Races Watched (2019 Week 12): FE Sanya, More MotoGP

What have I been watching?

I usually catch one or two live races per weekend and spend time in the week catching up on other things.

Week 12:  18-24 March 2019

Live

Formula E – R6 – Sanya ePrix

Mostly uneventful by Formula E standards, ’til the crash at the end. The track was fast and flowing yet only seemed have one racing line. Yet from the overhead pictures it was hard to see how they could’ve done a better job with the available space. And the backdrop looked amazing, I’d never heard of Sanya, now I want to go to the beach.

It livened up later, after a slow period there was a little bit of side by side racing especially from those in Attack Mode versus those not using it. Otherwise there wasn’t a lot of overtaking. It was more interesting for who was fast and who wasn’t.

Oliver Rowland set a good early pace in the lead, just as he did in Hong Kong. Later it became clear he was saving power, Jean-Eric Vergne overtook him and opened a gap. This bit was fun, as Rowland tried to hold off a hard-charging pack of 5 others, and succeeded!

There was contact. The BMW Andretti of Sims had steering damage after being squeezed between wall and Lotterer. This put him out on the spot. But the clear up took ages. After several laps under local yellows then a Safety Car, the race got red flagged. It looked like flatbed trucks were available, perhaps none had cranes, so they eventually deployed a tractor which apparently couldn’t be done quickly.

I know this is street racing and in places not accustomed to racing, but this is one area the FIA will need to tighten up.

After the restart there was a clash between Frijns and di Grassi. It looked like Frijns rammed LdG out of the race but on replay you could see Buemi had knocked Frijns out of control. This incident caused the race to end under Full Course Yellow. Just 13 cars finished the attritional race, a lot of cars pulling up with problems.

Buemi crossed the line 6th but was penalised to 8th for causing the collision, di Grassi later tweeting to point out Buemi was 8th anyway when he hit Frijns so didn’t lose anything. Buemi though shouldn’t have been there in the first place, he was penalised to 6th in qualifying, but the stewards took so long to make the decision there wasn’t time to charge the car before pitlane closed for the grid, so he started from pitlane and raced his way through. (Presumably through overtaking I missed…)

An underwhelming end to an underwhelming race. It happens even in Formula E. And perhaps my lack of tea or coffee at 7am added to that sense.

JEV won and dedicated it to Charlie Whiting who we sadly lost in Melbourne. In doing so he jumps into third overall. Rowland 2nd in this race but not yet in the top 10 in points, and I get the sense he’ll move up quickly too. Antonio Felix da Costa finished 3rd and takes the points lead. Bird, di Grassi and Mortara all with no-scores.

And we have tie for the lead of the Teams Points! A no-score for Virgin means the others close up, four teams covered by two points. Outstanding.

Total Points Sanya Name Team
62 15 Ant Felix da Costa BMW Andretti
61 8 Jerome d’Ambrosio Mahindra
54 26 Jean-Eric Vergne DS Techeetah
54 0 Sam Bird Virgin
52 0 Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport Abt
52 0 Eduardo Mortara Venturi
44 10 Daniel Abt Audi Sport Abt
43 0 Robin Frijns Virgin
41 12 Andre Lotterer DS Techeetah
36 6 Pascal Wehrlein Mahindra
36 2 Mitch Evans Jaguar
Team Points Sanya Team
97 0 Envision Virgin
97 14 Mahindra
96 10 Audi Sport Abt
95 38 DS Techeetah
80 15 BMW Andretti
67 1 Venturi
46 25 Nissan e.dams
37 2 Jaguar
7 0 HWA Racelab
6 0 Nio

Next:  Rome ePrix, 13th April.

Catch-Up

MotoGP

I had last week off and spent a lot of it catching up on the rest of the 2018 MotoGP season.

I watched Misano, Aragon, Buriram, Motegi, Phillip Island and Valencia. Not Sepang, which failed to record. It’s not too bad when the races are only 45 minutes, although I did watch some of the excellent BT Sport pre-race as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Yes they got the number of the last race wrong, Valencia is Round 19.]

Misano, San Marino & Rimini GP (Sept.). After the initial skirmishes this was another tremendous battle between Marquez and the two Ducatis. Dovi pulled away and the other two fought – until Lorenzo crashed! The bike folded under him as he tipped it, nothing he could do. That gave Crutchlow 3rd.

Aragon GP (Sept.). This time Lorenzo crashed at the first corner of the race, over the top of the bike, causing enough damage to himself that he’d be out for over a month. That left a fight between Marquez and Dovizioso, again what a fight it was, couldn’t take your eyes off it! Marquez took his 5th win of the year and a sizeable points lead. And a good day for Suzuki too, Iannone getting amongst the fight and Rins 4th.

Buriram, Thailand GP (Oct.). The inaugural Thai GP. Car races I’ve seen at this venue have been rubbish, but not MotoGP. Dovizioso, Marquez and Rossi traded the lead. Pedrosa was working his way up, after some lacklustre races in his final season he looked on for 4th or even a podium, but then he crashed out. Vinales joined the top 3. I’m amazed how it comes to a fight between Marquez and Dovi nearly every race, here diving past each other at the final corner and driving for the line ON THE FINAL LAP. Marquez another win, by inches.

Motegi, Japanese GP (Oct.). Another race, another Dovi vs Marquez battle, this time with Dovi ahead and Crutchlow in close attendance as Marc’s wingman, Cal even ahead for a while to try and pressure Dovi. A little behind, the Suzukis were having fun racing Rossi. Marquez got to the lead. But then… Dovizioso was out! His bike folded over like Lorenzo’s had in Misano. Marquez race winner and Champion. (Crutchlow 2nd, Rins 3rd).

Phillip Island, Australian GP (Oct.). A favourite race for everyone. But Crutchlow was out in free practice and he’d be out the rest of the year. Lorenzo still away. A nasty crash too for Zarco as he touched Marquez’s bike, which also put Marc out with damage. Thankfully both riders were OK. Vinales fell back but he raced through and cleared the pack by a clear margin to score Yamaha’s first win for 2 years! Iannone for Suzuki just beat Dovi. Oh and Bautista, on Lorenzo’s bike, had a sensational race to 4th – why wasn’t he hired for it for 2019?

Sepang, Malaysia GP (Nov.). I didn’t see this one other than the above highlights. Rossi actually led a race again and it looks like by quite a gap – until he fell! That gifted it to Marquez, who took his 9th win of the year. Dovi down in 6th. Rins took 2nd for Suzuki, Zarco 3rd for Tech 3 Yamaha.

Valencian GP (Nov.). A wet race with a red flag interruption when the track got waterlogged. Rins got an early lead. There were a lot of fallers through the first half, Petrucci, Miller, Bautista – and Marc Marquez, who landed on a shoulder he’d dislocated before. Vinales went down too. Dovi, Rossi and Rins were racing closely when the red flag came, rightly so. The race resumed with a grid start, Rins on pole on countback, but he’d lose out to Dovi and Rossi. Then Rossi fell, but he got back up to roll in 13th of just 15 finishers. Oh Lorenzo was there too but never troubled the top ten, still injured. Dovizioso won from Rins, with the KTM of Pol Esparagaro in 3rd!

That was fun. When you watch a race per day you get a much better sense of storylines through the season. Marquez vs Dovi. The improving Suzukis and resurgent Yamahas. But all change for 2019, Lorenzo to Honda alongside Marquez, Petrucci to the works Ducati, Bautista to World Superbike. You’ll have seen Qatar, I’ll be watching that next.

Next Week

Monday 25th to 31st March. I’ll have Sky installed so will be watching the Bahrain GP, plus I’ll be catching up with two IndyCar races and the Qatar MotoGP. Let’s hope I have room for all this in next week’s post.

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Races Watched (2019 Week 11): Hong Kong, Melbourne & MotoGP

A comment on some of the races I’ve been watching. A return to an occasional and hopefully now regular series with the Calendars all updated.

I usually catch one or two live races per weekend and spend time in the week catching up on other things. This time I didn’t see anything live – I had other plans – but I did focus on two events. I’ll be catching up with “Super Sebring” WEC & IMSA another time.

Week 11:  11-17 March 2019

Formula E – R5 – Hong Kong ePrix

A lot of cars in a narrow, tight space led to contact and red flags and safety cars. It wasn’t the cleanest race in the world.

At least it was close for the race lead. Bird and Lotterer went flat out all the way. Bird made a lot of stout attacks, Lotterer repelled them with a lot of stout defences. For the most part this was close, hard street racing. Possibly an argument that FE ought to have been a silhouette touring car series so they could have a bit of contact! These two were the class of the field and pulled away from the rest.

Sadly right near the end there was contact between them, which put Lotterer out. He was angry, he was right to be angry. He even dragged the damage car around until it went no further. There was obviously no malice involved, Bird didn’t plan to drive Lotterer out of the race, he just misjudged his braking – or his aim – and his car’s nose punctured Lotterer’s tyre. It was marginal, very marginal. But he took out the race leader and that’s a penalty. Sure enough, though it took several hours, Bird was later penalised enough time to lose the win.

That gave the win to street-specialist Edo Mortara, which leaves him tied with Lucas di Grassi for 3rd in points with the top four covered by 2 points. It also gave the Venturi team their first ever FE win.

Must mention Oliver Rowland who took the lead at the start and was fast until he hit the FCY limiter button accidentally around the tight hairpin, losing him many places.

A heck of a lot else happened, a mix of contact retirements and good old-fashioned reliability problems knocked some out of the race too. Some tight battles at the hairpin. I don’t have space to mention it all.

Attack Mode didn’t seem to do anything at this track, perhaps drivers lost a lot of time activating it.

Next up is a new race in Sanya, China on 23rd March. You’ll have seen it by the time this piece is published.

Highlights are embedded above or you can watch the full race HERE on YouTube.

Points Car Name Team
54 2 Sam Bird Virgin
53 64 Jerome d’Ambrosio Mahindra
52 11 Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport
52 48 Eduardo Mortara Venturi
47 28 Ant Felix da Costa BMW Andretti
43 4 Robin Frijns Virgin
34 66 Daniel Abt Audi Sport
34 20 Mitch Evans Jaguar
30 94 Pascal Wehrlein Mahindra
29 36 Andre Lotterer DS Techeetah

Formula 1 – R1 – Australian GP

As ever a promising build-up lead to a slightly underwhelming Australian Grand Prix. The track just isn’t very good for close racing with cars this fast. At least it was better than the turgid ‘race’ served up last year. The atmosphere looked as good as ever though and it seems a great relaxed place for a season opener.

Okay it was mostly because Giovanazzi stayed out on worn tyres too long, but passes were made. Like I said in the F1 Preview the middle of the pack is going to be something special this year, especially when we get to more open tracks. Norris in particular had a good debut though not the end result to show for it.

And Kvyat really showed up an underperforming Gasly, who shouldn’t have failed to make it out of Q1 qualifying thus totally screwing up his Sunday, at a track where you can hardly pass.

Bottas really laid down a marker, taking Hamilton at the first corner and going on to dominate the race. There was damage to Hamilton’s floor. But I got the feeling Hamilton, being older and wiser these days, decided to bank the points for 2nd. He still beat Vettel and Verstappen and he knows – he thinks – he can handle Bottas later. I also think this is the case, but I also think Bottas won’t quite be the pushover of last year.

Ricciardo screwed his day by driving on the grass and hitting an access road, very unlucky that was there, he’d probably have got away with it otherwise. I’m sure if he’d held to the edge of the tarmac Perez would’ve given him space but it’s all very tight.

I was surprised how seriously the teams took the new point for Fastest Lap. I thought the drivers would like it and the teams would reign them in, but Mercedes encouraged Bottas to go for it while leading. Interesting!

Summary:  Decent first third of the race, then fizzled out as the midfield traffic got in a line and couldn’t race, then it got a bit boring.

On to Bahrain on 31st March. It should be more representative for the rest of the year, both in pace and race-ability of the 2019 cars.

Points Car Driver Team
26 77 Valterri Bottas Mercedes
18 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
15 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull
12 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
10 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari
8 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas
6 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault
4 7 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo
2 18 Lance Stroll Racing Point
1 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso

Catch-Up

MotoGP

I’ve been been binge-watching recordings of last year’s MotoGP. I did a terrible job keeping up with it. After Jerez I stopped. I’m not sure why, since it is one of my favourite series. Maybe just overwhelmed with live stuff.

Anyway I made the choice to drop BT TV in favour of Sky (see my previous post), partly because I wasn’t using it to watch MotoGP live any more, which means I need to delete everything on my BT Youview box before Monday 25th March.

Of course after I made that decision the highlights rights got moved. Instead of BT Sport’s excellent highlights on Channel 5, we now get generic Dorna highlights on Quest. I haven’t seen it yet but reports suggest it isn’t as good. I have feelings of regret. However there is talk of a BT Sport deal on Sky coming this summer.

Due to the box filling up – the stupid series link recorded endless hours of free practice and started deleting old stuff and I didn’t notice – I had to go to the YouTube highlights for Le Mans, Mugello and Catalunya.

During this week I watched the following:

Assen, Sachsenring, Brno, Spielberg.

Assen’s Dutch GP (July) was magic, such a great race, really close all the way between Lorenzo and Marquez and then Rossi and Dovizioso rode their way through and Rins got in there too. This lot battling was just outstanding.

Sachsenring’s German GP (July) a bit less interesting, Dovi dropped back leaving Marquez to win with a gap over Rossi and Vinales, a slightly better result for Yamaha this time.

Brno’s Czech GP (August) was all about saving your tyres until the last few laps. That meant a big group circulated together but they weren’t going flat out, although it still looked pretty quick to me. When they pulled the pin it was Dovizioso on the Ducati and Marquez on the Honda, with Lorenzo on Ducati close behind, who made the gap. It would be Dovi, Lorenzo, Marquez to give the red team their second 1-2 of the year, Dovi’s 2nd win.

Spielberg’s Austrian GP (August) had a fun start with a big pack. Marquez pulled into a lead with the Ducatis chasing. This is a power track and the Ducatis have it, but the Honda isn’t far off. The was a duel. Marquez and Lorenzo trading blows with Dovi not able to stay with them. Another outstanding battle! Lorenzo took his 3rd win of the year.

And of course Silverstone (August) was cancelled due to torrential rain and a track that didn’t clear water.

Check out these short highlights videos. They aren’t like the F1 and FE videos, they don’t cover as much on track and the edits are a bit jarring, but if racing is most of all about the people, these clips get that across really well.

Next Week

Monday 18th to Sunday 24th March, I’ll be watching the rest of last year’s MotoGP and the Sanya E-Prix.

My plan is to publish these weekly recaps every Tuesday so you can expect this on the 26th, but they may jump around until I find the right day.

Ten Years Of Too Much Racing

On August 5th, 2018, I reached a milestone:  10 years of blogging!

There have been periods of downtime along the way. On and off, I have been writing words about motor sport for a decade. And soon it’ll be 20 years since I first joined a Formula 1 newsgroup, at age 18 at the end of December 1998, which is where it all began. Now I am 38 and I feel very old.

The Changes Over A Decade

A lot has happened in the last decade. The blog was set up to look at F1, IndyCar, Le Mans and other endurance races, plus whatever else took my fancy.

For one thing the original version was on Blogspot and is still there.

First Blog

In 2008’s Formula 1 season, on the face of it it looks familiar:  the young upstart Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes-powered McLaren racing the Ferraris of defending champion Kimi Räikkönen and his team-mate Felipe Massa. It would be Hamilton’s first title – and Massa who would take it to the last race and win a legion of fans for his sportsmanship in defeat.

There the similarities end. It was the era of multiple manufacturers:  BMW were still with Sauber with Robert Kubica finishing 4th in points (including a race win). Honda and Toyota both still had their own full F1 teams. Fernando Alonso had gone back to the works Renault team after the “spygate” scandal – and this was the year the “crashgate” scandal would unfold. Tyres were grooved and V8 engines screamed and a lot of us complained it wasn’t as good as slick tyres and V10s.

In IndyCar the reset button had just been pressed. “The Split” of the CART/IRL war was over, the two factions had come together for the 2008 season. As it happened late in pre-season with very little time to prepare, the Champ Car teams had to adapt to the IRL cars in less than a month. They looked hopeless at Homestead-Miami as the IRL teams dominated, then just a week later Graham Rahal won at St Petersburg for Newman/Haas, giving hope to those of us who were on the Champ Car side of the fence.

It was a long road to recovery for IndyCar racing after that and it took a lot longer than I think anybody expected. They’re still travelling that road today. It took arguably until 2016 to really make traction. Now though, you have to say that after 10 years the series is in excellent health and has a bright future. The peak of quality was never in question all along, what’s changed is the depth of quality of both drivers and teams is the highest seen in 20 years. In some neat symmetry, Scott Dixon won the 2008 and 2018 titles. Dare I say this year he’s driving better than I’ve ever seen him. And the current cars are cool too, which wasn’t the case in 2008.

In sports car racing, the continual cycle of boom and bust is never far away from throwing in a curve ball.

In Europe we had the Le Mans Series, five races of 1000km with the Le Mans 24 Hours itself being a non-championship race. Audi and Peugeot went toe to toe in LMP1, a healthy field of privateers scoring podium finishes all year long when any of the lead quartet fell off. LMP2 was dominated by the Porsche Spyder which brought LMP1 engineering and reliability to a class previously renowned for cars breaking down.
We still had the glorious GT1s, Corvette C6 vs Aston Martin DBR9 vs Saleen S7-R. And GT2 was the Pro/Am Porsche vs Ferrari class with cars that were much closer to road-relevance than today’s GTs.

There was a defined route from ‘upgraded road car’ to ‘really mega road car on steroids’ to ‘baby prototype’ to ‘fast prototype’. Today we have ‘a prototype that looks like a GT’, then ‘fast prototype’ to ‘even faster really expensive prototype’. It feels like we’ve lost something along the way. I suppose that’s why LMP3 and GT4 now exist.

The good thing is we now have a World Championship – and we kept the European LMS underneath it so we’ve gained a load of racing. We had a great mini-era of LMP1 Hybrid in the WEC which was a joy to watch. The new era though, it all still needs work. Whatever happens to the WEC and LMP1, down at continental level, I’d argue the ELMS should adopt IMSA’s DPi as its top class.

Over in the US, the IMSA American Le Mans Series was at the height of the battle between a nearly equalised Audi LMP1 and Porsche LMP2. It had a strong GT2 field. And yet a rival series in Grand-Am with its own bespoke cars and NASCAR backing. Peaks and troughs in both series led to a merger for 2014. Lessons were learned from the bumpy and rushed IndyCar merger and the new-era IMSA has worked very hard to solve some tricky problems. That 2014 season was itself bumpy. But the recovery is happening very quickly, aided by the DPi concept of upgrading LMP2 cars and tapping into GTE and GT3 resources.

There is still a risk IMSA will take the backward step of having its own rules, Grand-Am style. They should avoid this and work to share platform with the ACO – even if it means running a “dumbed-down” version of the cars. Maybe it would work as a base platform for IMSA and ELMS, then if you want to go to WEC P1 you add a Special Nifty Widget that makes the car faster. (I specialise in these highly technical solutions.)

And then a wildcard. Formula E was launched. Like a cross between A1GP and Scalextric and the Toronto IndyCar track and a good dose of FIA weirdness. I’ve loved it since it started. Not necessarily for the same reasons as everyone else. I think the eco message has a problem when you jet the cars around the world and power them with generators. The tracks need a bit more space. But the racing is fun and frantic, the talent level is top notch and the future of cars is electric so you might as well have a championship for them now. Though I can’t help feeling it should’ve been a touring car or GT series, maybe a silhouette series with a spec chassis underneath and a manufacturers’ bodyshell to make it look like their road cars.

I don’t even have space to talk about the globalisation of LMP3, GT3, GT4 – and the remarkable TCR. All this has made previously national or regional events accessible to others around the world.

I haven’t even touched on MotoGP which year after year is the best racing around.

There’s an obsession with nostalgia in racing. I happen to think we’re in a golden era right now.

The Future

I know in my head what I want the blog to be. The same as it was in 2008 – short pieces of snippets every few days, intermingled with a lengthy weekly or fortnighly column. The problem is finding the time or the motivation in the depths of the season. You’ll have noticed I stopped the latest project back in July when the summer got too hot!

The goal is to get people to pay attention outside their own bubble, be that the F1 bubble, or the IndyCar bubble, or the sportscar bubble, or even the Formula E bubble these days.

I’ve tried various formats of race report, showing points progression and including race video, but few people read race reports, and I’m wary of video now due to copyright rules. I think the future of this site is in personal comment and reflection.

The racing e-calendars for iCal and Google Calendar will continue. They are laborious at times, yet very popular and a focal point of the blog. I even considered flipping it, so the calendars are front and centre and you had to hunt to find the blog posts.

As for the future of racing? We are in interesting times. We’re going back to the future.

IndyCar has shown the way. The nail-biting close finishes are gone. Instead we have cars visibly difficult to drive. They may not set lap records compared to last year’s very-high-downforce kits, but they do allow a difference between nailing the setup and missing it. Between top driver/team and those further back. And reducing the wake so cars can get close.

F1 needs to follow suit. It can find a way to do this while retaining the fastest cars. It also needs to go back to tyres that allow drivers to go flat out in a race. Cruising around to save super-ultra-hyper-soft tyres isn’t good enough and makes a mockery of changing the cars themselves to be faster.

Sports cars among GT racing is in rude health. They just need to be careful not to spend GT3 out of existence. In the prototypes there’s a golden opportunity lying just ahead, in blending LMP1 with DPi. If they get it right… well, special things could happen.

And Formula E will be the first of many series with what we presently call ‘alternative fuels’. Fast-charging electric cars are coming. Longer-range batteries are already here, with no need to swap cars in the 2019 season. Other electric series are coming. And elsewhere, hydrogen cars are coming.

The rest of the motor sport world needs to pay attention. If Governments are banning cars powered by fossil fuels from sale, how long will it be before they ban racing other than anything emission-free? 40 years? 30? 20?

The change over the next five years could be bigger than the whole of the last ten.

Preview: 2018 Australian GP

f1 2018

2018 Rolex Australian Grand Prix

Albert Park, Melbourne
Lap Distance:  3.296 miles (5.303 km)
Race Lap Record:  1m24.125 (Michael Schumacher, 2004)

Multiple Total Wins

Australian GP World Championship races (Adelaide 1985-1995, Melbourne 1996-current).

Drivers
4  Michael Schumacher;
3  Jenson Button;
2  Alain Prost, Gerhard Berger, Ayrton Senna, Damon Hill, David Coulthard, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel;

Constructors
11  McLaren;
8  Ferrari;
5  Williams;
3  Mercedes;
2  Renault;

The Australian GP has a history going back to 1928 but didn’t join the F1 championship trail until 1985. It moved to the current Albert Park circuit in 1996.

Last 5 Wins

2017  Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari;
2016  Nico Rosberg, Mercedes;
2015  Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes;
2014  Nico Rosberg, Mercedes;
2013  Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus-Renault;

Set Up

Albert Park is a unique place, it is a parkland track running around a lake yet it is in the middle of city suburbs. It is only used for racing once every year so like Monaco the track changes a lot from Friday to Sunday.

There is also a lot of support race action which is great for fans, one of the best of the year. Australian Supercars events are now full points-paying rounds of the championship for the first time so if you are going, expect some action. There are also GT races and more. But for F1 teams it means rubber from other brands gets laid down, so it can take a few laps for the F1 rubber to come back in. This mixes things up and makes it unpredictable.

With this being the opening round and only two short pre-season tests this season, those being colder than usual, the competitive order hasn’t yet been established. If you are looking for an upset the place to find it is in Melbourne.

It also has that tricky, narrow and fast first corner which always catches people out at the start, so even a driver in form may find himself bundled out of the race straight away.

Then again, as I’ve said in my season preview, there is definitely pecking order as we stand right now.

Bookies have a good idea about these things and this is reflected in the odds for the Australian GP where Hamilton is marked as clear favourite. They think the Mercedes dominance will continue for the season. But don’t let that put you off. Anything can happen at Albert Park and we really don’t know how things will settle until race day, so it is worth a punt elsewhere – at those odds I’ve put a cheeky £5 on Ricciardo to win at home! Bottas is also worth a shout. If you like a little flutter there are some good things out there.

Again it’ll likely be a battle between Hamilton and Vettel. Their team-mates will be in the mix. Ricciardo and/or Verstappen will surely be up there. And what might Alonso do, now he has a Renault engine?

If the first race was somewhere like Bahrain, as your race prediction you might write down the testing results and you’d be mostly right. The beauty of Melbourne is that we could be completely wrong!

My Podium Prediction

1. Hamilton;
2. Vettel;
3. Ricciardo;

I hope to write about all F1 rounds for 2018 along with other championships as well, do check back weekly!

2018 F1 Team By Team Preview

Preview:  2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship

f1 2018

A Year Of Changes

2018 will see many changes, not least in the presentation of Formula 1, as you can see with the logo above! New owners Liberty Media start their second season and are beginning to make an impact. It’ll take too long to go through it all so here are some bullet points:

  • Increased digital presence, including hiring journalist Will Buxton to present video content across platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
  • That new logo.
  • New theme music, which we’ll probably hear around the podium ceremony.
  • Increased promotion.
  • Change of race start times.

The cars are largely unchanged. The biggest change is the addition of the halo safety device. Opinion is divided of course. The aeroscreen or IndyCar windscreen seem much better options but those haven’t been tested fully – the halo is ready now. The FIA would be open to legal challenge if they had a system ready to go, didn’t install it, and someone got seriously hurt. Really they have no choice but to install it while developing alternatives.

Otherwise the cars still look badass. A 2018 car is basically a 2017 car with a halo and no “shark fin” engine cover. A 2018 car with a halo looks miles better than a 2012 car with those disproportionate front and rear wings. I’ll take a 2018 car every time.

Pirelli have introduced two new tyre specs, the “hypersoft” at one extreme and the “superhard” at the other. Yes, those really are the names. There are further restrictions on “oil burning” (feeding oil into the fuel mixture). And there are changes to the way penalties are awarded. Chain Bear F1 made a good video about it.

Continue reading “2018 F1 Team By Team Preview”

2018 Calendars: VLN

2018 VLN Langstreckenmeisterschaft Nürburgring

VLN

A series of 9 races on the Nürburgring Nordschliefe, including most of the Grand Prix circuit. Races are 4 hours in length, except VLN-5 ‘ROWE 6 Hour ADAC Ruhr-Pokal-Rennen’ which is for 6 hours.

Grids include all sorts of GT and Touring Car machinery from GT3 down to Clio Cup, in one race. The classes – and entrants – are very similar to that of the ADAC 24 Hours Nürburgring, though the race is not run by the VLN and is not part of this series.

Google/iCal Calendar links:   ICAL  -or-  HTML

For more championships click here.

Continue reading “2018 Calendars: VLN”