Tuesday, 15 October 2019

New Motorsport Week article: Formula 1’s only ‘cancelled’ race – the 1985 Belgian Grand Prix

PSParrot [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/
licenses/by/2.0)]
It looked fleetingly last weekend like the Japanese Grand Prix could be called off, with the impact of Typhoon Hagibis.

But the race went on. As in Formula 1 it always does in the end. Literally, as it may surprise to learn that never once in F1 history has a race been scratched after the meeting has got underway.

Well, apart from one time. Sort of. Then the race did happen, but some three months after the Friday running.

This was the Belgian Grand Prix in 1985. In my latest for Motorsport Week I tell the story:  https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/24833

Thursday, 10 October 2019

The rise of Mercedes in F1 from 1994-2019, by Hospitality Finder

If you want an immediate and visual sense of Formula 1 success over the last quarter century, then you won't find much better than this. Here's an impressive interactive graphic highlighting the ebb and flow, and particularly the rise of Mercedes in F1 from 1994-2019, with stats analysed and compiled by Hospitality Finder.

It starts with Benetton on top in its mid-1990s Michael Schumacher heyday; then Williams, McLaren and, especially, Ferrari striding forth. That's before Red Bull and then of course Mercedes start to step in. You'll also see the isolated victories of other teams sneaking in at the bottom...

The original interactive graphic can be found here.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

1994 Japanese Grand Prix review for Motor Sport Magazine

Martin Lee from London, UK [CC BY-SA 2.0
(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]
The latest of my historic F1 articles for Motor Sport Magazine is here. And it's from the rich retro treasure trove that is the Japanese Grand Prix - the latest of which is this weekend.

And the one I've gone for is a classic tale of proving your doubters wrong. Damon Hill entered the 1994 Japanese Grand Prix viewed roundly as an impostor in that season's championship fight up against the imperious Michael Schumacher.

But in the most trying circumstances Hill showed he was much more than that.

I tell the tale via this link: https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/opinion/f1/i-was-driving-different-level-damon-hill-s-1994-japanese-grand-prix

Schumacher's Ferrari Controversies, by Ibrar Malik

In 1996 Michael Schumacher moved to Ferrari and by 1997 key former Benetton personnel like Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne (the B194 designer) and Tad Czapski (the engine electronics guru) joined him. Ferrari then went from being an occasional race winner to serial championship contenders over a sustained period. Questions have since been asked, why did Schumacher and his former Benetton colleagues stick together? Was it because they had sidestepped the rules in 1994 and did it subsequently at Ferrari? Dark rumours began to circulate that they somehow knew how to create an undetectable traction control implying they also may have achieved this in 1994.

When Schumacher initially arrived at Ferrari in 1996 he did work with its existing technical team. His sublime performances within a poor F310 car suggested the German's skill didn't solely rely on his former Benetton colleagues. This is confirmed by his then Ferrari teammate Eddie Irvine, "We were really in the shit in 1996. I remember when the car came out I said, 'That looks worryingly different from everyone else's car.' It turned out everyone else was right and we were wrong."

Schumacher won three races in this car which impressed teammate Eddie Irvine who later admitted, "That was the year that Michael really earned his money." 

Friday, 4 October 2019

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Vettel or Leclerc: Who Would You Pick For Ferrari?

Charles Leclerc or Sebastian Vettel, who should Ferrari pick as its 'number 1' driver? We discuss our choices in this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, what would be yours? Tell us!

Also in this episode, we wonder if Ferrari would benefit politically and financially by not renewing Vettel's contract at the end of 2020. Should that happen, would Vettel be Red Bull Racing bound - after all, Max Verstappen could choose McLaren-Mercedes if Red Bull-Honda doesn't deliver to its promises. Lots of speculations, but also, a lot of possibilities.

Finally, Formula 1 is coordinating (or scheming?) to ensure positive communication around the attempted qualifying races in 2020. We can't fathom why they are hell bent on taking our joys away from the watching a Formula 1 car being driven on the limit! And of course, there's the What Wolff Said This Week section for your listening pleasure. Tune in!

(Season 2019, Episode 37)
Subscribe to the Inside Line F1 Podcast on iTunes, audioBoom (RSS feed), Spotify and Google Podcasts for your weekly dose of Formula 1 humour

Other points discussed:
1. Alexander Albon on pole position for a Red Bull Racing drive in 2020 - do you care? Because Max Verstappen doesn't
2. Is Jacques Villeneuve really in a place to talk about 'karma'?
3. Daniil Kvyat loses out for being a good boy with the FIA
4. Why 2019 form factor could matter in 2020
5. Silly of McLaren not to even bother trying to get Ferrari power for its cars