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.