January 20th, 2012
11:59 AM ET

Can Senna restore romance to Formula One?

CNN's Don Riddell interviewed F1 driver Bruno Senna, left, in Monaco last year
CNN's Don Riddell interviewed F1 driver Bruno Senna, left, in Monaco last year

The name Senna was already on many people’s lips on Tuesday, when the eponymous documentary picked up three richly-deserved BAFTA nominations. That Williams, the Formula One team so tragically and inextricably linked to Ayrton’s death, should choose the same day to announce the signing of his 28-year-old nephew, Bruno, was remarkably poetic.

So much has been written about Ayrton Senna that his story scarcely needs retelling, even if it remains utterly fascinating. But outside of his family connections, Bruno Senna is less well-known. Ayrton himself once said, “If you think I’m fast, wait until you see my nephew!”

But the 10-year-old’s racing career almost died too on that tragic day at Imola in 1994 when his family, quite understandably, forbade him to continue. However, following a decade’s hiatus from the sport, its lure finally proved too seductive, and Bruno took to the track once more. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Motorsport
October 17th, 2011
12:10 PM ET

Wheldon's death a watershed moment for IndyCar?

Dan Wheldon at the IndyCar World Championships in Las Vegas, prior to his fatal crash.
Dan Wheldon at the IndyCar World Championships in Las Vegas, prior to his fatal crash.

The death of British driver and two-time Indy 500 champion Dan Wheldon in Sunday's IndyCar World Championships at Las Vegas was graphic in its violence, distressing in its drama and a tragedy for all who knew him.

The 33-year-old, who started the race seeking to win a $5 million purse as victor, drove to his grave participating in the sport he loved.

IndyCar, America's most popular version of open-wheeled racing, is currently enduring its darkest hour as Wheldon's family and friends try to deal with his sudden departure. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Motorsport
October 14th, 2011
06:04 PM ET

World Sport's job swap: On screen or track star?

CNN's Don Riddell prepares to take to the track with F1 test driver Gary Paffett.
CNN's Don Riddell prepares to take to the track with F1 test driver Gary Paffett.

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

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Filed under:  Motorsport
August 26th, 2011
02:20 PM ET

20 years of Schumacher: Is his legacy on the line?

Michael Schmuacher has won a record seven world championships, but his popularity is still questionable.
Michael Schmuacher has won a record seven world championships, but his popularity is still questionable.

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

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Filed under:  Motorsport
July 8th, 2011
04:00 PM ET

Passing judgment: Hamilton must stay aggressive ...

Hamilton has hit the headlines, but is this a bad thing?
Hamilton has hit the headlines, but is this a bad thing?

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

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Filed under:  Motorsport
June 3rd, 2011
04:52 PM ET

Should F1 take the risk of racing in Bahrain?

Bahrain first hosted a Formula One race in 2004 but civil unrest forced this year's event to be rescheduled. (Getty Images)
Bahrain first hosted a Formula One race in 2004 but civil unrest forced this year's event to be rescheduled. (Getty Images)

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

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Filed under:  Motorsport
May 25th, 2011
10:17 PM ET

Monaco: Where exhaust fumes and foie gras mix

The streets of Monte Carlo are home to the most prestigious race on the F1 calendar.
The streets of Monte Carlo are home to the most prestigious race on the F1 calendar.

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

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Filed under:  Motorsport
May 4th, 2011
05:37 PM ET

Would F1 be better off with different owners?

Rupert Murdoch is part of a consortium looking to buy F1, but would change be good for the sport?
Rupert Murdoch is part of a consortium looking to buy F1, but would change be good for the sport?

It doesn’t seem to matter who is running Formula One, the sport is practically a license to print money. But would the team owners, mechanics, drivers and fans be better off if someone else was in charge? One group of investors seems to think so.

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

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Filed under:  Motorsport
March 31st, 2011
12:51 PM ET

Can Ferrari find some trump cards?

Can Ferrari's Fernando Alonso vie for a win in Malaysia on April 10?
Can Ferrari's Fernando Alonso vie for a win in Malaysia on April 10?

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

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Filed under:  Motorsport
March 23rd, 2011
10:07 AM ET

Will new tires decide the F1 title?

The 2011 season will see Formula One drivers attempt to master the softer Pirelli tires.
The 2011 season will see Formula One drivers attempt to master the softer Pirelli tires.

At around $5000 each, four new tires would seem to be rather costly. But in the multi-million dollar world of Formula One, that price makes a set of wheels one of the cheapest components on the car.

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.

FULL POST

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