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Pictures from the Goodwood Festival of Speed

July 7th, 2010 No comments

I had been wanting to go to the Goodwood Festival of Speed for years and on the weekend I finally made it.

For those who don’t know, the Festival of Speed is a huge celebration of racing cars from the early decades of the 20th Century to the latest Formula One and Le Mans prototypes, held over three days at Goodwood House, the country estate of Lord March.

The main event is the hill climb but there is so much else to see that you could easily spend three days there and not run out of things to do. There were literally times when I didn’t know where to look, like when the Red Arrows were streaking overhead at the same time an old Maserati was roaring up the hill.

The festival is really well organised and it’s amazing how close you can get to the cars and drivers. One moment you are wandering around the F1 paddock, peering into Ayrton Senna’s old McLaren, and the next there are shouts to move aside while Mark Webber’s Red Bull rolls past.

This year the festival was celebrating 100 years of Alfa Romeo and 60 years of the Formula One World Championship so there were no shortages of beautiful old Alfas and F1 cars, including an example of the Alfa 159 ‘Alfetta’ that Farina piloted to the very first F1 World Championship.

Bruno Senna drove his uncle’s McLaren and John Surtees drove his championship winning Ferrari 158. With Jenson Button now at McLaren, Nico Rosberg took control of Button’s BGP 001 from last year (unfortunately repainted in the new silver Mercedes livery).

There were a whole host of classic Lotus’s; Emerson Fittipaldi drove his gorgeous JPS 72E from 1973 and Sir Jackie Stewart drove the beautiful Lotus 38 that his friend Jim Clark used to win the Indianapolis 500 in 1965.

It wasn’t just F1 cars either. There were sports cars, touring cars and motorbikes and a long walk to the forest at the top of the hill revealed some classic rally cars blasting around the forest rally stage.

Below are some of my favourites of the hundreds of pictures I took.

Categories: Cars Tags: ,

Happy birthday Monaco

May 21st, 2010 No comments

Sixty years ago today was the first Monaco Grand Prix of the new Formula One World Championship.

It wasn’t actually the first Monaco Grand Prix ever. That was in 1929 and it was won by British spy/racing driver William Grover-Williams but in 1950 Juan Manuel Fangio won his first race of his career in Monte Carlo.

As he tells Jake Humphrey in this great BBC interview, Sir Stirling Moss, the first British winner of the Monaco Grand Prix, considers Fangio the greatest ever Formula One driver. It’s easy to see why. Fangio would later go on to win 5 world championships, a record only surpassed by Michael Schumacher 46 years later.

This picture of Fangio racing his Maserati 250F around the streets of Monte Carlo is not a photograph. It is an airbrush painting by Italian artist Alberto Ponno. Ponno’s incredibly details paintings are the result of months of work all done freehand and without any masking.

Here are a few more Monaco examples of  of his amazing work. Visit his website to see the rest of his paintings.

Categories: Circuits Tags: , , ,

Virgin’s all-digital racing car

February 3rd, 2010 No comments

Virgin Racing launched their 2010 Formula One car – the VR-01 – today. They had originally intended to go with the current trend of launching online but technical difficulties prevented a live online launch.

The VR-01 is the first Formula One car to be designed entirely in the digital domain using computational fluid dynamics (CFD).

Other teams make use of CFD technology but Virigin is the first team to design and build a car without using any scale models or wind tunnel tests.

Technical Director Nick Wirth admits they won’t know whether the computer got it right until the car takes to the track:

We fully expect to encounter issues along the way; CFD is an approximation – as is scale-model testing. In both cases, it is only when you hit the track that you can really appreciate the effect of factors that are tricky to model with any technology such as the effect that the real stiffness of all bodywork components and joints has on the airflow for example.

It will be fascinating to see how the car performs in real life when it takes part in the test at Jerez next week.

Images: Virgin


Categories: Cars Tags: ,

McLaren launch MP4-25

January 29th, 2010 3 comments

McLaren launched their new F1 car, the MP4-25, at Vodafone’s headquarters in Newbury today.

2010 marks the first time since the 1989 pairing of Senna and Prost that McLaren will have an all world champion driver lineup and as the 2008 champion and the 2009 champion pulled back the cover, Lewis Hamilton remarked how different the MP4-25 looks from its predecessor.

The significantly larger fuel tank has forced an aerodynamic overhaul, the most noticeable feature of which is the long shark-fin that stretches all the way back to the rear wing – similar to last year’s Red Bull RB5. McLaren’s chief engineer, Tim Goss:

The dorsal fin is partly to accommodate the additional cooling duct and partly a logical development of the high-downforce wing we ran last year at races like Monaco, which feeds air more efficiently to the rear wing upper element.

The car looks stunning; even more like a rocket-ship than last year’s MP4-24. McLaren have retained the striking silver finish, despite Mercedes GP also adopting the same colour. While I like the carbon fiber touches on the Mercedes, I think the McLaren has the better finish of the two.

But the thing I like most about all the cars this year is the uncovered wheels. Can’t wait to see those glowing discs again!

Images: McLaren

Categories: Cars Tags: ,

Ferrari unveil the F10

January 28th, 2010 No comments

Ferrari became the first team to unveil their 2010 car at a press conference that was streamed live on the internet.

2009 was a bad year for the Scuderia with Felipe Massa crashing heavily at Hungary and the poorly performing F60 claiming only a single victory in the whole season. Ferrari stopped development of last year’s car early to work on the F10, a tactic that had seemed to work well for Brawn GP (Honda) the year before.

In 2009, Brawn’s secret weapon was the double-diffuser. The teams have agreed to outlaw the controversial design next year but it is clearly a vital part of this year’s car. Ferrari’s chief designer, Nicholas Tombazis said:

The diffuser was fundamental: to optimise performance we had to review the car’s whole rear axle, changed the steering to make more room for the diffuser. The diffuser is much bigger and better performing compared to last year’s.

Ferrari obviously don’t want to give any secrets away as the whole diffuser was hidden at the launch. We will have to wait until Valencia to see what they have come up with.

Of course, the F10 is a beautiful car, but so was the F60 and the McLaren MP4-24 for that matter. The old motor sport saying that if it looks good it goes good didn’t seem to apply to those cars, at least at the start of the season.

As always, we will just have to wait until we see them on track.

Images: Ferrari

Categories: Cars Tags: ,
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