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F1 experts answer “The 12 Questions of Christmas”
F1 experts answer “The 12 Questions of Christmas”
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Dec 2012   |  11:38 am GMT  |  45 comments

As it’s the Christmas Holidays, we have put together a podcast special, for the enjoyment of F1 fans around the world.

We asked you the readers for questions to put to a panel of F1 insiders and we selected the 12 best, which are answered here.

We got a great response with 222 fantastic questions.

Here is a taste of them; to enjoy the whole podcast click on the link below.

– What was the best overtake of the year – is there an official award for this?

– When teams are thinking of employing a driver, what data do they have to work on?

– What single rule would you like to remove and why?

– How is an F1 car designed? Is it ever a clean sheet of paper or is there always some carry-over from a previous design?

No player? Download the podcast directly.

The panel comprises McLaren Sporting Director Sam Michael, Oliver Weingarten, general secretary of the F1 Teams’ Association, leading F1 journalist Mark Hughes, and F1′s top photographer Darren Heath, Pirelli’s motorsport boss Paul Hembery and F1 business expert Zak Brown, founder of JMI.

(L to R) Michael, Heath, Allen, Hughes, Weingarten

Thanks to our partners UBS for supporting the 2012 podcasts.

0.00 Introduction

0.44 When teams are thinking of employing a driver, what data do they have to work on? (asked by Colin B)

1.50 What was the best overtake of the year? (Luke Clements)

3.27 What more can teams do for fan interaction? (Antonio)

9.06 What do you think of the future for F1 after Bernie Ecclestone? (Nobu)

10.33 How is an F1 car designed? Is it ever a clean sheet of paper, or is there always some carry-over from a previous design? (Sean Craddock)

11.35 Do F1 insiders regret Formula 1 moving away from Europe? (Tim W)

17.40 What will be the impact for Formula 1’s future if drivers like Kobayashi and Kovalainen lose their seats to drivers whose primary criteria is bringing funding? (Steve Dalby)

18.52 If you were a team principle and had the choice of hiring either Adrian Newey or Sebastian Vettel, which one would you go for? (Alex)

21.21 Of the current F1 drivers who have not won a world championship, which of them is most likely to win a title first? (Nicky Stuu)

23.21 How many miles will an F1 car do in a season? (Kattina Willis)

24.48 What single rule would you like to remove and why? (TRS)

23.31 What’s your most amusing story or anecdote from 2012? (Steve Brisbane Oz)

Total duration: 29.05

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James, quick question mate. Who do you personally think has the most native driving talent on the grid? Put another way, in exactly the same equal cars, who do you think would win a race of the current drivers?


Talent; Hamilton. But that doesn’t mean he’d win a race in equal cars as there is more to it than talent, you need guile, intelligence and more

At the moment Alonso is the best all round with Hamilton and Vettel close behind with different skills


Yep I agree James. Thanks for the reply. Alonso is the most complete F1 competitor, but Hamilton has the most native talent in my humble opinion. Raikkonen and Vettel, for me, are a very, very close second in outright pace / talent.


This podcast, this format and ‘attitude’,as well as the participants, is an answer to the question of how to properly engage fans in the offseason as well as in-season.

I think I speak with some authority on the subject of US ‘penetration’. Knowledge: there is no fan wholly ignorant of the object of his fandom. Exclusivity: being included into an AURA of exclusivity is intoxicating, no? That takes some marketing and management smarts. The art of pandering whilst appearing aloof. History: F1 has a wealth, and the track/venue is a Huge part of that. I suggest the history of F1 is entirely more attractive as a subject than that of NASCAR. Abandoning the ‘classic’ venues for Tilkedromes is not a good thing. Racing where racing is best as opposed to racing where the money is. No one, even hardened fans are attracted to the latter

Jim "Wisemaker" St. George

Thanks for giving us a Christmas present. It was received with much appreciation. Many thanks and best of luck for 2013.


Did they happen to know who’s hands were on that flamin’ ferrari steering wheel?


Vettel may be in the same league as Alonso, but Wigan are also in the same league as Man City. They are just being polite 🙂


Nice job James!


Thanks James and seasons greetings to all. Along with having an award for the best overtake I think an award should be given for the best F1 website/blog. Which nicely cues up my two pence. On the topic of fan interaction, I think having an F1 store (as was breifly mentioned) is heading in the right direction but it’s the simple things that fans are looking for during the quiet of the summer break and the “cold” of winter. Simple things such as this podcast presentation, more insight in to what teams and drivers are up to, video footage on driver/team promo events perhaps even a weekly magazine show which doesn’t have to be more than 15-20mins. It probably is more simple to say than it is to actually do especially when the point is made that Bernie’s genius is keeping the sport restrictive. My point, a decent consistancy of fresh news that keeps fans watered and will engage potential newcomers to the sport. I love formula 1 and I probably always will but if the sport is to have an even bigger audience then surely a bigger effort needs to be made in the off season and holidays. Thanks again James for a fantastic year of journalism over a fantastic 2012 season. Happy New Year.


Not much of a contest…JA would win all


Hi James, Thanks for the podcast.

Off Topic. Having read two of your season’s review and currently on the third (Missed out on 09), may I suggest a possible prize for one of your compettions next year? Darren Heatht’s photography is absolutely ‘Top Draw’, I’ve also seen his work on the McLaren Website. What about a prize that follows Darren Heath during a GP Weekend?

Just a thought,

Happy New Year!


Thanks James,

Brilliant Podcast, great questions and answers!

Merry Xmas, Happy New Year and bring another year of great racing in 2013!


Thanks James, that was the best Christmas present I received in 2012! Just slightly better than my new coffee machine 😉


Who had the best passes :- Raikkonen, Raikkonen & yes you guessed it Raikkonen- Hulkenberg at Austin, Michael Schumacher at Brazil ( very edgy stuff in damp conditions), and Raikkonen on MS again at SPA. ( and I’m sure their were 4 or 5 more!!. He is the most exciting driver of this generation.


Thank you for a year of great insights James. Keep up the good work and have a Merry Christams and Happy New Year.


ace pod cast!

just wanted to share my view, a fans view as i have never been able to attend the fans forums about the poor entertainment on offer at silverstone for the gp.

don’t get me wrong-i love the circuit, couldn’t fault it if i wanted to but entertainment wise it is very poor indeed.

myself and a friend go on the fridays (more track time if it doesn’t rain) and the so called “f1 village” is rubbish, just a load of merchandise stalls, a sky stand where you can try your hand at reading the news/weather-fun eh! and a pirelli stand where you may get a go on a air gun in a mock pit stop and also buy their merchandise.

apart from the concert AFTER the race if your lucky to afford it there is nothing else, why cant we have a display of older cars, even paid photo opportunities to have our pics taken in front of famous f1 cars like the fw14b etc-who wouldn’t love that!, tents reading/glastenbury style with free f1 movies playing like grand prix, senna etc, a museum style display of famous cars, & memorabilia or signings with drivers from the past like hill, stewart, moss or whoever.

i love silverstone-the track, but aside from the on track action there has to be more given back to the fans, id be supprised if its much better else where (although would love to hear other views/experiences).

just would like to see more than burger vans & t-shirt stands when i go to an event ive been excitedly waiting for all year.

sorry for the moan but just fed up with being disappointed every year.

…..still going again tho-cant not- I love f1 but feel fans are not given enough trackside.

rant over.

Warren Groenewald

Was really surprised to read your comment about how poor the entertainment has become. I attended the Silverstone GP in 2002 and remember being pretty impressed by how much there was on display.

There were older F1 cars, DTM cars, simulators to drive and merchandising stalls to the hills. It seemed like a full on carnival. I only got to go on race day, so I’d assume that earlier in the weekend would have seen chances for driver signings etc.

How things change.


Super idea, and nice format. Great job! Enjoyed this a great deal.


18.52 If you were a team principle and had the choice of hiring either Adrian Newey or Sebastian Vettel, which one would you go for? (Alex)

“Because there’s another couple of top class drivers other than Seb. Seb is absolutely…” What is he saying after that? I can’t undersand the rest.


… top class, not to denigrate him, but Adrian is fantastic

Or something along those lines 😉

Great timing James I was having a little f1 withdrawal!


“Seb absolutely in the elite, so not to denigrate him”.


“Seb’s absolutely in the elite so it’s not to denigrate Seb”

I think.


“…but Seb is absolutely in the elite so that’s not to denigrate Seb.”


Lucy, I believe he said “…in the elite, so it’s not to denigrate Seb”.



P.S. Thanks, James. I was pleasantly surprised to find this podcast “gift-wrapped and under the tree”. I wasn’t expecting you to put out much, if anything, during these few days.


…seb is actually in their league so its not to deniggrate seb…


This is what I think he says

“but Seb’s absolutely in the elite so it’s no any great dis-(?? -respect), I just think Adrian’s track record says everything.”


Merry Christmas!

To sum up 2012, once again one of my favorite “Famous Grand Prix Commentator” quotes.

“We thought it was a foregone conclusion, and then it wasn’t a foregone conclusion, but then it was a foregone conclusion again, and what a foregone conclusion it was.”


awesome. very insightful with good humor, seriousness and entertainment. first class!


Thanks for that, James.

With regards to the last question, I think the most amusing incident(2 in fact), as got to be Kimi’s radio responses. Even now it brings a smile to my face.

Merry Christmas and see you in 2013.


Hi James – Do you have a transcript of the discussion for those of us with poor hearing. M


Sorry, resources don’t run to that at present.



getting transcripts of the podcasts is a thing you could possibly look into, not only for those of us who have poor hearing, but also for those of us, whos English is not very good and for whom the speed of talking in the podcast is too fast, because English is not our first language. Reading the text at our own pace would make the info a lot more accesible to us.

Other then that, keep up the good work,

cheers !


And for those of us using a mobile device to connect, podcasts don’t always work…


Plus, some people just prefer reading. I personally rarely to never listen to podcasts. Don’t really know *why* that is, but it’s the way I am. And I know I’m not the only one.


Thanks anyway, I enjoy your website. – Have a nice Christmas. M


What do the people who’s question was asked get as my girlfriend,had her question asked.


If you give me her number, I have a little something for her.


“Little”? Oh dear..


An answer


Their question answered?


Thank you James. That was very insightful
Happy Holidays to all 🙂


That was a very pleasant episode


Thanks JA, always a good listen. Merry Christmas, happy holidays to all!


Merry Christmas JA and team, thanks for selecting my question!

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