BBC BLOGS - Andrew Benson

Archives for June 2012

Could a London Grand Prix ever take place?

Post categories:

Andrew Benson | 20:51 UK time, Thursday, 28 June 2012

Few things in sport are guaranteed to generate publicity like someone high-profile in Formula 1 talking about running a grand prix around the world-famous sites of central London.

After all, what's not to like? Who doesn't think it would make one of the most spectacular sporting events the world had ever seen?

That's clearly what the PR agency which represents one of McLaren's biggest sponsors was thinking when they invited the media to a lavish event at London's RAC Club on Thursday to hear Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button talking about what it might be like to race around such a track.

An expensively produced video was played. Hamilton and Button said all the right things - while being careful not to be seen in any way to diminish the importance of Silverstone as the home of the British Grand Prix.

Read the rest of this entry

Will Mercedes offer Schumacher a new contract?

Post categories:

Andrew Benson | 20:27 UK time, Monday, 25 June 2012

There was a certain inevitability, given the history of Michael Schumacher's career, about the fact that his first podium finish since his comeback involved a degree of controversy.

In Valencia, Schumacher drove the latest in a series of strong races to finally deliver on the potential he has shown with Mercedes more or less since the start of the year.

In the end, the controversy was much ado about nothing - the man who is notorious for pushing the boundaries of acceptability did nothing wrong.

Red Bull's Mark Webber reported to his team that Schumacher had his DRS overtaking aid, which boosts straight-line speed, open as they passed waved yellow caution flags late in the race.

The rules say a driver must slow down significantly for yellow flags; Schumacher did - case closed.

Read the rest of this entry

All great drivers need luck, but Alonso makes his own

Post categories:

Andrew Benson | 18:22 UK time, Sunday, 24 June 2012

It's not often Fernando Alonso is overcome with emotion, but he only just managed to hold it together as he stood on the podium after a quite stunning victory in the European Grand Prix.

His voice had already cracked as he giggled his delight on the team radio on his slowing-down lap - and in the pits Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali was in the same state as he praised a "fantastic" drive by the Spaniard.

But listening to the Spanish and Italian national anthems, the magnitude of the moment almost got the better of Alonso. He choked a bit, grinned, almost cried, gritted his teeth and then collected himself.

No wonder he was so emotional - in the previous half an hour or so, it had all come together to create a perfect weekend for him.

Read the rest of this entry

Engine dispute threatens F1 schism

Post categories:

Andrew Benson | 15:58 UK time, Monday, 11 June 2012

Seven different winners from the first seven grands prix, an intensely competitive and wide-open championship battle, unpredictable races. On the surface, all is well with Formula 1. Behind the scenes, though, there is ferment.

At its heart is the planned introduction in 2014 of new rules, including new, energy-efficient, turbo-charged engines. The debate about whether this is wise or even possible in the current global financial climate has the potential to tear Formula 1 apart.

The new engines are being pushed strongly by governing body the FIA and have the support of the key manufacturers in Formula 1. But there are fears they will be much more expensive than the current 2.4-litre V8s and that the teams - the engine manufacturers' customers to a large degree - will not be able to afford them.

The engines have a powerful enemy - F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has been against them from the start. He describes the arguments behind adopting them - which can be read in detail here - as "PR" and thinks they should be dropped.

Read the rest of this entry

Hamilton's new 'headspace' wins admirers. And races

Post categories:

Andrew Benson | 00:10 UK time, Monday, 11 June 2012

Lewis Hamilton was almost overcome with emotion after winning the Canadian Grand Prix and taking his first victory of the season at the seventh time of asking. Which is ironic, because one of the most impressive aspects of his performance was its control.

The McLaren driver admitted he too often let his emotions get the better of him in 2011, and he went away for the winter intending to reset his mental state. His performance at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Sunday was the final confirmation that the world is seeing a new, more potent, Hamilton in 2012.

His change of approach has been apparent from the start of the season. He has remained calm in the face of much adversity when last year he might not have and has never once deviated from his determination that consistency is what will win him the title this season.

Until Sunday, there had been questions about whether he could marry that approach with winning races in the same spectacular style that has earned him such a huge following - not least because winning was exactly what he had not done.

Read the rest of this entry

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.