Category Archives: Formula 1

The Bahrain Grand Prix circuit could have a more exciting layout

Perhaps the Bahrain Grand Prix would be more interesting if organisers used the circuit’s ‘outer layout’ instead of the standard F1 track. It would be an incredibly fast low-downforce lap with the potential for lots of high speed slipstreaming – like a compact version of the old Hockenheim. If nothing else it would be nice to see a modern venue offering something different.

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F1: Max Verstappen has produced another brilliant onboard video

Max Verstappen’s first lap in China was straight out of a video game. Not only does he make it look easy passing 8 cars, but it’s interesting that he starts the race in 2nd gear and also that he gains at least 100 metres on Dani Kvyat under braking for the final hairpin.

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Creating an effective Formula One feeder system

This year GP2 will be rebranded ‘Formula 2’ which is a small but helpful step towards creating a more coherent Formula One feeder system. Here are a few more ideas the FIA and F1’s new owners could look at to make it easier for the world’s best young drivers to reach Grand Prix level.

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F1: A great behind the scenes look at Red Bull

This short video is a great behind-the-scenes look at Red Bull’s F1 factory (including their cool storage warehouse) and it helps show how much work is involved building a Grand Prix car. No surprise they featured a guy with a can of Red Bull on his desk.

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In 1994 Renault put an F1 engine in an Espace van

We’ve all seen cars modified with ridiculously large engines but this one is pretty special. In 1994 Renault fitted an Espace van with a V10 Formula One engine and the sound is simply fantastic. The centre of gravity wasn’t ideal but at least the van could accelerate to 200kph in under 7 seconds.

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F1: Max Verstappen made the most overtakes in 2016

Data was released earlier this week confirming Max Verstappen made more overtaking manoeuvres than any other F1 driver in 2016, which perhaps isn’t a surprise (he held the same record last year too). In this brilliant video Verstappen tells Martin Brundle how his work behind the Safety Car, and his experience on a quadbike, helped him climb 13 places in 14 laps at the end of the Brazilian GP.

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F1: Flashback to the 1997 Japanese Grand Prix

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When Lewis Hamilton backed Nico Rosberg into the pack during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix it wasn’t the first time someone had tried that tactic in Formula One. Jacques Villeneuve did exactly the same thing at Suzuka in 1997 but on that occasion Ferrari developed a plan to reclaim the upper hand.

Jacques Villeneuve started the 1997 Japanese Grand Prix from pole position knowing he would almost certainly be disqualified from the race. It was a highly unusual situation. Villeneuve came into the weekend carrying a suspended race ban for repeatedly ignoring yellow flags, so when he ignored them AGAIN during practice he was promptly banned from the Grand Prix. Williams (Villeneuve’s team) appealed the stewards’ decision and although it was never going to be successful it was a suitable delaying tactic because it meant Jacques could at least start the race.

Any points that Villeneuve scored would be taken away from him when the Williams appeal was rejected/withdrawn so, with nothing to race for, Jacques took aim at Michael Schumacher instead. The two were locked in a tight championship battle and Japan was the penultimate race of the season.

Villeneuve held the lead from pole position and, with Schumacher right behind in second place, Jacques promptly started pushing Michael’s Ferrari back into the field. Villeneuve was hoping that other drivers would attack Michael and steal points away from him so the opening lap was slow enough for the field to cross the line nose-to-tail as if it had been run behind the Safety Car.

Before Schumacher lost any positions, Ferrari started implementing a brilliant plan to neutralise Villeneuve’s tactics.

Schumacher purposely baulked Mika Hakkinen in 3rd place through the sweeping esses to allow Eddie Irvine in the other Ferrari to overtake them both. Irvine then went after Villeneuve like a battering ram and quickly forced himself into the lead. Villeneuve continued delaying Schumacher, so whilst Irvine disappeared into the distance, Ferrari moved onto the next part of their plan.

Schumacher was short-fuelled at the end of his first stint so he could jump Villeneuve in the pitstops. Although that strategy would’ve usually left Michael a sitting duck at the second round of stops, Irvine came back into play. Ferrari told their ‘number two’ driver to slow down, hand first place to Schumacher, and hold up Villeneuve so Michael could build the buffer he would require later in the race. Irvine played his role to perfection and gave Villeneuve a dose of his own medicine. Jacques made an early stop himself to avoid being help up for too long, but by that stage Ferrari’s drivers had cleverly worked together to seal a rather brilliant tactical victory.

The race is summarised in this great highlights video.

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