Are You F1’s Future?

One day soon, Adrian Newey will have to retire. Ross Brawn will take permanent gardening leave, and Martin Whitmarsh will need help holding Lewis back. For anyone intelligent enough to realise the drivers are merely faces protecting the most respected engineers, mechanics and designers from the media, heres some words of wisdom from Formula One experts to the ambitious youth wanting to join the elite.

Young people hoping to work in Formula One in the future have been given a wealth of advice from some of the most respected individuals in the industry on the eve of the Monaco Grand Prix.

Many students dream of working in motorsports and are unsure how to get involved. It is a sport that many dream of reaching but only a select few are lucky enough to be able to get involved.

Adrian Newey, engineer at Red Bull Racing, spoke to the press at the Monaco circuit to give some words of wisdom to enthusiastic students. He said: “I guess the first question is where he or she wants to work, so is it technical, is it in marketing and so on and so forth. In my own area, on the technical side, I think by and large, academic studies help, so going to a good university, if that’s possible, is clearly useful.

“At that point the person probably needs to decide which area they are going to specialise in. Try and get some experience as well, even if it’s working with a very small team, then anything that helps to build your CV and show that you are a committed, dedicated to motor racing and have both an academic flair and a real enthusiasm is mainly what we’re looking for.”

With more people than ever wanting to work in motor sport vacancies can be limited. The job market is tougher than ever and competition is fierce among candidates.

Martin Whitmarsh, CEO of McLaren Racing, warned young people that motor sport is a difficult area to try and find a job. He commented: “Those of us, who are working in Formula One or in motor sport, are very, very lucky. It’s a great career but it’s massively competitive, it’s still a relatively small industry so I think if anyone sets their sights on a career within motor sport they should also have a Plan B because however good you are, you might not be fortunate enough to get in.”

Graeme Lowdon, Marussia Virgin representative, urged young people to take their time when trying to get into motor sport. He said: “It’s a mixture of experience but also knowledge. There are a remarkable number of people who look to get into a racing team who haven’t prepared themselves with either and it constantly amazes me. There is no secret; it’s down to hard work and application, and if you’re prepared to put in the hard work and apply yourself, then anybody can get into the sport. But as Martin says, whether they stay in is a different matter.”

Vijay Mallya, owner of Force India, gave an insight into the amount of people in India that dream of working in Formula One. He stated: “A lot of Indian technology companies are already supporting established Formula One teams but I represent a country that is full of aspiration, with 500 million youngsters under the age of 18, aspiration levels run really, really high and everybody wants to be part of Formula One because of the image that Formula One has.

“The number of CVs and applications coming through from people who want to be involved in engineering and design is quite incredible. There’s a lot of talent out there. We have some internships already running for young Indian engineers so yes, there’s a huge amount of opportunity.”

While options appear to be limited the team representatives all agree that with a combination of hard work and determination, young people can make it to the very top.

Editors Note: Any youth interested in F1 would do well to go to any European University and discuss the opportunities of a FormulaStudent project for your final year dissertation. Or try @FormulaStudent.

Bernie, Murdoch, Poker, Freud and “improving the show”

Twitter is fast becoming my source of general F1 opinion. So far today, I’ve heard that F1’s audience is getting older, and that a much of media types want to buy the sport and undo all of Mr E’s hard work.

Now first off let’s give credit where it due, F1 has come a long way since Bernie took over. Safety has improved, trackside barriers have learnt to stop car parts from hitting fans, and fans themselves have access to all the drivers, engineers and pitlanes. OK Bernie takes a slice of the pie and theres some bumper prices on the extras, but it works, and has done for 30 years, ever improving and always bringing in new young fans.

And so the media corporation, through a link or chain of ownership come back around to Sky’s Rupert Murdoch plan to take over the commercial rights of F1 which in a money-driven sport equates to total ownership.

Fans in the ‘Pro’ camp claim the investment from a huge company would do wonders to attract new younger fans, and help development of the smaller teams with more funding, and of course help “improve the show”.

Fans in the “Get the hell away from my sport Mr. Murdoch” camp, which obviously includes myself, have one simple argument. If Murdoch buys F1 and puts the sport on Sky Sports, there will be no coverage for fans to watch, and with ticket prices as high as they are, suddenly F1 loses all the day dreaming, speed chasing, petrol head fans that work for minimum wage and hail Hamilton, Button, Di Resta and especially the ballsy Kobaybashi as Gods.

Smaller teams may need more funding, but I don’t want to prop up HRT, Virgin and unhappily, Williams by paying £40 a month to watch my beloved sport. I want there to be a full grid sure, but I want the teams there on merit, not because Sky Sports has masses more subscribers from all over the globe. And if “improving the show” with Ecclestone brought us KERs and DRS, then I shudder to think what could happen with Murdoch.

As for “F1 fans are getting older”. It’s difficult to gauge this quote. Am I a fan? Yes? Have I gotten older in the past ten years? Of course. Has my 14yr old nephew taken to F1? Yes. Will he be older in ten years time? Sure.

So in that sense, I understand this statement, but with common sense applied its total rubbish. Ask any blogger why they like motorsports and I bet it comes back round to one simple sentence “My dad watched it when I was a kid”.

As long as Freud’s theories of childhood development continue to hold, F1 will have plenty more fans in the next decade or so.

Luckily I found that history could well be on the day dreamers side. BskyB another tentacle that reaches back to Murdoch, once attempted to buy a large football club by the name of Manchester Utd. and where blocked by the competition committee. So my only hope can be this interpretation. If buy owning one team of 24 got the veto from the committee, how can owning and controlling the entire grid be deemed fair competition?

In conclusion, this argument has a shelf life, and I have been waiting for something to replace the Lotus debate in my midday musings at work. There are a few major players who have to show their cards yet, but if Bernie and CVC have nothing but a pair of ducks, it could well be their time to fold.

Battle of the Papercuts

So I put the phone down and yelled. “How on earth can they charge that much? It’s rather silly!” Okay, there were probably a few more words in there but I can’t write them down in a blog. I’m trying to get more racing in my life, short of reading the internet all day, and spending a fortune at the local kart track. So aside from the insane prices of £30 a month I’ve just been quoted for Satellite TV there’s only one option left.

Of this option, the old trusty hand held store bought magazine, are a few leading competitors. F1Racing, Autosport and MotorSport.

Autosport for my money seems a bit out of place. It holds a good cross section of news across most motorsports and is good for referencing or broadening the mind. But if you have the internet and access to autosport.com then the magazine falls flat, and the moment it rolls off the production line it’s out of date.

F1Racing is monthly with plenty of news, interviews, brief technical analysis and high quality photographs that many close followers of F1 already have a wide understanding and knowledge of. However for the more casual viewer who has no time to read blogs such as this, or much better ones, the magazine is a great break-time filler and supplement to their limited Sunday afternoon viewing.

MotorSport on the other hand, holds the main positive of Autosport, covering that wide cross section of motorsport. But instead of trying to give out news, bringing itself directly into competition with websites that are updated hourly, it focuses mainly on the opinion of high profile motorsport personalities.

Currently there roster includes Gordon Kirby, Rob Widdows, Patrick Head, and of course Nigel Roebuck; All of which have an uncanny way of seeing through the press releases, or explaining the true goings on in the background of various scenarios. Obviously opinion, is no good without supporting facts, and often leads to nostalgic tales from interviews with great historic figures such as Stirling Moss.

So, let’s have a run down.

If you’re well off, get the Satellite TV, Eurosport, MotorsTV, Sky Sports News should all keep you up to date.

If you don’t have internet and need to know everything about racing, get Autosport, it’s your bible.

If your casual you don’t really care about racing, you love the crashes, the DRS, KERs and you hate Alonso and glossy pictures, then F1Racing is your monthly one off buy.

If [like me] your totally hooked on racing, you read news websites and share opinion all day but you’ve got a few spare pounds at the end of a long month at work. Grab Motorsport, you might just learn something new.

Top 20 Great Drivers

When I ran this post via my sounding board, a man of over 30 years experience watching Motor racing across the world, including Monaco, Interlagos and Donnington, this was his response.

“What? No Kimi? It can’t be! What about Brundle? He beat Senna in F3 1983! And what about Lauda? Fittipaldi? Piquet? Vettel? Rob you can’t post this, you have to put one of the Schumacher’s in. And you can’t include Mike Hawthorn, you just can’t.”

So with a little tweaking, TheTyreWall as a collection of opinion has found its 20 most highly rated drivers of F1 from 1950 to 2010.

  1. Jim Clark  –  The Farmers Son
  2. Ayrton Senna  –  The Soul of Racing
  3. Stirling Moss  –  The Underdog
  4. J.M. Fangio  –  The Godfather
  5. Jackie Stewart  –  The Safety King
  6. M. Schumacher  –  The Stat King
  7. Gilles Villeneuve  –  The Potential
  8. Alain Prost  –  The Professor
  9. Fernando Alonso  –  The New Millenium Professor
  10. Lewis Hamilton  –  The Spitfire
  11. Alberto Ascari  –  The Maestro
  12. Graham Hill  –  The Pilot
  13. Phil Hill  –  The Gentleman
  14. Jack Brabham  –  The Team Owner
  15. John Surtees  –  A Knight of Wheels
  16. Jochen Rindt  –  The Lost Champion
  17. Alan Jones  –  The True AussieGrit
  18. Stefan Bellof  –  The Missing Champion
  19. Keke Rosberg  –  The Flying Finn
  20. James Hunt  –  The Playboy

Clark takes top spot for being the Farmers Son in a sport full of rich kids, and beating everyone. Moss get’s ahead of the Fangio because of his unflinching loyalty and morals. Stewart then pip’s Schuey to round out the top five on the ground of his safety work and the countless lives his work has indirectly saved.

Villeneuve is catapulted to 7th way ahead of a similar Bellof due to a few marvellous drives in circumstances always set against him. Alonso is ranked ahead of Hamilton who does make it to the top ten as I predict these two will be battling at the top for years to come.

Ascari was possibly the main catalyst in the growth and fanatical mentality of the tifosi, inbeing the last Italian World Champion. The Hill come in line astern, both gentlemen of their era and fine brave pilot’s, literally in Grahams case. Next the original and greatest owner/driver, followed by the only king of two and four wheels.

The final five is where a great many names hit the cutting room floor. No Mansell, Hakkinen, Piquet or Vettel. These final few to round off the grid show that it’s not just about the racing craft and skill that make a great F1 pilot. Sometimes it’s a youthful impatience, Bellof, or all out aggression, Jones. And sometimes it’s about failing to keep a safe distance from the glamour of the off track perks; not that I blame him.

How do you solve a problem like Felipe?

As the season begins, fans lay praise upon the Petrov fluke and write off Quick Nick and a Stick in the mud, the only issue worth talking about is the second Ferrari seat of 2012.

I’ve had a lot of mocking as I dared to hint at Quick Nick going toe to toe with Fernando next year, but let’s look at the options and situation overall.

Quick Nick is my prime candidate to take over. I feel if he can produce a good haul of points, scoring over 1/3 more than a resurgent Petrov , steal a win or a succession of podiums and maybe get ahead of Massa at some noticeable points of the year, he’d stand a chance.

Come 2012 he would be booted by Renault as they welcome back Kubica and if Ferrari wanted to replace a demoralised Massa Nick is the ONLY proven option when you consider, the Alonso Factor.

Select in your mind any driver on the current grid with over two years of experience, who would consider being Alonso’s wing man. Taking into consideration they’d be knowingly walking into Ferrari as the ‘other driver’, but would also need to have pace not to put the second Ferrari on the back end of the grid.

Unfortunately, the shortlist is very, very short. Aside from Heidfeld I can see two options.

Swapping Massa. His last year of contract needs to be honoured, but as ever he can be ‘placed’ somewhere else, much like we’ve seen in the past.

So how do you solve a problem like Felipe?

Sauber, a team he knows, a team who likes him, and more importantly a team who has KobayBASHi to send in return. Ticks a few boxes, but would KobayBASHi be ok next to Alonso? With no Japanese manufacturers, I think so.

Toro Rosso? Well their Italian, they run Ferrari Engines and there after money. They wouldn’t mind playing host to Massa and giving rising star Ricciardo a competitive yard stick to race against.

Buemi and Alguersuari have struggled to prove themselves against each other. But again, having one of the drivers to send back the other way is a bonus. Jaime is still young and if he bode his time learning at Alonso’s knee and polishing his shoes, he could have a shot in the future.

The last, final, desperate option, is to keep a very unhappy, demoralised off-form Massa and watch a championship winning car trundle round in 6th place.

The Complete F1 Season 1961

Last week there was discussion about the greatest ever racing year in history. Of course anyone under ten loves 2008 and Hamilton. Teenagers tend to like Kimi Raikkonnen and therefore are ignoring F1 for the next few years. Girls coo over retro images of James Hunt and men will argue about Moss, Clark, Senna, Prost and a few select others until the bar is drank dry. So naively and with no real insight, I’m bucking the trend; The most Complete season ever, 1961, the year of Phil Hill, the first American World Champion.

Phil; I feel, wouldn’t be at home in the modern day F1 where drivers can barely breathe for interviewers and engineers quiziing them out of the car. The last I heard of him visiting a GP was at Monza in ’06 as a guest of Ferrari. Hill quietly arrived watched the race and Schumacher’s [first] retirement, talked with Jean Todt then of Ferrari and walked away, never to return. A quiet dignified man, who’s battle with illness in his last few years robbed the world of a true gentleman, a true racer.

1961 then was possibly the year of his career, not only winning both Drivers and Constructors titles with Ferrari but also sparing time to win Ferrari the 24hr Le Mans aswell, a feat that will not be mimicked by Fernando Alonso or Felipe Massa.

So ends the limited knowledge of 1961 I have. Why do I love 1961? Because Hill let his racing do the talking, even Senna couldn’t manage that.

So let’s delve deeper. The story of the season is a three way battle. Hills competition consisted of Count Wolfgang Von Trips, his team-mate at a 3 car Ferrari, & Stirling Moss, now a Knight and then driving a woefully underpowered but comically named Coventry Climax.

Even at the opening season race in Monaco which Moss won, Ferrari where clearly fastest. Von Trips and Hill then traded the top spot until Stirling Moss again used exquisite skill and flair to beat a massive 40hp deficit in a dry/wet race at the old full Nurburgring. (Which sadly proved to be Moss’ last but possibly greatest victory in a F1 car.)

Within this Title battle, which as we all know ended in the most cruel circumstances at Monza, Ferrari’s home GP with the death of Von Trips and several spectators. Within this year nests two tales to show the brilliance and humanity of F1 even in these desperate and dark times.

The French GP was the one race that gave the also-rans of 1961 some hope. In France each of the three supremo’s had issues, including Hill and Moss colliding. And so, on his F1 championship debut driving the supreme Ferrari of a private entry, Italy no doubt went wild for the then young Italian, Giancarlo Baghetti who remains to this day, 50 years on, the only man to have won his very first F1 Grand Prix.

The season ended a race early for Ferrari. Supported by the fact both titles were decidedbut mainly out of respect for Von Trips and the crowd members Ferrari withdrew from the final round held in the USA. A deeply honourable gesture, and I can only remember one other gesture to match it. Again Ferrari, this time at the 2001 Monza GP, where they removed all sponsors and ran with black nose cones in respect of the Twin Towers disaster in America.

This respect and passion not only for racing but for life too is why the Italian still hold Gilles Villeneuve as a Prince of their hearts, but its also why when any driver receives a phonecall from the Scuderia, they don’t say ‘No, thanks’.

So 1961 had it all it seems. Drives of a lifetime from Moss. Records set by Baghetti. The Honourable Ferrari. Sadness and despair, not only with Von Trips but with others I’m shamefully remise to mention. And the glory of the victors, and lmost overlook that first humble American F1 Champion of the World.

F1 Rules For Fans

When you think about it, Gaadafi has his good points. Continuity after all is a good thing we’re lead to believe. But then how can a country; or any collection of people for that matter, cope after 30 years under the same tyrannical control of one man. So surely, like the Libyan freedom fighters before us it’s time for change. The Tyrant? One, Bernard Ecclestone.

Now, continuity is good, and I like Bernie, and I don’t think that there’s anyone out there who could replace him right now. And the last thing I want is for CVC to be run my some committee or elected president, in other words, democracy is not the way to go.

Image the chaos of everyone fighting their own corners over tiny issues. The sport would be in ruins. So keep Bernie but just implement a few changes to make the world of F1 racing and ‘the show’ better.

Step One.
Revert all the technical regulations back to 1986 specification, however give a minimum weight of 750kg and a maximum overhead expenses budget of 50 million. Throw in a few clauses to stop the team outsourcing everything and await the amazing 8 wheeler from HRT, and a treble-F-duct-blown-diffusers from McLaren.

Step Two.
Scrap safety cars and blue flags. Red flags would become more prominent but rolling restarts would prove a hit. Have every team on different fuel and tyre suppliers, with no minimum but a maximum limit of 3 pit stops per car per race.

Step Three.
Introduce a relegation zone, where the team classified last in F1’s constructor table and the constructions winners of F2 swap series. To stop yo-yoing or any difficulties in design a different specification car, F2 would remain a standard car across the series designated by the FIA, and the bottom three teams in F1 would have to pool all their design drawings/ideas/data together and hand over a copy also to the newly promoted outfit as well as the surviving rival.

And there you have it, three easy steps to make F1, Fan friendly, a Fantastic Spectacle and most importantly Fast.