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Making the most of the F1 season

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Jake Humphrey | 09:42 UK time, Thursday, 11 November 2010

I find it impossible to think that this is it. I said to Harriet, as I packed my bag for the final race of this year, that 2010 has been the fastest 12 months of my life.

I can vividly remember eating pizza in a small restaurant in Richmond back in March as we both apprehensively considered the next nine months of almost constant travel.

In the blink of an eye, it's almost over.

Although I've visited many of the same places, same hotels, even the very same hotel room at times, this year has been an incredibly different journey to the one I took in 2009.

I'll never, ever forget the nerves in the Melbourne pit-lane as F1 returned to the BBC after a long absence almost two years ago. And while the nerves have settled down, the pressure never has.

In 2009, I went into every race having never been there before, feeling anxious, aware I was a total newcomer, looking to please everyone. At the end of what was the most incredible year of my life, I realised that I hadn't actually taken time to step back and enjoy it. I was determined to put that right in 2010.

I think I've managed to do that but, as I've tried to take a step back and be objective about this season, remember the sights and the sounds of a championship year, I wonder if the same can be said of the men who are at the very centre of the storm... the championship contenders.

One of my mottos in life is "savour it". I said it to my wife on our wedding day, to my sister when her first child was born and to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner after last weekend's constructors' title triumph.

As life zips past at an incredible rate and the smallest things become the biggest issues, savouring what is around us is often the last thing we think of doing.

Last weekend in Brazil, for example, David Coulthard turned to me and said: "You'll never see a driver celebrate a win for as long as a team member."

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Zoom in and fly around the Abu Dhabi track
He was referring to the psyche of a driver, the complex psychological make-up that inspires the chosen few to constantly put their neck on the line in pursuit of perfection.

After he picked up pole position last weekend, I asked Nico Hulkenberg what had crossed his mind following the achievement.

"Oh no, two press conferences and then more interviews," was his answer.

He didn't allow himself the indulgence of reflecting on the hard times when an F1 pole was beyond his wildest dreams, or how his family would be celebrating back in Germany. Nope, it was all about what was to come.

F1 doesn't do the present very well. It's all about the next race, the next upgrade, the next season. The constant pursuit of perfection demands that. Live in the now for a fraction of a second and, in this world, it instantly becomes the past.

In this year, of all years, it's been important to take stock of what we are witnessing, to be aware that it may be very many seasons before we encounter another similarly close title battle. And it all comes down to this weekend's final race.

For four of the drivers, there is no looking beyond this weekend. Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton know their entire season - every lap of every track - has distilled to this... one race with everything on the line.

My advice? Tune in, take the phone off the hook and, most of all, savour it. I know I will.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is live on BBC1 (from 1210 GMT) and the BBC Sport website (UK users only) on Sunday with the race starting at 1300 GMT.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Good and nice article to (almost) finish the season off Jake, as ever. I am really looking forward to this race. Anything really can happen, and I hope we end up with a similar scenario to last years race here. The Mclarens dominated pretty much the whole weekend, remember Lewis was on pole by almost seven tenths and Button gave his good fight aswell considering how he had nothing to lose. And Ferrari were nowhere! they didnt even finish in the points nor get through to Q2 for Fisi or Q3 for Kimi. I really hope the form is similar to last year, throw another dice in there!
    Great season Jake, and fantastic forum in Brazil.

  • Comment number 2.

    That was deep Jake. Brill! :)
    I'm at Uni at the mo and my Mum and Dad are visiting this weekend, we were going to go out somewhere. However, I feel we will spend most of Sunday deciding where to watch the race!
    As much as I would love to say "Lewis for the win" I'm going to take Mr Jordan's side and say we'll have to be realistic. So this weekend I think I'll be rooting for the Red Bull boys, "Seb for the win." x

  • Comment number 3.

    great post, jake! can't wait for this sunday! its gonna be great i bet!

  • Comment number 4.

    Cracking season, cracking coverage by the BBC. Will be glued to the TV on Saturday and Sunday...

  • Comment number 5.

    Can't believe the season's nearly over. What a ride, what a spectacle, what truly passionate and heartfelt coverage from the boys and girls at the BBC, especially Jake at the helm. I'll miss spending Sunday's watching you guys.
    I'll be praying for Mark, Seb and particularly Fernando's cars to be struck by lightning on Sunday allowing a Lewis championship but failing that really would love to see Webber take the title in a really entertaining race.
    "Sebastian, Mark is faster than you. Do you understand?"

  • Comment number 6.

    Jake, when the race is over can you finally ask Christian Horner or Adrian Newey to come clean about the totally-legal RB6? It's a phenomenal machine, but they've never explained how the front wing can pass the FIA test yet be visibly close to the track when running at speed. And can you ask about the diffuser/suspension? Even in Brazil, Red Bull mechanics were blocking anyone looking too closely at it. Given that double diffusers will be scrapped next year, surely they've got no reason to keep schtum?

  • Comment number 7.

    Jake,
    You and the team have provided a great season's coverage, and I can't wait to see how you cover this weekend's event.
    No matter what though, both EJ and DC are right about it being the one of the best in a long time, and it has been on the BBC (Brilliant !!!!), so no missing things for commercial reasons....
    Keep up the good work, and roll on 2011, where things can only get even better.
    p.s. Was there a reason for the Forum in Brazil only being 45 mins approx., still good though and very enjoyable to watch as always.

  • Comment number 8.

    Careful now Jake, there's an art to living life at a slower pace! Not sure it's possible in the wonderful world of Formula 1 mind you.

    Great job this season by you and all at the BBC.

  • Comment number 9.

    Hi Jake,

    Once again another excellent blog and I too can't believe we are at the end of what has been a superb F1 season.

    Excellent coverage once again from the BBC in Brazil.

    Nico Hulkenberg's dramatic pole on Saturday was brilliant to see.

    I'm going to be an outsider and hope that Lewis can win the title but he will need a miracle for this to happen as he said after Sunday's race.

    If not, then I'm hoping Webber can win it as I feel that he won't be in the sport next year - he certainly won't be driving for Red Bull that's for sure.

    I'm really hoping Alonso doesn't win again especially after the German GP.

    Lets see what happens it'll be a fabulous weekend of racing that's for sure.

  • Comment number 10.

    Great season. Alonso has to win by more than 7 points to be the bona fide winner.

    Also, do you realise that both Hamilton and Webber need their team mates to help them if they are to win the WC. It could be another driver I suppose but if Webber wins, he could do with Vettel in between him and Alonso. And if Alonso and Webber just happen to wipe each other out and Hamilton wins, he needs Button between him and Vettel! Now that would be a fun result.

    Enjoy the weekend. It will go fast :D
    xJess

  • Comment number 11.

    Jake, don't get it. Genuinely enjoy watching you on TV, think you're quick thinking, charming, and a good overall presenter, but can't stand your blogs! Apologies. I'm here to read about F1 and the Drivers, anything else is fluff. Your blogs are generally full of fluff. Stop talking about yourself and yourself and yourself, and stick to the subject, which is F1. That's my view, and best thing I should do is avoid your blogs and enjoy you on the TV instead!

  • Comment number 12.

    Well done Jake and the team, can not wait till sunday. thanks for a great season with the BBC.

  • Comment number 13.

    Savour It! i doubt your wife is that keen for you repeating this romantic gesture to Red Bull!

  • Comment number 14.

    @ 14 Beawulff
    you can easily get news about drivers etc anywhere. usually it's very anticeptic. most driver's, with a few exceptions, tv personalities are as dull as ditchwater.

    Jake's "fluff" give's an insight into the other side of things, the human side and the simple logistics of doing what he does. I've travelled a lot in the past, it wears you down.

    keep up the blogs jake and keep up the "fluff"

  • Comment number 15.

    11 Beowulf - As has been mentioned before the whole point of a blog is personal reflection - and as such I think Jake does a great job in giving us an insight in to what his life is like. So yes the best thing you can do is avoid the blogs if you don't want to hear about Jake's life as an F1 presenter.

    Keep up the good work Jake. Even though Lee did a good job when you were away, you have made the postion your own and I congratulate you on a job well done.

  • Comment number 16.

    Hi Jake,lovely blog,enjoyed reading it very much thank you.You,DC andEJ have made watching F1 most enjoyable.Should be a good weekend.Take care.

  • Comment number 17.

    Didn't see the forum on Sunday, it wasn't on the red button after the programme finished so gave up waiting.

    Hard to believe the BBC have had F1 again for virtually 2 years already.

  • Comment number 18.

    Dear Jake. What a lovely blog. I liked the bit about your life motto being 'Savour it'. This being a reference to taste or smell surely meant that when you told your sister to savour the birth of her baby, she licked it. Your wife on her wedding day? Did she run around sniffing everything! If this is true, what did Christian Horner do, take a bite out of the track? Have you any other funny incidents your life motto has conjured?

    Great coverage from you and the team. Thank you.

  • Comment number 19.

    #11 The clue is in the "About the blog" bit: "I'll be using this blog to share my experiences of life on the circuit."

    If you don't like this, then I think you should be reading, Brundle, Murray Walker, or even Sarah Holt. Maybe you haven't grasped the concept of a blog, compared with an article or feature...

    Jake, excellent blog, and well done for another great season. I know you should take on board all criticism, but seriously, ignore this fool Beawulff!

    Enjoy the close season break, you've earned it.

  • Comment number 20.

    And also #11, has it taken you ALL SEASON to figure out what Jake blogs about?

    Oh dear...

  • Comment number 21.

    Jake,

    I would like to congratulate you and the BBC team for another year of great F1 coverage. I have enjoyed it very much including the forums.

    Maybe over the off-season you could give us some insights into the other presenting you have done for other events and how it has compared to the F1 coverage. Not exactly the topic of the blog here, but it would be great to compare your thoughts and views on how the coverage of the other events went like the Commonwealth Games, the NFL games - the International meet and the Superbowl and of course not forgetting the upcoming SPOTY.

    Thanks again for the F1 coverage and may it long stay on the BBC. I am looking forward to another great race in Abu Dhabi. Hope you have some great plans for your final show of the year with F1. Hope the title goes to Webber, he deserves it after the many years he has been with the sport, just remember the luck he has had times.

    Cheers,
    Flaxis

  • Comment number 22.

    Jake if you are about to get the very first interview from the new WDC, you reach the last step on the podium ,your microphone breaks .Would you pull over to let DC do the interview so that Sky dont scoop it????

  • Comment number 23.

    Jake,

    thanks for the fluffy blogs!

    Cheers

  • Comment number 24.

    Jake

    How was the upscaled HD coverage received in the last week? Is there any plans afoot to film next years races in HD? I know the cost is monumental compared to SD OB's but I think it would bring it more in line with other top sports, what do you think?

    Cheers

  • Comment number 25.

    Hi Jake,
    Nice job. I enjoy watching you, and all the team (except Jonathan of course).

    Had an idea for the lead-up to a GP next year :
    There was an article in the French press recently by Sébastien Grosjean, sometime Renault F1 driver, about all the things that the drivers have to fix on the warm-up lap. Not just getting tyres and brakes up to temperature, but doing the clutch settings for a good start and all sorts of other uber-technical stuff. He said that the engineers were talking the drivers through it all the way around the lap.

    It would be interesting if you could record this some time and let us hear it, perhaps at the next race, so we can get a handle on it.

  • Comment number 26.

    do you think Grosjean was still setting up his clutch when he hit Button up the arse at Spa??

  • Comment number 27.

    I can't wait for Abu Dhabi!!!!

    I am seriously gob smacked at this season as a whole. it has had ups and downs aplenty and I love the fact it has gone right down to the wire. I am looking for a specific result, so fingers crossed for that (more of a 2 guys not winning it really!) :O)

    Also, its nice to have a season ender on at lunch time, the early races really messed with my weekend body clock!

    Jake, I have savoured every lap, every second of coverage, every interview and every moment shouting at the telly for one reason or another. Here's to the last race *sniff*, another season closing... and on to the next year eh!!?? WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 28.

    Jake,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

    As life throws its challenges to you and Harriet, I hope you will remember the wise words here.

  • Comment number 29.

    Hi Jake - thanks for the blogs, and the coverage - I think you do an excellent job.

    And now for some wishful thinking...

    Red Bull lock out the front row, as usual. Alonso grabs 3rd, with Massa separating Lewis and Jenson to complete the first 3 rows. Lewis gets a bad start and drops back behind Massa, who is passed by Jenson halway round the first lap. The Red Bulls of Vettel and Webber eke out a fairly marginal advantage over Alonso, who knows he will have to overtake in order to win. Luckily for him, Seb has a dodgy wheel nut on his stop, and he drops to P3 behind the Ferrari, but in front of the somewhat tardy McLaren of Button.

    Alonso now knows that all he has to do is hold off Vettel in order to win. Webber, in the lead, knows this too, so he starts to back up Alonso towards Vettel. But for some reason, the young German seems reluctant to attempt a pass!

    This all becomes moot, when, on lap 50, Alonso's fragile engine finally gives up the ghost, accompanied by various pyrotechnics. This leaves Vettel right behind Webber with just 5 laps to go! And boy does he want to overtake now! But try as he might, he simply cannot pass the crafty Aussie (Button, 2009). It boils down to a frantic last lap, and the Crash Kid just cannot contain himself - he tries an impossible move at the second to last corner, and they're both out!

    This leaves Jenson in first place, just a handful of seconds down the road due to some nicely-performing tyres on his second stint. The quick-thinking Brit sees the Red Bull mess near the penultimate corner (ably assisted by some frantic radio transmissions), and deliberately brakes too early and too hard for that same corner. The hapless Massa has no chance, and shortly finds himself with a face full of silver rear wing - leaving Lewis Hamilton to take the race win on the final corner... AND THE TITLE!*

    I guess this is all a little far-fetched...but I just can't wait! Roll on Saturday morning!


    *In the ensuing inquest, Jenson denies that he was told to brake harder. No proof can be found, as his radio was broken for the duration of the final lap...

    Massa is subsequently awarded the race win, leaving Lewis just 6 points shy of Alonso. However, as everyone else bar the Mercedes cars was lapped, Webber and Vettel take 5th and 6th respectively...giving Mark the title by two points!

  • Comment number 30.

    Nice blog Jake. Sadly, despite the closeness of the season, I can't get away from the fact that Ferrari and Alonso have benefited from a wrong - a team order which they knew was wrong and yet did it anyway.

    If Alonso benefits ultimately by the number of points, 7, that he gained from that wrong, then the whole season for me will feel hollow and F1 will not have moved on from the dark days of 2007.

    I don't begrudge Alonso the title, I just want it won fairly. Other than that, it has been a good season but there needs to be more close racing. Maybe next season, F1 will finally sort out the aerodynamics to allow close racing.

  • Comment number 31.

    re: 20. At 2:43pm on 11 Nov 2010, Blogcabin wrote:

    '...And also #11, has it taken you ALL SEASON to figure out what Jake blogs about?...'

    Yes! My apologies. Just, getting to the end of the season I've been getting my F1 fix here and elsewhere regularly. I've read most of the blogs all season, and thank you also to the other patronising fellows who tried to encourage me to discover what a blog was. But of all the blogs here, I've found Jake's particularly dull and uninteresting, which I found completely at odds with his lovely TV style.

    However, if that was his intent, and he has a loyal fan base interested in his movements, keep up the good work! I'll stick to the Martin Brundle's of the world - who I also think is a terrific commentator.

  • Comment number 32.

    Oh! sorry, missed the bit you calling me a fool! That's completely unnecessary isn't it? Would you like it if I called you names when you were critical of anything you read on this or any other site? Let me try: Aren't you a complete.....? Nah, can't be bothered. Not here for that. I do have a vivid interest in all things F1, and for that reason, I read as much on this and other sites.

    Now, if you want some genuine criticism, I have noticed Jake's comments, "I'll be using this blog to share my experiences of life on the circuit." And I've looked at and wondered why on earth is his blog, about 'life on the circuit', so damn uninteresting - for me - to read? I think the 'fluff' Jake's chosen to share about his life 'on the circuit' is mind numbingly boring. You'd have to have a sponge for a brain to like it...

    Now that is my opinion Mr Blogcabin. Do you want to continue the name calling that you started?

  • Comment number 33.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 34.

    Well done Jake, with things like your blog, twitter and behind the scenes features you've brought the bbc's coverage bang up to date and made it more of a personal experience! The 3 amigos provide us with lots to think about while still being entertaining! Also on behalf of the female petrol-heads: thank you BBC for giving us some delicious eye candy, Harriet is a very lucky lady!!

  • Comment number 35.

    With all the various permutations being bandied about the one no one has considered is a strong showing of the Mclarens- specifically JB who did quite well here last year.
    It would be quite interesting if JB and LH qualified in front of FA behind the Bulls and these positions wouldn't change going into the final lap. Don't forget Mclaren is still fighting Ferrari for second place in the constructors crown and don't want to be beaten.
    Should Massa gets his act together finally- it could throw another variable into the mix.. BRING IT ON!!!! I can't wait.

  • Comment number 36.

    Great article. But i'm baffled why this is being called the closest in years. Surely 2007 when Kimi Raikkonen pipped both Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton by a single point should be considered a fairly close championship. Yes?

    Or how about 2008, when the title was decided on the final bend, of the final lap, of the final race?

    Both quite close I'm sure you'll agree.

  • Comment number 37.

    Great article Jake! This really has been the best season of F1 I can remember in a long time and what a great place to finish the season as well. I was at Yas Marina 2 weeks ago and it is a stunning location to finish the season.

    As much as I would love Lewis to win the championship, realistically it's got to be Webber.

    COME ON LEWIS (OR MARK)!!!

  • Comment number 38.

    I reckon the racing has been excellent this season. Cars can overtake when they are better. The drivers get found out and thats what it is about.
    I'de like Webber to win (being an Oz) the drivers title but I've always reckoned Alonso is the best driver and Vettel is the quickest.
    If Webber wins I hope he retires and if he doesn't, carry on.
    Only Vettel can hand him the title on a plate and he will given the right
    circumstances where he can't win. He's an excellent character.

  • Comment number 39.

    I'm a blogging virgin so be gentle! Have loved the season, you've really grown into the job Jake, I think now you're relaxed so are the viewers. I like the 'chatty' blog, makes you a proper human being not just a techie petrol head- no offence.
    Got to be honest though Jake, I'm a 'Brundler' he's a God! Why doesn't he have a blog too?
    Fingers crossed for a Webber win, he deserves it. Sunday's will be less exciting without you guys.
    Favourite quote of the season- " We told him but he wouldn't listen" when referring to DC and his wearing of white jeans, a golden moment!
    Well done all at BBC, see you next year.

  • Comment number 40.

    Championship would be even more close with old points system (10 / 8 / 6 / 5 / 4 / 3 / 2 / 1) !!! Especially for Hamilton !!

    Current standings:
    1. Alonso - new points system: 246 points - old points system: 99 points
    2. Webber - new points system: 238 points - old points system: 96 points
    3. Vettel - new points system: 231 points - old points system: 94 points
    4. Hamilton - new points system: 222 points - old points system: 92 points

    So for the top 3 the new point system doesn't change a thing:
    - Alonso is still champion if he finishes top 2 !
    - Webber is still champion if he wins and Alonso is third or worse !
    - Vettel is still champion if he wins and Alonso isn't top 4 !

    But for Hamilton there is a difference !!! With the old points system Hamilton would be champion if:
    Hamilton wins - Alonso isn't top 6 (instead of out the top 10 !) - Webber isn't top 3 (instead of out of top 5) - Vettel isn't top 2 (remains the same).

  • Comment number 41.

    why has the BBC F1 Qualifying live footage been sped up??? has any one else noticed this? I have the facility to do this on my laptop but don't need it this time!!!

  • Comment number 42.

    What if Vettel Wins, Webber 2nd and Alonso 5th all finishing on 256 points!!

  • Comment number 43.

    Enjoyed your return to racing Jake, must be good to get lessons from Herbert and Alesi. Do you or anyone else know what the background music was when you were chasing Alesi around in the A1 GP cars? It's been bugging me since I watched the feature, and my music recognition app won't recognise it. Looking forward to the race, come on Webber and Hamilton!

  • Comment number 44.

    Hamiton wins (247) Vettel 3rd(246) Webber 6th(246) and alonso 11th(246) that would be interesting!

  • Comment number 45.

    What a fantastic season for F1 and all the better for the BBC coverage. I spent all afternoon in front of the TV and the 'red button forum' but it was all worth it - fantastic coverage, some of the best TV I've seen, absolutely brilliant job - well done to you Jake and everyone else on the team.

  • Comment number 46.

    Hey Jake
    Nice article and have loved following you, and the guys, around the world this year.
    It has been great season, made all that much more enjoyable with the involvement of so many possible championship winners. The introduction of the new points system has been a great success. I just wonder, how would the championship table have looked with the old system? Anybody got an idea?

  • Comment number 47.

    What a great season of F1, the title race the up's and down's of all the teams. Well done Red bull!

  • Comment number 48.

    Jake and Team,

    I have followed F1 some 20 years now and all I can say is that was the BEST season ever, the beeb has excelled its self in bring the fans closer to the action from DC test the RB6 to EJ going full scrum to get Seb for interview.

    The Combo of good music,good VT’s along with Martin’s grid walks have made the 2010 season one to remember and everybody seems to have hit a winning formula.

    Its going to be the longest 15 weeks of my life, a Christmas 2010 show on the cards??

  • Comment number 49.

    it been 1 of the best season i supported alonso from day 1 him and Ferrari hav had a tough year but the to english boys done amazing cant wait to next year for formula 1 hope it is better than this year

  • Comment number 50.

    This seems as good a place as any to say, what I've been thinking for a while.

    Truth is, when I first heard that you were to be on the BBC F1 team, I can safely say I wasn't too sure about the decision.

    Now, I would like to say that, you've proved those unsure of you, that there was no reason to be unsure of you now and in my view, this has been the case for some time.

    Keep up the good work Jake! Best wishes for coming seasons and that goes for the team in 2011 too.

 

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