Thursday 26 September 2019

New Motorsport Week article: Why Kimi Raikkonen is proof F1 should give experience a chance

Photo: Octane Photography
We often lament that youth doesn't get a chance in F1. But is it in fact more so that those from the opposite end of the driver age range don't get their due look in?

The F1 driver on average is younger than ever. And we have the case of Kimi Raikkonen, who is an extreme outlier, about to become an aged-40-something active F1 pilot. He's still vastly out-scoring his young Alfa Romeo team-mate.

Do Raikkonen's strong showings this year suggest that, on the contrary to the common discourse, F1 discards experience too soon?

In my latest for Motorsport Week I make the case. You can have a read of it here:

2017 Russian Grand Prix review for Motor Sport Magazine

By The Russian Presidential Press and Information Office -, CC
BY-SA 4.0,
For my latest retro classic F1 race article for Motor Sport Magazine, I had the tricky task of writing about a classic Russian Grand Prix. Tricky, as the Russian race has only been on the calendar since 2014 and, more to the point, in the time since it has hardly been known for providing thrilling fare.

But in 2017 we had a pretty decent one, on a couple of levels. Valtteri Bottas was just three races on from the F1 equivalent of winning the lottery, getting the Mercedes drive. However he already was under pressure.
Yet he always excels at the Sochi track and did do again. Not only did he lead his prestigious team-mate Lewis Hamilton by some way he beat what had looked like untouchable Ferraris to take his first ever F1 win. And he did so under extreme pressure.

For Motor Sport I tell the tale. You can have a read here:

What Motorcycle Parts are Checked at an MOT?

Owning a motorbike is a lot of responsibility. It is about taking care of your ride and ensuring it is legally fit to be on the road. MOT or Ministry of Transport test is an annual test for vehicle safety, roadworthiness aspects and exhaust emissions. To avoid hefty fines of up to £1,000, you need to have annual motorbike MOT evaluation done. In the UK when your motorbike is older than three years you need to get MOT done every 12 months.

An evaluation of the overall condition of the motorcycle helps determine what parts need service and which should be replaced. Also, the cost of Motorbike MOT done by a mechanic is much lower and lets you know whether your motorcycle is roadworthy or not.

If you are wondering what all motorcycle parts are checked at an MOT, here’s a list:

Suspension and Steering

Foremost importance is given to suspension and steering as both are an important part for road safety of the motorbikes. Also, it is important for the safety of others on the road. Your mechanic will go through the most crucial parts that include head bearings, damping effect, swinging arm, forks, handlebars, grips mounting and shock absorbers. All these parts must be secured to your motorcycle and working normally. Any malfunctioning part will need complete replacement.

Thursday 19 September 2019

2010 Singapore Grand Prix review for Motor Sport Magazine

chensiyuan [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.
My latest historic F1 review for Motor Sport Magazine is here, and this time it's for the forthcoming Singapore Grand Prix.

I resist the temptation to re-tell Crashgate for the nth time, and instead look back to the 2010 race. It's a race that stands up on its own merits. And Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel had a race of their own.

It wasn't one of those thrill-a-minute affairs, rather it was one of those ultra-intense ones. But no less gripping for that.

You can have a read of me telling the story here:

Friday 13 September 2019

New Motorsport Week article: Why we shouldn’t write off Sebastian Vettel yet

How exactly could the Italian Grand Prix have gone worse for Sebastian Vettel?

Photo: Octane Photography
The fact that you have to think underlines just how regrettable it was for him.

And ever since, his time at Ferrari, perhaps even in F1, has been declared roundly as akin to the man slung over his associate's shoulder in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Either dead, or it'll be dead very soon as it's very ill.

But, ever the contrarian, I wonder if we're being premature. There remains a possibility that Vettel can recover. Although, for a few reasons, it'll be difficult.

And in my latest for Motorsport Week I explore what might lie next for Vettel. For good and ill. You can have a read here:

Tuesday 10 September 2019

Leclerc and Verstappen are the Future of F1, by Nancy Miles

Let's all be frank – Formula 1 has turned boring in the past few years. Mercedes' dominance is great news for fans of the German manufacturer, but to be honest, its superiority has made F1 stale. There's obviously need for changes in order to make the championship more competitive. Sure, Michael Schumacher was dominant in the past with Ferrari, but now with five consecutive title doubles Mercedes is surpassing even that run. On the positive side of things, at least we've been blessed with the brightest young stars the championship has seen in over a decade – Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.

Photo: Octane Photography
Verstappen, a Red Bull driver who won the Austrian and German Grands Prix recently, has been brimming with potential for a few years. Racing is in the 21-year-old Dutch driver's veins – he's the son of former F1 pilot Jos Verstappen. The youngest driver to compete in F1, Max Verstappen has been growing with each race and season. He's also the youngest race winner after claiming the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix when he was only 18.

With a pair of Austrian Grand Prix wins and a total of seven firsts in F1, Verstappen's odds at bookies have been constantly on the rise. Sure, his odds don't make him a major favourite for the title, but he's among the top four or five drivers. Verstappen may be lagging behind Lewis Hamilton, but is a much better option from a punter's point of view. Hamilton's odds are not very exciting @ 1/100, but Verstappen's (33/1), Sebastian Vettel's (150/1), and Leclerc's (175/1) look much better.

Thursday 5 September 2019

Autosport retro article on the Arrows A2

In this week's Autosport magazine you'll find a four-page in-depth retro feature by me in the Engineering supplement, exploring the extraordinary Arrows A2 from 1979.

MPW57 [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.
The A2 wasn't big on results - but it was very big on ambition as well as in striking looks.

I speak to those who were there at the time - including designer Tony Southgate, team boss Jackie Oliver and driver Jochen Mass - to explore why the car didn't begin to make good on its lofty aim of taking Arrows to the front of Formula 1 in a single bound.

And with it I look at a not-entirely fanciful sliding doors moment the A2 created with Williams, which at the same point of history was launching into its dramatic rise.

1971 Italian Grand Prix review for Motor Sport Magazine

By Unknown -,
Public Domain,
My latest classic Formula 1 race retro review for Motor Sport Magazine is here. This time it's for this weekend's race, the Italian Grand Prix.

Of course, there is no shortage of Italian Grands Prix in history to pick from, and - in a unique level of ubiquity - all but one are at Monza. But one even so stands out. The 1971 race.

Many cite it as the finest Formula 1 grand prix of all. For a long time it was the fastest. In more than one sense it was the closest too.

It even managed to be remarkable in other ways.

You can have a read of my take on the extraordinary race via this link:

Tuesday 3 September 2019

New Motorsport Week article: When Jordan and Heinz-Harald Frentzen partied like it’s 1999

By Paul Lannuier from Sussex, NJ, USA -
Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Jordan Mugen-Honda), CC BY-SA 2.0,
Almost exactly 20 years ago something extraordinary, ever so briefly, looked a genuine possibility. A Formula 1 world championship for Jordan and Heinz-Harald Frentzen.

This from a proper independent squad with a customer engine - and one routinely dismissed as a 'party team'. And from a driver who'd arrived washed up and derided.

Of course, for the title to be on it needed extraordinary circumstances as well as an extraordinary effort. The 1999 campaign provided both.

And with but a few cards falling another way they would indeed have scaled F1's ultimate peak.

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

Sunday 1 September 2019

Scrap Don’t Sell Your Car

Is it time to get rid of your car? If your vehicle is on the brink of destruction then chances are you
will have a difficult time selling it. This is when you should consider scrapping your vehicle instead. There are so many cars on the road, it isn’t difficult to pick something up second-hand cheap. Therefore, if your vehicle is looking shabby and doesn’t run so well, you’re going to have a hard time selling it when there are so many other options available. If your car has reached the end of its lifetime, it could be time to send it to the scrap yard, and we’ve got some reasons why you should consider it…

You can make cash from scrapping your car 

It is not a very well-known fact that you can actually make some cash when it comes to scrapping your vehicle. When you sell your vehicle to a scrap yard, they are buying the item in order to recycle and re-use the different parts, as well as the metal. As long as the company are legitimate, all scrap yards should pay you for scrapping the vehicle and you shouldn’t have to pay a penny. The scrap yard will give you a valuation, collect the car for free and scrap it. To find your local scrap yard visit

Although sometimes this may not be as much money as you hoped to get from buying it, it is after all guaranteed money. There is always a chance that it will take a while to sell your car, or you may not sell it at all. When it becomes difficult, you may end up selling your car off for cheaper than you expected anyway. On top of this, selling your car can be a lot of hassle and is no way near as simple as scrapping it. 

Splitting the car into parts 

Now you know that you can make money from scrapping your vehicle, but you could take this one step further and sell the parts separately. Say a scrap yard value your vehicle at £400, well it might be if you sold your tyres on their own they might fetch you £200. Then you sell your engine for a few hundred, the inner material makes you some money and there are several other parts that can make you cash on their own. By this point you can potentially double your earnings. 

All it takes is time and patience. It might take longer to sell specific parts before scrapping the vehicle, but it may certainly be worth it. If you don’t know the ins and outs of vehicles, it might be worth consulting someone that does so you know what you can remove yourself and which parts need an expert involved. You could even end up earning more than you would if you sold the vehicle to a buyer. 

People always need parts 

Just because you no longer need the parts to the car, it doesn’t mean that nobody else wants them. Think of how many times you’ve had a specific part of your vehicle break down and you’ve needed to have it replaced. Mechanics are always looking for good working parts that they can fit to other vehicles to repair them. Or you may even find a private seller that needs parts to fix their own car. There are a variety of possibilities that come with scrapping your car instead of selling it.