Friday, March 17, 2017

Non-Championship F1 Races

Since the official FIA Formula 1 World Championship began in 1950, non-championship races have featured on the Grand Prix calendar.  These races continued to be a major feature on the motorsport schedule well into the 1970s, with the latest non-championship race being in 1983.

With that historic nod, should modern F1 embrace the non-championship race once again?

According to Formula 1's new head of motorsport, Ross Brawn, this is an option for the future of the sport.

"It might be rather optimistic, but you can imagine if we had a non-championship race there'd be a lot more capacity to look at different formats and approaches and see if the fans take to it with much less risk or exposure than we would if we were doing something in the championship,” he said.

With new owner Liberty Media now calling the shots in Formula 1, fresh ideas need to be tried.  A good way to achieve this could be to hold a race which does not affect the World Championship.

"We often had non-championship races in the old days but getting it all to work is another matter.  Brawn added.  "It needs to be commercially viable of course, and that's the challenge. Again, it couldn't just be 'pick ideas out of a hat'. It needs to be properly thought through, but maybe an opportunity."

So what new ideas could be tested?

Shorter race formats is probably a given.  This idea has been mooted many times in the past and sprint races would be a different spectacle: less about conserving the car and more about driving as fast as possible!

More racing action on a Saturday is also very likely.  Other concepts such as reverse grids could also be trialled at a non-championship meeting.  While F1 purists would want the sport to steer clear of gimmicks, non-championship races could explore artificially wetting the circuit (if a circuit was able to offer it).

Non-championship races in the past were often held in locations which were considered exotic, so perhaps these could be a means of trialing new locations. What about a race through a major city, a hill climb, or a race with a truly spectacular backdrop. 

Purists will argue that the current format is fine and should not be changed.  However, if F1 is to increase its appeal and grow, then new ideas need to be tested.  Other sports have benefited from updating and changing their format; with cricket’s move to Twenty20 being a prime example of this.

Formula One does need to evolve as well as cater to a younger audience.  It also has heritage, more than any other motorsport.  So this needs to be respected too.

Non-championship race meetings would provide the means to try new things, while still respecting F1's heritage.

As Brawn says:  "We expose ourselves whenever we make changes like this.  Fingers crossed, it is going to work out but l think it is a good example of where we didn't go through the right principles to begin with."

Thanks for reading, please leave your comments.

Jason Goodacre

Pep, F1Podcast

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

My F1 Collection

My F1 collection started when I was a teenager in the late 1980's.  As a big F1 racing fan, my first purchases were magazines and posters for my walls.  So that was "Prix Editions" magazine and some Alain Prost posters I'd picked up somewhere.  Big Prost fan.

Then I bought some photo's of F1 cars from the Adelaide Grand Prix which were available to purchase via the newspaper.  And that was how it remained for quite awhile: magazines and posters.  "F1 Racing Magazine" replacing the previous title.

The next thing I started to get was a few F1 books.  These were mainly Grand Prix annuals from the mid 1980's and also some VHS videos of seasons in the 1990's.  Later there was DVD's and as always gaming of course.  I've written a separate blog on F1 gaming.

But it was in the early 2000's that I started to buy more and across different categories.  Online shopping was opening up lot's of opportunity!  The first significant purchases were F1 replica helmets.  Over a period of several years I bought Schumacher, Prost then Senna.  They remain the core and much loved part of my F1 collection.  I'm keen to get more.

Then one day I found an F1 stamp with my 3 favourite drivers and I had to own it.  That began an period of about a year where I binge purchased F1 stamps.

And here's the thing about collecting. 

When you collect, you learn about each category or genre you are collecting within.  For example with stamps you learn all about the world of "philately", the study of stamps.  Model cars?  I learnt all about the types, history, manufactures, scale sizes and details of this genre.  Trading cards and games provide a great history of our sport.

There were several items during the next stage that I collected a lot of:  keyrings, badges, cards and some models.  Later my focus turned to collecting F1 books, especially the older ones.  All the while adding to the other categories whenever I found something.

There are several things I've not been interested in collecting.  F1 clothes is one, season DVD reviews is another.  Expense is always a big consideration too - there is a lot of excellent (and very expensive!) stuff out there. 

I'm also strict that it must be F1 or Grand Prix Racing.  No Indy or lower formula open wheeler please.

Here is my collection summary.  The one's in bold I've been concentrating on recently:

What sort of F1 things do you collect?
What are your favourities?

Thanks for reading, please leave your comments.

Pep, F1 Podcast

Daily F1 commentary on twitter:

Saturday, October 29, 2016

What-If ... these F1 drivers hadn't died?

Formula One is the best sport in the world.

In F1, like all motorsport, drivers have died doing what they love.  And unfortunately more will die in the future.  That is part of this sport; part of life.

Recently I read an excellent book - "Senna vs. Schumacher".

The authors wrote a fictional account of how the rivalry between these drivers might have played out if Senna had survived Imola in 1994.  It is a great read, insightful and highly recommended book. 

There are 5 stories they tell:

  • Senna versus Schumacher
  • Villeneuve versus Prost
  • Moss versus Clark
  • Ascari versus Fangio
  • Richard Seaman, European Champion

It's an excellent concept and a huge amount of research, dedication and love went into writing it.  It's very well written and I would recommend any F1 fan to pick-up a copy.

For each story I tried to predict the outcomes myself before reading and below are my thoughts on that.  There are no spoilers here, just my opinion prior to reading the book. 

Ayrton Senna - 3 more championships minimum, Gilles Villeneuve - World Champion, Stirling Moss - World Champion, Alberto Ascari - a 3rd World Championship.  In the case of Senna, I am convinced that after F1 he would have done many great things for the people of Brazil, perhaps even becoming President.

Finally there is Richard Seaman, I didn't know much about the pre-1950 racing, so this book allowed me to learn so much and immerse myself in that era. 

"Senna vs. Schumacher" made me think about other F1 drivers who passed away and what their future could have been. 

Peter Collins - in 1956 while still in contention for the title, Peter famously handed his Lancia-Ferrari D50 over to eventual champion Fangio.  There is little doubt that Peter had the speed to be champion himself one day.  His selfless act will never be repeated in Grand Prix racing.

Wolfgang von Trips - driving for Ferrari in 1961, the year of his death, "Taffy" had a very competitive car - the iconic Ferrari 156 "Sharknose".  Would he have had the car to win it after 1961?  Probably not as the next 2 years were dominated by Graham Hill and Jim Clark.  1964 is another matter though as Ferrari did it again with John Surtees.  I think von Trips would have been an influential part of the sport given his skills and outgoing personality.  Champion too?  Perhaps.

Jochen Rindt - there is plenty of debate about whether Jochen would have continued to race in 1971 after becoming World Champion in 1970.  My guess is that he would!  Given the dominance of Jackie Stewart and Tyrrell in 1971, his next chance would have been in 1972 which of course Lotus won with Emerson Fittipaldi.  Rindt might have been a double World Champion.  What is clear though is that Jochen was an astute businessman and very close to Bernie Ecclestone.  Hence I am sure that he would have been heavily involved at in F1 for many, many years to come.

Francois Cevert - the popular and charismatic Frenchman died while under the wing of Jackie Stewart in 1973.  Jackie himself has no doubt that Francois had everything needed to be World Champion ... and that's good enough for me.

Roger Williamson, Tony Brise and Tom Pryce - this trio of British drivers were all considered massive talents and potential future World Champions.  They lost their lives in 1973, 1975 and 1977.  A book "The Lost Generation" was written about them by David Tremayne and surely they were destined for much success in Formula One.

Ronnie Peterson - Ronnie was always considered a sublime talent behind the wheel of an F1 car.  Therefore I am certain greatness was in-store had he not perished at Monza in 1978.

Jules Bianchi - Jules was only in his second F1 season when he died following an accident at Suzuka.  Already a Ferrari protégé and test driver, he was widely regarded as having the right stuff and was destined for race wins and more.

There are many more drivers of course who had potential for greatness not listed above: Eugenio Castellotti, Luigi Musso, Stuart Lewis-Evans, Alan Stacey, Chris Bristow, Ricardo Rodríguez, Lorenzo Bandini and Piers Courage to name a few.

Not only did all of these drivers tragically lose their lives but the world was denied their talents and contributions both within and outside the motorsport world.

Circling back to the book "Senna vs Schumacher", I believe there should be more F1 fiction and this book is a great example of how good it can be.  These stories really make you think about what might have been.  An excellent book!

Thanks for reading, please leave your comments.

Pep, F1Podcast.

Daily F1 commentary on twitter:


Senna vs. Schumacher book:

List of Formula One fatalities: