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

Long overdue win for Valtteri Bottas as Mercedes seal record equalling title: 2019 Japanese Grand Prix Review

There were so many questions heading into the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka this year and mostly, would we even have a Grand Prix. Typhoon Hagibis had already seen two Rugby World Cup games abandoned as a precaution. In the end, Qualifying was moved from its Saturday spot to Sunday morning before the race.

It has contributed to the debate of how the Grand Prix weekend should be structured as runners persist about how the Qualifying session could be edited. However, on track, Sebastian Vettel marched to a rather unexpected pole position and out-qualified Leclerc for the first time in nine. read more

Preview Talking Points coming into the Japanese Grand Prix

With five races remaining of the 2019 F1 season, it is the turn of Suzuka to host the 16th round of the Championship with the Japanese Grand Prix. Situated in Ino, the famous figure of eight circuit has seen some entertaining and decisive races over the years with no fewer than 12 world champions ships being decided in Japan but could the 2019 edition add to that?

The Drivers Championship
The top five of the Drivers Championship. [Image from BBC Sport].

Well, in the Drivers Championship, it cannot. After his surprise win in Russia, Lewis Hamilton is almost o the verge of a sixth world championship. Hamilton sits top of the standings on 322 points with a 73 point lead over his teammate Valtteri Bottas in 2nd. With Bottas not winning a race since round four in Azerbaijan and the recent set of races going against him, it would seem his title challenge is over. Charles Leclerc is in third with 215 points, 34 adrift of Bottas in second so it looks a very long shot for Ferrari’s young superstar to mount a very late title challenge. read more

Vettel’s surprise fifth Singapore win: Thoughts on the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix

There is something special about seeing the sight of Formula One cars under the lights in the Singapore night. Since the Marina Bay circuit hosted its inaugural race in 2008, it is one I look forward too every season and is always full of incident and revelations. A round 14 of the 2019 season, it represents the stat of the final third of the season and sets up a potential Championship battle thought over a matter of weeks ago.

Ferrari’s pace in Singapore was a real turn for the books. The tight, slow turns of the 23 turn circuit were thought to favour Mercedes and Red Bull who were expected to be fighting for the win. It was not expected to favour Ferrari. That was how it looked after the Friday practice sessions when Ferrari were 0.8s off the race as first Max Verstappen and then Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets. However, the nose and aero upgrades brought by Ferrari made the difference from Saturday onwards as Vettel headed a Ferrari 1-2 in final practice. It could have been that in Qualifying too as Vettel made mistakes on his final Q3 run before abandoning his final effort. Instead, Leclerc produced a stunning effort for his third successive pole position and fifth of the season. As the Monogasque said after Qualifying, it was not expected at all… read more

2018 Russian Grand Prix Preview

From the luminous night of Singapore, Formula One travels to the Black Sea and the city of Sochi for the 15th round of the season. It is still one of the newest additions to the F1 Championship but the sport had been trying to break into Russia for three decades before the country eventually made its maiden bow in 2014 while the event has origins even further back….

History of the Russian Grand Prix

Despite only coming on to the F1 calendar in 2014, the Russian Grand Prix has origins over a century before that. In fact, Russia was still under the autocratic rule of Tsar Nicholas II when the first ever Russian Grand Prix took place in 1913. The race took place on a circuit in the streets of St. Petersburg. The event only ran twice due to the start of the First World War and after the Russian Revolution saw the Romanov dynasty eventually replaced by the Soviet Union, the race did not start up again afterwards unlike other racing events of that age. 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

Review: Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup

What a month of football we had this summer! 736 players representing 32 nations and 64 matches later, the 2018 World Cup was spectacular! It was expected to be a heavily politicised tournament but apart from the Pussy Riot pitch invasion in the final, that did not happen. It was expected to be shrouded in racism, it wasn’t. Video Assistant Referee (VAR) played its part but the football did the talking as records and titans fell while as a nation, we unified, daring to dream that ‘football’s coming home’. Eventually, it was France who triumphed in Russia after one of the most memorable world cups in living memory.

The story of Russia 2018

Denis Cheryshev scored a brace as hosts Russia hammered Saudi Arabia. [Image from The Japan Times].

After Robbie opened the World Cup, it was down to the hosts to start the tournament against Saudi Arabia. The two were the lowest ranked sides of the tournament but that did not show for Russia as Yuri Gazinsky headed in the opener, a Denis Cheryshev brace including a stunning injury-time set the hosts on their way to a 5-0 win which was rounded off by an Aleksandr Golovin free-kick! read more

2018 World Cup Russia Preview

Football could have been coming home this summer but it was not to be. Instead, when Russia hosts Saudi Arabia, they will kick start the 2018 World Cup. 736 players representing 32 nations from five continental football federations will be competing on this, the biggest stage in football and after a mammoth month of football (64 games between 14th June and 15th July), 23 players will have played their part I crowning their national side, World Champions!

The geographical spread of the host cities in Russia. [Image from Sky Sports].

With this being Russia’s first hosting of a major international football tournament, a number of new stadiums were built. With Russia spanning 17.1 million square km and two continents, it is mostly concentrated in European Russia (West of the Ural mountains) with the exception of Ekaterinburg that will see football. From St. Petersburg in the north to Sochi in the south on the Caspian Sea, from Yaketerinburg in the east to Kaliningrad in the west, the world cup spans a diameter of 7.1 million square miles. The tournament spans four different time zones and has 12 stadiums being used from 11 cities with the capital, Moscow the only city to be using two stadiums. read more

F1 2018 Season Preview

Well, 2017 was an entertaining year in Formula One and was certainly tenser in terms of the Championships. That was in no small part down to Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari who took the battle to Mercedes. However, it was Mercedes who won both titles for the fourth successive year as Lewis Hamilton won his 4th title in a record-breaking year!

2017 Australian Grand Prix Podium with Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari (centre) the race winner; Lewis Hamilton (left) in 2nd and Valtteri Bottas (right) in 3rd [Image from The Daily Mirror]

Vettel’s claim to the title began when the overcut worked well in Australia. Ferrari keeping him out longer than Hamilton allowed them to leapfrog the Mercedes to their first opening-round victory since 2010. Victories in Bahrain and Monaco left Vettel in a commanding position in the standings. Despite Grand Slam victories in China and Canada, Hamilton was still a fair way behind the German which was contributed to by the stir caused by Valtteri Bottas. The Finn took pole in Bahrain as well as victories in Russia and Austria to keep Hamilton earnest. Vettel still had the upper hand after F1’s crazy weekend in Azerbaijan. The German had steered into Hamilton behind the Safety Car prompting the stewards to give him a 10-second penalty. Hamilton though had a headboard issue to deal with meaning Vettel finished ahead as Daniel Ricciardo picked up his only win the season. It seemed luck was not on Hamilton’s side. Hamilton stormed to a fifth British Grand Prix victory at Silverstone and closed the gap down to a single point after a late puncture for Vettel saw him drop to 7th. Vettel came back with a victory in Hungary with Raikkonen either unable or not allowed to overtake his teammate. read more

2017 Canadian Grand Prix Preview

Well, I am well and truly back into the swing of blog posting now and I move this time from the General Election (I will be returning to that so don’t worry) to the Formula One World Championship. I have not covered a Grand Prix since the season opener in Australia. A lot has happened since Sebastian Vettel won in Melbourne …

• That victory in Melbourne was the first time Ferrari won the season-opening race since the 2010 season read more