Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

BBC 5live preview the 2013 Formula One season // A radio pre-season spectacular with news, guests and plenty of anticipation

Published by Christine

BBC Radio 5Live logo

This evening, the BBC host their Formula One 2013 season preview, with Eleanor Oldroyd taking the reigns to guide us through testing summaries, guest interviews, and presumably a whole lot of speculation about what is to come this year.

We've listened in on these programmes before and gathered an insight or two, so I'm breaking out the Factbyte Factbox again for the 2013 preview show.

If you have access to 5live via the internet or a good old fashioned radio, I recommend tuning in for ninety minutes of F1 fun.

As it happened: BBC 5live F1 2013 Season Preview

Event Highlights

  • Analysis on Adrian Sutil's second chance in Formula One
  • A trip around the McLaren Technology Centre with James Allen
  • Graeme Lowdon, Marussia on F1's million dollar budget
  • The big debate - pay drivers versus natural on-track talent
  • 19:11

    Hello there, the final four days of testing kicked off today, so why not throw in a season preview radio show as well?

  • 19:18

    The radio show begins at about half past seven - give or take - you know what 5live are like.

  • 19:19

    Listen via the BBC website here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/5live/

  • 19:21

    You can also listen via TuneIn online or via the app http://tunein.com/ 5live is trending right now, apparently. Trending radio, eh?

  • 19:21

    There's also an iPlayer Radio app you might have or be interested in: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/iplayer-radio/id560458506

  • 19:24

    Of course, if you like your previews in a more readable format: http://christineblachford.com/2013/02/10/introducing-pocket-f1-handbook-guide-to-the-2013-f1-season/ Shh, subtle plug.

  • 19:26
    Jennie Gow chats to Marussia's Max Chilton

    Here's Jennie Gow talking to Max Chilton, via @Marussia_F1Team.

  • 19:31

    My 5live player has refreshed and shows an F1 car now, which is good. They're busy talking about drug cheats at the moment. Not in F1, I might add.

  • 19:33

    An interview with Lewis Hamilton, and talking with the original Stig. But first, the news.

  • 19:35

    Green flagThe first BBC F1 show of 2013 is underway!

  • 19:37

    They're trailing what is coming up in the show, with The Chain in the background. Nice bed music if you can get it!

  • 19:38

    Guests from Barcelona include Graeme Lowdown, Sporting Director of Marussia, plus Gary Anderson and Jennie Gow from the BBC.

  • 19:39

    Graeme: "We had a good day today, Max Chilton was driving the car today, he did 78 laps. As you've mentioned, we've had English weather down here... so it has been a difficult day for most of the teams in that they will have a schedule they want to get through, and to do that they want nice, dry stable conditions, and they've had anything but that. There'll be a bit of frustration in the pit lane, but for Max, who is new to F1, it's useful for him to experience the full range of track conditions. A good day for us."

  • 19:40

    Gary: "The Red Bull looks good, lots of grip, good traction. The Lotus looks consistent, although when the track was dry today they had a problem. It doesn't matter in Australia how quick you are, it's whether you get to the chequered flag... There's three days testing to go, you really have to be on top of understanding your car when you get to Australia. Most teams want to make sure they understand the car, as opposed to go out and get lap times."

  • 19:41

    Jennie: "Sutil said he got a phone call at lunchtime saying, yep, you're in."

  • 19:42

    Previous interview with Adrian Sutil: "I had quite a long time in the sport, I had my experience and I was a bit more calm. Today is a special day, it just shows you should never give up. If you work hard on it and you believe on it, you get a second chance. Everyone deserves a second chance, I think."

  • 19:43

    Handy F1Minute about Adrian's confirmation today: https://sidepodcast.com/news/adrian-sutil-confirmed-force-india-2013 Don't listen till later though!

  • 19:43

    I do like this quote from Sutil: "No one is perfect and that's why life is an adventure."

  • 19:44

    Graeme, being diplomatic: "Obviously Adrian has a long history at the team, so he's not an unknown quantity to that team. I know he was saying there that nobody's perfect, but F1 has a high degree of perfectionists, typically you don't get a second chance in F1. It's a tough, tough business.

    "The team obviously have belief in him, I think he'll reach Melbourne quite relaxed because he'll know the team are behind him. I think he'll have confidence in that. You don't get many second chances in this game, he's got one, it's up to him to prove his ability again."

  • 19:44
    In the studio in Barcelona

    Graeme, Gary and Jennie at the Ràdio 4 studio in Spain (image courtesy of @Marussia_F1Team)

  • 19:46

    The conversation moves on to the rookie drivers, starting with Bottas - "calling him a proper rookie is not fair." Except he is that.

  • 19:47

    Esteban Gutiérrez, Giedo van der Garde and Max Chilton. Jennie approves that these drivers are coming up from GP2, even if some are paying for their seats too. They have junior experience as well.

  • 19:48

    Graeme: "As Jennie's mentioned, although they may be new to some of the listeners, these are guys that cut their teeth in karting, GP3, GP2 and into Formula One. They are people who have been on our radar for a long time. We call them rookies but by the time we're selecting them for Formula One, we already know they can drive a car, and drive a race car very well.

    "The step to F1 contains many things, one of the biggest steps is dealing with the wider world of F1 and particularly the media."

  • 19:50

    A pre-recorded feature with James Allen going into the heart of the McLaren Technology Centre.

  • 19:51

    James wrote a blog post about his day out as well http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/5live/posts/Behind-the-scenes-at-McLarens-Woking-base

  • 19:52

    James navigating the MTC: "What's around this corner? Another anonymous corridor, and on and on it goes."

  • 19:53

    James is joined by Sam Michael as they make their way past heaps of historic cars. Bit like the launch, I suppose.

  • 19:56

    Sam Michael says you could build an F1 car in 24 hours if you had to, but they like to do it in three days, to double and triple check everything.

  • 19:57

    TweetTweet from @EllyOldroyd: If you miss any of @BBC5LiveF1 or 5 Live Racing tonight, they'll both be available as podcasts after 10.30pm.

  • 19:58

    James is being allowed in top secret simulator areas of the MTC, mostly because he doesn't have a camera on him.

  • 20:00

    They're discussing the fact that Pérez will have spent some time in the simulator to adjust from driving a Sauber to a very different McLaren.

  • 20:01

    Next on the MTC tour, the Fitness and Wellbeing Centre. James is shocked by the size of the swimming pool.

  • 20:03
    McLaren factory pool

    James says: "It looks like this could be your local council run gym but for this race seat." What council runs his gym??

  • 20:09

    Graeme: "We have a long term agreement with McLaren Racing's sister company McLaren Applied Technology. They're based at the MTC, so we use a lot of those facilities ourselves. As one of the newer teams in F1, if we had to build all that infrastructure, we'd still have cement and hard hats. We have an agreement to use those facilities, and they're excellent. We use their wind tunnel, vehicle dynamics rigs, all sorts. We can't share any technology or intellectual design because that's against the rules.

    "Part of our contract is we do share a lot of fitness training with McLaren, but I have luckily escaped it for now, but a lot of our mecanics are on that."

  • 20:10
    Eleanor Oldroyd in the studio

    Eleanor Oldroyd, via the 5live webcam! http://www.bbc.co.uk/5live/webcam/videocam/

  • 20:12

    Gary on how and when a new car comes into being: "You'll see Adrian Newey walking around with a notebook under his arm. Everything he sees, he's making notes, jotting down little ideas. If you sit down in an office and try to come up with a new car, it's pretty difficult. Adrian's very good at the vision, seeing where he wants to get to.

    "The concept of a new car is going on 365 days of the year. You never really start one day and say, I'm going to make a new car, you're always doing it. But there's one day you have to start drawing new bits. There's always a new way, optimising something better."

  • 20:13

    And we're back to James Allen, who is whispering so as not to disturb the workers.

  • 20:14

    Sam Michael on the car sitting in the engineers' office: "What the team does is we have a car, we make sure it's never more than a couple of years out of date, the guys can come in, see a car and discuss... how can we change that, how can we move this, instead of looking at CAD all the time, they can physically get in and look at the car. Even if they don't have a practical background, they may not completely understand how to bolt a car together, they can still get close to it in an unintimidating environment."

  • 20:15

    They've gone into Mission Control now. I thought you had to go into space to have one of those.

  • 20:17

    TweetTweet from @JennieGow: Live on @BBC5LiveF1 from Barcelona. Nice interview on the way with @LewisHamilton and our guest @Marussia_F1Team Graeme Lowdon - #f1

  • 20:18

    James is now talking to Simon Roberts, Operations Director who says he looks after the logistics and things.

  • 20:21

    This extensive tour of the McLaren factory is now looking at where they cut, sort, bake the carbon fibre and suchlike.

  • 20:23

    I am seeing the hashtag #dreamworkplace about the MTC. I'm not so sure. It's beautiful, of course, but to quote Phoebe: "I need to live in a world where people can spill!"

  • 20:23

    QuoteComment from Mr C: a secret look inside the wind tunnel works well on radio.

  • 20:26

    James Allen's summing up: "The first race is only a couple of weeks away, but already they're thinking not only of the go faster parts for later in the year, but for 2014 as well."

  • 20:27

    TweetWe're back to Elly and Gary, answering this question from @vintlywinter: @BBC5LiveF1 When will McLaren's performance match their facilities? #F1

  • 20:28

    The answer, to paraphrase, was that it's great they have the fastest pitstop, but they also messed a lot up, which averages it out and costs them a lot of time.

  • 20:31

    Graeme, on the cost of running a team: "The easy answer is too much. A team like ours, we probably spend £1.5 million a week. Some of the bigger teams will be spending a million a day, Monday to Friday, and more in fact. There is a vast difference, that's something you do see in other sports as well - Premier League football is similar. It's a tremendously expensive sport.

    "The key thing is we have to remember we're custodians of this sport, it's popular worldwide. Hundreds of millions of people watch worldwide, they're passionate about it, they love it. It's important we remember that and retain the competitive element. A lot of the moves to reduce costs have the side effect of increasing competition.

    "I think it's incumbent on us to find ways to save money, invariably when we do, the side effect is that it increases competition. It's the pinnacle of motorsport, the fans want to see wheel to wheel action, the more we sensibly reduce costs, the more of that we'll see."

  • 20:32

    Invariably, the McLaren discussion leads on to how they will get on without Lewis Hamilton there.

  • 20:37

    Lewis Hamilton on testing: "It's like you're putting the puzzle together on these test days, bit by bit you start to build the puzzle. Over the last couple of days, when we get the upgrades, you'll get a view of what that puzzle is going to look like."

  • 20:39

    Lewis Hamilton on what it's like to race: "It looks easy, from the camera above, cos you're strapped in, you're not moving around, bumping or bouncing. It's incredible how intense it is in the car, from yourself... from the team and all the partners you have in the team, collectively the engine department and the race team, 800 people, 900 people something like that... it's a phenomenal experience.

    "Obviously it's incredibly quick, the speed you have, the noise... everyone can drive fast in some sort of car, but it's the speed going through the corners, and when you brake and your body is six times the weight it is normally, and it chucks you forward and your insides are churning around... it's a bit like one of those rollercoaster rides, when you're spinning in your seat and you're stuck to the back. It's like the most phenomenal rollercoaster ride that you're in control of."

  • 20:43

    Lewis Hamilton, diplomatic on Mercedes bosses: "I've got a great relationship with Paddy, obviously spent the last six or so years with him, excited to work with him if he's coming here. I've not really paid much attention to it, lots of stuff is going on, lots of people are coming and going. I'm just trying to get to know the people I am definitely going to be with. I can't say too much about it, but I hope he does come and I hope he adds to the great team we already have."

  • 20:45

    Gary on some of the forces experienced in the car: "If you lie down on the sofa, no pillow underneath your head, and you lie there for two hours watching TV, that's about a quarter of the lateral forces you get [in F1] going round a corner."

  • 20:48

    Graeme on pay drivers and avoiding talking about Razia: "We have a couple of hundred employees back in Banbury, like any other business we have income and costs. We have to balance the financial side, and the drivers play a large part in that. Drivers attract sponsorship and partnership in different ways, some through the team, some by the individual. The way the sport is currently structured, you'll find a lot of commercial pressure on individual drivers.

    "As I mentioned before, we spend a million a week, some teams spend that a day. The drivers don't bring anywhere near that, they're part of a much bigger commercial structure that helps power the sport."

  • 20:53

    Perry McCarthy, some kind of Stig, is arguing against the idea of pay drivers. He likes the Williams model, where they have Bottas in for talent rather than the more commercial Bruno Senna.

  • 20:55

    Gary raises the ultimate question: "Lewis Hamilton's an example, before he sat in an F1 car, people reckon there was 13 million spent on his career. Who can get that opportunity now?"

  • 20:58

    Graeme won't be drawn on Luiz Razia: "It's our job in the management to make the decisions for the team. Luiz is a great guy, he was our reserve driver in 2010, we know him very, very well. We will work a situation out and it will be the right result for the team as a whole. We have an obligation to everyone who works in our team, this is a team sport at the end of the day."

  • 20:58

    Graeme's final thought: "Testing is so expensive, if we went back to the days of the real lunacy of spending where there was endless test teams and endless test days, I think it would be very bad for the sport and very divisive."

  • 20:59

    Championship predictions from the team: Jennie - Kimi Räikkönen, Gary - Fernando Alonso, Graeme - (aside from the two Marussias) Kimi Räikkönen, Perry - Fernando Alonso.

  • 21:00

    Eleanor managed to get away without making a prediction there. I need to learn how to do that.

  • 21:01

    Chequered flagAnd that's a wrap!

  • 21:03

    Great little preview show there. For me, the MTC tour was a bit long, but had some interesting insight so worthwhile in the end. Graeme had a few choice quotes to note, and it all just manages to raise the anticipation for what is now 16 and a bit days away ( https://twitter.com/countdowntof1 )

  • 21:04

    Thanks for tuning in, and for reading along, it's been marvellous. Join me again next time for some more facts and bytes and boxes!