IndyCar Recap: April 2017 – Long Beach, Barber, Phoenix

A busy month with Long Beach, Barber and Phoenix.

2017 Verizon IndyCar Series

2015_Verizon_IndyCar_Series_logo

There were 3 races in the month of April, starting with the iconic Long Beach Grand Prix, followed by the rolling hills of Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama, then just a week later the first oval of the year with a return to Phoenix. I’m not sure who designs the schedule but Florida-California-Alabama-Arizona must give the logistics people a real headache, surely this can be swapped around next year.

9th April:  GP of Long Beach
23rd April:  GP of Alabama
30th April:  Phoenix GP

Continue reading “IndyCar Recap: April 2017 – Long Beach, Barber, Phoenix”

Formula 1 Recap: March 2017 – Australia

The first race of the new era for Formula 1 with new owners, new rules, new opportunities.

Introductory Note: I have decided to recap the seasons of those series I watch which make video available. Rather than do it by race I thought it would be interesting to look at it month by month to see the points change in that time. The focus is on track action and not news. It’ll make more sense in a month with more races. I hope it proves interesting.

2017 FIA Formula 1 World Championship

512px-F1_logo

2017 Rolex Australian Grand Prix

26th March 2017 – Race 1 of 20  Albert Park, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Recommendation:  Should you watch this race?  Yes I think so, it wasn’t filled with action but this was the first event with all-new machinery, watch the drivers get used to these wider, faster cars on a narrow, testing parkland track.

Video

FOM are doing a great job of producing video for YouTube this year, though they don’t allow embedding.

Click through to watch this 6m33s highlights package of the Australian GP.

Comment

The first race of the new era for Formula 1 with new owners, new rules, new opportunities.

The first GP turned out to match the promise of pre-season and in a great way. The higher downforce cars, compared to 2016, were very impressive. You could visibly tell the drivers could push them whereas in recent years they had to hold back to conserve the tyres. At last! An end to the nursing of terrible tyres.

The downside, the extra downforce had limited the overtaking opportunities. In some ways this was good – DRS was introduced with good intent but it led to ‘fake’ overtaking, drivers just pushing a button to pass with nothing their opponent could do about it. The best overtaking aids allow both drivers to have a fair shot, this is why I prefer ‘push to pass’ in other series. Albert Park has never been known as a great ‘overtaking track’. Already you could see the defending driver had the chance to make the other guy work for it – making the pass that much more rewarding and memorable.

Admittedly early on it looked a bit tedious. It looked like another slam-dunk Mercedes win, such as we’ve become accustomed to over the last few years. But no! Ferrari actually had a winning strategy.  They beat Mercedes by out-thinking them. It has been a long time since Ferrari out-smarted the opposition. As it turns out, at least at this track, it looks like Mercedes are better in qualifying and Ferrari are better in the race. The tantalising possibility of a two-team championship beckoned, after years of dominance by one team or another..

Home hero Daniel Ricciardo had a terrible day. First the car failed to start, then when he did join in, eventually found himself facing the wrong way. Max Verstappen had a better day and took 5th, catching Raikkonen towards the end. Felipe Massa was a distant 6th but clear of the chasers and the last unlapped car.

The rest of the top 10 was taken by Force India and Toro Rosso, very promising for those teams in terms of beating the likes of a resurgent Renault and an upbeat Haas.

Result (Top Ten)

  1. [5] Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
  2. [44] Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  3. [77] Valterri Bottas (Mercedes)
  4. [7] Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)
  5. [33] Max Verstappen (Red Bull Renault)
  6. [9] Felipe Massa (Williams Mercedes)
  7. [11] Sergio Perez (Force India Mercedes)
  8. [55] Carlos Sainz Jr (Toro Rosso Renault)
  9. [26] Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso Renault)
  10. [31] Esteban Ocon (Force India Mercedes)

Car numbers in square brackets.

Points

Drivers

Name AUS Total
Sebastian Vettel 25 25
Lewis Hamilton 18 18
Valterri Bottas 15 15
Kimi Räikkönen 12 12
Max Verstappen 10 10
Felipe Massa 8 8
Sergio Perez 6 6
Carlos Sainz Jr 4 4
Daniil Kvyat 2 2
Esteban Ocon 1 1

Constructors

Name AUS Total
Scuderia Ferrari 37 37
Mercedes AMG Petronas 33 33
Red Bull Racing 10 10
Williams 8 8
Force India 7 7
Scuderia Toro Rosso 6 6

Next

April is a busy month featuring the Chinese, Bahrain and Russian Grands Prix, the holy trinity of human rights… I’ll be posting monthly recaps every week until I catch up.

IndyCar Recap: March 2017 – St Pete

The opening round of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series.

Introductory Note: I have decided to recap the seasons of those series I watch which make video available. Rather than do it by race I thought it would be interesting to look at it month by month to see the points change in that time. The focus is on track action and not news. It’ll make more sense in a month with more races. I hope it proves interesting.

2017 Verizon IndyCar Series

2015_Verizon_IndyCar_Series_logo

2017 Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg

12th March 2017 – Race 1 of 17 – Albert Whitted Airport, St Petersburg, Florida, USA

Recommendation:  Should you watch this race?  Yes, but maybe FFwd the last quarter.

Continue reading “IndyCar Recap: March 2017 – St Pete”

2017 Le Mans 24 Hours – UK TV

The next big event of the year is the pinnacle of sports car endurance racing, if by prestige as much as anything else. If you can easily argue other races are tougher – N24, Bathurst, Sebring – it is Le Mans that remains the top prize.

We may not have Audi but we have five factory LMP1 cars and no team orders. Toyota are bringing a 3rd car to avenge defeat last year – you don’t want to miss that, do you? We have new, fast LMP2 cars. And all out war in the two GTE classes.

I also recommend recording the two Road To Le Mans races, one is on Thursday at 4.30pm and the other is Saturday at 10.30am. These are races for LMP3 and GT3 cars and were good fun last year.

The ACO seem to be pushing to broaden the appeal of Le Mans, with a Free-to-air deal in France and now two FTA channels in the UK covering at least some hours of the race!

How do you follow the 24 Hours of Le Mans if you are in the UK?

There are a few different ways of following it: Radio Le Mans, Eurosport, Quest, ITV4, the App.

Radio

Radio Le Mans will be live as always at www.radiolemans.com and on Tune In Radio, as well as on 91.2 FM at the track if you do go to Le Mans, supported by Mobil 1 and Esso.

They will have every 24 Hour session live (practice, qualifying, warm-up, race). I expect they’ll cover the Road To Le Mans support races too and quite probably the Porsches too.

Commentary will be from Jonny Palmer, John Hindhaugh, channel newcomer Ben Constanduros, experts Graham Goodwin and Sam Collins, pit reporters Shea Adam, Joe Bradley, Bruce Jones and Owen Mildenhall – and of course the perpetual Paul Truswell on timing & scoring.

Sadly no Jim Roller this year though I’m looking forward to Ben Consty’s input.

And if you miss anything it’ll all be uploaded as podcasts! The podcast page is right here and includes previews for each category should you get the time before the race.

 

TV

Quest

Freeview channel 37

Excellent news that Quest TV will once again air snippets LIVE through the race. Coverage includes Lou Goodman, Diana Binks and Andy Jaye.

There will be updates on the hour plus the following:

Saturday
1.30pm – 3.00pm Race Start Live
8.00pm – 9.00pm Race Live

Sunday
10.00am – 11.00am  Morning round-up
1pm – 2.30pm Race finish
7pm  Highlights

ITV4

Freeview channel 24

Brilliant news – ITV4 will ensure there is live free-to-air coverage of the last 4.5 hours of the race!

Sunday
9.30am – 2.45pm Le Mans 24 Hour Race Live

Eurosport

And if you are a die-hard fan or just want to dip in and out at your leisure, the race will be live in full on Eurosport 1.

If you remember the days of swapping between Eurosport 1 and Eurosport 2 – those days are gone!

This year’s commentary team includes Martin Haven, Marc Cole, Carlton Kirby, Chris Parsons and David Addison. Addison is new to the team, you’ll know him from BTCC and Blancpain GT, he seems to be in place of Jeremy Shaw who is not listed this year. Analysts include racers Damien Faulkner, Liz Halliday and Sam Hancock.

Don’t knock their coverage – many die-hard RLM fans stick with it but I tend to have an ear on both broadcasts, particularly when Haven is on Eurosport.

They’ll show every 24 Hour session live as well as the Porsche Cup and possible the Road To Le Mans.

Eurosport time schedule in the UK:

Wednesday
3pm – 7pm  Practice
9pm – 11pm Qualifying

Thursday
3pm – 7.10pm This slot appears to be Porsche Cup practice then Road To Le Mans Race 1 at 4.30pm.
6pm – 8pm Qualifying
9pm – 11pm Qualifying

Saturday – all on Eurosport 1
8am – 8.40am Warm Up
9.15am  Porsche Carrera Cup
10.30am Road To Le Mans Race 2
1.45pm to Sunday afternoon   24 Hours of Le Mans

Eurosport Player

The Eurosport Player app (on tablet and via website) will stream the race live, including a commentary & advert free option showing the race continuously. It may also have onboard feeds.

This is ideal if, for example, you wanted pictures to put up alongside Radio Le Mans!

Le Mans / FIA WEC App

On the Apple and Google stores – or via here – there is a 24h Le Mans app. This is the same as the FIA WEC app, so if you have the WEC app already you just need to update it and be sure you have the right subscription.

Health warning: for the Spa 6 Hours this app subscription wasn’t working properly. It is not the most reliable thing I’ve ever seen, which is ironic, given the setting.

They’ll have the ‘World Feed’ TV team including Toby Moody and Allan McNish plus live timing and information. It should also have a choice of onboard streams and usually there’s a French language option.

Other Useful Things

Official Website:   www.lemans.org/en

Live Timing:   www.lemans.org/en

Race Timetable:  www.lemans.org/en/Program/schedule/95

What are the classes?
LMP1 / LMP2 / GTE Pro / GTE Am:  www.lemans.org/en/Page/categories/105

Entry List:  PDF

Spotter Guides:
– the superior Andy Blackmore guide supported by Dunlop.
– the official ACO guide

I notice Andy had to change his design after the ACO ‘borrowed’ his ideas. I’d go with Andy’s if I were you.