Category Archives: Podcast

F1Weekly podcast # 803

CLARK AND NASIR ARE IN CELEBRATION MODE AFTER THIS FANTASTIC VICTORY BY CHARLES LECLERC FOR FERRARI AT MONZA AND THE CONVERSATION TURNS TO THE FUTURE OF VETTEL…

Charles Leclerc was rapid from the off at Monza but Sebastian Vettel was a genuine threat to his hopes of taking pole position. The pair were supposed to swap running orders in Q3 to give each other the benefit of the tow.

Did Leclerc do the dirty on his team mate by dithering on the out-lap? The fact Vettel passed him at the start of the lap makes it hard to come down on either side.
In the race Leclerc demonstrated true grit, withstanding a sustained attack from Lewis Hamilton with moves which were firm and right to the limit of what was acceptable.

Vettel had the car and the potential to win at Monza. It wasn’t entirely his fault that he ended up boxed in to fourth on the grid. But he was fully to blame both for spinning out of that position, thanks to yet another unforced error, and the horror show moment when he pulled onto the racing line in front of oncoming traffic. In light of events at Spa, a 10-second stop-and-ho penalty for that was too lenient.

Play Podcast: 09-11-19f1weekly803.mp3

F1Weekly podcast # 802

CLARK AND NASIR SEND THEIR CONDOLENCES TO THE HUBERT FAMILY AND THE ENTIRE MOTORSPORTS COMMUNITY

The death of fun-loving but fiercely professional 22-year-old Renault protege Anthoine Hubert at Spa has robbed the world of a very special person and racing driver, whose career had only just turned around
The last year and a half was a whirlwind for Anthoine Hubert, and he was finally starting to force people take him seriously as a future Formula 1 driver before his death at Spa this weekend.

“That’s one hell of a talent lost,” one person close to the fallen driver said in the wake of the tragedy. But he was so much more than just “talent”.

Always greeting you with a “hey mate” in the paddock, 22-year-old Hubert was a social butterfly. A smile always partnered his black-rimmed glasses and he was forever making jokes in the paddock. Even if he was too busy to stop and chat, he made sure to acknowledge you – on Saturday he roared past on his bicycle but still stuck out an arm for a high-five.

Speaking of bicycles, they were the theme of the last conversation I had with him. As well as keeping sharp with karting in the summer break, he’d also just been on a training camp with Renault where he’d done 438 miles of riding in six days. I’d replied that that’s why I like journalism, so I can eat a lot and sit behind my computer screen. He quipped he didn’t blame me and asked if he could do it too.

Just after the tragic announcement of Hubert’s passing, Roberto Firmino lashed home a third goal for Liverpool Football Club and the irony of the timing was not lost of me. Anthoine would have been the first person in the paddock I would have headed to, to point out my team was fantastic and unbeaten this year. Since Liverpool had beaten Lyon in a pre-season game – Lyon being the place of Hubert’s birth on September 22 1996 – football had been a light-hearted needling point between us.

Despite Hubert’s easy-going and fun nature shining through in the paddock, when the helmet was pulled over his head, a dictaphone shoved under his nose or a meeting called with his engineer, the smile disappeared and an insightful and serious driver greeted you with a steely and fierce look in his eyes. No one could ever deny his determination.

Hubert was introduced to motorsport from a young age as his father, Francois, was a clubman rally driver in France with – admittedly – limited success. But Anthoine was hooked and the almost mandatory FIA-level karting followed.

He was a champion his first year in a racing car as he roared to success in French Formula 4 in 2013. He beat future ADAC GT and Spa 24 Hours winner Jules Gounon on the way to the title, with eventual SMP World Endurance Championship LMP1 driver Matevos Isaakyan also in the field.

Two years in Formula Renault Eurocup followed, 2015 proving to be a race-winning campaign as Hubert took fifth in the championship, and then ’16 was a disappointing season in European Formula 3 with Van Amersfoort. He was eighth in the standings, but well beaten by teammate Callum Ilott.

In 2017 he made the jump to GP3 with ART Grand Prix but brought up the rear of the team’s pack behind George Russell, Jack Aitken and Nirei Fukuzumi as they swept the top four in the standings with only Hubert failing to win a race.

There was a theme developing at that point. When you look up to the end of 2017 on Hubert’s CV, it looks very average after F4 even though he at least won races in every category he contested. He’s a driver who always struggled for budget – properly struggled, but he never used it as a sob story – and that had inevitably affected his career.

It wasn’t until 2018 that he really turned his career around and began to show people what he was truly capable of.

Coming into that season, still at ART but now alongside Ilott, established GP3/F3 race-winner Jake Hughes and the well-funded Nikita Mazepin, Hubert was something of an outsider for the title.

He only won two races in 2018, but so many elements of that season added up to prove how Hubert had made a massive leap forward. The days when anyone could suggest any hint of mediocrity were put behind him on his way to his first major success.

Two victories mated to nine other podiums pushed him across the line in 2018 for the biggest achievement of his career as he followed the likes of Russell, Charles Leclerc, Esteban Ocon and Valtteri Bottas to become a GP3 champion. He would be the last one ever, as the series was merged into FIA Formula 3 for 2019.

Hubert’s Renault Formula 1 affiliation had begun from the 2018 GP3 season-opener at Barcelona. The idea was that if he won the title then Renault would consider making him a full-time member of its junior programme and help him grease the cogs to get a move into Formula 2 rolling.

That meant the opposite outcome was also possible. He knew at the start of 2018 that if he failed to win the title, he could be destined for GTs or another sideways step that would signal the end of the F1 dream.

But Hubert’s biggest asset was his ability to digest and adapt to data, married to working well with his engineers.

He found another level with the class act that is ART in 2018, taking an early series lead that persuaded the legendary team to throw its weight behind him. The pressure must have been intense, but in the paddock it never showed as he was always free for a chat, interview or intense football-related banter.

The amount he had grown during last year was proven when he entered F2 with the Arden team for this season. It had been second to last in the 2018 teams’ standings and he had his expectations well under control heading into the year. The squad also had a number of new key personnel to integrate after a tie-up with the HWA juggernaut, which has helped with engineering advice this year.

Play Podcast: 09-05-19f1weekly802.mp3

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 # 799

NASIR IS LOVING HIS HUNGARIAN GOULASH AND THE HOST SIMPLY HAPPY ANOTHER F1 RACE WAS ON THE EXCITING SIDE OF LIFE. WE HAVE A REPORT FROM F1W FAMILY MEMBER LOUIS JANSEN AND A GREAT GOODY BAG.

MORE WORDS FROM Mr. VETTEL…

“We leave Hungary and for a few weeks we can console ourselves with the fact that we made it to the podium in a race in which we knew we were going to struggle.
Today, we simply could not match the pace of our rivals. In terms of strategy, the idea was to come up with something different to try and do better than fourth. I managed to extend the first stint to 39 laps and that allowed me to fit Softs and have a stronger pace than Charles in the closing stages.
Now we can recharge our batteries and prepare to battle once more in Spa and Monza, tracks where we ought to be more competitive. We know there is still some performance to come from the SF90 and we have to work on that, but I am convinced that there is a margin to get better results.”

Play Podcast: 08-06-19f1weekly799.mp3

F1Weekly podcast # 798

THE GERMAN GRAND PRIX HAS BROUGHT NEW HOPE TO THE HOST AND NASIR THINKS THIS MAY HAVE BEEN THE BEST F1 RACE IN DECADES! LET’S HEAR FROM MR. VETTEL…

“That was quite a race. I enjoyed it even though it was a tricky race, something of a lottery. It was a very long one and I don’t even remember all of it. It was very tough at times, especially on the intermediates in the slippery conditions.

Vettel eliminated in Q1 without setting a time thanks to a problem with the airflow to his turbo.

I made up a lot of ground immediately after the start and in the first couple of laps, even though it was difficult to see. After that, it was quite hard to get into a rhythm as I did not feel so comfortable on the intermediates and their degradation was quite high. It was hard to tell if the lack of grip was because of the track being greasy or because the tyres were going off.

To be honest in these kind of races you can’t count on anything until the last couple of laps. I think I was about P8 when the last safety car came out. There are so many decisions to make, but overall we stayed on track and in the race. In mixed conditions when it was starting to dry on the slicks I felt comfortable and that’s when we made up the most ground.”

Play Podcast: 07-29-19f1weekly798.mp3