The belated F1 2020 Season Review

That was an incredible season of F1. Incredible that it even got going during the Coronavirus pandemic, let alone getting to the finale in Abu Dhabi. It is testament to the FIA, Liberty media, F1, the circuit organisers, the teams and drivers that we even had a season of F1 in the first place after the Australian Grand Prix started but never went ahead after two McLaren team members tested positive for the virus and the first 8 races were cancelled.

The season eventually got underway in July, 217 days after the 2019 season finale; the third longest gap between seasons in F1 history as the 70th anniversary season started. It was historic as Michael Schumacher’s win record (91), podium (155) were beaten and his seven World Championship were equalled by Lewis Hamilton [Feature image above from formula1.com].  read more

Austria Round Two sees Lewis Hamilton dominant and another dramatic late charge by Lando Norris: 2020 Styrian Grand Prix Review

For the first time in Formula One history, a circuit has held successive races in the dame season and the Red Bull Ring in the Styrian hills hosting the first-ever Styrian Grand Prix and it did not disappoint. We did not get a carbon copy of the previous weekend. Due to the weather Qualifying was in doubt so the second practice times could’ve been used to set the grid. The treacherously wet qualifying we did get was intense and mixed the grid up with a few drivers out of position setting up an intriguing race with multiple teammate squabbles which ended in tears for Ferrari.

While the ten F1 teams remained in Austria we did see some developments with the first regarding the addition of two more races to the already scheduled 8 and the surprise return of Fernando Alonso to the sport with Renault in 2021. I will pass comment on them later but first, for the reigning World Champion, racing at the Red Bull Ring in successive races represented a redemptive weekend. read more

F1 returns, Reliability issues galore, Red Bull, Ferrari and Hamilton pain, but it’s Bottas who wins: 2020 Austrian Grand Prix Review

After seven months, 217 days, F1 returned with the first race of the delayed 2020 F1 season at the Red Bull Ring in the Styrian Hills of Austria. We don’t know just how many races we will get in 2020 but judging by the Austrian Grand Prix, the chaotic, thoroughly entertaining races often with twists and turns that defined the second half of 2019 look set to continue.

For a race that saw all 20 drivers finish for only the 9th time in F1 history, reliability was key for the wrong reasons this year as nine cars failed to finish. When asked about it by Sky Sports Martin Brundle, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner cited it being the season opener being a key factor. It has merit. We do see chaotic season openers and nine also failed to finish on the first race of the hybrid era in 2014; only 7 finished the opening race in 2008. The first races of a season can be problematic for reliability but could the extra shutdown with lockdown have contributed? With these sort of races there always going to be loads of stories of missed opportunities. That is certainly what we saw in Austria but the one constant was the race leader [Pictured in the feature image above; image from formula1.com]. read more

The F1 2020 Season Preview

Eventually, Formula One racing is returning this weekend as the 2020 season gets underway. When the lights go out on Sunday for the Austrian Grand Prix it will have been 217 days since the last race in Abu Dhabi; the third longest gap between seasons in F1 history and the first time the season has started in Europe since 1966.

2020 was meant to be a record-breaking 22 race season before the coronavirus pandemic swept the world. Vietnam was meant to debut with its maiden Grand Prix in Hanoi and Zandvoort was meant to return for the first time since 1985. China, the country the outbreak originated in was the first race to be cancelled before the teams arrived in Melbourne and left before running a single session at Albert Park after a member of the McLaren team tested positive, prompting its cancellation. read more

Thoughts and Reflections on a sombre 2019 Belgian Grand Prix

Spa Francorchamps is a true racers circuit loved by both fans and drivers with challenging turns such as Eau Rouge and Blanchimont but it also marks the beginning of the second half of the F1 season. Traditionally, the teams bring engine updates and all the manufacturers did in 2019 which resulted in several grid penalties. There were a few driver announcements as the 2020 grid behind to take shape (two of these I have already commented on) but there was also a tragedy.

The F2 feature race ended with a horrific incident on the second lap involving Guiliano Alesi, Anthoine Hubert and Juan Manuel Correa I did not watch the incident live but the clips I have seen of it; horrific does not do it justice. I will not be describing the incident though as I don’t feel it proper to describe it here. However, while Alesi was passed fit by the medical team, Correa is still in intensive care but tragically, Huber succumbed to his injuries at the age of 22. read more

Build up to Belgium and the second half of the 2019 F1 season.

After four weeks of no F1 racing, the action returns with the traditional starter for the second half of the campaign. Situated in the Ardennes Forest, it’s the true racers circuit; Spa-Francorchamps. With nine races to go between this weekend and the end of the season in Abu Dhabi, there is still a lot that can be decided but there are also interesting developments worth discussing. The first of those is the big development at Red Bull during the summer recess…

Gasly dropped, Albon promoted

The big news of the summer was Red Bull’s decision to demote Pierre Gasly to Toro Rosso with Alexander Albon being promoted the other way to the Red Bull team. Gasly has not had the best of seasons at Red Bull and his future has been the subject of speculation leading into the four-week break. The decision though came as a surprise considering what Christian Horner told Sky Sports F1 at the Hungarian Grand Prix. read more

Thoughts on a chaotic and memorable 2019 German Grand Prix

After a fantastic British Grad Prix at Silverstone, it was the turn of Hockenheim to host the German Grand Prix; round 11 and officially the halfway stage go the 2019 F1 Championship. Following on from the action-packed races of Austria and Britain, the 16 turn, 4.574 km circuit in the forest had a tough act to follow but delivered and then some through the weekend with many dramatic twists and turns.

Sebastian Vettel was the first to suffer engine-related troubles in Qualifying for Ferrari. [Image from The Telegraph].

It wasn’t just the race ether. There was the double heartache for Ferrari in Qualifying who first saw Sebastian Vettel not even register a lap in Q1 due to a turbo issue. Twelve months on from his season-defining error while in the lead at the same circuit, it looked like things could not get much worse for the four-time world champion. The setback was not his fault and it would be a heartless individual indeed not to have felt sorry for him; especially in front of his home crowd. That was compounded in Q3 as a similar fate befell Charles Leclerc. Given the blistering superior pace Ferrari had shown, it was cruel for Ferrari. Yes, it added to the spectacle of the race having the two Ferrari’s starting out of position; 10th and 20th respectively as just how fare could they go? However, it is not the first time they have been the quickest coming into Qualifying and the race for it to slip from their fingers like in Bahrain and Canada. It just isn’t coming together for them over the course of a full weekend. read more

UEFA Nations League Preview

In 2018, we have already had the euphoria and emotions of what turned out to be an amazing month of football in Russia. The domestic league seasons have started up again and now they have reached the first break in the season. That means the return of International football. Normally, European sides will begin their qualification campaign for the next major tournament but instead, they will be embarking on a new competition in the UEFA Nations League.

The Story behind the Nations League

The UEFA Nations League has its beginnings seven years ago, at the 2011 UEFA Strategy Meeting in Cyprus. This is when the discussions and consultations began regarding having a third major tournament to go alongside the European Championship (EUROs) and the World Cup. The discussions continued through meetings at the Top Executive Committee (TEP). It was not until March 2014, at the XXXVII UEFA Ordinary Congress in Astana, Turkey where the tournament was unanimously adopted. read more

Talking Points from the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix

We are now two-thirds of the way through Formula One’s first ever tripleheader after last weekends Eyetime Grosser Preus Con Osterreich; The Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring.

It was three abreast at the start in Austria. [Image from Daily Express].

What a race we saw! After taking pole position for the second time in Austria, Valtteri Bottas found himself down to 4th after turn 1 after a lightning start from the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen made it three abreast at turn 1. Bottas was forced wide and Lewis Hamilton on the inside took the lead. Bottas came back at Raikkonen and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen to pass them both into turn 4 in a really impressive move. read more

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Review: F1’s crazy day at the races won by Daniel Ricciardo

Formula One returned to the Baku Street Circuit for the second year in a row to end the June programme for the 2017 season. It might be questionable why Formula One has ventured into emerging markets, often influenced by oil money such as Abu Dhabi. However, Baku delivered one of the most exciting, drama filled races of the season where as many as 10 different drivers were running in the podium places at any one time. It was a race of many surprises…

Lewis Hamilton was in scorching hot form in Qualifying [Image from formula1.com]
Lewis Hamilton was in scorching hot form in Qualifying [Image from formula1.com]

Lewis Hamilton was in scintillating form in Qualifying as he set the pace in all three parts of Qualifying. However, with Daniel Ricciardo crashing into the wall in Q3 with only a few minutes remaining, it was Valtteri Bottas fastest. Under pressure and in cooling temperatures in which Mercedes needed a couple of laps to get their tyres to optimum temperature, Hamilton did it in one with a 1;40.593; some two seconds quicker than pole position last year. That wasn’t the only story of Qualifying as Max Verstappen almost got a Red Bull onto the second row of the grid for the first time this season, Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso had their worst Qualifying performances of the season while Jolyon Palmer did not even get started. read more