Category Archives: Cars

What is it about the Monaco Grand Prix?

monaco3

It’s the one Grand Prix most people know about and possibly the one that everyone would love to go to.

But what is it that makes the Monaco Grand Prix so attractive (for want of a better expression)?

Let’s be honest, with the exception of any crashes, it’s not exactly the most thrilling race in the calendar to watch – seeing as the circuit is so narrow overtaking is impossible, the whole 78 laps is just a procession.

But it’s Monaco!

There’s been a road race in Monaco since 1929. It was officially ranked as a Grand Prix in 1933, and although it was included in the new Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship in 1950, it wasn’t a continuous part of the Formula 1 circus until 1955.

According to Wikipedia The Monaco Grand Prix is “considered one of the most important and prestigious automobile races in the world and, with the Indianapolis 500 and Le Mans 24 forms the Triple Crown of Motorsport.”

But what makes it so special?

Is it the sunshine? Is it that it is one of the oldest racing circuits? Is it because of the prestige of being part of the Triple Crown of Motorsport?

Nope. If you ask me it’s purely about the glitz and glamour really.

The super-rich looking super-glamorous on their super-yachts, enjoying the sunshine (although rain is forecast for tomorrow’s race) in the South of France. (And they do hike hotel prices up by a couple of thousand per night for race weekend!)

Monaco is amazing. It really is as glamorous as it looks – Ferrari’s and supercars on every corner, the people looking like they literally stepped out of a magazine – and that’s not even on race weekend!

I took SC last year to the Formula E-prix (will blog about Formula E another time) – which was a couple of weeks before the F1 circus rolled into town – this year they moved it to Paris (why?)

Anyway, our tickets were sitting on the Swimming Pool corner, so we had a perfect view of the track and the marina full of super-yachts, and yes I felt so under-dressed – I’d gone under the misapprehension I was going to watch cars race, not enter a fashion pageant.

Next time I go (and yes, I will go to the F1 – ooo, I’ve got a space on my Bucket List for it) I will make sure I have been St Tropez fake tanned, pack my designer glad-rags, hair extensions and full beauty kit – and I’m sure even then I’ll feel under-dressed!

But I digress, even though it wasn’t F1, it was a surreal experience being there … in Monaco … watching a race!

 

 

 

 

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Bahrain Grand Prix 2016

bahrain 2016Talk about murder on the dance floor the start to yesterday’s race was carnage on the racetrack!

There were bits of carbon fibre floating everywhere – and Bernie thinks this racing lark is too dull!!!

Well, actually the bit he’s trying to spice up, i.e., qualifying was the dampest squib of the weekend.

The elimination format is not working – 8 minutes of no cars on track in Q2, 5 minutes in the middle of Q3 (but that’s pretty much the same as the previous format) – the drivers hate it, the teams hate it and the fans hate it, but still the “lady is not for turning”, to coin a phrase.

The latest incarnation to spice up qualifying is to take an average of a drivers’ 2 runs – what?

It’s not really qualifying that’s the matter – there’s always going to be dominant teams, be it Ferrari, Red Bull and at the moment it’s Mercedes – it’s the actual race itself.

The drivers can’t drive flat out and actually race because they have to manage tyres (which seem incapable of lasting more than a few laps before the edge goes off and they affect pace) and they have to manage fuel consumption so they don’t run out of fuel 5 laps before the end. Also not many of these tracks nowadays seem to have many points for overtaking, and some don’t have any at all, which makes for a very dull procession after the first corner.

So, come on FIA sort it out. Take qualifying back to 2015’s format, which everyone was happy with and take time to sort out the real issues which is the fact the drivers can’t actually race flat out.

But I majorly digress, the race itself was brilliant 🙂

Aside from the carbon fibre being flung here, there and everywhere, there were scraps galore. For sure, not for the top 3 spots after halfway, but 4th place backwards there was some truly great wheel-to-wheel racing going on.

Teams that you don’t normally see making it up to mid-field really getting in the mix.

It was great to see Marussia up into 13th, storming past both Force India’s – a team that should be fighting around position 7/8, based on previous form.

Loved the fact that on Friday’s practice, Jenson found the “go faster” button on his McLaren Honda, just a shame it seemed to disappear again on Saturday. But amazing debut by Fernando’s replacement for the weekend, Stoffel (The Stoff) Vandoorne going like the proverbial clappers and earning a point and 10th place.

And what about the new entrant into the F1 world, the Haas team. Amazing results, 2 races and 2 top 10 positions (6th (Australia)/5th (Bahrain)) places courtesy of Monsieur Grosjean.

Sure, Merecedes are still the team to beat, but only 3 years ago everyone was moaning about Red Bull being dominant, and then prior to that there were the Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari years.

It’s not the job of the FIA to conscientiously set about penalising the drivers of the teams who are dominant – to ensure a ‘fair fight’!

No, surely they need to ensure that all teams have a fair chance of developing their cars and coming up to the dominant team’s standard – whether that be by ensuring money is split more evenly throughout the field or giving teams more leeway to test and improve throughout the season itself.

But all the politics aside, I enjoyed yesterday’s race.

 

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So what do you think of the new F1 Qualifying Format?

mercedesIt’s the start of the new F1 season, and along with the new cars, new driver line-ups there’s a whole raft of new rules and of course, the new qualifying format.

From this season drivers will have at least a five-minute window in Q1, Q2 and Q3 to set a time – but after that point, the slowest driver will be eliminated every 90s. From the 22 entries this year, 15 will progress into Q2, and then eight into Q3 – until there are just two men fighting it out for the right to start from pole.

In theory, it sounds like a recipe for a fun, fast and furious set of qualifying sessions.

In reality – and yes I was up at 5am this morning to watch (I am such a car geekette!!) – meh!!!!

The problem is that the format works well when all the cars initially race out on to track to set their times, but then there is not enough time to turn the car around, i.e., do an in-lap, change tyres, re-fuel, re-jig set-up etc. and get back out and do an out-lap prior to another flying lap before the clock starts ticking.

So, what we ended up with was a lot of cars sitting in the garage and not bothering going back out.

Thus making the first qualifying session of the new season rather dull and lack-lustre.

I think in an attempt to try to make F1 more interesting this new format was pushed through too quickly with not much thought to the actual practicalities of time constraints, turnaround and more importantly, the fact that super-soft tyres don’t do more than 1 lap before they go off and as an aside there’s also the fact that not all tracks take less than 90 seconds to go round!

BUT, on the flip side, I think it is possibly unfair to just write this new qualifying format off after one attempt. After all it was a new system, it will take time to get used to, and it probably threw the engineers as much as the drivers and the viewers., and with a few tweaks could provide the excitement that it was intended to.

So, what would I tweak?

Well, I actually thought the system worked really well in the Q1 and the initial part of Q2 sessions – you saw all the cars on the track and there were some surprises in the knock-out stage – this could, of course, have been caused by actual car problems. Then, there was the excitement of 1 car being counted down to knock-out and then improving its time so the car above then being in the knock-out zone, etc. In my humble opinion I thought that worked, but again it was OK for TV viewers, but the spectators in the stands at the actual track had no clue what was going on.

So, a big thought needs to be put in to how to let the live spectators know what is going on.

But the final part of Q2 and Q3 was just a complete damp squib. No excitement whatsoever. No 90 second shoot-out between the last 2 cars standing.  In fact, nobody bothered going out again with 3 minutes and 4 seconds remaining on the clock! It was all over and done with. That fat lady, so they say, had sung!

Maybe an idea would be to lengthen Q1 session and knock half the field out with the new elimination format.

Thus leaving 11 drivers for Q2 and Q3.

Then go back to the old format for the last 2 sessions, but reduce the time and have, say 2 x 10 minute sessions. At the end of Q2 knock out 6 drivers, which should leave 5 standing and then we’ll have a fairly empty track for 5 cars to shoot it out for the top 5 positions.

But even if qualifying becomes more exciting, will that stop the tedium of some of the races that are pretty much just parades? Once the first lap is over there is no overtaking, just the spectacle of cars going round and round.

Much as I love cars, F1, speed, etc., there is no getting away from it, some of the races are dull.

The race should be about the drivers pushing themselves and the car to the limit, going as fast as they possibly to win, rather than it being about tyre management, fuel saving, team orders, etc.

And I fear that until the race can be about that, then whatever you do to try to spice things up won’t make any difference whatsoever.

So, what do you think about the new qualifying format and how would you improve F1?

 

 

 

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So, who thinks F1 2014 is boring now?

bahrain grand prixWell, before today’s race in Bahrain, Ferrari president, Luca di Montezemolo, described this season as akin to taxi driving.

All I have to say after watching (and I promise to try and not give any spoilers away for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet), is that I hope I never, ever get in a taxi like that.

OMG!

It was thrill a minute, riding by the seat of your pants, pure 100% adrenaline filled racing.

There was jostling for position from pole all the way down to the last car.

It was awesome.

Even the engines sounded great – despite people complaining about them not being V8s.bahrain grand prix 2

I literally was sitting on the edge of my seat. With 10 laps to go, my heart was beating faster than the rev in the cars and my adrenaline was pumping, so goodness only knows what the drivers were going through.

It has to be possibly one of the best Grand Prix’s I’ve watched in a very long time.

Roll on China 😉

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What does the new Ferrari F14-T remind you of?

So, today, Ferrari unveiled their new F14-T Formula 1 car on which the title hopes of Alonso and new team-mate Raikonnen rest.

Aside from it looking fabulously Ferrari red, as I looked at it, a vague flicker of recognition spread across my face.

Mmmm, thought I, it looks like Ferrari may have been watching Pixar’s “Cars 2”, check out Lightning McQueen’s Italian rival “Francesco Bernoulli”

f14tCARS 2

 

Or is it just me that thinks this?

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How many miles?

I’ve been driving about quite a lot this summer holiday and a curious phenomenon has revealed itself to me.milestone

I’ve decided, there is a distinct difference between a mile driving in town and a mile driven in the country. Whereby, the country mile is much longer than the town mile!

Now, this could just be because signs are more frequent in towns, but when I have been driving in the deepest darkest countryside, I swear I drive more than a mile and yet when I reach the next sign, my destination is just as far away, or only ½ a mile nearer.

Is it just me that finds this?

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What’s the most important piece of equipment in your car?

So, here’s a little survey I found on a ‘social media’ site that I belong to.

Basically, the question is which piece of equipment in your car couldn’t you live without?

And the options:

  •  Cruise Control
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Keyless Entry
  • In-built SatNav
  • MP3 Player Connectivity

Personally, for me, the piece of equipment I couldn’t live without in my car is the steering wheel!

It is a pretty essential piece of equipment as far as I’m concerned, along with the gear stick 😉

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