Video games have come a long way in a short space of time. As technology has developed the archaic Space Invaders has been replaced by games which place realism and immersion at the heart of the gameplay. Racing games are no exception.
McLaren’s World’s Fastest Gamer contest has offered gamers a unique opportunity to prove that their virtual skills can be utilised by a professional race team at the pinnacle of motorsport. The winner, Rudy van Buren, a former Dutch karting champion, can become a pioneer as motorsport has suddenly become more accessible.
Sport does a really bad job of remembering those who finish second, even when their defeat is dealt by the smallest of margins. However, Felipe Massa is somewhat of an exception, having been one half of a 2008 world championship tussle that will surely be remembered as long as racing cars lap racing circuits.
Last week, Massa announced that the final two races of the 2017 season will be his last in Formula 1. A familiar position following his announcement last season that he would retire at the conclusion of the 2016 campaign, only to be recalled just weeks later as Williams needed a late replacement for the Mercedes-bound Bottas.
With Massa already setting his sights on other categories, the chances of a second return to F1 range between slim and none. All-out for 15 years at the pinnacle of motorsport, 11 victories, 41 podiums and a starring role in the most dramatic sporting spectacle F1 will likely ever host.
Formula 1 embraced an American-revolution this weekend, as the US Grand Prix at COTA served up a wacky event.
The fastest man on two legs was taken on a brutal passenger ride by one of the fastest on four wheels, as Usain Bolt was scared witless by a giddy Lewis Hamilton. Michael Buffer – the world’s most iconic ring announcer – was led onto the grid by cheerleaders before calling each and every driver out onto the grid in his own unique fashion. “Drivers, start your engines,” capped what was an alien atmosphere ahead of a grand prix.
Having received the big build-up, the gladiators battled valiantly on track and served up a fascinating race. Lewis Hamilton was imperious in front but behind, an intriguing blend of one and two stop strategies converged in the closing stages. It left Max Verstappen challenging Kimi Raikkonen for the final step of the podium on the final lap.
A bold move from Verstappen lived up to the gladiatorial Buffer-billing. However, the ‘Dutch Lion’ would be stripped of his third place and unceremoniously booted off of the podium for having exceeded track limits in order to make the overtake at the high-speed right-hander of Turn 17.
Cue a social media storm and strong debate between those who deemed the penalty to have been justified and those who agreed with Verstappen’s verdict – that F1’s ‘stupid’ stewarding calls are serving to ‘kill’ the sport.
As has been proven over several decades, Alan Gow and his British Touring Car Championship know how to put on a show. With 2018 marking the series’ 60th anniversary, it was almost inevitable that the occasion would be celebrated.
On Wednesday, it was announced that Snetterton – host of the sixth round of the ten event calendar – would feature a revised schedule next season to include a 60-mile showpiece race. Double the distance of a usual BTCC race, the ‘endurance’ event will replace the final race of the day.
Brendon Hartley is not necessarily a household name. Despite this, his upcoming cameo appearance in Formula 1 filling in for the ‘trophy hunting’ Pierre Gasly at Toro Rosso, could not be any more exciting.
Hartley has been a World Endurance Championship factory LMP1 driver at Porsche since 2014. Alongside team-mates Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber, the New Zealander is likely to secure a second WEC title this season to couple with his 2015 crown. Despite his achievements in prototype racing, the news of his imminent F1 debut is a seismic shock.
2017 has been a year to expect the unexpected in world motorsport. Hartley’s imminent F1 bow is as surprising a storyline as Fernando Alonso’s Indy 500 escapade and injects another fascinating narrative into the 2018 F1 driver market.
The Netherlands has not hosted a Formula 1 race since 1985. However, the appetite for the category has well and truly been rekindled thanks to the heroics of one remarkable talent.
Max Verstappen’s meteoric rise has once again galvanised interest, with easily recognisable Dutch fans flocking to a number of European races both in 2016 and ’17. Grandstands have been painted orange at the Austrian and Belgian Grand Prix in particular.
It is no surprise that the commercial rights holders are looking to maximise this Verstappen-induced enthusiasm. Autosport has revealed that Sean Bratches – one arm of the triumvirate governing the sport – is aiming to introduce a Dutch street race onto the F1 schedule in the near future.
Jolyon Palmer is not the first and certainly won’t be the last driver to find himself spat out by Formula 1’s revolving door. The pinnacle of motorsport can be suitably brutal at times.
Palmer’s statistics make for difficult reading. In his 36 F1 starts – all of which while driving an at least semi-competitive Renault – he has only claimed two points scoring finishes. Palmer’s eight points in 2017 are dwarfed by team-mate Nico Hulkenberg’s 34.
However, the statistics fail to tell the story of his career, nor the talent that Palmer possesses. In reality, his premature departure from Renault and F1 – four races before the end of the season – could well be a blessing in disguise.