What's going on with the British Grand Prix?

If the board of directors of the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) sometimes feel like biting the carpet out of sheer frustration over the potential future of the British Grand Prix, then all I can say is that I have the utmost sympathy for them. I spent two years on the BRDC board from 2004 to 200606 and I can honestly say it was one of the most stressful periods of my life.

6 October 2009
Motorsport

A day at the Lotus Driving Academy

There’s a tyre wall on the Lotus test track. It borders the edge of ‘the circle’, a section of the track that (as the name suggests) is a roundabout that can either be used for drifting practice, or becomes a tricky part of the overall track. For those few metres of tarmac before you enter the circle, there is little or no room for error. Or rather there is plenty of room for error, most of it involving fibreglass splinters and a hospital stay.

6 October 2009
Tester’s notes

Scrappage gets personal

Until last week, my view of scrappage was that it was just something that happened to other people. Now I feel like I've been through the whole process by proxy. The reason being the announcement, along with the scheme's extension, that 'V' registered cars are now eligible for the chop. That brought my parent's moth-eaten Renault Megane Scenic into eligability - and that produced in them a previously-unsuspected urge for something new and shiny.

6 October 2009
Half-price heroes

Massa's on the comeback trail

Felipe Massa is preparing himself to try a 2007 F1 Ferrari at Fiorano in the near future and everybody in the F1 community is hoping against hope that this will not reveal any unexpected snags to stand between the popular Brazilian and a return to the cockpit full-time in 2010. By all accounts, Felipe has been making great progress along the road to recovery, but of course the current F1 rules forbid the testing of any contemporary F1 car during the course of the racing season.

5 October 2009
Motorsport

Is this the end of the 50mph national speed limit?

Common sense or government (vote winning) jargon? That’s what I’ve been left wondering after seeing <a href="http://www.autocar.co.uk/News/NewsArticle/AllCars/243792/">the government isn’t planning to cut the national speed limit on single track roads from 60mph to 50mph.</a>

5 October 2009
Anything goes

Airikkala, Clarkson, a pick-up truck and the King's Road

A name hard to spell, a man very easy to like. So Pentti Airikkala has gone. Because he lived in England for a large percentage of his life and was always easy to get hold and such great fun when you did the British motoring press, and certainly my generation, unofficially adopted him as our ‘tame’ Finnish rally maestro. If a story was in the works that had anything to do with car control then Pentti would get a call. Of course he took part in our sideways challenge several times. Always good fun and guaranteed to be dramatic.

5 October 2009
Motorsport

Driven to Distraction

It’s been a bad few weeks for those of us who actually like cars. First there was the Formula One ‘crashgate’, which suggests results can agreed upon at a strategy meeting earlier in the day. And now we have the scrappage scheme extension. Here is proof that the government really hates cars and I think anyone who supports it hates cars too.

2 October 2009
Half-price heroes

Pentti Airikkala, we salute you

Deeply sad news that Pentti Airikkala has passed away at such an untimely age. I never met him, but paid to watch him drive many times in the 1980s when he was at his pomp. Airikkala was one of those brilliantly-skilled, yet underdog and mildly-maverick Finns that I’m not sure front-line rally sport has a place for any more.

2 October 2009
Motorsport

The relevance of F1 to road cars

Formula One and corporate are words often found in same sentence together. You see all the stickers on the sides of the car and enviously wonder whether the VIP guests are drinking the ten-year old red or white back in the hospitality suite. Yesterday, I crossed over to the ‘dark side’ and took my first tentative steps in the corporate side of Formula One. It was a situation I never really expected to be in when I grew up watching the likes of Michael Schumacher, Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve and Mika Hakkinen go head-to-head on a fortnightly basis.

2 October 2009
Anything goes

Welcome to the electric future

Do you know much about batteries? I have to admit that until yesterday I didn’t know a great deal apart from the supposed benefits of lithium ion batteries over nickel metal hydride ones. Lithium ion batteries are the ones you’ll find in your lap top or mobile phones and are generally regarded as superior to nickel hydride, being cheaper and more powerful for their size. But it’s the nickel ones you’ll still find in most hybrid cars, notably the new Toyota Prius.

1 October 2009
Green cars

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