One of the best drivers in F1 history is retiring this weekend and a career spanning 298 races, four World Championships, 53 wins and 57 pole positions is coming to a close. But that success is only part of why the F1 family will miss him, as the German has become just as big a force off the track as on it.
As testing gets underway, the eagerly anticipated new 2022 F1 cars have all “launched” in one way or another, with everything from the genuine machine taking to the track to digital renders and fake cars. Months of research and development has gone into preparing for the most momentous rule change in F1’s recent history, so why was launch season so full of smoke and mirrors?
Formula 1 is currently racing at the last event in this season’s final triple-header, with back-to-back weekends in Mexico City, São Paulo, and Qatar. The logistical challenge such a period presents is enormous, yet the human effort behind the scenes that keeps the wheels of the sport turning is rarely seen. Only when freight delays threatened to disrupt the schedule of the São Paulo Grand Prix did we get a brief glimpse into the importance of the race behind the race.
Lewis Hamilton had the halo to thank for his lucky escape in his crash with Max Verstappen at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix. Since its introduction, the halo has averted several potentially life-changing accidents and has proved itself despite its early opponents. With the benefit of hindsight, the halo was long overdue.
The power of sport is perhaps best demonstrated through its fans, and there are few more memorable examples than the 1992 track invasion at Silverstone. After the ugly scenes surrounding the 2021 European Championship Final at Wembley stadium, let us cast our minds back to when British passion was displayed in a much more savoury way. The 1992 British Grand Prix provided one of the most iconic moments in Formula 1 history, when Mansell Mania took over.
F1 drivers make their work look effortless on television, as the camera belies the speed and the aggressive forces involved, with their suffering hidden from us under their helmets. The cars corner as if on rails, disguising the struggle within the cockpit. Driving is, for most of us, relatively easy and could never be considered exercise. In F1, however, controlling such powerful machines requires not just skill, but also a high degree of a very specialised type of fitness.
Only six women have ever taken part in a Formula One race weekend, of which only two have successfully qualified to start a race. Despite the attitudes and the odds stacked against women, the future looks bright as initiatives such as the W Series are set to build on the legacies of the early pioneers of women’s motorsport.
Lewis Hamilton’s sparkling F1 career reached new heights in 2020 both on and off the track. However, the 36 year-old from Stevenage cannot be reduced to Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, BBC Sports Personality of the Year, GQ Game Changer of the Year, knight of the realm, or 7-time world champion. Hamilton has become a global icon, and a powerful force for good.
As the Coronavirus pandemic turned the world on its head in 2020, a series of national lockdowns and instructions to stay at home derailed sporting events, among them the 2020 Australian Grand Prix, cancelled just days before the planned race date. How the motorsport community managed to step into the breach is an uplifting tale of entertainment, competition and controversy.
F1’s 2021 pre-season test will take place in Bahrain over the next three days ahead of the Bahrain GP later in the month, after Covid restrictions caused the Australian GP to be postponed. Testing can be revealing and controversial, and although no-one will be stood on the top step of the podium come the end of the weekend, that does not mean that there will not be winners and losers.
F1 pre-season: testing times for Mercedes while F1 remembered Murray Walker, the unforgettable voice of the sport
Pre-season testing took place over the last few days in Bahrain, where the first race of the 2021 F1 season will take place in two weeks’ time. The sport paused on Saturday evening to pay tribute to Murray Walker, one of sport’s most legendary commentators. Mercedes seemed to be on the back foot for the first time in years, while Red Bull looked like genuine title contenders. Testing offered hints as to the shape of the season ahead, while still leaving many questions as yet unanswered.
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