You sent me questions, I answered. Simple.
Q: Now that you have been out to a few a Grand Prix, what was the biggest thing that took you by surprise?
A: Without a doubt, the elevation changes on the racetracks.
Obviously visiting Belgium, I have been lucky enough to experience Eau Rogue in all its beautiful glory. It is evidently steep and is made a fuss of every time a racing series is held at the special track. However the elevation changes in locations like in Budapest and Monaco are also high but aren’t given nearly enough attention. Walking up the sidewalk from Sainte Devote to Beau Rivage was a challenge – simple as.The same goes for Hungary. From turn three into turn four is mega to use the most technical term.
Q: Favourite British Film, and aside from Formula One, what other racing series do you watch?
A: Those of you that follow me on my social media accounts will know I am a huge Bond fan. Therefore I would have to chose one of those – let’s say Skyfall to be totally original. I am obviously overjoyed that Bond will be back on my cinema screen this month and have written two pieces about the 007 franchise which will be published on student magazine Kettle. I am having such fun writing about the James Bond movies and will be sure to post links when they come available in mid-October.
As for your other question, I watch quite a few racing series but not as many as I would like. As I work on Sundays, I do miss a lot of racing but I try and catch up on the British Touring Car Championship when I can. I also watch the FIA World Rally Championship, FIA Formula E and FIA World Rallycross Championship. I also catch up online for results from the GP2 and GP3 series.
Q: Do think there would be any benefits in having one practice session per weekend just for young or reserve drivers?
A: Practice sessions are a popular topic of conversation at the moment in F1. Several drivers have voiced their opinions on the purpose of practice sessions, such as Nico Hulkenberg, wanting the amount of time spent on track minimised. Using Japan as an example, I don’t think that the practice sessions had a great impact on the weekends racing. Carlos Sainz topped the first session on the Friday, yet in the race he finished a lap behind race winner Hamilton. The weather was also different for the drivers earlier on in the racing weekend – rain on the Friday but dry on race day. These dramatic changes in track conditions also mean that setting fast laps in the rain is both difficult and dangerous, resulting in little running. However there is the opportunity to work on the set-up of a car and improving their skills of wet running.
Regarding the extra session for young drivers, it could prove helpful for rookies and reserve drivers. The ‘younger’ drivers should not need to have extra time on a track just because of their age. They are able to test on simulators constantly and should know the layout and build to a track if they have raced their previously. However there is one young rookie who is demonstrating that this idea of an additional practice session is not needed: Max Verstappen. I, like so many of you, doubted Max hugely when he was signed last summer. Nevertheless, the teaching and skill he has acquired growing up means that he is able to come to a track and ace it after just a few laps in the car. Monaco is a perfect example. Despite never racing around the iconic race track in Monte-Carlo, 17-year-old Max was able to finish the first practice session in second place, just +0.149s behind session leader Lewis Hamilton. No additional sessions needed there.
To summarise my points, I do not think it necessary to hold a practice session for the young and inexperienced drivers on the grid. With the developments in simulators and the high possibility that a racer has driven on the track with a previous racing series, using GP2 and GP3 as examples, I do not think it fair that they gain extra time to familiarise themselves with a track. The teams are aware that they are hiring a driver with little experience and it is up to them to extensively brief them with the best technology and knowledge regarding the challenges they will face on a track.
Q: What is the key to becoming a successful motorsport blogger?
A: Although I claim to be a motorsport blogger, I would never deem myself as a successful. There is so much more I want to get from this blog. In my eyes there are many factors that will help you in reaching big audiences and having your work appreciated and enjoyed by readers. In the coming weeks I will be posting a blog about these ‘tips’ that I have learnt in the two years since creating my first blog, but I think the most important factor is to write about something you are passionate about. For me, that was Formula One.
Q: Many people ask about the negative things that you would change, but if you could only keep the best thing in Formula One what would it be?
A: I love this question. I suppose as a guest of the paddock I loved the exclusivity that came with my pass. It made being there, with big personalities of the sport, such a surreal experience and therefore enjoyed every second I spent there. That is something that I think Bernie has got right, however I understand not everybody will get the opportunity to spend time in the paddock.
As a fan, I think that having good and historic race tracks is a must. I know it seems the safest answer but it is really the only thing I think needs to be kept the same. That rich and powerful history that Formula 1 holds isn’t replicated in most sports and therefore being able to revisit celebrated race tracks with a new generation of cars is golden.
Q: If you had the chance to work as a journalist for one F1 event or a full WEC season, expenses paid, what would you chose to do?
A: I would like to experience World Endurance Championship. There are so many fantastic and well-respected drivers in the series and as the idea of learning about a motoring series as I follow it around the world really excites me.
Thank you for your questions and I hope you enjoyed hearing my views on certain subjects. If you enjoyed this different type of blog post from me, let me know and I can try and schedule in another one in the near future.