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Archive for the category “F1”

All four seasons in one day

…and four days of video on one page

Video blogs, that is. Here are some of my thoughts after each of the four days of Silverstone, from Thursday afternoon onwards. It was a huge, magical event; I hope these vids give you a small taste of what occurred.

With special thanks to Alpinestars, Globe, LAT Photographic and British Pathe.

 

 

 

Caspian Collations

Lovely city; not sure about the circuit.  Mind you, as compromises go, this one isn’t bad:street races are complicated to organise and expensive to sustain but at least when they’re over you still have the ancient castle and the elegant boulevards. It’s the dormant, Eu500m supercircuits – Turkey, India, Korea (with probably a few more to come) – that sit uncomfortably with our conscience; it’s their empty grandstands and decaying garage/paddock areas that spell the waste that in future years we must avoid.

Here are some thoughts from Baku, 2016. The Mercedes win reminded us of what F1 could be like if Toto and Paddy had opted a couple of years ago for an easy-to-manage Clear Number One situation – i.e., Nico plus – for example – Felipe Massa:  we’d have had plenty of walkovers like this.  It also gave us an Ayrton Senna-like mistake from Lewis Hamilton at the vortex of Q3. Baku isn’t Monaco – and nor is it Macau or even Singapore. Once you’re past the heavy braking and threading-the-needle, the circuit provides zero scope for creativity (beyond those old F1 cliches of “managing the tyres”, “harvesting the energy” and “saving the fuel”).  There’s nowhere at Baku for a Lewis to use a slightly longer gear, to create a slightly flatter car.  The corners are too slow and tight; you’re line-locked into conformation.

No excuses, though: a driver must cope with all conditions – just as Nico should have coped better with the wet at Monte-Carlo. Ferrari were a good second (if there is such a thing); and Sergio Perez was an excellent third in the Force India VJM09.  Only Jenson Button (who also had a good day) is as good as Sergio out of slow corners – and traction, whilst looking after the rear tyres, were critical elements at Baku.  The long Baku straight meanwhile brought a sudden halt to the recent rise and rise of Red Bull-Renault. Finally conceding rear wing, the RB12s consumed super-softs and softs for very quick breakfasts and lunches; it was only when they bolted on some (used) mediums for dinner that they were able to find any sort of performance. Quite why Williams didn’t do the same for the tyre-hungry Felipe Massa (who had a set of new mediums sitting in the garage) is a question we dare not ask (other than rhetorically).

It may also be that Baku will prove to be a pivotal race in the life of the 2016 radio restrictions. Whilst I have no problem with a ban on real-time “driver coaching” (I’m a Bruntingthorpe guy, through and through) I just don’t see the logic – from the drivers’ or fans’ perspective – in preventing the engineers from handling the complexities of the modern F1 steering wheel/laptop. Their pits-to-car banter is interesting stuff, if you’re into that sort of thing; and it has no bearing at all on whether a given competitor is a “racing driver”.

 

 

 

 

The Canadian Collection

Some video thoughts from three absorbing days in Montreal…

Magic on the Cote d’Azur

Anyone watching the action from Monaco’s Casino Square, or the exit of the tunnel or the entry to the swimming pool will know it: will know that it doesn’t get much better in these places; that you are close to human beings of extraordinary talent, doing more with their hands, feet, eyes, brains, heart, lungs, muscles and reflexes than most athletes from other sports could manage in a year.

So you can bicker all you like about Lewis Hamilton’s private life, or Nico Rosberg’s clinical precision or Daniel Ricciardo’s endless laugh; when you reach Monaco, all of that becomes redundant. The only thing that matters is the sheer skill of it all. You stand there, at Casino Square, making small talk with the marshals, watching the fans check their lens settings and the pro photographers line-up their tripods.

And then, suddenly, there is the bark of the first engine note. Everyone focusses on the entry to Massenet…

Join me on this year’s Monaco saga.  It begins with a few memories. It ends with the most titanic of wins.

 

Hey Bruce! What happened to the livery…?

Michael TurnerWonderful to see Michael Turner (right) in Monaco (above with Paul-Henri Cahier) – particularly on the occasion of McLaren’s 50th birthday.  I may be wrong, but I don’t think too many of the people closely associated with the original McLaren F1 team are in town – apart from Michael, of course, and I think Howden Ganley  –  so I’m hoping that there’ll be a nice party – featuring Michael – to celebrate.  Having said that, all seems quiet down McLaren’s end of the F1 paddock.

Anyway, Michael is in good form and is still working prolifically (when he’s not flying his Chipmunk).

He reminded us – Paul-Henri Cahier and I –  about that 1966 Monaco GP:  “I had designed the badge for Bruce, featuring the Kiwi, and also the maroon livery on the Group 7 sports car.  Bruce then asked me to do a scheme for his new F1 car.  I did so, but when I arrived in the pit lane I couldn’t see it.  The car was simply white with a green stripe down the centre.  I asked Bruce what had happened. ‘Michael,’ he said, ‘I’m so sorry.  We were going to do the car in your livery but then John Frankenheimer came along and offered us a lot of money to paint it white with a central strip for this film he’s making with MGM.  It was an offer we couldn’t refuse…'”

1966 Monaco Grand Prix. The film, need I say, was Grand Prix – and Bruce’s McLaren would become Pete Aron’s (make that James Garner’s) “Yamura”. Michael took it all with good grace, of course, but was determined not to let “his” livery fade away.  Commissioned shortly afterwards to create the official poster for the 1966 German GP, Michael inserted the “correctly-liveried” McLaren in behind John Surtees’ Ferrari.German GP 1966 poster

It’s a shame we don’t see more of Michael’s work in 2016 – although I did take this shot in a local cafe here.  On the left is the official poster for the 2016 Monaco Historics (based on Michael’s painting for the 1965 Monaco GP programme); on the right is the 2016 Monaco GP poster.  Which is the more memorable?
Poster comparison

McLaren-automotive-car-logo-design-branding-identity-graphics-50-2Images: LAT Photographic

Now that was a motor race…

There was plenty to talk about after the Spanish Grand Prix, not the least of which was that first, amazing, win for Max Verstappen.  When I predicted a few weeks ago on this site that Max would win a race in 2016 with the Red Bull A-team I certainly didn’t imagine that both Merc drivers would be eliminated on lap one in Barcelona. What was clear – despite the pre-race predictions of one N. Rosberg – was that Red Bull were always going to be right there with Ferrari in Spain – or ahead of Ferrari, given their phenomenal traction and therefore their speed through Barcelona’s all-important Sector Three.

And it was Max who burst through. You had to feel for the excellent Daniel Ricciardo, who drove beautifully throughout, but – like Ferrari’s “lead” driver, Seb Vettel – found himself mid-race on a switch to soft tyres in an attempt to make a break.  It was at this point that Max – and his shadow, Kimi Raikkonen – gained  momentum:  their medium tyres proved quicker and more durable than predictions had indicated.  Nothing new in that:  F1 loves to go into panic mode after a tyre-graining/wearing couple of sessions on a Friday.

Max’s “tyre management” was also a part of the transformation:  not even Kimi Raikkonen – he of the svelte throttle and steering inputs – could eke out an advantage (or pry open a gap).  And, as the race wound down, and Kimi’s tyres began to go away, he would have been thinking: “this guy drives like me.  He isn’t going to overload anything.”

So here are some thoughts from Spain. The interesting thing about the YouTube platform is that you get to see some thumbs-up or thumbs-down opinions.  I’m very grateful for the number of positives you kindly apply – but we can’t ignore the number of negatives associated with my assessment of the Lewis-Nico shunt (currently 240 in favour of Lewis, 92 in favour of Nico).  Express an opinion – as I have, in favour of Lewis – and there are always going to be those on the opposing side. I respect these views, of course – but I don’t get them: I don’t see how anyone could blame Lewis for darting to the right when the car ahead of him suddenly slows.

Another point to note:  as dramatic as the Lewis-Nico shunt was at the time – and as “big” as the British press tried to play it – it seems, based on the YouTube viewing figures, as though many more people are interested in celebrating this new star called Max Verstappen.  Nice that a positive story is on this occasion out-weighing a negative.

My thanks, as ever, to LAT Photographic for the superb images.

 

 

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