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Motorsport

The art of deciphering Fernando Alonso’s Alonsospeak

Fernando Alonso is one of the most eloquent speakers in Formula One and one of the best at interacting with the media. But he can also use these opportunities to cultivate certain narratives. Four of his statements during the French Grand Prix weekend — one of the most miserable weekends McLaren has endured in recent years — were perfect examples.

It’s a shame, but this article is bang-on, and it needed to be said.

I am a huge admirer of Fernando Alonso. He is one of the few drivers whose driving is so expressive that it actually comes across on TV.

It is a complete tragedy that he only has two world championships, despite probably being the best driver on the grid. And yet it is probably entirely of his own doing.

In that context, you can understand Alonso’s desire to talk himself up. But it is also transparent, and more than a little bit sad.

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Kimi Räikkönen

There are rumours that McLaren are interested in hiring Kimi Räikkönen for 2019.

The possibility seems remote for the time being. But it did instantly tickle a part of my brain. If Räikkönen were to go to McLaren next year, then for whatever reason decide to end his career at Sauber, he would have a palindromic career. In other words, he will have worked his way back through each of the teams he has driven for, in reverse order.

The F1 teams he has driven for in order are:

  • Sauber
  • McLaren
  • Ferrari
  • Lotus
  • Ferrari
  • (McLaren?)
  • (Sauber?)

Has any driver actually done this before?

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Some interesting facts about Volkswagen’s record-smashing Pikes Peak electric race car

Volkswagen took a car to the famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with the intention of beating the record for fastest electric vehicle up the mountain, but it didn’t just beat that one. It also beat the all-time record—leaving both so far in the dust that all the dust had probably settled by the time they got there.

OK, so in a lot of ways Pikes Peak is ready-made for electric vehicles given that range isn’t necessarily an issue, and the lack of oxygen makes things trickier for internal combustion engines. But this is nevertheless a seriously impressive development.

The record has been smashed by over 15 seconds.

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Canada 2005: A record-breaking race that won’t be matched behind a paywall

I didn’t know that this was the most-watched Formula 1 race in history. As this article points out, it seems unlikely at this stage that this record will ever be beaten.

I was struck that this happened the very year before CVC Capital Partners bought their stake in F1. 🤔

They made it their business not to invest in the sport (quite the opposite, in fact). F1’s slow decline began then.

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How F1 has changed – for better and worse – in my 300 races

I really enjoyed this look back by veteran F1 journalist Dieter Rencken, who has been covering the sport since 1997.

I was particularly struck by his observations on how the costs of running a team have evolved over that time.

[In 1997] No fewer than seven [engine manufacturers] – Ferrari, Ford, Hart, Mercedes, Mugen, Renault and Yamaha – were represented, with engines then typically costing up to $40m for a season supply. Against that, budgets peaked at around $80m, so engines accounted for 50 per cent of spend.

2018 budgets run to $300m (plus), with engines pegged at around $25m, yet team bosses complain the power units are too expensive… while kicking against budget caps!

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Formula 1 has trademarked Daniel Ricciardo’s shoey

This seems like a bit of a dick move from Formula 1.

It doesn’t mean F1 is going to go about suing Australian drivers from other categories indulging in sock juice, but it does mean that anyone selling Shoey-themed drinking vessels could be slapped with a strongly-worded ‘stop-what-you’re-doing-or-else’ letter from Liberty Media.

…But when Ricciardo retires, or races in a different category, won’t it seem absurd that the celebration he made famous is trademarked by Formula 1? And not Ricciardo, nor even the Mad Hueys who originally came up with it?

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It’s great to see this clip of Henry Hope-Frost on You Bet.

He may have thought then that his obscure knowledge would be of absolutely no use. But it certainly came in handy when he later became one of the top motorsport journalists.

There aren’t nearly enough clips of You Bet on YouTube. I remember one contestant who was able to tell a piece of music that was being played backwards just by seeing a candle flickering in front of the speaker.

It’s extraordinary to think that this kind of geeky talent passed for Saturday night ITV entertainment in the 1990s.

Henry Hope-Frost’s untimely death traveling home from the job he loved earlier this month was tragic. This clip is a demonstration of pure fever.

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Birmingham Superprix

Retracing the Birmingham Superprix

Looking back on the street race that ran in Britain’s second largest city for a few years in the 1980s. It is almost unimaginable today, and going by the weary comments from the business owner whose building was used as the pitlane, you can see why it didn’t last.

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Cheating Fanboost rivals a catastrophe for Formula E — Abt

Audi Formula E driver Daniel Abt has accused rivals of cheating the series’ Fanboost voting system and says drivers unfairly winning it is a “catastrophe”.

So apparently voting patterns in Formula E’s fanboost vote are suspicious. It was surely inevitable that would be happening. But it sounds like Formula E don’t know what to do about it.

Last weekend’s race was the first time this year that Daniel Abt didn’t receive the fanboost himself though. And his team mate (in the team with his family’s name in it) Lucas di Grassi did receive it. So it does make me wonder what makes him such an expert on what’s going on. 🤔

Here’s a radical idea though. How about not having the ridiculous fanboost in the first place, and leave the drivers to get on and race on an equal footing rather than turning what’s supposed to be a sport into a popularity contest?

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It’s worth reading the full transcript of Lewis Hamilton’s press conference following his championship victory on Sunday

It's worth reading the full transcript of Lewis Hamilton's press conference following his championship victory on Sunday (scroll down to about halfway down the page to see "Questions to Lewis Hamilton"). As noted by Andrew Benson, his answers are long, in-depth, and provide an interesting insight into the mindset that has seen him step up…

Read full article — It’s worth reading the full transcript of Lewis Hamilton’s press conference following his championship victory on Sunday

Mute, nameless, servile: The promise of sex in motorsport

Mute, nameless, servile: The promise of sex in motorsport [W]omen are presented as reward in motorsport like few other major sports in the world. From Formula One’s lines of applauding women directing victorious drivers to the cool down room, to Monster Energy Drinks’ extensive use of promotional women, to “brolly dollies” in motorbike racing, to…

Read full article — Mute, nameless, servile: The promise of sex in motorsport