamilton hasn't always been that happy at Suzuka. Even though he's won here three times last year was his first pole and by his own admission he hasn't always found a suitable set-up for this track. With this and that Mercedes is expected to be on top is it worth backing the other Merc of Valtteri Bottas?

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Suzuka Preview: Turning Japanese

Formula 1 appears to have entered one of its periodic states of inevitability.

On the face of it, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes
will be hard to stop at Suzuka
Photo: Octane Photography
It's very strange to think that just a month ago there appeared no way for Mercedes to beat Ferrari. Now the opposite appears true. Ferrari seems to have shot its bolt. It was hobbled by operational problems and mistakes in several rounds; more lately it lost its pace too. Lewis Hamilton's form is towering (in results anyway) and his points lead now looks insurmountable.

With five rounds remaining all now give the impression going through the motions until titles are confirmed. And this Japanese round coming should increase the sense of the inevitable. It's at mighty Suzuka, which is usually cited as Mercedes country. It has won the last four here and long fast corners are just its thing. Last year Hamilton won and Mercedes was one and two in qualifying (though Valtteri Bottas then got a gearbox grid penalty).

Yet in keeping with the Suzuka venue things this weekend may in fact not be that simple. One thing to consider is that, despite appearances, Hamilton hasn't always been that happy here. Yes he's won at Suzuka three times but last year was the first time he'd taken pole and by his own admission he's not always found an ideal set-up at this track. And of his three wins one was in the wet and another owed mostly to getting ahead of Nico Rosberg at turn one.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Motor Verso F1 2018 Season Summary - Russian Grand Prix review

Photo: Octane Photography
The Motor Verso F1 season summary has been duly updated with my take on the Russian GP. As is often the case at the Sochi circuit there wasn't a huge amount of thrills, but of course from this one there was no shortage of talking points. Not least team orders and all that...

As ever the summary's illustrated with fantastic Pirelli photography and my selection of the best of F1 content on YouTube.

You can check out the latest summary incarnation here: https://www.motorverso.com/2018-f1-summary/

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Russian GP Report - Order and progress

"This is probably one of the weakest F1 circuits for me, if not the weakest..."

Lewis Hamilton won again - this time aided by his team-mate
Photo: Octane Photography
So said Lewis Hamilton early in this Russian Grand Prix weekend. And while there were conspicuous adventures along the way, he still managed to exit the round with his championship lead extended yet further. Now it's 50 points over Sebastian Vettel with five races left.

And again on a weekend many thought in advance would be one of damage limitation. While Singapore last time out we reckoned wouldn't suit Mercedes, Sochi this time out we reckoned may not suit Mercedes and more likely wouldn't suit Hamilton personally. But, in keeping with F1's theme of recent weeks, Mercedes and Hamilton somehow got the result. For the title number five on offer we're now in something like the endgame.

This time, in a minor variation, Ferrari was off the Mercedes pace fundamentally. Come the race it had a glimpse though, as Vettel successfully executed an undercut at the solitary stops to get ahead of Hamilton for a net second place behind poleman and track specialist Valtteri Bottas in the other Merc. But in keeping with how things have been going for the Scuderia lately the joy was fleeting. Hamilton dived back past at turn four a lap later in a fine move. Vettel chased gamely from then on but wasn't especially a threat again.

Brundle at McLaren, by Ibrar Malik

During the winter of 1993/1994 F1 was subjected to infighting, politicking and accusations that cheating was rife within the sport, all of which is explained within the upcoming book. During this time Martin Brundle took a massive gamble with his F1 career, as he refused offers from the likes of Jordan in order to secure the prized race seat at McLaren vacated by the Williams-bound Ayrton Senna. There was a chance 1993 F1 world champion Alain Prost might take it, or Peugeot's man Philippe Alliot, but Brundle felt the risks were worth it because driving for McLaren would almost be a guaranteed passport to Grand Prix success. By 1994 the team had won in every season since 1980, and Martin's gamble was eventually rewarded – albeit on a race-by-race deal for that season.

McLaren had been a dominant force during the 1980s and early 1990s, but had undergone major change for 1994 including a new engine supplier.  

Unfortunately, the dream drive didn't pan out as expected and McLaren suffered their first winless season in 14 years, partly because their new Peugeot engine proved uncompetitive and unreliable. "The team originally wanted Alain [Prost] in the car," recalls Brundle. "We both went to test at Estoril, and I don't think Alain was interested after he drove the car. Then I got in it, which turned out to be a bit of a bad omen really. I had stood and waited for Alain all morning. I got in it, and as I was on my out lap coming to start my very first flying lap, it threw a conrod so hard that it came through the sump and damaged the racetrack! I didn't even start my first run. "But having said that, I was very happy to be in a McLaren."

Friday, 28 September 2018

New Motorsport Week article: Three-car teams – why three's not the magic number

By Edwin van Nes from IJsselstein, Netherlands (Flickr)
[CC BY 2.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)],
via Wikimedia Commons
Not for the first time it has been suggested that F1 should go back to the future.

Mainly by Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, as the prodigious Esteban Ocon looks like he could all of a sudden be out of an F1 drive for 2019. Wolff reckons letting teams run a third car is F1's salvation.

Its appeal is obvious. It would solve Wolff's (and Ocon's) problem at a stroke. But it's one of those moves that more you look into it the more you encounter drawbacks.

In my latest for Motorsport Week I outline why three is not the magic number. You can read my take here: https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/20057?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Inside Line F1 Podcast - In F1, Ferrari = Google, Mercedes = Apple

The Ferrari vs Mercedes battle in the current Formula 1 season is like the Google vs Apple battle in the world of smartphones. There's little doubt why Mercedes have managed to come out on top for two consecutive seasons. Tune in to hear more on this analogy.

Also in this week's episode, we have Lucien's 'Moments in Time' section where we remind our viewers that there is more to our Russian Grand Prix memories than Daniil Kvyat's torpedo moment. Will Daniel Ricciardo's haste with Renault turn into waste? Is it cheaper to pay for a young driver's seat elsewhere than run a third car altogether? And have we seen the first signs of a crack in the otherwise strong relationship between Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari? Tune in!

A summary of this episode and what is discussed when:

00:00-3:00 - Hello & Welcome! :D

03:00-05:00 - Why Ferrari is like Google and why Mercedes is like Apple…

05:00-09:00 - Will we have a USA vs. Russia in Formula 1 too? Or will it be a USA vs. China? And how is it that Mr. Putin isn’t doing a demo run in a Formula 1 car to promote the upcoming Russian Grand Prix?

09:00-11:00 - RIC-Renault, let’s hope haste doesn’t make waste

11:00-13:00 - VET, VER, LEC and GRO on sports psychologists.

13:00-16:00 - BOT’s ambitions & aspirations, can he win a race before the end of this season? OCO-KUB pairing at Williams? VAN to Formula E?

16:00-18:00 - ‘What Wolff Said This Week’ section!

18:00-21:00 - Moments in Time with Lucien

21:00-23:00 - A first visible crack in the VET-Ferrari relationship?

23:00-25:00 - VER-RBR talking like McLaren-ALO did in 2017? Did RBR talk to ALO behind VER’s back for RIC’s seat in 2019?


(Season 2018, Episode 33)

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

Russian GP Betting Preview - A familiar conversation

As George Constanza once asked, haven't we had this conversation before?

Can Ferrari at last thwart Lewis Hamilton
Photo: Octane Photography
Mercedes has never been beaten in a Russian Grand Prix at Sochi since the round landed on the calendar in 2014, but that may be a bum steer. Once again it's a circuit on which Ferrari should be on top - it's a power track which will suit it plus it locked out the front row here last year in an age wherein such a thing was rare. The place suits Sebastian Vettel's driving style too.

Plus unlike at Singapore Lewis Hamilton may not be thwarting Ferrari with a personalised tour de force, as he hasn't always gone well here - even though he's won twice in four visits. He didn't get a set-up or rhythm here last year indeed and was well off his team-mate in qualifying and the race, plus he's been out-qualified by his stable mate in the last three Russia visits. The bookies still make Hamilton favourite for both pole and win, but for the reasons given it may be worth putting your money elsewhere. Unless you fancy him to confound us once again.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Latest historic articles on AutoClassics - Mika Hakkinen and the 1973 Canadian Grand Prix

By Rick Dikeman [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/
fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/
licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], from Wikimedia Commons
Just drawing your gaze towards my latest weekly historic motorsport articles published on AutoClassics.

First off with Mika Hakkinen's 50th birthday coming up at the end of this week for the Motorsport Images slideshow article I looked back at some of the best moments from the double world champion's F1 career, accompanied with some typically stunning photography. Check it out here: https://www.autoclassics.com/posts/reviews/mika-hakkinen-best-f1-moments

F1's first use of the safety car was earlier than you might think. And was chaotic. I therefore spoke to those who were there - Jackie Oliver and Howden Ganley - about the 1973 Canadian Grand Prix, which took place 45 years ago last weekend. You can have a read of the very strange story here: https://www.autoclassics.com/posts/reviews/f1-safety-car-first-use

Monday, 24 September 2018

Sochi Preview: Now or never?

The song remains the same. Ferrari should be on top in this weekend's Russian Grand Prix at Sochi. But we've said that a few times in recent weeks about the Grand Prix before us, only for something to come along to ensure it doesn't come to pass. Victory or not will likely again be a matter or whether the Scuderia can at last avoid treading on its own tail.

Can Ferrari at last get something over Lewis Hamilton?
Photo: Octane Photography
Matters now are getting critical. With its previous failures Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel you feel simply must get something back on Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton this weekend to salvage what is left of their diminishing title chances. And not just due to the championship points mathematics.

It again goes in with a few identifiable causes for optimism. Some 70% of the Sochi lap is spent on full throttle - it's a slightly Montreal-esque collection of straights and sharp turns around an Olympic site - and we've seen repeatedly that the works Ferrari has a notable grunt advantage over all others. Even last year the red cars locked out the front row of the grid in an age wherein such a thing was rare. Vettel goes well here too; his high-momentum corner entry style suits the circuit.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Mick Schumacher To Join Red Bull Junior Program?

Helmut Marko has denied being in talks with Mick Schumacher to join the Red Bull Junior Driver program. Could this actually be a hint that Red Bull are already in talks with the young Schumacher? There's going to be a race to sign him - who will win this one?

In this week’s episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, we have Ashley give us a brief summary of the Singapore Grand Prix and her experiences from the Marina Bay Circuit. Also, we discuss the ‘mini race’ in Miami, how Ferrari may have beaten Red Bull and Mercedes to the ‘junior driver’ game, if Formula E is already using the ‘concept 3’ Formula 1 car and if a certain Flavio could be the ambassador for Formula 1’s newly announced betting partnership. Tune in!

Here's what is in store for you this week:

2:00-5:00 - HAM seeking a new challenger in his title battle, LEC could be one?

5:00-8:00 - RBR has seats, but no drivers. Mercedes have drivers, but no seats. Can RBR give KUB’s Formula 1 dreams wings?

8:00-10:00 - Ferrari ahead of the ‘junior driver’ game. We tell you WHY RBR could be talking to Mick Schumacher…

10:00-13:00 - Todt vs. Brawn when it comes to new teams joining Formula 1? And of course, a ‘universal engine’ for Motorsport? Btw, Todt said ’23 Grands Prix’ calendar, yay or nay?

13:00-15:00 - Just how many manufacturers has ALO pissed off? IndyCar vs. Formula 1 at COTA in 2019

15:00-17:00 - Formula E using Formula 1’s Concept-3 already?

17:00-20:00 - Let’s make VAN have some fun; c’mon. Hats off to SIR - fantastic defences in Singapore!

20:00-23:00 - Are RBR and VER talking down Renault way too much? Did you know that VJM is RT’ing Force India’s tweets? Miami to host a ‘mini race’; what does that even mean? Turkey to make a comeback?

25:00-28:00 - What Wolff Said This Week section

28:00-end - Flavio to be the ambassador for Formula 1 Betting?

(Season 2018, Episode 32)

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

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Frustrating the Future: How Autonomous Vehicles are Vexed by Construction, by Brian Zinkel

This article was published originally on the Transportation Safety Apparel website. It has been reproduced on Talking about F1 with kind permission. You can access the original article here

The technological advances being developed in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Computer Vision, the Internet of Things (IoT), and the complicated cohort of computing are impressive. Things that were deemed impossible merely a few years ago are being surpassed and antiquated on a daily basis. Such is the nature of technological development.

Still, automated technologies are designed by human engineers and, while capable of performing analytic tasks impossible for human beings, they're still serving functions designed for humans, by humans.

Among these functions, the race for the first fleet of fully autonomous vehicles has technology and automotive companies either joining forces or competing for the coveted claim for first place. Regardless of who are allies or enemies, they're all up against the same issues of addressing physical challenges with advanced technologies. In short, getting from point A to point B through an intricate network of sensors and programming. Most importantly, doing it safely.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Latest historic articles on AutoClassics - Toleman and Schnitzer

By No machine-readable author provided. Palle~commonswiki
assumed (based on copyright claims). - No machine-readable
source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright
claims)., Public Domain, https://commons.
wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=658574
Here are my latest weekly historic motorsport articles for AutoClassics.

Many of us know that the Toleman team gave Ayrton Senna his F1 debut, also that it evolved into modern-day 'Team Enstone'. Yet much more even than those set this team apart. I spoke to its boss Alex Hawkridge about the highly quirky, but eventually successful, Toleman early days in F1. It's a fascinating tale. You can check it out here.

And for the Motorsport Images slideshow feature, with the recent news that its long-serving team manager Charly Lamm is to step down at the end of the year I've looked at Schnitzer Motorsport's other-worldly success in tin-tops and beyond. And I've been aided as usual by stunning photography. Feast your eyes here.

Monday, 17 September 2018

New Motorsport Week article: Charles Leclerc to Ferrari - about Sebastian Vettel not Kimi Raikkonen?

Photo: Octane Photography
This F1 drivers' market silly season this time is a gift that keeps on giving. We had the latest confirmation of an intriguing move for 2019 just last week - that of Ferrari at last rolling the dice and going with youthful Charles Leclerc rather than the known incumbent quantity of Kimi Raikkonen.

This in turn led to a lot of focus on what Ferrari therefore thinks of Raikkonen. But does the move tell us more about what Ferrari thinks of its other driver, one Sebastian Vettel?

In my latest for Motorsport Week I explore the matter of whither Vettel and Ferrari. You can have a read here: https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/19891

Motor Verso F1 2018 Season Summary - Singapore Grand Prix review

Photo: Octane Photography
The Motor Verso F1 2018 season summary now has my take on last weekend's Singapore Grand Prix added.

It seems like no time since we had a drivers; title fight in the delicate balance. Six rounds remain and plenty could theoretically still change in this year's championship hunt, but this one at the Marina Bay track round in more than one sense had the air of reaching a point of no return.

You can have a read of my take on it all, complete as ever with fantastic Pirelli photography, here: https://www.motorverso.com/2018-f1-summary/

Do check out the Motor Verso site too; you'll find motoring news, car reviews and features - the team on the site carry out week-long test drives of the latest cars - as well as photos and videos of the machines.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Singapore GP Report - Night terrors

How great it must be to exist in a moment where everything, almost no matter what, seems to run your way. And - yin and yang - for your direct opponent the experience must be simultaneously crushing. And it is.

Lewis Hamilton took another win -
and this one was unexpected
Photo: Octane Photography
In this Singapore round Lewis Hamilton won again and Sebastian Vettel cruised home third; thus Hamilton's title lead is up to 40. Vettel is on the cusp of needing snookers.

Worse for Seb and Ferrari it was not meant at all to be this way. This for Hamilton was the ultimate scrum won against the head, as not only was the Ferrari the quicker car in theory this has long been viewed as an outlying Mercedes bogey track. As it transpired Hamilton not only won but did so with something like comfort. Well, as comfortable as the working-out-for-two-hours-in-a-sauna Singapore race ever gets.

"They put up a good fight this weekend," noted Hamilton afterwards of Ferrari. "I'm not sure where their pace disappeared to..."

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Latest historic articles from me on AutoClassics

Credit: Jim Culp/CC
Just highlighting my latest weekly articles on historic motorsport I've written for AutoClassics.

I've written an article looking at Chris Amon in 1968. The man commonly cited as the best F1 driver never to win a grand prix, this year he could and perhaps should have won the world championship. The subject's chosen partly as it's the 50th anniversary and partly as his story is a little bit of a parallel of that of soon-to-depart-F1 Fernando Alonso. You can have a read of that here.

And given the Goodwood Revival was last weekend my Motorsport Images archive article looked at some of the highlights of the historic event's first 20 years since starting in 2018. You can look at that here.

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Leclerc: I Am Not Famous Yet!

After weeks of rumours, the Raikkonen-Leclerc swap was finally announced. Hats off to Ferrari for making an exception and realising that an early investment in Charles Leclerc's progression in the world of Formula 1 is only going to pay them early dividends. But is this also a sign from Ferrari that they are beginning to lose hope in Sebastian Vettel's erring ways?

In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, we have bytes from the man-on-the-move himself, Charles Leclerc. We met with the driver in the month of August and spoke to him about several topics including his dream move to Ferrari, partnering with Sebastian Vettel and how he handles the fame and pressure of being such a successful Motorsport personality.

And of course, we are thrilled to see Kimi Raikkonen extend his stay in Formula 1 for a couple of more seasons. Let's enjoy our typical Raikkonen moments for as long as they last. There's a lot of Leclerc-Raikkonen-Ferrari-Sauber in this episode. Tune in!

(Season 2018, Episode 31)

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

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Singapore GP Betting Preview - Red devil?

You'll likely have seen those cartoons that feature the shoulder angel and shoulder devil. Where they pop up in turn on the protagonist's respective shoulders - the angel imploring the said protagonist to stay on the right track; the devil trying to lead them astray. For the Singapore round this weekend, who prevails will likely be a matter of angel Ferrari versus devil Ferrari.

Which way will Ferrari's Singapore weekend go?
Photo: Octane Photography
Ferrari should win in Singapore. It's pretty persistently had the quickest car in various circumstances recently, plus for its chief rival Mercedes this one self-admittedly is a bogey circuit - a point backed up by history.

But as we know things have had a maddening tendency to not be nearly so simple. Ferrari's had a habit of falling into mantraps - sometimes mantraps it's set itself. And this venue has more mantraps set than most - a Monaco for the new millennium with added stamina required. Two hours in intense humidity with constant acrobatic turns and near at hand walls to punish even small errors.

Still Sebastian Vettel to take pole and win seems a reasonable starting point of our expectations this weekend, and you can back him at evens to prevail on Saturday and at 11/8 to do so on Sunday. Seb's a local specialist as well and has won here four times and taken the same number of poles.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Q&A with '1994 - the Untold Story' author Ibrar Malik

You will have noticed that in recent months Talking about F1 has featured regular guest blog posts kindly provided by Ibrar Malik, previewing his forthcoming book 1994 – The Untold Story of a Tragic and Controversial F1 Season.

Ibrar has also been kind enough to take part in a Q&A with me on his forthcoming book and about the 1994 F1 year more generally. It is all outlined below and I'm sure you'll agree that his answers are fascinating and whet the appetite for the book that is to come! 

And you can find much more detail on his book on his website at: www.1994f1.com

What was it about the 1994 season that attracted you to examine it so closely?

So much happened that year and it's unlike any other F1 season. There were driver tragedies, infighting within a sport in crisis, and accusations of cheating. All wrapped up by one of the most controversial title deciders in F1 history. I think it's fair to say even today, most F1 fans are still dumbfounded by certain mysteries from that year. Like why Benetton received no serious punishments after the Hockenheim fire, despite pleading guilty to tampering with the refuelling equipment without written authorisation. Or did Michael Schumacher use the concealed launch control that WAS found within his Benetton?

I've found whenever these issues are discussed things usually turn into a heated debate, often filled with rumours rather than facts. Also some people tend to dismiss certain information based on whether they support Ayrton Senna or Schumacher. So, perhaps the best way to unravel the various accusations is by analysing them as the 1994 season unfolded, in the kind of detail only a book allows. It will give readers all the arguments and information to sort fact from fiction themselves and unlike an internet forum, there is no chance of them getting involved in an argument in the process.

Whatever your stance regarding the 1994 events, I think everyone can agree the politics at play that year were complicated. Hence why for the last few years, I've been determined to find out the dark secrets from that fateful season, which has ultimately led to this book.

Schumacher's 1994 driver's championship would forever be perceived with suspicion. 
Photo: Willem Toet

Monday, 10 September 2018

Singapore Preview: Risk and reward

F1 in 2018 keeps changing. F1 in 2018 keeps staying the same.

Monza changed the season's picture - and conformed to it
Photo: Octane Photography
What we got in the last round at Monza was nothing like what we expected. But in its shift it conformed with the lingering theme of the year so far - that Ferrari has the quickest car in most circumstances but one way or another isn't making good on it. And Mercedes is taking advantage. After the Italian race Lewis Hamilton's points lead, against all expectations, stretched to 30. We're reaching the point that Ferrari can't afford more slip-ups.

Yet the Scuderia can go into this one in Singapore with some light breaking through its recently accumulated gloom, and not just due to its inherent pace advantage mentioned. Singapore moreover is a great place for it to get some of its lost points back on Merc pronto.

Are Amateur Racing Clubs Dying Out?

Any motorsports fan feels the urge for a challenge. Although not everyone can reach the great talents of the racing world champions, it doesn't mean you should back-out of your passion. You don't need to be helped up by a multinational enterprise or have a top tier vehicle to jump into the heat of racing.

Look for semi-professional racing clubs that offer circuits such as sprints, off-road or short ovals.

They Require Time
To become a racing driver you'll need to practice, be dedicated and invest a lot of time and effort. Like any other sports, motor racing is all about discipline and professionalism. To get the best results you need to sharpen your skills through training. If you take the time to constantly exercising and learning, you're on your way to success.

It's Not A Cheap Hobby
Although racing clubs offer the choice of renting a car to race around the circuit, you're better off owning it. Race cars are quite expensive. Even if you're planning to tune up a standard car, you'll still be dealing with some serious needed investment. If you want to become a licensed race driver you should attend an accredited racing school. However, courses don't come cheap. For a glimpse of the progress of UK's amateur car racing, check out This ranking of 2015 Car Clubs in England.

There Is No National Championship
Unlike major league racing, amateur car clubs don't organise national championships. However, you can join-in on track days or go-karting competitions, pay and play days or a combination such as Track Day Trophy events.

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Kimi Raikkonen For Vice President

Will Ferrari re-sign Kimi Raikkonen? Or will Kimi Raikkonen resign from Ferrari and Formula 1? There are tons of rumours doing the rounds last week and while we ignore them all, we wonder if Kimi Raikkonen would actually be well suited to become Vice President.

In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, Mithila and Kunal argue over Raikkonen's possible extension, Nico Rosberg's sudden love for Lewis Hamilton, the possibility of drivers becoming title sponsors of their home Grands Prix and Force India's fourth place in the Constructors' Championship (yes, you read that right!). Tune in!

(Season 2018, Episode 30)

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

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Latest F1 history articles from me on AutoClassics

Just flagging a couple more articles written by me on F1 history that have been published on AutoClassics recent days.

By Suyk, Koen / Anefo / neg. stroken, 1945-1989, 2.24.01.
05, item number 929-8724 [CC BY-SA 3.0 nl (https://
creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/deed.en)],
 via Wikimedia Commons
This first one is a good 'un. Forty years ago almost to the day Team Lotus bagged the most routine of one-twos in the 1978 Dutch Grand Prix and it must have seemed the competitive order would stay that way for a while at least. But success dried up almost overnight.

I therefore spoke to Mario Andretti as well as Peter Wright - designer at the team at the time - to find out what went on. It's a fascinating tale, which you can read here.

The second one is good too - to coincide with the latest Italian Grand Prix at inimitable Monza I looked at the home team Ferrari's finest moments in its long history at the circuit, with the help of Motorsport Images's superb photography. You can check that out here.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Ocon: Hope To Retain Force India Seat

Where could Esteban Ocon race in 2019? For Formula 1 fans, this question is as intriguing as 'who could win the Drivers' Championship in 2018?' - and given how the driver silly season has panned out, let's hope that Ocon gets a suitable car that compliments his talent.

In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, we have a special guest - Esteban Ocon himself. The Frenchman rates his performances against Sergio Perez, he answers whether he has done enough to retain his seat at Force India for 2019 and of course, would he rather race in a slower car next year or take a break from the sport?

The future of Formula 1 could definitely be Esteban Ocon (possibly in Mercedes) resuming his career-long rivalry against Charles Leclerc (possibly in Ferrari) and Max Verstappen (in Red Bull Racing). Let's remember, these three lads fought hard while karting and in the junior series they competed in. Ocon tells us how he would relish fighting them and how it would be good for Formula 1. Tune in!

(Season 2018, Episode 29) 

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

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Motor Verso F1 2018 Season Summary - Italian Grand Prix review

Photo: Octane Photography
And so the Ferrari revival is off. Or delayed at the very least. The season's nagging theme returned at Monza - that of the Scuderia dashing the opportunity presented by its fine car. While Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton were brilliant in taking advantage.

My take on a thrilling and surprising Italian Grand Prix is now added to the ever-expanding Motor Verso F1 season summary. And as ever it also includes stunning Pirelli photography and the best F1 content on YouTube.

You can check out the latest incarnation here: https://www.motorverso.com/2018-f1-summary/

Do check out the Motor Verso site too; you'll find motoring news, car reviews and features - the team on the site carry out week-long test drives of the latest cars - as well as photos and videos of the machines.

Italian GP Report - Come together

After Spa last week we thought things would be different. But in its back yard the chief theme of 2018 reasserted - that Ferrari for all its stunning speed isn't beginning to make good on it where it really matters. That something insists on coming along to trip it up. Sometimes of its own doing.

Lewis Hamilton against all expectations
defeated Ferrari to win
Photo: Octane Photography
Matters in the Italian Grand Prix weekend started just as expected though. Continuing the Spa pattern Ferrari on Monza's rapid circuit had a clear pace advantage, including on its title foe targets Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton. After qualifying the grid's front row was all red. But a day later things were scarcely recognisable. Hamilton had won and left Ferrari's homeland with an extended 30 point lead in the championship table over the Scuderia's Sebastian Vettel.

And with the talk of big themes this shift was not down to just one thing. Rather a lot of - often ostensibly minor - things came together. Lenin reminded us that everything is connected to everything else. It's especially the case in F1.

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow. The acorns that grew into the mighty oak of Ferrari's defeat were planted the day before the race, in that very same qualifying session. There was one fly in Vettel's Saturday ointment, that his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen took pole position ahead of him. The Finn was aided by that he ran behind Vettel on track and thus got the benefit of his slipstream on Monza's many lengthy straights. Vettel meanwhile had been fed out by his team a little late and therefore didn't really benefit from the car ahead in the same way (Hamilton's, as it happened).

Monday, 3 September 2018

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Fernando Alonso Can't Be F1's Ambassador

Formula 1 hopes that Fernando Alonso will be the sport's ambassador despite choosing to race elsewhere in 2019. Well, we're certain Alonso (also Briatore?) wouldn't mind the 'ambassadorship' if it comes with some money and maybe a guarantee of a faster car in the future? Either way, why Formula 1 would ask Alonso to be their ambassador baffles us. The double World Champion has only had negative things to say about the sport for the last many years.

In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, we wonder how many drivers would McLaren and Red Bull Racing have approached to fill their cockpits for 2019; any guesses? We actually did some math on the show. A manufacturer-customer relationship (a la Ferrari-Haas) might actually be good for the sport - it should reduce the performance gaps we see currently. And finally, how soon before Formula 1 tries the heads-up display visor that Super Formula tested a days ago? Tune in!

(Season 2018, Episode 28)

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

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Mansell’s 1994 Comeback, by Ibrar Malik

Nigel Mansell won the 1992 F1 world championship comfortably before announcing his shocking switch to American Indycar racing for the following year. He had become fed up with protracted contract renewal negotiations so departed his beloved Williams and F1 on sour terms. Given these circumstances, it makes Mansell's return to both for 1994 all the more remarkable.

Mansell (pictured in 1994) won the Indy Car title during his rookie year in 1993. It was an astonishing achievement. 

The upcoming book provides more detail, but essentially Nigel's return to F1 in 1994 was a direct result of Senna's tragic accident. Because F1 was left without any world champions on the grid and Schumacher was dominating races, Bernie Ecclestone needed to bring some positive news to a sport in crisis. F1's commercial supremo, therefore, engineered Mansell's return believing it would give Schumacher a worthy rival whilst also increasing television ratings.

Friday, 31 August 2018

New Motorsport Week article: 1994 – F1’s ultimate year for driver musical chairs

By Landmensch [CC BY-SA 4.0  (https://creativecommons.
org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
At last weekend's Belgian Grand Prix rumours of an extraordinary imminent round of F1 driver musical chairs swirled. All started by Lawrence Stroll leading a consortium to buy Force India, which means it's thought a matter of time until his son Lance rocks up there from Williams. And this, the grapevine said could trigger several other moves, perhaps for as soon as the following round.

But this would be next to nothing, as for Motorsport Week I looked back to a season wherein no fewer than 46 drivers turned up in a race seat at some point. It may not be altogether surprising that this was tumultuous 1994.

I looked into the story and the various reasons for that year's flux. Here's the link: https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/19674

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Italian GP Betting Preview - Just like old times?

F1 has in a sense gone full circle. Time was we could expect a Ferrari upturn for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. As its home round, with everything that entails, the red team would turn up with a 'special'. For various reasons those days are in the past. But for the first Italian visit in a good while we nevertheless turn up this time with Ferrari emphatically the team to beat.

The view the rest will be getting of Ferrari?
Photo: Octane Photography
The Scuderia generally has been on top pace-wise in recent rounds, and in the Belgian stop-off last weekend - at a track just like Monza with plenty of full throttle sections - both Ferrari and Mercedes turned up with new power units and Ferrari remained at least as far ahead on that front as it had been before. Perhaps more so. Sebastian Vettel sailed past Lewis Hamilton on lap one as if he was parked on the way to a comfortable victory. Much to Hamilton's audible chagrin.

And as intimated this advantage will count for a lot at Monza, and the bookies have noticed judging by that they've made Vettel favourite for the pole and win. The odds still look pretty tempting as you'll near enough double your money if Vettel prevails, with 8/11 for him to get pole and 19/20 to win the race.

With this too you may be similarly tempted by the 8/13 available for Vettel's fellow Ferrari Kimi Raikkonen to finish on the podium. The grapevine has him being retained at the Scuderia for next year, and another Ferrari tradition is announcing drivers for the following year at Monza - so with this the Finn should be in a good mood. You can also get 3/5 on a Ferrari to win.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Monza Preview: Home run?

What a difference a year makes. Twelve months ago, then as in previous visits we approached an Italian Grand Prix expecting a Mercedes demonstration run. The German power unit couldn't be matched on full noise and the works team was best placed to take advantage on the Monza track's many long straights. To wit - Mercedes has won the last four races here, all imperiously and three of the four have been one-twos. Last year the first non-Mercedes - Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari - finished some 36 seconds adrift of the winner.

Will Ferrari again be showing Mercedes the way?
Photo: Octane Photography
Now in advance of the latest Italian stop-off you'll struggle to find anyone who doesn't expect exactly the same of Ferrari instead. That its power unit is a clear step ahead of the rest on grunt and is particularly so in the back of the works car; that Ferrari therefore is the car to beat at Monza and likely will not be beaten. The Spa round just passed - another power circuit - underlined the point in thick red lines.

"He came sailing past me like it was nothing," said Lewis Hamilton then of his foe in red Vettel. "We made a big step coming into this weekend; they made an even bigger step..."

He added elsewhere his perception of the Ferrari engine's "trick things".

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admitted too after Spa that the silver car's traction and performance in slow stuff is poor - which in turn blisters the tyres - which will also be a problem at Monza.

Motor Verso F1 2018 Season Summary - Belgian Grand Prix review

My Formula 1 2018 season summary for Motor Verso is back after the F1 summer break and now has my take on the Belgian Grand Prix added.

Photo: Octane Photography
It was a weekend wherein lightening struck for a third time, in that rain yet again arrived and threatened to scupper Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari. But for the first time in this run they overcome the setback to win. And with it reminded us that this championship is far from done.

As ever the summary includes some wonderful Pirelli photography and the best F1 content about the race on YouTube.

You can check out the latest summary here: https://www.motorverso.com/2018-f1-summary/

Do check out the Motor Verso site too; you'll find motoring news, car reviews and features - the team on the site carry out week-long test drives of the latest cars - as well as photos and videos of the machines.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Belgian GP Report - Defeating the Rain Gods

You know what they say about lightening striking twice - well what do they say about it striking three times? Ferrari in qualifying for this latest Belgian Grand Prix at famous Spa had reason to curse the conspicuous sense of deja vu.

Sebastian Vettel overcame yet more
rain-related misfortune to win
Photo: Octane Photography
For the third round in a row it looked the fastest thing out there. For a third round in a row rain threatened to scupper it. Rain is a Spa perennial of course and was expected all weekend. It arrived only at the last of qualifying and allowed rain master Lewis Hamilton to pip Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari for pole. Suddenly Vettel's task looked much harder, and on a weekend in which - so the consensus went - he simply had to make up points ground on his Mercedes foe.

At the start another Spa perennial made itself felt - chaos at the tight opening La Source hairpin.

A late (or non) braking Nico Hulkenberg pitched Fernando Alonso's McLaren over the top of Charles Leclerc's Sauber. The McLaren bounced off Leclerc's halo, it possibly saving his life. One wonders what the halo objectors made of it.

Latest F1 history articles from me on AutoClassics

Just flagging a couple more articles by me on F1 history that have been published on AutoClassics in recent days.

By Schumi4ever [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/
fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0  (https://creativecommons.org/
licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
To coincide with the latest Belgian Grand Prix  at the revered Spa-Francorchamps circuit, I pay tribute to the master of modern Spa  - Michael Schumacher. He took six wins and had a few other near misses. For AutoClassics with the help of Motorsport Images's superb photography I look at the great man's finest Spa moments.

You can took a look here.

While 30 years ago this week Johnny Herbert had a spectacular F3000 crash at Brands Hatch. And as the man himself said, without it "things could have been so different". More so than you might think - and in more ways the one.

I explored the story, and you can have a read here.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Belgian GP Betting Preview - Hard rain

Formula 1 reconvenes after a four-week summer break with the consideration at the front remaining familiar - victory in this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa looks in advance a matter primarily of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes versus Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari.

Once again at the front it looks like it'll be a matter
 of Sebastian Vettel versus Lewis Hamilton
Photo: Octane Photography
Ferrari had the quickest car in the weeks before the break, and Vettel won at the last similar-ish challenge to Spa at Silverstone. That 70% of the Spa track is taken at full throttle should be to his benefit too as the Ferrari engine has also been mighty recently. But then again in this time for one reason or another - some their own doing; some not - Vettel and Ferrari haven't always converted their advantage to victory.

And this time the very thing that scuppered them in the last weekend before the break in Hungary is due to re-occur. Rain.

The bookies agree that Hamilton versus Vettel is a tough call as the pair have exactly the same odds to win and to take pole - respectively 6/4 and 11/8.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Spa Preview: Back with a bang

It's not true what they say. Not everything about modern F1 is bad.

There's nothing quite like Spa
Photo: Octane Photography
This weekend it returns from its summer holidays and could not pick a better place to reconvene.

Spa-Francorchamps, the inimitable longtime host of the Belgian Grand Prix. Its mere mention brings many associations. The speed. The mighty turns. The undulations. The organic feel. The picture postcard Ardennes scenery. The link to the very beginnings of road circuit motorsport. Little wonder that when you ask F1 drivers, engineers or fans for their favourite modern venue this is the one commonly said, often without the slightest hesitation.

You can add too that F1 races at Spa almost always are diverting. I'm sure there have been dull Sundays here, but it's not all that easy to cite them.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Inside Line F1 Podcast - The James Hunt Exclusive

The Inside Line F1 Podcast returns after a sunny summer break from the beaches of Greece. In this week's episode, we commemorate 25 years since James Hunt's death and who better than his son Freddie to narrate stories, incidents and the passion of the 1976 Formula 1 World Champion.

Did Rush add to Hunt's popularity? And what if social media existed back in the Hunt-Lauda era? Know more in our Hunt exclusive episode.

We also talk to Freddie about his racing career, plans to follow his famous father into commentary and the impact of having a name as famous as 'Hunt' in the world of Motorsport. Tune in!

(Season 2018, Episode 26)
Subscribe to the Inside Line F1 Podcast on iTunes and on audioBoom (RSS feed) for your weekly dose of Formula 1 humour

More articles from me on AutoClassics

By Harald Bischoff [CC BY-SA 3.0 
(https://creativecommons.org/
licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from
Wikimedia Commons
Pointing you in the direction of a couple of recent articles of mine published on AutoClassics, in case they're of interest.

My latest article on the best from the Motorsport Images archive is themed for this weekend's WEC Silverstone 6 Hours. I've looked at some of the best moments from world endurance racing in Britain compete with stunning photography, including Pedro Rodriguez in the rain at Brands Hatch in 1970.

You can check it out here: https://www.autoclassics.com/posts/reviews/greatest-moments-world-endurance-racing

I also wrote about Heritage Formula Ford, a new Formula Ford series for this year which seeks to recreate the category's golden age. You can read that one here: https://www.autoclassics.com/posts/reviews/heritage-formula-ford-race-series

And a complete rundown of what I've been writing for AutoClassics is available here.

New Motorsport Week article: Fernando Alonso's legacy is tainted? Not so fast…

The word 'retire' wasn't used, but it seems we've made our minds up anyway.

Photo: Octane Photography
Various articles on Fernando Alonso have followed his announcement that he won't be in F1 in 2019, reviewing him as man and driver and all with an air of finality.

Yet also unusual is that vying with the tributes of his driving skills have been claims of a difficult personality and career mis-steps, all of which have added up to career stats that don't do him justice and a tainted legacy.

But is it that simple? And might the 'flipside' outlined - missed opportunities, poignancy and anti-hero status - actually help how readily we remember Fernando Alonso? I think it could do.

In my latest for Motorsport Week I outline my thinking: https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/19495

Friday, 10 August 2018

Motorsport history articles on AutoClassics

I've been lucky enough to write some feature articles on motorsport history for AutoClassics recently. These have included:

By Willy Pragher (Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg)
[CC BY 3.0  (https://creativecommons.org/
licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
A retro feature on Peter Collins marking the 60th anniversary of his death: https://www.autoclassics.com/posts/reviews/peter-collins-ferrari-racer-history

To coincide with the latest Hungarian Grand Prix I looked back at F1's first visit in 1986 when it very much stepped into the unknown - and I spoke to Derek Warwick, Johnny Dumfries and Allen Berg about what it was all like: https://www.autoclassics.com/posts/reviews/Formula-one-hungary-1986

I've also been writing articles using the LAT archive, where I look at particular notable moments around a theme from motorsport history and the article is illustrated with stunning photos. In the latest, with the Oldtimer Grand Prix taking place at the Nurburgring, I look at some memorable moments from the revered and feared track's extensive history: https://www.autoclassics.com/posts/reviews/history-memorable-nurburgring-moments

You can keep an eye on what I've been writing for AutoClassics here.

Essential car maintenance Tips for beginners

There are many things you discover when pursuing a career in motorsport journalism.  One is that having a car is pretty much essential. Circuits tend to be in the middle of nowhere, well beyond the reach of public transport or walking distance.

By NRMA Motoring and Services from Sydney, Australia
(Toyota FJ40 Cruiser - NRMA Drivers Seat) [CC BY 2.0 
(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)],
via Wikimedia Commons
You also discover that having a car comes with many considerations that may have not crossed your mind in advance, particularly if – in another motorsport journalist occupational hazard – you have to do long journeys. I’ve therefore compiled a few car maintenance tips in this article.

A couple of general disclaimers before we begin. What I say applies to the UK unless I state otherwise, plus they come with no more weight than my general meanderings as a non-expert car user. Don’t take these as gospel in other words. But still, hopefully they’re useful.

As a general rule these checks should be done when the car’s cold for accurate readings as well as for safety reasons in the case of the checks such as the coolant – so wait a few hours before doing them if you’ve been driving. Also a lot of them should be done before long journeys over and above the regularity cited. And without wishing to state the obvious when you do them make sure the car’s in a safe place, i.e. you’re won’t be in the way of traffic, and the handbrake is properly applied.

The beauty of a lot of these engine and tyre checks is that they can be done yourself, but there’s no harm in popping into a local garage if you’re not sure about any of them.

The oil level