Senna Movie gets January 2011 US Premiere

Not too long ago I received messages from loads of you in the States asking when the new Senna movie would see the light of day over the pond. Indeed there were many of you who wondered if it would happen at all.

Worry no longer, my friends. With the release of the listings for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival came the outstanding news that “Senna” has been shortlisted in the World Cinema Documentary Competition. From almost 800 entries, “Senna” was picked as one of the 12 movies to be shown in the contest, and will thus receive its US debut in January.

The great news with this is that it will open it up to the US audience, and most importantly that it is already being taken on its artistic merits, which could allow it a far wider appeal than simply being viewed as a racing flick.

Success at Sundance would naturally lead to greater things in the States, but I could envisage the bible belt getting behind the movie. I’m not too sure of how it works in America, but I understand that there’s a Christian Film Council or suchlike. Senna’s belief in God and the many references he makes to being at one with, and at times being in the presence of, the almighty may well have resonance with such an influential group in America, and could help the film gain a wider release.

For those of you who haven’t yet seen the International trailer, here’s something to whet your whistle…

Something awesome and your chance to win it.

One of the great privileges of my job is that I am occasionally sent books to read and review. My office has, over the years, started to resemble a rather ramshackle motorsport library more than it does a working space conducive to intelligent thought and I am delighted to report that at the start of this week, the library grew once again.

The tome which arrived at my door is truly a book that all self respecting motorsport fans should consider purchasing, because to my mind it ticks all the boxes a book can tick. Beautifully written, gloriously illustrated, and printed to an exceptional level of quality, “Art of the Formula 1 Race Car” has instantly placed itself among my favourite motorsport books.

Its 208 pages are filled with some of the most stunning images of racing cars you will ever see, as the story of Formula 1’s history is told through its most beautiful cars. And that’s one of the things I like the most about this book – it’s not necessarily about the most successful cars, just the ones whose aching beauty has set them apart from the competition. The quality of the photography at the hand of James Mann also gives us a detailed look at the engineering excellence of these creations, all of which are the real deal, the proper racers and not museum replicas. Indeed, the very first car profiled, the Alfa 158 is THE car driven by Guiseppe Farina to victory at the very first Formula 1 Grand Prix in May 1950.

From there, we are taken on a beauty-driven ride through F1’s past, stopping to gaze at the Maserati 250F, the Mercedez-Benz W196 streamliner, Lancia D50, BRM P57, Brabham BT20, Lotus 49B, Lotus 72, Tyrrell 003, Tyrrell P34, Ferrari 312T3, Williams FW07, McLaren MP4/4, Leyton House CG901, Jordan 191, Williams FW14, Ferrari F1-2000 and finally the McLaren MP4-23. Some list, I’m sure you’ll agree.

What marks this book out from your regular coffee table F1 photo album however, is Stuart Codling’s wonderfully written commentary. Stuart perfectly captures not only the stories behind the concept, design and realisation of these magnificent cars, but also manages to provide a history of their racing careers whilst also reflecting the heartstring-pulling passion which their sumptuous lines evoke. And with expert analysis from design legend Gordon Murray, you’re pretty much in F1 heaven.

Stuart’s one of the best writers in the business, and his first book has been a long time coming. I would advise any and all F1 fans to check out his blog, and to invest their hard-earned on his rather brilliant book.

However, if you’d rather not pay for one at all, then you’ll be very pleased to hear that I was accidentally sent two copies, and Stuart has agreed that I can give one away to the readers of my blog. Hurrah!

If you’d like to win a copy of the book, simply reply to this post and let me know your opinion on the single most beautiful F1 car ever designed. It can be one of the ones from the book, or one which you think has been a staggering omission from the list. Let me know your reasons on why you love it so much and find it so beautiful, I’ll narrow the list down to my top five and get Stuart to pick his favourite from that list. Et voila, we’ll have a winner.

Shall we say all entries to be in by chequered flag at the Chinese Grand Prix?

Lovely.

What’s in GPWeek Issue 50?

gpweek50

The latest issue of GPWeek is online now, bringing you all the news from the worlds of Formula 1, MotoGP and the WRC.

In this week’s issue, Rossi takes an incredible win in Spain, Peugeot triumph at Le Mans, Citroen fall to pieces in Greece and Formula 1 continues to go up its own exhaust pipe:

F1 2010 Crisis: The Entry List is out, but nobody’s happy.

Silverstone:
Will Buxton looks back over the circuit’s F1 history as it prepares to host its last Grand Prix.

Five minutes with Toro Rosso rookie Sebastien Buemi.

24 Heures du Mans: Peugeot Walks to 2009 Victory with 908 TDi

MotoGP: All the latest news from Michael Scott in Barcelona including…

Rossi wins breathtaking Catalan GP at the final corner!
Simoncelli to Honda?
Rossi talks about the Isle of Man TT

Rally: All the latest from the world or Rally from Martin Holmes at the Acropolis Rally

Loeb’s lead down to seven points as Hirvonen wins.
Rally GB Future: The latest
Six-way battle for organisation of French Rally

Click on the blogroll now to check out this week’s issue.

Turkey – Tilke’s Masterpiece

c/o GP2 Media Service

c/o GP2 Media Service

I love Istanbul Park.

Seriously, it’s a bloody fantastic racing circuit. OK, it’s a shame it’s in the middle of nowhere and nobody ever turns up to watch anything that goes on here, but it is a well thought-out, well designed racing circuit.

The drivers love it, and rightfully so. It’s a huge challenge, and the possibility to take different lines around the corners and maintain overall laptime marks it out from many other tracks. Watching Lewis Hamilton race here in the 2006 GP2 Series emphasised just how awesome a circuit it was. The amount of overtaking here is mindblowing, and with KERS and diffusers agogo in 2009, the F1 race could be a classic.

The track is the brainchild of Hermann Tilke. Yes, the Hermann Tilke who is so roundly criticised for creating dull and lifeless tracks. But this one’s different. In many ways it is his masterpiece and it all owes a little something to history… and in a funny way, I’d like to think I played a small part, too.

Back in 2003 I started work on a project for Formula 1 Magazine. I wanted to come up with the greatest circuit ever designed. The concept was really quite simple – speak to a bunch of F1 drivers across the generations and ask them which was the best corner they ever drove. Then we sent all the corners over to Mr Tilke, and the German genius put them all together in one mega track.

Ultimately it was about as long as the Nurburgring Nordschlieffe, and included the likes of 130R, Parabolica, the Boschkurve, the Corkscrew, Casino Square, Dingle Dell… it was some track.

In the end, F1 Mag went tits up but Matt Bishop at F1 Racing loved the idea and printed it in his mag rather than watch it disappear. F1 Racing then paid me the tremendous honour of including it in a special 10th Anniversary issue they created to include the best articles from their first decade.

Anyway, back to Turkey.

Last year I got chatting with Hermann Tilke for an interview we did in GPWeek, and we spoke about Istanbul Park and the Ultimate F1 Track we’d spent so long creating, and he said that the concept of that article had helped to shape the Istanbul track when he’d first got down to designing it. He told me though that rather than trying to recreate old corners, he had instead looked at some of the great corners and used them to influence his track design… so the first few corners here are fairly similar to the opening two corners at Interlagos… that kind of thing.

He said that he’d looked at the past, looked at what drivers loved to drive, and used it to influence his design in Turkey.

If the rumours are true and this is the final year we come to Istanbul, I, for one, will consider it a huge loss. It is a brilliant circuit, and one which reflects everything that I love about F1. It is high tech, it is hugely impressive to behold, but it takes influence from the wealth of history that this sport has to offer.

In many ways, it is a lesson for the sport.

F1 will continue to march forward, and in increasingly uncertain times it will soon be forced to make a huge choice about its future. The architects of F1’s future would do well to remember that while we can never go back, the very best things happen when you take off the blinkers, and remember to respect all that has gone before.

The March F1 Entry

ronnie 1

A few weeks ago, my colleague Adam Hay-Nicholls told me about an April Fools article he’d written, in which he’d reported that the legendary March name was set to make a return to F1. The team was, said the report, to be reborn under the sights of the FIA’s Max Mosley, Alan Donnely, Richard Woods, Charlie Whiting and Herbie Blash. Of course it wasn’t a serious article, but it made me chuckle and was intelligently thought through.

So imagine my surprise when, over the weekend, I see online that March had entered its name for F1 2010. Was Adam having another laugh? Surely this was taking it too far.

Until a few hours ago I had no actual confirmation the rumours were real. But yes, it’s true, March really has entered its name for an incredible return to F1 in 2010.

The March F1 Team entry has been submitted by Andrew Fitton, who took over March in the 1990s following a management buyout.

I spoke to March F1’s Team Principal Graham Manchester earlier today, and although he, as his fellow prospective F1 team bosses can’t say too much before June 12th, he was nevertheless clearly excited about the prospect of bringing the March name back to F1… as much for the entertainment he hopes to display in the sport as for the technical challenge it presents!

“Quite a bit going on already but there is much to do even if we do not receive a F1 entry. March will be moving forward in several directions. High technology engineering and product development is the core business model, but when we know more that involves F1 we will certainly keep you informed.

“We are not getting too excited about it, there is a lot of good competition with considerable experience to be honest and for so seemingly few places. However Formula One is about entertainment for the spectators and TV viewers as much as engineering so a good balance is essential we feel.

“We are keeping an open mind as to what may or may not happen and quite frankly the World being what it is at the moment, anything could, and possibly will happen, but as Max Mosley has apparently said ‘everyone, even independents need to start somewhere’ , Snr Ferrari did, Frank Williams did (with a March I might add)  and possibly there may not be a better time for a while.

“F1 is in one of its ‘States of flux’ which happens now and again, we wait and see.”

March originally came into existence in 1969 as March Engineering, and made the audacious move in 1970 of entering F1, F2, F3, Can Am and Formula Ford as a provider of customer cars. Formed by Max Mosley, Alan Rees, Graham Coaker and Robin Herd, there is clearly a fairly high-profile name amongst its founding fathers who could have some influence in the March entry’s acceptance.

It’s certainly another good name to add to the list of prospective F1 teams for 2010, and given Graham’s insistence that March wants to entertain as much as it wants to compete, there seems a genuinely fresh approach amongst the new teams.

As with all the prospective new entrants: Campos, USF1, Prodrive, Litespeed, Lola and Superfund, I really do wish them well in their bids. New blood in F1 is just what the sport needs.

Formula Juan

I was chatting to a colleague yesterday about Jacques Villeneuve’s recent comments that he wouldn’t be averse to an F1 comeback. We pretty much agreed however that if Robert Kubica was having trouble reaching a suitable weight to run KERS, JV could be similarly troubled.

“Why not divide F1 into weight categories?” he asked.

“The heavyweight F1 world championship” I quipped… which got us talking about Juan Pablo Montoya.

This weekend marks six years since Montoya won the Monaco Grand Prix for Williams. Indeed it was the Colombian who scored the last of Williams’ 113 F1 victories back in 2004, and I couldn’t help but feel that Formula 1 of today is slightly poorer without him. I just loved his personality, his honesty and his humour. More than anything, though, I think I loved the way he raced. Foot to the floor, balls to the wall, hard-ass racing. He was one of very few drivers who really took it to Michael Schumacher, and in any other era might well have been an F1 champion himself. Arguably, he should have been.

Here’s some of his best bits Vs Michael.

And the other side of Mr Montoya… fairly fruity language, and possibly the single greatest F1 quote of the last decade.

Oh, and just one more… a brilliant advert.