February 20, 2013
Posted: 1057 GMT
Young sports fans don’t know how good they have it these days. When I was growing up in England, there was none of the wall-to-wall HD TV coverage that exists of almost every sport now.
There was no Internet, no cable or satellite, no ESPN or Sky Sports and certainly no CNN World Sport. We didn’t know what we were missing; in hindsight, the bad news was that there wasn’t much sport on TV, the good news was that you were avidly drawn to whatever there was. Saturation wasn’t anyone’s concern.
And, be it football, golf, boxing, cricket or tennis, the top performers quickly became household names.
In Britain, it was hard to avoid Wimbledon every summer and it was impossible to miss the brash, angry young New Yorker John McEnroe. Read the rest of this entry »
January 20, 2012
Posted: 1159 GMT
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. Read the rest of this entry »
October 14, 2011
Posted: 1804 GMT
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. Read the rest of this entry »
August 26, 2011
Posted: 1420 GMT
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. Read the rest of this entry »
July 8, 2011
Posted: 1600 GMT
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. Read the rest of this entry »
June 3, 2011
Posted: 1652 GMT
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. Read the rest of this entry »
May 25, 2011
Posted: 2217 GMT
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. Read the rest of this entry »
May 7, 2011
Posted: 1501 GMT
We all have our heroes, men or women who have inspired or entertained us. Very few of us are able to meet these people, even fewer can say they have experienced first hand their genius and charisma.
So I consider myself incredibly fortunate not just to have met Seve Ballesteros, but to have played golf with him; to have walked a fairway beside him, bantered with and taken tips from a man that transcended his sport and made an indelible mark upon it. Read the rest of this entry »
May 4, 2011
Posted: 1737 GMT
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. Read the rest of this entry »
March 23, 2011
Posted: 1007 GMT
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.