All Posts, Sports

England’s World Cup – Flop or Bad Luck?

 

rooney2-reuters_2942839bEngland’s World Cup hopes are in dismay after loosing their first two matches in the World Cup group stages. However, is this a cause for concern? Should the FA take action against Roy Hodgson? You would be stupid to criticise England already because there is a huge positive to the new England side.

The attacking perspective of England is a lot more positive with the new youth players who aren’t afraid to “give & go” and play without fear. The team now has more depth with teams like Southampton and Everton pushing forward with new work ethics, and hopefully Tottenham will grow by the next international tournament. The only negative I can see for England’s future is the loss of Gerrard, a deadball specialist, which I haven’t seen any new youth players have that ability.

Let’s review England’s current performance at the World Cup. As I said, it’s been positive, but unfortunately I think that England are currently not picking the starting fairly, I would of liked to have seen Rickie Lambert and Adam Llana given a starting chance over Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney against Uruguay. I also think that Glen Johnson should have never been on the plane despite setting up Wayne Rooney’s goal, he never seems to be able to play at his true maximum ability throughout whole match, it tends to come in patches. There are better right backs to select for the squad for England. Defensively overall we where amateur anyway, excluding Leighton Baines, Luke Shaw and Gary Cahill at the World Cup, the current defenders aren’t good enough to deal with such an occasion. That’s a problem with most of the English defenders throughout the premier league anyway, there isn’t enough playing at a top level. The midfield was ok, although we lacked a certain “vamoose” and took way to long sitting on the ball before passing it, or taking two or three extra passes to switch the play to other side of the field rather than doing it in one sweeping pass, why would you play Gerrard and not do that?

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All Posts, Gaming

F1 2014 Wishlist

Now I really enjoyed writing my Fifa 15 wishlist, so I feel like doing one for another game that I enjoy, Formula 1. The is a review on my blog for this game which can be found by clicking here. They might sound similar but I want to try and separate from how I felt about the last game, which could be improved (No offence Codemasters!), to what I’d really like to see. Other than obviously seeing a more consistent AI, handling improvements and other physic details, there some things that I think can make F1 really cool.

More DLC’s!

I like how game is laid out, there is no “throw your money at us” attitude like you get with a lot of sport games, but I’m going to contradict myself here by saying that the first thing on my wishlist is, more DLC’s please! Although this maybe hard to maintain I would love to be able to drive more cars from different generations, and I’m not talking about 70’s or the 80’s, more the modern era, like Lewis Hamilton’s 2008 McLaren and Jenson Button’s 2009 Brawn. These are certainly cars that are of the age group that are purchasing the game that have never been on any console and PC game yet. I’m personally not interested in driving to many old school classics with Codemasters handling system that doesn’t suit them, but I would like to see more classic tracks though.

Replay Mode!

Replay mode needs improving, I would like to see real life camera spots added to the game first of all, which I will explain later why despite the fact it would be cool. The ability to save your replays, simple thing to add, and it’s another thing I will explain later.  A photo mode on there would be super awesome, to catch your favourite moments wheel to wheel with racing legends and friends. Be able to switch between switching from driver to driver in replay mode, can you see where I am heading with this? So basically, all this would add up to be able to make replay highlights like you see on TV. I’d like to see some HUD’s changes too, I generally don’t like the HUD you have plus I want to see some official Formula 1 HUD’s too, from different generations. It adds a touch of personalisation.

Custom Helmets, Sponsors & Unique Celebrations

I’m still waiting for this feature, I’m sure if Codemasters could allow you to make custom team liveries and sponsors for cars in Grid, then it should be easy for helmets. I am aware there could be a conflict with having your own sponsors, but surely you should be able to have relevant sponsorships dependant on which team you’re driving for. Vettel has is classic finger celebration, so why can’t you have your own little thing going on when you cross the line in victory? I like to mention that Codemasters added a little detail to their game where your driver signals when he his hit by another car.

Career Mode & Cinematics

Why can’t we choose our own engineer yet!? I don’t want baldy Bob anymore! I want Brian Blessed as my race engineer cheering me on, well…not literally. Secondly, add some cinematic please Codemasters. Podium celebrations, rolling through the grid and eyeing up your rival in his sunglasses. Just a few things like that to enhance the feeling that it’s your career mode and that it is your working your way to the championship. Oh and another thought, I want to see my team sticking out over the edge of the pit wall when I achieve a good result.

Testing needs adjusting too, I generally can’t not be arsed to do the Young Driver’s test all the time, there are some of us who have been playing racing games long enough not have to be told how to turn left and right. So there needs to be an option for those to skip it! Pre-season and mid-season testing is another thing on my wishlist. Optional of course, but this could coincide with being a reserve driver for a team and proving yourself worthy of having a race seat. As I said, this should all be optional if you don’t want to have such a lengthy and simulating career.

Leave your ideas below in the comments and make sure you follow me on social media pages please!

 

All Posts, Gaming

Fifa 15 Wishlist

So the 2013/2014 Footballing season as come to an end, and that means for some of us, we’re already looking forward to getting our hands onto the next Fifa game. So what’s on your wish list for the next game? For me I do enjoy Ultimate Team, but I find it has a money drain, and I would like to focus more on the offline game aspect.

Online

On Ultimate Team, I would like to see a few changes made to the player search function, one in which will be clearly on a lot of other players wish list too. I would love to be able to search by a players inform card type, rather than spending ages flicking through standard player cards. Something that Nepenthez mentioned on his Fifa 15 wish list too, but he also suggested customizable badges and kits etc for Ultimate Team to, now this is something I wouldn’t agree with, but I would still like to see that function in the game for offline and Pro Clubs mode, which I will explain in more detail later. I find packs annoying on Ultimate Team because I have the worst luck, but what makes it worse is when you finally get an in form player, is has no value at all! Although I have no suggestions, I personally believe that there is an area that EA can work on, so you can at least get your moneys worth out of your packs. In Pro Clubs, there is one feature which I can’t believe that hasn’t been added yet to the game, and that is the ability to be able to re-join a game after disconnecting. I was playing a game of Pro Clubs not to long ago, and friend mentioned how are you not able to re-join after disconnecting, and it occurred to me that in almost every game you can join in mid session.

Manager Mode

There are a couple of things that I find as little niggles in manger mode, first of all it’s the ageing of players, experience means nothing according to Fifa and classy players lose their qualities way to easily. A second thing is seeing your squad progress in skills, whilst players can improve with good form, when you earn promotion or you’re youth players are playing well their overall does not improve. So if I was implementing a new feature, it would be that each player in your team will earn an extra boost to their overall, especially your key players and top scorers. This would add an extra feature to being a higher team and bringing in talent from lower squads, we could see more players rise through the ranks like Rickie Lambert. My third issue is the other form of growth outside of the team, now in the old Fifa’s you used to be able to sign sponsorships, upgrade your stadium and increase your staff, but that is all gone now and it’s certainly something that needs to come back. On a side note I’ve noticed that you can’t purchase more than 3 or 4 upgrades for certain features like, scouting talent, international management and so on, what is the point of having limits? This is offline mode, it doesn’t affect anyone else other than enhancing your own experience. Another little detail that would make a big difference is to be able to turn off international management for a bit if you’re concentrating on your team, it’s kind of distracting to have your e-mails popping up all the time when you’re focusing on the next game. I’d like to have a few additional features added to the squads, so you can rotate your squad easily to either rotate it or to have your cup team out etc. There should also be a reserves and youth squad side. Your youth players simply don’t have enough time or opportunities to grow especially considering the loan system doesn’t work at all on manager mode. Oh! The last feature is the invincibility feature, sounds stupid I know, but think about it. You’re managing your favourite team and you want to make them become champions of the world, so why spoil it?

The Scrambler Effect

Another thing that sounds stupid, but something I want you to give a little more thought too. I find that a lot of players are a little docile and tend to look at the ball a lot whilst waiting to make a decision. In real life you’ll see real players scrambling for the ball, diving in to throw in their feet at the back post, or trying to beat 5 other players to poke it into the back of the net.

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Monaco GP Review: Senna Tarnished Sportsmanship?

So the Monaco Grand Prix has just gone by in a flash, had it has left some moments that we will remember for the rest of the season, we could even remember it in years to come. For me though; Formula 1 has shown to the public how it has been effected poorly by the modern mentality of drivers and the sport.

damon_hill_with_graham_hill_and_friends__1961__by_f1_history-d5dshafF1 competition and rivalry will always be there in any sport from, rugby to basketball, however Formula 1 drivers seem to be unable to show any compassion or trust towards their fellow rivals. So lets start of with the first incident, which is not actually what is causing me to want to rant on about sportsmanship in Formula 1. The first incident was during the Q3 session on Saturday, we saw Nico Rosberg going off after what looked like a mistake, causing a yellow flag. In my opinion, I think Nico Rosberg brought the yellow flags out intentionally because if you watch the incident closely, you can clearly see that he is correcting a mistake that isn’t actually happening. That is my opinion about it, doesn’t mean I am correct, but what I was disappointed by was Lewis Hamilton’s child like behaviour afterwards, making references towards Senna’s behaviour during his rivalry with Prost. Controversially I believe Senna’s behaviour tarnished the mentality of modern drivers because he has been idolised by some of these younger drivers such as Lewis Hamilton. I have huge respect for Senna do not get me wrong, he was a phenomenal driver but drivers of the modern era struggle to be themselves, and wish to replicate what was unsporting behaviour. I also do not want to take anything away from Lewis Hamilton either, he is a fantastic driver, certainly has his own qualities but has no excuse for such childish comments. But reflecting back on the Hamilton & Rosberg partnership, I realise now that Lewis’ strange behaviour started a while back. From my perspective, I believe Rosberg is simply trying to show that there is a friendship and big respect between him and Lewis, one that he wouldn’t be able to share with any other driver he may end up being paired with on the grid. Lewis has been pushing these comments away, leaving me to believe that there is something about Lewis Hamilton’s mentality towards Nico Rosberg isn’t quite right. Above you’ll see some iconic drivers happily hanging around together, people who have created a bond with one another in the sport, not even from the young age of 13 and yet, they where all regarded as some of the best drivers in history, did they play any mind games back in their day? F1 needs fresh youth that do not wish to idolise former drivers, but to try and make a statement in F1 about respect towards one another. I’m sure you can pick out many other partnerships of modern F1 and you’ll find that there was something untoward going on. Surprisingly though, there is one pair that are getting it right, Vettel & Ricciardo.

maru-bian-mona-2014-31-886x590On a more positive note, Marussia scored their first ever points in Formula 1 after participating in the sport for 4 years now! This is great news, but was it luck? That a big question that a lot of people would be saying yes in answer. But I will say that you are wrong. The team, along with Caterham, have been showing clear progress, they have been hunting Sauber down well and finally I think they crossed a bridge at Monaco fair and square. They had a few things go their way yes, but sometimes you need that to happen.

I feel that the title maybe slightly controversial, but it is my honest opinion, and F1 needs to change anyway. F1 is to corporate, drivers walk around like business cards, and seem afraid to be themselves.

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Something is Still Missing in F1

Formula 1 has entered a new era, to start with there was a bit of an uproar about engine sounds at the first race, positively though it will be fixed in time. Complaints continued that Formula 1 was boring, which it isn’t, up until Bahrain. For me though; there is something still missing from the sport. It is gathering ingredients from different parts of the motorsport universe, from creating a party atmosphere like they get in NASCAR, close racing, old school torque and modern technology. However I can tell you what it is missing most of importantly, and that is simplicity. Formula 1 lacks a get in and go racing attitude. It seems that viewers can’t watch Formula 1 without having an A-Level in it.

w05-steering-wheelFirst of all I would love to change the fuel management rules and remove engine mapping, torque mapping, and fuel limitation. The fuel load should be decided at the start of the race and the engine should run at one map setting once it is on track, this would also remove all those stupid buttons and switches off the steering wheel, which brings me to a second rule. Only specified buttons, pannels and switches should be allowed within the cockpit and for me that should be for the standard things, DRS, Gears, Clutch and any safety features to turn the car of in an emergency. You might have noticed something missing from that list, KERs, I’ve decided to leave that out because in my opinion it has to be one of the most pointless and hazardous device in Formula 1. We saw what can happen with KER’s in Spain 2011. I find that it also has no advantage to either, both drivers can use it for exactly the same amount of time as each other, so it kind of cancels itself out. That is my opinion, which is all well and good, but it might not be logical however I can give a valid reason to get rid of KERs. It’s the weight, removing the weight would allow drivers to be heavier, which is better for naturally taller and bigger drivers, and do not need to explain this fact any more.

The new Formula 1 is good and the racing is close, but it always will be. FIA needs to simple down Formula 1 for the sake of the fans, they’re making a complex algorithm to get a simple answer. Giving a more of a get in and go feel will mean anyone can watch it and enjoy it. No more “What’s all those numbers?” or, “How come he gets to use that and the other driver doesn’t?”.

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F1 2013 Game Review

I love Formula 1 and I got to admit, I am a bit of a gamer. I have owned Formula 1 Championship Edition made by Studio Liverpool, and then I had F1 2010 and F1 2011 created by Codemaster, along with Grid. At first I found the games a lot of fun, a good racing game but then I became aware of more technically challenging racing games, like Gran Turismo 5 and rFactor. So I easily came to terms with realizing how much a let down F1 2011 really was, what with it’s constant penalties and newbly fast physics. I never want a proper simulation game but there was never a balance that made you feel like you where driving a real F1 car, everything seamed arcade like and gimmicky. So as result I never bothered to get F1 2012. To me playing the F1 2012 demo and watching footage, it seemed to be what F1 2011 should of been.But I after watching gameplays I decided to give F1 2013 a try, so has it improved?

2013-Abu-Dhabi-Grand-Prix-ArtworkWhat should I start of with? Maybe we should start of with bad news and get that out of the way. The game feels so linear, especially the career mode. You start of at a low team and very easily work your way up the career ladder, and before you know it, you’re winning the championship. Maybe it’s because the difficulty setting I’m using isn’t quite right, but that’s another issue, the AI are inconsistent, one moment you’re toe for toe in qualifying and then you’re miles ahead in the lead. The AI are a bit easy to pass and defend against. They never seem to be able to make a convincing maneuver. The career mode needs a massive improvement, you don’t feel anything like a racing driver. The same old boring helmets, no easy custom design what so ever, the default character is always the same to. No trademark celebrations. No parade lap. No podium cut scenes. No race engineer choices. There’s nothing to make it feel like you’re becoming the next champion. What about having you’re own sponsorship like you got on Grid, have them on the helmet; that would be cool. The career timeline feels a bit linear too, if there is a young drivers test, then for me their should be pre and in season testing, with an option to turn them on or off rather than sit through David Croft talking for ages making you feel stupid. There as one thing I would love to see in a Formula 1 career mode, of all things, it would be to have promotional events in different locations depending on your nationality and the team you drive for. You would work up your fan base too, depending on what you would say at interviews or whether you would participate in the events. These would help you get more sponsorship and more reasons for a team higher up the grid to give you a seat. For online mode I think that Codemasters should had a quick set up only rule choice for lobbies, it’s hard when you jump on and you want a fun race and you don’t have time to get a super quick set up.

SauberLets talk about the graphics. I really don’t like them, there is something that’s not quite right. After playing rFactor, Race ’07 and even the old Toca Race Driver game I find that, from my perspective, everything is a little bit small and squashed. The track scale doesn’t seem quite right, the cars seem to small, if you go next to some curbing at a real circuit you’ll see it is huge, but on the game is seems no bigger than a deodorant can. The old F1 Championship Edition makes them look rather pitiful. The graphics are to gimmicky, trying to wow you, but they shouldn’t be that way. If you look at all the good racing games out there, the graphics are simple and crisp but make everything look right.

Now I am going to be more positive in this paragraph and say where Codemaster have got it right with F1 2013. First of all the AI has improved, ok it needs fine tuning because they’re inconsistent, but they are much faster now and they will give you a tough time during qualifying. The simulation effects are perfect, this is something a lot of racing games miss out on. The grand prix weekend, the garage feeling, the tires and pit strategies, all these little details on track that makes you want to plan your race weekend to achieve the best you can.

Overall I would say that the game is good and it’s worth purchasing but I fear that because there is no outside competition for the F1 trademark, Codemasters might not make any big changes to make the game feel different. Maybe you will all be hyped up for the next one, but by F1 2015/2016 you might think to yourself, there is no real difference.

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F1 Newbie: More Torque #10

The new season has arrived and we have completed two races so far, Australia and Malaysia. Lot’s of new things have changed for the season, new power units, new aerodynamic changes and more. I would love to help you go through each of the new regulations but I simply don’t think I would be able to explain it well enough because it is far beyond my knowledge; if I was to put into a summary I would say that engines are now hybrid systems that are harvesting more energy from different areas of the car.

For a proper explanation, you would be better of watching this useful graphic video from Sky.

So what is torque? Torque is how much power is being sent to a vehicles wheels during initial acceleration. So it’s all when in good if your car has plenty of power, but if there is little torque, it’s not going to get off the line quickly. The new “power units” that all F1 2014 cars now have produce much more torque now. The net result is something that make modern Formula 1 seem much more old school! We are now seeing cars power slide out of corners. I must point out that this result is also helped by the aerodynamic changes for the season (A lot less aero!).

will-fw36-martini-2014-5This is pretty cool and, for me, it’s about the only decent thing in the new era of Formula 1. Drivers have to concentrate more and fight the car more often during a Grand Prix Weekend. The torque can also effect tyre wear too, as the wheels will be spinning up a lot more often than last season. If the driver lets down is guard for more than a split second, they could be punished.

 

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Logitech G320 Headset Review

I originally had a nice pair of HP headsets, but they broke, so I spent a long hiatus without any forms of sounds or communications. I saved up over Christmas and thought to myself I’ll get myself a new headset. I choose Logitech because the brand seemed to be quite popular in the gaming community. But is this headset really worth purchasing?

So where should I start? They cost me roughly £45’s from PC World which is ok, and the sound quality is excellent, I really enjoy listening to my music on the Logitech G230. The microphone on the other hand is pretty standard. There isn’t any downloadable software from Logitech’s official site to use for editing the sound of your voice for a bit of fun. So that’s a little bit disappointing which you would get for some other headsets from Logitech.

This headset is comfy to wear and nice and light. Some people say it isn’t that comfy but I haven’t noticed a problem. It sits nice and tightly around your ears and cancels out sounds that could interfere with your gaming experience!

P1020267
The wire is a big and annoying issue!

Above is my headset cable, you can see how tangled up it is. This started happening within the month of having the product, and my OCD sensor goes through the roof but there
isn’t anything I can do to stop it from tangling up again. I also fear that it may break quickly too, which would be a lot of money flushed down the drain. This is rather disappointing, my old headset never had this issue! It also makes me want to go wireless but it’s expensive. It’s also rather annoying for recording videos and podcasts too. The wire gets in the way and is a bit of a distraction.

tweetI complained via Twitter to the Logitech crew about the problem, and they had the cheek to advertise their wireless headset which is £150. What poor customer services, where is the compensation for a poorly designed product. Rather than trying to see if you can sneak in a sale to someone who’s had a product for a couple of months you should be generous and give on away instead! I bet you if I was someone with a big audience in the gaming world they would use that to their advantage and happily hand one over as a promotional stunt. You watch this review go unnoticed and unanswered as they probably don’t treat people lower down the internet chain with equality.

Would I recommend someone to get one? Not really, it’s unfortunate because the sound quality is good for music, but it’s let down in other areas, especially customer service! I’d would recommend to stick out for longer and save up for something wireless, or something with a differently made cable that won’t tangle up.

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BTCC Snetterton 2013 Montage Special

On the 4th August I went to Snetterton race circuit to watch the British Touring Cars Championship and the following supporting races which included Formula Fords, Porsche Supercup and Renault Clio Cup.

Snetterton is a race circuit based up in Norfolk, probably the major circuit of East Anglia. It was originally an airfield and then it was converted to race circuit by the Aston Martin Owners Club I do believe. In the recent years it has undergone changes to the in field section to cater GT cars because of it’s previous short layout. For me, these changes have ruined the nature of the circuit as it’s changed the final few corners which where some tough challenging corners where you could overtake. But now it doesn’t seem so overtaking friendly and the in-field section is just so damn boring and generic, they’ve also taken away the original name for turn 9 & 10 which was called the Esses. But I will always love this circuit none-the-less.

I recorded video snippets of the event around the paddock and on the track. I have also taken pictures from Sunday which can be found on my Facebook page.

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Favourite to Replace Mark Webber at Red Bull Racing?

Mark Webber will be leaving Red Bull at  the end of the 2013 season. No! I am ever so sad because he is my hero, but nevertheless we must move onto the current question arousing in Formula 1 at the moment and that is who will replace him. There are numerous drivers who it can be really but I’ve narrowed it down to 3 who I think are realistically in for a shout of the seat. Daniel Riccardo, Paul Di Resta and Kimi Raikkonen.

Who’s the least likely of the 3 you ask? I believe it’s Kimi Raikkonen, but only just. Red Bull will want him simply because of how good he is and he would fit relatively well into the Red Bull lifestyle. But would it really work? Could he get along with Sebastian Vettel? I really doubt that. Other than that it’s a real coin toss between Daniel Riccardo and Paul Di Resta. People haven’t mentioned him at all but he’s performing very well and we seem to forget that he was in consideration for the McLaren seat as Lewis Hamilton’s replacement. Riccardo has worked with the team for a very long time so there’s no reason why he won’t be able to fit in with the team and get on well. He’s certainly a future star too and has bundles of talent that’s waiting for a good car. Jean Eric-Verne is pants to be honest and you can’t really see him doing anything more than a mediocre job.

Who would I choose? It’s tough because I like them both very much and they both deserve a drive, but on the basis of wanting to have more reliable odds in terms of having a champion driver it has to be Paul Di Resta.

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Gran Turismo 6 Official E3 2013 Trailer

I’m so excited for this game…but my PlayStation is broken so I can’t even play the demo let alone Gran Turismo 5 which I play tonnes anyway. So if there’s any billionaires or someone working for Gran Turismo, fancy sending me a new console and GT6 please?

To be GT6 looks like a refinement of GT5, but that’s not a bad thing because if you can’t create something new and different for the sake if it, it simply won’t be any good. This also just shows that when the PlayStation 4 comes out, Gran Turismo on that platform could be out of this world, especially if you look at the new Forza and I’ve never been a huge fan even though I’d like to play.

For me, what I’d like to see is a bigger and better library of parts for customizations. Making things like a team livery, more body parts that’ll make the car look like a race spec car when it’s being upgraded and obviously visual changes when you change parts on the car like when you’re adding weight reduction kits. Any league industries out there like GTRA was once, or ARL could use this to their advantage and make something that could be very close to a real experience of running your own teams and having a rival team etc etc.

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News This Week: Pirelli Tire Issues & Mercedes ‘Naughty’ Testing

It could be so easy for us us to jump onto the band wagon and complain about Pirelli’s awful tires and their failures, and waffle on about how the FIA let Mercedes get away with the naughty testing with a light punishment. But I, for one, isn’t going to because I don’t see that there are any real issues. Yes, Ok, the Silverstone popping tires could have caused a serious incident, but nevertheless, why are we complaining over a one off freak occurrence when we have never have done before? Simply because teams like Ferarri are doing it.

I would still like to see some changes done to the tires and have Pirelli bring more aggressive and random tire selections. Why have we never seen Super Soft and Hard paired together? It would certainly mix it up. But lets talk about the tire malarkey. At the British GP we’ve seen 3 retirements because of tire delamination (fancy word for tire failure) and we’ve thrown our hands in the air like it’s some kind of re-occurring issue. But this has only been one weekend from 3 seasons we’ve had with Pirelli! We’ve all seemed to forgot how they’ve changed the sport for the better. We know that what probably caused the tire issues was the curbing causing tires to be cut. This issue we’ve seen is something that can well just be fixed quickly. Hopefully…

Moving on, lets talk about the result of Mercedes’ naughty test hearing. The team has been reprimanded and banned from the young drivers test. That’s a real shame for the youngster to not get valuable time out on track to learn and prove their worth, something that Mercedes will have to feel really guilty for because they’ve let them down. But then again, was the punishment fair? Christian Horner thinks not and believes it should of been far worse and it was “lenient”. Well what a load of bullshit! The FIA gave the green light and must have known the full routine of what was happening that afternoon after the Spanish GP. So this is clearly a fault from the FIA’s side but, clearly, are to proud to take the blame. What an absolute farce.

Now lets close up, I hope you enjoyed the British GP! It was pretty exciting wasn’t it? Well after Vettel retired it certainly was. It was a shame to see the victory be taken from Lewis Hamilton like the way it was in front of the home fans.

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Title Up In the Air?

The title seems to become ever more predictable as each season goes by; same old Red Bull coming through and easily winning in the final quarter of the season. Except 2011 where the Red Bull just won anyway. Maybe this year will be different as Formula 1 becomes ever more unpredictable. But is it? I think a better word to describe Formula 1 these days is more repetitive.

Now lets talk about who’s in the title bid. Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, Nico Roseberg and Felipe Massa are all out of the title bid. It’s down to the top 3 (Of this date) in the standings Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso, and Sebastian Vettel. Well I’m still going to scoff at that. I bet it’s going to be Sebastian Vettel…AGAIN! That’s a prediction, it’s different from reality, so it’s all “up in the air”. The next 3 races are crucial for Kimi Raikkonen to try and get an upper hand and close the gap. Fernando Alonso on the other hand as a chance to beat the German. But he doesn’t have the form; he’s got the chance to change that. So assuming he can beat Vettel in the upcoming races and close the gap in the standings.

Vettel has the form and momentum and to keep finishing ahead of the his rivals in the next 3 or 4 races will dictate the title and give him a little more recovery points in case there are any mechanical faults or incidents coming his way. But knowing Vettel, he’s all luck so that’s unlikely to happen.

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My F1 Calendar

If I chose the Formula 1 FIA calendar it would look something like this:

Race Number
Country
Flag
Circuit/Location
Round 1
Australian Grand Prix
Melbourne Park Circuit
Round 2
European Grand Prix
Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari
Round 3
Chinese Grand Prix
Shanghai International Circuit
Round 4
Portuguese Grand Prix
Autódromo do Estoril
Round 5
Spanish Grand Prix
Circuito De Jerez
Round 6
Monaco Grand Prix
Monaco Street Circuit
Round 7
Canadian Grand Prix
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
Round 8
British Grand Prix
Silverstone Circuit
Round 9
German Grand Prix
Hockenheimring
Round 10
Austrian Grand Prix
Red Bull Ring
Round 11
Belgium Grand Prix
Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps
Round 12
Italian Grand Prix
Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello
Round 13
French Grand Prix
Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours
Round 12
Singapore Grand Prix
Singapore Street Circuit
Round 13
Korean Grand Prix
Korean International Circuit
Round 16
Japanese Grand Prix
Fuji International Speedway
Round 17
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Yas Marina Circuit
Round 18
United States Grand Prix
Circuit of the Americas
Round 19
Qatar Grand Prix
Losail International Circuit
Round 20
Brazilian Grand Prix
Autódromo José Carlos Pace
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F1 Newbie: Driver Protection (Racing Suit & Helmet) #7

Drivers are protected from head to toe with many layers in order to protect them as much as possible in fires, and to reduce the physical damage of any debris flying around in the air on track. We have the helmet and the racing suit to protect a driver.

There is an interesting view upon racing helmets, due to them not fully protecting the driver as much as an closed cockpit could. But what if the car is upside down, it can trap a driver? It could also be seen as an ugly feature being used for just an rare event and freak accident. It could also damage the finacial side for helmet manufacturers in sports. It also takes away a little bit of the thrill, in which is one of the main reasons why drivers race, are we making the sport to safe?

Then we have the racing suit, which consists of many different layers. There are gloves, boots and a suit which are the main covers seen by the eye, which contain the team colors and all the sponsors on it. Underneath the driver will wear a fire proof layer which goes up to the neck, then they have a separate balaclava that goes on their head underneath the helmet. Thankfully not many fires tend to happen these days as a result of a collision as cars are cleverly built and tested these days, which means the driver isn’t at risk of being burnt from a fire if they’re knocked unconscious.

All these layers can also be a physical and enduring test for a racing driver. With so many layers the driver can get hot and dehydrated, imagine this in places where you need to concentrate so hard like at Monaco, or places where it’s humid, Malaysia. The test is something drivers have to prepare for not, just the physical stress of G-Forces they have to put up with. And races last nearly 2 hours and some can go on for longer!

All Posts, F1 Newbie

F1 Newbie: Safety Features #6

There are numerous types of safety features in Formula 1 in the cockpit and on the track to protect drivers from suffering any life threatening injuries. The last death in the sport was from the late great Ayrton Senna on a freak weekend at Imola in 1994 which was over 19 years ago!

The main push for safety was in the era of Jackie Stewart which started towards the late 1960’s early 1970’s years in Formula 1. Many drivers where loosing their life during races because there was not any protection or safety procedures in preparation to any serious accidents occurred. Jackie Stewart was the first to start the push and many driver didn’t follow to start with, the risk of death was seen as a part of the job for doing what they loved and some older driver may even say that now the risk has hugely been minimized doesn’t make Formula 1 as much of a sport anymore. (Read more about his serious accident that kick started the safety campaign here.)

On the track we now have bigger run off areas, which allows the driver to control the car and return to the track or to slow down as much as possible before having contact with the barrier at high speed. We see less gravel traps these days as a result, but they are strategically placed because they slow down the car quickly if the driver is unable to. Gravel traps come with risks though, even though they may have been researched and laid down with special gravel, cars can flip over or launch in the air (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41Gd_KaUGtY).

We also have lots of barriers too, usually we will see around tyre made barriers, which help reduce the force of an impact when someone crashes, but they’re not made with science and engineering. So in replacement we use, what is known as tec pro barriers, which are engineered and created structurally to reduce the impact as much as possible. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzSmwLsjbIo)

For the car, there will be numerous car crash tests taken before that car can be deemed worthy to race. In 2012 they introduced steeped noses on the front of car to prevent the car from lifting into the air at high speed like this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pv9eRrYD1mM). The driver in cockpit also has to be able to get out the car within a certain amount of time, this is in case of a fire and they need to get away from it. If the driver is seriously hurt, they can remove the driver from his seat using it as a harness, this is much safer than pulling him out of the car. Tyres are connected in a way so that if a driver crashes, it’s unlikely to come off, a tyre is very heavy, and if it hits a driver, it can kill them instantly.

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Jamcast: Women in Motorsport

Hey guys this is my first podcast I’ve ever uploaded onto the internet, so it’s rather odd speaking to a computer screen by myself. Please like the video and subscribe for more, any friendly feedback is truly appreciated and will make me feel more confident for future posts!

Download here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ba220w5q6nrh413/podcast%201%20audio.wav

All Posts, F1 Newbie

F1 Newbie: Downforce & Corners #5

A formula 1 car relies a lot on downforce to help it generate grip through high speed corners. Downforce will become less affective in lower speed corners as there will be less air traveling over the car, so the car will have to have good mechanical grip too. Mechanical grip is a term used to describe handling that is gained through parts such as suspension, camber, tyres and other parts on the car that can be modified to change grip levels and balance of the car.

Each team will have to create an efficient shell for a car that will funnel air to certain parts of the car, such as the rear wing and diffuser. They will also have to create a good underlay for the car, as air goes underneath too. The more money and resources a team has, the more often they can test small changes before the next race effectively. The shell is very important part because regulations state that it has to be smooth and sleek, therefore no sticky out bits to help funnel the air through the car, so the team will have to work hard to make sure it creates minimal drag but as much downforce as possible. Drag is the force in which air passing over the car is pulling it back, any parts with a vertical surface will generate more drag. The front wing is important as that is the first part of the car hitting the air. On the front wing there will be lots of shapes and components that control which direction the wind will go in over the car. The rear wing also pushes the rear of the car into the ground, but it can also create a lot of drag itself. At a grand prix weekend a driver can alter the settings of the front and rear wing to create more or less downforce. we will tend to see this at tracks with low speed corners, for example, Monaco because they won’t be able to use the natural chassis of the car for downforce and with the low amount of straights there, they won’t have to worry about drag affecting their straight line speed. Teams however will bring “skinnier” wings to tracks with long straights, like Monza, but at places with high speed corners and direction changes they will bring complex and big wings to provide as much downforce as possible and least amount of drag. It can be a tough decision for some drivers in what they might sacrifice at different tracks, top speed or cornering grip?

There are different types of corners at circuits, a low speed corner will take away downforce from the car because it’s at a lower speed when going through it and as result there will be less aerodynamic grip. This will test a cars mechanical grip. Good mechanical grip will improve the cars traction and acceleration from the corner by minimizing wheel spin. It will also reduce the amount a driver may have to fight the car through a slow speed corner. Setting up suspension for slow speed corners may affect its handling through high speed corners. At high speed corners the car is being pressed down hard into the ground because of the downforce being generated from the aerodynamics and g-force. The car will be trying to make as much of a contact  patch as it can on it tyres to the tarmac. A good car will always remain stable at high speeds and need minimal steering lock through corners. Steering lock is the amount a driver will have to turn the wheel to make it turn the direction she/he wants it too. A car with poor downforce will be slow in straight lines and the driver will look like he is wrestling the car through all types of corners. So in summary, in high speed corners the car will become heavier but also very stable and drive a fine line, however in low speed corners the car can become light entering the corners and loose on the exit generating lots of wheel spin.

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Jake Humprhey – The Inside Line: A Book for Beginners

A relatively new book written by Jake Humphrey talking about the life behind the camera, explaining F1 regulations and how presenting Formula 1 for the BBC has affected his life and why he is choosing to stop. This is a book to read if your new to Formula 1 as a sport and want to learn the basic regulations about it without being bored by a lot of other books that there might make you feel like you’re back in a school lecture with your most hated teacher.

I did enjoy this book and it certainly didn’t take me a long time to finish it, but for someone who knows the basics about Formula 1 all ready, I was expecting it be more of a biography describing his times behind the camera and more about the good times and fond memories he has from the experience of being a Formula 1 TV presenter and how he got there. However, a lot of it describes about the way of life for the racing teams in Formula 1 and how DRS and KERS works, which got a little repetitive at times, so for someone who’s of the older generation this book may not be for you. I don’t want to sound like I’ve trying to give this book bad press, however you’re probably better of buying it for a friend who’s new to the sport, or one of children who’s very young.

I’d also like to add though, that he does talk about interviews with Formula 1 drivers and their personalities behind camera or how they’ve been affected by a poor run of form on the track. He remembers talking to Jenson Button back in 2009 and Jake explains that Jenson’s recent run of results hadn’t been very good and he could tell how stressed he was through his body language.

In Summary
This book is enjoyable to read, however, if you know a lot about Formula 1 then be prepared to skip a few pages here and there like I did when it got to talking about certain things I already knew. But if you have a friend’s or child’s birthday coming up, and they always bugging you with questions about this and that, then you should buy them this book so they can’t annoy you no more as it will answer all their questions.

You can order it from Amazon here:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Inside-Track-Paddocks-Stops-Tales/dp/1849837260/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1364742675&sr=1-1

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (28 Mar 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849837260
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849837262
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 2.4 cm