BBC F1 commentator Ben Edwards on the strongest driver line up in Formula One [x]
Le Mans winner and former Formula 1 driver Allan McNish will be part of BBC Radio 5 Live’s commentary team for the 2013 F1 season.
McNish will work alongside James Allen for the station, which broadcasts the full season live, except when he has clashes with his Audi World Endurance Championship programme.
Ex-Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari occupied the 5 Live role for much of 2012.
McNish raced in F1 with Toyota in 2002, but is best known for his sportscar career with Porsche, Toyota and Audi.
The BBC had already announced that Suzi Perry would take over from football-bound Jake Humphrey as the main presenter of its television coverage.
Journalist and broadcaster Tom Clarkson is also joining the TV coverage as a pit reporter, alongside Lee McKenzie.
Ben Edwards and David Coulthard continue as the BBC TV commentators, with Eddie Jordan as a pundit. Gary Anderson will be part of both the TV and radio coverage, while Jennie Gow stays on as 5 Live’s pitlane reporter.
The BBC will show half the 2013 F1 season live. Practice sessions for its live races will now be broadcast on BBC2 rather than online and its digital service as before.
BBC presenter Lee McKenzie is seen during previews to the United States Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas on November 15, 2012 in Austin, United States. (Is that Mark i can just about see his number on his cap i’m sure it’s him!)
That is Webber… I’m 100% sure it’s him.
The Olympics and Paralympics have really captured the public imagination this summer and one of the most inspirational stories among many was Alex Zanardi, who won two handcycling gold medals.
So many athletes in the Paralympics have come through an incredible amount of adversity to achieve some very special goals but there was something about Zanardi, an ex-Formula 1 driver who lost his legs in a Champ Car crash 11 years ago, that really hit home.
First of all he, is a very infectious character. Even before the accident, no-one had a bad word to say about him. He has a way with words, a charm and vitality, that makes him very appealing.
He went through so much after the accident and even to get back to some kind of normal life was an achievement after that.
But he did so much more than that. He got back into motor racing in a touring car with hand controls and won three world championship races. And then he changed his focus to something completely different.
When he was racing at Brands Hatch in single-seaters or touring cars, who would ever have thought he would go back there at the age of 45 and win a gold medal, let alone two?
It just goes to show how life is a journey for all of us and you have to have so much admiration for Zanardi after the one he has been on.
It’s easy to be touched by his story and he is incredibly modest about what he has done.
But none of us can appreciate just how much he has had to put into that lifestyle change or have any grasp how hard have been those moments on his own when he was tested to the absolute limit.
I don’t know the ratio at the Paralympics between people who were born with a disability and those who were affected later in life - and I’m certainly no expert as to which is harder to overcome.
But I guess what makes the Zanardi story so appealing is that he had an incredible skill-set in one area, had it taken away from him, found a way to employ it again in different circumstances - and then switched to something else as well.
He wants to get out of bed in the morning with a purpose. That, after all, is the key for all of us in life; to feel that we are testing ourselves and achieving goals.
They’re handing out grand prix victories a bit more sporadically this year than has been the case recently, but there is no doubt I’ve grabbed the right one so far.
Winning in Monaco is always special. That track has always been good to me. I won there in Formula 3000, battled for the victory with Williams in 2006 and now I’ve won two of the last three grands prix there.
When you drive at the limit in Monaco, the margin is so fine. It’s about having the confidence to go to that limit and backing yourself that you are not close to a mistake at any point.
You try to ignore the barriers to a large degree and just treat them like white lines that you can go up to but no further.
Another big skill there is staying on top of the changes in the track - which happen every two or three laps.
It was a very well-executed weekend by the whole Red Bull Racing team.
You need to be confident and committed around there. It’s a very long afternoon if you’re staring at gearboxes in Monaco and that’s good motivation on Saturday to get as far up as you can.
They don’t hand grid positions out for free. You’ve got to deliver on Saturday afternoon and it went well for us. I think we got the best out of the package.
Obviously Michael Schumacher beat us to fastest time but we took up the pole because of his penalty and he retired from the grand prix itself anyway.
Monaco is not always the most spectacular race to watch, but it’s a real test for us guys.
The race is very repetitive, there is no respite and you have to be very careful not to get complacent with that. There’s a lot of concentration required.
The race was about control - pacing yourself to eke out the tyres a lot of the way.
It would have been nice to have a slightly bigger lead and I could have pulled out a bit, but you’re worried about overworking the tyres.
That meant I had Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes and Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari right behind me when it started to rain in the last few laps.
The leader always has to be a bit more cautious in that situation because you’re the one who can look like an idiot. You arrive first and the guys behind can learn off you.
What made the race more difficult was that there was a huge amount of marbles - bits of discarded rubber from the tyres that are incredibly slippery.
That meant the line through Casino Square changed very early in the race - and I wasn’t happy with that because I like to use a slightly different line. That’s the sort of thing you have to cope with.
Just thought I’d share this video again of Mark Webber dragging the BBCs Jake Humphrey in the pool before last years Monaco Grand prix as the Monaco weekend is here again & it still makes me laugh.
‘Mark Webber on Williams’s win and ‘incredible’ Premier League’
The Spanish Grand Prix was an amazing weekend for Williams.
Pastor Maldonado won his first grand prix, Williams’s first since 2004, and the team were also celebrating the 70th birthday of founder Sir Frank Williams.
There was a bit of a get-together on Saturday at Williams in the paddock. All the different teams and all the people who have worked with Frank past and present went down to see him.
It was great to have some time with him. A lot of people who have worked with him will relate to the fact that you probably get a bit closer to Frank when you’re not working with him than when you are, because he keeps you on your toes when you’re there. Fair enough.
Jenson Button and I have both driven for Williams in the past and we had a bit of a chat with him.
I just told him that what he has done is totally inspiring.
Let’s not beat around the bush. Frank has been paralysed since a road accident in 1986 and to get to 70 years old in his condition and achieve what he has at the same time is an astonishing effort.
That is unique and incredibly special, and there are so many people around the world who can draw inspiration from what he has done in taking on that new life head on. He didn’t throw the towel in; he stayed mentally very strong.
I said to him: “Mate, 70 years old, plenty of years to go yet.”
And he said in that slow, quiet voice he now has: “Yes, absolutely.”
A DESERVED WIN FOR WILLIAMS
That was Saturday night, about the time it was announced that Lewis Hamilton had been thrown out of qualifying and Williams driver Pastor Maldonado was promoted to pole position. And then Pastor went and won the race on Sunday.
It’s an unreal result considering the last two or three years Williams have had, which have been very difficult apart from the odd highlight here and there.
Pastor was on for a good result in Melbourne at the start of the season before he crashed behind Fernando Alonso on the last lap, and you just thought: “When are they going to have a tonic?”
That result in Spain was exactly the tonic they deserved. I think a podium would have been enough. But a win? Bloody hell.