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When Valtteri Bottas pulled his car up to the pole position sign in the middle of the track at the Circuit of the Americas yesterday at the end of Qualifying for the 2019 US Grand Prix, there was no celebration as his crew walked around his car and prepared to push it away. After the interviews, he was left to walk back to the garage as an entirely solitary figure. Today, wasn't any better, despite him winning the race.

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If one could ever say that a circuit has a soul, one must, surely, say that about Silverstone, the home of the British Grand Prix for almost every running of that race since Formula One was born. And if a soul can be resurrected, to come alive and celebrate, Silverstone did just that. As the F1 circus rolled into town and set up shop, the biggest question was if this would be the last F1 at Silverstone and, even, if there would be a British Grand Prix after 2019. While the terms of the deal are secret, it is likely that the British Racing Drivers' Club, the owners of the former airfield and Liberty, the owners of F1, have done a deal under which the cost of running the race is reduced. The deal makes sure F1 comes home for at least the next five years. Then the grand old dame of F1 shed all her cares and woes and partied and what a party it was..

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Lewis Hamilton has long been amazing and he's just getting better and better. And still the public don't get behind a driver who is set to eclipse every record in F1 history - and has already done so in most. He is now beyond being statistically interesting: it seems like every time he gets in the car it's another milestone or another record. And that's before we consider his driving which has reached a level of excellence that is so good it doesn't inspire devotion. We are in the presence of greatness, a true star and one who doesn't cheat to achieve it (although he can be brutal when needed and sometimes has gone too far). His French Grand Prix 2019 demonstrated things that the naysayers won't be impressed by. They should be.

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The Canadian Grand Prix produced excellent and exciting racing. Strategy played almost no part and we were treated to motor racing at its best. Sadly, the racing has been overshadowed.

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I'm highly critical of American style oval racing. It's far too orchestrated by "IndyCar" or "Nascar" and it's boring unless there's a crash (and who wants to wish for crashes that cause injury or death?). After all, who wants to sit through 185 laps only for a crash to force the "full course yellow" or, even, "safety car" that sets up the cars for the only bit that really matters: the last ten laps or so to the finish. I've watched it, on and off, for several decades and it's almost always Dullsville personified. Until this year's Indy 500. Oh, how I wish they could all be like this.

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Lewis Hamilton made perhaps the most prescient statement of recent times in Formula One. He said that Ferrari have a faster car than Mercedes. But Mercedes, he said, have the better team, saying that the systems, the strength in depth in all departments, the stability are what give him and team-mate Valtteri Bottas the machinery that allows them to do the job. And with four one-two finishes in the first four races, in each case at least in part due to Ferrari fluffing something, even in the dense air of below sea level Baku which should have increased the red cars' performance advantage, it's increasingly looking as if he's right. But the apparent Sunday afternoon jog for the two Mercedes drivers around the streets of Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, is as much to do with the failures of others as the strength of Mercedes. Ferrari are not the only ones struggling to get it together.
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F1 is fascinating for many reasons: one is the fact that there are days when one tiny event means not winning, when nearly perfect isn't good enough. And there's the fact that it's a brutal sport where fairness goes out of the window as soon as the lights go out at the first race of the season. Just three races into 2019 and it's already clear that even though much has changed, much has stayed the same.

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Charles Leclerc fumbled the start and saw his pole position evaporate. It was the only thing he did wrong in the entire race as he took the lead in an audacious move on his team leader, Sebastian Vettel, and didn't look back for the simple reason there was no one to see in his mirrors. Until gremlins arrived.

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I should say up front that I am not a fan of DRS but I concede that, sometimes, it's helped spice up what was an otherwise processional race. But in F1 this year, there seems to be a plan to have more DRS zones. Last night's race in Bahrain had three. When DRS was introduced, tracks had one. And, last night, DRS made an extremely positive contribution to the race but its contribution was limited and artificial. What if the DRS rules were changed to remove the limitation and artificiality?

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It's a question that three years ago had a clear answer: yes; easily. Now, it's far more complicated. How far, then, should F1 go to appease the Italian team?

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For fans of the personalities, regulations and technology of F1, the first race of the 2019 season was fascinating.

For fans of racing, it was extraordinarily dull.

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I can't claim to have known Charlie Whiting personally but I can say that, like one or two other people over my decades of enjoying Formula One as a spectator, he has been an important figure in my life. And then, suddenly, he's gone, as if someone turned out the lights. This time, they say "gone" not "go."

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Paddy Lowe, one of the most successful designers in Formula One's history, is to take indefinite "leave of absence" from the Williams F1 team as responsibility and blame collide one step from the top.

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The two winter tests are done and dusted. The cars have been back to their factories, dismantled and evaluated. The data has been analysed. We, of course, know nothing at all except the colour of the cars, who will sit in them and what changes in various regulations have done to their look. We've had endless interviews and soundbites from teams and drivers and we've learned nothing of value except that Bottas has had enough of playing second fiddle and plans to shed his Mr Nice Guy image and he's got chiselled features and a bovva-boy haircut to prove it. Does that mean the season opener in Melbourne next weekend is just a prelude to the season proper? Or are the teams actually ready?

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In his Newbury and Hobbes series of novels, author George Mann writes fantastical stories about where the Victorians' obsession with developing new technologies might go. They provide a bleak and terrifying future where automatons are available to pretty much anyone with money to spare and a will to kill. There are no benevolent butlers, no automated beauties as Hollywood portrays - only clunky machines with the single purpose of destruction - some with a worrying tendency to act alone once given instructions. Set 100 years ago, they are a parable for what some now want to ban. But the tech is only part of the problem. What about the people?

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