Category Archives: Interviews

F1Weekly podcast # 801

CLARK AND NASIR MEET UP AT LAGUNA SECA TO DISCUSS OLD TIMES, CELEBRATE 50 YEARS OF IMSA AND TO SPEAK WITH TWO TIME FORMULA 1 WORLD CHAMPION MIKA HÄKKINEN!

MIKA HÄKKINEN

  • BORN 28 SEPTEMBER, 1968
  • GRANDS PRIX 165
  • WINS 20
  • McLAREN CAREER SPAN 1993 – 2001

If Ayrton Senna forged a close bond with McLaren, then Mika Häkkinen was not far off. He earned his stripes as a committed but quite mild-mannered protégé, managed and tutored to the edge of the F1 stage by his astute and intelligent manager Keke Rosberg. Having cut his F1 teeth with the struggling Lotus team in 1991 and ’92, he then took a strategic step backwards by signing a test and development contract with McLaren, reasoning that he would be better served by taking this route rather that continuing to race an uncompetitive car.

Mika joined McLaren against the backdrop of the unspoken possibility that he might gain
promotion to the race team earlier than he might otherwise have expected in the event of the team parting ways with Michael Andretti, who struggled to replicate his Indycar form. For 1994 Häkkinen assumed the McLaren team leadership, but the Peugeot V10 engines did not deliver the reliability or power that was expected.

Mika Häkkinen, left, chats with David Hobbs at the 2018 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. (photo: T.M. Hill)

So it was not until 1995 that Mika found himself starting out on the road to stardom as McLaren began the partnership with Mercedes-Benz which would eventually carry Mika to F1 World Championship titles in 1998 and ’99. He would also survive a serious accident practising for the 1995 Australian GP at Adelaide, his life being saved by the dramatic intervention of a doctor who administered an emergency tracheotomy at the trackside.

Ron Dennis and his wife Lisa sat for several days at Häkkinen’s bedside, only returning to England when they were satisfied that he was out of danger. It said much for the affection and high regard Mika was held in that the team’s workforce was shocked when Häkkinen decided to retire from F1 at the end of 2001.  They would miss his humanity and commonsense, both outside the car and in. More than anything, he was one of the most respected members of the McLaren family

Play Podcast: 08-25-19f1weekly801.mp3

F1Weekly podcast # 800

CLARK AND NASIR CELEBRATE NUMBER 800 THIS WEEK, IF YOU HAD ASKED ME IN 2005 HOW LONG ARE WE INTENDING ON DOING THIS PROGRAM I WOULD HAVE SAID A COUPLE OF MONTHS OR UNTIL FERNANDO RETIRES FROM F1! AND NOW WE GO ON…

HISTORY RETURNS TO LONG BEACH!

Long Beach, CA — Next April 18-19, Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach fans will get a double dose of nostalgia when the Historic Formula Atlantic Challenge, featuring open-wheel race cars from the 1970s and 1980s, lights up the track for a doubleheader weekend.

The twin 20-minute races will run Saturday, April 18 along with the IMSA WeatherTech Championship race and Sunday, April 19 — the same day as the NTT IndyCar Series race — with practice and qualifying on Friday.

The Formula Atlantic series ran at Long Beach from 1978-82 and 1989-2008 as one of the premier “feeder” series to top-level open-wheel racing. Drivers including Bobby Rahal, Michael Andretti, Willy T. Ribbs, Danny Sullivan, Al Unser Jr., Jimmy Vasser and Jacques Villeneuve all raced at Long Beach as they worked their way up through the FA ranks. Two former Formula Atlantic drivers, Keke Rosberg and Villeneuve, became Formula One World Champions, while 1979 Long Beach Grand Prix winner Gilles Villeneuve was also a Formula Atlantic graduate. Several other Atlantic drivers were Indy Car champions over the years. The Rosberg, Villeneuve and Rahal cars — along with many others — are expected to be in the race field at Long Beach.

The historic 2020 event at Long Beach will be sanctioned by the Historic Motor Sports Association (HMSA).

Play Podcast: 08-13-19f1weekly800.mp3

F1Weekly podcast # 742

CLARK AND NASIR REALIZE KUBICA HAS NO CHANCE AND SUGGEST LOT’S OF RUSSIAN RUBLES ARE ON THE WAY TO THE WILLIAMS F1 TEAM! F1W IS PREPARING FOR THE DAYTONA 24 HOURS WHICH COULD BE AN INTERVIEW BONANZA!! AND THIS WEEKS INTERVIEW IS WITH CHARLES LECLERC FROM LAS VEGAS 2012 NOW 2018 F1 DRIVER FOR SAUBER.

Charles Leclerc (born 16 October 1997) is a Monégasque racing driver and a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy. He won the GP3 Series championship in 2016 and the FIA Formula 2 Championship in 2017.He will drive for Sauber in the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Leclerc was a childhood friend of Jules Bianchi and began karting at the track managed by Bianchi’s father in Brignoles. Like Bianchi, Leclerc joined the ARM management company headed by Nicolas Todt.

Leclerc has two brothers, Lorenzo and Arthur. His father, Hervé, also raced cars, driving in Formula 3 in the 1980s and 1990s, and was well respected in karting. He died, aged 54, in 2017

In 2012, at the wheel of an ART GP Kart, Charles won the WSK title, as well as finishing runner-up in the European and World championships.

In 2013, Charles was again runner-up in the European series and finished second in the Under 18 category with the Fortec Motorsport team, with whom he was also second in the 2014 ALPS Championship.

He was best rookie on his Formula 3 debut in 2015, racing with Van Amersfoot Racing, finishing fourth in the championship. In 2016, he joins the Ferrari Driver Academy, as well as racing in GP3 for ART Grand Prix, with another role as development driver for Scuderia Ferrari. He won the Formula 2 Championship in 2017.

He will drive for Sauber in the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship.

[audio:http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/mp3.f1weekly.com/podcasts/12-13-17f1weekly742.mp3]

F1Weekly podcast # 740

CLARK AND NASIR SAY GOODBYE TO FELIPE MASSA AND THE 2017 FORMULA 1 SEASON THE HOST SENDS NASIR TO NEW YORK TO GET ANOTHER CLASSIC INTERVIEW THIS TIME WITH FORMER LOTUS FORMULA 1 TEAM MEMBER KENNY SZYMANSKI!
Kenny Szymanski. Living the dream from Milwaukee to Grand Prix.

We are very excited to present a conversation with Kenny Szymanski. He caught the racing bug as a young boy from the 1960 Indy 500.

A trip to the 1973 United States Grand Prix at the Glen, and the International aroma of Formula 1 motor racing fueled his passion to be among the “In crowd.”

And there he was in 1978 at Team Lotus; checking the tire pressure under the watchful eyes of Mario Andretti….

Hope you enjoy his experiences as much as I did.

Thank you Kenny. Thank you F1W familia.

Nasir

P.S. He is now also an aficionado of banana lassi!

 

[audio:http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/mp3.f1weekly.com/podcasts/11-13-17f1weekly740.mp3]

DAKAR 2015

Team Peugeot-Total shift into race mode

The new year is off to a flying start with the engineered acoustics of the PEUGEOT 2008 DKR ready to echo through South America. A successful shakedown exercise was completed following transportation of the cars to Argentina and all pre-race technical scrutineering checks have been passed. Now Team Peugeot-Total sit on the start-line of the 2015 Dakar Rally ready to race the 9,000km of perilous terrain that comprises the world’s toughest rally.

After months of hard work including December’s rigorous testing in Morocco the three race cars were placed on a boat and shipped to Argentina. As the team were reunited with the vehicles in Buenos Aires the tireless efforts recommenced as they set about configuring the cars into race mode.

The objective of the latest test was to finalise the settings on the cars belonging to Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret, Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz and Cyril Despres/Gilles Picard ahead of the first special stage of the Dakar on Sunday, January 4.

As an early introduction to the unpredictable nature of this two-week rally the team’s initial plans for a final test were hampered by torrential rainfall in the Argentinian capital. The original site for the shakedown had been an offroad track 30km outside Buenos Aires, but when the team arrived to find the location flooded an alternative was quickly sourced.

“This has been the first time at the Dakar that I have done a shakedown on tarmac, but that was the only option we had because of recent rainfall,” admitted former champion Carlos Sainz. “We were able to come up with a solution that allowed us to test the car and I’m happy that everything was working fine.”

Stéphane Peterhansel has successfully risen to the occasion to win the Dakar 11 times and he once again demonstrated coolness under pressure to put his car through its paces before passing it over to the race authorities for pre-race scrutineering checks. “We have such great team dedicated to looking after our race car,” said Stéphane. “And it’s awesome to see the excitement everyone is feeling for this new challenge.”

 The enthusiasm of car race newcomer Cyril Despres has been infectious since the team’s arrival in South America as he continues he take onboard advice about getting the maximum out of his machine. “The next time I will be in the car will be in Buenos Aires for the podium presentation,” said Cyril. “And then we race the first special stage.

Team principal Bruno Famin was encouraged to see his entire crew of drivers, co-drivers, mechanics and engineers step up to the challenge and complete all assignments scheduled for the days before the first stage. “That’s it, here we are. The entire team has made huge efforts in these last weeks to be ready for this day. I’m proud of what the team has accomplished till now,” said Bruno. “We now face the first stage. And we will consider the others stage after stage.”

With all three PEUGEOT 2008 DKRs tuned up to race the first special stage between Buenos Aires and Villa Carlos Paz on Sunday the team’s preparations are complete.

Formula 1

LOTUS F1 DRIVERS BELGIAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

Romain Grosjean looks forward to the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix

Did you have ‘des bonnes vacances’?

Yes, very nice. I spent time with my wife and baby son (Sacha), who celebrated his first birthday just after the Hungarian Grand Prix. We had a great time with our families and holidayed. It is nice to switch off even just for a short time. I come back to the paddock refreshed and with energy restored for the next phase of the season.

What is your mind-set as we go into the second part of the season?

Despite the difficulties so far, I feel positive for the rest of the season to come. We have seen that there have been many issues since the start of the year and even before, but as with everything in life you have to look forward and this is exactly what I am doing. This is now my third full season in F1 and although the disappointments always hurt, I am also mature enough to know that when things get tough you are able to learn more and to try and work toward being successful again. I really hope we can do that together as a team for the remainder of the year. That is the aim.

Spa is a great place to start afresh for the second part of the 2014 season isn’t it?

Yes it is. Spa as we all know is one of the best tracks we go to, if not the best of them all. As a driver it is like a dream circuit with elevation change, quick corners, medium speed technical corners and some good straights for overtaking. It’s a circuit with a soul. I always enjoy racing here, as do most of the drivers. What I find memorable about Spa is not only the track but also the beautiful surroundings in the Ardennes forest. From the cockpit you get a very real sense of being at a living, breathing track at Spa and the fans are really close to the action. You can almost smell the frites!

There is no hiding from the fact 2014 has been tough so far. Going forward what can be achieved in the remaining races?

Well, at the end of the day, all we as drivers can do is to do our best every time we get in the car. It has been a very hard year so far but you have to keep looking ahead and hoping that all of the bad luck, issues and tough times get paid back through our determination to make things better. Ever since I have been at Enstone I have seen this determination to succeed and it will help us. When you match these qualities to the skill of the technical team then we should get some rewards in the remaining races. We need to build some momentum and I will be going all out to make sure we get more points and exploit the best of the E22 for the rest of the season.

Is the target to add more points at Spa?

As always, yes. Since Monaco we have had a succession of really hard races where for many reasons we have not been in the position to claim any points. For Spa I am hoping that there will be some improvements so we can show the potential which has been seen on a few occasions, like at Barcelona. We have to reverse the problems that have held us back and I believe that if we get that then we can post more points on the board.

Pastor Maldonado

RACE DRIVER #13

Pastor Maldonado looks forward to the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix

What have you been doing in the summer break?

Relaxing as much as possible by spending time with my family and friends. The F1 season is intense with travelling, and time seems to go so fast. It is a much needed break but at the same time my brain is always thinking about the team and the car, so part of me is always focusing on the second half of the season, starting at Spa.

It is important to have this break and to refresh ourselves as a team. I think that being away from the track for a short time is healthy and actually helps get some perspective of where we are and hope things can improve for us going forwards.

Is there a sense of re-focusing now on a strong end to 2014 after a tough first half?

Yes there is. It has been a very hard season and one in which there have been lots of issues. But now that is behind us and we have to believe that we can get some points on the board and complete the season strongly. That way it will give some good momentum to start afresh in 2015 with a whole new exciting package.

What are you targeting now for the rest of the season?

It would be difficult to give a clear aim other than improvement and fighting for points every race. We have seen flashes of big promise from the E22. If everything is running right and the team continues to push then we can get more points for sure. As a team we will stay together with a clear mission to achieve the maximum. That way we will come back stronger and become a force in 2015. But first we are hungrier than ever to get back in to the mix for points again in 2014.

Spa is a legendary place. What makes it so special for you the driver?

Where do you start with Spa? It is an amazing circuit and for sure one of the best on the planet. The sensations a driver experiences at corners like Eau Rouge/Raidillion, Pouhon and Blanchimont are not like you feel anywhere else in the world. It is unique in every way and to think you are competing on parts of the track that were used back in the first Grand Prix season in 1950 makes it very special indeed.

What are your favourite memories of Spa?

Spa is the type of track where you get great memories whenever or whatever you are racing. But of course the ones that really stick in the memory are the victories and I am lucky that I have won here a few times.

I first raced at Spa in 2004 in Formula Renault. In 2006 I won in World Series by Renault at Spa, taking pole, fastest lap and the victory. Then in 2008 I won in the GP2 Series for the first time. Then I took another win in my championship year in 2010 which was a sweet moment. In Formula 1 I qualified sixth in 2012. So all in all I have great memories of the track and feel that I have a special relationship with it going back many years.

With a vast variety of corners at Spa how do you think the E22 will perform there. 

We hope it’s good there. If we can have a clean weekend technically, without any power unit or other issues, then we will be in a good position to challenge for points. Spa always throws up some variables with the weather being the obvious one. It would be nice to be higher up than the last few races. If we can achieve this and we have a good package then I believe we can come away with something very positive from Belgium.