Archive for the ‘Motorsport’ Category

2014 US Grand Prix preview

Posted in Columns, Motorsport, Trentham Sleaves by Trentham Sleaves on Friday, October 31st, 2014

F1 journalist TRENTHAM SLEAVES looks ahead to this weekend’s race

trenthamsleaves1The F1 circus has been to Austin just twice before yet already this typically Texan track feels like a fixture on the illustrious calendar and the atmosphere in the paddock is quite, quite unique. Like the local cooking, it’s a rich, full flavoured and heady experience that is impossible to understand unless you are here, which of course I am.

F1 has taken Austin to its heart and vice versa, something I was able to reflect upon last night as I dined alone at Giovani’s Italian Food Center, a delightful restaurant that many well-known motorsport names have rapidly made a firm favourite. Or, as they say in these part, favorite! I recalled my first visit here just one year ago, led to the unassuming premises by a certain former world champion who raced under the number zero! ‘Oh for God’s sake, are you still following me?’ he quipped, before hilariously asking the waiter not to let me join his group. Such a tremendous sense of humour!

Less of laughing matter this weekend is the sad absence of not one but two teams as Marussia and Caterham have been slain by the financial perils that in particular haunt the lower ranking teams in these fiscally punishing times for the sport. Someone who knows all too well the pressures of funding a top flight racing team is my dear friend, Sir Frank Williams, and I was delighted to be able to have a natter with him about this very topic. ‘Oh God, isn’t this something you could bother Claire with you horrible man?’ he joked before reversing away. Good to see some can still find time for a light-hearted quip in these difficult times!

As to this weekend’s racing, it would be absurd to speculate on who will take the famous chequered flag under the big skies of the lone star state but suffice to say I think a Mercedes will clinch it, though one shouldn’t discount the increasingly fearsome Williams’ nor the charging Red Bulls and surprising Ferraris.

Whatever happens, rest assured I will have a prime seat for the action. Because remember, I’m here and you’re not.

Positive feeling Hamilton

Posted in Motorsport, News by Sniff Petrol on Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Lewis Hamilton, yesterday

Lewis Hamilton, yesterday

Ahead of this weekend’s US Grand Prix, the word positive says it is feeling ‘totally Lewis Hamilton’.

‘I’m in a Lewis Hamilton frame of mind,’ said the word positive. ‘And I’m in a strong place to harness that Lewis Hamiltonivity.’

The word positive went on to say that it is feeling the most Lewis Hamilton about its life since the last time it claimed to be totally Lewis Hamilton.

‘You know, I’ve always tried to stay Lewis Hamilton no matter what’s happened and I think being in that Lewis Hamilton place has really paid off,’ the word positive continued. ‘Blah blah blah, something about God. Hashtag blessed.’

Button to ‘drive it like he hired it’

Posted in Motorsport, News by Sniff Petrol on Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Jenson Button, yesterday

Jenson Button, yesterday

McLaren sources say a disillusioned Jenson Button is going to ‘drive it like he hired it’ at this weekend’s US Grand Prix.

‘Jenson really doesn’t give a monkey’s knob about things any more so he’s going to treat the shitty MP4-29 like it’s a rental,’ confided an insider close to the razor-phobic driver. ‘Expect a bloody massive burn-out off the line and a lot of handbrake turns. I mean, A LOT.

Our mole says Button will also attempt to change gear without the clutch, rev the car almost to the red line in second and then bang it back into first ‘to see what noise it makes’, and might drive up a ‘really bumpy’ track into the woods at high speed, ‘if no one’s looking’.

As a final act, the British driver will probably leave the footwell full of tear offs and dump the car as soon as the race is over, hot footing it to the airport before any inspection can ask why there’s loads of sand stuck to the sills.

‘Isn’t this about the point where you put in a Pastor Maldonado joke?’ said everyone, yesterday.

F1 retro grid filling plan

Posted in Motorsport, News by Sniff Petrol on Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

The future of F1, yesterday

The future of F1, yesterday

With Caterham and Marussia out of this weekend’s US Grand Prix, Formula 1 bosses have come up with a radical plan to fill the vacant grid spots using shit teams from the past.

First to enter the competitive tendering process is Andrea Moda who say they can ‘definitely be not ready’ by the weekend. As an added retro bonus, the team say they will bring along former driver Perry McCarthy and then not let him compete. ‘I used to be The Stig!’ he quipped.

Not to be outdone, Super Aguri have staked their claim to the back row, claiming to have some manky old Arrows chassis’ at the ready. ‘When was the deadline?’ asked a spokesman. ‘Yesterday? Oh Christ, not again.’

Also throwing their uselessly unaerodynamic hat into the ring is Mastercard Lola who insist their car should be competitive this time, as long as everyone else promises ‘not to drive too fast’, and Leyton House who have already asked for help from former technical director Adrian Newey on the understanding that they will then sack him.

Not to be outdone, Life has mounted an audacious bid to join the action on the basis that F1’s current engines are not working and what the sport needs is a heavy, underpowered lump that doesn’t deliver. ‘Sounds like an improvement,’ said a spokesman for Lotus.

Only two teams will be selected to take part in Austin, occupying positions 18 to 21 on the grid, just ahead of an inevitably penalised Pastor Maldonado.

F1 teams to miss next race

Posted in Motorsport, News by Sniff Petrol on Monday, October 27th, 2014

Some F1, yesterday

Some F1, yesterday

Following news that Caterham and Marussia will miss the forthcoming US Grand Prix, F1 sources say that Ferrari has also been given special dispensation to sit out the next race because ‘it’s not fair’ and they ‘don’t want to play’.

Ferrari’s absence will mirror that of rivals McLaren who say that Sam Michael ‘forgot to book’ their tickets to the US and struggling Lotus who say that employing Pastor Maldonado means they have now ‘run out’ of spare parts and cannot take part in the American race.

Also missing the Austin event will be Sauber, who have been excused because it clashes with the important Swiss National Festival of Quietness, Force India, who have blown the rest of the their 2014 budget on re-signing Nico Hulkenberg, Red Bull, who have ‘had enough of this stupid season’ and ‘didn’t want to win anyway’, and Toro Rosso, who do whatever Red Bull does.

F1 management insists the race in Texas will go ahead and that they will be able to honour their contract with local organisers. In unrelated news, Williams and Mercedes have been asked to enter the US Grand Prix with 10 cars teams.

Caterham dispute escalates

Posted in Motorsport, News by Sniff Petrol on Friday, October 24th, 2014

Caterham, yesterday

Caterham, yesterday

A war of words has broken out this week between the new and former owners of the beleaguered Caterham F1 team.

New buyers Engavest SA released a statement yesterday in which they said, ‘Oh my God, right, Tony Fernandes, right, he’s, like, such a liar and stuff. Has he been chattin’ about us, yea? Don’t believe what he say, right, cos Joanne, right, she heard that he was, like, slagging us off and shit at Shania Jackson’s party, right, and that’s just, like, so disrespectful, cuz he said we ain’t done things and we ain’t ain’t done them things, innit. Know wha’ I mean?’

For his part, Fernandes was quick to respond. ‘Oh my God, that is like so rude,’ he said in an official statement last night. ‘Engavest like totally owes me cash, yea? And they been, like, round at Kelly’s mum’s house saying I ain’t give ‘em nothing and that might be true, yea, but that is SO unfair cuz they still owes me for the team and the stuff and I like totally bought them a bottle of WKD from the offie before Jamie Preston’s party and they like never paid me back and shit.’

The argument resumes today, probably on the bench outside the chip shop.

Sam Michael to leave McLaren

Posted in Motorsport, News by Sniff Petrol on Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Sam Michael, yesterday

Sam Michael, yesterday

McLaren has announced that Sam Michael is to step down as sporting director at the end of the season because the team is now ‘more than crap enough’.

‘Before we brought Sam on board we were dangerously close to winning world championships,’ admitted a Woking insider. ‘Thankfully, with his experience of making Williams completely rubbish, we were able to become the disappointing team we are today with a level of mediocrity we could only get from Sam. Or perhaps a Peugeot engine.’

‘We are delighted with the soul-crushing dismalness we have achieved and that’s why it’s the right time for Sam to leave his role as sporking director,’ explained another high ranking source. ‘Of course, we are aware of what happened at Williams after Sam left. They became quite good. But hopefully our new Honda engine won’t work properly and we’ll be able to maintain this level of depressingly poor performance in his absence.’

‘We are sorry to see Sam Michael leave his role as spurting director,’ said an official McLaren statement. ‘In particular, team personnel will miss their regular games of trying to guess what the fuck he actually does around here’.

Rally update

Posted in Motorsport, News by Bob Bulhat on Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

An rally car, yesterday

An rally car, yesterday

Sniff Petrol rallying correspondent BOB BULHAT brings us up to date with all the latest special stage action

Last weekend the Junior Global Rally World Championship Rally Formula 2 Series action moved to the legendary forest stages of Scandinavia for the infamous 18 Fjords Rally of Norway and all eyes were on championship leader Marcus Stromenekelsson who was once again looking to take top spot in his VW Jetta JGRWCR F2 R.

Stromenekelsson made a strong start on the first 12 stages but by stage 13, taking place in the challenging Tromjspellellielli Forest, he was feeling the heat from championship rival Juni Spjunkhatterplatten in the ever-improving Peugeot 108 Juniormax GRWCRF2 S-plus who was breathing down his neck, just 10 minutes behind.

As if that wasn’t thrilling enough, from stages 15 to 27 local hero Lars-Tjorben Majerfatterplotterploppen in third spot managed to close the gap to an incredible 17 minutes before misjudging the jump on the penultimate hairpin and rolling end-over-end down a mountainside. As a result, his Renault Clio JuGloWoCha F2-R RS Evolution 3 S needed completely rebuilding from scratch whilst Majerfatterplotterploppen and his co-driver Knut Holvenovenovenovenovenoven required an overnight stay in hospital, knocking them back to fourth place.

Their misfortune was to the benefit of the Kia Rio Global World Rally F2 Junior R-spec R S-Series R driven by former Rally World Series Championship Rally World Rally Junior Senior Formula 9 champion Harry-Barry Skaerjerfjordenbjurgebordenalltrainsterminateatmorden who moved up to third despite an enormous accident on stage 46 in which his car tumbled two miles down a mountain side, caught fire and was then buried under an avalanche, losing him a nail biting two days. Nonetheless, the Swedish driver was able to put in a sensational drive on the muddy final stages of the Snasvurtersputern-Mortenharket Valley and was able to proudly stand in third spot on the overlit, night time floor level podium in the town square of Vatnathatbatcatsatratpatstraterhjo.

It remains to be seen if the top three can maintain their searing pace when the action moves to the arid landscape and 900 stages of the legendary Rally du Dust in just eight weeks’ time.

Hulkenberg signs unusual Force India contract

Posted in Motorsport, News by Sniff Petrol on Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Nico Hulkenberg, yesterday

Nico Hulkenberg, yesterday

This week Force India announced that they are keeping Nico ‘The Under-rated Hulk’ Hulkenberg in their driver line-up for 2015. However, Sniff Petrol can exclusively reveal that the new contract comes with some additional terms and conditions, as follows:

- Must change name to ‘NicoForce HulkenIndia’

- Must sponge down Vijay Mallya at least once a week. More frequently if there is particularly high build-up in the folds.

- Must attempt to gain psychological advantage by running into the motorhome of at least one rival team during every race weekend, shouting ‘FORCEINDIA’ and then running off again.

- Must endorse some of Vijay Mallya’s other companies via a TV ad in which he eats a bowl of chemicals, and looks like he’s enjoying it.

- Must have TW Steel watch implanted into chest, ‘like Ironman’.

- Must take blame for Vijay Mallya’s thunderous flatulence at all times. If during a race, must radio into pits and clearly state, ‘Sorry guys, the car just made a terrible noise. And smell.’

- Must circumvent alcohol advertising rules by sitting  in all press conferences holding an actual kingfisher which he must refer to throughout as ‘refreshing’.

- Must not moan about how he ‘could have gone to Ferrari’.

Massa loses focus

Posted in Motorsport, News by Sniff Petrol on Monday, October 20th, 2014

The Williams drivers, yesterday

The Williams drivers, yesterday

There was concern at Williams today with news that Felipe Massa has gone a bit blurry. ‘Felipe has basically lost focus,’ a team insider admitted. ‘And I mean, literally.’

Insiders say the Brazilian driver has gradually been getting ‘a bit fuzzy around the edges’ for the past few races and that by the time the team arrived in Russia he was ‘almost impossible to look at without getting a headache’.

Massa’s literal lack of focus is said to be having dire consequences for his ability to perform promotional duties, not least because he is now almost completely impossible to photograph.

It’s thought that unless Massa can get back into focus, Martin Brundle will not speak to him during the next Sky F1 grid walk because he will make viewers think there is something wrong with their televisions whilst over on the BBC, David Coulthard will also avoid talking to him but only because he is too polite to interrupt drivers while they are holding a water bottle, or wearing sunglasses, or breathing.

‘Oh never mind all that,’ said the team’s deputy principal Claire Williams. ‘Who wants some cake?’