Tag Archives: Formula One

Today: Cheltenham Science Festival

15 Jun
Mike Gascoyne at the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix.

Mike Gascoyne at the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Cheltenham Science festival, somewhere I have never been, something I have never heard of, with someone I didn’t expect.

I moved to Cheltenham in November 2011, and the festivals they hold annually were all becoming an interesting adventure. Adventures I didn’t really have tome to go on. Until my fiance Charlie sprung surprise tickets for me and him for the science festival.

Expecting an obscure lecturer talking about a new exciting subject, I was thrilled. But I never knew just how thrilled I would be. Sponsors GE Aviation were there, and as i approached the tent the familiar noise of an F1 car filled my ears.

It was none other than Caterhams Chief Technical officer Mike Gascoyne being interviewed by BBC radio 5 lives F1 commentator James Allen.

I loved it, I honestly couldn’t fault the interview. We found out how he effectively lucked his way into what turned into a very lucrative F1 career, how he met a long-haired 18 year old Spaniard called Fernando Alonso, and how the mute button at Jordan Grand Prix was a useful tool when dealing with Eddie Jordan.

There was even time for a Q&A session from the audience, and I’ll run through a couple of questions that I remember, as not only did I find the questions interesting, some of Mike Gascoyne’s answers were very telling of an incredibly intelligent man.

Question 1 was about more woman on F1. Not only drivers, but as team members as well. The question came from a woman in the front row, who obviously (or what seemed to be) was trying to get a generic “well boys are stronger than girls” answer. But his response was different, far from a political answer about fairness and equality, he went down the ‘hired on merit’ route. Which is correct. The fact of the matter is, there are more male’s doing engineering than females, more males who prefer motorsport, and so the odds are stacked against us in making up any form of majority.

James Allen also pointed out that there are plenty of girls in karting, but it is a challenge to get to the physical fitness, and to get the sponsorship. Something that is a struggle for both sexes.

The next question i remember was regarding innovation and the budget cap. Mike Gascoyne lis in favour of this budget cap, however the person asking the question also asked if he was in favour of scrapping all the limiting technical regulations. Something which Gascoyne said no to.

“…all regulations are to do with speed. The drivers body may survive a high speed impact but his internal organs would be scrambled…”

Seems legit to me.

Another question related to the one above, about the budget cap, but was related more along the sponsors route. This flustered Mike Gascoyne and from what I could tell there was no actual answer to the question. He skirted around it whilst mentioning resources from GE aviation and the resources of RedBull and Ferrari.

My opinion? GE are providing alot of ‘in-kind’ contributions if the budget cap goes ahead.

The final question was just annoying because somebody hadn’t done their research. It mentioned specific formula one degrees. Which there are none, there are motorsport degrees, which won’t become redundant after 1 season, which is what she was suggesting. Someone just wanted to ask a question…

i loved it all. I’m gutted I didn’t get to ask my question regarding tyre testing and practice sessions, but my desire to work in science and engineering has been re-ignited. Thank you Cheltenham Science Festival!

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Today: An unexpected result

12 May

Watching Qualifying for the Formula One today, I was expecting a Redbull pole with Ferrari yet again under performing whilst only one of the Mercedes cars made an impact.

So… I was right… but totally wrong.

I say I’m right because in all intense and purposes, if these scenarios were reversed then I would be right.

Redbull didn’t get pole and in a strange event, Sebastian Vettel didn’t even try and be last to cross the line with the fastest lap. settling for a more conservative approach, a better result that my favourite driver however, Mark Webber, who falsely assumed his safety in Q2, and watched as his time was smashed and smashed again. Finally starting in P12.

Mclaren were a team of 2 halves, whilst Lewis Hamilton topped each of the qualifying sessions, Jenson Button had a fluke change of heart towards his car, suffering understeer through out. Something the FOM thought would be useful to mention in every session. Not. Pole for Lewis Hamilton, 0.5 seconds ahead of his nearest rival and 11th for Jenson Button who apparently had an understeer problem…

Ferrari were expected to just be on the track. Nobody expected anything, and Felipe Massa delivered that prediction, quite successfully by starting in 17th. Fernando Alonso seems to have received black magic from his home crowd and starts 3rd…

The rest of the field is quite predictable with 2 exceptions, Williams were again a story of 2 halves where Bruno Senna qualified 18 after encountering alot of traffic and spinning on his final flying lap, parking up in the gravel, Pastor Maldonado however parked his car on the front row with Lewis Hamilton. Good luck Pastor, if you do go backwards at the start please don’t do a Daniel Ricciardo.

Sauber hit it good as well with both cars in the top 10, showing good pace for the race!

i’m excited for the race, we will have to see why Lewis Hamilton had to stop on track, as if it is something like say… a gearbox change as the rumours around the track are saying, he won’t start on Pole! Maybe Maldonado won’t go backwards? Hopefully Mark Webber will just go forwards.

Now you’ll have to excuse me, I’m just watching the rest of GP2 (basically Formula One but without the manners), Sky really have opened up motorsport to the wider commmunity!

Today F1 in Bahrain

11 Apr

The question just seems to be should they go? It’s a rubbish situation to be in because financially and contractually yes, but then in a media dominated world, no.

I’m not professing to know everything, nor have the correct view point on this situation, but unlike to think I have more insite than some. You see my dad has been living in Bahrain for half a year, and in his usual sense has a strong opinion on the whole issue. Not just motor racing.

He says that although there are flaws in the way the police handle the protests, It’s not wholly different to the mistakes our police made during the student and London riots last year, granted the death rate was significantly less, but the equipment available was to.

They get the right to protest. And the police let them as long as they stay their roundabout and not block the main routes through the island, much like sticking to a planned protest route. There is also a statue of a boat on this roundabout, which has been untouched even through there has been tire burning on a regular basis. There is a resturaunt on one of the roads there, and my dad has seen it.

All those human rights people out there have seemed to throw their toys outta the box by saying they have no right to anything. Well without going into politics about suni and shia Muslims, (I know my spelling is bad… I’m on my phone!) At least they can protest, unlike in Saudi, where you will just be shot.

The protestors have said they won’t actively interfere with the race, just make their voices heard. The police cannot guarentee safety because like in all protests there are the idiots who go just to be idiots. Bernie ecclestone has met with who he needs to and says that he sees no reason not to go. Which is true, because apart from public opinion, there isn’t really anything to be worried about.

Unless public opinion is something to be highly concerned about. And if that’s the case, whose opinion is more public? And if human rights people say that the locals have no voice, then should we listen to the information coming out of Bahrain?

Who knows. I’m torn over wanting to watch an F1 race and the apparent risk to safety. I can’t just ignore what my dad has said because he was actually there. But then again all opinions should be taken with a pinch of salt.

But forgoodness sake just make a decision!

Today: Formula One returns.

28 Mar

This weekend saw the second race weekend of the 2012 calender and what a couple of races it has been! Australia was full if drama right up until the flag, and Malaysia produced a surprise result that caught the entireity of Italy offguard.

A bonus for me as a Mark Webber fan is that he out-qualified Sebastian Vettel twice, and finished in the points both races, unlike the young double world champion, which after a season full of not being on the same playing field as his team mate, is a massive relief and makes this season even more exciting for me!

However the drama was nothing compared to what Felipe Massa is going through now, its now a case of ‘will he won’t he’ be racing for the entirity of the season, after finishing outside the points whilst Fernando Alonso took a surprising victory with a car that ferrari has admitted isn’t the best, and Sergio Perez of the ferrari young driver program took a second place in what was an epic battle for the line. Till he took a trip round the curb to add a few more seconds to the gap he had closed. This was after he got told to ‘be careful’ by his engineer, but we aren’t pointing any fingers at the young ferrari prodigy who drives for sauber who have ferrari engines. Nope…

It all kicked off with Sebastian Vettel and Narain Karthykaen (whose name I have spelt wrong… Sorry I’m on my phone!) When seb.decided to show an unfamiliar finger to the ‘young’ Indian driver, they then seemed to exchange insults via the media for the world to see. I can’t even remember the petty incident they are stropping about but for sure (I could be a formula one driver now) will this not be an easy thing to shake. Vettel has been called a bully, Narain has been branded a cry baby and neither of those is a good name to have. Personally I don’t really care what they call each other. As ling as they respect each other on the road. Yes that means moving out the way for the lapping car, but also not moaning if the slower car is in a fight for position. They should just cuddle and say that it was all heat of the moment, which it was.

I’m excited for China, if the current track of results is anything to go by then, for sure (driver in the making right here) it will be an awewome race.

Today: Five Years Time

7 Jun

Last week i finished my degree.

Barring any unfortunate fails, i will be graduating in July! Can’t wait. Not just to graduate i guess, but to start the next part of my life.

Five years ago it was June 2006. I was Returning to school after the shambles that was my As-Levels, with out one thought of leaving the small suburbs of Woodley. I was 6 weeks away from the summer holidays, and we were all being told to think about what we would write for our personal statements, how to sell ourselves to what degree we wanted to do. I had decided to do physics and astronomy – just like my physics teacher.

I had no idea what i would be writing so I just started with the simple question of “Why i want to go to university”, and went from there. Who knew that 5 years since then I would be finishing my physics degree, probably gaining a 2:2 honours degree, from a prestigious Russel Group University – Cardiff University – and yet I still don’t know what to do after i graduate!

I know I want to enter Formula one, I want to be involved in Research and Development, and I want to be an innovator. Unfortunately to get into Formula One it’s more of a who you know, then what you know. So I will be sending alot of e-mails out asking for work experience around the time of Silverstone, or over winter -testing…. hmmmm the choices!!!

So what do i want to be doing in 5 years time? Let’s make a handy list. (easy reading for ya there!)

  1. Not living in my parents house
  2. Married
  3. Have a career
  4. Go to Monaco GP
  5. Have a permenant paddock pass as i’ll be working for a F1 team. . . .
  6. Not miss a single F1 race for an entire season
  7. Go to New York
  8. Go to Paris
  9. Hawaii! gotta go to Hawaii…
  10. Pay off my student loan… (~£25 k….)

Nothing too extreme there… Considering 5 years ago i told my head of sixth form i wanted to go to cardiff and study physics, I got told:

I wouldn’t aim too high Harriet. Why don’t you do Geography? That’s your highest grade”

Screw you. I’m getting an honours degree. From Cardiff University. I can acheive anything!

Though I am aware that only a lottery win will allow me to pay off my student loan in 5 years!!!

Today: The Reality

16 Nov

Sunday saw the final race of the F1 season, and before i go into a brushed over analysis of what i thought about the race, firstly I would like to say a big congratulations to Sebastian Vettel. Who, against the odds, against the bookies, (and mainly against Fernando Alonso and the oddly on-pace McLarens) defeated all the rivals to end up on top. 4 points is apparently the defining difference that makes this years WDC, and he got it!

Yes as a Mark Webber fan i was bitter, i was heart broken – much less than i am sure the man himself was – but i just sat in silence, knowing that the team i have become rather attached too has just been made a double world Champion for the 2010 season.

Knowing alot of Vettel fans, i was delighted to see my twitter feed rammed pack full of delighted (and one instance @tommyb89, drunken) messages of joy. It was nice to see that they didn’t even expect it either! And thankfully, I have come around to being happy for them, which if you’re a highly competetive person, is a very hard thing to do!

The race itself saw the championship contenders in a bit of a mix. The McLarens who have been distinctly off-pace the last few races seemed to glide over the lightly dusted surface, and almost rain on Vettel’s parade. Mark Webber was limping behind in an almost heartbreaking 5th and then Alonso was there somewhere too…..

There are a few key things to note from the race, 1- Liuzzi is probably the most UNLUCKIEST driver of this season, with the incident with Schumacher, thankfully both survived unscathed!

The resulting safety car saw numerous people pit…. then after….. O MW…. o FA….. strategy gone wrong? response gone wrong? hindsight is one of those things i don’t particuarly want to think about now. Fact is, they got held up behind Algesuari, (ish), then Petrov, in one of his drives of the season, didn’t put a foot wrong for almost 3/4 of that race. Decimating any title hope that Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber had.

Kubica also succeded in annoying another championship contender – Lewis Hamilton. For a LONG time. and it was only when he pitted that Hamilton managed the jump.

The race in itself was dull, the fact that the title was being decided there made it ever more frustrating. Not an amazing race to end the 2010 seaon on. But definately a good result. Who honestly saw that one coming ehy?

The 2011 season starts in around 110 days and with that it seems a lot of new drivers are coming in. Hulkenberg has lost his race seat for next year, HRT has lost the deal with toyota, Di Grassi has lost his seat….. questions are still being raised over the fate of young Petrov and Mr Liuzzi, and then we’ll also be losing Nick Heidfeld.

Although the driver transfers are all part and parcel of the F1 criteria, it is a sad fate to see such young talented individuals leave. However it does seem like people are planning on leaving in 2012. So who knows! maybe we’ll just get an out-flux of golden oldies leaving and no young drivers?

Keep an eye out on the young driver tests this week. Today RBR‘s Daniel Ricciardo (My future favouritest driver) topped the timesheets in the RB6. That’s above di Resta, who has been driving a Force India for half the season’s FP1’s.

Future star right there? DEFO.

I’ll leave you with these images, the first chmpionship that RBR has ever won. The 2010 constructors. And Sebastian Vettel, 2010 WDC.

2010 Constructors with a 1- 2 in Interlagos, Brazil.

The first real shower of a World Champion