Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Private Plates – Do They Say More About You Than You Think?

Private registration plates, sometimes referred to as cherished plates, are one of the most common ways drivers can personalise their cars without causing damage or looking overly tacky. Most of the time, you can get your initials in, a birth date or something else that has meaning to you. However, have you ever looked deeper into the kind of people that get private registration plates and wondered what else do they do to their car?

We recently stumbled upon a pretty large study done by UK personal car leasing firm All Car Leasing called "Doin' it for the 'gram" which looked at the habits of people who get private plates and whether there's anything else they all had in common. Granted, this article is not about Formula 1 in any way but at the same time we are well aware that our readers are generally "car people" and we think this might interest a few of you!

All Car Leasing surveyed just over 600 people for this study and 21% of them have a private plate, this is not a surprising statistic if a little on the high side in our opinion. However, the interesting statistics come from these 21%.

Audi are the most common manufacturer to have a private reg (shock horror), this makes sense as Audis aren't cheap and neither are private registrations with prices starting usually at £200. But does this make Audi drivers vain or just proud of their German motor? Well, All Car Leasing's results seem to suggest that perhaps they are. Just over half (53%) of private reg owners have modified their cars (modifications being aftersales alloy wheels, new exhausts, decal, sound system etc) after they've made the purchase to further enhance the car past what it began as.

Next up, All Car Leasing found that 50% of private registration owners clean their car at least once a fortnight to keep the car pristine at all times. Are we now starting to see a bit of a pattern here with these owners of cherished plates? Well, it doesn't end there! It also turns out that 58%(!) of private plate owners have posted a picture of their prized motor on social media. Wow! Anyway, we started by by asking if private plates say something about the owners and a pretty clear image has started to come out… they love their cars and want everyone to know it! And there's nothing wrong with that we say! The doin' it for the 'gram campaign looks at a lot more than just private plates we just thought it was the most interesting bit. If you want to take a look at the whole study and see if it says something about your habits why not check it out over at their website or take a look at the infographic below. Alternatively, you can also check out All Car Leasing's brand new podcast if you haven't the time to sit and read.

Doin it for the gram
Doin' it for the 'gram by All Car Leasing


Thursday, 20 June 2019

1973 French Grand Prix review for Motor Sport Magazine

By Anefo / Mieremet, R.. / neg. stroken, 1945-1989, 2.24.01.
05, item number 926-5790 -
ac32df0c-d0b4-102d-bcf8-003048976d84, CC BY-SA 3.0 nl,
My latest classic grand prix retro review for Motor Sport Magazine's website is here. This time it's from the history-rich French Grand Prix.

I've looked back at the 1973 race, then as now at the Paul Ricard circuit (albeit there have been some adventures between times).

Then, Paul Ricard was an archetypal 'new' venue, with all the growing pains that entails. And that wasn't the only source of novelty in this '73 meeting. One new boy shook up Formula 1; another at last took his first F1 victory.

You can have a read of my retro re-tread here:

Plus you can check out my previous classic grand prix articles for Motor Sport here and here.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Wake Me Up When September Ends...

In this episode, we discuss of the delay in announcing the 2021 regulations, the possible headlines you could still read come 2021 and how Mercedes can achieve even more greatness in Formula 1.

Photo: Octane Photography
Formula 1 unanimously decided to defer the announcement of its 2021 regulations 'til October this year. The WEC announced its 'hypercar' regulations from 2021 just a few days ago. Basically, everyone is leading fans to believe that 2021 is the year when motorsport will undergo a revolution.

In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, we talk of the possible headlines you will still read come 2021. What else could Mercedes do to prove its superiority as a Formula 1 team? If Ricciardo and Hulkenberg had wet dreams of a Ferrari power unit in their Renault car when Fiat Chrysler was talking up Renault and finally, will Formula 1 teams hire 'gladiators' instead of drivers for 2021? Tune in!

(Season 2019, Episode 23)
Subscribe to the Inside Line F1 Podcast on iTunesaudioBoom (RSS feed) and Google Podcasts for your weekly dose of Formula 1 humour

Here's what's in store for you in this episode:
0:00-3:00: Five headlines we could still read come the 2021 Formula 1 season. Also, how Christian Horner pulled off a massive stunt to prove why he should replace Chase Carey (if at all)

3:00-6:00: Formula 1 teams to hire gladiators come 2021?

6:00-9:00: Mercedes is controlling Formula 1, alleged Helmut Marko. But Red Bull Racing is controlling Formula 1's Raft Race

9:00-12:00: Three audacious things that Mercedes could do to prove their greatness and superiority as a Formula 1 team

12:00-15:00: If you're a budding Formula 1 racer, here's some advice for you and it is probably better than what Jacques Villeneuve has been telling you

15:00-end: The possible Fiat Chrysler-Renault merger, did Ricciardo and Hulkenberg have wet dreams of a Ferrari power unit in their Renault for at least a few nights? Finally, Ferrari should promote the race strategists from their Le Mans operations to Formula 1!

Saturday, 15 June 2019

New Motorsport Week article: F1’s curious history of the first finisher not finishing first

By Martin Lee -
17196205826/in/photostream/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://
A race is a simple concept. You get to the end before anyone else, you win. Right?

Well, this being Formula 1, things aren't necessarily that simple. Herein, as Sebastian Vettel just found out in the Canadian Grand Prix, the first finisher doesn't always finish first. Such a shift has happened a good few times before, and for a good few reasons.

In my latest for Motorsport Week I look through the other times in F1 history this has happened.

You can have a read here:

Thursday, 6 June 2019

1995 Canadian Grand Prix review for Motor Sport Magazine

Rick Dikeman. Modified by historicair 21:08, 22 May 2007
 (UTC) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.
My latest classic grand prix retro review for Motor Sport Magazine's website has landed. This time it's for the forthcoming Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, and I've looked back at the 1995 race when there was not a dry eye in the house.

As, for once, things came right for the ever-unlucky Jean Alesi, and he ensured that he would not share the inauspicious fate of Chris Amon of a skilled driver who somehow never won a Formula 1 grand prix.

And Alesi could hardly have done it in a more fitting place.

You can have a read of my take on the evocative 1995 Montreal race here:

Plus you can check out my previous classic grand prix articles for Motor Sport via this link.

How fit are Formula 1 drivers compared to other elite athletes?

F1 performance coach Eliot Challifour explains why, even though he sits for a living, Lewis Hamilton's fitness is up there with Chris Froome and Mo Farah's.

Photo: Octane Photography
Whether it's a turbocharged V6 engine or the latest carbon-fibre chassis, Formula 1 is a sport where innovation and technological advances are king.

But while the power, muscle and endurance of F1 cars is renowned, the power, muscle and endurance of those behind the wheel is often overlooked - certainly in comparison to other elite athletes.

If you were to list the top five fittest athletes in the world, names such as Mo Farah, Rafael Nadal, Cristiano Ronaldo, Chris Froome and LeBron James would more than likely be on it. It wouldn't be a surprise, however, if Lewis Hamilton was overlooked.

Because his success is ultimately reliant on the super machine at his fingertips, there is probably a perception that the physical requirements placed on him are less than on those who run, hit, kick, dunk and cycle.

The reality is very different.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Ayrton Senna – My Opinion on What Caused his Crash?, by Ibrar Malik

One of the most fundamental mysteries of the 1994 Formula 1 season was why Ayrton Senna, one of the sport's greatest ever drivers, crash fatally at a relatively easy corner?

To this day, no-one knows for certain why Senna crashed. Many theories of varying credibility have been put forward. My personal view is Senna, desperate to break free from the car behind, carried a bit too much speed into Tamburello the car went slightly offline onto a part of the track known to be extremely bumpy. The ride height was still too low after the safety car so it 'bottomed out'. This also caused the peaky aerodynamics on the Williams to stall resulting in a catastrophic loss of grip made worse by tyres not up to working pressures or temperatures. This view is shared by Damon Hill who drove an identical car to Senna, and Michael Schumacher, who had the clearest view of what started the crash. In my humble opinion, they are the two best people to judge its cause.

 Senna leading Schumacher moments before the crash

Friday, 31 May 2019

Inside Line F1 Podcast - 10 Personalities We Want On The Netflix-F1 Show Season 2

This week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast talks about the 10 paddock personalities that would be make Season 2 of the Netflix-F1 show that much more interesting and funny!

Photo: Octane Photography
There's no official news on Season 2 of the Netflix-F1 show. But we know it's happening! In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, we discuss the 10 personalities from the Formula 1 paddock that should absolutely feature in Season 2.

Also in this episode, we talk (again!) about Sebastian Vettel's retirement rumours, how Ferrari could be/is Charles Leclerc's only hope for the next few seasons and why Nico Hulkenberg to Red Bull Racing is more imaginative than real. Tune in, laugh along!

(Season 2019, Episode 21)
Subscribe to the Inside Line F1 Podcast on iTunes, audioBoom (RSS feed) and Google Podcasts for your weekly dose of Formula 1 humour

Thursday, 30 May 2019

New Motorsport Week article: Hamilton’s Monaco drive – good but not that good

Photo: Octane Photography
Lewis Hamilton's victorious Monaco Grand Prix drive last weekend deservedly got plenty of plaudits. This included stellar rating from the man himself, who said the race was his hardest ever as well as, in advance, that it required a "miracle" to prevail.

And not for nothing - he'd just held off Max Verstappen for much of the way on tyres not designed for the task.

In my latest for Motorsport Week I explain though that, while Hamilton's race was certainly very good, it wasn't quite the "miracle" advertised.

You can have a read of my take here:

Thursday, 23 May 2019

F1 retro grand prix articles for Motor Sport Magazine's website

I'm very pleased to have provided for Motor Sport Magazine this year retro grand prix reviews for forthcoming F1 grands prix. For these I've picked a noteworthy grand prix of the past in the week before each F1 race.

By Janice Waltzer from Owasso, USA - Monte Carlo
harbor, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.
And the latest of these has just landed, where I selected from the treasure trove of the Monaco Grand Prix, the first of which was a mere 90 years ago...

I've picked the one that provided likely its most thrilling finish of all, in 1970. It was a battle of the old hand Jack Brabham vs young gun Jochen Rindt. The old hand led for much of the way, but in the final minutes the young gun chased him down at a scarcely plausible rate. And at the final turn, the old hand, highly atypically, cracked...

You can have a read of the tale in full here:

And, in case you fancy flicking back through my previous grand prix retro reviews from this season so far, here are the links:

Australian Grand Prix - 1997; The Australian Grand Prix that didn't go to form
Bahrain Grand Prix - 2014; The race that saved F1 as we know it
Chinese Grand Prix - 2006; Michael Schumacher's final Formula 1 win
Azerbaijan Grand Prix - 2017; Hamilton and Vettel clash; Ricciardo conquers

Sadly I didn't do the Spanish Grand Prix article!

Friday, 17 May 2019

New Motorsport Week article: Where does it end for Mercedes?

Add caption
And so Mercedes' F1 dominance continues, stronger than ever. A dominance that stretches back all the way to this start of 2014.

So with this, it's tempting to ask where Merc's dominance might end? It has to end of course, as that's the way of the world. However imperceptible the prospect may seem right now.

For Motorsport Week I investigate what history tells us about how the reign of great F1 teams come to an end. And history suggests it'll take something big.

You can have a read of my exploration here:

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Amazing Car Rallies Anyone Can Do, by Quotezone

This article and its graphics were created by Quotezone

Want an adrenaline rush to test yourself to the limits, all while seeing the world? Then, a car rally could be right up your street.

Rallies have been described as the most exciting kind of travel adventure, and luckily for you we've found the car rallies that anyone can join.

The goal isn't necessarily to be first across the line – it's simply to make it TO the finish line. And you don't need to be an experienced rally driver – all you need is some mechanical skills, some money, a bit of courage and a lot of patience.

Read on to discover some of the world's most amazing (and most challenging) car rallies.

What is a Car Rally?
A car rally is a long-distance motorsport where drivers race towards pre-defined checkpoints on a road-based route rather than along a standard racing circuit.

Rallying started off as a competitive motorsport back in 1894 with the launch of the Paris-Rouen Horseless Carriage Competition in France. Car rallies have continued to be a major motorsport, but nowadays you can find many car rallies that have sprouted in the name of adventure and adrenaline.

The organisers of these types of adventure rallies want you to ditch the GPS and your sanity - because if it hasn't left already it will be sure to go while travelling across the globe in a banger. If you want the ultimate travel experience and some funny stories to tell your friends back home, these rallies might be for you.

But, it's not all for adventure. These rallies have an important aspect – helping those in need. Many of the car rallies have a designated charity to raise money for, or you can choose a charity of your choice.

The Weirdest Rally

Thursday, 2 May 2019

New Motorsport Week article: Has Ferrari blown it already?

Photo: Octane Photography
To think that just six weeks ago we were sure that Ferrari was the team to beat.

Mercedes has started 2019 with four 1-2 finishes, beating the record of the imperious Williams FW14B in 1992, and that sort of early-season run has never failed to end up with that year's title. But is it really all over for Ferrari already?

For Motorsport Week, I dig out some reasons for the Scuderia to maintain a little optimism.

You can have a read here:

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Five benefits of attending a driving safety course

You are probably thinking, why do I need to attend a driving safety course when I can drive pretty well already? Well, there is more to driving than just, 'driving'. When you attend a driving safety course, you learn techniques that can help you anticipate and avoid dangers on the road. Not only can this save your life, but it can also save you lots of money. To give you an idea of how important safety training is, here are five benefits of attending a driving safety course.

1.    You are at a lower risk of driving fatalities
While insurance may cover you in case of an accident, nothing can compare to your life. That's why, anything that reduces your risk of negative outcomes, in case of an accident, is welcome. A Driving safety course helps you avoid negative outcomes when on the road. At driving safety facilities like Fahrenerleben, you learn multiple defensive driving techniques that can improve your outcomes in case of an accident. Learn about the driving courses at Fahren Erleben Bodensee here.

2.    You avoid costly traffic fines
Traffic fines may seem trivial, but when they pile up, they can set you back thousands of your hard earned money annually. When you attend a driving safety course, you learn how to adhere to the driving rules. You are unlikely to engage in behaviours that lead you to break traffic laws. Anything that saves you money is good, since you can always spend it in other areas of your life. Besides, you save money while staying safe on the road.

Friday, 19 April 2019

A Step-by-Step Guide to Number Plates

So, you’ve finally decided to make the next step and buy that personalized license plate you’ve always dreamed of. That’s great, but do you know where to start? Purchasing a private plate can be somewhat tricky, especially if you’re not familiar with the procedure. Don’t worry, that’s what we’re here to help you with today.

1. Buying a private plate

Now as far as purchasing the plate goes, there are two basic ways you can acquire one. The first is from bidding at DVLA auctions directly. These are auctions which are held across the country about 5 times each year. Here’s a list of auction dates. You can bid in person, by phone, in writing, or our personal favorite, online. Once you’ve paid for the plate you’ll receive a V750 certificate to prove that you have the right to place the plate on a vehicle.

The second option is buying from a private dealer or an individual. Most dealerships will transfer the number to your vehicle for you, but you can ask the dealer if you want to keep or even assign the number yourself. In such a scenario, you’ll ask the dealer for the V750 or the V778 directly.

2. Assign your private number to a vehicle

In order to assign a personalised dvla number plate to a vehicle, you need a V778 certification document or a V750. Alternatively you can even do it with an online reference number, but this is a little more complicated.

There are certain eligibility criteria when it comes to assigning your own private number. For instance, you can’t assign a number starting with ‘Q’ or ‘NIQ’, you can’t put a private number on a ‘Q’ registered car, and you can’t use a private number which makes the car or SUV appear newer than it actually is. The vehicle has to be registered at the DVLA and it has to be able to move under its own power. It needs to be taxed and it has to be available for inspection.

3. Keep your private number

If your private number isn’t being used on a vehicle you have to renew it every 10 years. Renewing your V750/V778 certifications is free and you’ll even get a reminder letter or email if you’re not using a private number/forget to renew it.

4. Get a new license plate made

There are certain regulations governing how dvla number plates can look. The DVLA states that a plate has to be made from a reflective material, it has to display black characters on a white background (front plate), and black characters on a yellow background for the rear plate. It MUST NOT have a background pattern, but the characters on the plate itself can be 3D. Letter spacing, style and sizes are all governed too, so be careful.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

New Motorsport Week article: Non-championship F1 races - time to bring them back?

Following last weekend's Chinese Grand Prix you'll be familiar with the concept of the 1000th F1 grand prix.

Martin Lee [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.
And why it wasn't. As the pedants were out in force, noting that between Indianapolis 500s and two years under Formula 2 regulations we hadn't quite reach the one grand total yet.

But there was something else a few threw into the mix. Non-championship F1 races. Which were exactly what they say on the tin. And there used to be loads of them...

Might they have some use if brought back today? They'd certainly have plenty of advantages.

For Motorsport Week I explore it all and how doable it all would be. You can have a read on my take in full here:

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Memories of Imola 1994, by Ibrar Malik

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of that horrific race weekend and the passing of two Formula 1 drivers there will be three separate blogs over the coming days. The next blog pays tribute to Roland Ratzenberger and how his accident helped spark an important safety legacy within F1. The third blog will remember Ayrton Senna's final 24 hours.

However, today's blog gives a more personal recollection. Mike Fairholme is well known and respected among F1 circles having provided the finest bespoke helmets to over 60 Formula One drivers since the 1980s.

Mike with his other love, Toffee. In March 2018 Motor Sport Magazine wrote an article about him entitled "Racing's artist in residence"…it is well worth a read for his wonderful stories

Friday, 12 April 2019

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Sebastian Vettel Is Trolling The Trolls

Sebastian Vettel - from spinning on track, he's now spinning in the simulator. Is this Vettel's way of trolling his trolls? Let's remember, the German has an impeccable sense of humour too. Instead of wins, pole positions and fastest laps, his spin count (four in the last 10 races) leads the chatter among Formula 1 fans. One thing is for sure, Vettel will bounce back. But which race will it be?

Photo: Octane Photography
In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, we discuss the celebrations around Formula 1's 1000th Grand Prix, a possible Verstappen-Ocon pairing at Mercedes, which driver prodigies will place his hands on the title trophy first - Leclerc or Verstappen, Formula E's new ambassadors - Bernie Ecclestone and Lewis Hamilton and of course, the possible addition of a Q4 to our ever-so-fun qualifying session. By the way, there's a 'What Villeneuve Said This Week' section. But worry not, it isn't replacing our ever-famous 'What Wolff Said This Week' section. Okay, now tune in!

(Season 2019, Episode 14)
Subscribe to the Inside Line F1 Podcast on iTunes, audioBoom (RSS feed) and Google Podcasts for your weekly dose of Formula 1 humour

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Kym Illman, F1 Photographer - Feature Episode

Photo: Octane Photography
In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, we have a special guest from the Formula 1 paddock. Kym Illman, the famous Australian Formula 1 photographer, joins us on our show to talk about his journey to becoming one of the sport's best-known photographers, the art of clicking Formula 1 cars and drivers in action and some expert tips, in case you go snapping! Finally, if you are eager to turn your interest in Formula 1 photography into a career, Kym's got some great advice for you. Tune in as we celebrate Formula 1's 1000th Grand Prix this week.

Check out Kym Illman's work and buy his prints:

(Season 2019, Episode 13)
Subscribe to the Inside Line F1 Podcast on iTunes, audioBoom (RSS feed) and Google Podcasts for your weekly dose of Formula 1 humour

Friday, 5 April 2019

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Strange Start To F1 2019 - Agree or Disagree?

NEW EPISODE: The start to the 2019 Formula 1 season has been strange. For starters, we were almost on course to see Ferrari and Mercedes' (supposed!) number two drivers win the opening two races while their superstar drivers were have been found lacking. Okay, more so for Sebastian Vettel than Lewis Hamilton, but we still stand by our assessment.    

Photo: Octane Photography
In this week's episode, we also discuss the strange form, pace and events at Renault, Red Bull Racing and most other teams on the grid. Will Fernando Alonso's next target be to race and win the Bathurst 1000? We tell you why Alonso believes that Lando Norris is more suited to race the 2019 McLaren car and of course, should Ferrari favour Charles Leclerc over Sebastian Vettel already? Tune in! 

(Season 2019, Episode 12) 

Here's what's in store for you in this episode: 

0:00-3:00: The 2019 Formula 1 Season seems like the 2018 Formula 1 Season; and this is not just for Sebastian Vettel alone  

3:00-6:00: Is Renault testing Daniel Ricciardo's overtaking skills? Renault are going a long way to proving equal treatment to both their drivers  

6:00-9:00: What Ferrari-Mercedes might ask for to participate in the Netflix-F1 show season 2. Any guesses? 

9:00-12:00: From being paid to drive, is Sergio Perez being paid to speak...?  

12:00-15:00: How did Ralf Schumacher get himself to be one of Formula 1's top-earners? And did you know that Romain Grosjean is one of France's highest paid sportsmen?

15:00-end: Could Fernando Alonso be racing in the Bathurst 1000 any time soon? Should Ferrari favour Charles Leclerc over Sebastian Vettel?

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

New Motorsport Week article: The calm before the storm – when 1994 looked like F1’s salvation

Marlon Hammes, cropped/retouched by Morio
[CC BY 2.0 (https://creative]
Cite the year 1994 to a Formula 1 fan and you'll likely get a distinct reaction. And almost certainly not a positive one. Few seasons in history have provided even close to its rancour and tragedy. Even now it lingers like a festering sore.

And yet. For all 1994's storm the year in fact started with an incongruous calm. Exactly 25 years ago today the season kicked off with the Brazilian Grand Prix. Believe it or not therein it looked, briefly, like the year would provide the scene of an F1's renaissance.

For Motorsport Week I outlined the tale. You can have a read here:

What Do Oil Filters Really Do?

For a relatively inexpensive part, oil filters serve an important purpose. Not paying attention to an old or damaged oil filter can easily turn a $50 dollar job into engine work that could cost $1,000 or more. When it comes to vital aftermarket parts, oil filters are among the most crucial components to buy and install.

How Oil Filters Function

The purpose of the oil filter is to help keep your vehicle’s engine clean and properly lubricated. If the vital fluids in your car are dirty or low bad things happen, such as damage to expensive engine parts. Oil filters are simple enough and are made of the following parts:

·       A top sealing gasket that holds the filter flush to the engine
·       The filter media, which can be made of paper or a synthetic alternative
·       A hole to allow oil to pass out of the filter

The best filters remove particles as small as 5-10 microns. Small contaminants in your engine have the ability to wreak havoc on engine parts. Oil filters should be replaced every time the vehicle has an oil change, which is normally every 5,000 to 10,000 miles for most recent-year car models.

Where To Buy Auto Parts

Whether you need to find the right oil filter for your vehicle, or some other part, it’s smart to find a parts dealer you can trust. Look for a company that is helpful, reliable and insightful. If you ask,”What headlight bulb do I need?” the salesperson can point you in the right direction. If you are a DIYer you could probably use some advice now and then. The right dealer will also have a great selection of parts and offer affordable prices.

Get Your Parts Today

 Order that oil filter before it is too late. With the right part in hand, you can keep your engine running smoothly and avoid unnecessary repairs.