Hamilton matches Schumi’s Seven World Championships in stellar style: 2020 Turkish Grand Prix Review

Returning to Istanbul Park for the first time since 2011, I was looking forward to seeing the high downforce 2020 cars taking on the notorious turn 8 flat out. Track resurfacing completed only 10 days before the cars took to the circuit meant the stunning circuit was slippery meaning grip was difficult to find as cars spun. It was described as like an ice rink and that was even before the rain hit Qualifying and the race.

Istanbul Park circuit map. [Image from formula1.com].

In fairness, could we see races like that more often, please? So, much happened lap to lap with spins and the drivers really having to battle their cars in the conditions that really reward experience as well as separating the best from the rest. There was a surprise pole-sitter in lance Stroll; the first Canadian to take pole position since Jacques Villeneuve. The race seemed to be going his way but in the second half of the race, with no rain falling and the track not dry enough for Intermediates, managing the tyres and its temperatures became crucial. Instead, despite being 25s adrift in the early stages, Lewis Hamilton [Pictured celebrating above; image from Autoweek] finished 30s clear as he took the chequered flag to take his record-equalling 7th Drivers Championship title in some style! read more

Mercedes secure historic seventh straight Constructors Crown as Hamilton wins at Imola: Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix Review

After a 14 year absence since the last time it hosted a Grand Prix, Imola returned to F1 for 2020 with a difference. Not only was it returning with a new title named after the Emilia Romagna region of Italy (having hosted the Italian Grand Prix in 1980 and the San Marino Grand Prix 1981-2006), it was also a shortened format with only one practice session before Qualifying and the race. It was different for the teams and drivers to rise to.

Imola circuit map. [Image from formula1.com]

It was a first for a circuit that despite its absence is steeped in history; a fact marked by the drivers paying their respects at the Ayrton Senna memorial and some of the drivers wearing tribute helmets. Imola saw more history made after what was admittedly a lacklustre race when overtaking proved difficult due to the narrow layout of the circuit and a DRS zone that was perhaps 100m too short. The only real excitement came at the start and in the final 6 laps after the Safety car was called upon but it saw Mercedes make history by clinching an unprecedented 7th successive Constructors Championship [Pictured celebrating in the feature image; above image from RaceFans.net]. read more

Hamilton rewrites the history books with record-breaking 92nd win: 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix Review!

For the second time in this crazy 2020 season, F1 raced at a circuit that had never before hosted a Grand Prix. Portimao on the Algarve hosted the first Portuguese Grand Prix for the first time since 1996. That was hosted at Estoril and while Portimao hosted a pre-season test in 2009, only half of the field had driven around the circuit in any type car before. It was a fresh challenge and one that I think the drivers enjoyed as Lando Norris commented in practice, ‘I’m going side to side, left to right, like a rollercoaster’.

Portimao Circuit map. [Image from formula1.com].

With its fluctuating elevations and frequent changes of direction made the Algarve circuit look spectacular. There was the loose drain panel issue which forced Qualifying to be delayed by half an hour and the relatively new track surface meant it was difficult for the drivers to find grip but once they had got through the graining phase, the Medium tyres were the tyres to be on in the race despite the initial promise of the Soft tyre in the opening laps as a slight shower of rain fell. It was a crazy start and race. With a powerful wind close to the sea, I think this is something the drivers would experience when F1 does eventually return to Zandvoort but it would be nice to see F1 return to the Algarve. read more

The comment from the first debate that concerns me about Trump!

The US Presidential election is coming up. Donald J Trump or Joe Biden. One of these two will be the victor on 3 November. I haven’t commented on US politics much but seeing parts of their televised Presidential debate the other week and some of the comments from Mr Trump [Pictured above; image from Politico] there was something I wanted to pick up on.

Make no doubt about it, the debate itself was embarrassing to watch. That said, as a Brit, we currently have to put up with his mini-me (Boris Johnson). I have so far delayed this post as Mr Trump went through his bout of coronavirus shortly after the debate and didn’t feel quite right putting this post together while he was down. Thankfully, he did not succumb to the virus. I am no fan of Trump but I do not wish Coronavirus on anyone and if Trump is to be beaten by anything this year, I would much prefer it to be the ballot box. However, it is his comments about the ballot boxes that prompt this post. read more

Premier League 2020 Summer Transfer Window Ratings

The delayed summer transfer window slammed shut at 11pm on Monday 5th October. October 5th deadline day, well t has been a crazy year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Staggeringly, despite having no fans in the stadiums and having cuts to their incomes, the 20 Premier League sides were able to spend a collective staggering amount in excess of £1billion. That is crazy! Crazy at a time some clubs have used government support for wages, even making non-playing staff redundant, clubs in the lower reaches of English football are struggling

I was working on this post before the Premier League made the announcement that some games not originally selected for TV will now only be available on a pay per view basis. Let me this clear, I think it is absolutely disgusting for the Premier League to do this and for the clubs to agree to do this when in some areas, bars are unlikely to be open and will be left with no choice but to pay it the extra charge on top of tv subscriptions if they want to legally watch their team play at a time when people are also seeing wages cut and jobs lost. I think it’s shameful and hopefully, they have a rethink. read more

Schumi’s 91 equalled by Hamilton at the Nurburgring, Ricciardo gets his Podium and Kimi also makes history: 2020 Eifel Grand Prix Review

It has hosted the German Grand Prix, the European Grand Prix, the Luxembourg Grand Prix and now the Nurburgring in the Eifel hills of Germany has held the Eifel Grand Prix. The legendary circuit was not on the 2020 schedule until the pandemic hit but it produced a great, historic race. Racing there in the summer can offer unpredictable weather at the best of times but in October it was a unique challenge in the autumn temperatures but also with a lack of running. Rain and fog meant there was no Friday practice running so the drivers and teams had only one session before Qualifying to practice set-up, race simulations and qualifying runs; effectively a pre-runner for Imola.

Nurburgring Circuit Map. [Image from formula1.com].

If Imola produces anything like the Nurburgring it will be a very good race indeed. The first visit since 2013 saw a late super-sub appearance from Nico Huldenberg who replaced the unwell Lance Stroll at Racing Point. Race day temperatures of 9 degrees Celcius meant tyre management was a huge issue for the drivers with frequent lock-ups but it was engine failures that helped define the race. It helped pave the way for Daniel Ricciardo to reach a podium for the first time since 2018; Kimi Raikkonen made history by starting his record 323rd Grand Prix but it was Lewis Hamilton [Pictured above; Image from Eurosport] who took the chequered flag for the record-equalling 91st time! read more

Valtteri Bottas secures a much needed win as turn two causes trouble: 2020 Russian Grand Prix Review

After a two week break after the chaos of Mugello, F1 returned to action for the 10th round of 7 races in 2020 with the Russian Grand Prix from the Sochi Autodrom. There had been no driver announcements in the lead up to Sochi but an announcement from the top of F1 with Chase Carey stepping aside from his F1 chairman role. Ex-Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicalli replaces him for 2021 and personally, I think he’ll do well in the role and miss his presence in the sport after leaving the Scuderia in 2014. Curiously, we now have three ex-Ferrari bosses at the helm of F1 again: Franz Todt at the FIA, Ross Brawn and now Domenicalli.

The teams brought updates to Russia but the circuit proved difficult to master with various drivers having lap times deleted in Qualifying at turn 2. The stewards directed that if a car ran wide they had to go through the bollards to the left of the circuit in order to not gain an advantage. That was a huge talking point of the weekend as four drivers were summoned and later acquitted post-Qualifying. It was responsible for one driver crashing out on the opening lap, a virtual safety car was needed after Romain Grosjean went through them and Daniel Ricciardo picked up a five-second penalty for failing to abide by it. The stewards clearly had a busy weekend but at the podium, for the 6th time in 10 races this year it was Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas sharing the podium but not in the order we have come to expect this year. Could this be a turning point in the championship? read more

Breaking International Law for the sake of Brexit: Where on earth are we headed?

Personally, I think there are more important things to be discussing politically on here at present such as what appears to be out woeful efforts at combating and preventing the further spread of COVID-19. However, Brexit has reared its ugly head back into the public conversation recently and it prompts me to worry even more for the future of the UK. Why? Because a no-deal Brexit [Pictured above are Boris Johnson and Jean Claude Juncker last year; image from Business Insider] which last year which at the moment we appear to be heading for and which I would have labelled disastrous last year but to be coming to that scenario in the middle of a pandemic…I’m lost for words….

Why is it increasingly likely? The government brought forward the Internal Market Bill which aims to ensure that post-Brexit, the UK nations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have the same standards and rules throughout. At first glance, that’s nothing contentious. It seems perfectly reasonable. However, the bill also says ‘Certain provisions to have effect notwithstanding inconsistency or incompatibility with international or other domestic law’ but also replaces parts of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement as elements of it “cease to be recognised and available in domestic law”. read more

Mugello makes a chaotic F1 debut but it’s a familiar winner: 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix Review

Situated in the Tuscan hills of northern Italy, the Mugello Circuit for the first time hosted an F1 Grand Prix. It last hosted F1 cars for a test session 2012 but never a Grand Prix. With its narrow layout overtaking was expected to be difficult but with its sweeping high-speed corners, it was a quick circuit which delivered an almighty chaotic and entertaining race. The only question left us; can F1 go to Mugello more often?

We would not have had a race at Mugello without the pandemic but it was nicely planned to mark Ferrari’s 1,000th Grand Prix as a team. Everything was a celebration of Ferrari. They emblazoned their cars with a burgundy special edition livery to match their initial colours from the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix, Mick Schumacher got to take his fathers 2004 Ferrari for a spin and even the Mercedes Safety Car was painted red as a tribute, It’s just as well, it was the only red car to lead a lap. We saw it come out three times and after waiting three years for one, two red flags come at once after Monza the weekend before. Seven cars did not get past the opening 10 laps but we did see some racing eventually with F1 having 213th different driver on the podium but it was an all too familiar race winner [Pictured above; Image from formula1.com]… read more

Rowan’s big 2020/21 Premier League Season Preview

After the crazy events of 2020 and Project Restart getting last season finished, incredibly it has only been seven weeks and it is the start of the 2020/21 when Fulham host Arsenal tomorrow. Personally, as a Newcastle United fan, it has been a rollercoaster of emotion the past few months with the takeover business. Is it happening, is it not? Then the saga keeps rumbling on with statements from the club and counter-statement from the Premier League. Despite signings this week, I have not really felt so much apathy coming into a new season but the quick return of football will be a joyous occasion for most football fans.

Last season saw Liverpool eventually win the Premier League title having gone 30 years since their league crown. Jurgen Klopp’s side were relentless as they beat every team, had the best start to a season of any Premier League side and were unbeaten until February. Manchester City missed the influence of Vincent Company and at the back, they were circumspect as their pursuit of a third successive league title fell by the wayside. Both teams will be seeking t battle it out for the title again. read more