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Listen to the new JA on F1 podcast: Out Now!
Posted By: James Allen  |  01 Jun 2012   |  1:42 pm GMT  |  38 comments

Here is the June edition of the JA on F1 podcast.

There’s a lot going on at the moment in F1; fans and insiders alike are confused by the six different winners in six races, something that’s never happened before in F1.

So why is it happening now? One of F1’s top engineers, Lotus F1’s Alan Permane explains the tyre “lottery” and what’s really going on. He also gives us the inside line on Kimi Raikkonen.

We catch up with Ron Howard, the director of the next F1 movie, Rush, which has just finished filming. The Hollywood star director tells us what he loves about the James Hunt and Niki Lauda story.

We’ll look at some behind the scenes stories from the Monaco Grand Prix – why do sponsors charter yachts in the harbour and do they get value for money from it?

And we’ll get the inside track on the proposed F1 flotation; what will it mean for fans?

Please share the link with your friends and send us your feedback in the comments box below.

No player? Download the podcast directly.

Here’s the running order:

0.00 Introduction
1.27 Lotus F1 Trackside Operations Director Alan Permane
12.35 Zak Brown – F1 sponsor finder, CEO of JMI sports marketing agency
16.59 Ron Howard – director of new Hunt/Lauda film ‘Rush’
21.43 Jean Christophe Babin, CEO TAG Heuer, sponsor of McLaren and Monaco GP
28.07 Wrap up

Total duration: 28.50

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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

Thanks James, a good professional job, as always.

Really appreciated the podcast

Lachlan Mackinnon

Great post James…….particularly from Alan. I am one who is enjoying the season and feel it is up to the teams to come to grip with the tyres and the loss of blown exhaust systems. The combination of both I think is providing the challenges this year not just the tyres as everyone is focussing on at the moment.



Looking forwards to listening, as always.

Is that a Darren Heath image of Monaco? He even does Tilt/Shift photography? Stunning shot.

Luke Clements

James, love the podcast as usual. The insights are so unique.

Just one little thing on my wish list…the intro/segway music is a bit daggy and not very “f1” 🙂

Something a bit more rock and roll maybe? And I know its cliqued, but I don’t think we’ve heard any of the beautiful F1 engine/exhaust sounds as a car accelerates through the gears, that we are all junkies for. Maybe that would be nice in between features.

Cheers mate


Thanks for the feedback


The podcast is a marvellous idea for an F1 website and surprised this idea hadn’t caught on before now.

Having the running order listed below the player is also a nice touch: an added bonus would be if the time locator in the running order was a clickable link that jumps to the location in the player (in much the same way you can click on a time-location mentioned in the comment page of a YouTube video and have the YouTube player immediately jump to that location in the video; try it and see for yourself).

All in all, JA on F1 is one of my favourite main sources for F1 info. Keep up the good work, James. I have been a big fan of yours ever since I started watching you on ESPN along with Derek Daly and Bob Varsha! remember?!


Wow! That was 1993. Yes I remember and they were good days. That was my first proper TV job in F1.

Senna, Prost, Schumacher, Hill etc. Some cracking races in 1993, not least Donington.

Thanks for the feedback


Many thanks for these podcasts – great stuff!

I had hoped Alan Permane might explain exactly what Kimi’s problems with his steering were (or maybe still are). If you could ever find out exactly what Kimi expects of his steering (and why), that would make a very interesting post.

Meanwhile, keep up the good work!


He talks about the sensitivity Kimi needs in the steering


Pls james, im interested with kimi ‘s inborn ability to sense the car =)


Thanks for the insight James. Its great that Alan Permaine is accessible to you and F1 fans , do think Lotus are connecting more with fans these days to boost their image.Ron Howard’s passion for film making is perfect for F1 ,sounds like a terrific guy.


Hi James, I was curious that you wrote “fans are confused by the six different winners…”

I, in turn, am confused to hear people not liking the way things are going, since I am very happy and excited with the current season since it’s so unpredictable.

(a) ARE fans really confused? and does the majority really want seasons like we’ve had in the past with teams-in-a-row and the championship predictable and sown up half-way through?

(b) Don’t worry, people, by the end of the season, SOMEONE will have more points than the others and win the championship! (and even in the event of a tie, they have ways of determining who wins!)

(c) Am I very much in the minority then? What WAS the result of recent polls asking if this type of season is worse than the ‘predictable ones’?


Thanks to Elie, Dan and Madmax, you have some good points and I see your points of view.

Although I still think the driver still has to work hard (even if it’s ‘mental, tyre management’ rather than brawn push-push-push!) so the best driver(s) will deservedly come through: so they don’t just ‘cruise at 80%’ throughout much of a race! 😉


Good post Dave. I think that the majority of fans are really enjoying this season including many long time fans like. The teams and driver that adapts the quickest will win.

The cream will always rise to the top and that’s no uncertainty.


Not all fans clearly- and not even a majority of fans. But certainly the Schumacher comments provided a rallying point for fans who feel that whats happening isn’t quite right

This follows 2009 when the grandee teams were being beaten by Brawn (Honda sucked the year before) and Red Bull which had been a P5-7 team until then.

I meet many people who love the uncertainty and couldn’t care less about the tyres because it’s the same for everyone


I think there are two kind of uncertainties: in-race uncertainty and championship uncertainty.

Last year, there was not much doubt Vettel would win the WDC after six races, but there was some suspense with close fights on the top 5 right to the end of races.

This year, we have no idea at this point who will win the WDC, but, at the races, whoever is ahead after the first turn, goes on to win or is unsurprisingly overtaken.

Personally, I prefer in-race uncertainty. I think it would be much better if 3 or 4 drivers had a chance at each race with close fights than if 1 or 2 divers had a chance to fly ahead at one race for 6 races.


I like the unpredictability but the problem is how it is obtained. If it was unpredictable and drivers were able to push for 3/4 of a race then great but what we have now isn’t a race.

The problem is we have drivers not pushing but driving the entire race trying to keep the tyres together. Listening to the pit radio it is ridiculous. They can’t even attempt a pass sometimes because there afraid of it hurting the tyres.

Is the field not close enough this year to give great races without these tyres?


Also there is the question of how representative fans that get involved in online F1 discussions are of the overall F1 audience. I suspect we will watch no matter what, it’s capturing and retaining the casual viewers that counts.

No doubt FOM do their own scientific quantitative market research (or just use existing tv ratings systems) and know if the current formula is making them more money or less.


James, it’s not the unpredictability/ or pedictability that some of us fans don’t like . It’s the style of racing we don’t like ! If someone wins Spa driving his best at 80% it’s not the same as someone driving at 99% & if that someone is not Kimi Railkonen this year then we know something is not right.( laughs) That’s the sort of predictability we want.


Looking forward to listening, as ever.


Very enjoyable broadcast James.

Alan Permane is a really good communicator. There’s a TV job waiting for him many years down the line after he has taken Lotus and Raikkonen to multiple titles!


James, I think you and Alan Permane have both missed the point that Michael Schumacher was trying to emphasize.

Michael did not complain that the tyres are not good for 1 or 2 flying laps in qualifing.

As far as I understood Michael, he was refering to the races and how drivers cannot push because the tyres overheat and then they are ruined in 2-3 laps. So, having being the fastest in Monaco, should not change anything in Michael’s view on the tyres. As we seen in the race, Alonso, Massa and Lewis, all conserved the tyres (and they didn’t do it because they were waiting for the rain). Also, the tyres lasted a lot longer than anticipated, but I feel it mostly because of the cruising or as you put it, “paceing”. The qualifing time was 1:14s and the fastest lap in the race by the leaders was 4 seconds slower.

Cheers! Great interviews as always. Love them.


While I accept drivers are not able to push as much as I’d like, I don’t think the problem is as bad as people make out. You can’t really use Monaco as a representative race, but in others we’ve had people pushing. In Spain, Maldonado pushed hard for a number of laps to jump back into the lead then still was able to maintain a solid gap to Alonso – so that wasn’t a case of him being punished for daring to use some grip to make something happen in the race. Also in Spain, you had Raikkonen certainly pushing hard lap after lap in the final fifth of the race, closing the gap back down. He didn’t have to nurse to the finish there (and he may have won if they’d put the right tyres on at his first stop).

So while I agree we have a tyre conservation system in place, I have to look at the bigger picture when deciding what I’m going to favour, and if we had tyres that didn’t degrade we’re back to racing that will be inevitably more processional and less involving and challenging for the teams and fans.

I also think the reduced grip due to the lack of exhaust blown diffusers – which has also closed the pack up – is playing a big part on the way the racing has been this year. I think that has been underestimated.

I’m pretty sure a lot of the moaning will subside following Canada; with the ease of overtaking aided by DRS there, you won’t get drivers trying/able to hold a train and nurse their rubber to the end. Of course that’s not to say we won’t get 2 and 3 stop strategies (maybe 4?).


Craig, in Spain the qualy time was 1:21.707 and the fastest lap (by Maldonado) was 1:27.906. That’s over 6 seconds slower.

Kimi’s fastest lap in the race was 1:26.938. that’s still over 5 seconds slower.

You call that pushing hard?

I only opened this topic because of Alan Permane’s comment about Michael and his lap in Monaco which I believe was misleading the readers.


I think his point was that if Schumacher was winning he wouldn’t complain about the tires.


Schumacher’s main strength was setting perfect lap after lap in a race which is a skill that is now nullified with these tyres so I’m not so sure he wouldn’t be complaining even if he won a few. If he really wanted to complain would he not say something about his car reliability when Rosberg’s is bullet proof.

The problem with these tyres is even if someone put’s on a great performance they can’t humiliate the rest of the field by wining by a massive margin as Schumacher did on occasion which is how legends are born.

A prime example is Schumacher and Hakinenen in a league of their own at Suzuka 2000. We can’t have that now because of these tyres. We can’t have a driver really pushing in a race and showing just how much better they are than their team mate which is the only true yardstick.

Thanks for the podcast James.


Why not? Even if Schumi would’ve won the Monaco GP, that still leaves the problem with the tyres, which is that you cannot go flat out for more than 2-3 laps without burning them.


Excellent as always. Thank you for providing this, James.

Stephen green

I love these pod casts. Download them and listen to them through the car audio system in the rush hour. Well done James a brilliant and informative idea.


6 different winners in 6 races has happened plenty of times, this is just the first season that’s opened this way.


When? 6 in a row?


1975 Season

Dutch GP – James Hunt

French GP – Niki Lauda

British GP – Emerson Fittipaldi

German GP – Carlos Reutemann

Austrian GP – Vittorio Brambilla

Italian GP – Clay Regazzoni

This season also started with 5 different winners


Yeah, the others were mid-season. But this year and 1983 are the only years where 5 different driver/constructor pairings have won in the opening 5 races.


Thanks for the info and your contribution Andrew…even James obviously wasnt aware of that!


There were also:

6 in a row in 1985

6 in a row in 2009

7 in a row in 1977

9!! in a row in 1982.


Nicely done, James.

You always seem to have interesting-but-not-the-usual-suspects on.




Once again, great job James. Please keep them coming!

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