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Posts Tagged: F1

Getting The Points, But Not The Point

Monday 26th July 2010

The result of the German Grand Prix this weekend was that Fernando Alonso finished 4.2 seconds ahead of his team mate, Felipe Massa, to win the race. However, to the vast majority of F1 fans, Massa was the real victor.

Alonso outqualified Massa on Saturday, but they both started behind the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel, who qualified on pole position for his home race. At the start the two Ferraris got off the line better than Vettel, who immediately moved to the right-hand side of the track in an attempt to block Alonso. This left Massa to take the lead of the race, and ultimately Alonso got past Vettel to go second. The Ferraris were running 1st and 2nd, a great achievement given that they’ve been off the pace in recent races. It was also good to see Massa leading a race again, a year to the day after his near-fatal accident in qualifying for last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

During much of the race, the two Ferraris were not far away from each other, and it was fairly clear that Alonso was the quicker of the pair. Indeed, he made an attempt to overtake relatively early on, but Massa did a really good job of defending his position to keep the lead and then maintain it throughout the pitstop phase.

While he was being held up by his team mate, some of the radio messages that were broadcast sort of hinted towards Alonso’s frustration. He said that it was “ridiculous”. And then, on lap 48, Massa’s race engineer told him over the radio: “Fernando is faster than you“.

If you don’t follow motorsport, the significance of that phrase is probably lost on you. Because it has a very clear, distinct meaning: let him overtake you. Sure thing, a short time later, Massa miraculously slowed down coming out of a hairpin, allowing his team-mate past.

It was a team order. Ferrari wanted Alonso to win the race, so they told Massa to slow down.

The reasoning is clear. Alonso has a real chance of winning the championship this year, and Massa doesn’t. Therefore they want Alonso to score every point that he can, and doing this enables him to score 7 more points than if he had finished 2nd. Those points could be the difference between winning and losing a title. It’s a very good way to run a team if you want to maximise your chances of winning titles.

However, team orders are banned in F1. They have been since 2002, when Ferrari asked Rubens Barrichello to let Michael Schumacher through to win the Austrian Grand Prix. Accordingly, Ferrari have been issued a $100,000 fine after today’s race (which is essentially a non-punishment). But we’ve seen team orders used plenty of times, even after they were supposedly banned.

In some ways, team orders are a part of motorsport. It’s a team game, and the driver’s responsibility is to the team first, themselves second. There have been countless examples of this sort of thing over the years (indeed, in the early years of the sport, second and third drivers were sometimes required to give up their car part way through a race, if their team mate needed it). Almost every team does it, and I’m sure it’ll continue even after today.

I think the difference is timing. Mostly, team orders are used towards the end of the championship, when one driver is way ahead of the other and is in with a chance of winning the title. In that case, although it’s still slightly awkward, I think it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do. The difference here though is that we’ve only just passed the halfway point of the season. Massa is way behind Alonso in the championship and so has no realistic chance of winning it, so logically this move makes sense. But even so, at this stage of the season it’s an incredibly bad thing to do.

There are two reasons why I say this. Firstly, it’s ridiculously un-sporting. Obviously the points are important for Alonso, but when we’re at this stage of the season it just feels really unfair to start using team orders. If Alonso was quicker than Massa, he should’ve made the pass on-track, and I was certainly looking forward to seeing that battle. Instead, Ferrari cheated Massa (and Alonso) of the opportunity to win the race (as opposed to having it gifted to them), and we were cheated out of the spectacle of seeing them do that.

Secondly, I think that Ferrari should’ve considered the damage this has done. Yes, 7 points are useful. But are they worth a demotivated Massa? I would say not.

This isn’t the first time that the issue of driver parity has reared it’s ugly head this season, as Red Bull have been accused of favouring Vettel over Webber a couple of times. In this case, it’s been because of things the managment have said, or by putting upgraded parts on Vettel’s car and not on Webber’s. But I reckon most of these are through mismanagement rather than anything more sinister. And anyway, it’s a very different scenario to ordering one of the drivers to let the other win a race.

It’s been a great season so far, and much of that has been down to intra-team battles. The Red Bull battle that I’ve just mentioned is one example, as is the contest between Hamilton and Button (the last 2 World Champions) at McLaren. I’m sure that the second half of the season will be just as enthralling, especially if Ferrari are able to join the title fight.

But whoever wins this year, it needs to be fair. Maybe Ferrari and Alonso simply want to win at all costs, and that’s their prerogative. Indeed, Alonso was happy with his “win” at Hockenheim, just as he still counts his (disgusting) result at Singapore 2008 as a fair win. But great champions do not need to throw their toys out of their carbon-fibre pram in order to get results; instead they just concentrate on winning in the proper manner.

A couple of years ago, Sir Jackie Stewart (World Champion in 1969, 1971 and 1973) released his autobiography. He entitled it “Winning is Not Enough”. It’s a shame if drivers and teams of the calibre of Alonso and Ferrari don’t share that sentiment.

Posted In: Motorsport Tagged: | 3 Comments

An Amazing Display of Intelligence

Tuesday 30th March 2010

Actually two displays of intelligence, but both of them are linked to each other and both lead to a single result.

One of my lecturers at university likes telling us to “think from first principles”. That is, to look at a problem and to work out what is really causing the issue, and therefore come up with an engineering solution which solves that. An example he used was the bridge at Boscastle. In the aftermath of the 2004 flood, a problem was that cars got washed into the river and crashed into the bridge, which ended up blocking the flow of the river thus causing more flooding. A bunch of people looked at this and decided that the solution was to build a new bridge with a larger gap underneath so cars won’t get stuck there.

My lecturer’s suggestion was to put fencing of some sort along the sides of the river, to stop the cars going into the water in the first place. You don’t need much of an engineering background to realise that this is cheaper than building a new bridge! A much better solution.

One of the things I love about F1 is that the engineering is absolutely brilliant. And McLaren are one of the best teams in F1, so their engineers are pretty damn good. And they came up with something on their new car which I find amazingly impressive.

F1 cars run wings to create downforce. Downforce pushes the cars onto the track, which means they generate more grip and so can go quicker in corners. This also induces drag though, but in corners this isn’t as much of an issue because the extra grip makes up for the extra drag. On straights though, grip is less important than the drag of the car so the downforce is sort of “wasted”. The cars are therefore set up as a compromise, to give the best amount of grip in the corners without lowering the top speed of the car too much on straights.

But something F1 designers have looked at for years is trying to stall the wings on straights. This means stop them making downforce when it isnt needed, so there is less unnecessary drag. One way to do this is to have manually operated wings where you can change the angle of attack (like on aircraft). This is banned, for safety reasons. Another way is to have the wings deform under a certain load, so they bend into a shape which produces less downforce. Again, it’s been banned for safety reasons. But McLaren have come up with a new way to stall the rear wing, and it’s brilliant.

They have a vent in the front of the car, which carries air in a duct along the length of the car and onto the rear wing. This flow of air is positioned in a way that upsets the air flowing over the wing and so stalls it, so that the wing stops producing downforce and so produces less drag. Now, if you do this you need a way to turn it on and off, so that the vent only blows onto the rear wing on the straights. Otherwise the car will lose downforce in the corners and won’t go as quickly. They aren’t allowed to use some sort of mechanical system becuase it would count as a moveable aerodynamic device, which is banned. The solution they’ve ued is ridiculously simple. The duct runs through the cockpit, and has a hole in it. This means that when the hole is uncovered the air simply vents into the cockpit, keeps the driver a bit cooler and doesn’t upset the flow around the rear wing. When the driver covers the hole up though, the air flows to the back of the car and stalls the wing.

This is a stupidly simple solution, and completely beyond the scope of the rules. The thing which moves is the driver’s leg, and you can hardly ban drivers legs from F1! It’s a wonderful bit of engineering.

The second display of intelligence concerns one of McLaren’s drivers, Jenson Button. He won the race on Sunday with a decision to change tyres before anyone else, and with some brilliant driving. Everyone started on wet tyres because it rained at the start, but after a few laps it stopped raining and a dry line started to appear. Button realised this before anyone else and then changed to dry tyres, which moved him up from about 6th to 2nd place. He then kept those tyres till the end of the race, but not just that he managed to do consistently quick laps. The other people who were on the same tyres for that amount of time just couldn’t keep up with him.

On the other hand Button’s teammate, Lewis Hamilton, seemed to completely lose his head during the race. He really lost his composure, which quite surprised me. Before this season, most people sort of wrote Button off because the consensus is that Hamilton is quicker. And he probably is. But the thing is that the difference is probably only a few tenths of a second, and Button is possibly overall a more intelligent driver. Like in the race on Sunday; he knew when to change tyres. He knew not to push too hard on them, which meant that even at the end of the race – when drivers like Hamilton and Webber were on much newer tyres – his tyres werent too worn to stop him going quickly enough to win. I was watching the race with live timing, and his laptimes were amazingly consistent all the way through. Honestly, his drive on Sunday was one of the best I’ve seen – from anyone – for ages.

Motorsport at this level is not just about outright pace. Clever strategy can count for a lot, and it means that the battle between the McLaren drivers this year is gonna be a fascinating one.

If you havent already, watch the race on iPlayer. Well worth it because it was awesomely entertaining.

Posted In: EngineeringMotorsportTechnology Tagged: | 2 Comments

Romance

Sunday 14th February 2010

It’s a pretty interesting thing, really. When we romanticise something, it seems to me that we hardly ever think about that thing in the way it actually was (or is); we ignore the negative aspects and focus purely on the positive ones.

There’s a space on my bedroom wall at home which I’ve wanted to fill with a poster for some time, but I’ve never been able to decide which one. When I was at school, one of my German teachers clearly liked his motorsport, because all around his classroom were prints of vintage posters, mostly for the Le Mans 24 hour race. I love these sorts of images, because they all seem to capture the spirit of the era. Especially posters for the “classic” races – I think they resemble art more than they do advertising. Look at this poster for the 1961 24 hours of Le Mans, for instance – I think that image is wonderful. The drawing is stunning; you can almost hear the engine, smell the warm oil. Or this poster for the 1937 Monaco Grand Prix. Same thing – to me it perfectly sums up both Monaco, and the era.

Motorsport is amazingly romantic. I couldn’t tell you why, but it really is. I love that many of the circuits have been around for years, because the sense of history surrounding those events is really nice. There’s something special about a Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, something that an Abu Dhabi or Chinese Grand Prix can never have (not picking on those events for any particular reason).

Actually, if there’s something special about Spa, then somewhere like Le Mans is almost sacred. I absolutely adore everything about Le Mans. For the uninitiated, it’s a 24 hour race around an 8.5 mile long circuit, a lot of which is made up of normal roads. It’s been going for years at the same place, and there are some absolutely legendary stories about the race. It’s basically an entire F1 season packed into 24 hours, and I love it for that. I also love that it feels like a proper racing event – like the equivalent of a music festival for petrolheads. You go, set up a tent, drink lots of beer, watch lots of racing and have a jolly good time, and to me that is basically heaven. I’ve not been yet (money, time, exams…), but I will one year and I can’t bloody wait.

You see, I could carry on for ages talking about the wonders of places like Le Mans, Monaco, Monza, Silverstone, Hockenheim, Spa… But I’m romanticising. These places have always been – will always be – very dangerous. We specifically remember the amazing races and stories that happened at these places, and lots of people hark back to the good old days, but when we look back it can be very easy to forget the bad things. The 1955 Le Mans disaster, Stefan Bellof at Spa, Jim Clark at Hockenheim, Jochen Rindt at Monza – to name but a few examples.

I suppose there’s a lot to be said for passion, too. That is probably what carries people through the bad stuff. One of my favourite moments from F1 in 2009 was in the closing laps of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Jenson Button was 2nd, Lewis Hamilton 3rd and lapping quicker. A podium for McLaren at that time was a very good thing – it’d been a pretty bad year for them – but you could tell that Hamilton wanted that 2nd place and he was pushing as hard as he could for it. Too hard, because he span and crashed on the last lap.

I know people who said afterwards “oh he was stupid. He was on the podium anyway, he shouldn’t have been pushing so hard”, but that misses the point. It’s racing, and any racing driver that would’ve settled for 3rd in that situation really doesn’t deserve the name. I suppose that fundamentally, motorsport is very pure – more so than many sports. You have a certain distance to travel, and whoever does it quickest is the winner. It’s a lot purer than, say, football, which is a game that is basically composed of completely arbitrary rules. I think motorsport attracts a certain type of competitiveness, and I for one absolutely love that aspect of it. Yes, Hamilton at Monza could have backed off and ensured he got 3rd place. But why? He wants to win, to prove he’s better than the next guy. Taking the safe course is never going to achieve that.

It’s hard to convey the reasons I like racing to people who have never even seen a race, or any sort of competitive motorsport. One day, I intend to take all my friends who say they don’t like it to something like an F1 testing day, because I think seeing the cars “in the metal” is a really phenomenal thing. It’s hard to appreciate what they can do without having seen them – it really does amaze you. Actually it’s probably worth them seeing a proper race too, because I can’t think of a way to convey the atmosphere when 20-odd cars fly past you on the track, all of them trying to get ahead of the others. Anyone who doesn’t find that exciting is clinically dead. FACT!

Anyway. Romance. Passion. Idealism. They’re all really good things, but I guess that it’s important that they’re balanced by a decent dose of realism. Because really, that’s the only way that things can develop healthily.

When you saw that this post is called “romance”, published on this particular day, I bet you thought it was about something else? Suckers :-p

Posted In: MotorsportSleepStuff Tagged: | 10 Comments

The Relevance of Engineering

Thursday 14th January 2010

Exam Time. I have 3 next week, had one already this week. My last one next week is Structural Analysis, and a part of that is Finite Element Analysis. We first encountered this in the 2nd year (where it actually wasn’t taught to us as such, we just had to use the concepts for some coursework), and it’s pretty powerful.

Anyway, you’ll be more than aware that as well as being an engineer, I’m also an F1 geek. F1 teams use FEA too, to model various aspects of their cars. Earlier on I came across this on iTunes, an Open University thing about, uhm, how an F1 team uses FEA. This has got to be the best distraction from revision ever; not only is it F1 related and so therefore interesting, it’s actually vaguely relevant to what I should be doing anyway. More relevant than, say, watching past episodes of Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe on YouTube, which I of course haven’t done at all…

Posted In: EngineeringMotorsport Tagged: | 2 Comments

Titles

Monday 19th October 2009

Twas the Brazilian Grand Prix a few hours ago, and some of you might know the result.

Interlagos usually makes for a good race, and this year’s was no different. It was really entertaining watching the different strategies play out over the race distance and trying to work out how it would pan out – and more importantly how it would affect the driver’s championship. There was plenty of overtaking (especially from Button, who drove an absolutely sublime race), a lot of drama and passion and the odd bit of fire. Basically, all the things that make F1 great were in abundance and it was an absolute joy to watch. Anyone who doesn’t get the attraction of motorsport and has never watched a race I implore you to get on iPlayer now and watch it (or the highlights if you’ve got the attention span of a newt), because you might find you enjoy it.

So what did one of my housemates say was the best bit? “When Kovalainen left the pit too early and showered fuel on Raikkonen and it caught fire!!!”. Dick. (Raikkonen finished 6th by the way, despite getting petrol in his eyes and – im not sure if this is true – burning his face slightly. Not a bad effort)

Most importantly, BrawnGP and Jenson Button won the constructor’s and driver’s championships respectively. So that’s 2 British world champion drivers in the field now, and another British champion team. As a country we’re very quick to denigrate ourselves when it comes to sport. People say we’re crap because we never win anything, but motorsport is the one thing that we absolutely dominate. As a country, we’ve won more F1 world titles than anyone else and most of the cars are built here. When a young driver wants to make a name for themselves, they come to Britain because our junior racing series are the best in the world, because most of the best teams are based here. Yet how many people know that much about it, compared to football say?

In Italy, Ferrari is as big as the football team is here. It’s a Big Deal when they launch their new F1 car; it makes the national news. Everything that goes on at the team is scrutinised by the Italian media, in the same way that everything to do with the England football team is scrutinised here. Ferrari isn’t just “an F1 team”, it’s basically the Italian F1 team and if you drive for them you’re driving for Italy.

My point is that we have the Williams, BrawnGP, McLaren, Force India, Renault and Red Bull teams all based in Britain. Why the lack of support? Meh.

Anyway! The real reason behind this post:

BRAWNGP AND JENSON BUTTON, F1 WORLD CHAMPIONS 2009! GET IN THERE!!!

:-)

Posted In: MotorsportRantSleep Tagged: | 3 Comments

I Really Can’t Think Of A Decent Title For This Post

Monday 25th May 2009

Watching the Monaco Grand Prix yesterday, I was extremely jealous of everyone who was there to watch it. I’d love to go to any Grand Prix, but rarely do I watch and wish I was actually there. But the idea of watching the race around the streets of Monaco, over the gorgeous harbour and under a fantastic blue sky, then retiring to a bar for several (probably overly-expensive) cold beers, really appeals.

The race at Monaco is definitely one of the worst. It’s fairly (very) processional, with very little overtaking. Unless it’s raining, it’s very rarely a massively exciting race. Yet if you ask most F1 fans, it’s the race they most want to go to. That’s because even though it’s a crap race, it’s a unique opportunity to see massively powerful, massively fast cars racing on a public road; cars doing an average speed of 100mph on roads that otherwise take normal traffic, and doing it in close proximity to barriers which punish the slightest mistake. On a properly fast lap, the drivers actually brush the edge of the tyres against the barriers. At over 100mph. Oh, and because it’s all really cramped, it’s also the race where you can get the closest to the track and see all this taking place. Great stuff.

Anyway, there are a few things that I’ve been meaning to blog about (and how many times have I said that now?). I’m gonna try to write some of that stuff down though soon. To sort of nudge myself into doing it, I’m gonna list some of the topics here. Hopefully that’ll shame me into writing it, cos in a month or two I’ll look at the list and think “oops, I said I’d write about that”…

  • Technology
  • Photography (this one could be contraversial…)
  • Alcohol
  • Business/economy
  • Politics
  • Life, the universe, everything
  • Driving
  • Engineering/work

Some of those could get amalgamated (“Alcohol” and “Life/universe/everything” are good candidates for that), and I might think of something else to write about before I do any of the above. The list is just there to prod me into writing more (and maybe someone else will prod me, “Oi, you said you were gonna write about x and you still havent!”).

I was somewhat amazed to read the comments on Flix’s blog a while back, with people saying they wouldn’t wanna change uni-world for the real world. I’m the exact opposite. As much as I moan about it sometimes, and as much as I’m utterly bored of getting up at quarter to 7 (or quarter to 6 on Monday mornings), I much prefer work. I like being finished at half 5, I like the feeling of Getting Something Done, and I absolutely adore being out of the Student Bubble. Being paid really doesn’t suck, either. I was back in Cardiff on Friday and went to the pub with a load of my mates down there, and all of us who have done a year out this year agree that we prefer working. In some ways, I’m kinda dreading going back to Uni.

Anyway, 3 months left and allegedly I’ll be moving away from Brize soon, to work in Head Office on another project. Be annoying to be off-site during the sunny summer, but it’ll be interesting to try yet another thing this year. Reduce my fuel bills a hell of a lot, too…

Posted In: EngineeringMotorsportSite Tagged: | 1 Comment

F1 ’09, Four Races In…

Sunday 3rd May 2009

And they’ve all been rather good (if short, in the case of the Malaysian Grand Prix).

It’s great that the established order of the last few years has been shaken up, and Jenson Button is really showing his skill. The naysayers will say “oh he’s in the best car”, which was mostly true for the first couple of races, but not now. At the last race in Bahrain, he started 4th with a KERS-equipped McLaren in the hands of Hamilton right behind him. That’s a fairly formidable combination to beat at the start; KERS allows the driver to get a better start than drivers with non-KERS cars and Hamilton is probably one of the best racers out there. The fact that Hamilton got past Button on the first lap was fairly predictable, but the way Button got past Hamilton at the end of the first lap was absolutely sublime. Also, Button didn’t have the strongest car out there on the day; the engine was turned down to keep it from overheating and I’m fairly sure Vettel had the pace to win, given his qualifying performance. Button managed to win though, partially thanks to a good strategy, but also thanks to a great drive. Really, you’ve gotta say he’ll be challenging for the championship this year.

Not so easy to say who he’ll be fighting. I don’t think his teammate is gonna be up there; he’s not really that great. My instinct is to say that it’ll be between Button, Vettel and Hamilton. Vettel will be really interesting to watch; I don’t think the Red Bull has the raw race pace that the Brawn has, but I think that he’s one of the best drivers out there. Actually I think he could well turn out to be one of the greats and win several championships, judging by his performances so far (winning in the rain – from pole – at Monza last year, in a Toro Rosso… That’s special). I rank Hamilton in the same sort of category, based on the way he demolished Alonso at McLaren in 2007, his win at Silverstone last year (over a minute ahead of the guy in 2nd place, and he’d lapped everyone up to 3rd), and how well he’s going this year in a sub-par McLaren (actually I also have a theory about last year; I reckon the McLaren was a bit slower than the Ferrari all through the year, but he managed to get more out of it to put himself in contention, and to eventually win. Tbh I can’t see any other reason why McLaren would keep Kovalainen on as 2nd driver). The McLaren seems to be coming good now with the new parts they’re adding to it, and if you give him a sniff of a chance I think Hamilton will be there.

It’s gonna be an exciting year, and I really hope Button wins it. He’s driving fantastically well so far, so if he keeps that up and can at least match Vettel and Hamilton, hopefully his early-season form will give him the advantage. To be honest though, I’m really excited at the thought of those three really racing each other. The prospect of more races like Spa, Hockenheim or Brazil last year, when I was pretty much on the edge of my seat, is really cool.

I really wanna go to the British Grand Prix. Not really got time to do it though. Might go to Spa in September instead (if I can afford it…)

Posted In: Motorsport Tagged: | No Comments

Fairness

Tuesday 6th January 2009

Lewis Hamilton. Damon Hill. Nigel Mansell. The last three British winners of the F1 World Drivers Championship. Hill and Mansell got OBEs, Hamilton got an MBE. They also both won Sports Personality of the Year for their title-winning seasons (and their not-quite title-winning seasons in 1994 and 1986), and both of their titles (1996 and 1992, respectively) came in Olympic years.

Rebecca Adlington – the girl who won 2 golds in swimming at the Olympics – got an OBE. I’m not sure how winning two golds is a bigger achievement than winning the WDC, but there we are. Chris Hoy got a knighthood, and I really don’t understand that; Steve Redgrave got knighted after 5 golds in 5 olympics, something which really does deserve a knighthood.

Sir Chris Hoy. Ron Dennis CBE. One won a few medals, the other runs a team which – amongst other things – has been at the forefront of the sport for the last 25 years, won 162 races and 17 World Championships, and become the second most successful team in the history of the sport (behind Ferrari, who have been there since 1950). I’m not saying the Olympians aren’t deserving of honours, just that it all seems a bit unfair.

Britain is the best country in the world for motorsport. We have the best teams and some of the best drivers. Our national championships are regarded as the best and most competetive in the world; if you want to make it in motorsport, you come to Britain. As such, there’s a massive industry based around the sport, employing thousands of people and worth a hell of a lot to the economy. Also, motorsport benefits the country in terms of the engineering skill it breeds and that spills over into other industries, especially the Automotive and Aeronautical industries.

The Olympics in 2012 is costing a huge amount of money, and will probably not have a massive benefit to the country. After this year, Britain is at risk of losing its F1 race, partly because the Government refuses to put any money into it. They’re more than happy to spend untold billions for the Olympics, but not a few million for a race which highlights something we’re actually good at. We’re the most successful country in the world in the sport and the industry undoubtedly benefits us, yet the Government won’t support it? Stupid.

Posted In: MotorsportRant Tagged: | 5 Comments

Blown Away

Friday 22nd June 2007

F1 fans (none of which read this regularly, if at all) will probably know that most of the teams have been testing this week at Silverstone. I went yesterday – the picture above was taken by my Dad (and well done to him, he got shedloads of really good photos, which is by no means easy). It was my first time seeing F1 cars being driven in anger, “in the metal” so to speak.

And wow. When we arrived the cars were already running, and as we approached the circuit you could hear them going round, really clearly. From a distance, an F1 car sounds like a swarming nest of wasps; if the wasps were pissed off and on steroids. As you get closer though, it’s something else. Hearing them on TV – or even from a distance – doesn’t prepare you for the piercing wail of the engine, or the vicious thud of the gear changes. We stood on the exit of Luffield (pretty much the last corner before the pit straight) for a good portion of the day, and the sound as they booted it out of the corner was just amazing. Especially on the Ferrari – Massa seemed to be able to put his foot down right at the apex of the corner and literally launch himself out of it. Which probably goes some way to explaining why his front-right wheel was in the air…

The sheer pace of the cars is bloody cool too. When you watch on TV you know they’re going quickly, but you don’t quite get how quick they actually are. When you’re there, you can’t help but notice the speed they carry through the corners, how little time it takes them to build up more speed out of them, or how quickly they can shed it again for the next turn.

Makes you realise how good all of the drivers really are. I mean, it’s one thing to see them correcting a slide on TV, but when you see them doing it right in front of you, it’s different somehow. You end up thinking “I well never, ever be able to drive like that”. I shall certainly bear that thought in mind in future, when a driver is doing badly.

Anyway, if you’ve never been before, I strongly recommend it if you’re even the least bit interested in motorsport. Actually even if you’re not, I’d recommend it – it’s something that just has to be experienced. I certainly can’t wait to go back – the Silverstone Classic next month looks particularly promising…

Posted In: Motorsport Tagged: | No Comments