BBC BLOGS - Andrew Benson

Archives for March 2009

Classic Australian GP - the winner

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Andrew Benson | 06:35 UK time, Tuesday, 24 March 2009

You have had your say and we have a winner for our classic Australian Grand Prix feature.

We had an overwhelming response to this idea - and we are thrilled you like it - and the massive favourites from our pick of five classic races were the two title showdowns in Adelaide in 1994 and 1986.

They were both brilliant Grands Prix, providing among the most dramatic climaxes to any Formula 1 season in history.

That being the case, the decision between the two was always likely to be close - and so it proved, with the Michael Schumacher v Damon Hill dogfight in 1994 just edging out the three-way battle between Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet in 1986.

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The problem with winner takes all

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Andrew Benson | 11:53 UK time, Wednesday, 18 March 2009

When Bernie Ecclestone first proposed his idea to settle the Formula 1 drivers' title by number of wins, the immediate response was not favourable.

The sport had just delivered two sensational championship showdowns in a row, in 2007 and 2008, so why fix what was clearly not broken?

Now Ecclestone has got his way, following Tuesday's decision by governing body the FIA, but the idea does not appear to be any more satisfactory than when F1's impresario first made his idea public in November last year.

The best justification for the new system is that, had it been in place for the entire history of F1, it would have left a list of champions that is more satisfying to the purist than the actual list.

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Looking forward to Melbourne

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Andrew Benson | 10:23 UK time, Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Formula One is changing fast. And just one of the ways is that when the 2009 season starts on 27 March in Melbourne, Australia, for the first time that race will be shown at an hour that is almost sociable for viewers in the UK.

As recently as last year, anyone who wanted to watch the Australian Grand Prix live had to be really keen - the race was on at three o'clock in the morning.

This year, though, as part of F1 commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone's drive to keep his core European audience happy while at the same time retaining the sport's truly international flavour, even the most time-zone-unfriendly race of them all has had to shift its start time to 0700 in the UK.

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What can we learn from Vettel's success in Jerez?

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Andrew Benson | 13:47 UK time, Monday, 2 March 2009

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time on the first day of the major Formula One test at Jerez in Spain - a fact that in the normal run of events would be pretty meaningless.

But not this time - an informed source tells me that Vettel's 1.3-second gap to the next fastest car (Felipe Massa's Ferrari) on Sunday cannot be fully explained by the fuel load he was on. In fact, only about half of it can.

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