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Archive for the category “The Racer’s Edge”

Why Seb is so quick

I was looking through the LAT Photographic website the other day for some nice Red Bull action when I came upon these two images, courtesy of Alastair Staley. They were both taken during the race in India at the Turn 8/9 complex – a right-left change of direction of the type that in recent years has become a Seb Vettel signature section.  I had to look twice, I have to confess, when I noted Seb’s head position. I rang Alastair to confirm that both photos were indeed taken during the race (ie, that Seb wasn’t on a formation lap) and that they were both travelling at racing speed (ie, that they weren’t behind a Safety Car).  As you can see, the two photos captured almost exactly the same piece of road (which was fortunate, because Alastair then moved slightly, rendering further comparisons slightly more difficult). 2013 Indian Grand Prix - Sunday2013 Indian Grand Prix - SundayWhilst Mark is still looking at “the corner”, and looks to be carrying a little more load, Seb is already lining up for T9.  His car also appears to be “flatter” and carrying slightly less lateral load.  As we chatted, Alastair allowed that he had often noticed Seb’s very different mid-corner head position but that it was difficult to capture this. We’re talking a millisecond here, a moment in time.  I dare say that other great drivers have in the past “been able to get their corners over sooner”; it’s only now that we are in the digital age that the law of averages is coming into play. I don’t profess to have all the answers – and nor does Rob Wilson, who openly admits that he is learning something new (about the business of driving) every day. I could think of no-one better than Rob, though, to analyse these two photos. As well as winning all over the world in a variety of motor racing disciplines, Rob has coached, or coaches, many of today’s stars, including Giedo van der Garde, with whom we talk in Part 3 of this week’s show, Valtteri Bottas, Sergio Perez, Pastor Maldonado, Kevin Magnussen and – right back in his Formula Renault days – Kimi Raikkonen.

I think you will enjoy his detailed observations (below) in Part 1 of The Racer’s Edge, Episode 36.

Down to the wire

Here is the third and final part of this week’s show, specially segmented for YouTube viewers.  In this section we look back at last weekend’s Indian GP and then talk to the GP2 Championship leader, Switzerland’s Fabio Leimer, shortly after his arrival in Abu Dhabi.   Fabio, who drives for the Spanish-based Racing Engineering team, currently holds a slender points lead over England’s Sam Bird (who is well-known to regular viewers of our show).  In our analysis of the GP2 and GP3 title deciders, I’m joined in the studio by Tom Gaymor, the former lower-rung single-seater driver whose promising career was cut short by an accident (from which he has now fully recovered).  As well as voicing the new F1 smart-device, livetream app, Tom also calls GP3 and Porsche Supercup races for Eurosport.  He loves his racing – as he loves all sport – and is as passionate about it now as he was when he was competing himself.   He lives in nearby Teddington, sharing an apartment with the very talented Porsche driver, Richie Stanaway.  Don’t forget that the full-length version of the show can be downloaded from tonight on iTunes;  in the meantime I hope you enjoy this special “preview” segments.

How good is Sebastian Vettel?

In Part Two of this week’s episode of The Racer’s Edge I wanted to chat to a few friends about Sebastian Vettel. Where does he sit amongst the all-time greats? What’s he like as a driver and as a person? How much more does he need to prove? And this provided me, of course, with an excellent opportunity to talk again to one of my heroes – to John Surtees, OBE.  A lovely man and an F1 icon, John (or “Sir John”, as he would be if there was any justice amongst politicians) spoke with all the humility, knowledge and enthusiasm that befits the only man ever to win both motor-cycle and F1 World Championships. I was lucky to catch Sir Jackie Stewart as he was walking his dogs near Lake Geneva; and the phone connection wasn’t bad to Italy, either, where I tracked down one of the wisest of all journalists – Giuseppe “Pino” Allievi.  A Ferrari expert – an F1 expert – Pino did not disappoint.  As well as some intelligent thought about Seb and his place in history, Pino also gives us his view of Ferrari’s driver line-up in the medium-term.

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In a slightly-changed format for The Racer’s Edge, and to give you more immediate access to what we’re filming and saying, we’re beginning this week with segmented, advance-view YouTube posts of the show.  Whilst the full-length iTunes download version, now watched every week by over 60,000 fans around the world, remains unchanged as an on-demand production available late on Thursdays, YouTube viewers can now  enjoy the show as “preview” segments, posted virtually as they happen.  And don’t worry about keeping track with the show as it evolves:  each episode by Thursday night (UK time) will be archived in “playlist” form on our YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/peterwindsor) for easy, follow-on viewing.

In this first part of Episode 35 we have a lot of fun with Remi Taffin, the Head of Trackside Operations for Renault Sport F1.  We caught up with Remi just after he had returned to Viry Chatillon from India and I think the tone of the conversation captures something of what winning a World Championship is all about. In the upcoming segments of the same show, to be posted on Wednesday and then again on Thursday, you’ll also be able to hear from Sir Jackie Stewart, John Surtees (in the studio), the respected Italian journalist, “Pino” Allievi, the GP2 Championship leader, Fabio Leimer and, also, in the F1 Racing studio, from Anthony Rowlinson and Tom Gaymor, the former driver who is now carving a name for himself with Eurosport and as the commentator for F1’s new livesteam, smart-device app.

Here, then, is Part One of Episode 35, The Racer’s Edge.  Enjoy.  Parts Two and Three will follow over the next 48 hours, together with a YouTube-only bonus Abu Dhabi GP preview video.  To stay fully informed about all the new content, remember to subscribe to our YouTube Channel by clicking the (free) subscription widget on the right.

 

From F3/GP3 straight into F1…

We had a lot of fun with this week’s show, which probably explains why it’s a little bit longer than normal.  So many excellent people with whom to talk!  I won’t give too much away, but suffice to say that we catch up with Scuderia Toro Rosso’s new signing for 2014 (Daniil Kvyat); with the versatile Alex Wurz (after his win for Toyota in last Sunday’s Fuji Six Hours); with the eloquent Karun Chandhok (on the eve of his home Grand Prix, hoping, obviously that the race will be on again in 2015); with the talented Italian, Raffaele Marciello, the new Euro F3 Champion; and, in the studio, keeping me honest, the Editor of F1 Racing, Anthony Rowlinson. In between all of this we also manage to look at some amazing retro F1 colour schemes (as applied to a current F1 car); to see some recent footage shot from a drone over Brands Hatch (it’s amazing, believe me); and to compare start-line reaction times with Pastor Maldonado. But that’s enough of me. Enjoy Episode 34.

 

“It’s the best circuit in the world…”

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.

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