TT Crash – James Cowton – Isle of Man TT

James Cowton comes off his bike in the RL360º Quantum Superstock TT and has reason to be thankful for the recticel crash barriers and Horst Saiger’s very quick reactions.

Dropping the bike at speed and piling into the barriers, Jamie picks up a sponsor banner as he is deflected back in to the road where he comes to a rest just as Saiger gets his ZX-10R slowed right down.

Clipping the banner, Horst is able to carry on with his race (he finished 13th, a PB), knowing that Jamie is able to get up and walk away with just bumps and bruises – a real testament to the value of the crash barriers deployed at vulnerable points around the course.

Alonso has 4 engines left in 2016

It’s a tough way to start your Bahrain Grand Prix weekend but McLaren’s Fernando Alonso will have a new engine already after the ICE used in the Australia was too damaged following a massive crash.

“We have recovered the power unit from Fernando’s car used in Melbourne,” said Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda’s F1 boss.

“After initial investigations, we are massively disappointed that the ICE and most of the surrounding parts have been heavily damaged, as the impact from the accident was just too great. We will be replacing the complete power unit in Bahrain.”

With precious few engines for the entirety of the season, Fernando is already on the back foot this year. You have to hand it to his positive face in the press though:

“Firstly, I’m very pleased to be heading to Bahrain after the crash in Australia. I’ve spent some time resting and I can’t wait to get back in the car,” he said.

“Although on paper Melbourne wasn’t a great race for us, before the crash I’d been having some good battles and the car felt pretty promising, so I hope in Bahrain we can experience more of the same.

“We’re still pushing to bring upgrades to each race, so providing we can get everything to the car in time we’ll be aiming to get as much track time as possible with the new chassis from the start of free practice.”

He’s right though, he was running relatively well compared to last year’s performance and might possibly have scored points if not for the crash with Haas F1 driver Esteban Gutierrez. Regardless, more challenges for McLaren Honda and only the second race into a 21-race season. As Sky points out, having 4 left is an issue considering they used 23 engines between drivers last season.


Alonso out of Bahrain GP, Vandoorne in

It’s been a tough beginning to the season for Fernando Alonso in both the 2015 and 2016 seasons. After the massive crash in this season’s opening race in Australia, Alonso has had further medical tests and McLaren released a statement:

“Following an examination undertaken this morning at the Bahrain International Circuit Medical Centre, it has been decided that McLaren Honda F1 Team driver Fernando Alonso should not take part in this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

“Two sets of chest CT scans were compared and it was decide that there was insufficient resolution of the signs to allow him to compete on safety grounds.

“A repeat chest scan has been requested before the Chinese Grand Prix and the results will be considered before allowing him to race there.”

I’m not sure what issue this statement is referring to with regards to his chest but my immediate worry was concussion given the violent nature of the wreck and compound with his concussion from last years incident (that prompted him to miss the first race of the 2015 season), I was very concerned about the cumulative effect. There is no mention of a concussion in the McLaren statement, rather concerns over his chest.

Reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne will now stand in for Alonso and make his debut in Formula 1 at this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, the second race of the season.

Via formula1blog

Smedley, Perez at odds over crash in Canadian GP

Sergio Perez isn’t convinced the crash on Sunday in the Canadian Grand Prix was his fault. The crash was a violent one but luckily no one was hurt when Williams F1′s Felipe Massa collided with the Force India driver. Perez told Sky Sports F1:

“It was very disappointing to lose such a strong result through no fault of our own,” Perez said. “I was following the same line and braking patterns as in the previous laps and I just got hit from behind by Massa. There was plenty of space on the left of my car to attempt a clean overtake and I cannot understand why he had to scrape by.

“I watched several replays of the incident and I can’t help but notice how Felipe turns right just before he hits me. I can only think he must have changed his mind and wanted to rejoin the racing line, his misjudgement cost us a big amount of points.”

The row amped up when Williams F1 Williams’s head of vehicle performance, Rob Smedley, shared his thoughts on Force India’s culpability suggesting that the car shouldn’t have been on track telling AUTOSPORT:

“I think it was lap 67, [he was] talking about having no rear brakes. So they told him to carry on if he could, and if you can’t then to pit, which seems to me to be a fairly f***ing terminal problem to be honest.

“Why you leave a car out when you’ve got that sort of problem is beyond me.”

Smedley cited other teams, including his own, who experienced brake failure and took appropriate action:

“You saw two teams, one of which was ours, knowing when to call it quits – with Valtteri [Bottas] we had to tell him to back off and save his brakes and engine, but more critically brakes because it can be dangerous, and we lost points. That’s life.

“Lewis Hamilton, because of his problems – brakes again – has to stop the car. That’s a guy fighting for the world championship and he stops.”

Perez says that just nonsense and that the car was fine:

“Also, I’m not happy about comments saying we should have retired the car,” Perez added. “It was perfectly driveable with just some adjustments and we showed it up until the moment in which we were taken out. Other cars out there had been in similar conditions for way longer than us and they finished the race without problems.

“If someone thinks you can keep two Red Bulls behind for as long as we did with so-called ‘terminal’ problems, they are clearly misguided.”

Things get heated when you  fail to miss what could have been your best race finish of the year and that goes for both Williams F1 and Force India. Unfortunately both teams threw away a lot of points on Sunday and from all of the video, it certainly is difficult to asses blame but Smedley has re-framed the conversation about guilt into the turn one by suggesting the car should not have been on track in the first place.


Maria de Villota: 1980-2013

Maria de Villota was only 33-years-old but she was found dead in Seville Spain where she was to present her new book, Life is a Gift, that recounted her experiences and the road to recovery from a near-fatal accident she had in July last year.

De Villota had been testing for Marussia in a straight-line aerodynamic test at Duxford airfield when her car accelerated and clouted a hauler. Maria lost an eye and suffered a fractured skull in the incident.

The Formula 1 paddock was shocked at the news as they prepared for this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. Marussia said:

“It is with great sadness that we learned a short time ago of the news that Maria de Villota has passed away.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Maria’s family and friends at this very difficult time.”

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh said:

“She was an inspiration not just to women in this sport, but also to all those who suffered life-threatening injuries,” said Whitmarsh

“Her story, determination and subsequent inspiration flowed from F1 through sport as a whole, and to see the images of her in Barcelona on the grid earlier this year, surrounded by a throng of jubilant children, told a great story.”

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso learned of the passing of De Villota when he stepped out of his car after practice and was still in shock:

“I had only just taken my helmet off when I was told about her death and at the moment, I still can’t believe it and need a while to stop and think about it,” the Spaniard said after practice for the Japanese Grand Prix.

“It’s very sad news for the world of motorsport as Maria was loved by everyone. Now, all we can do is pray for her and for her family.”

Police have released an initial statement saying that it appeared she died of natural causes. An autopsy has been scheduled. The family of De Villota released a statement via Facebook:

“Dear friends: Maria has left us.

“She had to go to heaven like all angels. We are thankful to God for the extra year and a half that he left her with us.”