Sunday 30 June 2019

Did a Return to Simpler Cars in 1994 Contribute to the Accidents?, by Ibrar Malik

"The cars are immediately less stable without the electronic suspension. As a consequence, they are harder to drive and we'll have more cars spinning and going off the track" 
Ayrton Senna, Williams Driver (Killed during San Marino GP)

“Several commentators said it was the elimination of driver aids (to blame for the accidents), a classic post hoc point. It was an intensely stupid inference but was nevertheless widely reported.” 
Max Mosley, FIA President

Following the tragedies of the 1994 San Marino GP, a mass-media hysteria gathered and called for immediate repercussions but couldn't agree on what they should be. Some suggestions were constructive, some destructive, most were frankly a veiled attempt to turn tragedy into titillation. Generally, the fewer journalists knew about F1, the greater the mock outrage was. FIA President Max Mosley was initially at pains to avoid a knee-jerk response…that was until Karl Wendlinger suffered an almost fatal crash at Monaco less than two weeks later. Mosley then came under intense pressure from outside motorsport to impose urgent safety measures, but teams were in an uproar over the haste of such action. They argued Mosley's measures would not be safer until the knock-on effects were established, this led to more problems which are detailed in the book.

Mosley felt it was a statistical cluster that so many accidents happened at Imola 1994. But choose his words carefully afterwards to avoid being branded as irresponsible by a media baying for blood.

Thursday 27 June 2019

1984 Austrian Grand Prix review for Motor Sport Magazine

Matthew Lamb [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://]
Home advantage is an odd thing in motorsport. Nigel Mansell used to say - likely with typical melodrama - that the inspiration of his home crowd would gain him half a second per lap. Alain Prost too could barely stop winning his home round.

But there are others for who nothing it seems ever goes right in their own land. And the recently departed Niki Lauda, when he was entering his native Austrian Grand Prix in 1984, was one such. Thirteen years after making his F1 debut there, at the magnificent Osterreichring, his best home result was a distant second.

Yet that time things came right for him. It wasn't entirely straightforward, nor indeed entirely luck. Rather it owed much to Lauda's legendary cunning and racecraft - in more senses than you might think.

In my latest classic grand prix retro review for Motor Sport Magazine's website, I tell the extraordinary tale of this race. You can have a read here:

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

Inside Line F1 Podcast - F1 Needs To Apologise To Valtteri Bottas

Every sport needs to build and worship its heroes, the current flavour for Formula 1 being Lewis Hamilton. But Formula 1 took one step too far when it asked Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton's title rival, to sing praises for the reigning world champion not once, but twice. Enough, lads. Let's respect the title rivalry between the two Mercedes drivers.

In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, we wonder if Esteban Ocon will eventually have to settle for a Renault in 2020 after having Mercedes dreams. Could Ocon-Renault lead to an exit from the sport for Nico Hulkenberg? By what races this year would Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton wrap up their titles? Who would you believe more when it comes to 'how tough it is to race a Formula 1 car?', Max Verstappen or Lewis Hamilton-Romain Grosjean? Finally, should Mercedes continue racing in Formula 1 despite not having anything left to prove? And of course, did you know that Formula 1 actually played 'Happy Birthday' on the podium instead of the national anthem for the winning driver in one of the previous editions of the Austrian Grand Prix? Tune in!

(Season 2019, Episode 25)
Subscribe to the Inside Line F1 Podcast on iTunes, audioBoom (RSS feed) and Google Podcasts for your weekly dose of Formula 1 humour

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