Sunday, 21 June 2015

Happy fathers day.

And yes it was, because I didn't subject myself to that tedium. No I was off enjoying some quality time with my boy a the Royal Academy Summer exhibition, and having a very enjoyable afternoon lunch above Covent gardens.

No dull motor racing here thank you.

OK, I did watch qualifying, which was interesting in a "just how did Kimi mess that up so badly!!" kind of  way. And wondering just how McLaren were going to be penalised 25 grid slots when they struggled to get out of Q1.
On a serious note here, yes I know it was supposed to stop teams slapping in a whizz bang qualifying engine on Saturday morning and changing it for a nice solid race engine on Sunday. But Honda have produced an utter piece of garbage! Cut the guys some slack, cut all the back marker teams some slack. Redbull are on their eleventy billionth engine I think, they're not troubling the front of the field so let them burn through engines till they find a solution.

So yeah Lewis lucked a hot lap after trying far to hard to catch Nico. Tried to defend it and spun yet again, only to be saved by Rosberg spinning try to beat him.

Come the race day I was in London with a glass of wine trying to make sense of modern art.

Is it the right way up ??

which made me question the struggle man has with nature ... I think ? I wasn't too sure. To be honest the wine was very nice, chilled perfectly and cheaper than the £10 they wanted for a Gin and Tonic.

£60,000 to you guv'ner.

I did check the F1 and some stage, The McLaren's went out early, Kimi tried to assault Alonso. eruum Hamilton wasn't as fast as Rosberg, err some stuff. I gave up and went back the art, which appeared to be mirroring my thoughts on F1 these days ...
Yes, yes you can polish art it seems.

But enough japes;

1. Rosberg - Very fast.

2. Hamilton - Not as fast

3. Massa - Bring your kids to work day

4. Vettel - Sticky nuts

5. Bottas - Somthing something pits

6. Hulkenberg - Second career starting nicely

7. Maldonado - Still fully loaded.

8. Verstappen - Max attack.

9. Perez - Nice smile

10. Ricciardo - Still smiling

Lewis got pole.

Nico got a fastest lap to prove a point

and Merhi continues to act as a mobile chicane in last place

Right, it's Silverstone next for the British GP and I promise to take more interest and try to be serious for that one, unless the misses goes into labour way too early. But until then, I'm going to the shed at the bottom of the garden to practice my Jackson Pollocks.

Good night.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Back to the grind I'm affraid.

Right. Okay, I'm afraid these are going to have to get a bit more focused and shorter now. It's one month till my wife is due to give birth, so I have a huge long list of stuff which I'm supposed to be sorting out. Rather than wasting my time away writing silly Formula one stuff.  
But I've sneaked a beer into the den and closed the door. I think I've got enough time to give you a preview of the weekends Austrian GP.

So then Mercedes will win .... Or will they ? Austria is very much like Canada, long fast bits with a couple of tight chicanes. It flows up and down the side of a mountain and fast times come from fast powerful engines; Mechanical grip is required as the teams trim the cars out to make them as slippery as possible.

Ferrari was right up Mercedes chuff in Canada, or they would have been if Vettels power unit had held together. Kimi normally qualifies a few tenths off Vettel and in Canada he was only half a second or so behind Nico's rear wing. If Vettel hadn't had his problems he would have been right up there making Mercedes work for their points. So Ferrari should be just as fast this time and a punt on some Vettel top step action isn't such a long shot. You certainly want at least one Ferrari on the podium.

But what about a Williams up there, I hear you cry. Well last year they should have sneaked a victory, but pragmatic point scoring trumped spirited racing. This year the car is just as fast and now more reliable, but the Mercs have pulled further ahead and Ferrari have got their engine working so the best they can reasonably hope for is a fourth but it'll probably be a fifth. Really they're waiting for last year's prize money to clear Bernie's "resting account" around the last third of the season. Next year it's going to be all about the Williams boys, trust me ;)
Lotus looked to have got their act together in Canada; Grosjean was beaten fair and square by Maldonado who managed to avoid hitting anything for a change. Austria being a power circuit I think a top ten is more than likely, and there's plenty of space for Pastor to charge around in.

Out of the points will be all the Renault drivers again. The Redbull A1 ring that Redbull pay to maintain, goes up the side of a mountain so if your engine runs out of puff on anything longer than 100 yards of straight road, you're in trouble. I've lost count of how many engines the various Redbull and Torro Rosso drivers are on but I expect someone will get a penalty for changing something this weekend. A Renault engine car in the top ten is a very long shot this weekend.

And finally Nico Hulkenberg, He's had a bit of a quite season thus far. So he went off and with the help of Porsche, British driver Nick Tandy and New Zealander Earl Bamber, only went and won Le Mans. It was mostly due to Nick Tandy who drove it like he stole it though the night. But this wasn't some seat of the pants, wing and a prayer, last man standing win. This was a gutsy, hard fought and well deserved win, beating the normally ruthless Audi winning machine. We all knew the Hulk was a top class driver and I hope he gets a bit more respect now, If he isn't in a factory LMP1 program next year, there's no justice in this world.

Right that's enough. Flip a coin to chose who follows Lewis home, Mercs and Ferraris up front, Williams best of the rest, throw in a Lotus and a Force India and then chose between the remaining Merc engine cars for the rest of the top ten.    

Oh one last thing ... McLaren Honda. The tension ramped up several notches in Canada. Alonso openly saying "Look the car is dog slow, unreliable and handles like a fat kid in a chocolate shop..... Now you're telling me its thirsty too.  Oh for f.... "

Alonso is not a happy camper. This is not the McLaren he signed up for and he can see no end to the pain he's having to endure at each round this year. There seems to be an awful lot of head scratching around the car and yet another bit melts, or falls off, or grenades itself, of just stops working.  Sure the other teams had these teething problems last year! But Honda had a year off testing whatever they wanted to for however long they wanted, they had no testing restrictions at all to sort these problems out.

The car is fundamentally wrong, the engine is going to take years to sort, meanwhile the Merc and Renault squads are getting further up the road. 

The Hulk goes off and wins Le Mans in the car Alonso was expected to be in, but was banned from racing by Big Ron. I wouldn't be surprised if Fernando burst into Ron's office and demonstrated his frustration to Ron using the medium of a clenched fist. Repeatedly.

Right no, that is it. Update your prediction before Friday please and good luck.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Nope, sorry, I fell asleep pretty early on

Okay, it's been a very long drunken weekend for this little lad and so I fell asleep at about the 10 lap mark. Woke up briefly when Nico started to catch Lewis, then didn't so the eyes grew heavy again and I think I saw the McLaren boys heading for yet another early bath ....

Which is all a shame really, the track and the fans deserve a better race in Canada. Further back there was some actual racing, but I think there were a lot of drivers managing fuel and brakes and tyres. All rather dull really .. ho hum.

Okay so Lewis won and pretty much deserved it, he got pole on Saturday with ease again. In the race the Ferrari attack never materialised and Williams knows its place behind their engine supplier. Nico had a pop but Lewis could answer it and never let the gap close to much more than a second. Fuel and brake managing and not coming in for any unnecessary pit stops this time, not the most exciting victory but a very important one for #teamLewis.

Rosberg Second and the team gave the impression he was allowed to race Lewis for much of it. But whenever he got close to the back of his team mate, suddenly his brakes started to wear out and he had to drop back. So he wasn't really racing anyone. Kimi sort of made him work, well he made Nico sweat when the lights went out at the start. Other than that, the day was a case of play follow the leader and make sure it's another Merc 1-2. Job done.

Bottas was third for Williams's first podium of the year. I think this was more due to the fact Kimi had a problem with a power spike and spin rather than a faster car. Williams claim the engine upgrade all the Merc teams got and some new aero tweaks have moved them ahead of the Ferrari boys. Certainly the car looked to have a bit more straight line cajoners but was it faster than Ferrari? I'm not convinced. Ferrari seems to have a few pit wall issues that are robbing them of better results. Vettel showed the car is fast, so I think Bottas was lucky rather than some sort of corner being turned by Williams.

Kimi was fourth and should really have been on the podium. But the car glitched as he was coming out of the hairpin onto the long back straight, that caused him to spin and gave Bottas enough time to get in and change his tyres ahead of the red car. Kimi used to be a driver you looked forward to watching, when the blood was up he was lighting far for lap after lap. And yes he did get the fastest lap of the race, But one again he was managing the brakes and fuel and never got the train going. I think it was telling that Arrivabene was standing at the back of the grid with Vettel as the cars were pushed onto the grid. Vettel was a long way back and the chance of a podium slim whilst Kimi was in third and was eyeing up a podium result. I think it demonstrates who Ferrari are pinning their future hopes on, we could be looking at Kimi's last year in red overalls.

Vettel was fifth and that isn't too shabby is it. He was a naughty boy in practice on Friday, overtaking when the red flag was being waved for Hamilton's accident. So he was starting a long way back in the race. He kept it sensible, passed people cleanly and hauled it back to the top five, as I say, not too shabby.  The Italian love affair continues.

Massa was another that had problems in qualifying and started a lowly 15th, again his drive back to sixth shows the car has made some improvements. Maybe not quite on a par with Ferrari then but certainly enough to keep Ferrari looking over their shoulder now.

Maldonado was seventh and didn't hit anyone surprisingly.

Hulkenberg showed what a Merc engine can do for you in eighth.

Kvyat was a creditable ninth with the underpowered Renault.

And tenth was Grosjean who demonstrated that it isn't just the young lads that can drive like a complete idiot. Carving up Stevens in the Manor Marussia, a car that is hopelessly slow, was just stupid. And to then get on the radio and shout "he hit me, he hit me", was pathetic. I thought he grown out of being a total tool, but apparently not.

And because he got nailed by Grosjean, Stevens was this weeks last place Johnny

Okay, it's late, time for bed. Le Mans next week. Join me here for all the fun.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Mike Hawthorn - Le Mans 1956 - Jaguar D-Type

The following day in the race, 83 people died when Pierre Levegh crashed into the back of a car and somersaulted into the banking in front of the pitlane grandstand.

Hawthorne always claimed he had nothing to do with the crash, but many say Levegh was trying to avoid his Jaguar and didn't see the car in front until it was too late.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

It's going to be a busy month !

June is the here and that means Motorsport heaven.

If the smell of burning four star, smells like victory to you and the sound of big grunty engines powering through the cool night air raises the hairs on the back of the neck. June is just ram packed with high octane fun for you.

We start this weekend with the Canadian GP, a proper old school track surrounded by fans who know where the engine is in an F1 car. I love this track, the first half is tight and flowing through the tree lined park. The run back to the start line is a flat out blat along the waterfront before the deceptively easy looking chicane and the wall of champions.   

Once we’re through with F1 in Canada, the focus pulls back to Europe and the Le Mans 24 hours world endurance race.  Which is my personal heaven; it’s a party with a race in the middle, a weeklong orgy of fast cars, beers, chips, and baguettes. Headlights and glowing brake discs, V8s, V10s, turbos and whisper quite diesels, runny cheese and smelly toilets. Think Glastonbury with slightly less mud and much better catering.
Eurosport are coving the whole thing on TV, There is a WEC app with live timing, highlights and commentary for your phones and tablets. Last year you could watch the whole race from inside the Audi or Porsche cars, with live telemetry beamed to your PC. This year Nissan have a whole suit of online content to impress you with and Corvette will have pits and car cams, pit wall audio. If Bernie think the new digital media world is a waste of time, he should see what the Endurance racing world is doing, there is so much content, you can’t fail to be impressed. Its inviting, it welcomes you to the party rather than demand the contents of your wallet and give you a warm sausage on an F1 branded cocktail stick.

We stay in Europe for weekend three and the Austria F1 GP at the reopened Redbull A1 ring. Last year was a nip and tuck fight between the Merc, but Williams missed their best chance of a spoiler. This year with Ferrari bringing a fast car to the party we could see their second win of the year.

And finally, the last weekend of June we have the Pikes peak hillclimb event in Colorado USA, the second oldest motorsport event in America, they’ve been racing up this hillside since 1916 testing man and machinery to the limit over 12.42 miles (19.99 km) through 156 turns, climbing 4,720 ft (1,440 m). And these aren’t boys in ratty Lotus sevens and clapped out minis, in 2013 Peugeot sent Sebastien Loeb up the hill in a 875 bhp 3.2ltr V6 monster in a time of 8:13.878 shattering the previous record by 44 seconds.

From one of the oldest motorsport events to a possible future for motor sport and the London round of the Formula E series. Now before you throw your arms in the arm and flounce off muttering about how electric cars sound awful and it’s just rubbish, rubbish I say. Have you actually watched any of the racing ? Because what I’ve seen has been pretty good so far, there is certainly more racing than F1 can muster these days. Yes, it’s a bit cack handed with swapping from one car to another half way through because the battery technology is a bit duff. The fan boost
is more about good social media skills than racing ability and yes some team are there to make the numbers up. But at its core its racing, it is exciting and it will only get better.

So that’s June for you. And it all kicks off this weekend in Canada.

The talking point is going to be Lewis and his relationship with the team here, which is a bit of a shame because as I said I really like this track and the racing is usually pretty good. It’s refreshingly old school, it doesn’t look like some bland industrial estate on the outskirts of a large urban splat in this month fashionable third world dictatorship. The fans in the seats are there by choice having bought tickets with their money and will fill all the stands. Thus providing what is increasingly becoming unique at F1 events these days, an atmosphere. We should be celebrating this, not asking weather Lewis is talking to Toto or who’s making the strategy calls on the pit wall.

Anyway, Merc blah blah blah, Lewis Pole and the win if there's any justice.  But Nico has had two wins on the bounce now, so you never know. They had a problem with their brakes in Canada last year and this year Lewis had problems with his brakes in Barcelona i think it was. So they may opt to play it say and not disappear off into the distance, if they play that game then Ferrari might try to push them the see how well their brakes hold up. The temperatures look like they're going to be high this weekend too, so we could see another tyre wear race.

Barcelona showed just how far the Mercs were ahead of the Ferraris, and I would expect to see the same sort of advantage here with Williams as usual next, Force India and maybe Lotus. Actually, I think Kimi could be on for a good one here. Yeah, i think he'll be on the podium here, for no other reason than I think it's his turn. The team can't keep screwing him over can they ?

The brave amongst you will put a Renault car in the top ten, Torro Rosso maybe might just sneak Verstappen or Sainz in if the other teams have problems. But Redbull are going to struggle on a power circuit with an underpowered engine and a car with handling issue. The Redbull PR machine has gone quite of late regarding how jolly unfair it all is for them, their threat to flounce off if Audi refused join them backfired when Audi said it had no plans to join F1. And then no one backed Helmet Markos' plans to let Redbull win because they were Redbull and really, really, really important. The drivers have been told to grumble about unfair engine rules to little effect. There was a sort of grudging acknowledgment that "yeah, Newey had built a bit of a dog this time" and then a shrug as they accepted they were going to get grid penalties for using too many engines.

I don't know if they're first +1 engine will get used this weekend but it wouldn't surprise me. So putting Ricciardo in the top ten is going to be very risky.

 Okay, enough random rubbish. Predictions in before Friday as per usual cheers.

And finally, I'm sort of thinking about a doing a one off prediction game for Le Mans this year. Top 15, pole, fastest lap and the total number of laps the winner completes. Drop me an email if you're interested, this would be a spread sheet one off so I'd need a fair few players to make it worthwhile.

Cheers all, and good luck.