Euro 2020 Preview

Kicking off a year later than planned due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, when Turkey dace Italy at 8pm it will kick-start Euro 2020 [Logo in the feature image above from UEFA.com] a month of summer football across Europe.

Yes, across Europe. During a pandemic where one confederation (COMNEBOL) have struggled to find even one host country and have had to settle on Brazil after both Argentina and Columbia withdrew from hosting. That doesn’t make sense and to be honest, I am not entirely sure it is wise having this tournament spread across 11 countries with all the travelling involved. That is just my opinion. read more

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

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

Talking Points from the 2018 German Grand Prix

Housekeeping
As part of Formula One’s first ever tripleheader, I planned to do three posts similar to this; discussing the talking points from the Grand Prix weekends before producing a team by team review. The first of those was published and shared around while the latter two took more time as I balanced a couple of job applications. The posts on Austria and Britain were published and are available on the links.

The team by team review post was held back and became quite an overwhelming task. Unfortunately, that had to be shelved however my ratings of both the teams and drivers will be made available in a link in my next Review Post. With F1 having a doubleheader before the big summer break (Germany and Hungary), I aim to do the same format as I did for those three races and this time follow through with the team by team review post.

So without further ado, let's get into my discussion of the German Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel celebrates pole position at Hockenheim. [Image from formula1.com].

The German Grand Prix was probably always going to throw up some entertaining racing with Daniel Ricciardo set to start at the back of the grid after taking a number of grid place penalties for engine component changes. That was added to even further when Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes came to a halt in Q1. He would start 14th while the home favourite and Championship leader, Sebastian Vettel claimed a record-breaking pole position.

Vettel led away from the start and seemed to be in control of the race. [Image from jamesalisononf1.com].

From the start, Vettel was in control of the race as he led from Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen. Meanwhile, Hamilton began his charge through the field and had made 10 positions to 5th by lap 14. Ricciardo’s charge took a bit longer having started 19th on the grid but came to a premature end when his Red Bull pulled up on lap 27 running in 6th with an engine issue. 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

2016 Belgian Grand Prix Preview

It has been a long 4 weeks hasn’t it? The football season has started up again, the Olympics in Rio have come and gone; Team GB came back with 67 medals and the UK is still no nearer to leaving the EU. However, F1 is back! The drivers have had their summer holidays in which Kimi Raikkonen got married, Nico Rosberg spent time with his dogs, Lewis Hamilton took a trip round the Caribbean, Jenson Button and Daniel Ricciardo met up in the US while Fernando Alonso trained at Palm Springs in California.. They’ve had their fun and it is time for them to get back down to business for the final 9 races of the 2016 season. It’s time to get back in the car, extract the maximum from it, fight for points, pole position, podiums wins and championship position. For some it will be glory or pride’s sake, for others it will be about saving their F1 career.

The 9 Grand Prix’s left are: read more

2016 German Grand Prix Review: Lewis Hamilton completes ‘Hammer-July’ at Hockenheim!

Current circuit map of Hockenheim
Current circuit map of Hockenheim

The sun has since set on another Grand Prix weekend; the champagne has been flown and drunk from whichever ‘glass’ could be found by the top 3; the interviews are done and having said goodbye to Hockenheim until 2018 Formula One now embarks on its four-week summer break. However, I have a Grand Prix weekend to comment on…

The Race Weekend

Practice read more

German Grand Prix 2016 Preview

Well, hello there! Welcome to my new trial of writing on F1 Grand Prix weekends. I have decided on splitting my writing into two pieces after considering feedback that some of my pieces are too long and almost a length of a dissertation. This is a trial layout so any feedback would be great appreciated and please feel free to comment.

It is the final race before the F1 drivers go on their 4-week summer break and usually marks the half-time period of the season as the teams also close down their factories for two weeks. The FIA sporting regulations insist on every team doing this at some stage during the season in order to prevent any team gaining an unfair advantage in terms of time worked on the cars. Although in terms of race laps completed the halfway point of the season was lap 35 in Hungary this is the half way point for the drivers where they can take their extended break. However, before then, they must navigate the Hockenheimering (I will from here on in be using the much shorter ‘Hockenheim’ when referring to this site) for the German Grand Prix. read more