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Spanish Grand Prix fire shows dangers of F1

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Jake Humphrey | 15:04 UK time, Monday, 14 May 2012

My flight back to London from the Spanish Grand Prix was full of tired mechanics, exhausted race engineers and sleepy drivers - all of them recovering from an extraordinary weekend of mixed emotions in Barcelona.

It was a very strange feeling on the plane, alongside plenty of Williams personnel who were torn between celebrating a monumental win for the team, yet understandably concerned about their colleagues who remain in hospital after the pit lane fire on Sunday evening.

People know motorsport in inherently dangerous, and that F1 can never rest on its laurels as far as safety is concerned, however, that doesn’t mean it’s not easy to become blasé about our working environment.

Let’s take the pre-race show we do for example. Along with plenty of other media personnel, photographers and guests, we’re in a pit lane surrounded by fuel, electronically charged KERS units, all manner of other mechanical equipment, not to mention F1 cars leaving garages or scorching past at 60mph. The same applies to the grid.

Williams garage fire

31 people were injured following a fire at the Williams team garage after the Spanish Grand Prix. Photo: Getty

However, with no driver death since 1994 and serious injuries or nasty accidents mercifully rare, it is easy to forget an F1 track still remains a dangerous place.

As the fire blazed in the Williams garage and a horrible acrid smoke filled the air, there was genuine shock this was happening. Most people currently involved in the sport were not around in the dark days when dramatic incidents were common.

It was so unexpected I initially thought it was an old diesel engine starting up, David Coulthard assumed it was a catering fire, and some thought Williams were letting off a flare as a celebration.

The people I’ve spoken to on the flight, and in the departure lounge, actually paint a much more serious picture with Frank Williams and the whole team celebrating their win in the garage as the fuel explosion happened.

At this point is worth mentioning not only the Williams crew who were clearly well trained and dealt with the situation quickly, but also the members of the nearby teams such as Toro Rosso, Force India and HRT who reportedly didn’t think twice before diving in to help the situation.

F1 can seem like such a safe and sterile environment with its perfectly clean garages, and the garage interiors transformed each race by the plastic walls they construct, all in team colours of course. It looks modern, safe and made-for-tv. The reality is that it is still a garage like any other and, for all the commercially driven, PR-controlled world that the viewers see, it remains dangerous.

Thankfully the injuries were limited to just a handful of people. Williams suffered extensive damage to their garage and equipment, including plenty of laptops and other bits of kit which will be frantically replaced before Monaco.

However, as ever, the real cost is human and we’re all thankful it wasn’t more serious.

In fact, it’s not just the garages that can be dangerous places. With just moments left of the race, Eddie Jordan decided he’d love to go and congratulate Frank Williams and went haring off to find him – as only Eddie does. I was sitting in the McLaren hospitality area and Eddie re-appeared just moments latter grimacing in pain.

“I think I’ve broken my ankle,” he wailed. I looked down and his foot was starting to swell outside of his shoe. It transpired he’d tripped on his way to see Frank, and his ankle had taken the brunt of the impact.

Eddie was quite a driver in his day, and like many racing drivers of his era, he lives with damaged ankles from crashing cars.

So, picture the scene. Pastor crosses the line to win and, instead of celebrating, we’re getting Eddie’s foot raised up and tracking down some ice to take down the swelling whilst poor old EJ looks like he might pass out.

I was wondering if I’d have to head outside to host the post-podium celebrations alone, however, ever the soldier, EJ was able to cope with the pain and he hobbled out to cover the end of the race with me.

And what a win.

Pastor has come in for a fair amount of criticism. It’s no secret that he comes with a large chunk of change from Venezuela, which was reportedly one of the big reasons for him replacing Nico Hulkenberg in 2011.

Well, what do we make of his talents now? He’s spent most of the season fighting the Ferraris, and now he’s beaten them. It wasn’t a fluke but genuine pace.

As for Eddie’s foot, well by the time we went on to the F1 Forum the pain was too much and, after the wonderful McLaren doctor Aki strapped it up, we eventually resorted to pushing Eddie around on a tyre trolley to get him around.

Thankfully, as Eddie lives in Monaco, he can now have a rest for a week or so, as we’re heading his way for the next race. And what on earth can Monaco have in store for us?

It’s remarkable to think we’ve had five different race winners in the past five races, and it seems nobody is able to explain why it’s happened or how the following races might play themselves out.

In Spain, we saw Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel lose pace throughout the weekend. Williams and Ferrari weren’t expected to have the pace to out-race Lotus, whilst Sauber had another strong race.

There wasn’t a Mercedes, McLaren or Red Bull in the top five on the grid.

Who was your driver of the day? I loved watching Lewis’ drive. He has really impressed me this season.

Mind you, one thing that has almost gone unnoticed amongst all the excitement is that we’re already a quarter of the way through the 2012 Formula One season. And if the next 15 races are anything like the first five, then we’re in for some season.

Thanks for sticking with the BBC for the action. We’ve been delighted with the viewing figures and I love seeing your thoughts on Twitter – keep them coming and let’s hope Eddie’s ankle lasts the distance!

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    " mercilessly rare"..? Well, I suppose we all know what you meant, more or full... erm.

    Wil

  • Comment number 2.

    great coverage beeb team,the three amigos are great,congrats to yous and your production team.it is miles better than sky.esp the build up and the aftershow(f1 forum).

    disappointed mclaren keep messing hamilton up.congrats to pastor and alonso,the man is like a wizard.moano is going to be great.the best bbc race aftershow it is better than the race itself,the RB swimming pool had a lot of laughs during that.keep up the great work

  • Comment number 3.

    That's dangerous? Do I need to remind you of the 1973 race in Zandvoort?

  • Comment number 4.

    An extraordinary weekend. Best wishes to all the injured.
    Not surprising you have the viewing figures BTW, as BBC access is about 10:1 with Sky households.

  • Comment number 5.

    Given EJ's recent accident and love of colourful things perhaps you can buy him a parrot and an eyepatch. It may even get you onto some of the more restricted access yachts in the harbour at Monaco... Arrrrrrr

  • Comment number 6.

    Nice to have a full race coverage again; the highlights package from Bahrain was rubbish.

    I know we're stuck with this situation, but would it be possible for some of the commentary to be redone when the highlights are put together. Something like "Lap 35 now and A is still in the lead, B's challenge is diminishing and he's dropped 10 seconds back due to tyre wear, C is consistantly half second off the pace and is looking out of contention now in third 30 seconds behind". Wouldn't take Ben long and it would help us follow what's happening. In Bahrain we had instances of close battles turning into huge gaps, lots of meaningless shots of pitstops one after the other and no idea ehat was happening.

    Just a thought

  • Comment number 7.

    what a weekend, congratulations to all at Williams on a great team effort. . . typical schumacher response to the crash. . . everyones fault but his, perhaps its time to consider your future (again) Mr S !! after all it seems you dont like the tyres, moan about your car, and now the other drivers are clearly in your way to often as well. . .grow up and go count your Euro's you bad loser

  • Comment number 8.

    Yeah, probably should read Mercifully not mercilessly, but other than that, great blog!

  • Comment number 9.

    Were it not for McClaren's sudden incompetence in all things F1, then I think we wouldn't have had 5 different winners so far

    They seem to have a gun pointed squarely at their feet

  • Comment number 10.

    So thrilled for all at the WIlliams team on the win - thoughts and prayers with them all tho after the fire.

    As always your race coverage was excellent, but it was such a shame that freeview customers didn't get the forum after the race. I don't want to say that if we had sky/virgin we'd probably be watching them, because I love watching you all. But it's a shame that you are penalising the one audience who have stuck by you/don't want to subscribe. And not all households have internet access to watch it online.

  • Comment number 11.

    Love the Williams win. Would love them to be back to their best.

    I groaned when Lewis mentioned about fighting back before the start of the race. How? you can't fight back cos you're too busy going slow so as to conserve the tyres.

    I hate these tyres!!!

    This season is pants cos the drivers and teams aren't given the chance to go as flat out as possible. I want to see the fastest drivers drive the fastest and the best overtakers overtake.

    Raikkanon said he had 1 chance to overtake Vettel last race and then his tyres gave up. How does this help improve overtaking? You have to have KERS and DRS to compensate for a rubbish decision to use useless tyres. Get proper tyres and keep KERS and DRS.

    2007 and 2008 were fantastic years for overtaking. Much less of it but the overtakes were right at the cutting edge. And then if you were an Alonso, Lewis, Massa or Raikkanon fan, these were 2 seasons of on-the-edge-of-your-seat championships.

    For the first time in my life I applauded Schumacher when he made comments about driving like being behind the saftey car.

    I would sacrifice 90% of the overtakes to get back to demon fast driving and overtakes you had to work for.

    Oh, did I mention, love the Williams win?

  • Comment number 12.

    I agree with 'adrenilenepotato'.

    BBC Coverage is brilliant (I have Sky Sports too) - the only good thing about Sky F1 is Martin and Ted, but if the action is live on BBC I will always watch it.

    More head cams on the top drivers would be nice.... all those amazing overtakes from the drivers eyes (almost).

  • Comment number 13.

    BBC is the best for coverage absolutely.

    Hope that the team from Williams are okay. Such a shame that such a brilliant weekend has been tarnished.

    I agree with the comments above about the tyres this season, they are terrible!
    What will happen to them in Monaco?
    http://playwithflair.com/2012/04/12/monaco/

  • Comment number 14.

    Great to see a Williams back winning with a Renault engine, lets not forget them. Great coverage and can't wait for another Williams win in Monaco, hopefully this time the driver with his family name that is on the front of the car. How good would it be to see a Senna on the winners poduim again?

  • Comment number 15.

    Can someone do some analysis to see if Lewis would have been even faster on 3 stops? Vettel managed 4 stops and a drive through. If Lewis did 3 or 4 stops, could he not have gone flat out every lap so not getting stuffed behind Massa, again!!!

    And the naff decision over having these tyres. How does it help with the overtaking if you kill your tyres after 1 attempt at overtaking or sitting behind someone for 6 laps trying to find a way passed?

    Feel gutted for Raikkonen last race and Alonso this race. Would Alonso have taken Maldonado if F1 used proper tyres? Alonso is by far the best driver this year. I have maximum respect for the guy. Loved his congrats to Lewis after Quali. I am a dedicated Lewis fan though. For me he just rejuvenated F1 in 2007 and 2008. Got F1 by the throat and throttled it half to death.

  • Comment number 16.

    Great job again by Jake and the team. Not so for the stewards with Hamilton, Schumacher and Massa getting harshly treated where as in the last grand prix you could do anything and not get a penalty.

    Getting a bit fed up with the tyre lottery, is it too much to ask that drivers can actually push and race in a race without their tyres falling apart?? Webber has now joined Schumacher in speaking out about it. Will the more Pirelli PR brainwashed (this is good for the show)(a lottery show) drivers also speak out or is it too much to ask?

    Could someone please tell me were on the BBC website I can watch the on-board feeds or pit-channel for live races??

  • Comment number 17.

    I can't agree with the other comments here. Sky coverage is excellent, and having their own dedicated F1 channel allows them to have far more coverage both before and after the race - all in HD too.

    ITV was terrible, BBC was excellent, but Sky should be commended for the awesome job they have done - they know how to televise sport!

  • Comment number 18.

    Great also to see Pastor win as he is unfairly labeled as just a pay driver when he performed good against Rubens last year for his rookie year. He could be good at Monaco too as he is very good on street circuits so watch out.

    Hope everyone is ok after the fire.

  • Comment number 19.

    Thank to #1 and #8 for pointing out the misuse of the word mercilessly. We have corrected this to mercifully.

  • Comment number 20.

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

  • Comment number 21.

    And another thought on why the tyres are rubbish for the sport...

    For the past number of years, there's been a drive to bring down costs yet you now have a tyre that looks to need a massive amount of development i.e. money, in order to be able to use them. If the Likes of McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull can't get a car to use it's tyres even half way decent from race to race with the amount of cash they have to splash, how can the smaller teams?

  • Comment number 22.

    Hi Jake,

    Great blog as usual.

    The Spanish GP was a very dramatic race and with so many incidents it's hard to remember them all.

    Huge Lewis/McLaren fan so not going to dwell on his qualifying result, but the punishment was very harsh. Why they didn't start him in 10th I have no idea.

    Congratulations to Pastor Maldonado and all at Williams and it was refreshing to see Williams back to race winning form.

    I watched qualifying, race and the forum all on the BBC as Sky's coverage lacks any warmth.

    The forum was very funny especially the start when the McLaren doctor attended EJ's foot and later EJ being pushed on the Force India trolley. Sky need someone like EJ to add some laughter to their presenting. Shame about the fire in the Williams garage and hope everyone recovers well.

    Looking forward to watching the Monaco GP again all on the BBC.

    What a season this turning out to be.

    Predictions don't exist in F1 2012!

  • Comment number 23.

    I think part of the problem with the BBC coverage this year stems from the part time coverage. This results in the lack of continuity. If the presenters get used to doing highlights and and race packages, the lack of spontaneity shows through when they are faced with a live situation. This is especially the case with Coulthard and the dreadful Ben Edwards.
    It really needs a very strong producer and its clear that this is one of the parts that are missing.
    The worst of the lot though is Mr Humfries - he seems to be presenting programmes entirely for his own benefit and nobody else s.
    My feeling is that the BBC really ought to give up F1 - you're either in or out. Give up charging the license fee and stand (or fall) on your output.
    If this was the case, Mr Humfries would rapidly be back in the land of the teletubbies where he came from.

  • Comment number 24.

    @ No 23.
    Well said.

  • Comment number 25.

    It was a fantastic race and greately covered by the BBC (boys).
    What a releave to have the 3 amigo's on the telly explaining it all.
    Pastor showed he's worth every penny and so is Alonso and Hamilton, Lewis specialy after getting picked on "again" and handed a verry harsh sentence imo.
    And what about Schumacher, is he for real? What an idiot, "again", and he get's 5 place gridpenalty for "again" an onslaught on an other drivers life!?!
    There certenly are biased rules in F1, what if it would have been another driver who drove in to the back of somebody, would he have come of so lightly?
    Schumacher is to frustrated, to arrogant and to stuppid to drive in F1.
    Who's going to take the blame if he actualy kill's someone?
    And he will, mark my words, kill someone... if not himself.

  • Comment number 26.

    The BBC coverage is rubbish. I couldn't agree more.

  • Comment number 27.

    TSN in Canada slows all the F! races live, using the BBC commentary. Martin Brundle is missed, admittedly but the Beebs commentary continues to be excellent. TSN interrupts the race for ad breaks which is a real pain and we get just 2 hours, a 5 min preamble and the race interview at the end. But a real professional package which has alot of followers. Thank you BBC

  • Comment number 28.

    I don't buy into this sudden bout of tyre-slagging one bit. Pirelli have provided the tyres, as briefed... and every team gets the same tyres. In the meantime, however, a year of relatively stable regulations has meant that some of the smaller teams have been able to 'catch up' in terms of developing all the other aspects of the car... which has given us a field of cars that are far more equal in performance than they have been for decades.

    This means that results are, more than ever, all down to the individual skill of the driver and pit-crews... rather than the preserve of a few pampered multi-million funded elite teams, who can drive off into the distance by the sheer power of money alone.

    In short, what we're witnessing today is more akin to racing, rather than a parade of big pockets.

    Wil

  • Comment number 29.

    can we stop turning Jake's excellent blog into a BBC vs Sky debate please? it's getting tiresome!! Both channels are doing a great job - some prefer one channel, some prefer the other, some like watching both… there are plenty of forums for that debate.

    Was a great race, so unpredictable! really wish I had put money on the williams to win.
    Pastor did say through the buildup to raceday that he had good race pace in the practice sessions, but after I backed both the Lotuses for the pole and won nothing I got shy of William Hill ….


    I read one guy from Williams got nasty burns, Jake - is that correct?
    Looked like quite a big fireball that erupted, could have easily been worse.

    Recon you'll feel a little uncomfortable the next time you casually wander through a team garage?!...

  • Comment number 30.

    Really happy for Williams (especially as I live just round the corner from their factory).

    I've decided that the best viewing combo for the races that BBC show in full is pre race stuff on BBC then switch to Sky for Martin's grid walk and race coverage as Ben Edwards commentary is annoying then back to BBC for post race analysis and forum.

    Wish mclaren would stop mucking things up!

  • Comment number 31.

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

  • Comment number 32.

    Congratulations on another weekend of great coverage, both on and off the track.

    What a fantastic result for Pastor Maldonado and Williams - it's been quite a wait for Williams to get back on the top of the podium and it was brilliant to see the sheer joy and exhilaration of the first F1 win for Maldonado. He certainly answered any questions over whether "pay" drivers really have what it takes to be out there with the likes of Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel and Raikkonen.

    I hope that Williams can remember the weekend for Maldonado's win and not the terrible fire afterwards. It's easy to forget that the danger is not just on the track and pit lane, but also in the back of the pits. With ever-increasing use of energy recovery and battery systems in cars, the increased risks of sparks, shorts and electrical faults will be something teams have to factor in going forwards, especially if engine sizes decrease and larger, more powerful KERS systems are introduced (I'm not sure how true it is, but I've heard there could be megajoule systems in the future as opposed to the current kilojoule systems). I hope the events of the weekend don't cause teams to back away from working on these new technologies.

    Five races in, this is shaping up to be a dramatic, unpredictable and thoroughly compelling season. I can't wait till Monaco.

  • Comment number 33.

    I have Sky's HD pack which this year includes F1.

    Sure, they do a great job, but the Sky snobs are conveniently ignoring the fact that Sky have effectively copied the BBC's unique format for presenting F1 and of course poached most of the talent from the BBC.

    The BBC revolutionised F1 in the UK and Sky so far have failed to live up to the hype. Georgie Thompson the convicted drink-driver is excruciatingly embarrassing to watch. Average Joe would have lost his job for drink-driving. What's going to happen next year when (it's rumoured) F1 is moved to a Sky Sports subscription package?

    I think the BBC have done a decent job with their live broadcasts. Entertaining and informative. I've not bothered with the highlights programmes I'm afraid. Ben Edwards is a great addition to the team, he should have been commentating in F1 a long time ago. EJ's pit-lane transport this week was hilarious, I just can't wait to see what happens in Monaco...

    I'm afraid that Sky are shooting themselves in the foot by having advert breaks when they're head-to-head with the BBC because most viewers (Sky snobs excepted) will switch over to BBC1 instead of watching adverts. What I love about the BBC's live coverage is that it's continuous. No breaks, no adverts, just pure unadulterated F1 build-up and post-race analysis. Keep up the great work :-)

  • Comment number 34.

    Great resumé Jake. It says it all. Hope EJ gets better very soon. Lewis's pit crew need a kick up the proverbial for their lack of professionalism. This is one of the most exciting seasons yet. Keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 35.

    I'm loving the fact that the results are so unpredictable right now, but I do tend to think that Schumacher (for his many faults, including not being able to admit when he's actually *at* fault) has a point about it being a shame that races are becoming an exercise in driving slowly. Mark Webber sounds frustrated by it too judging by his post race interview with Lee.

    Referring to the Schumacher / Senna incident, it was quite clearly a simple misunderstanding and in the end a misjudgment from Schumacher. Vettel's blocking move to Raikkonen in the last round was not dissimilar to be honest although Senna was less to blame here than Vettel would have been if Raikonnen had hit him then.

    Many congratulations to Maldonado and to Williams, and so glad that nobody appears to have been seriously hurt from that alarming fire. I think Senna has shown the potential to run close to the front too, and this weekend was very much a blip - a win from him would be great to see!

    Hoping to see Lewis and Jenson fighting it out for the Monaco win, but I wouldn't object to seeing a Lotus take the honours ... never mind a potential six different winning drivers in six races, that would make it eight in eight going back to the Abu Dhabi GP last year, and that would be quite some run!

  • Comment number 36.

    It seems to me LH and FA are in a very good mood in their relathionship. I love that cause as spanish i support Alonso but as fan there is no doubt for me LH is the man.
    Also impressed by the maturity of Maldonado not only in the track but everywhere.

    I want to post a funny conversation Maldonado had with Alonso about Kimi who was beside them after the race, It was in spanish so you couldnt understand.

    Mal-> And that guy (pointed to Kimi) was coming fast?
    Alonso-> Ye, very, he almost got me
    Mal-> really?
    Alonso-> Ye i think one more lap and even you are in serious trouble
    Mal-> Smile

  • Comment number 37.

    I'm not complaining about what Pirelli have done, I'm complaining about the decision to use this sort of tyre.

    Once the bigger teams get a grasp on these tyres, the smaller teams won't be anywhere unless they spend more.

    And I don't believe that what we have at the moment is more akin to racing. Has anyone read Mark Hughes views on the tyres in Autosport?
    Racing should be all about driving faster than the next guy all the time. When I go racing, I drive as fast as I can, ALL THE TIME. I don't poodle about a bit, bang in a couple of good laps (by my standard), and then poodle about a bit more.
    If you don’t believe that’s what racing is all about, ignore me and listen to a race driver i.e. Michael Schumacher and now Mark Webber. I bet even Lewis would be on the same bandwagon if it weren’t for him wanting to keep a low profile and get on with what he loves doing – beating the worlds fastest drivers in the fastest cars by driving the fastest.

    The only reason we have 5 different teams/drivers winning this year is because of the tyre LOTTERY, not because of drivers racing skill. The tyre works well under certain conditions for some car/driver pairings and for other car/driver pairings in other conditions. And if you are talking about driver skill, it has to be the skill in managing the tyre. I have zero interest in who is the ‘world-champion-at-tyre-management’. Whooh, exciting stuff. I'm interested in a world champion driver and team who drove faster than the rest and who overtook the best.

    If a car and driver pairing can win a race, they should have a good chance of coming high up in most other races. If this is not the case, then it’s a lottery.

    For my part, it's not a sudden bout of tyre slagging. I didn't like the tyres last year (good races from 2nd down, naff championship – as someone said in a post), and I hate them this year.

    We're watching a lottery my friends. A bit like whether McLaren is gonna screw up again. Actually, wait a minute, that seems a certainty this year.

    As I said in a previous post, 2007/8 were the best years (this century), for racing. Yes, racing. 2005/6 and 9 were very close. All 3 were nail biting stuff because there was very little ‘lottery’ in the results.

    Have I mentioned my annoyance at drivers also having to manage fuel levels?

  • Comment number 38.

    re. 36

    very glad to read your post.

    the media (certainly in the UK, I don't know about in Spain) seem to still think that Fernando and Lewis' relationship is summarised by certain events of 2007. Complete rubbish in my view; it seems clear to me that the two of them have a lot of mutual respect as competitors, and FA clearly fell out with the team management (and in particular Ron) as opposed to LH.

    The things that went on on-track in '07 (the saga of the pitstop blocking incident for example) were a result of the intensity of the competition at the time, and pretty quickly forgotten about after the season was done, I feel. I have to admit to being a big fan of Lewis' driving, have long been impressed by Jenson too, but as a fearsome all round competitor who will extract the last ounce and never give up, Fernando is unparalleled in my view.

    Thanks for the snippet of Spanish translation - an amusing insight!!

  • Comment number 39.

    For those moaning about the presenting team may I suggest that you tune in for the race and then turn off the tv once the race has finished?!! I think JH, DC and EJ make the programme what it is - a very enjoyable and knowledgable few hours.

  • Comment number 40.

    Firstly, I'm relieved to hear that there were no serious injuries, or worse, in the terrible fire in the Williams garage. What a shame that it ruined what was a fantastic and long overdue race win for them.

    I have to take issue with those saying the forum is fantastic. In my opinion it has gone down hill rapidly this year, and to a lesser extent last year as well. In 2010 the forum tended to be based in the hospitality centre of one team after each race, and various drivers, team personnel and past drivers would come in and have a chat.

    Now we are reduced to the three stooges wandering aimlessly up and down the paddock, interviewing fork lift drivers, team personnel having their after -race meal, and various other members of the commentating team, 5Live team, past commentators (MB!) and pundits. No insight, and cringeworthy to watch, capped off this weekend by 10 minutes taken up with Eddie Jordan's ankle.

    It seems to me that the BBC are missing Martin Brundle and Ted Kravitz, and are going for laughs now, rather than any real-behind-the scenes insight.

    And finally, why did the forum coverage come to an abrupt end whilst the Williams garage fire, and story, were ongoing. Perhaps the BBC forgot the first part of their charter, which is to "Inform". As the coverage was on the red button, it's not as though it was cutting across any other programme?

    I switched over to the Sky coverage, and they were on air for probably another 30+ minutes after the BBC ended their coverage, and gave far more information about the developing story.

  • Comment number 41.

    #36. Respect to you. I hated all that rubbish between Lewis and Alonso in the media and with some of the fans at some of the races.

    I have so much respect for Alonso these days not only because he just seems to be able to do anything at least as well as the best but when you see him hanging back to make the time to congratulate Lewis.

    Ferrari are killing him though. Wasting a massive talent. He should be hard on Schumacher’s heels for his number of titles record.

    Still a Lewis fan though.

  • Comment number 42.

    @40. Perfect post. As much as I like the BBC coverage, where is the technical analysis going through all the moves and controversy in slow mo.

  • Comment number 43.

    Dear BBC F1 Team,

    First of all, a big thank you for all your hard work, you are providing a superb show, I absolutely love it.

    May also I express my deepest concern and disappointment about having the FIA penalize Lewis Hamilton so brutally after the Spanish qualifying.
    I categorically think it was NOT fair and I am beginning to think Lewis was right when he once allowed himself to be too honest about his feelings and said: "I think it is because I am black", I can not see any logical explanation to penalize someone so radically and unjustifiably, only if there is someone in the FIA who does - for some reason - seriously dislike and discriminate Lewis Hamilton. This incident absolutely indicates of someone being very racist in the FIA and I do not think that should be allowed !
    This decision might going to cost Lewis Hamilton the F1 World Title, for that reason I think this question and concern has got a massive weight and importance to it. Lewis Hamilton does not deserve a treatment like this !!! He is an absolute world class driver, hugely enjoyable to watch him drive, no question he is the best driver out there, 8th place from the back of the Grid, it is mind boggling what he has done, and it is not the first time, no one can do what he does, would have Massa had done it ? or anybody else ? I do not think so, only the big talk and excuses after the race "how the track is not suitable for over taking and staff"...

    Dear BBC F1 team, please press this issue further and do not let it slide away, please put some pressure on the FIA on this and try to get rid of the possible racism acts are and had been going on, it is quite obvious what has happened again with Lewis, you have the power to do that, please act and do something about it !! Thank you.

    Yours faithfully,

    Krisztian Soos
    London / UK


    p.s.: Kimmi Raikkonen is absolutely amazing, never been a big fan of his, but it has all changed since he returned, he does demonstrate at every race he is truly a world class driver, he is consistently on the podium, he pulls the Renault Team forward by himself, no big mouth empty talk but pure actions and fantastic results, this guy is amazing, he is magic, I become a huge fan of Kimmi, he must be part of F1 for a long time, he deserves to be there! Thank you for listening.

  • Comment number 44.

    Super blog Jake making me reflect on the various issues raised.

    Excellent season so far although can't believe how quickly it's going. It's exactly what we wished for - the total opposite to last year. Very exciting and positive for so many different teams and drivers and although I support Jenson & Lewis it's lovely to see Nico and Pastor getting their first and well deserved wins.

    Loving the BBC coverage (on virgin) as per last year and wouldn't go anywhere else out of both principle and loyalty. BBC coverage surely can't be bettered (and this does seem to be the case after reading other comments). The highlight shows are great but do miss the forum. I hope that the powers that be take notice of feedback from this year regarding coverage next season. Martin B is missed but getting used to Ben and David's walk of the grid was funny on Sunday. No other talent went to Sky, it's all still there with add-ons. You, DC and EJ are the best and complete the package of a F1 weekend. EJ on the tyre trolley is the funniest moment this year!

    Having watched programmes in the past about H&S in F1 going way back, obviously it's currently safer than ever but as you indicate it's important not to be complacent and that was blindingly clear during F1 forum when the fire came to your attention and therefore ours. Still some room for improvement I guess.

    Keep up the fab work, can't wait for Monaco!

  • Comment number 45.

    I watch Sky . Why EJ free.

  • Comment number 46.

    Ye TuskinRaider, and its even worst in spanish media.
    I read a lot here againt Alonso but even so i understand the feeling and ppl try to show a bit more of rationality in their posts. I appreciate that and thats why i come here to read.
    Also you ppl should know there is a lot of spanish who doesnt like Alonso. Its like the debate here between Button/Hamilton. But u know, at the end, u want your flag at the top cause its good for your country therefore to you. :)

  • Comment number 47.

    Jake,

    Your blogs are as ever, an excellent view into the production side of things. You guys are doing a terrific job. You are the consummate professional, while the BBC is spoiled by David Coulthard - the best sportsman-turned-pundit we may ever have seen.

    One thing that would be good for us loyal-Beebers - if you could casually mention the viewing figures it would be great. I'd love to know how many others out there are enjoying this tremendous coverage of the greatest show on Earth.

    Keep doing what you do, and keep that team you've got together. It's the key to your excellence.

    BlindedBTLight

  • Comment number 48.

    Once again a great job by the beeb with the live race, only goes to show how poor the non live coverage has been. The last one looked like a five year old had edited it, no continuity, no story to the race. Can I say please for highlights get rid of quali and driver interviews and give us a full re-run of the race after all that's what's important.

  • Comment number 49.

    Great race, hope all the pit crew are ok. What video replay was Schumacher watching? I only saw a replay of him locking up and then seeming to aim at the back of Bruno's car! Numpty! I think the boys do a great job with the coverage. If you don't like it, don't watch it. Or is that too much of an obvious solution? I too miss Martin Brundle's commentary but I'm not going to be held to ransom when I already receive a channel that covers F1, especially when Jake, Eddie and DC do such a competent job. Keep it up guys and don't listen to those who would rather complain and pay extra for F1 with adverts!!!

  • Comment number 50.

    Was just wondering something with the Lewis Hamilton fuel thing. Seems to have been more common the last few years for drivers to pull in after the race because they don't have any fuel left. Surely this should meet with similar punishment?

    Anyway, was nice to be able to see a race live on the BBC and congrats to Pastor and Williams - just wish I had had a few pounds on him at 300-1!

  • Comment number 51.

    I had a feeling more people watch f1 on the B.B.C , in fact I'm gad it's doing well . Let this show "the ring master" that people want formula one free and not on pay t.v

    P.S, I hope Eddie feel's better, as do every who was in that fire and smoke !

  • Comment number 52.

    Problems with Auntie's F1 coverage are the narcissistic Mr Jordan what are we actually paying him for?Musac with every piece of clipped footage why oh why, the bias to all things Mclaren and the general bulking of the preview with irrelevant subjects nothing with the actual GP.On the plus side is Gary Andersons insight,Plus the race its self.

  • Comment number 53.

    I agree with 11. Tuskin Raider. These tyres are not really helping at all, apart from making whoever wins a bit of a lottery. Yes you have to factor in the temperature and degredation in order to get to the front but its seems that Maldonado sort of lucked out with the circumstances. Im pleased for him to win but now to say he going to mount a serious championship challenge. i wonder if Rosburg said the same. Thought with the injured Williams guy. Coverage great except no Forum on freeview. Why?

  • Comment number 54.

    @40 - yes, the Sky coverage was so excellent, it went to the level of naming the injured mechanics, no doubt bringing distress to relatives watching at home. Was that level up or more likely down? I think we all know the answer.

    Jake & co, keep up the good work. Live races, the Beeb is still peerless, highlights when you have plenty of time like Aus or Malaysia, great. Rushed highlights like Bahrain... well, perhaps you learned from that and the next will be better.

  • Comment number 55.

    @50 going by the start of the season, I suggest you/we look closely at the outsiders in Monaco and put a few quid on them!!!

  • Comment number 56.

    @49 madmax

    I too thought Schumacher just ploughed into the back of Bruno but if you look at the replay Bruno is moving to the inside(notice him getting closer to the white line and look at Vettel's placement behind Schumacher for judgement).

    Schumacher then moves to the outside after which Bruno cuts across to the outside also, so Schumacher tries to cut to the inside and crashes into Bruno when the Brazilian doesn't go completely to the outside but breaks in between the outside and inside leaving Schumacher with nowhere to go.

    The stewards were appalling this weekend with some of their decisions especially when compared to the last GP

  • Comment number 57.

    A message for Auntie Noo - even if you have free view you can get onto the F1 Forum, just by pressing the red button! Seemed to be trouble with the sound when in full frame mode, had to watch it in the window mode to get sound!

    I don't see why Lh was penalised so much when plenty of other people didn't complete the slowdown lap at the previous GP and no penalties were handed out for that!

    LH did a good job with his tyres and managed to finish well. JB chose wrong tyres at his 2nd pitstop and lost places because of that.

  • Comment number 58.

    I do enjoy listening to Gary Anderson, speaks lots of sense and easy to understand.

  • Comment number 59.

    @ TuskinRaider
    Agree 100% about the tyres.

    @ BlindedBTLight
    Viewing Figures for two broadcasters at Spanish GP http://www.f1revs.com/2012/05/bbc-sky-spanish-gp-viewing-figures.html

    Nice to see a good pitwalk by DC without having to be completely rude to other broadcasters like a certain someone else used to be.

  • Comment number 60.

    Comment number 31.
    At 18:12 14th May 2012, Chris_Page wrote:

    "There wasn’t a Mercedes, McLaren or Red Bull in the top five on the grid."

    Any other driver would've had a 10 place penalty, but as it was Hamilton, the stewards yet again chose to make an example of him, for their own amusement. We all know why. But it's to his credit that he came eighth despite the iobstacles placed in his way. Had it been Vettel, he wouldn't have come anywhere close to eighth."

    Love your logic. Your crystal ball must be THIS big. I'm well impressed.......>>>>

    I like Hamilton. Vettel is not Hamilton. Therefor I must hate Vettel. Because of the fact I hate Vettel, he could therefor never replicate or better the results of Hamilton. Because. Its not allowed. In my mind. And therfor its the truth. Because. Return to start.

    Great logic. What a great robot you'd make. ;)

  • Comment number 61.

    I haven't posted on here before, (crusty old curmudgeon, don't really 'do' blogs and things,) but I was welded to my telly all day Sunday, for a great GP, so here goes:

    1. Tyres. Pirelli have provided exactly what they were asked for. And I think that the strategic thinking required to utilise them to a Team's best advantage has made for some fascinating racing and allowed clever Teams & Drivers to pull off some unexpected twists in the results - good for them. My only reservation is the 'suddeness' with which the tyres 'go off.' I personally think that this is dangerous - drivers should have a couple or three laps in which they and their teams can react - it seems as though they can go from full grip to dramatically reduced grip in less than half a lap. Kimi's comments about missing his 'one chance' for an overtake make that point; Michael has been muttering on this exact point about the tyres for some time, (and for all his apparent whingeing, even the most cynical observer would have to admit the man has more of a claim than many to know of what he speaks,) and whilst Michael 'zigged' whilst Bruno 'zagged,' the difference in braking points and cornering speeds between the two of them was the real cause of their coming together - and that, surely, has a lot to do with the tyres.

    2. Relative performance of the Teams - what a brilliant season so far! The cars seem so much closer in performance this year, without blown diffusers and such, and as long as Ferrari, Red Bull and especially Maclaren keep fumbling the ball, the rest of the Teams have a genuine shout.

    3. Pastor Maldanado - enough about 'pay drivers.' They're all pay drivers in one way or another, whether they 'pay' for a drive or not, because of the sponsorship they bring with them to a Team. Face it, in the right car on the right day, Pastor is not just fast, (crikey, at any given moment, Kamui Kobyashi can be the fastest of the lot - and also the most dangerous,) he's also consistent and mechanically sensitive - a genuinely good pilot, in fact. Well-deserved and well-crafted win, by him and Williams.

    4. Happy Birthday, Frank - what an absolute pleasure, entering his 71st year, to see this grand gentleman of Formula One get a genuine, well-earned victory for his eponymous team - absolutely brilliant, couldn't happen to a more deserving team.

    5. F1 Coverage - can't comment on Sky, never seen it! I still love Auntie Beeb, though, especially with DC & EJ - I can't imagine watching F1 now without them. Shame we don't get all the races live, but I understand why. I'm also led to believe that when the BBC couldn't afford to fight Sky for the rights, Bernie was instrumental in making sure that F1 could still be seen on terrestrial TV - well done that man! I do not wish to afford a Sky subscription, nor do I want an outsize colander bolted to the wall of my house, so I have to make do with what's available - and I'm very grateful that what is available is so good.

    6. The Williams Garage Fire - what a cruel irony that in their very moment of triumph, Williams should suffer such a fate. I do hope all their guys are OK. Huge respect to the men of all the teams who fought the blaze so professionally, (it was largely out when the Circuit de Catalunya Fire Marshals arrived.) On the BBC Forum, I saw shirts from Force India, HRT, Marussia, Toro Rosso and Lotus/Renault among the crews in action, and there may well have been others - big, big 'up' for them. I am reminded of a quote from a Bartlett speech in The West Wing, (thanks to Aaron Sorkin, some of the best writing for TV EVER,) - "There are too many angels in Heaven tonight - whilst all around them was confusion and pain, these young people ran into the fire - they ran IN TO THE FIRE." Unlike that West Wing episode, by the Mercy of God, Allah, or whomever was watching over them, nobody died on Sunday - but the men of the F1 teams ran IN TO THE FIRE, nevertheless. Huge respect to all, and sincerest Best Wishes to all the injured.

    Lordy, for a first-timer, that was some post. Off to lie down now!

  • Comment number 62.

    I have too agree with most comments on here, the BBC are brilliant at F1 coverage and always will be, i also have sky sports (as i have too as they have all the sport nowdays) but GOD can they stop using glamour girls to do the presenting, they look great yes but i want to hear from and see people (male or female) who are connected with the sport there discussing, apart from Martin Brundle and Ted Kravitz Skys F1 team in general are woeful, but with there additional funds they have much better graphics and techy stuff as i would expect.

    For people with money Sky Sports coverage is good, but the BBC has more quality and basically its free, you need a TV licence for this only, and not the additional £45 a month

  • Comment number 63.

    Here is the question?

    After refueling was stopped in F1 have the teams become lacks in firer awareness?

    Injuries were caused by smoke inhalation where are the smoke masks in each team garage why were they not worn? Refueling firer masks were all over the place when refluelling was around? Do each team have firer drills?

    This will happen again!

  • Comment number 64.

    I like F1. The highlight shows are generally of a great standard, the presenters are well informed and I like DC because he was a driver so knows what it is like to be in one of those machines. I would love to have a go (as a passenger) . This is the best season in many a year because its not a one horse race already. Sadly its off to Monaco next for the processional race and I will be tuning in on the BEEB

  • Comment number 65.

    I dont care for Hamilton much but he was treaty POORLY. The guy got the pole by racing faster than Superman and he was sent all the way back to the grig. How about giving him a penalty lap instead.

    Great race by Pastor and Alonso drove a wonderful race too. Hopefully Ferrari will get faster and better from now on.

    Massa? Sorry dude but you must go. Ferrari needs a faster driver that can also dodge and bloc other drives the same way the faster teams do to protect the each other and the lead. Alonso is doing it ALONE.

    That was SO WRONG.

  • Comment number 66.

    congratulations to the williams team and pastor maldonado sorry to hear about fire after a great result hope williams team are all okay

  • Comment number 67.

    Not wanting to take anything away from Maldonado, far too nervous wondering if he was going to finish the race!

    However, the FIA have to be questioned over their safety ideas. In a world dominated by H&S there were a few strange things going on...

    1) FIA cameramen standing mid pit lane during the race filming the stops in shorts and shirts!? Everyone else is in full suits, helmets and goggles but matey with his camera is exempt?

    2) the fire had people, again in shorts and shirts, trying to run into a burning building to put out a fuel fire with fire extinguishers?! Also there was no sort of fire services in the paddock.

    I love F1 and would hate to see it ruined by H&S but Williams are lucky that all of their team left Spain in one piece.

  • Comment number 68.

    62. At 22:07 14th May 2012, philpot1034 wrote:

    ...but i want to hear from and see people (male or female) who are connected with the sport there discussing, apart from Martin Brundle and Ted Kravitz Skys F1 team in general are woeful....

    ====

    Crikey, you set the bar high if you think a former World Champion & 22 time race winner, a 3 time race winner and current driver representative on the Stewards' Panel, and a former F1 driver and current GP team development driver are woeful!

    Or do you mean the former BBC 5Live commentator and pit lane reporter?

  • Comment number 69.

    Dear Post 61, Great post Jon. Very worthwhile contribution. Please come back and do more.

  • Comment number 70.

    Anyone notice EJ on backing guitar behind Dr. Hook video on Sounds of the 70s on BBC2 tonight !!!

  • Comment number 71.

    I can appreciate TuskinRaider's viewpoint (37.) that F1 doesn't currently allow for a driver to drive as fast as possible "all the time", in that it highlights that, perhaps, different folks want different things from F1.

    For my own part, I'd find a straight max-speed "drag race" to be a bit dull. After all, if the car is simply maxing out constantly, what does the driver do but press a pedal and sit back? Whereas, I appreciate more of an all-round skillset... fast sprinting on the straights... intelligent handling of deceleration into corners and hairpins... a calculating mind to manage the tyres... and a Kobayashi lunge out of nowhere when an opportunity presents itself. I don't see this as a lottery, more a test of 'all' the skills required to earn a seat in F1.

    Each to their own... and respect to all, I suppose.

    Very good news that there were no overly serious injuries in the Williams garage incident... though, perhaps the fire investigators could look into how many candles there might've been on a certain birthday cake.

    Wil

  • Comment number 72.

    @68.

    Exactly yellowbelly - The Sky presenting team is excellent (half of them ex-BBC) and their F1 experience is very unlikely to be beaten by any presenting team in the world.

    The old BBC coverage was also excellent, and Sky have pinched some of the best bits, but so what? Sky deserve credit where it is due, and what is telling that very few here are saying that's it's bad - most just say they they haven't seen it which is fair enough. If Sky was getting it wrong, boy would we be hearing about it here!

    Stuff like the F1 show in the week, where they interview the team principles, and give background on aerodynamic changes etc, are fantastic and have made me far more interested in this season than previous years (though the drivers and excellent season start have also helped with that alot!)

  • Comment number 73.

    To everyone complaining about the 'unfair and harsh' penalty meeted out to Lewis Hamilton in qualifying. If you don't like it protest to the FIA, they set the rules and the rules on this are quite clear. That it was a technical infringement is very clear and the only penalty for this in the rules in exclusion, in this case exclusion from qualifying so no lap time counted, therefore he had to start from the back of the grid. Exactly the same for every driver and team and they all know it. McClaren made the mistake and had to take the penalty. As for drivers stopping after the race the 'must complete the lap back to the pits' only applies to Qualifying not the race.
    Personally I would have liked to have seen him start from pole, but the rules are quite clear, no discretion applies. I watched the race on Sky and they made this quite clear.

  • Comment number 74.

    I must say that I am disappointed with the new BBC set up!
    The highlights shows are pathetic-why bother unless the whole race is broadcast!
    The experience of MB and TK going to Sky has hit the BBC coverage hard!
    Watching DC doing a grid walk was so painful as he was so much out of his comfort zone!
    I really miss MB for his commentating!
    I cannot take to Ben Edwards as his commentary style is in my opinion boring-James Allen is a far better commentator and has excitement in his voice!
    I am glad that Jake and EJ are still with the BBC-but for how long????
    :-(

  • Comment number 75.

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

  • Comment number 76.

    Good blog, how'd I break the house rules? Guess I have to post in parts to find out...

    @36 thanks for the translation, very cool.

    And for those saying the penalty was too harsh...

    Hamilton had 1.3 litres of fuel in the car when McLaren told him to switch off the engine. The rules say that a car must have 0.5 litres for a sample, plus enough to get the car back to the pits, which is around 2.5 litres in Spain.

    If he had come back to the pits he would have failed the fuel inspection and been DSQ’d, so the penalty was fair.
    ...

  • Comment number 77.

    Good blog.
    ... ctd
    This rule was created because of McLaren were perceived to gain an unfair advantage in Canada 2010 by short fuelling Lewis.
    Martin Whitmarsh had said he felt the team would escape penalty. Sam Michael claimed it was a case of force majeure when clearly, it wasn’t. Taking the stewards for fools was never going to work, was it!
    ...

  • Comment number 78.

    Great blog.
    ... ctd
    Article 6.6.2
    Competitors must ensure that a one litre sample of fuel may be taken from the car at any time during the Event. Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the stewards of the meeting), if a sample of fuel is required after a practice session the car concerned must have first been driven back to the pits under its own power.
    ...

  • Comment number 79.

    Superb blog.
    ... ctd
    Going for force majeure is a joke. Webber has more of a force majure case for his team assuming he'd make it into Q3 without running again! ;)

    Also, Gary Anderson said the fuel rig guy put the rig on, but he had the handle set to drain fuel. He discovered his mistake and switched it to put fuel in the car. But as a result he didn’t put as much fuel in it as he should have. Hamilton went across the start-finish line 20 seconds before the chequered flag but if they had sat in the garage for three or four more seconds to get more fuel in, they still would have had time to cross the line and complete another flying lap. Sometimes I don’t think McLaren think on their feet.
    ...

  • Comment number 80.

    Totally awesome blog.
    ... ctd
    Too right there Gary, assuming that they weren't doing it deliberately.

    I think the pressure from previous mistakes has built up and this pressure is giving them the 'yips'.
    McLaren just need to stop shooting themselves in the foot, but when Whitmarsh and Michaels are trying to wriggle their way out of a mistake to avoid being disqualified then this is way worse than their mechanics losing a few seconds in the pitstops. They need to set the example, I bet you could pay a load of mechanics for the combined cost of Whitmarsh and Michaels wages.
    ... the end, thanks for that mods... :(

  • Comment number 81.

    Dear BBC Points of View,

    Should the BBC wish to save money I suggest getting rid of the F1 blog moderators. I know you are already keen to cut F1 from the joke of a TV deal, so you could save further cash and lose the KGB feel for people wishing to discuss their sport. It could go towards Tom and Jessie's riders for The Voice.

    Yours sincerely,
    Dumbed down J.

    p.s. supercalifragilisticexpialidocious blog, Senna to win Monaco!

  • Comment number 82.

    Oh, F1 is dangerous? Thanks for the insight.

  • Comment number 83.

    "JenSev wrote:

    That's dangerous? Do I need to remind you of the 1973 race in Zandvoort?"

    What happened in Zandvoort in 1973 (and many other races) was terrible, there is no denying that on any level. I would never think of taking anything away from the death of a driver but the Williams fire could have been a lot worse - whether down to the professionalism of the crews, luck or a combination of both we could be discussing a hugely more somber event.

    We should in a way take comfort that this took people by surprise as much as it did - it shows how much the sport has moved on since the appalling safety measures (or total lack thereof) which were most prevalent in the 60s/70s.

  • Comment number 84.

    Thanks for posting this! I always enjoy reading your blog. And it was really beautiful to see the unity in the F1 paddock on that day. I hope that Eddie's ankle will get better soon!

  • Comment number 85.

    That was an outstanding race and a great win for Williams and Maldonado. Its hard to believe the improvement in Williams since they cleared out the dead wood. The races now are better than they have ever been so its amusing to see the whinges above. It seems the gullible believe everything the drivers and teams say. Strangely it seems the Renaults are being more consistent than the other teams at each venue but not winning. It seems consistency is going to matter a lot the way the season is going and I'm starting to fancy their chances. I think the oldies Webber and Schumacher need to do a lot better to hold down their spots next season.
    Webber can't start and Schumacher can't finish. Great racing though.

  • Comment number 86.

    The Williams deadwood joined Maclaren, see the errors that have come up of late. It was wrong for them to collect trash from the Williams bins

  • Comment number 87.

    Just wanted to past and say how brilliant it is to have Gary Anderson's insight. In a sport so dominated by Technology, having someone of his standing and experience to give the viewers real insight, is really great.

    Thanks Gary!

  • Comment number 88.

    79. "Sometimes I don’t think McLaren think on their feet."

    Err ... they don't.

    Computer says "No" ....

  • Comment number 89.

    For those lovers of conspiracy theories, please settle down. The stewards are not persecuting Hamilton, they are enforcing the rules. I suggest you read them before libelling the stewards. The fuel issue breached the regulations and the correct penalty was applied. And it was quite clear when Hamilton stopped that there was going to be a problem. McLaren knew it too when over the radio they said something like 'you have pole, at the moment'. When you hear that you know the story is not over.

  • Comment number 90.

    I'm surprised people still find so much to moan about! I think we're having a genuine golden time in F1 right now and wouldn't want to see a return to the days when cars weren't able to overtake.

    For me the racing is excellent. It's obvious that when the F1 rules on car design and style don't change too dramatically it becomes less of a race of the riches, and rather a race pitting individual drivers and teams against each other. The cars are closer together in terms of race quality, and no one team seems to have much of an advantage over another. This seems to confuse the F1 teams and presenters but it seems pretty obvious! Fewer rule changes, take the advantage away from the richest of teams, and allow the pit crews and strategists in on the game and it's a much more mixed up race.

    Sure, the best driver doesn't necessarily win, but at least this season the best, whoever that is, can't win based on having 'the best car', or the 'fastest package'. The champion this season will be a true team effort and hopefully relies less on finance and more on engineer, designer, mechanic, crew, strategists, management and driver ability!

    This season is clearly highlighting how some teams are not working as well as others, and strategy decisions and pits are working against the efforts of the drivers. It's also demonstrating that there are plenty of talented young drivers out there.

    For me the tyres are near perfect. The winner and in many respects the drivers close behind him seem to have less to complain about than others. What do people want? Tyres that last the whole race, and feel like the super softs first lap throughout the whole race? Sorry but that would play more into the hands of the biggest spending teams and would take away some of the strategy, excitement and unpredictability of this season. I'm very happy to see most of the teams stand a decent chance of doing well. And it's really good to see team tactics and pits crew skill play a part. A true team effort, where it takes more than the fastest car, biggest budget to win.

    While I'm as disappointed as everyone else that the BBC doesn't cover all the races live, the quality of its programmes is still second to none. As others pointed Sky's format is an exact copy, and it's presenters were taken from the Beeb. And while they have arguably the voice of F1 in Brundle, Culthard is doing an outstanding job and has more than stepped up to the challenge. The viewing figures tell the whole story, and demonstrate what a disgraceful decision it was to even allow a cable channel the option. The sport, any sport, should be available to everyone with a TV, not subscription paying customers! What's next for sport; pay-per-view for every race, or game, or match, and become as 'popular' and watched as boxing?

    I love the F1 Forum show. I just wish it were longer, had all the post race interviews, along with many more chats and discussions with drivers and team members.

    Finally, I hate Monaco! I don't care for the history or the so-called 'prestige' of this race. While it may be fun for drivers to race the slowest, most processional race on the calendar it's a disgraceful excuse for a 'race-track'! As a city goes it's ugly and looks cheap too (I don't care how much property costs there!). People seem to be blinded by finance and riches, but if they actually paid attention to the architecture, style and look of the Monaco we see in the race, they'd understand that there must be hundreds of more attractive cities around the planet F1 could have a processional race in. Not that F1 should be racing around tight streets. The lowest point in every season for me.

  • Comment number 91.

    I think we should be careful about the term pay driver, for it has negative connotations. Maldonado is clearly a talented driver, who has brought money with him to his team. This happens an awful lot to all teams aside from the top three. Even Lotus and Grosjean have an agreement. This isn't like the 70's when playboys would buy a place on the grid and get a drive, occasionally, all of these chaps have gone through the formulas.

    Great drive from Maldonado, who seems to have reigned himself in a little bit. Shame about Hamilton's punishment, but you can hardly blame the stewards, thanks to Mclaren, the rule was brought in. Stupid mistake by Whitmarsh, and they are starting to mount up this year. I only hope that these mistakes don't come back to bite them, as they should have a healthy lead in the constructors by now. Quite enjoying Hamilton rinsing Button in Qualifying. Also loving his maturity. Alonso proving, once again, what he can do. Regardless what I think of the man, he is proving how good he is in the game. I genuinely think it's only him and Hamilton who are box office at the moment. Massa simply has to go, he's wasting a seat and maybe should go and join his great friend Rubinho in the States for a final couple of pay cheques. I'd love to see Ferrari give the seat to a genuine young buck for once, who can learn off Alonso for when he leaves in a couple of years.

    5 races, 5 different winners, and Raikkonen buzzing around threatening all the time. Ham or Raikkonen for Monaco, would give 6 from 6! Can't wait...

  • Comment number 92.

    Delighted for Williams in their first win in a long long time, great to see them getting back to where they should be after such a tough year last year. So sad that such a momentus day should be marred by the events that followed.

    On another note I do find it shocking that there's no mention of Caterham whatsoever in this blog! They also leapt to Williams aid with no thought to their own safety and several of their team had to be treated and go to hospital. It's quite likely that they too have lost equipment (obviously not to the scale of Williams) being adjacent to where the fire erupted and lets be frank they don't have the same level of funds that Williams do. So hopefully the rest of the paddock will continue to show that F1 is 1 big family by helping ALL the teams affected.

    The Hamilton penalty was far too harsh in my view. I'm not a particularly big fan of him but for Schumi to get a 5 place penalty for what could have been a very serious incident but Lewis thrown to the back of the field for what was a fuel rig glitch (I could almost understand if it had been underfuelled for an advantage) doesn't seem fair. Though I'm not sure he could have won the race anyway.
    With Massa's actions and behaviour on track so far this year I do start to wonder how much of last years incidents between them were down to Massa too.

    Turning out to be a fantastic season, unpredictable and exciting races with multiple winners. Roll on Monaco :)

  • Comment number 93.

    Hi Jake,
    Enjoyed the race greatly, well done to all. One point: could the F1 Forum actually be a forum - a question and answer session - with a panel of people being quizzed by viewers via Twitter etc, rather than a continuation of the interviews? The interviews are great, but save them for the highlights package to give us all an extra reason to watch. Make the forum distinctive. And for gawd's sake, stop wandering about in the paddock like lost sheep! :-)

  • Comment number 94.

    congratulations to williams, and very sad about the fire incident, thankfully no one ws seriously hurt.

    on the issue of tyres, i'm still surprised that lewis hamilton managed to do 31/32 laps, what does it tell us about them?

    i also think that the stewards robbed us of what could have been an exciting race with the very harsh punishment handed to lewis.

  • Comment number 95.

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

  • Comment number 96.

    PS Not a good picture jake, please change it

  • Comment number 97.

    Congratulations to Williams on the win. I'm not the biggest Maldonado fan but nice to see that the season has been shaken up even more so with a long overdue victory for the team. And relieved that everyone got out of the garage relatively unharmed...scary stuff.
    I personally think that this race was the least exciting of the season so far. Think Hamilton's penalty was a little harsh as well. And Schumi...what are you doing? I would have put good money on him crashing out before the end of the race.
    Watched the race on the beeb this week and flicked between beeb and sky during pre-race. Pleased to see that there were no interruptions on the BBC during the team radio transmissions this week as I found that really frustrating during last live race. Got to say I'm a fan of the BBC line up...find the sky presenters/commentators really annoying on Sky...think DC is one of the best commentators in a long time.
    Hope that Webber and Button can pull their socks up in Monaco. Button is clearly unhappy with his car set up and Red Bull really dropped the ball in qually with Webber, followed by another really poor start from him. Webber has always been good with consistency but if that starts falling away then I'm afraid he'll get lost in the mid field this season.

  • Comment number 98.

    Jake, last year you seemed to enjoy banging on about Pastor Maldanado having the worst record for a season for a Williams driver (Even though Kazuki Nakajima didnt score a single point two years previously and Maldanado did score a point last year) - I always felt you were very deroggatary of him purely because he brings money to the team. I hope you now accept how unfair that criticism was, he did a good job against a very experienced team mate last year and now is showing the talent he has in a good car.

  • Comment number 99.

    @79 (Janner)

    I thought the fuel rigs are much slower now, they aren't the same ones from when in-race refuelling was allowed. I guess it would have taken more than a few seconds.

  • Comment number 100.

    I'm not Hamilton's biggest fan but to be put to the back of the grid was very very unfair! He should have been put to P10, but to say it is rascist is wrong. I think it's a dig at Mclaren more than Hamilton himself.
    SKY has nothing on the live BBC coverage. SKY has copied the BBC on the format but doesn't have the watchability that the BBC have. SKY can easily lose GT and Ant Davidson. I watch the build up on BBC and watch the race on SKY, I used to like Crofty on the radio but he shouts too much for me nowadays!

 

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