Saturday, March 13, 2010


I'm just watching qualifying for the Bahrain F1 race, and I'm pretty impressed with Karun Chandhouk. His first laps EVER in his HRT car were in this qualifying session. He went out and ran a 2:21 compared to a typical fastest time of 1:55. In only his second lap he ran a 2:08 which was as fast as any time that his team-mate Bruno Senna did the previous day. He went on to only be one second slower than Senna, despite having a whole day's-worth less experience. I think that is pretty damn impressive.

Look for Chandhouk to be the surprise of 2010...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Still here

I can't believe it is seven months since I last posted on this blog, but since four of those have involved being a new dad, I think I can cut myself some slack.

I also found that much of what I wanted to say about motorsport I had already said (or other bloggers were saying the same thing). I got rather tired of the silly politicking in F1 and Indycar, and since there's many other sites out there doing race reports, why try to replicate that?

Anyway, I'm still watching racing and I'm still very excited by it. In fact, it will be a whole new experience when I next go to the track, since I'll be able to take my daughter with me. That race will be the ALMS event at Laguna Seca in May, and just to be on the safe side, we bought her a special Christmas present in preparation:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A question

Am I the only one who is slightly disappointed that there won't be a breakaway championship with the big F1 teams? After seeing a tentative schedule yesterday I was rather looking forward to this.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The FIA/FOTA split

I've stayed pretty quiet on this issue as there are a number of other motorsport bloggers who are far more knowledgeable and insightful about it than I am. Let me just just share a few of my opinions on it...

  • F1 has been pretty entertaining the last couple of seasons, although the novelty of Brawn GP winning everything will ultimately wear off. I worry that one way or another, F1 is going to get boring again.
  • Max Mosley disgusts me. Everything he does, and every way he does it, I find offensive. If a shake-up in F1 is what it takes to depose the shrivelled old goat then bring it on, I say.
  • A breakaway championship sounds all well and good, but 16 cars maketh not a particularly good race. However, if the championship is able to give a greater share of TV revenue to teams, it might actually be a cheaper option to get into a series with a higher budget cap but higher income than to go to the FIA's tightly-capped F1.
  • Does this offer an amazing opportunity to the A1GP blokes to finally get something out of their massive spend? Sell it, with its schedule, contracts, staff and assets, to FOTA and BOOM, instant championship.
  • I'd love to see more teams involved in F1. Back in 1991 I went to the British Grand Prix on the Friday and there were so many teams that there was a pre-qualifying session involving no-hopers like Fondmetal, Lamborghini and Coloni - 34 cars in total!
  • The breakaway (which we'll call the "Grand Prix World Championship" for shits and giggles) could potentially run at tracks which have left, are leaving, or are threatened with ejection from F1, such as Montreal, Silverstone, Magny Cours, Indianapolis, Hockenheim, Imola and Fuji, since the GPWC is likely to offer more favourable terms to those track promoters than Ecclestone. It goes without saying that the GPWC would be unable to race at current F1 venues...
  • However, these tracks face a serious issue - if they sign up to host a GPWC race, the FIA would almost certainly pull other FIA championships from those tracks - WTCC, FIA GT, and Formula 2 for example. This could affect "classic venues" like Silverstone and Imola, as well as GP-ready tracks like Brno, Portimao, Valencia and Oschersleben.
  • The FIA ultimately sanctions ALL worldwide motorsport, via national ASNs, and if an ASN provides local sanctioning for the GPWC they themselves could face retaliation from the FIA. I see this as being the potential ultimate undoing of the GPWC. I think they'll struggle to find any promoters, tracks or ASNs willing to go against the FIA.
  • The FIA is threatening legal action to FOTA teams. Fucking idiots. How about compromising on TV revenues and paying back revenue owed to teams in order to keep the lines of communication open? Any sane person would continue to work on resolving this. It seems to me that Mosley and Ecclestone are consumed by their thirst for power and influence rather than acting like motorsport management professionals. If this situation does anything, I hope it brings these two dickheads down to earth with a bang.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Le Mans is coming soon

I'm totally fucking excited, even if it's one more year that I'm not there. I've established a pattern of going to the race on any year that ends in a 7 or a 4 ('94, '97, '04 and '07). That means it will be a bit of a wait before I go again, so I must make the best of it whilst being stuck in California for the weekend.

I schedule my work week around the evening qualifying sessions (or test sessions as one will be this year) so that I can listen to the commentary and perhaps catch some webstreams via proxy servers.

For race day, typically we've set up the TV in the bedroom the night before so that we can watch the first couple of hours (starting at 6am) from the comfort of our bed. We make coffee (a rarity for us, since we're tea drinkers) and purchase croissants for the full Le Mans Breakfast Experience (TM).

We have a laptop on hand with live timing and scoring, chat on the Ten-Tenths forum, and the inimitable Radio Le Mans providing audio.

During gaps in Speed Channel's coverage we find webstreams of the Eurosport coverage.

As the day progresses, the TV gets moved to the kitchen where we prep food for the evening's party. That food includes tartiflette, merguez sausages, homemade fries and roast chicken, all things you would find at the track. Party guests arrive in the evening, and we hang out, eat the food, drink wine and French beer (Kronenbourg 1664), and keep our eyes on the race.

In the past we've tried to stay up till the end of the race at 6am. This always fails (see above picture) and we end up recording the rest of it and watching it on Sunday without the Radio Le Mans commentary. This feels like an anticlimax. So last year we decided to go to bed at 11pm and get four hours of sleep so that we could check in for the final two hours. This worked well.

The major change this year is that there will be no party. This is for two reasons: first, I've found that all the party planning, as well as the entertaining of guests and cooking of food, means you actually miss what is going on with the race. Second, since we're expecting a baby in three months we have neither the energy nor motivation to go to such lengths and are opting for the easiest way out (like with pretty much everything we do in life at the moment).

However it happens, the Le Mans 24 Hours is always a big highlight of the racing year, and with such a great field this year it should be another cracking good time.

(I just took another look at my video of our 2007 trip to Le Mans - man, it send shivers down my spine. What an amazing place, and an amazing race!)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Motorcycle racing is dangerous

Well, duh. Except it's pretty amazing how many riders are on the sidelines right now thanks to injury...

  • Regis Laconi, WSBK, DFX Ducati: injured in South Africa, being replaced by Lorenzo Lanzi
  • Sylvain Guintoli, BSB, Crescent Suzuki: injured at Donington, replaced by Michael Rutter
  • John Hopkins, WSBK, Stiggy Honda: injured at Assen, replaced by Jake Zemke
  • Max Neukirchner, WSBK, Alstare Suzuki: injured at Monza, replaced by Fonsi Nieto
  • Makoto Tamada, WSBK, PBM Kawasaki: injured at Monza, replaced by Jamie Hacking
  • Neil Hodgson, AMA, Corona Honda: injured playing around on a motocross bike, replaced by Jake Holden
  • Troy Corser, WSBK, BMW: injured at Monza, replaced by Steve Martin
It's a good time to be a good rider without a ride, if all the "regulars" keep throwing their bikes down the road and breaking their bodies in the process...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Long Beach

Didn't the Indycar race at Long Beach look great? It reminded me of 1995, with all the top US open-wheel drivers and some notable foreigners going toe-to-toe in a nice big field of brightly-colored cars in front of a sizable crowd. It really feels to me like Indycar racing is truly back in business. Yes, there's still quite a lot of empty space on the sides of cars where sponsors should be, but there's also a number of new names like McAfee and the US Air Force, both of which are on Raffa Matos' Luczo-Dragon car.

What a difference two years can make. Compare the fortunes of NASCAR and the IRL back in 2007 with what we see today. Most amusing...

My only disappointment was the news that we may not see Will Power again until Indy. Although I'm pleased for Helio Castro-Neves, it is a real shame that a talent like Power will suffer from his acquittal. Here's hoping that Verizon can step up and fund the car for a full season.