Monday, 26 July 2010
Saturday, 5 June 2010
In 2000, the US GP attracted an estimated crowd of 225,000 - levels of support which other F1 venues around the world can only dream of. The US GP at Indianapolis was fatally damaged, not through any fault of the IMS, but by the Michelin tyre fiasco in 2005 when only six cars competed in the race.
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
I have given myself a slap on the hand and written out "I must remember to post more regularly" one hundred times.
The first race was historically won by Tom Chilton in the LPG powered Ford Focus. A first LPG victory in the BTCC and Chilton/Ford's first BTCC win since Adam was a lad.
After the excitement of the BTCC at Brands Hatch, I watched the mundane Spanish Grand Prix. I was absolutely gutted to see Lewis' car let go two laps from the end of the race and miss out on a podium finish. It was good to see Mark Webber take a well earned victory after all the years of poor luck he has endured.
The Monaco Grand Prix although predictable is still one of my favourites on the F1 calendar. Highlights for me were a back to back victory for Webber and seeing Schumacher up to his old tricks and getting penalised (for once).
The surprise for me has been how well Kubica is going in the Renault. I had a feeling pre-season that the Renault would be pretty mediocre but it seems to be a half decent car.
Most gutting moment was seeing Barichello crash out after being on course for some decent points. Apparently the accident was caused by a loose manhole cover being sucked up by the car's downforce. Something that will have to be looked into for future events.
Well hopefully you have enjoyed reading this post. If you have (or haven't for that matter!), please feel free to leave a comment. They are always welcome.
Wednesday, 21 April 2010
Unfortunately my day job is taking up far too much of my precious time at the moment!
Anyway, I thought now that we are already four races into the season I would share my thoughts on how things are going so far and take a look at how my 2010 predictions are panning out.
We've had boring Bahrain, amazing Australia, marvellous Malaysia and a captivating China so far. The common magic ingredient in the last three races has been rain.
Unfortunately I think we may revert back to boring again at Barcelona as it is unlikely to rain there..... as, wait for it, the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain! (groan).
My 2010 predictions are holding up quite well.
The BBC's Jake Humphrey is still as irritating now as he was in 2009 although he does seem to have toned down the EJ, DC nonsense a bit thank God. Perhaps someone smacked him around the head a few times with a baseball bat until he saw the error of his ways?
There have already been the obligatory complaints about alleged technical infringements including McLaren's rear wing and Red Bull's supposed ride height control but nothing on the scale of last year's double diffusers saga last year.
Relations between Massa and Alonso are already said to be strained although this is of course flatly denied by Ferrari. They were not helped when Alonso craftily overtook Massa on the entry to the pit lane in China. I don't remember even Schumacher having the nerve to pull a stroke like that on a driver from another team let alone a team mate. This one will run and run over the season.
My prediction that Schumacher would win a race this year is looking shaky so far although there are still plenty of races left to run. The Mercedes car is OK as evidenced by Rosberg's results, so the problem clearly lies with Schumacher himself. I still have a hunch that he will pull off a win maybe at Monaco where outright pace is only part of the story or maybe in Korea, a new track where everyone is on a level playing field.
Button is doing better than I thought he would at McLaren and is currently well matched with Hamilton. Last season Button started well but faded in the second half of the season. I still think he will lose his title but it will be a close run thing.
It is still a bit early to say who will be the best rookie driver of the year. Alguersuari seems to have got his act together in the last couple of races after a lacklustre 2009. Hulkenburg has not been overly impressive to date but will get better as the season progresses.
Lastly, my prediction that Lotus will be top of the new teams seems to be on track.
By they way, if you are a Twitter user, you can follow Mike Gascoyne, he posts regular updates from the pit wall during GP weekends which give an interesting insider's view of the on track action. (You can of course also follow me on Twitter too by clicking the icon in the side bar)
If you have enjoyed reading this post, please feel free to leave a comment - they are always welcome.
Saturday, 13 March 2010
Alonso looked decidedly pissed off in the post qualifying press interview shown on the BBC which helped to brighten up my day!
If you are a follower of this blog you will know that one of my 2010 predictions is for Massa to win the Bahrain GP. So far so good.... but I'll probably end up with egg on my face come tomorrow afternoon.
HRT's last minute signing Karun Chandhok was allowed to take part in qualifying despite never having driven the car before - HRT did not take part in Winter testing and Chandhok's car was not made ready in time for Friday practice.
Makes a bit of a mockery of the FIA's safety regulations allowing an untested car and driver on track during a Grand Prix weekend in my view.
Fortunately Chandhok made a good fist of it despite being thrown in at the deep end. He starts from the back of the grid. HRT will use this Grand Prix more or less as a shakedown test to identify any issues and try to keep out of everyone else's way.
In the battle of the McLarens first blood (as expected) went to Hamilton (P 4 versus Button P 8) but it would appear the car is lagging behind the Ferraris and Red Bulls by an alarming one second per lap. Hopefully McLaren can pull something out of the bag tomorrow when the cars run in race trim.
All did not go according to the script at Mercedes. Rosberg (P5) out qualified Schumacher (P7) by around 0.3 seconds.
Did anyone else notice BBC F1 Jake Humphrey's latest howler? Once again he put his size ten hoof right in it....
The camera panned to the Ferrari garage where Massa's father is being congratulated on Massa's SECOND place grid spot.
Jake Humphrey "Oh look they're celebrating Massa's POLE position". A couple of minutes later a sheepish Jake Humphrey "Of course Massa is in second position, not pole".
When are the BBC going to get shot of this berk?
Monday, 8 March 2010
I will warn you now, some of them are a bit tongue in cheek!
If you agree or disagree with me, please feel free to leave a comment or abuse (as appropriate).
1. 90 seconds
I'm sure many of you will agree with this one.... the amount of time it will take me to hurl abuse or possibly a heavy object, if one is to hand, at my telly when Jake Humphrey's soppy face appears and he starts to spout the usual fatuous drivel.
2. 95 seconds
The amount of time it will take me to get wound up by everyone on BBC F1 commentary being
referred to by their f*cking initials.
Are you listening EJ and DC?
3. The end of the first race (1)
Before one team will lodge a complaint of a technical rules against another team. There are already rumours that some are questioning the McLaren rear wing....
4. Massa to win Bahrain GP
I don't believe this to be beyond the realms of possibility.
The Ferrari car is good based on Winter testing. Massa goes well in Bahrain. All the hype is about Alonso so the pressure is off Massa.
This would get the season off to a great start and piss Alonso off at the same time - win win in my book.
5. End of the first race (2)
Before one of the established teams (probably Ferrari) registers a formal complaint about one of the new teams (probably Virgin or HRT) being too slow, holding up the front runners etc etc.
6. End of the third race
Before Massa and Alonso start to squabble.
7. Schumacher to win at least one race
I'll stick my neck out and say Schumacher to win at least one race this year. Probably somewhere like Monaco where outright pace isn't the only factor or Spa where the weather can play a role.
8. Button to lose his title
Jenson Button will not retain his title by the end of the season. It is hard to say who will walk away with the title but I'm pretty sure it won't be Jenson. I am leaning towards Hamilton or Vettel but time will tell.
9. Best rookie driver
I have a feeling that Hulkenberg will give Barrichello a run for his money in the Williams... Frank is a wily old dog and has a good eye for a talented young driver.
10. Best rookie team
I reckon out of the new teams joining the grid, Lotus will be the best of a fairly mediocre bunch.
They have an experienced technical team, two race winning drivers and have done more testing than the other new boys.
Virgin did some testing during the Winter but were hampered by a lack of spares (and I read into that lack of cash).
The much vaunted US F1 team came to the end of the road before their car even left the factory due to financial meltdown. Their entry on the grid has cancelled. A US F1 team looks set to remain a pipe dream.
Campos Meta also plagued by financial problems has now metamorphosed under new owners into Hispania Racing Team - to be known as HRT - no sniggering at the back please! The car is complete but has not turned a wheel on track - please refer to prediction no 5 above...
Well that's my predictions over for now. At the end of the season I'll check back and see whether I'm a Derren Brown or a complete Muppet!
Monday, 22 February 2010
Wednesday, 17 February 2010
The latest test session at Jerez has been badly affected by rain so the cars were not always able to run to their full potential.
Secondly, it has been difficult to know whether teams have been running their cars light or with heavy fuel loads. Following a rule change, this season there will be no refuelling during races so cars will start with full tanks and (in theory) gradually get faster lap by lap.
Some of the teams are currently short on sponsors so there is a school of thought that some may be tempted to run light during testing so that they appear towards the top of time sheets putting themselves in the spotlight.
One conclusion I have drawn is that some of the cars look absolutely appalling. Yes, I'm talking about you, Sauber and Renault!
Here are some pictures of the new cars and liveries taken at Jerez by Slitzferrari...
Jenson Button in the stylish looking McLaren. Hamilton set the overall fastest time at Jerez....
What do you think of the new cars and liveries? Why not leave a comment? They are always welcome!
Sunday, 31 January 2010
Here are some of my thoughts and observations on the venues...
14th March - Bahrain
Bahrain has taken over the season opening slot from traditional holder Australia. I do usually enjoy this grand prix. The track has recently been "remodelled" with an extra section added to hopefully increase the chances of overtaking.... We will see, is all I can say on that subject!
28th March - Australia
Following an intervention by the money grabbing Ecclestone, the race start time has been changed to 1700 hrs local to make it more convenient for television viewers in Europe.... Again, I find the Aussie grand prix one of the more entertaining ones.
Wouldn't it be great if Mark Webber could have a good home result? Remember how the crowd reacted when he came fifth in the Minardi on his F1 debut at the 2002 Australian GP?
4th April - Malaysia
Ecclestone has decreed that this race will start at 1600 hrs local time. It really annoys me when he sticks his nose in....
I find the racing at Sepang quite enjoyable particularly if it is rain affected. By changing the start time until the afternoon this race is more likely to be influenced by the weather.
It will be interesting to see if the new Lotus team can put on a good show.
18th April - China
All the BBC commentators bang on about what a lovely facility the Chinese have built... blah blah blah. The cars race in front of practically empty stands because the normal Chinese man (or lady) on the street can't afford to buy a ticket!
Last year's race was pretty lacklustre too. Not one of my favourites.
9th May - Spain
Not usually a classic. This year may be more interesting with the return of Michael Schumacher with Mercedes up against Alonso at his old team Ferrari.
16th May - Monaco
At last a proper old style classic GP. I know the race is won and lost during qualifying but there is always lots of drama. Even the best drivers can get caught out round this track.
30th May - Turkey
I have to say this is one of my favourites of the new circuits which have come on to the F1 calendar over the last few years. Sadly, I have seen reports that this venue's days in F1 may be numbered.
Our "friend", you know who, has apparently increased the fees which have to be paid to host the event. As per my comment for China, this was another track with empty stands last year.
It would be a shame to lose this event from the calendar in my view.
13th June - Canada
Wey hey! One of my favourites races makes a very welcome return after more posturing from Ecclestone last year.
Who will end up in "Champions Wall" this year!
27th June - Europe (Valencia)
From the sublime to the ridiculous. Why, Why, Why? another race in Spain - to line Mr Ecclestone's pockets of course! This race has taken over from Hungary as the most boring on the calendar. As Mark Webber put it "like racing around a supermarket car park". The sooner this one is killed off the better.
11th July - Great Britain
Saved and back at Silverstone (thank God) after the Donington debacle.
I really hope and pray that in their efforts to retain the British GP, Silverstone have not put themselves into financial difficulties and end up in the same boat as Donington.
Fingers crossed for a Lewis home win!
25 July - Germany
The crowd atmosphere here will be immense with Schumacher back in action. Hopefully this may make up for the usual lack of excitement on the track.....
1st August - Hungary
I've watched this GP for years and only remember one interesting race.... when Button took his first victory. I'm not expecting much from it although a certain Mr Schumacher could have a good shot at victory here.
29th August - Belgium
Probably my favourite race of the year. A classic driver's track with unpredictable weather to spice things up. Making a welcome return. A track which will suit Schumacher especially if the weather plays a part in proceedings.
12th September - Italy
Back to back classic race tracks. Definitely one of my top five. How will the Tifosi react now that
Schumacher has left Ferrari? One of the few high speed tracks left.
26th September - Singapore
I don't see why this race has to be run at night... It brings nothing to the show in my opinion. Not one of my favourites. It will be interesting to see if anything kicks off between Massa and Alonso at the scene of the crime!
10th October - Japan
I quite like the races in Japan as the weather usually plays a big part and results can be unpredictable.
24 October - Korea
The latest venue to pay into the Ecclestone retirement fund, I mean join the F1 calendar!
I have no idea what to expect from this race but judging by recent additions such as Valencia and Abu Dhabi, I'm not holding my breath.
Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised and we'll get another Turkey....
7th November - Brazil
Another of my top five races of the year. I really hope that Massa will win his home GP following his return from injury. I expect Alonso will get a hard time from the partisan crowd.
14th November - Abu Dhabi
This is another venue which gets the BBC F1 commentary boys in a lather - Ooh what a lovely hotel they've built, ooh what a lot of money they've spent... why can't we do something like this back home...
Yawn. Yawn. Yawn.
I think I speak for other (real) F1 fans when I say, forget the window dressing, get back to basics and put on a decent race!
Well that's my thoughts on the 2010 venues for what their worth...
What do you think? Which races are you looking forward to and which ones would you ditch from the calendar? Why not share your views by leaving a comment?
Other posts you may enjoy.....
Saturday, 16 January 2010
The financial trials and tribulations of the A1 GP series are well documented and it does not surprise me one bit that they have been dropped from this year's race calendar.
Die hard fans of A1 GP cling to the hope that after a one year sabbatical, it will be resurrected phoenix like from the financial ashes.
I am not so sure myself given the size of their debts, their complex financial arrangements and the poor economic state of the world in general right now.
Personally I am sad to see it go having attended the very first ever A1 GP weekend at Brands Hatch back in 2005. It was one of the best supported meetings I have seen at Brands Hatch - the estimated attendence was I believe, 70000 plus and it brought back a sense of the glory days when the F1 British GP's were held at the track.
I have also attended all the subsequent A1 GP meetings at Brands Hatch including last year when Team Ireland won both the sprint and feature races tp lift the 2009 A1 GP Team Championship trophy for the first, and sadly almost certainly, last time.
Please read my post about the 2009 AI GP season finale here.
Now back to A1 GP's replacement on the Brands Hatch 2010 calendar. Superleague Formula will run three races over the weekend of 31st July/1st August using 750 BHP V12 engined cars.
It is not clear at this stage whether the cars will race on the Indy or GP circuit at Brands and no details have been published of the support programme so far.Wheras A1 GP cars were in national colours, Superleague Formula cars are "affiliated" to world famous football teams such as Tottenham Hotspurs, Liverpool FC, AC Milan, Galatasaray, Corinthians, Atletico de Madrid etc.
I'm not sure how well this series will be supported. The organisers are gambling on the fact there will be enough football fans interested in motor sports and vice versa but in my experience footie fans and petrolheads are two completely different animals!
I had a trawl through the Superleague Formula web site this evening to see which drivers are involved. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be a separate list of drivers on the site so it means you have to check each team page individually.
There are two former F1 drivers listed - Antonio "Pizza Man" Pizzonia (anyone remember him?) and Sebastian Bourdais, who in my opinion, should be given another shot at F1 instead of pottering about in this series...
There are a few A1 GP refugees too including Giorgio Pantano, Ho Pin Tung and John Martin.
As for the others, to be honest I'd never heard of any of them before!
The weekend adult on-line ticket price has been set at £ 29 (about £ 10 lower than for A1 GP) and I think curiousity will get the better of me.
If I can't have my annual fix of A1 GP, I suppose I'll have to make do with this new series instead.
If you have already been to a Superleague Formula meeting in previous years, please share your views by leaving a comment below....
You may also enjoy the following -F1 2010 Teams & Drivers Latest
Superleague Formula picture courtesy of jo3hug
Saturday, 9 January 2010
Better late than never I suppose...
A few weeks ago I wrote a post about my views on the 2010 Formula 1 driver line ups that had been announced up to that point. Since I wrote that post there have been many developments, the most remarkable of them being the return of Michael Schumacher.
This post is an update to my earlier one....
An all English line up of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.
It looks like I'm not the only one who thinks Button will get a hard time in the new season. Former Ferrari man (and general loudmouth) Eddie Irvine has said "Button will be murdered by Hamilton".
I may have put it more delicately but it seems we are singing from the same hymn sheet!
Drivers are confirmed as Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.
Some other F1 bloggers, have tipped Alonso to become 2010 F1 World Champion but I don't buy it.
I think Ferrari have made a huge mistake employing two drivers with a Latin temperament and previous history at the Singapore GP. There could be the mother of all rows if one or the other driver feels the team are treating the other more favourably. Another replay of the Alonso versus Hamilton debacle at McLaren.
Still it will be fun to watch the fights!
They have pulled off the major coup of enticing Michael Schumacher out of retirement to form and all German line up with Nico Rosberg.
Although I am not a fan of Schumacher, it will certainly help to spice things up in 2010. Schumacher and controversy usually go hand in hand.
It is a shame for Rosberg that he will be overshadowed, although not necessarily outperformed by his illustrious team mate.
In some respects it could do Rosberg a favour that all the hopes and expectations of the whole German nation will be pinned on Schumacher.
The Sauber team have announced that their 2010 car will be launched at Valencia on 31st January and will confirm their driver line up beforehand.
Sauber have signed Toyota refugee Kobayashi. He had a couple of good races for Toyota at the end of last season and will be interesting to watch.
Will he be another Sato? Occasional flashes of brilliance spoiled by all too often, kamikaze style overtaking moves leading to numerous DNF's....
It would not surprise me if the second seat is filled by Nick Heidfeld who is still without a confirmed drive. The bloke has been around for years but has never set the world alight. Having said that, he does seem to have a knack of finding himself in the points somehow, although usually only in the lower paying positions.
A good blend of youth and experience in the form of Nico Hulkenberg and veteran Rubens Barrichello.
I just hope and pray that the Williams car will be competitive. The team definitely made progress last year. Bring back the glory days!
Business as usual at Red Bull with Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.
I'm looking forward to seeing Vettel again. If the car is on the money he will definitely be challenging with Hamilton and Co for the Championship.
Still no drivers announced so far but it is highly likely they will be two pay drive rookies.
The team have been given special dispensation from the FIA to test their car next month at the Barber Motorsport Park in Alabama.
With two rookies on board, expect a lot of DNF's.
The only confirmed driver so far is Bruno Senna. The second seat is still open but it could be academic as the fate of Campos hangs in the balance.
According to reliable reports the team is currently seeking investors to ensure they have sufficient funding to make it to the grid. One investor linked to the team is said to be A1 GP boss Tony Teixeira.
Not a particularly good omen considering the financial state of A1 GP right now!
Timo Glock will team up with F1 rookie Lucas di Grassi.
I am just wondering how long Richard Branson will remain interested in F1. I have a horrible feeling it will be another short term fad. Apparently the team will be run on one of the lowest, if not the lowest, budgets of all. It looks to me like Virgin are making the minimum investment possible which does not smack of long term commitment.
Renault managed to off-load a large proportion of the team to investors Genii at the tail end of 2009. Robert Kubica is confirmed for 2010. The second seat remains vacant but is unlikely to go to Grosjean.
I am optimistic that Lotus will be the best of the new boys on the 2010 grid.
They have a good technical team and have recently signed two experienced drivers, both previous F1 race winners - Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen.
Force India have retained Adrian Sutil and Tonio Liuzzi for 2010. I really hope they have a good season but I worry that they will struggle to keep up with some of the new boys.
Toro Rosso have confirmed Sebastian Buemi but a question mark hangs over Jaime Alguersuari.
Buemi had some good performances in 2009 but Alguersuari made a lot of rookie mistakes.
If you have enjoyed reading this post, please feel free to leave a comment. Your feedback is always very welcome.