There are a lot of unanswered questions out there when it comes to 2014. We can go on for as long as we like about the technical details but it’s difficult, at this point, to know exactly how it’s all going to settle. The teams aren’t sure, which means the drivers aren’t sure – which means that we, the fans, can’t be sure either.
We can but push, however, and to this end I sat down last week with Rob Wilson to talk about the driving fundamentals that may or not be relevant to 2014. We were joined on line by Tom McCullough, the very talented pit lane engineer who worked in IndyCar and then at WilliamsF1 before joining Sauber towards the end of 2012. Having helped to turn that team around mid-season, and secured some consistently strong results with the driver he first met at Williams – Nico Hulkenberg – Tom is now joining Nico at Sahara Force India for 2014. Here’s how the conversation went:
That was the verdict of Valtteri Bottas as he looked back at Suzuka, venue of last Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix. Williams didn’t have a great weekend (again) but that did nothing to dim Valtteri’s enthusiasm for the circuit and for the F1 disciplines in general. We tasted a flavour of that at another great circuit last week when Valtteri chauffeured friends and Williams team partners around the Brands Hatch Indy circuit in a hot little Renault Clio. Mundane the car may be (by F1 standards); perfunctory his lap was not – and I hope we captured a little of its flavour in a short clip within this week’s edition of The Racer’s Edge. In the Teddington TRE studio I was very pleased to welcome back our friend and regular technical expert, Craig Scarborough. There have been plenty of rumours recently about Red Bull possibly running some form of KERS-related traction control; Scarbs tackles this theory head-on as well as providing his own, inimitable, detailed analyses all of the teams’ latest developments. And I’ve always wanted to chat to Alex Lynn, the very fast young Englishman who won prolifically in Formula Renault before graduating to F3. Alex has now won three rounds of the ultra-competitive 2013 Euro F3 Championship and I think you’ll find him refreshing in his approach: he chose to drive for the front-running Italian team, Prema Powersport, (a) because it would leave him with no excuses and (b) because it would take him out of his British comfort zone. He’s risen to the challenge. On top of all that, Alex also finds time to race his father’s ex-Bob Jane 1965 Lotus-Cortina, so there’s no doubt that his heart’s in the right place. It’s been a sad week but I hope you enjoy Episode 33. It’s about people who love our sport and the passion that they engender.
I haven’t had much time for neg-scanning recently but managed to squeeze some in a few moments ago whilst watching a replay of Ashton Agar’s amazing innings at Trent Bridge in the first Ashes Test (cricket, for those of you unfamiliar with this sport of sports). The idea was to scan a further ten pictures or so but I have to confess that I stopped after only two or three: the sheer natural talent of this 19-year-old Australian spinner-batsman, combined with his humility, is just captivating.
Cricket? Motor racing? Jim Clark was an excellent cricketer; let’s not forget that.
Anyway: back to motor racing. Here’s some more from the glorious days of the Kyalami Ranch, South Africa: That’s Alain Prost, now looking up from his copy of L’Equipe; and this is something you wouldn’t see today – two Italian F1 drivers having a laugh (Riccardo Patrese and Andrea de Cesaris). Back then, the concept of there being no Italians in F1 was about as laudable as an F1 season without the Kyalami Ranch.
Here are some de-briefs, too: Alain Prost lunches with McLaren’s John Barnard; Tyrrell’s Brian Lyles confers with the brilliant Stefan Bellof on the Detroit pit wall; and we eavesdrop behind Frank Williams as Neil Oatley (right) takes notes and Jacques-Henri Laffite and Keijo Rosberg think Williams-Honda
I took this shot of Frank Williams and Ayrton Senna shortly before Ayrton’s first F1 drive – his Williams FWO8C test at Donington in July, 1983. There was no thought of an official “media announcement” or anything like that – both of them actually needed quite a lot of persuasion to pose by the race truck! Note Ayrton’s Porsche t-shirt