F1Weekly podcast # 698


McNish began his career in karting like fellow Dumfries and Galloway driver David Coulthard. McNish credited the start given to both of them and Dario Franchitti as being largely down to David Leslie senior and junior.

McNish and Coulthard both were recognised with a McLaren/Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year award having moved up to car racing. In 1988 he won the Formula Vauxhall Lotus championship and in 1989 finished runner up to David Brabham in a close fought British Formula 3 Championship. During the late 1980s McNish shared a house with team mate Mika Häkkinen.

Tipped as a future Formula One driver, he tested with both McLaren and Benetton, whilst also competing in F3000, then the recognised second tier of European motorsport, in 1990–1992. Whilst racing his first season in F3000, McNish suffered a crash at a race in Donington Park where a bystander was fatally injured. He went on to finish fourth overall in the championship that season. Concentrating on Formula One opportunities meant he appeared in F3000 only once during 1994, at Pau.

When a Formula One drive failed to materialise, he returned to F3000 in 1995 with Paul Stewart Racing (run by the son of Sir Jackie Stewart who went on to formStewart Grand Prix). While he was arguably the fastest driver of the year, a series of mishaps saw him well beaten by Super Nova drivers Vincenzo Sospiri andRicardo Rosset in the title race. McNish’s career appeared to stall in early 1996 after a deal to race in Formula Nippon fell through and Mark Blundell was preferred for a drive with the PacWest CART team. He also tested for Benetton during the year




  • Lando Norris recipient of award following his British FIA F4 title winning campaign
  • Trophy commissioned by Ford Motor Company to acknowledge human endeavour in the field of motorsports
12 February, 2016 – 2015 Ford MSA Formula Champion Lando Norris was the proud recipient of the inaugural Henry Ford Trophy at the BRSCC Awards last Saturday. It capped off a phenomenal year for the driver, who claimed five poles and eight race victories on his way to an emphatic title in his Ford EcoBoost powered single seater.

Norris operated at an incredibly high level throughout the 2015 season, using the Ford MSA Formula Championship to achieve his goals and become champion. Using the F4 concept exactly as the FIA designed, the young kart champion and now FIA F4 British Champion looks destined to climb to the top of the FIA pyramid.

The Henry Ford Trophy has been commissioned by Ford Motor Company to acknowledge human endeavour in the field of motorsports.

Awarded annually this trophy recognises the person that Ford believes has shown extraordinary endeavour throughout the year.

Said Ford Europe Racing Director Gerard Quinn who presented the award: “Henry Ford founded his company on the back of his racing exploits and we are proud that his legacy means that Ford can maintain its enablement of grass roots entry level motorsports.

“The recipient of the trophy in its inaugural year is a young man who epitomises the famous quote that Henry himself said in 1923 and which is inscribed on the trophy: ‘If people really set their minds on anything it is impossible to prevent them getting what they want.’”

A thrilled Lando commented: “I would like to say a big thank you to everyone that’s supported me this season. It’s been a great year. It’s been a very exciting year.

“Coming away with the championship and now the Henry Ford Trophy is quite an honour. To be the first of what will be a great collection of drivers to have their name upon the trophy means so much to me.”



KIERN JEWISS HAS STAMPED HIS MARK ON THE EUROPEAN KARTING CIRCUIT by winning the prestigious WSK Champions Cup race in Adria (Italy). 

The first race on the European calendar did not start smoothly for the 13 year old driver. He struggled for pace in testing and qualifying and was in doubt as to how this weekend would pan out.

Qualifying a lowly 40th out of 67 gave the youngster a lot of work to do to achieve the top step by the end of the weekend. Throughout the heats Kiern was the only driver to consistently make up 8 places every race.

A mistake in heat 2 left the driver with a broken front bumper; under new FIA ruling this meant he was awarded with a 10 second penalty dropping him back down the grid. Kiern’s pure desire to win didn’t let it stop him, he worked hard with the team to improve himself and as a result his pace began to match that of the leaders.

Starting P13 on the soaking wet Adria circuit left the young driver with a big task to fulfill. Carving his way through the field up to 8th in the first lap he became caught up in a 4-kart battle allowing the leaders to break away. Once Kiern passed the battling group he set about chasing the front pack down but with only a few laps left, the best could achieve was a 5th place finish.

For the main final this left a determined Kiern on row 5 starting P10, again giving himself some work to do. From the start he moved swiftly in to P7.

Once the youngster got into his rhythm, the Maidstone based racer began to pick the front runners off one by one, and quickly found himself in P2 chasing the leader.

Kiern made his move on the lead driver in his signature style, on the last lap with 3 corners to go, leaving the second place driver having no chance of making an attack.

The young superstar commented after the race – “I didn’t expect this at all coming into today. When I qualified 40th I wondered how I was going to find the pace. But I have to say the team did a great job. They worked with me all week and we finally did it, so a huge thanks to them.  Coming away with a win in my debut OKJ race is a fantastic feeling. But there is always room for improvement, so we must now work harder, again, as a team and see how the next round at Lanato goes”

Kieren Clark (MB Partners) added – “This just shows what Kiern is about. He might have been having a tough time at the beginning of the weekend but you can guarantee he will work as hard as possible to get to the front. His focus and determination is what sets him apart from the rest.

Kiern’s next race with the Ricciardo team will be at the Winter Cup, Lanato (Italy) 20th-21st February.



Three cars have been entered by the Abu Dhabi Total WRT at Rally Sweden (11-14 February). Following their impressive performance in Monte-Carlo, Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle will be joined in Scandinavia by Khalid Al-Qassimi/Chris Patterson and Craig Breen/Scott Martin. Each crew will have to negotiate different challenges at one of the most demanding, atypical events of the season.

The only full winter rally on the calendar, Rally Sweden is always eagerly awaited by fans of the WRC. The World Rally Cars are able to drift around the corners of the icy roads at speeds in excess of 160kph thanks to the grip afforded by the Michelin studded tyres. The crews and photographers love it here, as do the many spectators who brave the cold conditions to get a glimpse of their heroes on the stages. In Scandinavia, rallying is part and parcel of the local culture!

As the weather has been fairly mild for the last few weeks, conditions for the 2016 event look set to be very difficult. Even if temperatures drop dramatically and there is heavy snowfall, the snow banks lining the stages will in all likelihood remain too soft and the slightest error will almost certainly mean the crews having to dig themselves out of the snow.

Already in the limelight at the Rallye Monte-Carlo, the Abu Dhabi Total WRT will take another step forward this weekend in entering three cars at this round. On his sixth appearance in Sweden, Khalid Al-Qassimi will be the team’s most experienced driver. Winner of the prestigious Colin’s Crest trophy in 2008 – which rewards the longest jump on the Vargåsen stage, in memory of the late Colin McRae – the Abu Dhabi driver enjoys this event despite the fact it could not be any further removed from the deserts of the Middle East!

Having only competed in Sweden twice before, in 2014 (10th) and 2015 (7th), Kris Meeke is something of a novice here! Last year, the Northern Irishman produced a very strong performance since he was on course for a podium finish until he ran wide and got stuck in one of the famous snow banks on Finnskogen. This third appearance will therefore be devoted to gaining as much experience as possible for the future.

After appearing in Monte-Carlo for recce and to get used to the team’s way of working, Craig Breen will be contesting his first rally with the Abu Dhabi Total WRT. The Irishman is a big fan of the Swedish stages and knows that he has a golden opportunity to showcase his skills at the top level. Earlier in his career, Craig secured two category podium-finishes in Super 2000 cars (2011 and 2012). Two years ago, he scored points on his first competitive outing in a World Rally Car, as he finished ninth.

In line with the programme defined at the start of the season, the Abu Dhabi Total WRT crews will each have one day of pre-event testing, organised this weekend in the Hagfors region.




Renault Sport Racing will continue Renault’s rich heritage of developing young driver talent with the formation of the Renault Sport Academy, which is tasked with finding future Renault Sport champions.
The Renault Sport Academy will utilise Renault Sport Racing’s various platforms and global motorsport structures in its quest to nurture new talent, involving the local Renault markets in seeking new drivers from their regions.
Four drivers are announced at the Academy’s foundation; reigning Formula Renault 3.5 series champion Oliver Rowland and from the ranks of the 2015 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula Renault 2.0 Alps winner Jack Aitken, Formula Renault 2.0 NEC winner Louis Delétraz and second-placed Kevin Joerg.
The drivers will be supported by Renault Sport Racing in their 2016 racing campaigns with Rowland contesting GP2, Delétraz racing in the newly named Formula V8 3.5 Series and Aitken and Joerg racing in GP3. Each driver will have tailored targets to meet for their motorsport progression.
The Renault Sport Academy is designed to nurture a driver within the Renault Sport Racing environment. An immersion programme in Paris will educate the Academy members in Renault Sport Racing’s core values and heritage. A thorough fitness schedule will include evaluations at Renault Sport Formula One Team’s base at Enstone throughout the year in addition to pre-season and mid-season fitness camps. There will also be an internship at Enstone to understand how the Renault Sport Formula One Team operates. The programme will be managed operationally by Mia Sharizman Ismail who has extensive motorsport experience including Formula 1, GP2, GP3 and numerous other categories.
Renault has an impressive record of finding the F1 stars of the future, with the likes of Robert Kubica, Lucas di Grassi, Pastor Maldonado, Heikki Kovalainen, Jérôme d’Ambrosio and Romain Grosjean being nurtured through previous Renault driver development programmes.

Frederic Vasseur, Racing Director, Renault Sport Racing

The Renault Sport Academy underlines the commitment of Renault Sport Racing to nurture young talent to develop the Formula 1 stars of the future. The motivation is not just altruistic; we want these drivers to become future Formula One World Champions and we are putting every tool at their disposal to achieve this aim.

Guillaume Boisseau, Brands Director, Groupe Renault

Renault has a terrific heritage in motorsport and this is something we are committed to continuing in the future. The Renault Sport Academy enables us to not only develop new talent but also ally this to the actual involvement of our local markets by making the process directly relevant in each country where Renault Sport is present and also giving us a larger catchment area to identify the drivers who will fly our flag at the highest echelons of motorsport in the future.



– Under sunny Florida skies, 54 cars fittingly started the 54th edition of the Rolex 24 At Daytona® at 14.40 EST on Saturday 30 January. As the race began the teams and drivers set out to go the furthest in 24 gruelling hours. The iconic Rolex 24 At Daytona® is regarded by many as the toughest endurance race and is now referred to as ‘The Rolex’. This weekend’s race marked the 24th anniversary of Rolex’s Title Sponsorship, making a win even more poignant for those competing. After an action-packed race it was Rolex 24 At Daytona® newcomer, Pipo Derani, in the Extreme Speed Motorsports Honda HPD Ligier JS P2 that took the chequered flag, as well as motor sport’s most sought after award: an engraved Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona watch, revered for its legendary status, reliability and performance.

Like any great endurance race, the 2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona® wasn’t without drama. There were 21 cautions, 11 of those before the 10-hour mark, but these only added to the excitement of the race, inaugurating the redeveloped Daytona International Speedway and beginning the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship. With a high percentage of each lap spent at full throttle, the 3.56-mile circuit takes it toll on both the drivers and cars, demanding a unique combination of skill and concentration, as well as reliability and performance – the ultimate test of man and machine. This test proved too much for some, with only 43 of the 54 race starters making it to the finish line. The winning team, Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM), completed 736 laps of the circuit and the fastest lap, 1:39.192, was posted by Brazilian Pipo Derani from ESM, who set the fastest time at Roar before the 24 earlier this month.

The Saturday afternoon racing provided fans, both in the Grandstand and infield, with action early on. With just over 20 hours to go, the #0 Panoz DeltaWing Racing car, in the eye-catching United States of America livery, sustained serious damage when its driver Andy Meyrick drove into a stationary Prototype Challenge car at Turn 1, spelling an early and disappointing retirement for the team after an impressive start. The long-awaited Ford GT race cars, preparing to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year, both encountered transmission problems during the early stages of the race, but eventually finished in 7th (#66) and 9th (#67) positions in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class. At the six-hour mark it was Michael Shank Racing, with Oswaldo Negri Jr at the wheel, who led the 2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona®, but shortly after midnight, a blown engine forced another retirement from the front. That led to a tussle for the lead between the Daytona Prototypes, including the #5 Corvette DP of Action Express Racing; Scott Pruett doing his usual exemplary job and simultaneously chasing down a record-breaking sixth win here at Daytona, a record that would prove elusive this time around.