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Ciao e benvenuto l'introduzione per il Gran Premio italiano di Monza 2014.
Silverstone, Interlagos, Monza. These illustrious names are the circuits where the sounds of the engines are drowned out by the noise of the fans. Few motorsport arenas can boast of an atmosphere to rival the ancient coliseum of Rome and Monza has always been a pilgrimage for the legion of rosso clad Tifosi.
Monza is synonymous with Ferrari yet this year the prancing horse seems to be more of a lumbering donkey. What effect will this have on the Tifosi and their embrace of the F1 circus this September?
The answer is probably no effect at all.
The reason for this is the love for motorsport shown by the Italian fans ever since the tracks creation in 1922. The sea of red running down to the Parabolica and back along the main straight indicate the devotion of Ferrari fans of all nationalities who are united under a single banner.
Few circuits have been captured on film as much as Monza, many of the sports...
Today’s F1 drivers have well and truly grown up in the internet age where every move they make and every step they take is watched, reported on and discussed. It never ceases to amaze me how a certain few drivers attract literally thousands of fan hours of writing claiming one conspiracy theory after another. That being the case, I though I’d look at some of F1’s biggest conspiricies that pre-date the Internet age (or at the very least run into the pre mass fan site age). These aren’t the eventually proven ones such as Spygate or Crashgate but are the ones that people still talk about today and yet have no conclusive answers about.
I’ll start with a relatively recent one:
Eddie Irvine – World Champion?
The Facts: The year is 1999 and Ferrari look set to finally win their first title since 1979 with Michael Schumacher leading the charge. That was until the British GP when mechanical failure put Schumacher into the barrier and out for a long while with a broken...
Focusing on the Drivers' Champion is, of course, what they'll all do when looking back on the 2014 season, as in any season. They're the people who will forever have their names up in lights, their commemorative T-shirts printed and the trophy in their hands. But, as in any F1 race, there'll be battles running right through the field right up to Double Dhabi...
BATTLE FOR 1st: NICO ROSBERG 202, LEWIS HAMILTON 191
So Lewis Hamilton is apparently in one corner fighting the world of ill fortune, poor strategy and his team-mate's inexhaustible cunning while Rosberg is given the easy task of just winning Grands Prix. It is not that simple, but it is the case that this is a two horse race. One suspects Hamilton has the resources to win this, but not necessarily that he will.
BATTLE FOR 3rd: DANIEL RICCIARDO 131, FERNANDO ALONSO 115
That Alonso is in 4th in the Championship underlines the fact that he is a superb Grand Prix driver. If we're honest, anyone in that Ferrari...
Sad news race fans. One of the last difficult corners on the F1 calendar has now been tamed.
The health and safety monkeys have had their way and the once mighty and difficult Parabolica at Monza is now a car park. This will sadden many of the pure race fans and will surely kick off the track limits debate once again.
I don't think we'll ever see the close on edge racing around that curve any more. I also think drivers will no longer have to take a risk by being on the edge of the Parabolica and end up in the gravel during qualifying. No more of the all or nothing brave moves in order to get a high entry speed on to the main straight.
Drivers will be able to carry more speed onto the main straight by going wide on a warm up lap and will then gain an advantage over those who stick to the circuit. I think any driver who does go wide on the final turn but shows an improvement in speed in next sector should also have their times for their next lap deleted....
The closest Michael Schumacher was to being dethroned in his dominant era was when he had a real fight for the title in 2003. Indeed, there is a strong suspicion of Bridgestone's hand being strengthened halfway through the season to get Schumi over the line. However, the best Michelin car did not begat the driver in 2nd; it was Kimi Raikkonen in a McLaren palpably inferior to the Williams.
What's more, although team-mate David Coulthard was never considered a champion, he has always been considered a solid citizen in F1, and won 13 Grands Prix. Even though DC struggled with qualifying back in 2003, for Raikkonen to beat him by 40 points could be seen to be some achievement.
We know the story of Raikkonen after that, 2004 a poor year for a McLaren brightened up by the Finn at Spa, before the breaking down of the fastest car in 2005 meant he could not challenge Alonso for the title. 2006 saw McLaren on the down, but Raikkonen snook the title from the warring McLarens in 2007 as a...
The Formula One season hosts its greatest irony every August; that its race in Belgium is famous and successful partly because it is built into the side of a hill. And while the supposed difficulty of naming 5 famous Belgians is a cliché, naming 5 famous corners at Spa is easy. Pouhon, Stavelot, Blanchimont, Bus Stop and La Source, for example. There's a lot of debate about that other corner's difficulty in 2014's F1 cars, but Eau Rouge is and always will be an inspiring sight.
The battle at the front is, as always likely to involve Mercedes cars. Lewis Hamilton has won the Belgian Grand Prix a number of times more than 0 and less than 3 in the past, but will surely hope to actually be in with a sniff of victory after Saturday's qualifying session. Rosberg's run of poles has been rather unchallenged more recently, but his last few opposed sessions have also resulted in starts from the front. He has an 11 point lead to defend, which makes this rather more fun than certain...
First things first, the purpose of this post is not to discuss whether ladies are able to compete in modern F1 or approach the topic from a negative point of view. My intention is to discuss the effect that having Susie Wolff within the Williams team at the moment is having on the attitude towards women in motorsport and if this is having, or will have a positive or negative effect.
In recent years, if you were to ask most casual motorsport fans to name current female drivers you would most likely hear the name Danica Patrick and little else. There has of course, been a large increase in the number of high profile female drivers some of whom will be known and some will have slipped under the radar. As well as Patrick and Wolff, such names as Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann and Katherine Legge to name a few have raced on either side of the Atlantic. Interestingly, most of these drivers have made more inroads into open wheeled racing in the US which highlights how difficult it...
One of the big talking points from the Hungarian GP.
From Hamilton's point of view, it was absolutely the right decision as he finished ahead of Rosberg and reduced the points deficit.
From Rosberg's point of view, it potentially cost him the race win and an extended lead in the WDC.
From the team's point of view, they possibly lost out on some WCC points, but that is largely irrelevant as unless both cars fail to score another point for the rest of the season, Mercedes have that in the bag.
If Rosberg had the speed and ability to pass Hamilton, then he should have done so.
The team can't seriously expect someone to slow so much to allow their team mate who is somewhere between 1-2 seconds behind to be able to breeze past them, can they?
Especially considering both drivers are in a battle for the title.
This race more than any other reinforced my opinion that Rosberg doesn't have the same ability to make crucial overtakes as some of the other drivers.
Several times in the race...
Bernie and the team principals met early on Saturday morning at Hungary where Bernie proposed a new working group to address the falling popularity of F1. Heading the new working group will be, wait for it, Flavio Briatore.
The working group is to consist of only a few team principles as well as media and Flavio. A streamlined think tank that expects less conflict over ideas due to its compact size. The new think tank will meet over the summer break to consider ideas. Hopefully the inclusion of the media in these meetings will help to avoid any clangers like double points races.
The very low spectator numbers in Germany have I feel been a wake up call. This was a country that went F1 mad when Schumacher appeared on the scene. Yet despite Seb having won 4 championships in recent years, the turnout this year was terrible.
The negative stories about the engine noise from the media and some drivers such as...
In all my time watching F1 I don't think I've known public opinion change so drastically about a driver than it has about Romain Grosjean. He has gone from promising youngster to nutjob and then from next generation talent to quick midfielder but whats going to happen next for Romain?
Grosjean's junior career started pretty much with success at every turn and he was taken on as Renault test driver and placed in GP2 in 2009. He won the first race of the season and was leading the championship before he was approached by a large Italian man who said to him;
"Hey we've sacked our second driver and we're all about to get in massive trouble for race fixing but we've decided to step you up to the F1 race seat. You'll be complete number 2 to Fernando Alonso and you'll be coming into one of the most complex F1 cars to drive ever without testing. Its your big chance"
The view on Grosjean's short stint as Renault number 2 is that it was pretty awful and that he was a waste of a good...
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