Goodwood 2014

Me and my dad have been watching F1 for about as long as I can remember. We've been to Goodwood's Festival of Speed event a couple of times before, and it's a great chance to get right up to the cars. It's pretty damn rare these days in F1.

So anyway, we had a look around the paddock, watched some of the runs up the hill and got up to see the rally stage at the top. Here's some of the pictures:

Bikes panorama

McLaren panorama

Some pretty neat panoramas created by Google+'s auto-awesome feature. (As much as you can hate on it, this stuff is pretty cool).

Pedro de la Rosa in the 2011 Ferrari

Oliver Turvey in the 2011 McLaren

2011 Mercedes

Totally got lucky with the timing here. The cars were just pulling back into the paddock after their timed run (much easier to take pictures...) and we were just in the right place at the right time.

2014 Williams in the paddock - pole sitter in Austria

Damon Hill's championship winning 1996 Williams

2011 Ferrari

Vettel's 2014 Red Bull

Renault's cars for testing the new 2014 engine specs

Michael Schumacher's championship winning 1994 Benetton

Jackie Steward's 1970 Tyrrell-Cosworth

Some of the cars in the paddock. To be honest, it was a bit of a shame that there wasn't too many 2014 cars. They can't be run due to the new testing regs but I hoped they might show them off. Would been interesting to see/hear them in person.

The classic cars are always nice to see, but the Schumacher collection of 1992-1994 cars was a nice tribute. (Hoping for a speedy recovery, Michael :) )

Suburu Imprezza (I'm not so up on my rally I'm afraid)

You can get really close to the rally, almost to the point of being dangerous - in most places there's only a wire and wood fence separating you from the cars... I'm not really up on rally, as I am with F1, but it's impressive to see the speed carried through the forest. Unfortunately it's a bit dark under the trees and all of my pictures were a bust. I did, however, get to see Sebastian Loeb really going for it in his new Citroen.

Jackie Stewart driving his classic Merc Silver Arrow

Finally, here's Jackie Stewart in his - I'm assuming it's his judging from the Stewart tartan on the seat - classic Mercedes heading back down the hill.

All in all, it was a pretty fun day out, despite the ridiculous sunburnt face I'm now sporting.

Five things you can do to support the British Grand Prix | Brits on Pole

Re-blogged from the Brits on Pole blog, with thanks to @f1fanatic_co_uk

With the news that Donington Park's bid to stage the 2010 British Grand Prix has finally hit the rocks, and that Bernie Ecclestone doesn't care if we get a race or not, we wouldn't blame you for feeling frustrated, angry and frankly apathetic.

But this might be exactly the time when fans can bring a bit of pressure to bear and increase the chances of the race taking place.

We've put together a list of actions that you can take to show your support of the British Grand Prix in ways that might just make a difference. And they shouldn't take you more than 15 minutes, and we guarantee you'll feel much more positive once you've had your say. Leave a comment if you want, saying what you've done.

Social networking – and beyond

Nowadays, whenever anyone gets hot under the collar the first thing they reach for is Twitter, Facebook, a button for their blog or some similar social networking idea.

Now, we're certainly not knocking the idea of adopting a Twibbon or friending a FaceBook page - and please forward the link to this page as widely as you can - but we also advise caution when it comes to relying on these methods.

We need to take a leaf out of the book of seasoned campaigners who are finding that, while mass online campaigns can help to express the public mood, they can just as easily be ignored by decision-makers. They don't take much effort, but they don't usually get many results either.

Over to you

The people who do this regularly have learned that social networking needs to be combined with good old-fashioned lobbying and "pavement politics". We need to send an extremely carefully-targeted message to those people who can actually influence events.

We've chosen five methods of attempting this. Please consider which are most appropriate for you and take action. We need to make a noise and we hope we've done our bit with these suggestions - now it's over to you to yell and stamp your feet a bit.

Five things you can do that might just make a difference

Demonstrate to Bernie that this race can still be successful

We know there's absolutely zero point trying to get our views heard by Formula One Management. But there might be some mileage in demonstrating that the event can be profitable, even though three months' worth of ticket-selling time has already been wasted. If you're on tenterhooks waiting for tickets to become available, and aiming to be at the front of the queue to buy yours, turn your anticipation into something concrete with this Pledgebank pledge. We're aiming get people who are planning or hoping to attend the race to show their support for it in a tangible way, so please consider signing up. This is purely a symbolic gesture - no-one will come round your house and demand to see your ticket - but it could add up to a powerful show of support.

Let Silverstone know that you want to buy a ticket

Whether you preferred Donington, Silverstone or even an outside bet like Brands Hatch, it really is time to accept that it's probably the old Northamptonshire airfield or bust, at least for 2010. Now, we respect the circuit's need to come to an arrangement with Formula One management that is in its long-term commercial interest. And we know that a lot of ticket-selling time has been lost. But equally, we think it's worth proving the strength of demand for this event. So, if you want to buy a ticket, make that clear. Let Silverstone know that you'd like to attend the race here. Ask them to inform you immediately if tickets go on sale.

Lobby the Formula One Teams' Association

One of the few organisations in F1 that has shown any awareness that fans even have views - although if we are honest it has tended to be because those views accorded with its needs at the time. Even so, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said recently: "A lot of changes that have occurred in Formula One over recent years haven’t really taken into account the wishes of fans and we haven't brought those into the thought process. And hopefully in future we will see much more of that." So we suggest letting FOTA know that you want the British Grand Prix to stay on the calendar. Find their contact details here.

Lobby your favourite team

Following on from FOTA, it is worth noting that the date of the Monaco Grand Prix has just been moved by a week - because that's what the teams needed to happen. Help convince them to bring that power to bear on our behalf. You can find contact details for all the British-based teams here and many, such as Brawn GP, Red Bull and McLaren, also maintain a presence on Twitter, Facebook or other social media sites. Let them know that their fans want to see them race in Britain next July, and ask them to help make sure the event happens.

Contact your MP

It's part of your MP's job to represent your views to ministers. And they do take a great deal of notice of "background noise" - what issues are currently of concern to their constituents. So we suggest using this website to let your MP know that the future of the British Grand Prix is important to you and to ask that he or she makes sure sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe is aware of that fact too. Keep it brief and polite. You might want to mention the importance of motorsport jobs to the British economy, the fact that the race is one of the country's great sporting events, the development of important safety and eco-friendly technologies such as enhanced brake efficiency, run-flat tyres and KERS, or its potential to promote tourism and regional growth. Read this excellent post by Duncan "Doctor Vee" Stephen for more ideas on presenting F1's achievements positively to sceptics. Don't fall prey to cynicism, this is undoubtedly worth doing - but we'll say again, keep it brief and polite.

Tell your friends! Please pass the link to this page on to as many people as you can. Here's a custom shortlink: http://bit.ly/8tuzJ

(via britsonpole.com)

A response to Dom Joly: F1 is not dull!

On Monday Dom Joly posted this blog in which he essentially says that F1 is dull. I like Dom Joly a lot - I follow him on Twitter and read his blog/column. Most of the time he's excellent, entertaining and enthusiastic. But this column is totally wrong - F1 is not dull, and this sentiment has been repeated so many times that I'm sick to death of it. In fact it's so drilled into people that many say it without properly watching a whole race! Its simply lazy and boring journalism, seemingly thought up because there's nothing else entertaining to write about.

F1 is a sport loved by millions, who obviously don't think its boring. In fact F1 is the most watched annual sporting competition in the world, and especially in Britain (7 out of the 10 teams that compete in F1 are British or have the majority of their car built in Britain).

To me, the whole attraction of Formula One disappeared years ago and it has simply become a multimillion engineering competition. I'd be much happier if they all had to use the same car and it was just a battle between the drivers, not the mechanics.

OK so Dom has a fair point here - the mechanics do have too much of a emphasis in F1 - as seen this season, by changing up the rules we've gone from amazing championship last year to a pretty boring one this year. BUT crucially this is down to the FIA changing rules all the damn time. If we'd kept last year's rules (anyone remember Hamilton taking the championship on the last corner, of the last lap, of the last race!) then we'd have another amazing season.

I'm surprised that more drivers haven't just thought about turning the whole affair into a different scenario. Renault should now hire Jason Statham and Vin Diesel as their new drivers and the Formula One engineers could turn their undoubted technical abilities to weaponry. I know that I wouldn't be alone in enjoying "Total Formula One". We could have oil slicks, front-mounted guns, smokescreens... I'm getting excited just thinking about it.

I know why don't we liven up Tennis by replacing the balls with time-bombs or something - that'd be cool, seeing all the guts of Federer flying everywhere. Or football - I always liked the Budweiser adverts:

So, you see, saying F1 is boring is simply lazy and boring journalism, that's been repeated a million times before. Slagging off someone else's favourite sport is pure snobbery, like slagging off someone's favourite colour. You can do better Dom!

Will Ferrari and Renault pull out of F1?

This week Ferrari and Renault threatened to pull out of F1 if the FIA went ahead with their proposed budget cap - see here and here. The budget cap, according to Ferrari, will create a two-tier system in F1. Teams that adopt the budget cap will have greater freedoms in car design, while teams that choose to spend more will have more restrictions.

The point is none of the teams will pull out and the FIA will not get a £40m budget cap, because of the totally stupid system of politics that operates in F1. Max Mosley and the FIA don't really want a £40m budget (at least not straight away), however the teams in F1 will not agree on anything unless the rule change is very radical. This leads to frankly ridiculous suggestions from which the teams can then negotiate down (and it also explains why F1 rule changes are so regularly in the news).

The teams (the FOTA) meanwhile see their participation in the sport as their only bargaining chip, and as so threaten to pull out if the rules aren't changed. However they never will, especially Ferrari. Many people have been asking whether F1 can survive without Ferrari, but real question is whether Ferrari can survive without F1. They are the only car manufacturer that can properly exploit a championship win - as they produce fast cars winning the championship is a real PR boost (Renault however do not produce fast cars and are more likely to pull out).

Basically both the FIA and the FOTA do not mean what they say, this however is not how the media see it. They take both of them at face value, meaning that the public often think that F1 is constantly bickering. I just wish that F1 would realise this and bicker about the rules behind closed doors (like every other sport).

F1 and the media

A couple of weeks ago the new F1 season started. And the controversy also started. Lewis Hamilton lied to the stewards over whether he had Jarno Trulli past while under safety car conditions. From the on boardfootage and radio transmissions it is pretty clear that Hamilton slowedto let Trulli past, despite saying that he had slowed to look at something on his wheel (full story here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7985669.stm)

Themedia's response to Hamilton/McLaren's actions has been tiresomely predictable, condemning F1 as a dirty sport. Yes Hamilton lied, yes Shumacher and Ferrari have cheated in the past, but a few incidents in the past 10 years or so is nothing compared with the cheating in football. Footballers dive, deliberately foul and harass referees inevery single game and the media pretty much accepts it as normal. Why?! Why does the media discriminate against F1? And while I realise that football is trying to clean up its act after a bit of media whinging the cheating still continues. This compared to extremely rare incidents in F1.

F1, by and large, is not a dirty sport and the teams do not try to cheat at every opportunity despite what the media reports. The teams that do cheat are punished much more harshly than football teams every are (£50 million ring any bells?). F1 is a complicated sport and personally I think that is why F1 is so badly treated by the media - it cannot be summed up in a handy soundbite. Hopefully this latest controversy will soon blow over (to be replaced by the diffuser row, sigh) and we'll have a decent championship.

(first proper post, not too much of a rant I hope)