Wednesday, 27 May 2015

On the move

As of today Paddock Eye can now be found at

© Ben Johnston 2015

No need to change the rules, teams just need to catch up

(© Ben Johnston 2015)

FIA president Jean Todt has stated that changing the Formula One regulations is not necessary to encourage greater competition in the sport.

Formula One events around the world have seen a drop off in spectator attendance in recent seasons however the television audience figures particularly in the United Kingdom have increased dramatically recently.

Speaking to Canal+ Todt compared Formula One to the Tennis championship at Roland Garros where in the last nine of ten years the same person has won the title and that has no sparked changes in Tennis so just because one team is dominating Formula One at the moment the Frenchman sees no reason for change.

Following four years of Infiniti Red Bull Racing dominating the sport, Formula One switched from 2.4 litre V8 engines to 1.6 litre V6 turbo charged more fuel efficient power units from last year which saw a shift in dominance.

The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team took victory in both the Drivers and Constructors championship in 2014 with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg securing all but three victories.
Todt has stated that it is just a case of the other teams working harder to try and do a better job than Mercedes.

So this season, Mercedes have taken all but one victory as Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix. So far this season we have also seen Mercedes and Ferrari take the top three spots on the podium.

If Formula One persists in changing the rules every few years it runs the risk of alienating fans. The main reason for the drop off in Grand Prix attendance is down to the fact that ticket prices are so high and this is something that needs to be addressed as soon as possible and the sport should be focusing on how to make it more affordable for fans and not how to improve the show.

© Ben Johnston 2015

Updates on the way for McLaren Honda

(McLaren Honda)

The McLaren Honda Formula One team are set to embark on an ambitious development programme with the MP4-30 as they look to build on their first point’s finish of the season.

The Monaco Grand Prix saw Jenson Button secure an eighth place finish for the Woking based outfit which was fantastic result for the outfit who have had an extremely tough start to their new relationship with Honda which begin this season.

McLaren have now revealed that they will introduce an upgrade package for the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring next month. The team also plan to introduce a further upgrade package for the Hungarian Grand Prix which is the final race before the mid-season summer break. McLaren head to the Canadian Grand Prix next week in Montreal which has similar characteristics to the last race in Monaco in that it is described as a mix of a permanent and temporary race track.

Montreal has been a happy hunting ground for the McLaren Honda racing team and they will be hoping that they can be competitive next weekend although they are lacking in the power unit department which could prove to be problematic for the team on the long straights in Montreal due to their lack of horse power.

The team will be hoping to use their result in Monaco last time out at as platform to build on in the next few Grand Prix.

© Ben Johnston 2015 

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Hinchcliffe leaves hospital

(Steve Swope for Team Penske)

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe has been released from the  IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis following his accident at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last week.

The Canadian was left with pelvic and other injuries and as a result will miss at least this weekend's duel in Detroit double header.

Schmidt Peterson announced shortly before the Mayor of HinchTown's release that Conor Daly will drive the No.5 entry this weekend.

© Ben Johnston 2015

Verstappen handed five place grid penalty for Canada following Grosjean crash

(Jean Michel Le Meur/DPPI for Renault Sport F1)

Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen has been handed a five place grid penalty and two penalty points on his Super licence after it was found the Dutch teenager had caused the Turn 1 accident with the Lotus F1 Team’s Romain Grosjean.

Verstappen’s car ended up buried in the TechPro barrier and it took the marshals a while to get the car out of the barrier. The accident brought out the safety car which ended resulted in the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team pitting Lewis Hamilton and in doing so handed victory to Nico Rosberg.

Verstappen will start the Canadian Grand Prix five places back from where he qualifies following the accident but the teenager is aiming to bounce back from the difficult race in Monaco having seen his team mate Carlos Sainz come from a pit-lane start to finish in the points in 10th place which is an incredible achievement anywhere but particularly around the unforgiving street circuit of Monte Carlo.

© Ben Johnston 2015

Daly replaces injured Hinchcliffe for the Duel In Detroit

Conor Daly - website

Conor Daly will replace the injured James Hinchcliffe at this weekend’s Verizon IndyCar Series double header in Belle Isle for the Detroit Grand Prix.

Daly will drive the No.5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry on May 30/31. The Indiana native drove in the Indianapolis 500 for SPM No.43 but retired from the race following mechanical issues. Daly stated that he is honoured to be filling in for the Mayor of Hinch Town.

Daly went on to say that he hopes to do the best job he can in keeping the No.5 seat warm for Hinchcliffe. Speaking about the announcement Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team owner Sam Schmidt stated that he is pleased to give a young American rising star the opportunity to race in the Verizon IndyCar Series. 

© Ben Johnston 2015

Something needs to be done to avoid a repeat of the accidents that we have seen at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this month

(Steve Swope for Team Penske)

The Indianapolis 500 is over for another year and ahead next year’s 100th edition of the most historic race in motorsport the organisers of the event and the Indy Racing League need to come together to find a solution to the issues that the sport had over the course of the month of May.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway have confirmed that renovation work will be done at the venue ahead of the 2016 event.

During the build up to this year’s event there were a number of horrendous accidents on the famous Brickyard. Penske Racing Team’s Helio Castroneves was involved in a huge accident which saw his No.3 Penske Racing machine flip upside down and land right side up. The Brazilian walked away from the accident unhurt but it was an extremely frightening accident.

In practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway prior to the race last week, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports James Hinchcliffe had a horrendous accident and suffered massive blood loss after a suspension element pierced the cockpit of his car.

The Canadian underwent surgery at the IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. The following day Josef Newgarden flipped his car in another horrifying accident while CFH Racing co-owner Ed Carpenter was also involved in a big crash when his car also flipped prior to the Indianapolis 500. He managed to the race but retired on lap 112 of the race following contact.

Chip Ganassi Racing Team’s Sebastian Saavedra ended up with a dislocated foot following a three car collision on lap 175 of the 200 lap event. As a result, the Colombian will miss this weekend’s double header at Belle Isle, Detroit.

The Indianapolis 500 also saw Dale Coyne Racing Team crew member Daniel Jang injured following pit road accident involving Dale Coyne Racing’s James Davison, Tristan Vautier and Pippa Mann. Jang underwent surgery at the IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis on foot injuries he suffered during the accident.

© Ben Johnston 2015