Wednesday, 10 February 2010

F1 2010 Testing Footage – Day 1 at Jerez

Spanish cameraman “yossidlr” always seems to deliver when it comes to raw video footage of the latest goings-on in pre-season F1 testing, and today is no exception. The first day of the 4-day test at Jerez got underway today, with Red Bull launching their new RB6 and Force India and Virgin debuting their new cars for the first time against their competitors on track. Here are 2 parts of untouched camerawork via YouTube. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

A change would do the WRC good

So what’s happened to the World Rally Championship these days? The series we see now is just a straight fight between Citroen and Ford and that’s it. With the likes of Subaru and Suzuki being the most recent castaways, one would think that the WRC is descending into freefall.

It’s nothing like it used to be. Remember the days when it was all about the big manufacturers providing full works efforts and producing some truly great machines. Times like the Group B and Group A eras are sorely missed, as they provoke brilliant memories of an Audi Quattro threading its way along a mountain pass on the Monte Carlo Rally or a Subaru Impreza 555 catching massive air as it flies over a crest on the roads of San Remo. So where’s it gone?

The recent economic downturn could be a factor. With motorsport being such a money-orientated sport these days, the manufacturers need car sales in order to help finance their racing efforts, alongside sponsorship. But if no-one has the cash to buy a new Subaru or Mitsubishi for example, then this means they have to cut back in some areas. Motorsport, unfortunately, tends to be high on their list of things to drop.

With the new 2011 rules moving the WRC into the Super 2000 class of rallying, and with also talk of new regulations for a turbocharged 1.6 litre engine, things seem to be getting done to bring the sport back into its former glory days. The S2000 category already has a great influx of car makers on board, with machines from Peugeot, Skoda, Ford, Abarth, Proton, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Volkswagen and Honda all represented in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, a series which already uses the S2000 rules and regulations. The WRC will have a championship for this class of cars for the first time this year, as a means to settling them into the premier rally series before the change in rules next year.

Also, rallying is now in capable hands with Jean Todt at the helm of the FIA. For those who know about him, he started his motorsport career as a rally co-driver before taking charge of Peugeot’s factory rally effort, when they entered the WRC under the Group B rules and took two driver’s and two manufacturers world championships with the fearsome 205 T16. He’s already said it himself that he wants to “create a much bigger interest from the manufacturers, the privateers and the media”. This is exactly what the series needs.

With just two factory efforts supported by a whole host of private and independant customer teams, there’s no real competition. Not like how it used to be. With more interest from manufacturers, the WRC can become great again, and if Todt can do it, which I think he will, it most certainly will be. Maybe they should even bring back homologation rules. Then we can see some real road-going rally rocket specials again. Now that would be something.