Chequered Flag Girl

Welcome to my F1 blog. This blog began as a journalism assignment, but i have now decided to continue it in the hope it'll help me in the future. Bethany For bikes see http://behindthevisor.tumblr.com/

Webber renews contract

Today was Australian Red Bull Racing driver Mark Webber’s birthday, and what better way to celebrate than renewing your contract for another year. It was announced this morning that Webber has signed a new contract to drive with the team in 2012.

Webber who has been seen to be almost second to his teammate on various occasions said “I want to continue racing at the top in Formula One so it’s no-brainer to remain at Red Bull Racing for another year. My motivation to achieve the best results possible both for myself and the team is still very high. Over the past five years, we have worked hard and proved that we can design and build a competitive and championship-winning car, and I’m looking forward to putting the car and myself on the limit again each and every race weekend in 2012.” The now 35 year old is clearly not willing to give up on his dream of one day being world champion- well if Jenson Button can do it.

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner said: “When we sat down and started talking about 2012, it was immediately obvious that Mark and the team wanted to continue our successful relationship. This meant agreeing an extension for 2012 was very straightforward. Mark knows the team well, having been with us since 2007, and his motivation, fitness and commitment is as high as it has ever been. The pairing of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel is a very strong one, they push each other hard and we are extremely happy the pairing will remain unchanged for a fourth season.”

Congratulations Red Bull and Mark, the pressure is now very much on the Vodafone Mclaren team, where it is expected the drivers will stay. 

Senna takes Heidfeld’s (Kubica’s) drive

The F1 break has been anything but fun, websites have been quiet and the fans have been striving to keep conversation alive during factory lockdown. Today the F1 world began to wake up, although the factories have already been open for a few days a special announcement was made by Lotus Renault Grand Prix, Bruno Senna would take the place of Nick Heidfeld at Spa.

Whilst it has not been confirmed that Senna will race the remainder of the season it is believed that he will remain in Robert Kubica’s car for the foreseeable future and I for one am pleased. Many have been quick to write Senna off as just another driver that has gotten into F1 on their name alone. All I can say is this weekend we will see.

Regardless of whether his surname has been a deciding factor I believe that Senna deserves a drive in a car that should make his talent known, if Kubica could do it then so should Senna.

Whether Senna has been reemployed into the sport on name, sponsorship or talent this weekend will be the best to make his Lotus Renault debut, straight after the summer break with a great hype around the fans.

Congratulations Bruno and best of luck!

There are many drivers within Formula One that I would class as ‘quiet’. I do not mean this in the sense that they are a media recluse that doesn’t talk to anyone, I mean it as a word to describe a driver who keeps their head down and drives to the best of their ability, with sometimes very little recognition for their talent.
Nico Rosberg is a driver I would consider as being quiet. He may not be consistently in the news like the past three world champions, but his past records would support the fact that he is one driver not to be ignored. Since 2009 Rosberg has only had a total of four retirements, in comparison to Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel’s six and Jenson Button’s five.
Rosberg is of course the son of former world champion Keke Rosberg, and with this came a degree of pressure to live up to his family name. Unlike most drivers, Rosberg has seemed to have shaken off the comparisons almost entirely; his 2005 championship in GP2 helped to seal his fate in F1 when in 2006 he was hired as a Williams driver.
Although he may not have had the best starts, Rosberg has finished the past two championships in seventh position, and is oddly enough currently running at seventh for the 2011 championship. Not a bad effort from a driver that has never been in the most successful of cars, just yet.
Nico Rosberg is a quiet driver in skill and personality within the media, but he shouldn’t be ruled out of a move to a stronger team in the future. His records speak for his talent and I hope that sometime soon people might start discussing Rosberg as one to watch.


Picture provided by Lee Edgson an amateur photographer trying to turn professional. To look at his other photo’s please go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/edgson_images and take a look at his profile and stream.

There are many drivers within Formula One that I would class as ‘quiet’. I do not mean this in the sense that they are a media recluse that doesn’t talk to anyone, I mean it as a word to describe a driver who keeps their head down and drives to the best of their ability, with sometimes very little recognition for their talent.

Nico Rosberg is a driver I would consider as being quiet. He may not be consistently in the news like the past three world champions, but his past records would support the fact that he is one driver not to be ignored. Since 2009 Rosberg has only had a total of four retirements, in comparison to Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel’s six and Jenson Button’s five.

Rosberg is of course the son of former world champion Keke Rosberg, and with this came a degree of pressure to live up to his family name. Unlike most drivers, Rosberg has seemed to have shaken off the comparisons almost entirely; his 2005 championship in GP2 helped to seal his fate in F1 when in 2006 he was hired as a Williams driver.

Although he may not have had the best starts, Rosberg has finished the past two championships in seventh position, and is oddly enough currently running at seventh for the 2011 championship. Not a bad effort from a driver that has never been in the most successful of cars, just yet.

Nico Rosberg is a quiet driver in skill and personality within the media, but he shouldn’t be ruled out of a move to a stronger team in the future. His records speak for his talent and I hope that sometime soon people might start discussing Rosberg as one to watch.

Picture provided by Lee Edgson an amateur photographer trying to turn professional. To look at his other photo’s please go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/edgson_images and take a look at his profile and stream.

BskyB or BBC?

Over the past week or so I have been asked numerous times my opinion on the new deal between the BBC and Rupert Murdoch’s BSkyB Sky channel. As I was, in fact, in the country famous for motorsport, Italy, on holiday, I was in somewhat of a black hole media wise, and therefore couldn’t form an opinion. Well now I am back, so I can explain my feelings.

Director of BBC Barbara Slater said “we are absolutely delighted that F1 will remain on the BBC.” Except from what I can tell the fans will be getting very little from the BBC in the next few years. I have to admit, the words Sky and F1 put together always made me groan, SKY is teamed with pay-per-view and money, whereas you forget, to a degree, about your TV license and class the BBC as free. Having finally done the deal, I feel no different.

It sounds like I’m laying into Formula One slightly for this decision and I suppose in a way I am, but I have reason to. I know that I will find it difficult to watch F1 on Sky as I will be moving back to university soon and for half of next season. When I attended the FOTA Fan Forum in June we were asked by a show of hands who would struggle to stay in contact with F1 and more than two thirds of people put their hands up.

Whilst I know I will try to keep up with F1 to the utmost of my ability I don’t know if I will succeed in watching all of the races, and for all those who know me will understand that, as someone who lives off F1, it’s not through choice. I just hope that the sport doesn’t suffer because of this deal. 

FIA label farce

Formula One has been known from time to time to bring up rules that bemuse the fans completely. When it was announced Thursday night, before first practice at the German grand prix, that only three teams were legal to race the fans were shocked. This is until a second announcement came out saying that the FIA were displeased with the application of their label on the overalls.

Although the drivers in question seem to have had the labels printed rather than stitched (ILLEGAL) for a few races, it is the first time that the issue has been brought to the fans ears. All teams were notified and in first practice we saw a lovely close up of Lewis Hamilton’s stitched label.

All in all, a lot of fuss over not a lot. Yet, it gave the fans an interesting insight into the smaller rules and regulations that the FIA seem to sporadically impose. It was fun whilst it lasted, all of twenty minutes.

This is the last you will here from me for two weeks as I am off on holiday. I will be blogging when I am back so ciao (clue) for now!

Silverstone summary

After the horrendous Valencian Grand Prix (despite the BBC team’s best efforts to keep it interesting) it was no great surprise that all Formula One fans were itching for Silverstone to arrive.  When it arrived, it arrived in rain soaked fashion, with Friday practice being washed out, and qualifying featuring drivers being here there and everywhere - Mark Webber pole by 0.032s.

Now usually, I’d be greatly pleased that someone had finally beaten Sebastian Vettel to pole, giving the championship a slight shock, but this was only qualifying, and not a true showing of everyone’s powers. Needless to say, I was rooting for Webber to maintain his position, at least for the start. However, it was not to be, and once again Mark Webber was made to seem like the ‘number two driver’ when he was told to ‘maintain the gap’ towards the end of the race. Despite team orders now being legal, the fans, Webber himself, and even Damon Hill, told the team that this was not acceptable, with Webber admitting post race that he ignored the message four or five times. Part of me hopes Webber will leave Red Bull at the end of the season, but it isn’t looking very likely.

Another driver let down by his team was Lewis Hamilton. He was looking firm for a podium position despite his tenth place start but Hamilton’s determination to get to the podium was soon spoilt by a voice on the team radio saying that he needed to slow down or risk not making the end of the race. At his home grand prix, Mclaren had managed to under fuel their driver so badly he ended up relinquishing a place and nearly losing more than a piece of his front wing to Felipe Massa on the last corner of the last lap.

Someone who has faced heat from his boss for breaking his car too often in races is Michael Schumacher, leaving Ross Brawn to joke that he may need to start paying for his front wings if he continues to break them so regularly.

Finally for the drivers, the race winner Fernando Alonso, who drove a superb race. Credit goes to Ferrari as they did the best of all the teams down the pit lane in terms of cleanliness. His celebrations were almost minimal and for that I think he was clever, so as not to annoy the sea of Brits. Congratulations on a much deserved win!

Pit Stop muck ups:

Paul Di Resta and Force India- Force India miscommunication led to Di Resta nearly using Sutil’s tyres.

Kamui Kobayashi and Sauber - fined 14,000 Euros, Kobayashi was victim of an unsafe release and then to cause further damage to the situation, ran over a Force India tyre gun.

Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing- Sticky wheel nut ruined Vettel’s potential to win yet another 2011 race.

Jenson Button and Mclaren - fined 5000 Euros, Button was unsafely released with his right front tyre having a missing wheel nut due to a tyre gun failure.

Overall, Silverstone delivered one of the best races so far. There were retirements, safe accidents, and lots of overtaking. Blink and you would have missed something.

Picture: Ferrari © Paul McEvoy, 2011
When you think about Formula One and Moto GP, one team comes to mind for each division, and it’s no surprise that they are both red and both Italian, they are of course, Scuderia Ferrari and Ducati Corse. Both teams are legendary in the sector of motorsport and have the reputations of legends, and also the power within that.
Scuderia Ferrari came into Formula One in 1950 when Enzo Ferrari brought them into the mix.  They won their first driver’s championship in 1952 and their first constructor’s championship in 1961. A mere two years into their Formula One career, Ferrari had begun to assert their power, and to this day, they remain the only original team. 
It has been four years since Ferrari were able to win the world championship, and with a driver who was, for want of a better phrase, bored of F1. Kimi Raikkonen’s ice cream and coke at the Malaysian grand prix have become legendary, because he seemed so calm about not driving that race for Ferrari. New employee Fernando Alonso is doing all he can for Ferrari, but another championship may be out of the question despite his Silverstone 2011 win, and elsewhere Massa is only just repairing psychologically from his accident. 
In regards to Ducati Corse they returned after a 30 year sabbatical to the Moto GP realm in 2003 dominating from the beginning, yet only winning their first world championship since returning in 2007 with Casey Stoner. In late 2010 Ducati announced that Casey Stoner would be making way for the Italian rider, and arguably the greatest rider of all time, Valentino Rossi. 
Although Ducati are now seen as not being as great as they had been, and are propping up the back of the field, the fans, the mechanics and the whole of the Moto GP world know that when the Ducati is back to their former self, they will be unstoppable. The team work of the greatest team and the greatest rider, will return to blow apart the opposition, Ducati have managed it before, as have Rossi, his engineers and mechanics.  
These two teams have built up such reputations for themselves that they seem like the wise old man of their respective classes. Ferrari wields unruly power in the Formula One paddock never scared of making their voices heard of opposing the latest rule. Ducati force their opposition into corners and mug them when they can. Both teams at their best are dominating and incredible. Some may say that they are "legends" in the hearts and minds of competitors and fans alike and that never goes away.

Picture: Ferrari © Paul McEvoy, 2011

When you think about Formula One and Moto GP, one team comes to mind for each division, and it’s no surprise that they are both red and both Italian, they are of course, Scuderia Ferrari and Ducati Corse. Both teams are legendary in the sector of motorsport and have the reputations of legends, and also the power within that.

Scuderia Ferrari came into Formula One in 1950 when Enzo Ferrari brought them into the mix.  They won their first driver’s championship in 1952 and their first constructor’s championship in 1961. A mere two years into their Formula One career, Ferrari had begun to assert their power, and to this day, they remain the only original team.

It has been four years since Ferrari were able to win the world championship, and with a driver who was, for want of a better phrase, bored of F1. Kimi Raikkonen’s ice cream and coke at the Malaysian grand prix have become legendary, because he seemed so calm about not driving that race for Ferrari. New employee Fernando Alonso is doing all he can for Ferrari, but another championship may be out of the question despite his Silverstone 2011 win, and elsewhere Massa is only just repairing psychologically from his accident.

In regards to Ducati Corse they returned after a 30 year sabbatical to the Moto GP realm in 2003 dominating from the beginning, yet only winning their first world championship since returning in 2007 with Casey Stoner. In late 2010 Ducati announced that Casey Stoner would be making way for the Italian rider, and arguably the greatest rider of all time, Valentino Rossi.

Although Ducati are now seen as not being as great as they had been, and are propping up the back of the field, the fans, the mechanics and the whole of the Moto GP world know that when the Ducati is back to their former self, they will be unstoppable. The team work of the greatest team and the greatest rider, will return to blow apart the opposition, Ducati have managed it before, as have Rossi, his engineers and mechanics. 

These two teams have built up such reputations for themselves that they seem like the wise old man of their respective classes. Ferrari wields unruly power in the Formula One paddock never scared of making their voices heard of opposing the latest rule. Ducati force their opposition into corners and mug them when they can. Both teams at their best are dominating and incredible. Some may say that they are "legends" in the hearts and minds of competitors and fans alike and that never goes away.

Raikkonen not returning

Kimi Raikkonen has been out of Formula One since the end of 2009, despite trying to find a new contract for 2010 after leaving Ferrari, Raikkonen moved onto rallying. Yet, this has not stopped the Raikkonen fans willing his return on, and the F1 rumour-mill is rife with reports saying his return is imminent, even now in 2011.

However, Helmut Marko hit out against the most recent claims that Raikkonen would feature in 2012 as Sebastian Vettel’s teammate, “These rumours are far-fetched and total nonsense,” an answer that is refreshing given how long rumours can go on for, and how much ‘fact’ they slowly begin to build.

Though the fans of Raikkonen, and the fans of Formula One for that matter, miss his ‘Iceman’ ways, and the fact he was a complete nightmare to try and interview, people may need to accept the fact the Raikkonen walked away from Formula One and since then doesn’t seem to have looked back. A taste of which we got in Malaysia 2009 when Raikkonen stepped out of his rain sodden Ferrari for a Magnum and Coke.

Here are a few of my favourite Kimi Raikkonen moments:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WeXfPJIbeM- Ice cream and coke

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MlsMVzrp2o- explaining why he missed Pele (swearing)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fdc4zUosBPw- Raikkonen, Fisichella and Shell

Helmets..

Formula One safety helmets are now an integral piece of kit, and if your helmet does not match the FIA’s approval, you won’t be racing. Gone are the days of Juan Manuel Fangio, when you could cover your head with what resembled a swimming cap, now the helmets can cost about 5000 Euros and another 1000 for the paint job. Despite the cost, drivers use them to express themselves, as they are often seen in the team kit and this is their way of making their mark.

Many drivers have special helmets for their home grand prix’s, to replicate a past experience, or merely because they fancy a change. Someone that the commentators have grown used to changing their helmet, nearly every race recently, is Sebastian Vettel, who retires his race winning helmets, putting them aside for charity auctions, and sometimes probably his own collection.

Commentators rely on these helmets as with all the advertising on the cars from their sponsors they are no longer able to have sizable numbers. Yet, Martin Brundle always knows a new helmet will always be Sebastian Vettel’s.

Someone else who is renowned for his helmet designs is Moto GP racer Valentino Rossi, and if you fancy looking at some humorous helmets I suggest looking up his donkey helmet, from shrek, and the chicken helmet from his 2009 Championship winning race. At his most recent race in Mugello - his home circuit - he had a giant version of his eye put on his helmet to warn all the other racers ‘I may not be great at the moment but I’m watching you’. However, it’ll never be as good as the time he rode the track with his face on his helmet - Rossi is everywhere.

Whilst helmets are essentially there for safety, the drivers exploit them to show their personality, and if it wasn’t for helmets, I suppose they’d look a bit corporate. So whilst Vettel’s constant changing can sometimes be slightly irritating, it is just more proof that he is at the pinnacle of his career.

The Voice of Formula One

Murray Walker, or the ‘voice of Formula One’ as he is often known, is someone that I have the utmost respect for. My granddad, who is someone, again, that I have the greatest of respect for and love dearly, reminds me of Walker, and my nan sees this as the greatest of compliments. I’m not sure what it is but I find the two of them to seem pleasantly relaxed and happy with life.

Walker is somebody that I am sad not to have heard commentating live, since I had no interest in Formula One during his period, but he is someone that is teaching me a lot at the moment. I of course mean through reading his books. Having just finished his autobiography my admiration of Walker has grown once more. He is adored throughout the paddock, you only have to read his stories and see his recent documentary to see that Walker is treated like one of the family.

His stories are entertaining and passionate, and he has led a life that many would be incredibly envious of. What makes it even better is that Walker knows and understands this humbly. To me, the defining moment of his Formula One career was when Ayrton Senna told him that he always watched the race with ‘Murray’s voice’. He was, and remains, the best commentator Formula One has ever seen, and though Martin Brundle is doing a fair job, I doubt that we will ever see anyone top Walker’s efforts.

I know that out of every member of F1 personnel Murray Walker is one person I would feel very grateful to meet.