For the 2016 season, Formula One Management have been publishing some excellent videos filmed in various Grand Prix paddocks. Mostly, the videos are additional content for their timing and news app, but they also release them on YouTube for the wider audience. It's a small step in the direction we want F1 to take, releasing more insight into driver personalities, but they did a really good job this year, so it's worth celebrating their efforts.
This week the FIA's World Motor Sport Council gathered together to sign off on the official sporting calendars for the coming season, and F1 in 2017 is starting to take shape. The season starts in late March and goes through to November 26th, visiting 20 venues across the globe along the way. The notable exception this year is that the German Grand Prix has dropped off the calendar after failing to come to an agreement with the sport's promoters.
Nico Rosberg has been celebrating his world championship victory for the past few days, but now he's hit the headlines for a completely different reason. The German driver has confirmed he will retire from Formula One with immediate effect, just five days after winning his first (and now only) world title.
We've been waiting a long time to see who would finally be crowned the champion of the 2016 Formula One season, so it's no surprise that a lot of the writing about the sport for the last few days has been dealing with the fallout of what happened in Abu Dhabi. I've gathered together some great links to share with you about the championship showdown, but stick around to the end for some bonus extra subjects as well.
The 2016 F1 champion may have been decided in Abu Dhabi, but the important fight is still going on. After this, there's just one week left for our drivers to campaign to win the Christine's Rankings championship, and it is still all to play for. Daniel Ricciardo has completed a spot of dancing this week, which has elevated him into the lead, but with a few days left for pointsworthy things to happen, and all the drivers winding down for the off-season, it's anyone's guess what will happen next.
Nico Rosberg celebrated his second place finish in Abu Dhabi with a handful of donuts, throwing up tyre smoke and putting down rubber as he whooped over the radio. An over-reaction for a second place, perhaps, but the German secured his first ever F1 world championship, holding off a charging Ferrari and staying put behind a slowing fellow Mercedes to get the necessary points for his first title.
It seems incredible that a season with such vast swings in the championship lead could come down to the final race of the year, but here we are. It’s Abu Dhabi, and whilst not a circuit that inspires confidence that we’ll see a classic event, tensions are running high as there’s a title on the line. It’s been a long year, and everyone is keen to see this season wrapped up but which way is it going to go? There’s only one way to find out!
It's that time of year where everyone involved in F1 starts to get just that little bit nostalgic - we're so close to the end of a very long season and they've all worked so hard that it's understandable. Plus, this year, we're waving a fond farewell to a couple of favourites, so there are interviews and trips down memory lane galore.
Ron Dennis has barely vacated the building but McLaren are keen to show they are moving on, with the appointment of Zak Brown as executive director of the McLaren Technology Group. The organisation’s efforts to find a CEO of the McLaren Group as a whole are ongoing, but Brown will take up his post towards the end of the year, focusing on the racing squad.
Sauber has been very busy trying to regroup after a disappointing year in 2016, and they are one of the few teams with race seats available for the coming season. It had been rumoured that current Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson was looking for an exit strategy from the Swiss squad but with the rest of the grid filling up fast, he has opted to remain with his current team for another year.
It may come as no surprise to you that this week's selection of brilliant links from around the web are mostly focused on two main subjects: Max Verstappen and Ron Dennis. The pair of them have made headlines for two very different reasons, and there's plenty to dissect about each story. I've got a few other bits and bobs for you too, so let's dive straight in with a different topic.
This week was the incredible Brazilian Grand Prix, which overshadowed most of the antics any of the drivers got up off track. However, I've still managed to zero in on a few items, including Fernando Alonso making the most of his free time at Interlagos again, Max Verstappen admitting he is perhaps both brilliant and over-rated at the same time, and Felipe Massa for generally needing a great big hug.
Ron Dennis has been in charge of the McLaren Group for over three decades, but his position as boss of the successful sporting organisation came to an abrupt end this week. Dennis owns 25% of McLaren, but the other 75% is owned by a Bahrain investment group and businessman Mansour Ojjeh – both of whom have decided that Dennis’ tenure at the top is over due to a lack of confidence in his style of leadership.
Canadian IndyCar racer James Hinchcliffe has only gone and made it to the final of Dancing With the Stars, and he did it with this motorsport themed jive. Oddly, and unlike the British version Strictly Come Dancing, James got to dance this tune with two professional partners, which makes things a bit confusing if you ask me.
It may have been Lewis Hamilton that won the race in Brazil this past weekend, and it may have been Felipe Massa who got the impromptu pitlane standing ovation, but there's no doubt that Max Verstappen earned his share of the plaudits at Interlagos.
The Brazilian Grand Prix took just over three hours to be completed, with a delayed start due to the pouring rain, five safety car periods due to rain and crashes, and two red flags for similar reasons. Lewis Hamilton got off to a good start behind the safety car, and he managed to control the race from the front despite the stop start nature of the event. He took race victory from Nico Rosberg, narrowing the championship gap to just 12 points going into the final round in Abu Dhabi.
You always expect a bit of chaos and calamity during the Brazilian Grand Prix, but this weekend was something both brilliant and awful in equal measure. Rain delays, safety car periods, red flag stoppages and quite a few crashes meant it was a long, long, long race. But alongside that, there was some incredible driving on display and some great atmosphere in the crowd (both positive and negative).
There was rain threatening the skies above Interlagos during qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix, but the weather had no real impact on proceedings except catching some teams out with the cooler conditions. Manor and Sauber dropped out in Q1, as well as Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button, who was complaining about a lack of grip.
Felipe Massa is celebrating his final Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend, soaking in the love from his home fans, after announcing his retirement early in the season. Massa has spent 14 seasons in Formula One, racing for three different teams, and gathering a huge amount of support along the way. A much-loved member of the F1 paddock, he'll be missed when he hangs up his helmet in a few week's time. To celebrate the Brazilian drivers long career, I've gathered together some of his Sidepodcast highlights.
On this show we discuss robot drivers, genius suggestions, and get replaced by a better podcaster. Two of our favourite people have been talking about similar topics to do with F1, so we thought we'd get in on the act. Following on from a fabulous guest spot by Giggles, we discuss what F1 is missing at the moment and how we can get it back.