Drivers continue push for safety improvements

By Daniel Wilson

In the last few weeks, safety has been brought right back to the forefront of Formula One.

Jules Bianchi’s collision with a recovery vehicle at the Japanese Grand Prix and subsequent head injuries have raised questions over the safety of racing, particularly in wet conditions.

The FIA have announced proposals which will be tested before we reach Austin at the end of the month, and they include setting a maximum speed limit when yellow flags are waved and even the proposal of a closed-in cockpit.

For me, I think the speed limit is a good idea. I don’t like the sound of a closed cockpit – open wheel racing is what F1 and motorsport is all about and what it always has been.

This week though, despite these proposals, world championship leader Lewis Hamilton and current champion Sebastian Vettel have spoken out calling for better wet weather tyres.

The two are among other drivers who argue the wet weather tyres do not have enough grip and so they often find themselves risking a set of intermediate tyres, which have a lot of more life, even when conditions are questionable.

In my opinion, I don’t believe it was tyre choice that led to Bianchi’s crash. It was the fact that the tyres he had on were worn. The conditions were suitable for the intermediates up until the two laps before his crash, when the rain began to fall harder – which inevitably caused Adrian Sutil to spin off at Dunlop.

In those conditions, the safety car should have been brought out, especially as the recovery vehicle was on track.

So, I value the change in approach to safety cars and speed limits under yellow flags, but I don’t think we need to go too far with safety here.

What do you think the FIA should do?

Should safety be improved?

Leave your thoughts below!

Make ups and Shake ups in the drivers market?

Sebastian Vettel’s announcement that he is leaving Red Bull has certainly thrown the drivers market into turmoil.

Following his decision at the Japanese Grand Prix nearly two weeks ago, a degree of uncertainty has been thrown into the circus that is motorsport.

Several drivers face an uncertain future for next year’s season, not to mention Fernando Alonso, who is believed to be leaving his beloved Ferrari team after five years, following strained relations with the team since the resignation of Stefano Domenicali and a more uncompetitive car.

Many people believe he is going to McLaren, who could be more successful in 2015 as they revert back to the Honda engine.

But that move could prove costly for the grid’s most experienced driver, Jenson Button.

However, whilst Alonso is clearly one of the best drivers in the world, despite being the ripe old age of 33, McLaren have always been keen to preserve a young line-up, which could play into the hands of Kevin Magnussen, who is hoping to retain his rookie seat next year.

Although, few people have been keen to talk about Kimi Raikkonen. Could he be forced out of the team to set up a Vettel-Alonso super team? – that would be an interesting partnership to say the least!

Some have even hinted Alonso could take a year out in the hope of joining Mercedes in 2016 – who many believe will be the team to beat in the coming seasons.

But I don’t think they will be in a hurry to oust Nico or Lewis anytime soon!

In truth then, it’s all gossip and opinion at the moment, so we’ll all just have to wait for an announcement from Ferrari and McLaren to finish off the 2015 F1 puzzle.

Surprises and struggles of Sochi

By Daniel Wilson

This weekend’s Grand Prix was unique in many ways. It is the first time the F1 world championship has headed to Russia in its 64-year history.

Set in and around the spectacular site of this year’s Winter Olympics, the Sochi Autodrom has certainly stamped its authority as one of the most popular tracks on the calendar – a view shared by drivers and fans alike.

However, there is no doubt the inaugural Russian GP has been overshadowed by the condition of Jules Bianchi, who suffered severe head injuries following a collision with a recovery vehicle at last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.

The Marussia driver remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital near Suzuka, and out of respect, the team decided not to run a second car at Sochi.

But there was a race to be held, and a championship battle to continue, of which Lewis Hamilton now led by ten points from teammate Nico Rosberg following the Briton’s first victory in Japan, and eighth of the season.

From the outset, Hamilton looked to have the edge on Rosberg, despite narrowly losing out to him in FP1.

However, in qualifying, Lewis found another gear and beat his teammate to pole position, despite a late challenege from an impressive Valterri Bottas. The improved McLaren of Jenson Button lined up fourth while home favourite Daniil Kvyat was the driver of the day to put his Toro Rosso in fifth place on the grid.

Hamilton 14

Race day arrived, and the weather was perfect. Lights out, and the two Mercedes drivers got a good start but Rosberg got alongside his teammate into Turn 2, but locked up his tyres to run wide. This meant he had to give the place back and make a pit stop after destroying his soft tyres.

He came back out in 20th place, and with a seemingly impossible task of nursing his tyres for 52 laps to the chequered flag – a disastrous start for the German.

However, Rosberg fought his way back through the field, and magically managed to hold off Bottas to finish in second place.

Even as a Hamilton fan, I have to say Rosberg is my driver of the day. To gain and hold 18 places and complete near enough a whole race on one set of tyres is incredible and a demonstration of Mercedes’ dominance this year.

Meanwhile, title rival Hamilton had an easy afternoon in coast mode as he took his ninth win of the year and equal Nigel Mansell for the British record of 31 victories, and extend his lead at the top of the championship to 17 points with three races to go.

Although, for Kvyat, his Saturday and Sunday couldn’t have been more different. After starting from fifth, he struggled with the car’s balance and tyres to limp home in a bitterly disappointing 14th place.

However, for Mercedes, the one-two finish was more than enough to seal their first ever Constructors Championship in F1, leading Red Bull by 223 points already.

So, as the world continues to pray for Jules, the F1 circus takes a three-week pause for breath before heading to Austin for the next round in an incredible inter-team battle.

And I, for one, cannot wait to see what happens next.

Were you at the Russian Grand Prix or did you see it?

What did you make of it?

Leave your thoughts below!

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Welcome everyone to my new blog website, Formula 1 Craze – a fresh and detailed look at all the latest news and gossip in the world of F1!

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