Co-hosted by Mithila Mehta and Kunal Shah, the Inside Line F1 Podcast is a weekly show on Formula 1 that attempts to simplify the sport and business of Formula 1. This show also aims to add some much needed humour to the otherwise serious sport of Formula 1. In 2016, the show crossed 150,000 listens and was top-rated on iTunes and Audio Boom. The show is available on Kunal’s F1 Blog and partner websites such as Motorsport, Firstpost, NDTVAuto, Sport360, Sportskeeda, Scroll, Talking About F1, Motor Octane and others.
Basis recent reports, Aston Martin are considering Formula 1 – that is if the costs of operations are affordable, of course. If Aston Martin do join, we’re betting on a James Bond sequence in Formula 1 as one of their cross promotions. Brilliant advertisement for Formula 1 too.
We’ve seen Bond’s love for cars. In fact, his skills aren’t limited to driving alone, he can fix a broken car with as much ease. Given that Aston Martin could enter only as early as 2021, I doubt Daniel Craig will have the pleasure of being the hero in this cross promotion.
Mithila Mehta and I have partnered with Firstpost for the 2017 Formula 1 Season and will feature in their Firstpost Pole Position videos all through the season. Basically, we’re now available in text, audio and video!
The Monday After The 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix
Formula 1 fans aren’t most excited about the racing at the Hungaroring, a circuit which has also been called as ‘Monaco without the walls’, and I’d like to add ‘Monaco without the harbour!’. However, the Monday after Sunday’s Race Day will be of most interest – Robert Kubica’s first-ever test in the 2017-spec Renault F1 Car.
Welcome Back, Robert
In terms of excitement, Kubica’s comeback to Formula 1 is like Alonso’s debut in the Indy 500. I hope that Renault ditches the norm and promotes him to a racing seat as early as the 2017 Belgian Grand Prix, so long as the test goes as per plan. As for Jolyon Palmer, he should’ve burned his unlucky underpants many months ago!
Kubica’s return test has been blessed by the FIA and basis Article 5.1.7(c) there’s a provision for a returning former Formula 1 driver to be a granted a super license outside of the current points scoring system for procuring a super license.
The Formula 1 Halo
The FIA confirmed the ‘halo’ for 2018 via a press release that I almost ended up dismissing as ‘fake news’. There’s a lot of debate on this decision, most of it swinging between the need for further cockpit protection, whether the Halo is the best solution and the halo disturbing the aesthetics of our current cars.
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In my view, if there’s one job the FIA has excelled in, it is driver safety. I would trust their judgement fully and I am glad that they’re not being swayed by the aesthetics of a Formula 1 car. This is despite allegations that the FIA Stewards do get swayed by the possible impact on the championship while delivering their verdicts on usual racing weekends.
The Formula 1 Halo – A Marketer’s Nightmare
Formula 1, or Motorsport, for that matter, is a visually limiting sport. We are unable to see our heroes in action, I mean their facial expressions; unlike a sport like Football. With the halo now in the mix, this visual limiting will only increase. Similarly, for all the sexy-ing of Formula 1 cars this year, the halo could drive more fans away from the sport – just like the lack of engine noise did!
On one hand, Formula 1’s marketing team is organising F1 Live events where fans are brought up close to the drivers and their cars, however, it would be an incorrect representation of the product if V8s and non-halo fitted cars are used at such demonstrations.
The Formula 1 Halo Competition
I would expect the teams to compete between themselves on the most beautiful integration of the halo. Mercedes and Ferrari can totally be expected to attach aero devices to the halo, while Force India is probably pleased that there is more prime real estate for them to sell next season!
Formula E vs. Formula 1
At this moment, there are more car manufacturers in Formula E (already!), than there are in Formula 1. In fact, going by the increasing interest in the all-electric series, Formula 1 might just find it tougher to attract car manufacturers in the time to come. We know how Ferrari are already missing out on their historic bonus from Formula E.
Mercedes is the new entrant in Formula E, this is at the cost of their successful DTM program. They’ve dominated this series in the not-so-recent past and have used this series as a ladder to Formula 1 (remember Paul Di Resta?). However, given the interest in Formula E, we might need to give a thought to starting the Inside Line Formula E Podcast! Phew!
(Season 2017, Episode 28)