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Listen to the JA on F1 podcast, episode 2.
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Mar 2012   |  11:09 pm GMT  |  41 comments

Thanks to all the JA on F1 followers who downloaded the first podcast in February and for taking it to number 1 on ITunes in several countries, including the UK.

The new podcast, Episode 2: March, is now available. This month with the new F1 season off to a great start with races in Australia and Malaysia and China up next, we take a look at F1 in Asia. With six races on the current calendar, why has the region become so important to F1? Is the sport managing to build a fanbase in Asia? And what is the best way for F1 to attract new followers there?

There’s also an up to the minute interview with the organisers of the Bahrain Grand Prix, on the day they confirmed that the 2012 race will go ahead.

At the end of every month we produce a new podcast with input from the big names in the sport as well as from names you don’t get to hear so often. We aim to give F1 fans a rounded insight into the sport, bringing them closer to the sport and taking into the audio arena what we’ve been doing for years in text. Thanks to our partners at UBS for making this possible.

You can listen to it here or download it. It is also available to download on ITunes by searching for James Allen on F1. If you like it please rate it or leave comments on ITunes. That will help a lot!

Please also leave us your comments below.

No player? Download the podcast directly.

James speaks to Caterham F1 boss Tony Fernandes; Manish Pandey, the writer of the BAFTA-winning film Senna; Force India’s Head Chef, Dave Freeman; Zak Brown, CEO of sports marketing agency JMI; and, ahead of the Bahrain GP, Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, CEO of Bahrain International Circuit.

Running Order:
0.00 Introduction
1.34 Caterham F1 team owner Tony Fernandes on how Asian audiences view the sport and how they differ from European audiences
6.50 Zak Brown – CEO of sports marketing agency JMI on why Asia is important to F1
11.01 Manish Pandey, writer and exec producer of the multi-award winning film “Senna” on his next project and why Bollywood is the best way to build a following for the sport in India
20.44 Force India’s Head Chef Dave Freeman on giving curry to mechanics and the risks and rewards of feeding sushi to not just two, but seven, F1 drivers!
27.50 Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, CEO of Bahrain International Circuit on why this year’s race goes ahead after the troubles in the region last year

Total duration: 31.36

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Hi James!

When is next podcast coming?

Any chance we could get one after each race?

Please let us know!



Will be recorded end of next week, out soon after


Great one, keep them coming!


Hmm… Fernandes is not being completely honest when he says only Ferrari and McLaren build F1-related cars. Renault Sport offers a whole range of F1-themed products, some of them are even painted in Caterham F1 colours!

Let’s be more relaxed about Asia and other markets for F1, we shouldn’t be ashamed of the sport’s European roots, we are what we are. EU was booming just a few years ago and now it’s all gone, no-one can say the same thing won’t happen to Asia in, let’s say, 5 years? Monaco is there because F1 needs it; Singapore is there because Singapore needs F1. Monaco can easily chop F1, like it did with WRC, and be OK, it won’t be a problem for Monégasques to substitute Bernie’s product along with his artificial GP2, GP3, GP4, GP5… series with something else.

Europe has plenty of modern racing facilities, top level. It’s just that nobody ever says anything nice about new racing circuits here because, naturally, you can only sing praises of something built on an artificial island in the middle of nowhere. Sorry for the harsh words. Ain’t got cash, got the spirit.


Renault don’t own an F1 team..


A welcome addition James! Very comprehensive and especially enjoyed hearing about the catering aspect. My worry is that, as I listen to this today, the Bahraini man you had on seems like he’s either 1. Lying, 2. out of touch with reality. Really FOM (CVC whoever it is) should have in-depth understandings of where it’s going rather than just acquiesce to large sums of money. Clearly the organizers, aka the Royal Family have blood on their hands.


Hi James great podcast again very informative!

What would the possibility be to include you thoughts on the GP’s that has be done and how the championship is hotting up.

Just a thought,

Thanks James


The BBC Radio 5 Live Chequered Flag podcasts do that comprehensively and that’s me and Jaime Alguersuari analysing


Thanks James! Downloaded it! It is great to have the best of both worlds!


Listened to your podcasts back to back on a dull Saturday afternoon & found them really entertaining. Good mix of subjects, especially enjoyed the more ‘left field’ such as the chef & the sponsorship finder, but the more conventional subjects such as Webber & Ross Brawn were also broad & interesting.

Much better podcast than The Chequered Flag, I’ll be recommending it to fellow F1 junkies.


James, I think you’re about the best of the best in F1 journalism. As such, I think it’s fair that you be open to criticism on your work, too, as all the best journalists are.

The podcast interview on Bahrain has a very ‘ra-ra Bahrain’s back in business’ tone to it. Questions asked were about if the F1 grid will be safe, what a race means for Bahrain, how great it feels for Bahrain to be supported by F1. Why not harder questions? Is it really the case that all is normal and well in Bahrain? I Googled Bahrain right now and this is the first news hit:,0,704764.story




I reject that criticism. There is nothing ra ra about it. I’m asking what assurances they’ve given F1 that it will be safe, I ask him and Ecclestone in a separate interview what it says about F1 that it is prepared to be used symbolically etc. I think those are fair questions


Great podcast James! I enjoy the variety of interviews.


Hello James
You received a big rap from Tony Fernandez and I absolutley agree with him.You are doing a fantastic job for one man.I have been watching Formula One since Piquet won the title in 1981 and your coverage is by far the most informative and just as importantly very entertaining.Keep up the great work! Thanks.


Check the podcast at . It’s very good and informative. I just discover this one and downloaded it. Look forward to listening to it on my way home.

Thanks James!


Enjoying the podcasts James! Hope you are enjoying making them. Will this be monthly for the rest of the season?


Yes. Glad you’re enjoying it


Great second podcast James.

I did feel though the interview with Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, CEO of Bahrain International Circuit was full of BS from him. I was expecting more to be honest.
I’m sure that would have been a frustrating interview as a journalist.


Tony Fernandez says that F1 is small in Asia. That should be qualified by stating that it’s huge in Japan, and Japan is certainly considered an Asian country. In most of the rest of Asia, it probably is a lot smaller.


Thank you for the podcast James. Very insightful comments from Tony Fernandes, Manish Pandey, and Zak Brown, and the CEO of BIC. It’ll be interesting to see how the Bahrain GP weekend unfolds. Chef Freeman’s comments were very entertaining as well. I subscribe to podcasts such as this one and the Chequered Flag F1 on 5Live and get them pushed to my iTunes, which I then sync to my iPhone for listening in the car. Great content. Keep them coming!


Great podcast, really enjoyable to listen too, really gives an insight to the sport, please keep them coming, also the coverage and detail you provide on 5live is first class, I have listened to the first two qualifying sessions and have really enjoyed it, so much so that I get up early on a Saturday morning before going into work for a 12hour shift!! Thank you


Some depth, insights and entertainment in one. Half hour on a few topics is just about right.

It’s great for the F1 fans in between waiting for the races to keep up with the news and trivia. Social media has given us so much more fun, more alternate views and better informed. Thank you James.


I’ve only listened to the Tony Fernandes bit so far. Found it interesting that he sees more FI opportunities in Asia, mentioning “The Stans”. I can quite see F1 being of much interest in Kazakstan, Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan! It’s bad enough that it already goes to places like Abu Dhabi, Bahrain & China where there is plenty of money but no fan base. I stongly believe that countries should demonstrate genuine local motorsport activity before they get to host an F1 Grand Prix. Here in Britain we have motor racing at multiple international standard circuits every weekend.


It takes the likes of Bahrain and Abu Dhabi a year to build a world class venue. It took Silverstone nearly ten years to even get an upgrade to catch up with them.

The only favouritism I want to see dished out is that the historic races such as Monza and Spa remain. Singapore is already established as one of the great sporting events of the year. Who is to say Thailand or wherever could not do the same.

Give me Singapore and Malaysia over Valencia or Barcelona any day of the week.

The world has changed Richard. If you in anyway follow global economics you can forsee a time when there are 3/4 European races a year. There will be soon two races in the States, Argentina wants back in. South Africa must be knocking on the door again sometime soon.

If you think the likes of Bernie and Tony Fernandes are interested in race day reciepts you are very much mistaken.

How many people are in the grand stands matters not a jot to them or me for that matter when I am watching a race.

I am Scottish, A trip to Silverstone a costly weekend when you include travel and tickets. Not to mention a tiring weekend if you have to be back for a Monday morning. I know not everyone is in a position to travel but I would rather two hundred pounds more combining a holiday to say KL and take in a GP when I am there.


Please don’t forget that Silverstone is not Government supported/funded like many of the newer venues….


This is a multi-dimensional ‘sport’. Tony Fernandes has invested in F1 and sees the sport as a business platform. As he said in the podcast, Asia is interesting because of its economic growth potential.

Malaysia puts on a good (not a great) show. I know because I’ve been there for the GP. I have no doubt Thailand, Indonesia or the Philippines could do the same.

What is the economic growth of the UK at the moment? How do you attract sponsors that keep your sport alive? F1 needs to follow the money.

There is plenty of motor sport in the Europe, America and Australia, granted, but does this make the UK a better hosting nation than say, Singapore or India?

These two countries do not have a heritage in motor sport and the spectator turnout was amazing. Give countries a chance buddy.


Yes, lets stick to our old tried and true Euro-centric model – no need to involve ‘those’ kinds of Foreigners.

Or better yet a new, improved England-centric model where all races are at Silverstone, since all the important ppl are nearby and it *is the Centre of the Known Universe.

And *if we let Asians or Americans or Aussies or whoever participate or even watch, then ofc they must come to England to do it, eh?

And the Scots… eh well, what can you say?


Of course, that is exactly the point Richard D is trying to make.


Nice work James.

Great topics and great interviews.

Crossing my fingers for a GP here in Philippines one day.


A good spread of topics. Good one James.


Thank you for the great show, James. One thing I thought about while listening to the podcast was that what about Japanese GP? I think they don’t have a contract beyond this season. Do you think it’s going to be the last Japanese GP this year?


This is awesome! A very good listen; more of this!


thank you. thank you. thank you.


This is such a great podcast, James. I love the way it adds so much depth and insight that is really tough to cover during the mainstream TV and radio coverage. Thank you for your contributions to the F1 community.


Downloaded & rated already great listen

tifosi down under

Well done James, great work.

I found your chat with Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa interesting. He says that they put on a Grand Prix like no other Grand Prix and that it would rival any other race on the calender, I would say that the Bahrain GP is not a favourite for the teams and drivers and not just because of the political unrest.

I have heard drivers Criticize the race due to the extreme weather conditons.

they also criticize the lack of fans/fan engagement of the bahrain public. I must admit that every time I have watched the race i see empty granstands

However, when the drivers go to Australia or British GP, they love it becuase the fans make it a great specticle.

so does Bahrain need Formula 1 ? Maybe/Probaly/Yes

Does Formula 1 need Bahrain ? Not sure about that


I thoroughly enjoyed JA on F1, my point is the guy who was talking up silly races in sandy places for the corporates misses the point that the FANS make an F1 race. Empty grandstands are an embarassment to the organisers and TV companies. Silverstone is a sell out – the atmosphere is electric from start of Friday practice. James- any attendance numbers available from Asian races? Moto GP aren’t ashamed to show attendance on the screen during the parade lap!

My guess is that several of the European races ( come back France) have higher numbers than some Asian events – except Suzuka.


There were more people in the stands in Sepang this time than I recall seeing in the last 13 years

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