Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Goodbye Bernie - "The king is dead. Long live the king."

So the reign of Bernie the great dictator is over ... or is it? 

Bernie Ecclestone, as chief executive of Formula 1, has been deposed by the sport’s new owners, Liberty, and its powerhouse leader, Chase Carey. 

Bernie is to be retitled as Chairman Emeritus an oddly disjointed title in an oddly disjointed scenario.

Chase Carey was fulsome in his praise of Bernie's achievements, if startlingly frank in his observations  that it was time for the 86 year old dictator to head into exile.

He also said in recent years there had been many mistaken decisions pointing the finger of blame in Bernie's direction.

So we are promised a brave new world of F1. New ideas,  new arrangements,  a new concentration on on-line media as global TV audiences have been plummeting and a greater concentration on entertainment. 

Given that the various teams and team bosses have all got very rich under Bernie's rule, it will interesting to see if Chase Carey can corral them into making decisions that benefit the sport rather than their own pockets, personally and corporately, which has often been where the poor decisions came from.

So let's hope the new era under someone who will probably have to become a new dictator is better than before, but pause a moment.

Let's thank Bernie for 4 decades of F1 where his mostly benign tyranny has made a small time weekend warrior sport into a globe-spanning multi-billion pound spectacular where everyone has got rich, the racing has often been spectacular and it's been safer than for many decades without the regular annual slaughter of the young heroes. 

Bernie has yet to say his piece, and it wouldn't be the first time that Bernie has sold something that turned out to be ephemeral, at a price that was very real.

Graham Benge

The A3 before the Hindhead Tunnel

During a conversation about tunnels the other day, which I think was started when the A303 Stonehenge project was in the news, I mentioned that the Hindhead Tunnel, south of Guildford on the A3, has made a huge difference to the village of Hindhead, and the surrounding countryside, with much of the “old A3” being returned to nature.

I then said that, somewhere, I had video of the old road during the tunnel construction work, and was surprised when I was asked to upload it for all to see!

Anyway, here it is…. Firstly the road driving south…

Then, you’ve guessed it, north…

Since then, the route of the old road has been transformed…


More about Hindhead Commons from the National Trust: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/case-study-returning-hindhead-common

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Mighty Machines

A little bit of top trumps to distract from the day...

Thanks to fuelfighter.co.uk for the information.

Monday, 16 January 2017

World Rally Championship 2017

The 2017 WRC campaign kicks off on Thursday on the tarmac, mud, snow and ice of Monaco and the surrounding countryside.

It is all change this year after the departure of the 2016 winning manufacturer, Volkswagen…

After 17 years away, Toyota rejoins the Championship, as does Citroen after just a year away.

M-Sport, Malcolm Wilson’s Ford team, and Hyundai, last year’s runners-up in both Championships, complete the line up with all new, lighter, bigger and more powerful cars.

The manufacturer changes have, naturally, also lead to a game of musical chairs/teams for the drivers too:


  • Sébastien Ogier
  • Off Tänak
  • Elfyn Evans



  • Jari-Matti Latvala
  • Juho Hänninen
  • Esapekka Lappi



  • Kris Meeke
  • Craig Breen
  • Stéphane Lefebvre



  • Thierry Neuville
  • Hayden Paddon
  • Dani Sordo

Friday, 13 January 2017

And you thought YOU had a cold start today...

Yes, we might all think that with UK temperatures dipping (just a little bit) below zero our cars are rightly justified in hesitating a little in the mornings. But should this really be a worry for us?

Car manufacturers usually want to be able to sell their cars across the world, and not everywhere is as temperate as it is here.... Testing of new models from -40C to +50C isn't unusual.

Starting a Smart CDI at -29C in Novosibirsk in Russia... This driver does mention the problems with frozen ABS, ESP and stiff steering, but it does get going.

I think the best advice is, (a) take things easy, and (b) keep your batteries charged!