Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Further update on Michael Schumacher's condition

Michael Schumacher has undergone further surgery overnight to remove another blood clot from his brain and that as a result there has been a slight improvement in his condition. However, he remains in a critical condition.

The hospital have said that there will not be further updates unless there is anything to report.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Update on Michael Schumacher's condition

Following a press conference in the hospital where he is being treated an update was given on Michael Schumacher's current condition. The German remains critical and in a medically induced coma

Doctors have stated that they are unsure of Schumacher's future. He under went surgery yesterday to remove a blood clot from his brain.

A further update will be issued later today.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Michael Schumacher has suffered a serious head injury following a skiing accident in France

Seven time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher has suffered a 'serious' head injury following a skiing accident in France this morning.

The German was skiing alone when he suffered a fall and struck his head on a rock. He was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident and remained conscious throughout.

UPDATE: 23:16

Michael Schumacher is in a critical condition and in a medically induced coma following surgery after his accident this morning. A press conference has been scheduled for 11AM local time tomorrow.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Kimi Raikkonen will be the first to test Ferrari's new 2014 car

Ferrari have confirmed that Kimi Raikkonen will be the first driver to test the teams new car. The Finn, who rejoins the Italian team for 2014 following two seasons with the Lotus F1 Team.

The Iceman will test the new car in Jerez, Spain on the 28th and 29th January. While confirming that Kimi will drive on the opening two days of pre-season testing they also announced that fans will have the chance to name the new Ferrari that Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso will drive next year.

Details on how to enter the competition can be found on http://formula1.ferrari.com/

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Gutierrez to remain at Sauber next season, partnering Adrian Sutil

It has been a busy morning for the Sauber F1 Team.  First came the announcement that Mexican telecommunications giant Telemex confirmed that they have renewed their partnership with the Swiss team.

On the same day the team also confirmed that Esteban Gutierrez will remain at the team for a second season and will team up with German Adrian Sutil who joins the team from Sahara Force India.

The team also confirmed that Russian rookie Sergey Siroktin has been appointed to the position of the squad's test and reserve driver so we shall see him taking part in Free Practice One over the course of Grand Prix weekends in 2014.

With Sauber confirming their line-up for 2014, only two teams are left to confirm their driver pairing for 2014 with Marussia likely to field an unchanged line-up with Jules Bianchi already confirmed for next season. Max Chilton shoulf line-up alongside the Frenchman for his second full season in the sport.

Meanwhile Caterham, are likely to make a change to at least one of their seats with Heikki Kovalainen likely to return to the team.

The following is a list of confirmed seats for the 2014 F1 season:

Red Bull Racing - Sebastian Vettel - Daniel Ricciardo
Mercedes AMG F1 - Lewis Hamilton - Nico Rosberg
Ferrati - Fernando Alonso - Kimi Raikkonen
Lotus F1 Team - Romain Grosjean - Pastor Maldonado
McLaren Mercedes - Jenson Button - Kevin Magnussen
Sahara Force India - Nico Hulkenberg - Sergio Perez
Sauber F1 Team - Adrian Sutil - Esteban Gutierrez
Toro Rosso - Jean Eric Vergne - Daniil Kvyat
Williams F1 Team - Felipe Massa - Valtteri Bottas
Marussia F1 Team - Jules Bianchi - TBC
Caterham F1 Team - TBC - TBC

Friday, 20 December 2013

BBC announce they will show nine Grand Prix LIVE in 2014

The BBC confirmed this morning that they will show nine live races during the 2014 Formula One season. The Beeb share the UK's broadcasting of Formula One with British Sky Broadcasting. While sky will show all 19 races live and uninterrupted, the BBC will show a selection of races. The races that the BBC will show live are the following:

March 30 - Malaysia

May 11 - Spain

June 8 - Canada

July 6 - Britain

August 24 - Belgium

September 7 - Italy

October 5 - Japan

October 12 - Russia

November 23 - Abu Dhabi

It is extremely interesting that the BBC have the second race of the season in Malaysia at the end of March and then the next live race won't be until May which is a real shame and then at the end of the season we will have to wait over a month from October 12 - November 23 between the Russian and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The BBC will once again broadcast all the races live on their radio platform.

As part of the deal between the BBC and Sky they will once again share live coverage of the British Grand Prix in Silverstone. The BBC's 2013 F1 coverage generated an increase on the 2012 season with  27.8 million tuning in, an increase of 1.2 million.

Prototype tyre on Rosberg's car when he suffered blow out at 320KPH

Pirelli Motorsports have confirmed that the set of tyres that Nico Rosberg was running in the test yesterday when he suffered a blow out at 320KPH were a set of prototype tyres that had only ever been  tested in the company's laboratory.

Pirelli have confirmed that the tyre that was used yesterday will not be used again and have assured all the teams that the 2014 rubber will be completely safe.

Fortunately, Nico was uninjured in the accident but admitted afterwards that he was a little shaken.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Rosberg ends Pirelli test early due to tyre blow out at 320KPH

Mercedes AMG F1 driver Nico Rosberg was forced to end his Pirelli test early on Thursday after suffering a tyre blow out at 320 Kilometres per hour.

The German, who was taking part in Pirelli's 2014 development test suffered the failure as he went down the main straight at the Sakir circuit in Bahrain this morning. Due to the fact that the test was classed as a private test we did not hear anything about how the test had gone of the three days due to the fact that information gathered by the teams is deemed to be of a highly confidential nature.

It is not the first time in 2013 that Mercedes have suffered a catastrophic tyre failure as Lewis Hamilton was forced to retire from the British Grand Prix in Silverstone after a tyre blow out at high speed heading down the Hanger straight.

It is unclear what caused the tyre to fail but of course an investigation will be launched into exactly what happened.

Two new engineering appointments at Mercedes ahead of 2014

The Mercedes AMG F1 team announced this morning that they have signed two key personnel from champions Red Bull Racing.

Mark Ellis joins the Brackley squad as Performance Director, Giles Wood will join the team as Chief Engineer, both will join Brackley in June, when their current Red Bull contracts end. The appointments come as a major boost for Mercedes team as they are hoping to fight for both championships next season.

It is believed that Mercedes may have one of the strongest 1.6 litre V6 turbocharged engines for 2014 so they will certainly be a team to watch.

The announcement is the latest in a long line of new appoints up and down the Formula One pitlane. This started earlier this year when the Lotus F1 Team's Technical Director James Allison left the Enstone based squad and rejoined the Ferrari F1 team.

Ferrari also signed the Lotus F1 Team's Dirk De Beer who the the Head of Aerodynamics at Lotus. Lotus returned the favour from signing Ferrari's Head of Aerodynamics Nicholas Hennel. Red Bull Racing have also lost Peter Pedromou, who is a key member of their technical team. He will join McLaren in 2015 when the Woking based squad switch from Mercedes power to Honda.

Felipe Massa's former race engineer at Ferrari Rob Smedley has left the Italian team. Meanwhile at the Williams F1 Team they have also signed two key engineering figures. They signed Dave Wheater from the Lotus F1 Team as their new Head of Aerodynamic Performance they have also signed Shaun Whitehead from the Red Bull Racing team.

Earlier this year, Mercedes signed Paddy Lowe from McLaren and the Englishman will now take up a new role at the team as he jointly takes up the role of team principal with Mercedes Director of Motorsport Toto Wolff also taking up that position which was vacated by Ross Brawn, who has announced he is leaving Mercedes and will take a six month sabbatical before deciding what he will do next.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Alonso doesn't foresee any Red Bull style multi 21 issues with Kimi next season

Fernando Alonso has said that he does not foresee any team order issues like we saw at Red Bull Racing this season with the Malaysian GrandPrix multi 21 fiasco.

Alonso believes that provided the Italian team give both him and Kimi Raikkonen a competitive car next season then they will absolutely fine.

Next year is an important season for the Marnello based squad as they have not won the drivers championship since Kimi Raikkinenen won the title in 2007. It is going to be an extremely interesting season and I think we are going to see the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari doing very well as they major resources at their finger tips.

I believe however, that Formula One needs to really thin carefully about the direction that it is going in. This will be the second major regulation change since the 2009 season. I think that for a sport that is the pinnacle of motor racing it is not a good thing at all that the regulations are changed as in my opinion, this could end up alienating the sports loyal fan base.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Iceman heads to Marnello to meet his new engineer

Kimi Raikkonen was in Italy on Tuesday to visit Ferrari and catch up on the progress of next seasons Ferrari car.

Following Fernando Alonso's visit to the factory on Monday, Kimi met with members of the team including his new race engineer Antonio Spagnolo. It had been thought that Kimi's long term rnginrrt Mark Slade would join from from Lotus however, he will be stay at Enstone in 2014.

In his first season at Ferrari in 2007, Kimi won the championship and he will be hoping to repeat this next season. It is going to be extremely interesting to see how he gets on next season.

Raikkonen's old engineer Andrea Stella is now Fernando Alonso's race engineer. Kimi's arrival at the factory on Tuesday was his second visit to their HQ since he announced he would rejoin the Prancing Horse in September.

Since he returned to F1 in 2012, Kimi has won two races and secured multiple podiums. Ferrari endured a tough 2013 F1 campaign so the pressure will be on the team to give Kimi and Fernando a car that will be capable of winning races from the start of the season.

We don't have long to wait as the 2014 Formula One season gets underway in exactly three months from this Sunday.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Monaco Race Day Experience 2013

                                 (Ben Johnston 2013)

Formula One can be an extremely expensive sport to support If you want to attend a Grand Prix for example, depending on where the race there are a number of factors that need to be taken into account. Firstly you need to decide what race you want to go to. The next step is to decide the sort of ticket that you want either General Admission or do you go all out for a three day Grandstand ticket?

Once you have decided the race you want to go to and booked your ticket’s you then have to sort out accomadation and flight’s depending on the race you going to. In the end it can be extremely expensive.

What if there was another option where you could get behind the scene’s access to a Formula One team?

Well now you can, a number of team’s offer fan’s the the opportunity to experience a Grand Prix weekend from inside the walls of the factory the Lotus F1 Team offer a Race Day Experience as do the Williams Grand Prix team.

                                               (Ben Johnston 2013)

To go to one of the major Grand Prix like Silverstone for example, the cheapest Three Day Grandstand ticket will cost £225 and that is for the National Pit straight.

General Admission ticket’s for Silverstone cost £165 per person. For the Monaco Grand Prix the cheapest three day grandstand ticket costs £264.97. The ticket price’s exclude accomadation and flight’s.

The Lotus F1 Team run Three Race Day Experience’s the first one is the Monaco Grand Prix. The event with Lotus is held at their Enstone factory and costs £175 excluding VAT £210 all inclusive.

For that price you get:

A continental Breakfast upon arrival at the factory
A look at the Sunday papers.
A review of qualifying from the day before from an event MC
Glass of Champaign
A Q and A session with a member of the Lotus F1 Team at the circuit
Brunch- a go on the F1 Sim and tyre change challenge
Uninterrupted Live coverage of the race.
Debrief and Q and A with the Team MC, PRIZE giving and the chance to purchase some 2013 Lotus F1 Merchandise.

So when you weigh up the cost of going to a Grand Prix and what you get in term’s of access for your money it is extremely expensive. A Grand Prix weekend runs from Thursday to Sunday and on Thursday driver’s sign autograph’s and if you have a grand stand ticket you can gain acccess to the pit-lane but you are not guarnteed to meet the driver’s.

This year I am not attending a Grand Prix but instead I am attending the Lotus Monaco Race Day event. I am am flying with Ryanair and my flight’s were €38 return. I fly into Birmigham and then I am getting the train from Birmingham to Oxford and that single ticket costs me £12.50, I am then staying overnight in a Premier Inn which cost £70

So when you factor in those cost’s not including taxi fare it’s comes to roughly £312. This is a very reasonable price when you consider you get your food and drink including in the price.

At a Grand Prix, a burger could cost you £10 and if you add chips to that you could be looking at £15 - £18 in total for the two and then if you want a drink, a soft drink could potentially cost you £5 at least and then an alcoholic beverage will cost you more.

Looking at the price of hotel accomadation for a two night stay at the Ibis Lodge in Northamppton from 28th – 30th June (The Silverstone weekend) booking it now would cost £416.10, however booking for a Grand Prix would usually take place a year in advance if you are extremely organised.

Another thing that should be considered is the cost of official Frmula One merchandise. Team gear can be very expensive, particularly when bought at the circuit because although many team’s have their own stands in the Grand Prix village a lot of team gear is sold by merchnadise vendors and as a result it can be more expensive as they may take a commission.

That is why in my opinion, it is a better idea to purchase merchandise online as team’s have dedicated online store’s and it also means that you will be in a position to purchase the most up to date merchandise. In many case’s it is cheaper to purchase merchandise online.

I recently ordered 2013 F1 team gear online and including shipping it cost me €41.32.

In recent season’s Formula One has been accused of not being accesible to the fan’s however I would argue that with the like’s of Team Race Day’s it is a fantastic way for fan’s to get a behind scene’s look inside a team.

                                  (Ben Johnston 2013)