Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

Written by Steven Roy

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Steven Roy

Steven has been obsessed by motor racing in general, and Formula One in particular, for as long as he can remember. He can always be called upon for informed opinion on any aspect of F1, be it the sport, technology, business and politics or its history.

Know your limits

F1's backwards approach to track boundaries needs a rethink

Sidepodcast: Know your limits

by Steven Roy

It has been in the rules of all motor racing for decades that the white line defines the edge of track. I can see no reason for it to change. This rule was always applied except for some reason at the exit to the Ascari chicane at Monza. Every year it annoyed me that the track limits were ignored. Now the rule is applied there but not in many other places.

The answer is right there in front of them

F1 stalls for time on cockpit protection

Sidepodcast: The answer is right there in front of them

by Steven Roy

Formula One is always keen to portray itself at the centre of technical excellence that can resolve any technical problem more quickly and to a better standard than any other group of organisations. So I was disgusted to see the complacency emanating from the people who normally make these claims when they were asked on Sky about the reasons for not introducing the halo or any other form of driver head protection for 2017.

Sidepodspace - Rocket science is difficult

Testing Bruce's patience, and watching on with a hard hat

Sidepodcast: Sidepodspace - Rocket science is difficult

by Steven Roy

Everyone who inhabits Sidepodcast knows that if a space rock is about to splatter the Earth you send Bruce Willis up to land on it then blow it to bits. Until this week landing on a space rock had never been done before so Bruce would have had no previous missions to learn from. The European Space Agency's Rosetta vehicle took a decade to arrive at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. It launched on March 2nd 2004 but did not arrive at the comet until August 6th 2014. I am not sure Bruce would be happy to sit around a capsule that long.

Learning the hard way

A closer look at crash structures and marshal requirements

Sidepodcast: Learning the hard way

by Steven Roy

Each column that I have written in this series so far has been about a single subject. Unlike those this one covers multiple subjects. There have been two safety related issues that I felt I should comment on and a Safety Matters column is the obvious place to do it. Some of us live commented the Rolex 24 hours race at Daytona. During this race there was a huge impact when Memo Gidley ran into the almost stationary car of Matteo Maucelli.

Allan McNish - World Champion

A tribute to the incredible endurance racer on his retirement

Sidepodcast: Allan McNish - World Champion

by Steven Roy

Despite the fact that he is soon to celebrate his 44th birthday it came as a total shock that Allan McNish had announced his retirement. He had just won his first world championship and is still absolutely at the top of his game. Aside from that, a large part of the last issue of the magazine Motor Sport had been dedicated to him which was only fair as he was the guest editor. He was asked about retirement and said that he knew that he would not be racing in 5 years time. I was so looking forward to watching him particularly closely next season in what I thought may have been his last year. Now that is not going to happen.

Sidepodspace - Space robots, watery helmets and a new NASA class

Get your science and space fix with news, photos, videos and more

Sidepodcast: Sidepodspace - Space robots, watery helmets and a new NASA class

by Steven Roy

One of the best things NASA has done for a while is a series of Youtube videos called ISS Science Garage. These are presented by Mike Massimino who many of you will know from The Big Bang Theory when he gave Howard the nickname Froot Loops, and Don Pettit who did some of the best educational science videos while he was on the ISS. All of them are on Youtube if you search for them.

Le Mans 24 Hours - Qualifying

24 Heures du Mans 2013

Sidepodcast: Le Mans 24 Hours - Qualifying

by Steven Roy

The Le Mans 24 Hours, like the Indianapolis 500, seems to go on for weeks but we are now getting to the important part of the event. Tonight we have 2 hours of qualifying. The pole position and the race win will be decided between the three Audis and two Toyotas in the LMP1 class. However there are a number of different classes from the less expensive prototypes in LMP2 to GT cars. There is guaranteed to be something to keep everyone interested.

Instinctive reactions

Learning lessons from preventable accidents

Sidepodcast: Instinctive reactions

by Steven Roy

We all know that motor racing is dangerous, if for no other reason than TV commentators constantly tell us that those words appear on every piece of paper from tickets, to programs, to notices around every circuit in the world. We know that death is, always has been and always will be part of racing. We know that marshals can die because we remember the deaths of Graham Beveridge in Melbourne and Paolo Ghislimberti at Monza both from loose wheels.

Sidepodspace - A drive round the streets of Los Angeles

Featuring Austrians jumping out of space and more

Sidepodcast: Sidepodspace - A drive round the streets of Los Angeles

by Steven Roy

Many people thought when the shuttles stopped flying that activity in space was going to get very dull. Turns out those people could not have been more wrong. This week we have had the first paying commercial space flight, an attempt by an Austrian to take a balloon to 120,000 feet for no other reason than to jump out and the announcement of the first celebrity going to space.

Sid Watkins, safety pioneer

The incredible work of a man at the forefront F1 safety

Sidepodcast: Sid Watkins, safety pioneer

by Steven Roy

Anyone watching Twitter when news of the death of Sid Watkins started filtering through will be aware of how popular he was with those inside and outside of the F1 paddock. The fact that so many drivers took so quickly to Twitter to express their gratitude speaks volumes about the man. There were tweets from drivers like Rubens Barrichello and Martin Brundle, who he had treated, but the tweet that registered most with me came from Alex Brundle.

GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma

IZOD IndyCar Series 2012

Sidepodcast: GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma

by Steven Roy

The latest round of the Indycar championship takes place on a road course at Sonoma.  It is a 12 corner circuit and has a new hairpin for this race. Championship leader Will Power is a bit of a Sonoma specialist and he has claimed pole for the third year in a row.  The rest of the grid is to say the least a little mixed up with Briscoe, Bourdais, Castroneves, Dixon and Franchitti completing the top 6. Ryan Hunter-Reay who led the championship for much of the season and is now second is down in 7th on the grid.  Some other well known names Justin Wilson P10, Rubens Barrichello P12, Tony Kanaan P18. I am sure it will be an interesting race and even if it is not you can guarantee we will have fun commenting on it.

Mike Hewland - A vital cog in British motor racing

Hewland gearboxes are relatively unknown, but incredibly popular

Sidepodcast: Mike Hewland - A vital cog in British motor racing

by Steven Roy

Mike Hewland died at the weekend aged 89. He and his company should be known to all motor racing fans but they remain virtually unknown. Everyone knows that from the end of the 1960s, all through the 70s and into the 80s that the majority of the cars on the F1 grid had Ford Cosworth DFV engines. What is not as well known is that each of these engines was mated to a Hewland gearbox.

Head over heels

With leg protection covered, it's time for F1 to pay attention to the head

Sidepodcast: Head over heels

by Steven Roy

For as long as I can remember I have been arguing that drivers' heads should be protected a lot better than they are. Everyone is familiar with some recent accidents where something came in contact with the driver's head injuring or killing them. Many of us will remember watching Felipe Massa's Hungarian accident happening live on TV when he was hit on the forehead by a spring. Now we have had María de Villota's testing accident where in a very low speed crash her head came in contact with the tail lift of a truck. Since the changes made to protect the legs of drivers have been such an overwhelming success we need to consider what could be done to make the heads of drivers equally safe.

Visibility - The simplest hazard, most often overlooked

From rain delays to washing up liquid solutions, visibility cannot be forgotten

Sidepodcast: Visibility - The simplest hazard, most often overlooked

by Steven Roy

There are many aspects that have to be considered when looking at motor racing safety. There are obvious things like the use of best possible barriers at the track edge, the structure of the car being designed to stand certain loads and the clothing and helmets worn by the drivers meeting the appropriate standards. One factor often overlooked though is visibility. It should go without saying that if a driver can't see clearly it is not safe for him to race. It should but experience tells us that often drivers choose to race or are put in a situation where they have no choice but race when visibility is horrendous.

Sidepodspace update - The moon sunk the Titanic

The latest science and space news, from Waterworld to the moon

Sidepodcast: Sidepodspace update - The moon sunk the Titanic

by Steven Roy

We have all at some point read or heard a sentence and thought it was one we would never read or hear. It was a comment like that by Christine on a post on Google Plus that lead to me writing this post. The subject was a Japanese plan to build a space elevator to carry passengers to a space station a tenth of the distance to the moon. Beyond the space station a nary orbit and has a high tech cable attaching it to the Earth at the equator. The car that travels up the cable will go at 125 mph which sounds fast but it will take 200 hours to get there which is more than 8 days. It is going to have to be a very special lift carriage to keep people entertained for more than a week.