January 11, 2012 in Uncategorized
Hands up who enjoyed the shambles surrounding the Bahrain Grand Prix when it was postponed, nearly rearranged and then pushed back again before eventually being cancelled? Well it looks like it’s about to happen all over again.
The Bahrain Grand Prix was set to be the season opener last year, however due to unrest within the country it was decided it probably wouldn’t be all that wise for the Grand Prix to go ahead. So we endured a wait until the start of May to decide whether it would be rearranged, that wasn’t enough time though and it was pushed back again. Eventually after a lot of moaning from the drivers and human rights groups, the FIA decided to take the race off the calendar all together.
Bahrain is set to the be the fourth round of the 2012 season with the race being held on the 22nd of April. However, a Bahraini human rights group are claiming that all is not right within the country still.
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights are saying that their government are again trying to use Formula 1 to give the appearance that all is well within the country. Nabeel Rajab, the vice present of the BCHR said;
“Formula 1, if they come, they are helping the government to say [it is normal]. We would prefer it if they didn’t take part. I am sure the drivers and teams respect human rights.”
Eyebrows were raised when Bernie Ecclestone wanted to rearranged the grand prix last year, eyebrows were further raised when Bahrain was confirmed on the 2012 calendar.
During the whole Bahrain saga last year, many fans and politicians were left pretty disgusted with the determination Bernie Ecclestone had to get Bahrain back on the calendar. Despite him saying it was safe and he trusted the hosts, the reports on the news were saying otherwise. It disgusted me to think that he would rather host the race and put drivers and fans at risk rather than back down and say ‘Not this year chaps’.
Neither Bernie Ecclestone or the FIA have spoken out about that concerns for this years Bahrain Grand Prix, however I’d imagine they’re just as determined as last year to hold the race.
I don’t think it’s the human rights issue that is the problem, as awful as that sounds. There are a handful of races on the calendar that have marks on their record due to human rights violations and yet races still go ahead there every year. The issue is more to do with people using the Grand Prix to cause chaos. Last year there was to be a ‘Day of Chaos’ on the day of the race if it went ahead, I wouldn’t be surprised if a similar thing was planned again.
Last year a human rights group claimed that the Grand Prix was an unnecessary expense that the country didn’t really want and couldn’t really afford but as the Crown Prince wanted it, they country would have one. This meant that the Grand Prix was part of the reasons for unease and unrest within the country. This is not something a sport should want to be associated with and it’s certainly not something investors and sponsors want a part in.
If I were Bernie Ecclestone I’d take the race off the calendar until the country had truly sorted itself out, in the interest of driver and fan safety, surely nothing else should be more important.
Whether the Bahrain Grand Prix will go ahead later this year remains to be seen, but I get the feeling we’ll be hearing a lot about this in the coming months.
What do you think? Should the race be scrapped again? Or will everything be fine this year?
Next weekend Autosport International will be open to the public, their main feature will be the cars driven by triple world champion Ayrton Senna.
Ahead of this I felt it was time I finally watched the Senna film. I’d put it off for so long because so many reviews had said it had made them cry and I don’t like crying.
The film is simple, which is what makes it so beautiful. The film relies solely on archived footage of Senna during interviews, during races and even some home videos from the Senna family. All of this is played with interviews of his family and people closest too him over the top.
The film starts showing you his karting days, where it’s obvious to see that even back then he just wanted and needed to race.
We see the struggle he faced against the inconsistency with the rules and the pretty obvious bias of the current FIA president, Jean-Marie Balestre. The majority of the film though, focuses on his battles with Prost, which is a shame because I’m sure Senna’s entire career wasn’t just battling against Prost. So it would have been nice to see a couple of other drivers involved.
The frustration is evident when the he loses the world championship because he cut a chicane after going down the slip road. You feel the same frustration too when you see Ron Dennis showing footage of other drivers doing the same thing while he explains they received no penalty at all. I’ll be honest, I called the FIA president a nob, not to his face of course, but it was directed at the tv. I’ve never felt such frustration while watching a film.
We see the concern in Senna’s face when another driver has a crash and we see him fighting hard to try to improve the sports safety. Senna comes across as a passionate, caring, kind, intelligent and extremely talented man, who didn’t care for the politics and the rumours involved in Formula 1, he just wanted to race.
The film also shows the countless things Ayrton did to help people in need in his native Brazil, it’s clear to see from the footage that they worshipped him. One many even says the country has nothing else to really be proud of.
The highlight of the film for me was when he won the Brazilian Grand Prix with a car stuck in 6th gear. How he did that I’ve no idea, I’m not sure he even knew, but the sheer joy and excitement you hear over the radio is amazing. You thought Sebastian Vettel sounds excited when he wins a race? You need to see/hear that bit of footage. Youtube it if you must, just listen to it. He’d put so much into the race that he passed out in the car afterwards, that’s what I call giving it everything.
One of the best things about this film is the emotion it makes you feel. I’ve never watched a film that’s made me feel the way Senna has, you share the feelings of frustration and elation with him as you watch the film. You can’t help but laugh when you see the footage of him in a drivers meetings and he brings something up that catches the FIA president off guard, infact I think I’ve developed a serious disliking for this guy. This is how much Senna makes you feel.
You don’t need to be a fan of Formula 1 to enjoy this, this is a film about determination, fighting, triumph and in the end, absolute tragedy, it’s just applied to Formula 1. It’s an absolute tragedy that he died, he was an incredible driver and that’s plain to see.
If you’re a Formula 1 fan and you haven’t seen this, go and see it. If you aren’t a Formula 1 fan and you haven’t seen it, what are you doing reading this? GO AND SEE IT!
At the end of last season Toro Rosso shocked everybody by axing both Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari, a strange decision considering the improvement they’d both shown during the 2011 season.
Toro Rosso’s excuse was that the team was a starter team, they weren’t there to play host to world champions, they were there to help drivers get recognised and then go on to better teams. Sebastien Buemi seems to have got lucky, being instantly snapped up by Red Bull Racing as their third driver, with quite obviously the intention of replacing Mark Webber.
Jaime Alguersuari has not been so lucky, he’s floating around in the realms of the unknown with other drivers who have found themselves fighting over just two race seats.
Alguersuari appears to be a little choosy though and one has to question how much he actually wants a drive. When asked by a spanish newspaper if he would drive for HRT he said it would be a step backwards in his career. I chuckled at that and agreed with him momentarily, ‘but at least it would be a drive‘ I thought.
There’s no doubt that driving for HRT would be difficult and frustrating so you can see why he wouldn’t want to drive for them. But that would be cowardly, F1 drivers love a fight and a battle, driving for HRT would certainly be both. I want to believe though that this year they may start to improve otherwise they may as well just call it a day and walk away from the sport. At least he would have a drive though, once you’re out of Formula 1 it’s tough to get back in.
Spanish newspaper, AS, report Alguersuari as saying that he is looking into becoming a third driver for a team like McLaren. McLaren already have a third driver, they don’t need another. Yeah being a third driver is the next best thing to racing, you can’t be a third driver for a team who already has one. I’d even take a third driver team at HRT if it was the only thing available.
Another point I considered was that, big teams may be looking for a driver who just wants and needs to drive. While they want a fantastic driver who can lead a team to success, experience is important. Formula 1 isn’t easy by any measure and a driver needs to be able to cope and deal with tough seasons and should be be able to show he is willing to do anything to get a drive and stay in Formula 1.
Yes, it’s hard to take HRT seriously and no one would consider them a dream drive right now, but who knows what they might become? If Alguersuari could gain points driving a HRT, he’d look even better. Maybe he shouldn’t view it as a step backwards but an opportunity to show what he can do.
If I were a team boss, which I’m not nor am I ever likely to be, I would want a driver who was willing to do anything to get a drive. As much talent as I think Alguersuari has, stating he wouldn’t drive for a team because it would be a step backwards would be a killer for me. I wouldn’t hire him.
Think about Jenson Button, not too much ladies, he’s had tough seasons during his career but look where he is now. Formula 1 is not a walk in the park.
There are only two race seats Mr Alguersuari, you can’t afford to be picky. Don’t forget the saying that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. That being said, Alguersuari also has a music career alongside his Formula 1 under the name DJ Squire, so if he didn’t get a drive he’d have something to do at least.
What do you think? Is Alguersuari being daft or is it a wise move? What would you do in his position?
When I was 5 or 6 and a teacher would ask the class who our heroes were or who we wanted to be like when we were older, most girls would say like The Spice Girls or whoever else was in the charts then. My answer was always Damon Hill.
Since the age of 3, I have looked forward to a Sunday afternoon just so I could watch a collection of beautiful cars be driven at insane speeds by arguably some of the bravest and ballsiest men on the planet but I was absolutely obsessed with Damon Hill. My mom even made me a tshirt with his name on, it was impossible to get me to take it off.
I can’t really tell you why I loved Damon Hill so much at the time, other than he was exciting to watch. Maybe I was being patriotic too after hearing ‘Look the english guys winning’. My parents would sit me infront of the TV for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon and I’d barely move. I’ve been told that even at such a young age I knew exactly what was happening during a race, which means I probably got incredibly excited when Damon Hill was leading a race. So I think I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise to my parents for screaming and shouting in excitement.
As I’ve grown older I’ve seen him in documentaries and tv programmes and I’ve learnt that he’s not only a fantastic driver but that he’s pretty down to earth and a geniunely nice guy.
During his eight years in Formula 1, Damon Hill won one world championship, 1996 for Williams, and won 22 races. He also shared a record with Aryton Senna and Alain Prost for starting 16 races from the front row of the grid. A record we known was smashed by Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel who started 18 races on the front row in 2011.
Since leaving Formula 1 Damon has continued in to work in motorsport; founding a super car members club, owning a couple of car dealerships and most notably in 2006, he took over from Jackie Stewart as the President of the British Racing Drivers Club, a position which he stepped down from last year. We have him to thank for securing Silverstone’s place on the calendar for many years to come and for all the development to the circuit and to the venue, such as the new Silverstone Wing, which looks fantastic may I add.
If I were ever asked who I’d most like to meet it would be Damon Hill, I owe my love of Formula 1 to him. I wish I could have gone to the British Grand Prix when he was still racing.
Who’s your favourite Formula 1 driver and why?
Don’t forget I’m trying to run a Favourite Driver Sunday, so if you want to tell us about your favourite driver, drop me a message in the comment box/twitter me/email me/or comment on tumblr.
January 8, 2012 in Uncategorized
I now plan on running a feature on a Sunday; I want to hear about your favourite Formula 1 driver.
What will happen?
Tomorrow, well later on actually as it’s nearly 2am now, I will be putting my post up. If people who are interested could comment on it with their favourite driver just so I can gauge interest that’d be really helpful. I’ll then assign people a Sunday.
Are there any rules?
No of course not, just tell us about your favourite driver, living or dead. I don’t even mind if a lot of people like the same driver because the chances are you’ll like them for different reasons. You can write as much or as little as you like just have fun with it.
I can’t take any credit for this idea really, so I’d like to thank and direct all the credit to Footos-thefreshfighter / Ryan. Thank you so much for your help
During the start of the season some fans and commentators were annoyed at the introduction of DRS, Drag Reduction System, to the sport, saying that it made overtaking too easy and therefore made racing artificial. Some drivers and fans still feel this way but as the new season is just over 2 months away, I’m going to take a look at just exactly what DRS has done.
For those of you who don’t know, DRS stands for Drag Reduction system and it really is quite simple. At certain parts of the track if a driver is 1 second or less behind the driver infront of them, they have the ability to open their rear wing, as the picture to the left shows. This reduces downforce to give to car up to 8 mp/h or 12 km/h extra miles an hour with the intention of assisting overtaking.
On the majority of tracks there was one DRS zone, however some tracks such as Canada or Abu Dhabi had two DRS zones.
Two DRS zones was pretty pointless to be honest. The driver behind just before the first DRS zone would use it to overtake the driver infront and then on the second DRS zone they’d get overtaken by the driver they’d just overtaken. If that makes sense. So I hope we don’t see two DRS zones again.
I don’t really like DRS to be honest on the principle that it’s not raw racing however, for me DRS worked perfectly when it allowed the driver to get a little closer and then overtake a few corners later and on a few occasions that happened. However at some tracks it made overtaking too easy.
My main issue with this is that it’s an unfair advantage on the driver behind. The driver infront can’t deploy DRS in his defence so he just has to sit there and wait to be overtaken and then may spend the next few laps being held up. So in that respect it makes racing very artificial for me.
Lets not forget Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso’s little incident where the DRS malfunctioned and opened all on it’s own. I believe it was geniune, though there are people who don’t, either way it gave him an unfair advantage. One the other hand there were times when some drivers couldn’t get their DRS to open, meaning they were at a disadvantage. Obviously a malfunction isn’t something that can be helped but if DRS won’t work a driver will be at a severe disadvantage, this is why I don’t like these little gadgets.
Before the season starts I think DRS needs to be seriously reviewed. We’ve been to each track on the calendar now, aside from the Circuit of the Americas, so we know how it worked last year. So if it was too easy then shorten the section of track it can be used for and in the interest of fairness, where it didn’t work lengthen the section of track it can be used for or change the section of track it can be used for. Whatever the FIA do, lets not see anymore double DRS zones okay chaps and chapesses? What I want to hear in response is ‘Yes Rosie’.
Personally I’m not a fan of these little contraptions that stop racing being real racing. If it were up to me I’d get rid of DRS, KERS and the blue flag rule. Oh and Bernie please please don’t ever think about installing glorified sprinklers on the track, if you’re going to do that you may as well have a banana skin cannon and turtle shells and turn it into Formula Mario Kart.
What do you think about DRS? Has it made racing artificial? Do you want to see it got rid of or more of it?
With only 20 races on the calendar, Formula 1 has to spread itself thin and try to take the sport to as many countries as possible. Spain are currently the greediest country on the calendar with two races and the United States soon set to join them. Should we have two races in the same country though?
The second week of May will see the Formula 1 circus roll into Catalunya for the Spanish Grand Prix, while just over a month later it will be back in Spain for the ‘European’ Grand Prix in Valencia. I’d argue that’s unfair.
The United States Grand Prix is scheduled to be held in Austin, Texas in November later this year and in 2013 a street race will be hosted in New York/New Jersey, meaning there will also be two races in the United States. I can understand that though, the US is a huge country and when you consider how many races there are in Europe than it only seems fair that the US have two races, as their closest choices would be Canada and Brazil which for some aren’t that close at all.
Towards the end of last year the list of countries hoping to host a grand prix was longer than Dumbledore’s beard (I have really just said that haven’t I?) with the likes of Hong Kong, Mexico and Argentina trying to get on the calendar.
I don’t understand why these a country needs two seperate grand prixs? The German Grand Prix alternates between being held in Hockenheim and at the Nurburgring, so why can’t the same be said for Spain and the US? (if they can’t generate the interest that is)
I like what Germany do, alternating makes the calendar more interesting. I think maybe other countries could learn from it, especially large countries with large fan numbers, hold two at near opposite ends of the country to allow all fans to have the opportunity to go.
Formula 1 fans are missing out on potentially fantastic races. I don’t know a single fan who likes Valencia, I think I nearly fell asleep during it this year, it’s just so so boring. It’s bad when the most exciting part of the coverage is waiting to see what kind of awful shirt Eddie Jordan has on. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s fun to play on F1 2011 on the xbox but I don’t want to watch it for two relatively actionless hours.
Sadly though with Bernie Ecclestone at the helm, things seem to be very money orientated and I can understand why, it is a business too and it’s not a cheap sport to run unfortunately. The Turkish Grand Prix was struck off the calendar because they couldn’t fund the race and the Korean Grand Prix may go the same way if it can’t generate enough interest this year.
What could be done? I suggest the same as Germany do, it’s so simple. Alternate, it also means that the circuit are only having to fork out every two years to host the race, though that does mean they aren’t making as much. It’s a simple and fair idea when there are countries lining up to get onto the calendar to bring Formula 1 to a country where it’s wanted.
I have suggested this when ranting about it before, it’s very simple though. Due to the large amount of countries who want to join the calendar, hold a lottery. For every driver nationality allocate that country a space on the calendar, if they don’t have the facilities to hold a race then they obviously can’t hold a race.
In 2012 there will be 11 different nationalities on the grid. (this figure is before the 2 open race seats have been filled) All 11 nationalities are allocated a space on the grid, meaning there are 9 spaces to fill. If there are more than 9 countries who wish to hold a grand prix they are chosen at complete random. It’s simple. An issue with this though is that drivers contracts aren’t usually revealed until the end of the season and finalising the race calendar in December could prove problematic.
Formula 1 is a worldwide sport and it needs to make itself available to as many fans as it possibly can. The truth is that some countries just cannot afford to hold a race but the ones that can shouldn’t be prevented from doing so because there is no space while one country holds two slots on the calendar.
What do you think about countries hogging the calendar and what would you do to resolve the problem?
There’s not much to say really, the title says it all.
Despite losing his race seat at Toro Rosso, Sebastien Buemi will still remain in the Red Bull / Toro Rosso family as a test and reserve driver for both teams.
I get the sneaky suspicion that if Mark Webber’s contract isn’t renewed next year Buemi may be taking his seat as Toro Rosso claim it’s a rookies team, so there would be no point in him going back to Toro Rosso.