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:

Friday, 22 March 2019

Paul Tracy's Benetton Test, September 1994 - by Ibrar Malik

Many believe Schumacher ran illegal driver aids during 1994 because one of Benetton's former drivers, Jos Verstappen, once claimed so during an interview in 2011. This along with all the other arguments are analysed extensively in the book however, what is not commonly appreciated is five other drivers stepped inside the B194 that year also. Michael Schumacher, JJ Lehto, Johnny Herbert and Allan McNish all drove the 1994 Benetton and their views on it will become clear either in the book or in upcoming blogs. However it is often forgotten that rising IndyCar star, Paul Tracy, also tested the car. So what were his thoughts?

Paul Tracy in the Penske. Although the cars looked similar, IndyCar drivers have not always adapted to F1. Most notably Michael Andretti in 1993.

Bernie Ecclestone organised the Paul Tracy/Benetton test because IndyCar racing was growing in popularity at the time and becoming a serious rival for F1. Nigel Mansell, Mario Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi all raced in the US series and even Ayrton Senna investigated a move Stateside at the end of 1992. It is believed that Ecclestone wanted to steal IndyCar stars (like Paul Tracy) to weaken the American series but also to widen grand prix racing's appeal. F1's commercial supremo had been instrumental in moving the 1991 and 1995 IndyCar champions (Michael Andretti and Jacques Villeneuve) across the pond during the mid-1990s.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

New Motorsport Week article: Albon - the case for F1's forgotten rookie

Photo: Octane Photography
You'll have seen by now the various George Russell/Lando Norris F1 season preview articles. Often talking of the two as synonymous. And it's little wonder. Rookies will commonly get attention prior to the season start, particularly if they have plenty of promise based on the junior formulae and even more particularly if they're British.

But there's a third rookie who (sort of) meets these criteria. And yet he's got nothing like the focus, instead appears to have an odd man out status. Yet he just might be best of the lot. I'm talking about Alexander Albon, making his bow this season with Toro Rosso.

In my latest for Motorsport Week I state his case. You can have a read here:

Friday, 1 March 2019

New Motorsport Week article: Why Sebastian Vettel at last has Red Bull at Ferrari

Photo: Octane Photography
Sebastian Vettel is about to embark on another season at Ferrari; his fifth. And his first title there yet eludes him, having won four of the things at Red Bull.

It's all given rise to theorising about what Vettel needs around him to perform, but perhaps on the basis of pre-season testing things are coming together for Vettel at Ferrari at last. As perhaps Vettel now has at Ferrari a lot of what he once had at Red Bull. And not just that his car looks like a very good one.

In my latest feature article for Motorsport Week I outline my thinking. You can have a read here:

Thursday, 28 February 2019

4 things you can do with 4d results

One of the best ways to increase your chances of winning in 4d games is to join a good predictions pool. The best pools such as 4d in Singapore have a good history of positive results. From a look at the 4d results of this pool, there is so much one can infer about it, and 4d prediction pools in general.  For context, on the importance of these results, here are four things you can do with 4d results.

1.    Use them to determine the viability of a pool
It doesn't matter whether you are looking at the results of the 4d in Singapore pool or any other pool, results can help you gauge the viability of a pool. If the results have a high incidence of winning numbers, it means that the pool is good and worth a try. For instance, with the latest 4d in Singapore results, the winning rate is high, which makes it a worthy company.

2.    Use them to decide whether to pay for premium membership
4d prediction pools have different categories of membership, each with its own privileges. By looking at the results, you can easily determine whether paying for membership is worth it. For instance, if you notice that the paid membership package has a high incidence of winning numbers, it would make sense to go for it. The premium fee you have to pay is easily compensated with the higher probability of winning. The reverse holds true, if you notice that you still have a good chance of winning by going for the free service.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

5 Tips to Taking Care Of Your Motorcycle

You love your motorcycle, right? Nothing beats that feeling of 'owning' the road while cruising on a motorcycle. With the wind, the sun, the landscape - everything provides a unique sensation and an overall feeling of freedom. However, owning a motorcycle calls for immense care and worries. This is the price you have to pay to enjoy all those exceptional experience. Place your safety and other's first. Also, take care of your motorcycle to highlight your love for wheels. Put your helmet on, and be prepared for the ride of your life. Here are five tips to help you take care of your motorcycle:

1) Always Choose the Best Parts
Quality should always be your priority when buying new parts for your motorcycle. At SoloMotoParts, you can find everything, from top brands to speciality brands, all at the best prices in the market. From customisation, to safety gear, you have a wide range to choose from and give a new life to your motorcycle. They have excellent support. You can rest assured that your motorcycle will be in good hands when you need advice on buying new parts. Always use quality parts to ascertain the durability of your motorcycle. Moreover, its performance will be much better.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Rich Energy + Red Bull = Monster?

In the 'battle of the energy drinks' in Formula 1, everyone is talking about Rich Energy vs. Red Bull Racing. But what about Monster? Wouldn't growing horns and wings make one a Monster? Yes, there's this and more in our episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast.

Photo: Octane Photography
We talk about the livery reveals till date - can we also stop calling them 'car launches' please? Will Honda offer the midfield teams a rare chance to fight for the top 3 in 2019? In which case, would you bet on Red Bull Racing fighting to be the 'best of the rest' or the winner of the Formula 1.5? Could that give us an odd Magnussen vs Verstappen fight? Finally, we tell you why Nico Rosberg doesn't miss Formula 1. Tune in!

(Season 2019, Episode 4)
Subscribe to the Inside Line F1 Podcast on iTunes, audioBoom (RSS feed) and Google Podcasts for your weekly dose of Formula 1 humour

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

0:00-3:00: 'Livery and sponsor' reveals, not car launches by the Formula 1 teams, that's the truth. So why call it a 'car launch' in the first place?

3:00-6:00: The battle of the energy drinks in the world of Formula 1. Will we have a Magnussen vs. Verstappen? Doesn't the Rich Energy logo look like the halo on the Formula 1 car?

6:00-9:00: Are the midfield Formula 1 teams not ambitious enough? Will Honda give the other teams a rare chance to fight for 3rd place? Haas-Williams-Racing Point already embarrassing McLaren on the title sponsor front?

9:00-12:00: Will the 2020 Formula 1 Season see the return of two champions? And of course, this week's 'What Wolff Said This Week' section. Will Ocon return to Formula 1 in 2020 as a 'heavier' driver?

12:00-15:00: Oh the irony - Marcus Ericsson talks of consistency being the key to success in Indy Car. Renault could blame their steering wheel for car failures in 2019.

15:00-18:00: Red Bull Racing introduced a Spidey Mobile, while Ferrari hired Red Bull and Mercedes discards to boost their Formula 1 simulator program. Brendon Hartley to Formula E with Porsche?

18:00-end: Here's why Nico Rosberg can't be missing Formula 1 too much...

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

F1 2019 Betting Preview - Time to strike?

With Formula 1 pre-season testing, annually the tropes are aired. Don't read much at all into the lap times; it won't be until qualifying in the opening round that we really know what's going on.

The story remains the same as it has for a while -
how is Mercedes to be toppled?
Photo: Octane Photography
But it's true also what they say also about risk and reward. With the risks of making calls at a time such as now when testing is going on, there also are opportunities for the F1 gambler to make hay.

I've heard stories about windfalls from 2009's pre-season, which indicated the new Brawn team would have the year to itself and betting odds hadn't yet caught up with the point. Same goes for McLaren creaming the season in 1988. In other words if there's serious money to be made in F1 betting, now is the time to lay your stake.

Sadly it often feels that grand shifts between seasons such as the two I've cited are something left firmly in F1's past. Particularly with Mercedes having won every world championship since the hybrid formula started in 2014, plus with the 'big three' teams of Merc, Ferrari and Red Bull notoriously on a different pace and resource planet to the rest.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

How the Schumacher vs Hill Feud Developed, by Ibrar Malik

"I do not have as much respect for him as I do others. I would not have been in this position if Ayrton had been alive. He would have driven circles around me. That doesn't say much for Hill." (Michael Schumacher, Benetton Driver in 1994)

That scathing attack on his championship rival was just one of a number of comments made by Schumacher during the build-up to the 1994 European Grand Prix. His comments were more than a contrived attempted at psychological warfare to undermining title rival Damon Hill. Schumacher was lashing out after all the pain he'd endured during that summer. He was outraged to be only a point ahead of someone who hadn't beaten him in a straight fight all year. To him, the FIA was manipulating the championship and he was a mere pawn sacrificed in a bigger political game. Whether there was any truth in this is explored extensively in the book. Nevertheless, despite Schumacher being absolved of blame for the launch control and fuel filter allegations, the German's image would forever be tarnished.

Despite the brilliant driving Schumacher had shown throughout 1994 few gave him credit for it, because of the Benetton rumours.

Friday, 15 February 2019

New Motorsport Week article: When a painted cow saved F1 - the South African Grand Prix that wasn’t

Pereira, Fernando / Anefo / neg. stroken, 1945-1989, 2.24.01.
05, item number 930-9907 [CC BY-SA 3.0 nl (https://
3.0/nl/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
Whatever you think about Formula 1 politics at any given moment in time, you can at least count yourself lucky that they are not the politics of the 'FISA-FOCA war'. And as everyone headed off for the winter at the end of the 1980 season the war was at its most entrenched. Then even sober assessments had F1 - had least F1 as we knew it - as not long for this earth.

As the months passed and 1980 gave way to '81 about the only progress was of even more digging in. That was until a painted cow - no, really - broke the logjam. And gave us eventually the F1 that we would still fully recognise today.

In my latest for Motorsport Week I tell this rather strange tale. You can check it out here:

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Play Party (Mode) Pooper For 2019

Photo: Octane Photography
So much for Red Bull Racing chasing the infamous 'party mode' in Formula 1. The FIA have introduced rules in 2019 that could see the end of the (legal) tricks used to engage the power boost during qualifying. Level the playing field, we hope. This means that in 2019, Red Bull Racing will miss the 'party mode' and their party boy, Daniel Ricciardo.

In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, we dissect Racing Point's alternate theory to Darwin's - the 'survival of the slowest'. It seems best to interview Helmut Marko in the winter period, we tell you why. Sebastian Vettel should become a coffee drinker to further his title campaign in 2019 - we share what our random research brings out. And finally, is the Liberty Media-Ecclestone combination that Formula 1 needs to propel itself into the future? Oh wait, last we heard, Liberty Media were seeking liberty from Formula 1. As expected, things as spicing up as the winter period comes to an official end in the next few days...tune in!

(Season 2019, Episode 03)

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

Saturday, 2 February 2019

New Motorsport Week article: Mexican stand-off - Sergio Perez's predicament

Photo: Octane Photography
Sergio Perez. Just where does he fit? And why are we oddly unmoved by his many achievements, in frequent podium finishes and outscoring highly-touted team-mates year after year?

The man himself has noticed it too. "It's like people just get used to me," he noted recently. Therefore in my latest for Motorsport Week I try to de-code this particular enigma and look at why Perez might be viewed as he is, and whether or not it's fair.

You can have a read of my thinking via this link:

Thursday, 31 January 2019

The Flying Dutchman After 1994, by Ibrar Malik

Jos Verstappen, the father of current F1 star Max, arrived in the sport with a BANG. On his debut, the 1994 Brazilian Grand Prix, he arguably caused one of the most horrific looking multi-car pileups ever. This had followed massive hype surrounding the 22-year-old that he was F1's next big thing.

Verstappen failed to deliver on his initial promise, instead he crashed out of 50% of races during 1994. It earned him the nickname "Vercrashen". 

Some believed the pressure of debuting for one of F1's top teams - Benetton - alongside the 1994 world champion got to him. Whereas others, including Jos himself, felt Benetton secretly gave Schumacher a car laden with hidden electronic aids which explained the Dutchman's lack of performance. The new book investigates this in detail however, what can be learned from Jos's career outside of Benetton?

Friday, 25 January 2019

Which Nations Dominate F1 and WRC?, by Select Car Leasing

We're all familiar with the greats of the sport, but which countries can boast the best record on the track? Select Car Leasing analysed how many drivers from each country have taken part in F1 and WRC and compared that total to each nation's population size, per every 1m citizens. The stats revealed some big surprises.

Key Findings

-       The UK loves the track...with the second-best F1 participation rate, behind only Switzerland

-       Just five nations have won a title in both F1 and WRC... which includes the UK, Finland, Italy, Spain and France

-       The UK and US represent almost half of the total motorsport participants since 1950... featuring a combined total of 418 drivers

-       The F1 bug hasn't yet reached China and India... Despite a combined population of 2.7 billion citizens, they've had just two professional drivers

-       Where winter bites WRC is popular... Estonia, Sweden, Norway and Finland lead the line for participation

-       Estonia falling at the final hurdle... despite huge participation, the country is yet to win a professional WRC title

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Here We Go, Talking About F1

Photo: Octane Photography
Yes, we talk about Formula 1 all the time, but in this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, we talk to Mr. Talking About F1 himself - Graham Keilloh. Keilloh, who is a seasoned Motorsport journalist, talks to us about the upcoming season. Some of the topics discussed on this week's show include the team management changes at Ferrari and McLaren, the new driver line-ups, if the new aero regulations will shake up the competitive order and five things to look forward to in 2019.

Is Mick Schumacher to Ferrari the best step for Schumacher Jr.? When could we actually see him race a Scarlet Red Formula 1 car? Well, you can place a friendly bet with us! And of course, Mithila ends the show with her famous and funny 'What Wolff Said This Week' section. Tune in!

(Season 2019, Episode 02)

P.S.: While tuning into this episode, remember the Red Bull Racing cars of the hybrid-turbo era - ones where the aerodynamics more than made up for the power deficit. Likewise for this week's show, the quality of our conversations more than make up for the audio loss you might experience at a few parts. 

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Why are Finns so Good At Motorsport?, by Select Car Leasing

This article and its graphics were created by Select Car Leasing

Another Formula 1 (F1) season draws to its conclusion and it's another drivers' championship win for Lewis Hamilton. It's also been another year that has seen strong representation from Finland on the leaderboard, with Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton's team-mate, finishing in fifth position in the standings and Kimi Räikkönen placed above him in third. The continuing trend of Finnish drivers succeeding in motorsport got us thinking - just how has a nation of only 5.5m people managed to have such a strong influence on the motorsport world?

Select Car Leasing investigated some of the key reasons behind the incredible rise of the Finnish nation over the years.  Here are five ways that have been crucial to Finland's ascent to becoming a motorsport powerhouse:

-       Sisu... The ancient Finnish art inspiring its drivers
-       Forest roads and harsh winters... These allow for drivers in Finland to hone their skills and pave the way for successful motorsport competitors
-       Putting the population through its paces...  Finland has one of the hardest driving tests in the world
-       Folk racing... The Finnish pastime which tests drivers endurance and encourages competition on the road
-       The art of the 'Scandinavian flick'...  How a unique driving style has caught on all over the world

Photo: Octane Photography

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

New Motorsport Week article: The inside story of the new bronze Senna statue

You no doubt have seen the new life-size bronze statue of Ayrton Senna statue by now. It was unveiled at Autosport International Show​ and indeed rather stole the show. Backed by Instituto Ayrton Senna it marks a quarter century since the great Brazilian's untimely death.

And even though there is no shortage of Senna memorabilia out there this one succeeded in providing something far removed from what we might have expected.

At the Autosport show for Motorsport Week​ I spoke to the man behind it, prominent F1 artist Paul Oz. We explored the story behind the work as well as what else Paul gets up to.

You can check our conversation out via this link: