Category Archives: Podcast

Pastor Maldonado Lotus F1

F1Weekly podcast # 659



This is a double podcast covering the British and German Grand Prix including Motorsports Mondial and, we have Tech Talk with Tim.

Our bonus this week on the F1Weekly front page is an interview with Pastor Maldonado recently confirmed for 2015 with the Lotus F1 Team.

Are you looking forward to Budapest?

The Hungarian Grand Prix is one of the best of the season. We are very close to Budapest and I like the city very much. There is a big community of fans at the race weekend and the people are very friendly. On track, it can be very challenging. The weather is usually very hot there and it is very demanding from a physical point of view. It is one of the races that I enjoy best because of these demands and I really like the challenge that it presents.

What are your thoughts on the Hungaroring? 

It is a very demanding circuit for drivers as it is often very hot and there are limited overtaking opportunities. It has quite a slow speed layout, so we’ll be able to see how much improvement we’ve made on this type of configuration. Qualifying is so important at this track because of the small number of overtaking opportunities, but I’ve qualified well there in the past so hopefully I can deliver a strong performance that will give the team a boost as we head into the summer break. I have won there in other categories so the track has good memories for me. The fans create a great atmosphere and it’s always good to race at a track where there is a strong feeling like this.

The team recently confirmed you for 2015? 

I joined Lotus F1 Team on a multi-year deal, but there is always talk and gossip in Formula 1 about drivers and teams. We both know we haven’t had the first season either of us wanted in terms of results so this was a clear statement that we’re both committed to working together and getting results in the future. From my perspective, I’m fully behind Lotus F1 Team and I know we’ll achieve great things together.

How would you assess your German Grand Prix?

Though we didn’t score any points it was a good race as we had a reliable car and our lap times weren’t bad relative to our opposition. Qualifying was frustrating, as we didn’t get all we wanted out of the car so it’s always difficult when you start so far back on the grid. We had the suspension changes to get used to, so it was good to run the race distance and get a lot of data to help us for the next races. It was quite an eventful race; I’m happy that we made it to the end without any incidents to report.

What are your plans for the summer break?

Some time with my family of course! They are very important to me so that’s why I spend as much time as I can with them, even over Grands Prix weekends. I think the summer break is more important for the team and all the crew who do so many long hours over the course of the season. For me as a driver, I get pretty well looked after and I don’t have to work late nights on the car. There’s a lot of travel in the second half of the year so we all need to be refreshed and ready to go.

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Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Canadian Grand Prix - Race Day - Montreal, Canada

F1Weekly podcast # 658


Clark and Nasir are back this week with their take on the Austrian Grand Prix, we have another outstanding Motorsports Mondial which includes a goody bag of historical facts on the Austrian GP and we top all this off with an interview that took place in Jerez de la Frontera with SKY TV’s Ted Kravitz.

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Force India gives us their Silverstone race preview.
Driver’s View: Nico Hulkenberg
Nico Hulkenberg aims to extend his points run with another strong showing at Silverstone.
Nico, how would you sum up the race in Austria?
“We probably did not show our true potential. We were struggling with the car balance and I think that had an impact on the tyres. It’s still good to come away with points, but I think there is more to come when I get on top of the issues we had in Austria.”
Silverstone is the team’s home. How much do you enjoy this event?
“It’s definitely one of my favourite races. We had a full house at the last race in Austria and I expect the same at Silverstone. The fans are great and it’s a race with so much history. Because it’s the home of the team, I can spend a lot of time at the factory seeing the faces that I don’t get to see that often. There’s always a good feeling about the whole week.”
Tell us about the track and how you think you will fare on the harder tyre compounds?
“All of the drivers enjoy the quick parts of the lap and you have to be committed. When you hook up all the corners in one lap it’s a great feeling. It’s difficult to know how the harder compounds will impact us, but I hope I can continue my run of points.”
Driver’s View: Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez looks back on his strong performance in Austria and ahead to Silverstone.
 
Sergio, you had a superb drive to sixth in Austria. How would you sum it up?
“It was a very strong race for us and an important result. I think we had the pace to fight for a podium, but allowing for the circumstances I think we did a good job. Considering where we started, I think we took the maximum out of the race. The good start was especially important because I was running the first stint on the prime tyre. That set me up for a strong afternoon.”
You’ve starred in the last two races and raced up at the front – clearly the team’s approach is working well…
“The approach we take is to think about how we can be competitive over a 70 lap race. In the last few events I’ve done really well, apart from Monaco, where we didn’t have the opportunity. We’re getting there, but it’s just unfortunate that we’ve been unlucky. In Montreal, for example, we were close to winning the race. I’m sure we can get some good results in the second half of the season.”
What are your expectations for Silverstone?
“I think Silverstone will be a bit more of a challenge compared to the last few races, but I am sure we can still do a good job. It’s a track I enjoy and I usually go well there. We have been performing solidly on every track so far and I see no reason we can’t put in a similar performance this weekend. It’s also the team’s local race so this adds an extra motivation for us to do well.”

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Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Canadian Grand Prix - Race Day - Montreal, Canada

F1Weekly podcast # 657


Clark and Nasir share their excitement on the outcome of the Canadian Grand Prix. We have another great Motorsports Mondial and here is this weeks special bonus interview with Nico Hulkenberg.

Nico, your strong start of the season continued in Montreal…

Yes, we have shown once more to be both competitive and consistent, and to come away with ten points after a very busy race was really positive. I was on a different strategy from everyone else, which meant I was under pressure for most of the afternoon, but I think we were on the fastest strategy for us, even if the early safety car didn’t really help. But everything worked as planned and we came away with a very strong result.

You have scored in every race so far this year; do you see this trend continuing as we enter the summer season?

We are in a very good position to keep scoring points, but we will need to keep our guard up and keep working hard as we did from the start. There will be tracks where we will be stronger and where we can capitalise on the opportunities we have, and tracks that will be more of a challenge. I know what plans the team has for the rest of the season and I see no reason why we cannot keep battling at the level we are at now.

Austria is a completely new track for you, how do you expect to perform there?

Together with Russia, this race is one of the big question marks for everyone this year. The track has some long straights and a few slow corners that should suit us, and we can count on making the most of softer compounds as we did in Canada. When you go to a new track it’s even more important to maximise the practice sessions because there is so much more to learn. The lap is quite short so the gaps between the cars will be minimal and even small mistakes can make a big difference.

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Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Spanish Grand Prix - Qualifying Day - Barcelona, Spain

F1Weekly podcast # 656


Nasir and Clark have a fun discussion over the Grand Prix de Monaco, we have an outstanding Motorsports Mondial and of course 50 words from the F1W forum.

Here is an F1W bonus: Interview with Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg looks to extend his run of points finishes this weekend.
Nico, you’ve scored points in six out of six races in 2014. You must be pleased with that… 
It’s my best run of results in Formula One and I’m really enjoying the racing. I’ve said many times that consistency is our strength and we showed that again in Monaco with another fifth place. Monaco was not our strongest track, or our weakest track, but we still brought the car home for a great result.
What about those final laps in Monaco. How tough was it to hold on to fifth place?
It was such a hard race. There was pressure from behind and my tyres were gone. Just keeping the car out of the wall was difficult. So it was a big relief to keep Jenson behind. I was shouting over the radio when I crossed the finish line because it was such a satisfying result for everyone in the team.
Looking ahead to Montreal what are your expectations?
It’s difficult to say how we will perform in Montreal. In theory it should be one of the better tracks for us, but things change from race to race. It’s good that we have the soft and supersoft tyres again because I think the softer tyres are more suited to our car. As an overall event the Canadian Grand Prix is one of my favourites because of the buzz around the city and the unusual track. To get a quick lap you need good top speed, a car that can attack the curbs and you also have to be brave enough to get close to the walls.

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Pastor Maldonado Barca 2014

F1Weekly podcast # 655


Clark and Nasir go over the results of the Spanish Grand Prix, we have another outstanding Motorsports Mondial and…Here is an interview with Pastor Maldonado and his Monaco Grand Prix preview.

After setting the pace at the Barcelona post-race test, Pastor Maldonado is primed for the Monaco Grand Prix…

Was the Barcelona test as good as it looked?

Pastor Maldonado: Yes. I would say it was our first ‘normal’ test without any problems and we were able to complete our entire schedule. It was really important and a very positive test because we learnt so much more about the car. Everything is getting better and better in my opinion. Of course I’m happy with the result as well.

Can you feel the progress when you are driving the car?

The car has made a big step forward from where we were. The focus of the test was to continue to develop settings and try new ideas. It was a busy programme to be honest, but hopefully the rest of the season will be much better for us. We got a lot of data which our engineers took back to the factory to analyse in detail.

What’s the significance of such a positive test for the team?

I think it’s a great boost for everyone at Enstone and of course as a driver it gives me more confidence in the car so I can aim to achieve better results. If you think about where we were and where we are now it is an incredible step forward – particularly when the other teams are moving forward with their development too. It’s a true testament to the team’s capabilities and I hope we can start to get the results on track that we so deserve.

Looking ahead to Monaco, what makes it so special for you?

First of all it’s such an historic Grand Prix and an iconic race for Formula 1. I really love it. I’ve been very quick in the past and I think it is one of the most special weekends of the year. The atmosphere is unique. The track is really challenging and changes a lot over the sessions, which you need to anticipate. It’s difficult to be quick close to the walls and overall it’s a very tough race, demanding in terms of concentration and stressful physically and mentally. The only negative thing is that it is quite difficult to overtake, but it is not impossible.

What are your favourite parts of the circuit?

I really like the Casino and Swimming Pool sections. Every corner in Monaco has its own challenge, and own individual approach needed – that is probably the beauty of the circuit there. It’s where I live now so I might be biased, but it’s a very special place.

What are your early memories of Monaco?

Monaco was always my favourite track when I was watching Formula 1 on TV as a kid. Then the first time I went to a Grand Prix was also Monaco, in 2003, which was my first year in Formula Renault. Juan Pablo Montoya won and it was amazing to see how close they were to the wall and how quick the cars were, because they had V10 engines then. Another good Monaco memory for me is winning in GP2 in 2007 and 2009.

How difficult do you think it will be to drive the new F1 cars at Monaco, with all the new switches and settings?

We will be very busy in the cockpit with all the switches and changes to be made. We’re also going to face a big challenge as the tyres are harder than those we’ve used in Monaco in the past. In Barcelona we ran with the super-soft and were able to finish the lap without causing problems for the tyres, which was not the case in the past. So that’ll be a big question mark. For sure Mercedes is the strongest team at the moment but we are focused and pushing hard to catch them.

There has been a lot of talk about changes to improve Formula One, what would you like to see?

It’s difficult because ultimately the rules are the same for everyone. But I would like the performance of the cars to be closer. That is the main thing. Whatever the cars, whatever the teams, we need better competition. That’s certainly what we’re pushing for as a team; to be closer to the front.

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Ayrton Senna was a three-time Formula One champion and considered by many the greatest ever driver Photo: PA

F1Weekly podcast # 654


Clark and Nasir go over the Chinese Grand Prix we have a packed Motorsports Mondial with a bonus Motorsports Mantra! and…Tech Talk with Tim.

Obituary: Ayrton Senna

Ayrton Senna da Silva (Ayrton Senna), racing driver: born Sao Paulo, Brazil 21 March 1960; World Formula One Champion 1988, 1990, 1991; married (marriage dissolved); died Imola, Italy 1 May 1994.

WHEN Jim Clark died after crashing at Hockenheim, in Germany, in 1968 his passing stunned the motor racing world. Chris Amon, one of the few men with the talent to challenge the brilliant Scot, summarised every other driver’s feelings when he said: ‘We were all left feeling totally exposed, vulnerable. We all felt, ‘If it can happen to Jimmy, what chance have we got?’ ‘

On a weekend when motorsport plunged back to the nightmares of the Sixties, Ayrton Senna’s death after crashing during the San Marino Grand Prix yesterday has had precisely the same effect.

Though he had been beaten in the first two races of 1994 by the German prodigy Michael Schumacher, Senna was the yardstick not only by which all other racers were judged, but by which they judged themselves. To the real stars, matching or even beating Senna was the highest possible triumph. An endorsement of one’s own greatness. Few could ever achieve that, let alone aspire to it. To lesser lights, finishing second to him was as good as a victory.

Born of wealthy parents in Sao Paulo in 1960, Ayrton Senna da Silva began racing karts when he was four, with the encouragement of his father, Milton. His phenomenal progress through the motorsport ranks marked him clearly for greatness; a world championship was inevitable.

When he arrived in Britain in 1981 he raced with Denis Rushen, a colourful owner of a Formula Ford team. ‘He was so quiet,’ Rushen recalled, ‘that he was always the guy you found standing shyly in the kitchen at parties.’ He remained thus for many years, although it was only a short time before his English improved to the point where he could no longer be duped into greeting fresh acquaintances with earthy Anglo-Saxon.

Senna brought an extraordinary level of commitment to his motor racing, to such an extent that clashes with fellow rivals and the media were inevitable. He had a towering self-belief that sometimes bordered on zealotry. The first manifestation of that belief came at the small Cadwell Park track, in Lincolnshire, in 1983. Senna had won nine consecutive Formula Three races, but crashed heavily in practice for this 10th round. But even when his car was out of control, he kept his foot hard on the power. He would never surrender anything without a fight. He won the championship that year and sprang into Formula One with the Toleman team for 1984. He scored his first world championship point in only his second grand prix, when, despite heat exhaustion, he came home sixth in South Africa.

Later that year came the first signs of the other side of his nature, when he left the team in acrimonious circumstances to join Lotus. Once the news of Senna’s impending defection had been revealed, Alex Hawkridge, the manager of Toleman, suspended him from the Italian Grand Prix before the end of their relationship. Senna was stunned. ‘I did it,’ Hawkridge revealed, ‘because it was important to teach him that for every negative action you perform in life there is a penalty.’ It was a lesson that Senna never forgot, even if he never came to approve of any sanction against himself.

With Lotus he won his first grand prix, in Portugal in 1985, but by 1987 he had lost patience as he covetously eyed Alain Prost’s situation at McLaren. Their partnership at McLaren in 1988 made all other sporting feuds look tame, but by the end of that season the first world championship had been delivered, in true Senna style. He stalled his car at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, before storming home to win on a track rendered greasy by rain. On the way he beat Prost soundly.

Earlier that year he had demonstrated the dark side of his character by deliberately swerving at Prost as they raced wheel to wheel down the long straight at the Estoril track in Portugal. Time and again Senna’s blend of impetuosity and self- righteousness led him into trouble. He railed against exclusion from victory in the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix after a collision with Prost, accusing the sport’s governing body of cheating him out of a second title. He was forced to make an apology of sorts before he was granted a licence for the following year. By then Prost had left for Ferrari, and the two fought for the championship again at Suzuka. There, in a move that prompted some to question what his sheer competitive intensity and his feeling of being wronged could push him to, Senna drove into the back of Prost’s Ferrari when the Frenchman beat him to the first corner. With both retiring on the spot, Senna clinched his second championship at Prost’s expense.

Two weeks later, when I showed him a series of photographs of the incident, and asked him why he had apparently driven Prost off the road, Senna refused to accept the damning evidence in front of us, denying the physical positions of the cars, despite what the photographer had recorded. A year later, in an extraordinary outburst following victory in the Japanese Grand Prix which had clinched his third world championship, he finally admitted that he had deliberately driven Prost off the track, that it would be tit-for-tat for what he had seen as Prost’s role in his downfall in 1989.

Without question Ayrton Senna was an extraordinary individual. Over the years his relationships were often like a roller-coaster, but to his friends he was intensely loyal. In 1983, when he was racing in Formula Three, he struck me as a lonely man who felt that the British press preferred his rival Martin Brundle. And to an extent he remained a vulnerable character despite his overt aggression on the track and the occasionally disdainful manner that his successes had developed. Much of it seemed like a protective wall, and there was another Ayrton Senna deep within.

This was an altogether kinder man, the sort who would give up his seat to usher an old lady down the stairs while once waiting for an appointment with Professor Sid Watkins, of the London Hospital, the regular chief medical officer at grands prix, and the man who yesterday administered to him at the Tamburello corner which claimed his life. In his homeland he was lionised, and he made significant charitable donations which he never remotely attempted to publicise. He loved children, too. ‘They are the honest ones,’ he once said.

If he didn’t like you, you knew it; in 1986 he was at war with the British press after preventing Derek Warwick from joining him at Lotus. Over the years that animosity mellowed, but often the feeling he nurtured that his trust had been betrayed caused flare-ups. He was roundly condemned last year for striking his rival Eddie Irvine – again, almost inevitably, at Suzuka – and the cold war began again.

But, whatever some of his failings may have been, Senna was a man with whom you always knew where you stood, and though his tactics on the track were frequently and deliberately intimidatory, he was without question one of the greatest racing drivers the world has ever known. To see Senna on a quick lap was to be awed by majesty.

On Friday afternoon he took pole position for the race in which he died, the 65th time he had been fastest in practice for a grand prix. With a commanding success in his last race for the McLaren team in 1993 he had taken his total of grand prix victories to 41, second only to that of his arch-rival Prost.

When he finally joined the Williams team for 1994, he spoke of the need for a fresh challenge, and he was determined to redress the points imbalance between himself and Schumacher that had made this season so exciting after the first two races. His outstanding ability to relate to his engineers precisely what his machinery was doing at any given point on a circuit, on any given lap, had passed into grand prix legend, and already last weekend it was clear that Williams had made significant progress in developing its car.

To all who witnessed him at work it seemed that Ayrton Senna’s artistry and air of invincibility would always protect him no matter what befell him. In a weekend when motorsport was thrown into despair, it lost one of the greatest kings it will ever know. To many, especially those with whom he worked, he will always be the greatest.

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