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The Formula E season kicked off back in February to signal the start of the European racing season. The all-electric championship is now in its seventh season and boasts plenty of talented drivers and big-name manufacturers. The series is now recognised as an FIA World Championship, meaning the competition is even more brutal than ever. As the championship returns this weekend with a round in Mexico, it’s a good time to chart the season’s story so far.

De Vries Storms to Victory on Opening Night

Nyck De Vries won his first Formula E race in Diriyah

The season started with a doubleheader on the streets of Diriyah in Saudi Arabia. In race one, former F2 champion Nyck De Vries emerged victorious as he took a dominant win for his first victory in the championship. De Vries demonstrated poise and composure to manage the problematic track conditions as he powered his Mercedes EQ car to the checkered flag.

There was heartbreak for Sam Bird and Alexander Lynn as the two drivers crashed at turn one. Bird was charging through the field, and he wasn’t happy at all with Lynn’s defensive driving. More drama followed that incident as Max Gunther slapped the concrete wall that smashed his left rear suspension. The German driver lost control as he went off-line onto the dusty side of the track. Lastly, there were some phenomenal drives from Edoardo Mortara and Jaguar’s Mitch Evans, who joined De Vries on the podium. In the end, De Vries underlined his potential with a win in a premier class of FIA racing.

Sam Bird Shows His Class for First Jaguar Win

Sam Bird snatched a dramatic win in round two

Sam Bird said it was a gamble leaving the Virgin Envision Racing Team for Jaguar in 2021. The likeable Brit raced for Envision throughout the entirety of the Formula E championship. That gamble moving to a new team paid off in dramatic style as he triumphed in race two. Bird battled Robin Frijns all-race long as the two traded places consistently. It was a great battle for the race lead that got cut short due to a nasty crash for Alex Lynn. The race subsequently got red-flagged, and race control opted to declare the race result. Lynn got taken to hospital, but, thankfully, Lynn got discharged with no injuries.

Civil war once again broke out at the Techeetah team as Jean-Eric Vergne and Antonio Felix Da Costa waged a wild battle, and the two came to contact on multiple occasions. Max Gunther’s miserable weekend continued as he experienced another incident. This time, Gunther locked his brakes and sideswiped the innocent Tom Blomqvist out of the race.

Race one winner Nyck De Vries endured a challenging race two as he could only finish 14th, four places ahead of his teammate Stoffel Vandoorne. Ultimately, Sam Brid demonstrated why he is one of the marquee drivers on the Formula E grid. He kickstarted his championship campaign with a superb performance.

JEV Ends the Slide With a Taste of Champagne

Former Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne got back to winning ways in Rome

The championship headed back to Europe for races three and four in Rome. Race three was arguably the race of the championship, as several drivers were in the hunt for the race victory at various stages of the race. Oliver Rowland took the early lead until he got handed a drive-through penalty for using more than the permitted amount of battery power. It took him and his Nissan E.Dams machine out of the running. That gave the lead to Lucas Di Grassi with the likes of Robin Frijns, Jean-Eric Vergne, Sam Bird, Mitch Evans and the two Mercedes drivers chasing him.

This long snake of cars kept trading positions as each driver pulled off gutsy overtakes to shake up the order. Di Grassi and Frijns experienced a long, arduous battle as both drivers initiated contact on their respective manoeuvres. Frijns was left unimpressed after Di Grassi barged his way past and left him hung out to dry as Sam Bird passed Frijns as well. Meanwhile, Vergne was stealthily making his way through the traffic with intelligent passes.

The former Formula E champion displayed surgical skills and then held enough in hand to take the win behind the Safety Car. It was another excellent day for Jaguar. Their drivers Sam Bird and Mitch Evans finished second and third. On the opposite end of the scale, it turned out to be a fateful day for the Mercedes team as both their drivers collided in a race-ending crash while they tried to avoid the sick car of Di Grassi.

Vandoorne and Mercedes Bounce Back in Race Four

Stoffel Vandoorne tasted victory one day after crashing out

Stoffel Vandoorne won a dramatic race four at Rome. The drama began when Nick Cassidy spun off in the lead after the Safety Car came into pits. Pascal Wherlein grabbed the lead and controlled the pace in the early phases of the race. Nick Cassidy endured more misery as Oliver Rowland put him into the tech-pro barrier when Rowland decided to try an overtaking move. The big flashpoint came halfway through the race as Lucas Di Grassi and Sebastian Buemi came together.

Di Grassi tried to block Buemi; in doing so, Buemi’s front right tipped Di Grassi straight into the wall and out of the race. While all that happened, Vandoorne went past Wehrlein, which would turn out to be the race-winning move. Sam Bird, Oliver Rowland and Nyck De Vries all hit trouble on the last lap as a wild three-car incident took place. Their misery contrasts with Alex Sims and Pascal Wehrlein’s happiness as both drivers stepped onto the podium for the first time this season.

De Vries Rain Dances His Way to Win Number Two

Nyck De Vries became the first multiple race winner in 2021 with a win in Valencia

On one of Formula E’s rare outings to a racetrack, all hell broke loose in the wet conditions of Valencia. Nyck De Vries drove a sensible, controlled race to get himself into contention. From there, De Vries and his Mercedes team managed the race to perfection. He was one of the only frontrunners to have energy still left in his battery for the last lap. De Vries drove away from the rest of the pack to win in sodden conditions. Drivers got challenged as staying on the track was almost impossible.

Max Gunther ended up in the gravel as the back end snapped away from him in a braking zone. Sergio Sette Camara was another driver that ended his day in the gravel. Finally, Vandoorne was another driver who saved enough energy on the last lap. He charged to third position on the final lap to get the second Mercedes on the podium. Again, Mercedes played the strategy to perfection; I feel like I’ve heard that before.

Jake Dennis Dominates in a Crushing Performance

Jake Dennis took a lights to flag victory for his maiden Formula E win

Jake Dennis bagged a maiden Formula E win with a commanding lights-to-flag victory. The BMW I Andretti Motorsport driver outclassed and outpaced the field to win. However, this race was nowhere near as dramatic as the previous race. Alexander Lynn drove a composed race to take third place, just behind Porsche’s Andre Lotterer. The former sportscar ace needed a positive race in a season blighted by inconsistency until this race. Norman Nato was another of Formula E’s unsung heroes who drove a fine race to fifth place for Susie Wolff’s Venturi Racing team. Unfortunately, It was a bad day all around for several powerhouse drivers. De Vries, Bird, Evans and Frijns all finished outside of the top 12, while Stoffel Vandoorne didn’t finish the race.

Last Lap Da Costa Hits the Jackpot in Monaco

Last year’s series champion got on the winners board with victory in the Prinicipality

Antonio Felix Da Costa pulled off a last-gasp overtake on the last lap to win the Monaco E-Prix. The Portuguese driver raced his Techeetah car past the ailing Mitch Evans to take the win. Da Costa displayed solid speed throughout the race, and he managed his battery better than Evans. While the move was definitely on the borderline, Da Costa demonstrated his desire to win in Monaco.

Evans was out of battery on the last lap; he came into the Swimming Pool chicane with a train of cars, all desperate to get by. Although Evans went across the chicane to keep the position, they all needed to follow single-file through Rascasse until Norman Nato pounced to pip Evans to second place at the finish line. Da Costa was enduring a difficult season; his win at Monaco re-energized his championship campaign. There were also struggles for the Mercedes drivers, Jean-Eric Vergne and Jake Dennis.

After seven rounds of the championship, Robin Frijns is the man atop the standings. He holds a five-point lead over Nyck De Vries; however, the top five drivers are only separated by 13 points. Thus, the championship is alive and kicking. In the wild world of Formula E, anything can and will happen. This weekend, the series moves onto Mexico for another doubleheader. It promises to be another chaotic and crazy weekend.

After a pandemic-affected 2020, the Indycar championship is enjoying a renaissance in 2021. The series is back on its regular calendar, and it is thrilling fans all over the world. After the IRL/CART civil war that destroyed open-wheel racing in America, it finally feels like the Indycar series is on stable footing. Under the management of the Penske Corporation, the premier class of single-seater racing in the Americas is returning to prominence.

Exciting action, close competition and unpredictability are fueling this upturn in popularity. The recent Indy 500 was the most-watched sports event that weekend; the race beat the NBA and Baseball in TV ratings. The series is in good health, and here are five reasons to watch the white-knuckle, wheel-to-wheel action that is Indycar.

The Fiercest Competition

Indycar is famous for its competition

Quite simply, Indycar is the most competitive series in racing. So far, in 2021, the series has crowned five different race winners in five races. With all teams using the same standard chassis, control electronics and tyres, the drivers and teams must make the difference. Indycar champions its drivers making the difference on a race weekend.

That is why a driver like Colton Herta can struggle in race one at Alabama and then pitch up a week later to dominate on the streets of Florida. At the start of every Indycar race, a genuine feeling of not knowing who the winner will be, exists. With only 16 races on the calendar, every race feels like a prizefight. However, the way Indycar regulates its technical regulations to keep the cars close allows the drivers to shine. That is why there is so much unpredictability as the grid boats an enormous amount of depth.

The Youth Movement

Pato O’Ward is one of Indycar’s brightest young talents

One of the biggest things driving Indycar’s popularity is the Indy youth movement. The quartet of Alex Palou, Colton Herta, Rinus Veekay and McLaren’s Pato O’Ward are all race-winners under 25. These four drivers bring their panache and style to the championship. Veekay’s fearlessness allied with his daredevil/entertainer character makes him a must-watch TV. Herta’s laid-back, fun-loving smooth racing style will see him get positioned as the American face of the championship. Finally, Ex-Super-Formula pedaller Alex Palou couples quiet confidence with a disregard for veteran drivers.

Lastly, former Red Bull young driver O’Ward is the most exciting driver on the grid. The Mexican with the Irish name possesses insane car control; the Indycar paddock has started calling him the Ninja. Watching O’Ward’s onboard camera is box-office. There is nothing better than watching young drivers come into a championship and shake everything up; these four drivers are here to turn the Indycar series upside down. This stable of youngsters can drive Indycar to more success with their fan-friendly attitude and insane talent.

The Calendar

The Long Beach GP is one of the prestigious events on the calendar

Nowadays, most new race tracks are barren tarmac locales shorn of atmosphere. Luckily, the US race tracks still boast the old-school feel with plenty of atmospheres. After the roaring success of the ‘500, Indycar goes back to another banner event this weekend. The Dual in Detroit returns after missing out last year due to the pandemic. The bumpy, high-speed circuit lined with concrete walls tests drivers to the limit as they perform double-duty by racing on Saturday and Sunday. The Detroit streets will test the drivers’ skill, bravery and eye-balls as they trawl across the uneven roads in the Motor City.

After this weekend, the series will head north to tackle the stunning Road America racetrack at Elkhart Lake. The racetrack often gets labelled as the Spa-Francorchamps of North America, except that gravel and grass still line the outer edge of the track. Add a return to Laguna Seca, another oval race in St.Louis (where a certain Romain Grosjean makes his oval debut) and a season finale at the iconic Long Beach GP, the Indycar calendar will push the drivers. Yet, at the same time, it will serve up high-octane racing on unsanitised, old-school tracks. These circuits are great for wheel-to-wheel racing; plus, they could create some unexpected circumstances that will shape the championship.

The Championship Battle

Scott Dixon is the reigning Indycar champion

After a disastrous Indy 500 reigning champion, Scott Dixon is no longer the championship leader. The six-time champion was making serene progress to a seventh title until the cruel mistress of Indianapolis scuppered his ambitions on race day. While Dixon tumbled, his teammate Alex Palou surged to the top of the standings with a second-place finish. Dixon’s troubles also allowed Pato O’Ward to haul himself into contention. As a result, the top three are now separated by 37 points, with 50 points on offer for a race win; the championship dynamics could dramatically shift as the season hits its busy period through the summer.

Watching how the two youngsters battle with a legend down the home straight for the championship will be fascinating to watch. But, finally, it would be foolish to rule out Simon Pagenaud, Rinus Veekay and two-time champion Josef Newgarden who currently sit fourth, fifth and sixth in the standings. The championship chase for the coveted Astor Cup could get wild in the white-heat of battle this summer.

The On-Track Action

The on-track action in Indycar is almost unrivalled

The actual on-track action in Indycar is fantastic. The similarity across the cars and the constant push to improve overtaking has created an exciting formula in 2021. After two years of racing with the aeroscreen, Indycar has started to iron out its turbulent air problem. Now, the series is back to showcasing breathtaking racing. Rinus Veekay displayed his racing skills as he scythed past the traffic and Romain Grosjean to win the Indianapolis GP.

Josef Newgarden and Colton Herta waged a race-long war for the victory in Florida. At the same time, Pato O’Ward screamed past his opponents on the slippery, dusty tarmac at Texas Motor Speedway. Whether it is on an oval, racetrack or street circuit, Indycar offers stunning action as cars race side-by-side for two hours. It is a spectacle watching Alexander Rossi race around the outside of another driver or witness Scott Dixon dissect his way through traffic. So if you’re after tons of action, brave racing, and exciting overtaking, Indycar is the series to watch.

Helio Castroneves won an emotional and evocative fourth Indy 500 last Sunday. The Brazilian legend joined the four-time club 20 years on from his maiden ‘500 win. The 46-year-old came into Indy after he got let go by Team Penske; Castroneves scrambled for a one-race deal with Indycar minnows, Meyer Shank Racing. The win was the team’s first Indycar win, and they triumphed at the biggest race in the world. The win cemented Castroneves’ legacy as an Indycar legend and left him on the brink of history. But, we’ll come back to that later.

The Speedway Gets Its Soul Back

The 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 was a historical, emotional event. Firstly, 135,000 fans returned to the Brickyard. That number marked the highest attendance for a sporting event since the pandemic started. Seeing race fans return to their cathedral of speed made the pageantry all the more special. After last year’s empty ‘500, the soul and spectacle returned for the 2021 edition.

The emotional singing of ‘Back Home Again in Indiana’ and the electricity of the driver introductions heightened the atmosphere. Add all the pomp and circumstance to the level of talent on the grid, and the race couldn’t come soon enough. The field of 33 were the fastest qualifiers in Indy history, while nine former winners were on the grid. The blend of youthful exuberance and veteran experience created an exciting cocktail of drama. It didn’t take long; After his twirl at the driver introduction, young Dutchman Rinus Veekay overtook Scott Dixon and Colton Herta to surge into an early lead. Veekay got followed by young American Herta in the early stages. The drivers settled in for the early stint until a dramatic twist shook things up.

A Dramatic Twist and Scott Dixon’s Bad Luck

Scott Dixon is a six-time Indycar champion; he’s won over 50 races, the Kiwi is a bonafide legend. Yet, Dixon has only drunk milk in victory lane once in his legendary career. That sole victory in 2008 looked like it might get joined after Dixon took a phenomenal pole position. Unfortunately, Stefan Wilson’s crash in the pitlane caused an early safety car period. Dixon was waiting to pit a tad later than Herta and Veekay.

Instead, race control closed the pits, and Dixon needed to complete one more lap around the track. Eventually, he was allowed in for an emergency stop. As the Iceman pulled in, his car spluttered to a halt. Dixon went a lap down and tumbled to the last position in their desperate efforts to restart the car. The favourite, the reigning champion, saw his Indy hopes get ripped away from him in an instant. Indianapolis often picks its winner; lady luck was definitely not on Dixon’s side this year.

The early safety car brought Conor Daly into play. The Indiana born-and-raised driver emerged into the leading pack after the pace car period. When the green flag finally waved, Daly went into hyperdrive. Daly took second place away from Herta; he then passed his teammate going into turn three; the roar from the Indiana faithful was deafening. The boy born 20 miles from the speedway was now in the lead; however, Indianapolis and its 230mph Russian roulette would once again change everything.

A Horrifying Crash, Hometown Heartbreak and the Ninja

As the laps continued to fly by, Graham Rahal was quietly moving into contention. The Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver went on a long stint in an attempt to overcut several cars. His team won the race last year with Rahal’s teammate Takuma Sato, and Rahal’s desire to emulate his father and win the Indy 500 was fueling him. Rahal came to a stop, time was of the essence, and his mechanics hurried their way through.

Devastatingly for Rahal, he left without the left-rear wheel tightened; as he accelerated out of the pitlane, the wheel rolled off, and Rahal crashed into the wall. It was eerily similar to Alex Zanardi’s horrific crash in 2001. Luckily, Rahal was ok. The loose wheel ricocheted back onto the racing line and struck Conor Daly’s car. The aeroscreen arguably saved Daly’s life; however, the resulting damage on his car would prove his undoing. Add that to a late pitstop, and the Indiana racer was out of contention.

Daly’s teammate Veekay was struggling with fuel-saving; it seemed as if the race was down to four drivers: Helio Castroneves, Alex Palou, Pato O’Ward and Ryan Hunter-Reay. Captain America ruled himself out as he got a pitlane speeding penalty. The race had come down to two fearless youngsters and the grizzled veteran.

The Legend’s Flying Finish, but the Young Guns Are Here to Stay

As the race reached its dramatic denouement, the front three were racing for the win. It looked like the Honda-powered cars of Palou and Castroneves held a power advantage. O’Ward got placed on the periphery due to his Chevrolet engine’s power disadvantage. Palou and Castroneves traded places until the penultimate lap when Castroneves pounced. The Brazilian swept around the outside of turn one to pass Palou;

Castroneves then negotiated the longest three corners of his career to cross the yard of bricks before everyone else. The charismatic Castroneves then celebrated in signature style by climbing the fence. Once again, the crowd’s roar was incredible as they showed their affection and admiration for one of the sports biggest stars.

At various points, the Indy 500 got led by Alex Palou, Rinus Veekay, Colton Herta and Pato O’Ward. All four of these drivers are race-winners; all four of them are under-25; these fearless young bucks will get plenty of opportunities to come back and win at Indy. Although it won’t be easy, Castroneves said the old guys have still got it, citing Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson as examples. Spiderman will almost certainly return in 2022 to take a crack at winning ‘500 number five. That would place Castroneves into an exclusive club of one, and a packed house at Indy may erupt. But, the young guys are coming for him and his crown. Can it be May 2022 already? Please?

Linsay Winkler is a 19-year-old young woman who has been working in motorsport as a mechanic since she was 15.

She already gained a lot of experience in different teams and racing classes and aims to be an engineer in the future. I was delighted to sit down with this young technical talent to ask her a few questions about her current role and her experiences working within motorsport.

You clearly have a passion for motorsport, how did you come into contact with the sport, and why did you choose the technical side of it?
To start at the very beginning, my father has always worked in motorsport. He was a manager of a driver, mechanic and team boss; he stopped doing this when I was about 12 years old. In addition, my parents have a go-kart track, so of course, I already learned things. I was never really interested in motorsport myself, and instead, I was doing a different sport at a high level, which I was very busy with. When Max Verstappen won the Spanish Grand Prix (if I remember correctly), a few days later, the Max Verstappen racing days took place in Zandvoort. After Max’s win, my father was invited and naturally also wanted to take a look, so I went with him. There I met a lot of people, which increased my interest enormously. A few months later, Jos Verstappen took us to the Formula One test days, and my father took me to a Formula 4 race weekend where I immediately fell in love with the sport. I wanted to join the F4 team every weekend, from Thursday to Sunday evening. There were two free practice sessions, a qualifying session and three races per weekend where I went into the pit lane to see everything; during the sessions, I had nothing to do because, of course, I was there as a guest. I asked the other technicians to ask if I could do something, and I got into it because I was allowed and able to do more and more.

Could you tell me more about your role and the duties?
A mechanic is actually responsible for the car before, during and after the sessions. Basically, they make changes that are communicated by the driver or engineer and make sure the car is ready to race. We also adapt the car to the driver, so each driver has a different seat that must be made; the pedals are different for each driver as well due to their length, and each driver has a different driving style with the corresponding adjustments. In addition, we naturally replace parts and repair them if necessary. This may sound logical, but actually, we are constantly working on the car to get the best out of the car and ensure that everything is mounted perfectly.

You are currently studying Aeronautical Engineering; isn’t that very different from motorsport? Why did you choose this study?
The aeronautical engineering study is the perfect study to understand race car aerodynamics. Many people think this is something completely different, but almost most engineers have followed this study. My father always said that I first had to know the technical (mechanic) side of the car and then, with this knowledge, become a more complete engineer. Last year was, therefore, the perfect time to gain more knowledge in addition to working as a mechanic by following the study of aeronautical engineering.

Your work seems to me to be both physically and mentally intense because the performance of others partly depends on your performance. How do you train yourself in this? How do you keep yourself sharp?
 If you work in motorsport, you work long days and make short nights, so I prepare myself for this all year round by trying to get as much energy from my sleep as possible and getting up on time. So, during a race weekend, this won’t feel like a completely different pattern.
In addition, it is also a physical burden. I don’t perform pit stops in the W Series like in Formula 1. If I did, the physical aspect would be even more enormous. I can say the mechanics train all year round to be physically as strong as possible. I also train throughout the year to get as much out of my body as possible physically. But for me, the most important thing is that a race weekend is physically (little sleep and hard work) affected as little as possible by the changes compared to, for example, when I have classes.

What does a typical race week look like for you? Are there any routines you can tell more about? 
Every race weekend actually has a kind of fixed routine, but no two weekends are the same. Usually, the weekend starts on Monday or Tuesday when we travel to the track. Then on Wednesday, we pitch the tent and start working on the cars. On Thursday, we prepare the cars for training and qualifying on Friday. Free practice’s and qualifying are on Friday. After Friday, we prepare the cars for the race on Saturday or Sunday in the evening. Every weekend is obviously different; when a car is damaged, you work differently than when the car is perfectly adjusted, and the driver does not require any adjustments.

Do you have a moment in your career so far that you are proud of? Or very exciting moments?
The race at Assen with the W Series in 2019 was really cool! I was there for the first time with the W Series, and as a mechanic, I got to win with Megan Gilkes. On Saturday evening, we were told that we could be on pole in the reverse grid race on Sunday, which was very exciting. On Sunday, Megan won the race with +0.034 seconds, if I’m correct. The last laps I have been biting my nails and shaking like crazy because I was so nervous, but in the end, I was very proud of her that she had just won the race!

You work in a sport that is mainly dominated by men; how do you keep your position strong in this world among men? And how do you manage to inspire other women with this?
I think basically everyone I have worked with always says that I am a very hard worker. In addition, many people (mechanics, engineers, drivers) really enjoy working with me, which is a very nice compliment, and thankfully I also enjoy working with them! I don’t see myself as someone who inspires other women, but I do hope that women who doubt they can see me and think if I can, they can do this too!

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to work as a Mechanic / Engineer? 
Just do it! I believe that you can achieve anything if you work hard enough and do something that you enjoy!

On behalf of Grid Talk, I would like to thank Linsay for taking the time to talk to me about her experiences in and around the paddock! We hope this inspires you to follow your dreams.

2020 threw us into uncharted territory with a completely new calendar, with some tracks we hadn’t been in a long time, and this season we still have replacement tracks due to the travel restrictions caused by Covid. So, I thought, what would be my dream calendar to have? So here are my picks for a 20 race season.

Bahrain

Starting the season off in Bahrain as we did in 2021 was what a start it was. I love this track as it has everything a modern f1 track should have! Long straights for DRS, breaking zones where drivers can send it, corners drivers can go side by side, YES PLEASE! We’ve had some superb races in recent years, and back in 2014, Hamilton and Rosberg had an almighty battle in the desert, making this the perfect starting track to kick off my dream calendar.

Malaysia

Sepang is probably one of the tracks I think I miss the most in recent years. Sepang was great for battles with iconic 2 straights that go round the grandstands. For me, this track also reminds me of Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull era.

China

This may not be a favourite for everyone, but I really enjoy China! Maybe because it’s one of the tracks I quite like on F1 2020 as it’s one of my better ones, but I think it throws something different into the calendar vs the other tracks.

The Netherlands

Even though we still haven’t seen Zandvoort in action yet, playing it on F1 2020 makes me really excited for it later in the season. It’s an old-style track that will punish drivers when they make mistakes. I think qualifying will be amazing here, too, as it’s tough, and not to mention the Dutch atmosphere will be amazing, meaning it’s a must for me!

Spain

Valencia is my choice of the track as I think there should be a Spanish GP as Circuit de Catalunya, on the whole, isn’t the most action-packed race. There is a lot of love out in Spain, with, of course, Alonso and Sainz really driving the love for the sport out there. The last race in Valencia was in 2012 and was won by Alonso! Unfortunately, the F1 track is now abandoned, so that we won’t be seeing any time soon…

Portugal

The last 2 races at Portimao did not disappoint! The rollercoaster effect of the track brings such a unique feel to it. Drivers also love this track which is exactly what we like to watch as a viewer! Not to mention Portimao isn’t a bad holiday destination either!

Monaco

Monaco stays on the calendar for the Glitz and the Glamour. It may not be the best track due to little overtakes, but qualifying is one if not, the best to watch. Strategy can be fascinating to watch here, too, so for nerds like me, Monaco can be great! And that I have a dream to watch the GP on a yacht to live my best life, but we don’t need to mention I got my invite rejected when a guy found out I am a Liverpool fan, swiftly moving on.

Baku

I love Baku! I think it’s the best street track in terms of racing, and Baku loves to bring the spice!! The race in 2017 lives rent-free, and if you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend you do. On top of this, Baku normally provides us with some beauties of radio clips.

Canada

Canada’s weather is somewhat unpredictable, which is fabulous! It provided us with the race of the century in 2011 and good for growing the North American following, too, so it’s on my calendar!

Austria

Austria is one of my favourite tracks and always one I really look forward to. More recently, it has provided some epic racing up and down the grid, especially in 2020. Not to mention the scenery is amazing!

Great Britain

So I may be biased here as a Brit, but Silverstone has to be on the calendar! There is so much heritage to Formula 1 in the UK, with the most successful driver of all time in Lewis Hamilton and the extremely popular Lando Norris and George Russell, with a British atmosphere; it’s just a must! Maggots and Becketts is an amazing set of corners, too, a great asset to the calendar.

Hungary

Hungary is a solid track in the calendar, providing solid races year on year, especially the first corner, allowing drivers to “send it”, as Danny Ric would say! Really great fan track to being in the middle of Budapest, being one of the cheapest tracks to go to!

Belgium

Do I need to say anymore? This is absolutely my favourite track ever! I’ve been 4 times, and I can’t stress enough how I think every F1 fan should go if they have the opportunity. Eau Rouge is just the most beautiful corner with the track in the most scenic place in Belgium. I will stop fangirling now, but I LOVE SPA!

Germany

How we have a 4-time German World Champion and a Schumacher back in F1 and no German GP?! It’s just a crime against F1! In my opinion, there just has to be, and my choice is the Nürburgring. We went here in 2020, and it is a better track than Hockenheim. There is so much love in Germany for the sport, and with so much success with German Drivers and Mercedes, there needs to be a German GP!

Italy

Monza is a dream of mine to visit! The power of Tifosi is just something I would love to experience as their passion and excitement is a joy to watch! Monza also creates great races, with 2020 being a favourite of last season. The drama of qualifying to the overtakes down to DRS all adds to this fantastic race and the best podium too!

Singapore

I have to include Singapore! The night race just brings something so special, especially in qualifying. How difficult it is for the drivers in terms of humidity brings another layer into showing who’s a good driver and who’s a great driver.

Japan

One thing I love about Suzuka is the fans! Japanese fans have so much passion for the sport, which is amazing to watch, and it will be great to see the reception Yuki Tsnouda gets at his home track. It’s a really demanding track showing off drivers’ skills which I enjoy.

USA

This may be an unpopular opinion, but COTA is really up there for me in terms of favourite tracks. I really look forward to coming here every year, and it is great fun on F1 2020. I love Miami as a destination for a track, but so far, I’m not convinced about the layout of the track just yet.

Mexico

I love the grandstand section on the track. It really brings a unique feel to this race and better interaction with fans. Overall, the track is good for racing, and a fan favourite, making it a penultimate track.

Brazil

Finally, the showdown must be in Interlagos. I think it would be a much better end to a season allowing drivers to actual race rather than it being an anti-climax to end the season, with Brazil 2008 showing why it should be the last race of the season. Even in recent years, the racing has been superb, with no one forgetting the 2019 podium or Max Verstappen nearly squaring up to Estaban Ocon a few years ago. Can you tell I like drama!!

Some notable tracks are missing out, but I think this 20 race season would be amazing in terms of great racing! Let me know what you think!

Indiana is a landlocked state in America’s heartland. It is a quiet, sleepy place full of great people. Unfortunately for the Indiana natives, this hidden gem gets unnoticed for 11 months of the year. Illinois, Michigan and Ohio take the attention. Add all that to a long, harsh winter and, understandably, most ordinary folks ignore this place. That is, except for one group of people. To race fans, Indiana is the Mecca in which they worship. The 200mph altar is where petrolheads make their pilgrimage. Every Spring, Indiana waves goodbye to the Winter, and it welcomes the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

The Indianapolis 500 is one of the oldest, most famous races in the world. Sine 1911, they’ve raced around the hallowed walls to the delight of fans from around the world. For one month, the eyes of the racing world stay glued to the state of Indiana. One can ignore Indiana for 11 months; however, when the cars’ noise hits, the track begins to reverberate, no one can forget Indy in May. Buckle up, ladies and gentlemen; it’s Indy 500 season.

The Greatest Show on Earth

The pre-race scene prior to the start of the Indy 500

From the driver introductions, the singing of ‘Back Home Again in Indiana’ and the throngs of fans making their way through the turnstiles, Indy 500 race day is special before the green flag waves. It is the biggest single-day sporting event globally; half a million people pack into the grandstands and infield to witness history. The tradition, the ceremony and spectacle make the race into an event that transcends sports. Quite simply, the Indy 500 is the biggest race in the world. There is something dangerously primal about watching a car weave past the concrete at an average speed of 215 mph—all in the pursuit of racing immortality. Hill, Stewart, Clark, Rutherford, Andretti, Fittipaldi, Villeneuve, Montoya, Wheldon and Castroneves are some of the fabled names who have their faces on the Borg-Warner trophy.

The tradition, the celebration of history and the storied racers that have come before them is unparalleled across all sports. After last year’s race got held without fans, and in August, the first authentic 500 under Penske management promises to be something special. Already, the drivers are out promoting the race and engaging with the fans from Indiana.

The Wheel to Wheel Action Is Unrivalled

For wheel to wheel racing, nothing comes close to the Indy 500

If you are after thrilling motorsports action, the 500 is the only race to watch. The cars whizz by in a blur of noise and colour. The average speed is 215mph, and they follow each other nose-to-tail in the slipstream. To pass someone requires enormous bravery and skill as drivers must thread the needle as they move off the racing line and up alongside the concrete to overtake their rivals. With the Indycar’s all sporting the low downforce oval package, the cars spend most of the race grouped in packs. The drivers dance their cars on an asphalt knife-edge. It is the ultimate test of skill and bravery. Nothing comes close to seeing Alexander Rossi move to the outside and overtake three cars in one action.

Don’t Forget About the Indy Road Course

The Indianapolis GP is the first staging point in the month of May

The Indianapolis Grand Prix is the first event of the month. The oft-forgotten about race forms a vital part of the festivities. The track that hosted F1 between 2000 and 2007 is an entirely different test for teams and drivers. The slow infield complex is a stark contrast to the super-speedway layout for the 500. It is a race that tests the drivers’ endurance as well as a teams strategy. It is a technical challenge that must get mastered. In 2019, Simon Pagenaud won the Indy GP to set up a clean sweep as he subsequently took pole and won the Indy 500. A win in this race can build significant momentum; the race can’t get ignored.

This Year’s Entry List Is Elite

Former two-time Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya is back as he races for Arrow Mclaren SP

Unless something dramatic happens in qualifying, this year’s field is one of the very best in Indy 500 history. Six-time Indycar champion Scott Dixon is the headline name. Former Indy 500 winners Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves, and Juan Pablo Montoya return for another battle with the Brickyard. Then there is the current batch of established racers. Alex Rossi is desperate to add another race win to his sole triumph in 2016. Penske’s Simon Pagenaud is under pressure to keep his drive in 2022; a strong performance this month could save him. His teammate Will Power emerged victorious in 2018; after conquering his oval fear, Power is hungry for more.

Finally, Indycar’s young guns are also fighting for glory. Mclaren’s Pato O’Ward is finally a race winner; the Mexican took a stunning win in Texas, and his Mclaren looked hooked up on the oval at Texas Motor Speedway. Colton Herta is already a race-winner this year, plus his dad is now his race engineer. Bryan Herta masterminded Dan Wheldon’s win in 2011 as well as Alex Rossi’s win in 2016. Add those drivers to the likes of Josef Newgarden (former two-time champion), Alex Palou ( race-winner in 2021), Takuma Sato ( twice a 500 winner), and the ingredients are there for a great month of racing.

The Final Line

The location is unique; the track is historically special, it is a 100-year monument to the pursuit of speed, and finally, the grid boasts a level of talent we’ve rarely seen. From veterans to champions and the young guns, the month of May is ready to entertain millions of fans worldwide. Strap yourselves in; the three-week extravaganza in Indiana is here.

Drama already unfolded even before starting the race as Polesitter Charles Leclerc has experienced some gearbox issues on his out lap. Later on, Ferrari confirmed that he would not be racing this afternoon. This is a hard one to swallow for the Monegasque after claiming pole in his home Grand Prix; however, he will now be on the sidelines.

It’s lights out and away we go in Monaco! 

It’s a good start from Max Verstappen in the Red Bull, and we see a lock-up from Valtteri Bottas into Turn 1. It’s been a somewhat aggressive start from Verstappen, who now has a decent lead over Bottas in the front of the field.  Carlos Sainz also got away very well. According to replays, Bottas had a slightly better start than the Dutchman. He might have been able to cut back on any other track once Verstappen went through him to take the racing line, but not on a street circuit like this. 

We’re going into Lap 2, and all 20 drivers moved up one place after the DNS from Charles Leclerc, and we see Max Verstappen earning the fastest lap. In the top 10, there doesn’t appear to have been much change, but that’s Monaco for you. Nikita Mazepin received the first black and white flag of the race for breaching track limits in Lap 14. He’s crossed the line far too many times. We’re only 16 laps into the race, but another infringement will result in a penalty for the Russian.

Lap 19, and we can hear Verstappen on the team radio saying, “For these tyres, I’m happy.” So far, it seems that everything has gone according to plan for the Dutchman. Not for Norris, who has now been handed a black and white flag.  Lance Stroll launches his Aston Martin over the kerb where Leclerc crashed in Saturday qualifying in Lap 21 but saved it from hitting the barrier just in time.  We’re in Lap 22 when we hear Bottas complain about the left front tyre that seems to be starting to drop. As seen on the AWS tyre condition graphic, Bottas has indeed 20% left of his tyres.  Lap 26 and Max Verstappen sounds very happy again. This time he mentions to be having “Quite a good front end” on the team radio. Something that used to be a problem during the free practices has been improved with the Red Bull. 

Lewis Hamilton is the first to make a pit stop in Lap 30 and made a swift pitstop of 2.2 seconds  Lap 31, and there is a disaster pit stop for Bottas. which causes a lot of chaos.  Three tyres came off easily, but the front right refused to come off. We saw the wheel gun shattering into shards, and the team was unable to remove his tyre, forcing the Finn to retire from the race. Meanwhile, we hear a fuming Lewis Hamilton on the team radio: “I don’t understand, guys. I saved the tyres to go longer, and you made me stop before.

Max Verstappen, the race leader, pits on lap 35. A short two-second stop for the hard tyres there, and it’s all looking quite good for the Dutch Red Bull driver now. Still, in Lap 35, Hamilton dropped two positions by pitting, and he’s just been warned that he’s in threat from Sergio Perez, who is currently leading the race and has some breathing room to extend his lead. Lewis sounds very unhappy. Sergio Perez has finally pitted for a set of hard compound tyres on Lap 36. It’s a smooth stop, and he returns to the track in fourth place. Red Bull is so far experiencing an amazing day, while Mercedes seems to be having a disastrous one.

Now we’re on Lap 50, and things are starting to get interesting. Sainz is putting a lot of pressure on Verstappen, and while the Red Bull still has a three-second lead, the Ferrari has been fast all weekend. Lap 53 and things are getting unfortunate for Daniel Ricciardo, who is currently in P12, as his teammate will lap him. While he begins to get to know his McLaren, it’s not the weekend he expected.  For the Aussie, today is a race to forget after two poles and a win.

Verstappen and Sainz are separated by only 2.7 seconds in Lap 56. This race has felt like a parade from the start, but if the Ferrari keeps up this pace, there could be some surprises near the finish. Lap 58 and Lando Norris just informed the team over the radio that his car is undriveable on these tyres. If this keeps up, he’ll soon have Perez on his tail. The youngster sounds very concerned. Sergio Perez has closed the gap on Norris to four seconds in Lap 61, but that gap isn’t closing fast enough when you consider he has to go past him somewhere.  Unless, of course, the tyres will lose their condition, in which case Norris will be in serious danger.

We’re in Lap 63, and Lance Stroll is under investigation for supposedly failing to maintain his position in the pit lane to the right. After such a strong performance, a time-penalty might be devastating for the Canadian. Carlos Sainz is starting to drop from his position in Lap 65. He’s 7.2 seconds behind Verstappen but might be satisfied with second place today, which would be a fantastic first podium for his new Italian team. Were in Lap 69 and a set of fresh soft tyres for Hamilton. This seems like Mercedes’ acceptance that Hamilton will not finish in the serious points at the front of the field. Therefore he will rather try for the fastest lap bonus point.

The stewards investigated the incident involving Stroll in Lap 70 and concluded that he did not go over to the right side of the pit lane, deciding that the Aston Martin did not break the rules. Meanwhile, in the same lap, Hamilton is about to be lapped by the race leader Max Verstappen. Hamilton has just set the fastest lap of the race on Lap 72. The defending world champion’s gamble to switch to a fresh set of soft tyres might just pay off, though it’s still been a very frustrating afternoon for Mercedes.

Lando Norris appeared to be struggling to keep Perez behind him a few laps ago, but the McLaren has found some more grip and pace and appears ready to finish on the podium. Max Verstappen is now one lap away from winning the Monaco Grand Prix and taking over the Drivers’ Championship lead for the first time this season.  For the Dutchman, it’s been a parade, but he really hasn’t put a foot wrong today. 

A true display of strength from the young driver hoping to help Red Bull win the championship this season. Max Verstappen and Red Bull have had a phenomenal day!  Not only does the Dutchman win in Monaco, but he also takes over the lead in the Drivers’ Championship for the first time in his career. 

Carlos Sainz comes in second, with Lando Norris completing the podium in third!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The month of May in Indianapolis means one thing; the Indianapolis 500. The Greatest Spectacle in Racing takes place next Sunday, while qualifying will happen this weekend. The ‘500 is the first checkpoint in the Indycar season. Therefore, it is the perfect time to recap what’s happened so far in 2021.

Crashed Cars, Near-Misses and a Maiden Victory

Alex Palou took his maiden Indycar victory in race one of the 2021 season

After a delayed start due to the global pandemic, Indycar roared into life on the rollercoaster-like Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. Reigning champion Scott Dixon came into the race as the driver to beat; however, his young teammate would steal the spotlight. Alex Palou perfected a two-stop strategy to take the checkered flag; first, it was the first win in his career, and it was the first race with new team Chip Ganassi.

The Spaniard broke Mclaren hearts as he denied pole-sitter Pato O’Ward a first win in the championship. Two-time Indycar champion Josef Newgarden caused a massive crash on lap one; that pile-up accounted for several drivers. The podium got rounded out by those two Antipodean veterans.

Team Penske’s Will Power snatched second; meanwhile, Scott Dixon got his campaign off to a solid start with a third place. Rookies Romain Grosjean, Scott Mclaughlin and Jimmie Johnson all made their Indycar debut’s plus they scored points. Round one set the tone; the series quickly moved onto the streets of St. Petersburg for round two.

The All-American Kid Gets Andretti Autosport Back on the Top Step

Colton Herta dominated in St. Petersburg to win his first race since 2019

Colton Herta finally tasted the winner’s champagne after a barren 2020. The Andretti Autosport youngster drove all weekend brilliantly on the Floridian streets to claim the victory. As expected, the race was an attritional affair; Herta stayed calm and patient as he managed the pace-car periods and restarts to perfection. Josef Newgarden enjoyed a bounce-back weekend after sending his Penske machine into the barriers after two corners in Alabama. The Tennesee native harried and chased Herta but to no avail.

Nonetheless, it got his championship kickstarted after a DNF in race one. Penske’s third driver Simon Pagenaud got a much-needed podium to ease the pressure on himself. Briton Jack Harvey shone as he grabbed an exceptional fourth place. Scott Dixon continued to hold the championship lead as the veteran went home with fifth place. He knew his car wasn’t quick enough to win; Dixon took the points and fought another day. Ultimately, the weekend belonged to Herta.

His performance magnified the struggles of the rest of the Andretti drivers. Alex Rossi, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay finished outside of the top ten. Herta looks like a laid-back, shaggy-haired beach bum; however, he laid down a marker in Florida. He’s not racing for Andretti, just to support someone else’s championship challenge.

The Iceman Stayed Cool In the Texas Heat; Dixon Dominates Race One

Scott Dixon claimed another win at Texas Motor Speedway

We inhabit a world of inevitability. Morning always follows night; rain always follows a sunny afternoon in England, and Mercedes always say that they’re in trouble before winning the first F1 race of the season. Therefore, it surprised no one that Scott Dixon got back to victory lane as he crushed the opposition in Texas. The former Indy 500 winner raced in a league of his own to re-confirm that he is the driver to beat in Indycar. Indycar rookie Scott Mclaughlin impressed everyone as the former Aussie V8 ace broke his oval-racing virginity with a podium finish. Once again, Mclaren’s Pato O’Ward took another podium as he looked comfortable on the tricky Texas track. That performance served as a precursor.

Everyone Remembers Their First Time

After so many near misses, Pato O’Ward sealed his first win in Texas and Mclaren’s first win since returning

Texas Motor Speedway hosted a double-header, the drivers all came back to do it again on Sunday after Dixon’s win on Saturday. This time, one of the younger drivers took home the headlines and winners trophy. After so many close calls, Pato O’Ward finally broke through to snatch his first Indycar win. The former Indy Lights champion and Red Bull rookie looked fast all race; he then pulled off some stunning overtakes to get past Graham Rahal and Josef Newgarden. After taking the lead, O’Ward sprinted home as he left his rivals behind in a cloud of Papaya and Black dust.

Also, it was Mclaren’s first win since returning to Indycar, and in O’Ward, the team has a young superstar. The Mexican now gets a test for the F1 team in Abu Dhabi later this year, although he’s said that his heart belongs in Indycar. Overall, O’Ward looked fearless, fast and relentless on the oval in Texas. Indycar’s got a new superstar to lead the championship around the world.

Veekay Denies Grosjean a Perfect Weekend in Indianapolis

Rinus Veekay secured his first Indycar win last weekend at the Indy GP

Move over, Max Verstappen; there is another racing sensation from the Netherlands. Rinus Veekay dashed his way to glory in the Indy GP. The young Dutch racer paired great strategy with some daring overtakes to win at the Brickyard. Veekay was the season’s third new winner out of five races. The performance proved too good for pole position man Romain Grosjean.

The ex-F1 racer stunned everyone as he bagged his first pole since 2008. Grosjean led the early stages; sadly for him and his fans, a slow stint on the harder tyre coupled with traffic was his downfall. Nonetheless, as a rookie driver in Indycar, months after escaping THAT crash, Grosjean underlined how fast he is. Grosjean will now take a few weeks off before he returns for the doubleheader in Detroit. The mercurial Frenchman announced himself as a contender for race wins. Alex Palou finished third as three European drivers stepped onto the podium.

Current Championship Standings

1Scott DixonChip Ganassi Racing176
2Alex PalouChip Ganassi Racing163
3Josef NewgardenTeam Penske148
4Pato O’WardArrow McLaren SP146
5Graham RahalRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing137
6Rinus VeekayEd Carpenter Racing135
7Simon PagenaudTeam Penske130
8Scott McLaughlinTeam Penske123
9Will PowerTeam Penske118
10Colton HertaAndretti Autosport117
11Marcus EricssonChip Ganassi Racing99
12Takuma SatoRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing98
13Jack HarveyMeyer Shank Racing97
14Alexander RossiAndretti Autosport91
15Romain GrosjeanDale Coyne Racing with RWR81
16Sebastien BourdaisA.J. Foyt Enterprises79
17Ryan Hunter-ReayAndretti Autosport75
18Felix RosenqvistArrow McLaren SP71
19Ed JonesDale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan67
20James HinchcliffeAndretti Steinbrenner Autosport56

Humorous, versatile and informative. Just three of the words I would use to describe a commentator. For me, the role of a commentator is more important than meets the eye. I have to feel their passion and excitement for the sport as much as I do. I got to speak to current Formula 1 and Formula E commentator Jack Nicholls about his experiences in the role and how he got there.

Hi Jack, could you please tell me about your main role as a commentator within motorsport, particularly the ABB FIA Formula E Championship?
I have been commentating on Formula E since it first started back in 2014, and I also cover Formula 1 for BBC Radio 5 live. I’m lucky enough to work with 3 times Indy500 winner Dario Franchitti, and it’s our job to bring this new form of motorsport to people and try and get them excited about it!

Have you always been a big fan of motorsport? If so, does it help with commentating when you’re talking about something you’re passionate about?
I started watching motorsport when I was 6 and got obsessed pretty quickly after. I used to watch every F1 race and went to my first British Grand Prix when I was 7. My dad and I then started travelling to races when I was a bit older, to tracks like Spa, Valencia and Monza, and I even saved up and went to Melbourne in 2009 by myself when I was 19!

Have you always wanted to be a commentator? How did you break into the industry?
I did always want to be a commentator. I loved Murray Walker, and the idea of just shouting and getting excited by the racing always really appealed to me. I used to write my own commentary notes at the start of each season from about the age of 8! But it was never something that I actually thought about pursuing until I had a gap year between my A-Levels and University. I started marshalling at my local race track at Snetterton and heard that they had commentators there, so I asked if I could try. I started doing more and more while I was at Uni, to the point where when I graduated, I could become a full-time commentator.

Was there anyone you looked up to in terms of commentating?
Ben Edwards is the best. Clearly, everyone’s hero is Murray Walker, but in my really formative years, it was Ben commentating on British Touring Cars and A1GP that made me the commentator that I am now. He has incredible knowledge but manages to get that across to the audience without sounding smug, and he is so good at reading races and conveying that to the viewer.

What is your favourite track to commentate on?
Monza and Monaco are my two favourite tracks to commentate on. I love the history of Monza and the atmosphere. You climb up some rickety old stairs to the commentary booths, which are on top of one of the grandstands, and then the cars flash past you at 220mph. The atmosphere there is like nothing else. Of course, Monaco is a very different type of atmosphere, but the buzz around a Grand Prix weekend is fantastic. The commentary boxes back onto the harbour, and they overlook the whole pitlane. As with everywhere in Monaco, space is at a premium, so there’s barely room for us in the booth, but it adds to the chaotic nature of the weekend.

What advice would you give someone who wants to commentate on motorsport in the future?
ESports are a great place to start. It’s actually where I started commentating; then, I was able to show my work to people in the real world to try and get work. The most important thing is to be yourself and let your personality come through. The audience wants to get a sense of who you are, not of who you’re trying to be. Don’t feel you have to do things that other commentators do; find your own path.

What does a typical Formula E Race Weekend look like for you?
I will usually fly to a race on the Wednesday, then start work on a Thursday. Thursday is mostly production meetings and technical checks. Friday, I spend a lot of time in the pitlane talking to teams and drivers to find out the latest news, and I will walk the track. Walking the track is much more important in Formula E because they often change each year. Then Saturday is race day! They are long days, so my alarm will usually go off about 6 am; we then get on a bus and travel to the track arriving about 7 am, then first practice starts at 8 am! There is very little time between sessions, so I try and speak to as many people as possible in the 45 minutes I have! Then there is qualifying; I eat some lunch, then prepare for the race by looking through the grid sheet and making some notes. Then the race starts, and we finish work at about 6 pm!

How do you prepare for a race?
I make quite extensive notes before each race for Formula E; because I am the voice of the championship, I feel a lot of responsibility to get things right, and there is much less information available. Whereas with Formula 1, there’s so much more discussion about it in the wider world that I don’t feel the need to do as much preparation.

Motorsport is a very opinionated sport for everyone! Do you ever find it difficult to try and show unbiased opinions when commentating?
I don’t find it difficult at all, because all I want to see is a good race! I am more friendly with some drivers than others. For example, I’ve done a lot of work with Robin Frijns over the years, but if he is racing, I don’t want him to win more than anyone else. I just want to see a good fight and a good race!

You’ve worked on several different racing series, Formula 2, Formula 1 and of course Formula E – does your commentating style differ from series to series?
The biggest difference is between TV and Radio. When I commentate on Formula E for the TV, I am watching along with the audience. We are enjoying the action together. But on radio, you have the be the conduit for them to know what is going on, so you have to explain things a lot more, and I am more of the narrator of the race. On TV I can talk less, but radio, if you stop talking then it’s silent, which isn’t great radio!

On behalf of the Grid Talk team, I’d like to thank Jack for agreeing to talk to me and contribute to our Working In Motorsport series. I hope you’ve enjoyed this incredible insight into the role of a commentator in motorsport.

After a strange year, Moto GP finally returns to the fabled Bugatti Circuit at Le Mans in its rightful place on the calendar. The French GP is one of the premier events on the Moto GP calendar; it is a great track that generates excellent racing. Add the fact that two of the top five riders are French, and we’re in for an exciting weekend. Pair those ingredients with a splash of rain hovering around central France, and the world’s most competitive motorsport may raise the entertainment level even higher.

The Two Muskateers

Fabio Quarteraro is the home hero this weekend

After waiting 21 years for a winner, France got it through Fabio Quartararo last year. The then Petronas Yamaha rider’s maiden win in Jerez sent a country into raptures. His strong performances in the customer Yamaha team meant he got offered a ride with the factory Yamaha squad. El Diablo replaced Valentino Rossi in the offseason, and he’s started impressively. After four races, Quartararo took victory in Portugal and Doha; the Frenchman is loving life on the full-fat Yamaha.

However, it isn’t just Quartararo that is exciting the French fans. Moto GP veteran Johann Zarco burst onto the scene in 2016 for French outfit Tech 3. After excelling on a satellite bike, Zarco joined the KTM factory programme. Unfortunately, the move panned out hopelessly as both rider and team found great difficulty in working together. For 2021, the old Zarco has returned on the Pramac Ducati machine. The Ducati’s are incredibly fast in a straight line, plus their qualifying speed has been superb. Zarco probably won’t be in the championship fight, but that makes him all the more dangerous; he is going for race wins in 2021. Second is the best he’s achieved thus far; Zarco is desperate to stand on the top step of the podium.

Can Pecco Bagnaia Maintain His Consistency?

Pecco Bagnaia is the championship leader, despite not winning a race

Italy’s Pecco Bagnaia is the championship leader, despite not winning a race. His metronomic consistency is underpinning his current success. The factory Ducati isn’t the fastest bike in race-trim; nonetheless, it is mightily fast in a straight line and qualifying. His teammate Jack Miller was the winner two weeks ago in Spain; he’s another rider itching to fulfil his potential with a championship challenge.

The significant difference in this year’s championship is the struggles of Moto GP’s big names. Valentino Rossi is 21st in the championship standings with just four points to his name. The Doctor is enduring a miserable time on the Petronas bike. Marc Marquez is finally starting to emerge into his old form after missing nearly a year with an injury. Marquez still requires time to adapt to the menacing Honda motorcycle. In his absence, the world witnessed how difficult it is to ride that bike; Marquez must show patience to get back to his best.

Qualifying Report: Fabio Quarteraro Takes Pole in Dramatic Session

Fabio Quarteraro is on pole

In a dramatic wet/dry qualifying session, home hero Fabio Quartararo snatched a last gasp pole position. With a minute left in the session, Honda held a front-row lockout as Marc Marquez was on provisional pole position. It seemed as if that would be that as most riders weren’t improving. Then, in the dying seconds, both Yamaha riders started setting the fastest sector times. Maverick Vinales went fastest to get pipped by teammate Quartararo as the track began to dry out. Jack Miller joins them on the front row. Marc Marquez will start sixth, one spot behind the other home rider Johann Zarco. Valentino Rossi enjoyed the best session of the season so far as he grabbed ninth. Q1 claimed some big scalps as reigning champion Joan Mir and championship leader Pecco Bagnaia got knocked out. They will need to come through the pack tomorrow to maintain good positions in the championship standings.

Final Classification

  • 1st Fabio Quarteraro – Yamaha
  • 2nd Maverick Vinales – Yamaha
  • 3rd Jack Miller – Ducati
  • 4th Franco Morbidelli – Petronas Yamaha
  • 5th Johann Zarco – Pramac Ducati
  • 6th Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda
  • 7th Taka Nakagaami – Honda
  • 8th Pol Espargaro – Repsol Honda
  • 9th Valentino Rossi – Petronas Yamaha
  • 10th Miguel Oliveira – KTM
  • 11th Lorenzo Savadori – Aprilla
  • 12th Luca Marini – Ducati
  • 13th Aleix Espargaro – Aprilla
  • 14th Joan Mir – Suzuki
  • 15th Alex Rins – Suzuki
  • 16th Pecco Bagnaia – Ducati
  • 17th Danilo Petrucci – KTM
  • 18th Iker Lecuona – KTM
  • 19th Alex Marquez – Honda
  • 20th Tito Rabat – Ducati
  • 21st Brad Binder – KTM
  • 22nd Enea Bastianini – Ducati

Stat-Pack

Honda is the most successful manufacturer at the French Moto GP with 53 wins. Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez are the active riders with the most wins at Le Mans with four wins each. Track length – 2.6 miles. Weather – Rain and intermittent showers forecast throughout the day. Race start time at 1 PM BST.

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