Tag Archives: success

Pit Stop – Testing is close – By Lewis Brearley

It is now just one week until Formula One testing gets underway at Jerez and the hype is beginning to build.

Despite the confidence of the Lotus team that they wouldn’t be the only ones to miss the first test, they remain the only team to have announced that they won’t be there.

The effect this will have on Lotus’s preparations for the new season is as yet unknown and probably won’t be until the Australian grand prix on 16 March, but with the huge implications of the complex new regulations added to the negative stories around the finances of the team, it is generally expected to be a significant setback.

Yet, as the team and their fans will argue, setbacks during pre-season testing can be overcome. Lotus themselves lost two days of running last season when they found their new chassis was cracked and McLaren are infamous for their tendency to have poor starts to the season and often manage to overcome their problems by the time the season gets going.

Another big unknown is the driver situation at Caterham, who haven’t yet announced their partnering. Rumours gathered pace this week that one will be Kamui Kobayashi, the popular and exciting talent who has been out of the sport for a year.

When taken amid the current furore over the prevalence of pay drivers, if Caterham does decide to sign Kobayashi, it will be a real positive for the sport and certainly should give Paul di Resta confidence that it is possible to return to Formula One after being dropped.

His team mate is likely to be the young Marcus Ericsson, who has shown inconsistent flashes of speed in four seasons in GP2. He was often seen around the Caterham garage last season which backs up the rumours that he will be driving for them next year.

Regardless of who gets signed, the fact that Caterham haven’t yet announced their drivers raises eyebrows. With the competition to get seats being so high, perhaps they are just using the luxury of holding all the cards, and using all the time to make sure they get the best deal they possibly can.

Interesting things are also happening at McLaren. While they may have their driver line up of Jenson Button and the promising Kevin Magnussen sealed, they executive structure is set for a re shuffle.

Ron Dennis wrested back the controls of the team from his former trusted protégé, Martin Whitmarsh after becoming increasingly disillusioned with the team’s recent lack of success.

In his statement Dennis said to prepare for “changes to be made” and with Honda teaming up with McLaren next year, former Honda team principal and recently retired Ross Brawn is a possible new team principal.

McLaren really need a strong year, and next week at Jerez, Button will find out whether he has the car to be able to bid for his second world championship.

The teams are now almost ready but as of now it’s all unknowns.

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Manchester United Revolution to Continue

The Manchester United ‘Glory Years’ look set to continue even after the departure of legend Sir Alex Ferguson as new manager David Moyes instilled Ryan Giggs and potentially Phil Neville into his backroom staff today.

The pair are products of the highly successful ‘Fergie Fledglings’ who won all in the game including a superb treble in 1999 and will provide additional knowledge into an already superb camp.

The former Everton manager, Moyes, has a hard task to follow  as he looks to win his first major titles in the game, but this latest announcement is a sign of the continuity that is lacking at so many major clubs.

A recent stat in the paper showed that with the exception of Arsene Wenger, Alan Pardew is the longest serving manager in the Premiership with just over two years at the helm of Newcastle United, who have themselves caused some controversy in recent weeks.

Many clubs have managers who have had just over a year at the sides, with Chelsea and Manchester City both with managers who have had less than a month. You could arguably say though that with Jose Mourinho experience of everything will still mean Chelsea must be taken seriously.

Moyes of course is new but was a great leader at Everton during his ten year reign and will bring added impetus to an already star quality assembled side, who could well dominate the English game for a few years yet.

With Ferguson in the senior ambassadorial role at the club too, he will still have a watching pair of eyes, even though it is expected that Moyes will have free reign and Ferguson will be used sparingly by the former Preston North End manager.

With the club preparing for a pre-season tour in this month and the kick off for the new year fast approaching, Moyes is already putting his marker down but in that ‘United’ way.

For all those who believed it would mark the end of an era, watch this space because they will, as always, take some beating.

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Pit Stop – Racers Want To Race – By Lewis Brearley

How you reacted to the late-race radio exchange between Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes engineer is a clear indicator of what you want and love about Formula One racing.

When Lewis’s engineer, responding to the looming threat of a rapidly closing Fernando Alonso, radioed with the rather oblique: “Your rear traction metrics are under 2000,” Lewis replied simply: “just let me drive man.”

The get-out-there-and-drive-the-wheels-off attitude doesn’t tend to compliment the technical, cerebral very well. Indeed, this was the issue at the very core of the Senna versus Prost battle years ago and we all know how destructive that became.

Yet in modern Formula One the most obvious example of this culture clash is with Lewis Hamilton, who puts Senna as his hero. The engineer simply meant that there was plenty of life left in his driver’s tyres and was giving him a coded message to push to fend off Alonso. Was there really such a need to make such a command so complex?

In a sport so technical, where tenths of a second can separate glorious victory from despairing loss, any advantage and even ways of working are jealously guarded.

While a huge frustration to the Hamilton-ites, it surely makes sound sense for the more technical minded fans. Why spend millions on aerodynamic parts, engine software developments and brake cooling devices to blow it with a rash communication?

The thing which makes F1 so different and special among sports is the fact that it can be enjoyed in such disparate ways, and every fan across the spectrum can love it just as much.

After all, whether you were shouting in unison with Lewis and his plea to just “get on with the driving”, or instead you were in harmony with his engineer in thinking that there was nothing more vital to the race than Lewis’s rear tyre degradation matrix, your love of Formula One isn’t any less.

However, someone who just may be falling out of love with F1 is Jenson Button. Just as it looked that his team was finding its way out of the mire it found itself in at the start of 2013, his torrid season reached a new nadir. For the first time since the dark days of 2009 the team finished with both its cars outside the points.

This was supposed to be Button’s year in which he finally had a big team to lead, to mould around himself and to challenge for a second championship.

But with the winding down of the Mercedes technical partnership next year and the loss of the technical director Paddy Lowe, there doesn’t seem to be any light visible at the end of the tunnel yet.

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