F1 Driver Rankings

I figure it would make sense to a do an annual F1 driver rankings that my friends can comment on or reply with their own lists. This would also make it possible to have some idea of how drivers are doing from season to season.

2010 rankings (after three races):
1. Sebastien Vettel
2. Lewis Hamilton
3. Fernando Alonso
4. Robert Kubica
5. Felipe Massa
6. Nico Rosberg
7. Jenson Button
8. Adrian Sutil
9. Rubens Barrichello
10. Mark Webber
11. Michael Schumacher
12. Heikki Kovaleinen
13. Nico Hulkenberg
14. Jaime Alguersuari
15. Timo Glock
16. Jarno Trulli
17. Vinatonio Liuzzi
18. Sebastien Buemi
19. Vitaly Petrov
20. Pedro De La Rosa
21. Kamui Kobayashi
22. Bruno Senna
23. Lucas Di Grassi
24. Karun Chandhok

When I revisit this at the end of the season I can see it changing a lot. That said what do you think? Am I wrong about any of the drivers? I think the top 4 are very close in terms of ability and then theres a little gap.

What I’ve been working on

You may or may not know that several months ago my friend Craig and I launched (well almost) our own hosting website. I’ll tell you more about that in another post in the future when we have finished tinkering. Part of that process meant signing up as being self employed, I thought that I’d take the opportunity to earn some extra funds and build websites for people in my spare time. Well the first of those websites has now been launched.

Tapovan

My aunt wanted a website for her Gite in the south of France. It launched last week and is already near the top of google in searches for the region. Currently I am finalised a gallery and ideas for an online booking system but for now if you are interested in a holiday in a beautiful area in the south of France then take a look and contact them.

The other thing I have been working on is a pet project, being a Formula One fan for the last 12 years and not missing a single race in that time while also playing every F1 game that has come out in that time. I have been a member of a forum for the last 5 years that was a great community but its somewhat fallen into disrepair as the owner lost interest. I therefore wanted to take the theme and improve upon it. I have therefore launched the first version of f1gaming.com.

f1gaming.com

The idea behind the site is to place the latest f1 and f1 game news onto the website on a daily basis with several writers keeping out community updated. In the next couple of months we will be launching a forum on the site and a full database of race results and racing games with reviews and user reviews. For now though the site only has the ability to allow users to sign up and post comments on most news stories with a lot of other parts coming soon.

Other sites I am working on:
A church website
A telecoms and courses website
This Blog
My film news website
Our hosting site

So if you want a website or you have comments about my work let me know… but be prepared to wait for a little while due to my current workload… and the fact I occaisionally don’t want to work in the evenings.

Sporting achievements 2009

I asked my resident king of sports knowledge (I say king meaning he knows more than me) Trefor Little (aka my dad) to write down the top 5 sporting achievements of 2009. In no particular order then:

  • England winning the ashes
  • Andy Murray reaching Number 2 in the world rankings
  • Jenson Button winning the world championship
  • Usain Bolt breaking the 100m and 200m world records again
  • Manny Pacquiao becoming the first man to win seven different titles at seven different weights

Come back on the 4th for his list of the top 5 achievements of the decade. What do you think?

The British Grand Prix 2009

We arrived at the campsite around 3:30 on the Thursday and set up camp. Once this was done we headed off for a walk, we found the perimeter road around the track. We passed the entrance to the track and wandered all the way around the track to Vale which is about 2/3s of the way before finding a gate stopping as getting further… great. We therefore just sauntered back to the campsite for a BBQ

Beth

On Friday morning Paddy and I both work early and so headed to the track, they opened the gates late so we didn’t get in until 6:45 (meant to be 6) and went for a walk the whole way around the track perimeter, it was friggin cool to be there. After our walk I spilled lots of tea on myself taking it from the track to the campsite for part of breakfast. Beth came with us to the track again at about 9am and we set ourselves up at Becketts for first practice. The view was good but the cars were quite a long way away, if you got nearer to the track you saw the cars for less time, so we made do.

After first practice we headed off down Hangar Straight to try and find somewhere else to watch from. It was then we came across the raised banking at Stowe corner and so we watched the other open wheel cars from there for the morning to get an idea of it. It turns out that from here you can see most of the track from Becketts, down Hangar Straight, through Stowe, Vale and Abbey and finally into Bridge. Therefore it gave us the best view of the cars over a lap and we decided this would be our base of operations for the rest of the weekend.

On Friday night we went back to the campsite and had Chilli Con Carne which may have melted the camping stove a little bit… We then went to the site bar for some cider to talk over what we had seen that day. The red bulls looked strong, the Brawns less so good. On the way back we came across a crowd at the onsite hotel. It turns out a lot of the drivers stay there and we got to see Fisichella, Kubica, Kovaleinen, Trulli and Martin Whitmarsh getting back that evening. We also managed to get autographs from the last two. WOO!

On Saturday morning we managed to stay in bed a little bit longer and got to the track around 8pm, we headed straight to Stowe and watched the final F1 practice before qualifying. Beth joined us towards the end of this session. My ears thankfully acclimatised to the noise on Friday morning and so it did not really matter that I lost one of my earplugs during Friday night (our neighbours in a caravan had a tent right next to ours from which they were drinking and singing late into the night… bastards). For qualifying I got my netbook out and it was a great help because we could keep track of what was going on in the noise. Everyone seems to be going fast when they come past you and you can’t hear the track commentary so it was essential really. Vettel did a good job to get pole, he made it look easy and I am sure it was in that car but he is a great driver of the future.

After qualifying with the fan favourites well down the grid Beth left to get some peace and quiet leaving Paddy and I to watch two very good races from GP2 and Formula BMW. There was overtaking and action and both races were exciting. When we got back in the evening we headed for the beer tent for some burgers etc and were treated to the Red Bull matadors who wowed the campsite with their close flying manouevers. After food we went for a little wander before heading back to the campsite, setting our alarms and going to bed.

On a race Sunday the track opens at 5am, Paddy and I got up at 4am, got dressed and joined an already forming queue of people. When we got in at about 5:05 we walked quickly to Stowe which is no mean feat and about 25mins away from our entrance. When we got there we found only room for our three chairs at the front of the raised banking as the rest of it was already full. 5:35 and already a good hundred people on our bank crikey I thought we would be the only mad ones.

By 9am when the Formula BMWs came out again the spectator areas were heaving. The hour leading up to the race was also very exciting with lots of helicopters arriving in the centre of the track and Red Arrows and all sorts of other wonderful things like driver parades and a demo lap from Jackie Stewart in the car he won the race with thirty years ago. The race itself was a bit of a Vettel whitewash but behind him there were battles through the field with the best involving three of the best drivers fighting for 14th place with Alonso and Kubica providing the best battle of the weekend. Other good battles developed as Massa and Rosberg caught Barrichello in the middle stint, they couldn’t pass but they sure pushed him hard. The atmosphere was epic and actually watching a race live is something else. Seeing the cars on Friday and Saturday was nice but seeing them do what they were made for and seeing the drivers working hard throughout the field was impressive. I loved it and would go to every race if I could… oh well.

After the race we were able to go into the centre of the track for the annual Grand Prix party where they get guests on the stage to talk about the racing and formula one in general. This time it was all dominated by the talk of Donnington getting the race next year and of the possible FOTA breakaway series which lets be honest would be much better than one which Bernie and Max have control over. We saw a good mix of drivers and team owners and pundits and they kept the crowd entertained for a couple of hours while the less faithful emptied the car parks. There was also some good music played as well from Eddie Jordan and a Rolling Stones tribute band who weren’t bad.

When we got bored of the tribute band we headed for the track and were pleased to find it was open to wander around. After lots of wandering about, some bad overpriced food and lots of photos we headed back to the campsite and collapsed after what had been a busy day.

Things I now know in hindsight….

  • Get a seat at Stowe, it is a great place to watch from. Next time I would likely buy a grandstand seat solely because I then have a guarenteed seat and don’t have to wake up stupidly early…
  • Cool bags don’t stay cool if left in a hot car
  • Caravans are bloody annoying
  • Formula One is great fun to watch
  • Event food generally (I do not include race track donuts here) is overexpensive and tastes horrible, so always bring your own food most days. We spent about £80 on food in three days…
  • Netbooks are invaluable on qualifying and race days for keeping up with whats going on
  • Whittlebury is the only campsite you could ever need for race weekend being a ten minute walk from the track and having drivers on site

All photos can be viewed here

If you want high-res copies email me.

Button Domination

Jenson Button came into Formula One and impressed over his first season in 2000. He didn’t match his teammate but he showed promise and at times like in Spa he shone. For the next season he made the move to a Renault team that was still trying to find its feet in the sport. Over the course of the season he had some good drivers but finished well down on his teammate Giancarlo Fisichella. He stayed with Renault for another season and did better beating Jarno Trulli on points before making the move to BAR at the end of the season being replaced by Fernando Alonso who took the Renault to 55 points in 2003. In 2004 Button got 3rd in the championship with some brilliant drives in a BAR which matched his driving style. He then made the decision to move to Williams. A decision he then decided was not a good move and cancelled his contract before it started losing money to pay his way out.

He therefore continued with BAR and then into its transition into Honda while it tried to match its great 2004 season. He picked up his first win at Hungary in 2006 from 14th on the grid but it was a false dawn and in 2007 and 2008 the car was poor. The problem with these two years is that while they were obviously difficult for Button and the team he seemed to lose interest and ran below the pace of the car and was often beaten by his teammate. This is a driver who has experienced a lot of middle running in his career.

Now we come to 2009, he has no ride for the year as Honda have pulled out. A couple of weeks before the first Grand Prix Ross Brawn takes over the team and the team suddenly go testing and find themselves top of the time sheets constantly. The question that need to be asked is what part did Button have to play in the complete reversal of the team from its 2008 position to 2009. As far as I can tell it is down to loyalty. He was disinterested last year and rarely made a substantial effort due to the small rewards it gave that is not overly good for morale within a team.

This year though he has been completely dominant within the car, his driving style has been perfect for it and it has rewarded him. I have trouble giving him the respect he is likely due though because of his poor effort for the last two seasons and the fact he has little to do with the creation of the dominant car of the year. In the Schumacher winning era he played a massive part in ensuring the car was perfect and almost unbeatable. This year Button has been given a car that is lightning fast and responds to his driving style… How am I meant to feel good for him when he is effectively being gifted with performance. If anything the praise belongs solely to Ross Brawn who bought the team and made it what it has become this season.

I am not a glory hunter, I am not going to support Button until he earns my support. If it had been him who had the balls to change tyres at Silverstone last year and not Barrichello to finish 2nd in that race in the second slowest car on the grid then I would likely give him his due but it was not. Button has been a disappointment for the last two seasons so I don’t understand supporting him if he is being gifted with the best car. I am hoping later in the year he will have a real fight on his hands so that I can consider him worthy of his position. But right now all I see is someone who is a couple of tenth quicker than his aging teammate.

That all said, he did gain some respect from me for winning at Monaco today as it is a track he has previously struggled at, then again though surely that just shows how good a job Ross Brawn has done with the car in that it gives Button the confidence he needs to excel at any track.

Fingers are firmly crossed for a Red Bull, Ferrari and Williams fightback so that I can enjoy it whoever wins.

F1 Futures… again

The FIA last week announced a voluntary budget cap on the F1 teams. In exchange for keeping to a spending limit of £40 million a team gets an engine sans rev limit and some other tweaks that could see them being faster than their non budget capped cousins.

There has since been an outcry from some of the teams saying that they will reevaluate their participation in the series if this rule stays. Today Red Bull, Toyota and Ferrari said that if the rules came in they would leave the series. You also have to feel that Mclaren, BMW and Renault would not be the biggest fans of the new rules if those teams threaten to leave the FIA will take notice.

To me though what this ever worsening saga shows is that the FIA need to relinquish some of its power to the teams. It should not be allowed to set rules that the teams disagree with. It is stupid that they can change rules like this and the points system with no one who participates in the sport approving.

The only teams who have not threatened to leave so far are Brawn, Williams and Force India who are the teams whose livelihoods depend upon Formula One racing.

It is all going to come down to how much control the FIA are willing to give the teams. If they don’t budge then the whole sport could self destruct but you have to question how much they have actually helped the sport in the last three years.

Personally I would love to see a Formula One championship where the teams have full control of their own marketing, which tracks they race on and the rules. Then we would see a Formula One which would be worth watching.

F1 drivers in Superlicence dispute

Right so F1 drivers have to renew their racing licence on a yearly basis:

Formula One drivers are refusing to sign their mandatory FIA superlicences amid a fresh dispute with the sport’s governing body about their price, autosport.com can reveal.

Last season drivers were unhappy about a price hike from 1,725 Euros plus 456 Euros per point for the licences, to 10,000 Euros plus 2,000 Euros per point for the 2008 season.

They accepted the payments then, however, despite calling on the FIA and Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone to justify the increase in costs.

Former world champion Fernando Alonso said at the time: “It is a very serious matter…we all agree that it is not fair that from one year to the next it (the cost) increases 500-600 percent.”

There was talk mid-season of the matter resulting in a drivers’ strike at the British Grand Prix, but these reports proved unfounded.

However, high level sources have revealed to autosport.com that drivers have now taken the matter into their own hands because of a further minor increase in the licence costs due to be introduced for the 2009 season.

The price of a licence has increased by 400 Euros (to 10,400 Euros), while drivers must pay an extra 100 Euros ( to 2100 Euros) per point scored. There is also a 2,720 Euros compulsory insurance charge.

Although the 2009 increases are purely the result of inflation, it is understood that the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA) is deeply unhappy about the price increase. Under the current fees, world champion Lewis Hamilton will have to pay 218,920 Euros for his licence fees this year.

Granted I understand the drivers all earn a lot of money but having to pay 219,000 Euro for a drivers licence ever year? That is absolutely mad. I think Bernie has enough money that can be redistributed so that the drivers do not have to front this kind of money.

For more go to: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/72964

F1 disappoints again

I am obviously weird for liking Formula One so much but the news today that the Canadian Grand Prix has been dropped from the 2009 calendar should annoy even those with a passing interest. The Canadian Grand Prix has always been perfect, it is a track that has everything you need, it challenges the drivers and the tracks and it can always throw up an interesting and entertaining race. Lewis Hamilton got his first win there and this year he made himself look like a prat having dominated the weekend to that point.

Put simply the Canadian grand prix is my second favourite track in the world behind only Brands Hatch. So therefore for it to be removed from the calendar is horrid for me as Brands doesn’t have a race. This decision brings into question the choosing of Grand Prix and where they are held. Certainly expand into new markets but don’t flood them, why do we need a race in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. Why do we need races in China, Japan and Singapore. Why do we need two races in Spain especially when the newest, Valencia is piss poor. The Canadian Grand Prix is probably the only track in the calendar where overtaking is guarenteed. To see it gone really is a sad day for F1. Sod off Bernie.