Category Archives: Formula 1

New Channel 4 F1 Lineup – looking good!

So this upcoming F1 season, the coverage in the UK will be on Sky but now the free-to-air coverage has moved from the BBC to Channel 4. It was only about 3 months ago when BBC announced it was dropping F1 (money saving) and shortly after Channel 4 announced they were taking over.

Personally I think the sport coverage on the BBC is great. And if it means keeping stuff like the Olympics for the F1, I am OK with that. F1 over last couple seasons has got a bit boring – nothing to do with the BBC – boring races. But maybe with some F1 coverage from a different channel with different ideas, it can make the whole coverage better?

Great looking line-up!

The actual lineup (presenters, pundits, experts) for F1 on Channel 4 was recently announced and its looking really good. Nice mixture of people.

The full line up is:

  • David Coulthard
  • Mark Webber
  • Suzi Wolff
  • Karun Chandhok
  • Lee McKenzie
  • Eddie Jordan
  • Ben Edwards
  • Murray Walker (Excellent. Go! Go! Go!)
  • Nic Hamilton
  • Bruno Senna
  • Alain Prost

I have also read that Alex Zanardi will be an occasional guest. (Suzi Perry left the BBC to go to BT Sport to cover Moto GP). I am happy with everyone (apart from maybe one) particular DC, Mark Webber and Lee McKenzie.

Rotation system

 

One thing Channel 4 have done is get rid of the ‘presenter plus two experts’ model and its now more of a rotation system.  So most the people above won’t be at every race but at various races so a mix of experience and opinion. Apparently this has meant they could sign the likes of Mark Webber, who did not want to commit to a full season.

At every race though will be Steve Jones, David Coulthard and Ben Edwards.

Karun Chandhok with Steve Jones
Karun Chandhok with Steve Jones

I am not too sure about Steve Jones presenting F1 but he seems to be doing his homework going to all the test, watching past races. Also some people were not sure about Jake Humphrey when he was main presenter for BBC F1 coverage and he was brilliant. Also, Steve Jones has experience with doing live TV. As much as I like Suzi Perry, she was not the best sometimes with live TV – she did get better though.

Also, I am personally not a fan of Ben Edward’s commentating style.

I have read that they will be aiming for a younger audience and celebrities will feature heavily across the coverage.  In one feature, Susie Wolff takes comedian Johnny Vegas and British boxer David Haye for passenger rides – which sounds good fun – for Johnny Vegas more, less David Haye. Also, there is a special programme which will feature Guy Martin (motorbike rider) going head-to-head with David Coulthard in a Red Bull.

Its all sounding good. Bring on F1 season 2016 – starting next weekend!

Formula 1 2012 season

So thats the F1 season over…. and what a season!

We had everything this season with great races, great overtakes, 6 different World champions, 7 different winners in first 7 races, Schumacher getting pole in Monaco – shame the rest of the season wasn’t too much to write home about apart from 3rd in Valencia, Hamilton putting his foot in it on Twitter, Raikkonen’s win, Grosjean trying his best to crash into everything,….. and Raikkonen having a go at his race engineer!

We also had a new race in America in Austin. What a great race track! Sounds like all the drivers loved it and we had a good race – Hamilton pursuit of Vettel was excellent.

Arguably the fastest car this season has been the McLaren so its been disappointing for them in a way. Finished 3rd in constructors championship. Reliability let them down and also some poor decisions. And things like not having enough fuel (although Red Bull did that too)! McLaren never had every 100% working smoothly all the time. First their pit stops were rubbish but good everything else, then the pit stops were amazing but other things went wrong.

Personally I wanted Alonso to win. I like Vettel – he comes across as a down to earth funny guy but Alonso drove better – his Ferrari guy was never the fastest car on the grid but he lost by a few points. Also, the combination of Vettel and Red Bull working together and seemingly always qualifying on pole and going into the distance, can be boring.

The last race in Brazil was great! It was a fitting end to the season! We had safety cars, some rain, Vettel getting hit and spun on first turn, Raikkonen taking a wrong turning and heading for a dead-end, Button winning…. after possible controversy after the race with Vettel passing under “yellow flag”. (Looks like its nothing as he had passed a green flag).

One of the sights I will remember from race (and season) is the look on Alonso’s face at end after the race as Vettel is celebrating. Gutted for him! I was happy Massa was on podium in home GP. He has improved a lot recently.

Highlights of season inc overtake on Schumacher in Spa by Raikkonen and Raikonnen radio talk to engineer in Abu Dhabi. Brilliant!

Heres his quotes –

“Just leave me alone, I know what I’m doing.”

“Yes, yes, yes, yes – I’m doing it all the time. You don’t have to remind me every second.”

Looking forward to next season already. How will Hamilton do at Mercedes? What about Perez in McLaren? Will Red Bull continue to dominate?

Do the BBC have all the races next year or is it like this year?? It is a shame that the BBC won’t have Jake anymore. He was great and the banter and chemistry between him, EJ and DC was great. Good luck Jake!

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#Jenson200 – a great win for Jenson Button!

It was Jenson Button’s 200 F1 race and it was a great way to celebrate with an excellent win in an exciting race. The Hungarian GP was in slightly wet/changeable conditions which are perfect for Jenson Button with his driving style and experience.

F1 is now on a little summer break – I think its a 4 week break before its back at Spa in Belgium. Vettel is still miles ahead and actually extended his lead this weekend. However, Red Bull have only won 1 of the last 5 races and McLaren have won 3. Its all hotting up for an exciting 2nd half of the season. McLaren have done really well recently – even improving qualifying performance. The a few races ago, Martin Whitmarsh’s job was apparently at risk! Ferrari are improving too – I hope we get to see the old Massa and he picks up some form.

Its not that I don’t like Vettel – hes a top bloke (as shown on Top Gear few weeks ago). Its just boring the same driver always getting pole and winning. I suppose if your a fan of them then its different. I am a Jenson Button fan so I wasnt complaining in the year he was at Brawn!

Formula 1 – Moving to Sky next year :(

OK, the headline above may be a bit mis-leading as the BBC will still have some of the races. It will have half the races including the British Grand Prix, Monaco and the last race of the season. Details of the other races has not been revealed. I hope the BBC still have the Canadian Grand Prix as thats probably my favourite. Also like the Australian Grand Prix and would be good to have the night race of Singapore.

Sky will have all the races and when the BBC doesnt have the live race, they will  have “extended highlights”. However, I have read today that Bernie Ecclestone has apparently said it won’t be highlights but actually the whole race repeated?? We will see. As well as the BBC race coverage, its everything else thats made it brilliant on the BBC. The whole build-up, all the analysis, the red button coverage with all the practices and most of all the F1 Forum. Its brilliant!! They get some excellent coverage of what happens after a race and quite often get right in the middle of it. Where else would you see Eddie Jordan end up fully clothed in a swimming pool – about 3 times!

It will be interesting to see if all the current BBC F1 team stay. I think they are all great from Jake, Martin, DC, EJ, Ted Kravitz and Lee McKenzie. The radio 5 team including David Croft and Anthony Davidson are great too. Martin Brundle only found out on Friday himself. He says hes out of contract and not impressed. Heres his tweet on Twitter – http://twitter.com/#!/MBrundleF1/status/96854735444901888

I don’t have Sky Sports and not planning to spend £360 a year for the full Sky Sports HD pack – although I do have it on my mobile with Sky Mobile but thats just £8 a month.  One question is the ad breaks will be back when its on Sky. When it was on ITV, there were ad breaks and you often missed things. In a sport like F1, leaving the action is just not ideal. (I have read somewhere that they may be going ad break free?? They will still have ad breaks during the pre and post race show though!

There is a deal/agreement somewhere that it needs to be all on free-to-air TV. With it going to Sky it kind of isn’t – although its been argued it technically is with the highlights being on BBC. However, this could mean a big drop in audience figures and with less people watching, it will mean less money so people arent going to be happy!!

Its a real shame that in the UK, where most of the F1 teams are based, that you won’t be able to watch all of the races from 2012 live! 🙁 Barbara Slader, director of BBC Sport says “We are absolutely delighted that F1 will remain on the BBC”. How can she be “delighted”??

On the bright side, at least its not completely axed from the BBC. There was talk that it could been in deal between Channel 4 and Sky.

The British government should have added F1 races to list of protected events when it last had the chance to do so in 2009. In suppose, at the end of the day its all about money and the BBC need to  save money!

Canadian Grand Prix

It was the Canadian Grand Prix last weekend and it was one of the best ever. The Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal is one of the favourite. Its usually one of the most exciting – plenty of chances to overtake. Stuff usually happens.

This years was no different. I missed the qualifying as I was at a wedding and was busy during some of the actual race. Thank goodness for Sky +.

It was raining on race day so the race started behind the safety car. It didnt seem that heavy the rain but it seems this year they are being “safe then sorry”. Instead of millions of £££ of F1 car being damaged, they are “playing it safe”. Seems a shame as its always good to see a bit of carnage and some sliding and aquaplaning!! The rain stopped after the start and some cars went on to intermediate tyres. However, it then got really heavy, so heavy in fact that the safety car was out again. It was SO heavy that the race was red flagged and stopped for about 2 hours.

Because of the 2 hour “break”, I almost managed to catch up with the race in real time. The last 20 or so laps were some of the best for a long long time. Vettel was out in the lead as usual and every time the safety car came out – I think 4 times – he managed to get away from the chasing pack really well. Button was having an eventful race having contacted Hamilton and also Alonso. In the end he went in pits 6 times. 5 times for changes to tyres and 1 time for a drive through penalty for speeding behind the safety car.

Best 20 laps ever??

The last 20 laps of the race were with a drying track with all cars changing from intermediate to slick. Vettel was about 12 seconds ahead at one point but Button was catching him fast – about 1.5 to 2 seconds a lap. Its debatable if Button would have caught Vettel (and crucially passed him) without the final safety car. On the final lap, Button got within the crucial 1 second between him and Vettel so would have been able to use DRS. Maybe Vettel was worried about this and ended up making a mistake before the “DRS active zone”. Button got past and won the race.

Elsewhere in the race, Schmacher ended up finishing 4th. Very close to 3rd but Webber was just fast enough to overtake. Hamilton had another race to forgot, going into Webber and coming into contact with Button.

Tumbling marshall

This race really did have everything with the rain, overtakes, crashes. Even marshalls falling over. First there was the one who fell over Vettel hit the wall of champions in Friday practice. Then the one during the race who tried to remove debris from track. It didn’t seem very organised and just a load of blokes going on track and throwing and kicking bits of carbon fibre off the track. One guy slipped and fell, then Kobayashi almost crashed into him and he fell/dived again.

If your in the UK, you can see the video of the guy falling here – http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/formula_one/13748154.stm

(If your in the UK, you can see the race summarised in 90 seconds on the BBC Sport site. Depending when you read this, you could watch the actual race on the iPlayer).

Its turning into a good F1 year 2011. Some really good races, especially Canada and China.