…chance doesn't exist; there's always a cause and a reason for everything – Elahi

Archive for the category “F1”

Chris Amon – in his own words

We lost Christopher Arthur Amon on August 3. “Arthur”, as Nigel Roebuck and I used to call him, was more than just a very classy racing driver; he was a gent, a sportsman, a grazier, a lovely guy full of humility and understated charm. We’ll miss him terribly…but then I guess we have to be grateful that he survived one of the most dangerous of all racing eras  and was able to enjoy many prosperous years at home in New Zealand. I’ve written a few words about him for the next edition of F1 Racing; and here, re-edited, is Chris himself, talking only a few years ago about various highlights of his career. God bless you, Chris – and a big hug to Tish and all the family.


With thanks to Peter and Christy Urban, LAT Photographic, Nigel Roebuck and The Henry Ford

Autocar 2Aug75 Amon P4 LAT archive

Thanks too, Chris, for those laps around Oulton with you in the Ferrari 330 P4.  I’ll cherish them always

Austria, Silverstone…

…and now the Hungary-Hockenheim double-header.  For Lewis Hamilton, a sweet-tasting August  lies ahead.  In these two videos, I look back at those two most recent races – at his battle with his Mercedes team-mate, Nico Rosberg, and at the rise and rise of Red Bull-Renault

Images: LAT Photographic

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.


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