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I was struck today by the article of Ben Dirs of BBC Sport written shortly after Hamilton secured the 2015 world title. Using this graphic he sought to place hamilton in a league of World Champions based solely on the number of titles won;


Never a wise move !

Worse still he goes on to suggest that there is a view that “F1 is a sport for people who don’t really like sport – in other words, “car people”, people more turned on by engineering than other human beings”.

In my view this couldn’t be further from the truth. As an F1 fan a large part of the enjoyment of F1 is knowing all of the characters involved, the politics and and the rivalries (teams and drivers).

The whole package is actually more of a soap opera enjoyed by many who would actually proclaim they don’t like or watch soap opera’s.

Just a thought by “Matthew Roddan



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by Matthew Roddan

The History of Formula One Motor Racing by Matthew Roddan

matthew roddan

Today, F1 or Formula One is considered as the most prestigious single-seat auto racing competition, which is regulated by FIA, short for, Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile. While Formula One races were in vogue till 1983, FIA Formula One World Championship was the undoubted leader in racing since its inception in 1950.


The term “formula” actually refers to the rules adhered to by the participants. The F1 season includes numerous races called the Grand Prix that are held on specially built public roads F1 circuits or public roads, globally. Results are announced based on conclusions arrived using points system for each year, where two World Championships are declared, one each for drivers and constructors. The racing drivers should hold Super Licences, which are the highest racing class license issues by FIA.

Matthew Roddan

Matthew Roddan says “The Formula One series started with European Grand Prix Motor Racing back in the 1920s and 1930s. Formula One refers to the new sets of rules agreed to post World War II in 1946 and the first non-championship races were held the same year. However, since racing was suspended during this time, World Drivers’ Championship wasn’t formally recognized till 1947. As a result, first championship race was held in 1950 in UK”.


In the year 1946, Formula One got its definition from Commission Sportive Internationale (CSI) of FIA, the forerunner for FISA, as premier single-seater racing in worldwide motorsport and it came to effect in 1948. The two championships, one for drivers and one for constructors was not the norm originally and it was a change brought about later.


Cars with front engines typically Mercedez was used during the races until 1957, and rear engines were launched around 1958. The type of racecars underwent constant changes and evolution over the years and regulations were incorporated to ensure safety during the races. By 1970, cars became more sleek and faster and turbocharged cars were in vogue for racing, power and speed.

Numerous deaths and accidents called for desperate measures and changes were made to make the races safer, while also being commercially viable. As a result, turbochargers were banned in 1989. During this time there were issues with FIA accusing participating drivers being irrelevant to racing, though a truce was established two decades later.

Matthew Roddan

Senna’s death in 1994 at the wheel during an F1 race brought about new restrictions to further improve car safety. During the 90s, Ferrari and Michael Schumacher ruled the roost by winning five driver’s championship and six constructor’s championship consecutively, an unparalleled feat. There were accussations of rigging and tinkering of results, which brought on flak and there was uproar about overt commercializing in Formula 1 racing. Even with all these controversies and other issues cropping up from time to time, Formula 1 has upped their ante and kept up with regulations and reformations to ensure the sport remains popular.

Produced by Matthew Roddan

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Matthew Roddan

Matthew Roddan

The Safety Car Rules in Formula One  by Matthew Roddan

Matthew Roddan

A pace car or safety car is one that limits speed of competing vehicles (cars) on the racetrack when there’s an obstruction. Basically, the safety car enables clearance of any hindrance on the racetrack and is intended to clear the track and ensure the track is favorable for racing says Matthew Roddan.

Matthew Roddan

There’s a window called caution period when the safety car (usually a high-end performance car) would enter and check the track ahead of the other cars. The participants are not allowed to move ahead of the safety car during this window, usually. The safety car would exit the field or track at a speed that is determined ahead, which again can vary for every race or track or competition. Once the safety car leaves the track, the competitors can begin their racing.


This was originally started in the year 1911. FIA has two ways of neutralizing a race: VSC (Virtual Safety Car) and Safety Car. A few regulations for the safety car include:


  • The safety car is to be driven by experienced circuit driver with FIA observer who remains in constant contact with race control.
  • There are times when the safety car is allowed to travel via the pit lane – like in the case where the incident that called for a safety car is blocking pit lane. During this time, competitors are allowed to stop at pit garage.
  • Safety car would join circuit with orange lights turned on and drivers are expected to follow in a queue. They cannot overtake under any circumstance.
  • When safety car is ready to exit the circuit, orange lights are turned off and competitors can begin their journey when green lights are turned on.
  • The safety car is usually used when officials or competitors are in danger though the situation doesn’t call for a race halt.


When the weather isn’t favorable, safety car is used before the race. The lights are orange and the race begins only when the lights turn green and the safety car leads the way. During the first lap, safety car should not be overtaken and the only exception is if the car can’t get off the grid. In such scenarios, the delayed driver usually gains his original position after other cars repass. Safety car is drove around to the front and team members do any work on the car. However, refueling isn’t allowed during this time.


If there were any cars in pits when red flag was waved, work could continue and those cars can join back where they were last before stoppage. However, cars won’t be moved from pit lane until the team usually appointed by the FIA has given explicit content and approval.

Matthew Roddan

Generally, a 10 minutes warning is give before race is resumed and after the warning. When there’s 3 minutes, wheels should be fitted for the cars and when there’s signal for two minutes, lapped cars get to do a lap prior to rejoining pit lane. Race would resume behind safety car, though any further incidents could increase the safety car period says Matthew Roddan


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by Matthew Roddan

by Matthew Roddan

The Virtual Safety Car Rules in Formula One by Matthew Roddan


After an accident in 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, where driver Jules Bianchi had to endure a fatal head injury that later claimed his life the FIA set up an Accident Panel to determine more about the reasons for the accident and ideas for reducing the risk of crash under similar circumstances. They wanted the solutions to not include safety car and can’t be managed with a yellow flag easily. The panel suggested implementing a “Virtual Safety Car”, which will rely on technology deployed in Le Mans racing “slow zone”.


Matthew Roddan says, originally, safety car was the only way to slow down drivers on a race track and yellow or double yellow flags would be used for notifying those speeding beyond allowed limit to warn them or get them reduce speed. However, not many drivers slow down, since they don’t want others to get an edge over them. This has led to many accidents in the past. So, safety car doesn’t help a lot, does it?


Virtual Safety Car method was first tried in 2014 on the opening day of Austin U.S. Grand Prix 2014 during the practice sessions and the drivers were on the track when flag was chequered and an extra lap was done with a delta time on steering wheel display. This way, they had to give in and reduce their speeds by 35% when compared to their regular laps for times when a safety car isn’t required. Besides, with the speed displayed on the dashboards, they are updated and crossing the allowed limit leaves them to pay penalty. While testing, a car was given warning yellow flag, even so, drivers were expected to hit and maintain a specific speed through the race. After the initial test run, drivers suggested there are issues to be ironed out, while some said it is difficult. However, most agreed it is a good idea says Matthew Roddan.


This method has both positives and negatives – With wheel-to-wheel driving, it could be difficult to alter the speed or hit brakes when warning is issued. On the other hand, being constantly updated through dashboard ensures one can stay within the allowed limit. To ensures the safety of the participants, FIA came up with two ways to neutralize a race: (i) Safety Car (ii) Virtual Safety Car.


VSC Safety Regulations include:


VSC is used when double yellow flags are needed on a section of the racetrack, though there’s incident that could threaten the car’s safety.


When VSC is called the teams are notified through official messaging system and drivers are notified by FIA panel lights that would display VSC.


According to VSC regulations, drivers should bring down their speed and stay over a minimum time set by FIA once at least in every marshaling sector.


Drivers shouldn’t drive slower than needed, or erratically – in a way that would endanger other competitors.



Basically, the safety car is controlled by experienced circuit driver and remains in permanent radio control to ensure messages are exchanged without any delay.


There are a few rules for VSC in Formula One.


by Matthew Roddan

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by Matthew Roddan

An enthralling and eventful GP was delivered in Texas over the weekend which more than made up for the 48 hours of rain beforehand. Unusually for F1 the race outcome was by no means clear at any point in the race. Just as things seemed to settle into a pattern another safety car (actual or virtual) caused all the teams to jettison their strategy and start all over.

The synchronised passing of the two Mercedes cars against the two Red Bulls seemed to seal the fate of the GP but even that was thrown into doubt by the strategies of Vettel and Verstappen.

2015-10-25 20.15.58

As the race continued it looked as though Hamilton was to be denied the opportunity to seal the drivers title in the USA until Rosberg made a mistake in the closing stages, gifting the win to Lewis.

Whilst Lewis celebrated victory and a third drivers title Rosberg was seen to sulk like a petulant child and in an uncharacteristic display of frustration showed his annoyance with himself by throwing his cap back at Lewis. This gesture will no doubt fill the headlines, he is just lucky it was not his towel !

2015-10-25 22.12.49

by Matthew Roddan

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by Matthew Roddan - Mercedes Dominance

Some interesting stats put together by Autosport this week show that Mercedes is already equalling the best of the best stats when compared to previous periods of dominance by other teams ;

MERCEDES IN 2014/15 (so far):

Wins: 28 from 34 – 82%
Poles: 32 from 34 – 94%
Laps led: 1668 of 2030 – 82%


Wins: 25 from 32 – 78%
Poles: 30 from 32 – 94%
Laps led: 1748 from 2070 – 84%


Wins: 20 from 32 – 62.5%
Poles: 30 from 32 – 94%
Laps led: 1540 from 2081 – 74%

FERRARI 2000-04

Wins: 57 from 75 – 76%
Poles: 51 from 75 – 68%
Laps led: 1168 from 2140 – 55%


With their current form looking certain to continue into next year, especially as they already have next years engine ready to go it is looking likely that they will be able to keep up the highest percentages across the board of these stats and will do so over a longer period – The Ferrari 2000-2004 period will be the one they are chasing and it will be Ferrari themselves who stand in the best position to stop them.

2015-10-15 14.37.02

by Matthew Roddan


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Matthew Roddan, a reviwe of Sochi

Congratulations to the organisers of the Sochi GP. A thrilling race provided for 90 minutes of great F1 coverage resulting in Mercedes capturing the constructors championship and Lewis Hamilton all but securing the drivers title.

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The clear losers on the day were Nico Rosberg who  must now concentrate on preventing Vettel from snatching second place in the drivers title after a DNF caused by throttle issues. Sadly Carlos Sainz also suffered a brake failure right at the end of the race which was a disappointment after all his activities of the weekend.

Other than Bottas and Raikonnen, the rest of the F1 family went home happy with all teams having something good to take from the race – even McClaren !

2015-10-12 11.13.25

Matthew Roddan