I have always been intrigued by athletes who can perform under pressure. While many would crumble when the heat is on, they not only perform, they excel.
Being a racing driver is about as pressured as it can get. At speeds sometimes in excess of 200 miles per hour, these guys have to make split-second decisions with courage and skill in order to win a race and stay out of trouble. The sort of trouble that can be very bad for your health!
I was lucky enough to experience first-hand what these drivers go through when former DTM champion and F1 test driver Gary Paffett agreed to teach me how to drive a Mercedes C63 at Brands Hatch near London. FULL POST
It's a little-known fact that Michael Schumacher got his big break in Formula One because another driver had been jailed for 2 months.
In 1991, Jordan driver Bertrand Gachot was locked up for assaulting a London taxi-driver, forcing him to miss four races including his home one at Spa. Schumie stepped in to the cock-pit and the rest, as they say, is history.
With the sponsor 7-Up displayed prominently and prophetically on his nose-cone, Schumacher qualified for his first F1 race in 7th position. Clutch problems meant he retired on his first lap, but he impressed so much that he was immediately snapped up by Flavio Briatore and the Benetton Ford team, who coincidentally were sponsored by Mild Seven, where he won the first of his record seven drivers' championships. FULL POST
Not everyone is a fan of Formula One. Its loudest critics say that there isn’t enough overtaking. The sport has tried to address that this season, but the driver that’s trying to do the most overtaking is himself now being criticized for being too dangerous.
In the last few races, Lewis Hamilton has been in and out of the stewards office more times than a hyperchondriac pops into the doctors. He’s had to explain how he tangled with Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado in Monaco and then three more drivers, including teammate Jenson Button, in Montreal. FULL POST
The decision to take Formula One back to Bahrain this season has prompted a heated online debate, as more than 300,000 people signed an online petition calling for the race to be scrapped.
But you’d never have known that the F1 community itself had a view on it. Twitter, normally abuzz with comments from drivers and teams, was silent on this issue all day. Red Bull’s Australian driver Mark Webber was the only one to speak out, saying before the announcement: “When people in a country are being hurt, the issues are bigger than sport. Let's hope the right decision is made.”
My sources within F1 tell me that many of the drivers are ambivalent, but those with a strong opinion on such a controversial issue will only speak off the record. Webber has been the exception, and he could be risking his future in F1 by saying much more. FULL POST
Ever since they started racing cars around the city streets in 1929, the Monaco Grand Prix has been one of the most glamorous sporting events of the year.
Within just a few days in May, roughly 70 million euros are poured into the economy of the tiny principality as movie stars and models, the rich and the famous, flock to the trackside.
For the drivers it’s the race to win. For everyone else, it’s the race to be seen at. FULL POST
Last year, the Formula One Administration reported that its annual sales had risen to over $1 billion and its popularity only seems to be increasing.
The action so far this season has been gripping, there are five world champions now competing for the title and new tracks are being built in India, Russia and the U.S. FULL POST
The opening race of the Formula One season is always an interesting contest as it is the first time the teams on the grid show their hands in the poker game of speed and potential.
Pre-season testing, as fascinating as it is for F1 aficionados, often sees as much bluff and smokescreen from the competing constructors as it does commitment to putting new designs and innovations through their paces. FULL POST
For some teams this year though, it could be the rubber that turns out to be the most expensive.
After four years of incredibly hard-wearing and reliable Bridgestone tires, the elite division of motorsport is turning to the Italian manufacturer Pirelli as its sole supplier.
The brief given to the company executives in Milan was simple, don’t build them to last.
So, the Formula One season will now start in Melbourne, Australia, on March 27th. As Red Bull's Aussie driver Mark Webber put it: "Back to the good old days."
Australia has become used to kicking off the annual Formula One circus since 1996, but the emergence of a new track in Bahrain, whose backers have seemingly bottomless pockets, changed all that.
Fernando Alonso might have been going for a third F1 championship, and it was well within his grasp. But he was almost a forgotten man at the finish in Abu Dhabi.
A disastrous race meant that the Spaniard trailed home in a useless seventh place, and as the 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton and the '09 winner Jensen Button sprayed a delirious Sebastian Vettel with champagne, Alonso's last title ('06) must have felt like a long time ago.
It has been a spectacular sporting year for Spain, but this one eluded them. And while Spaniards and Ferrari fanatics will be crushed, few others will have sympathy for a driver and a team that many said cheated its way to the top of the standings.