Posted on November 30, 2008


I read a fascinating article this weekend by a writer called Malcolm Gladwell, whose new book “The story of success” looks at what creates success in many walks of life. He describes some studies by psychologists into music students and concludes that however much talent someone has at something, what makes the difference between them becoming a stand out or an also ran is practice and opportunity. Amazingly the studies couldn’t find any “naturals” – people whose natural ability allowed them to be better than the rest on a fraction of the practice. It’s talent and practice which make a More…

Posted on November 28, 2008


With all the fuss about medals, you might not have paid much attention to the story of the three young Italian drivers, who got to test a Ferrari F1 car at Fiorano this week. But digging into what happened, it seems the test was a minor revelation. The top three finishers in the Italian F3 championship were invited to drive Kimi Raikkonen’s 2008 car on Wednesday and the guy who won the F3 championship, 18 year old Mirko Bortolotti, went two tenths under the lap record for that car at Fiorano, setting a 59.111s lap. Now this needs qualifying; the More…

Posted on November 27, 2008


The discussion about the medals system potentially coming into F1 has set fans buzzing again, since Bernie Ecclestone stated, “It will happen, ” on Wednesday. We’ve had lots of intelligent and insightful feedback on this and I have to say that the antis outweigh the pros so far. I also noted Eddie Jordan’s comments, where he laid into the plan and virtually accused Bernie of being out of touch. This is clearly a foretaste of the kind of comment we can expect from dear old Eddie when he is unleashed as a pundit on BBC next year…what would he have More…

Posted on November 26, 2008


Just back from a press conference at the Landmark Hotel, London, where Bernie Ecclestone said more about the proposed “medals” scheme in F1 and announced that LG the consumer electronics group, will sponsor F1 next year. You as viewers will be very aware of this deal as you watch, because the timing graphics, which appear on screen every 20 seconds of so will be LG branded. I think they will also sponsor the rev counter graphic you see on screen. They will develop F1 branded telies and other products off the back of the deal. The deal was put together More…

Posted on November 26, 2008


One of the most dramatic moments in my F1 broadcasting career was the end of the Austrian Grand Prix in 2002, when Rubens Barrichello, having dominated qualifying and the race on Michael Schumacher’s bogey track, was ordered to move over on the final lap to let Schumacher win the race. This was the event which brought in the rule we have today; no team orders allowed. I called that race with Mark Blundell and we had discussed throughout the closing stages whether Ferrari would switch the cars. He said they would, I said they couldn’t. But they could and they More…

Posted on November 25, 2008


I’ve had a peach of a comment from AK, in response to the posting yesterday about the new BBC team. He says: “I’ve just been pointed here by someone who said “I know none of us like James Allen as a commentator, but check this blog out anyway”. It’s won over a large number of people who would have clicked it with the mindset “let’s all laugh at the guy crying over his P45″ and the unanimous opinion is that we all like your writing a lot and are looking forward to you having more time for it – and More…

Posted on November 24, 2008


The new presentation team, which will bring Formula 1 to UK audiences on the BBC for the next five years was announced today. Jake Humphrey, who hosted some of the Olympics coverage on BBC this summer, will host the programme. David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan will stand alongside him as pundits. Radio 5 Live’s football correspondent Jonathan Ledgard will commentate with Martin Brundle, while Ted Kravitz patrols the pit lane along with Lee Mackenzie, who despite her name, is a woman, with extensive A1 GP and GP2 experience. I wish them all well and hope that they can keep all More…

Posted on November 22, 2008


I was shocked to hear about Mark Webber’s savage accident today. On a fast descent on his bicycle, he collided head on with a 4WD vehicle while competing in his Tasmania Challenge. It sounds like a really nasty shunt and it left his right leg badly broken. He has had surgery to repair it, a metal pin inserted and it will be a lengthy rehabilitation. It’s probably along the lines of the surgery Barry Sheene had and although there is no bright side to an accident like this, it’s probably just very fortunate that it was not his left leg, More…

Posted on November 21, 2008


Poignant night at the ITV farewell party yesterday. It was held at the Langley in London’s Covent Garden and pretty much everyone who has worked on the programmes over the past 12 years was there, even some who only worked on that first, 1997 season, which seems like a different lifetime.. Neil Duncanson, the boss of the North One Production company, read out his diary from that first year with many great stories I had forgotten, like the first Monaco GP where the show was presented from a boat and the water got really choppy, so Simon Taylor had to More…

Posted on November 20, 2008


Life moves on. The story changes. UK papers pulled out of their tailspin over the recession and banking crisis once Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand, Barack Obama and John Sargent gave them something else to write about and this week’s test at Barcelona has moved the F1 agenda on from memories of the dramatic finale in Sao Paulo. F1 is reinventing itself again and focussed on 2009. Revolution is the air, with radically different looking cars and technologies and some amazing ideas for spicing up the show, which take F1 away from much it has held dear for some time More…

Posted on November 20, 2008


There has been a lot of chat this week about Bernie Ecclestone’s idea of handing out gold medals to race winners and awarding the world championship to the man with the most at season’s end. This is one of a number of ideas which will be discussed at the FIA World Council meeting on December 12th. The Formula One Teams Association has been working hard on dreaming up ideas for improving the show as well and Flavio Briatore has a plan for knockout qualifying, which seems to be gathering some momentum. The idea is simple, instead of dividing qualifying up More…

Posted on November 12, 2008


Williams picked up their first winners’ trophy in a while on Sunday, emerging victorious in the annual F1 mechanics’ football tournament at Milton Keynes. The event is organised by Grant Mundy, who is number one mechanic on David Coulthard’s car at Red Bull. A full compliment of sixteen teams representing most of the grid, took part in the event. Grant’s RBR team has been the one to beat in recent times, but this year the final featured two great F1 institutions, Williams and McLaren in a head to head. The weather was atrocious by the time the final kicked off, More…

Posted on November 10, 2008


The news that Force India has established a five year technical collaboration with McLaren and Mercedes comes as no surprise, indeed both sides have been talking about it for some months now. But it is quite a significant move for several reasons. It marks the first time that Mercedes has supplied a second team with engines. They’ve considered it many times, but never actually gone through with it. Meanwhile Ferrari has had a very nice little business going for years supplying Toro Rosso, before that Red Bull, Spyker, Prost, Sauber. And that was in the good old days when they More…

Posted on November 9, 2008


I note that at the recent Mercedes Stars and Cars bash in Stuttgart Lewis Hamilton alluded to a visit he received from his former team mate Fernando Alonso shortly after the race in Sao Paulo last week. The Spaniard came to offer him his congratulations on winning the world title and Hamilton says that Alonso even went so far as to hug him. By chance I was walking down the paddock ten yards behind Alonso as he left the Renault garage area in the open part of the paddock, heading down towards the tight, narrow warren which houses the ‘midfield’ More…

Posted on November 6, 2008


The FIA World Motor Sport Council made some important changes yesterday to the way stewards decisions are reached and explained to the public. This year, like previous years there were some big calls by the stewards which had an effect on the outcome of the world championship; I’m thinking in particular of the penalty Lewis Hamilton got in Spa and the one Sebastien Bourdais received in for colliding with Felipe Massa in Fuji. One of the problems with these decisions is that they were not fully explained to the public and so many people arrived at the conclusion that there More…

Posted on November 5, 2008


I talked a lot about luck during the broadcast on Sunday. Luck always has a role to play in big sporting events; the rub of the green, the ball hitting the crossbar, the engine failing three laps from the end. When the hard work has been done and the results are what they are to that point, a final race will often come down to a question of luck and so it proved on Sunday, with the rain showers, Glock’s gamble on dry tyres, which almost paid off and almost handed the title to Massa. Then the crucial piece of More…

Posted on November 4, 2008


Back in the UK after the long BA flight from Sao Paulo. It was very quiet on the plane as almost everyone had a hangover and had had little or no sleep. The two parties were the big one thrown by Red Bull at a place called the Mausoleum and a McLaren celebratory bash, near the Hilton in Morumbi. There were probably 3,000 people at the Red Bull do, most of the paddock plus a lot of Brazilian lovelies. It’s what you expect F1 to be like, but the truth is that only really Red Bull has brought that kind More…

Posted on November 3, 2008


Spare a thought for Felipe Massa. The Brazilian did everything he needed to at Interlagos, he won the race from pole position and as he crossed the line, Lewis Hamilton was in 6th place, needing fifth to take the title. Massa had 38 seconds lead over Hamilton. He was world champion elect. But on that final lap, Timo Glock was struggling on dry tyres and the rain began falling harder, just as McLaren expected it to. Their weatherman was under real pressure from the pit wall as he had predicted a heavy downpour and McLaren had instructed Hamilton to let More…

Posted on November 3, 2008


This year’s world championship has featured some extraordinary races and great drama. The endings of the races at Spa and Interlagos were among the most dramatic ever and the standard of the driving from Massa and Hamilton has been very high. But both have had error strewn campaigns. If you imagine what would have happened this year had Michael Schumacher been driving the Ferrari or Fernando Alonso the McLaren, you realise that the title would have been wrapped up comfortably by either man against the two title contenders we actually had. Of course Schumacher would not have been able to More…



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