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

Critique of the UK Government’s shambolic handling of the pandemic

Coronavirus. It feels a long time ago since Brexit was the big cat in the room and that was only a couple of months ago. I have been anxious to write on this topic because as someone who is at increased risk of complications if I get it (for those who don’t know, I am diabetic; that account for 26% of underlying conditions in England) it terrifies me. It literally scares the crap out of me! However, If the worst were to happen this may be my only chance to voice my concerns on it ok!

It was 23rd March when the Prime Minister announced measures that amounted to the biggest curb on our civil liberties ever in modern British history outside of wartime. The UK is on lockdown of sorts, following in the path of other European countries including France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland in a bid to curb the transmission and spread of the new novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The lockdown measures are relatively lax compared to some other countries and while it was a necessary move and universally praised as a look at my Facebook feed that Monday evening suggested, it is one that I felt was overdue.

Yes, this post will be critiquing the approach the government has taken in handling this epidemic. Criticising them has not been a cool thing to do at present. As people who know me know, I am a socialist and I often get told I criticise them whatever they do, or if it were a Labour government I would not be so critical. If Labour’s record was anywhere near the record of the current government, trust me I would be saying the same. I have also seen a lot of posts saying this is not a time to be political or that Boris Johnson is doing a good job and doing the best he can. The final assertion is a fair point. Boris Johnson, we must assume is doing what he feels is the best job he can and he cannot be faulted for that. However, at this time holding the government to account, regardless of your views in an objective way (as I hope to do in this post) has never been more important… read more

Hat-trick of Poles for Bottas but it’s a hat-trick of wins for Hamilton in Spain; 2019 Spanish Grand Prix Review

The Spanish Grand Prix at the 4.655 km, 16 turn Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is always an intriguing weekend. The teams and drivers return to the venue of pre-season testing and use it as a benchmark of where they are at. It is also an opportunity for the teams to bring big upgrades. For example, Ferrari brought forward an upgraded engine ahead of schedule while Renault, for example, were looking to ‘reset’ in Barcelona.

Despite the raft of upgrades brought to Barcelona, it was a familiar story in the timesheets. Mercedes have been the dominant force in 2019 despite Ferrari being tipped to have the quicker car. Indeed, the Ferrari was quickest at this circuit in pre-season testing bit it is Mercedes who arrived with four successive 1-2 race finishes and it was Mercedes who set the pace in Spain. The Silver Arrows topped all three practice sessions and all three parts of Qualifying before Valtteri Bottas claimed his third successive pole position by a storming 6 tenth margin. 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

Hamilton dominates as Ferrari struggle and Grosjean causes first lap chaos: 2018 Spanish Grand Prix Review

After the chaotic race in Baku, who would have thought we’d see a more dominant Mercedes in Spain. That’s what we saw at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as they controlled most of the weekend.

Lewis Hamilton led away from pole position and won as he dominated the Spanish Grand Prix [Image from MotorAuthority.com].

Lewis Hamilton took pole position by just 0.040 seconds from his teammate and despite all the drama of the race was dominant to win. Mercedes secured their first one-two race finish of the season as Bottas finished seconds despite being passed by the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel into turn 1. The Finn stayed out for a one-stop strategy while Vettel two stopped on his way to a 4th place finish. The change to slightly slimmer tyres to avoid degradation that was seen in winter testing was attributed as a contributing factor by Vettel and Ferrari. The second stop allowed Max Verstappen to finish on the podium in 3rd while Daniel Ricciardo finished 5th in a much quieter race for Red Bull. read more

Fortunate Hamilton wins chaotic Baku race as the Red Bulls come together: 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Review

After a fascinating double bill, Formula One moved to the fourth round of the Championship in Azerbaijan. Despite never having a driver race in F1, Azerbaijan has held races since the 2016 season and the circuit in the capital city of Baku is the quickest street circuit in the world. The race in 2017 was a crazy day which saw Daniel Ricciardo take victory for Red Bull and the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix was another crazy race.

The layout of the Baku Street Circuit [Image from formula1.com]

Sebastian Vettel qualified on pole for the third successive race and led away from the start. However, the chaos was behind as at turn 3 Kimi Raikkonen and Esteban Ocon collided while behind them Fernando Alonso and Sergey Sirotkin came together too. Ocon and Sirotkin retired from the race. Raikkonen and Alonso were able to continue but after three turns, the safety car was out. 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