Team orders – to do or not to do

September 2014 : Team orders in Formula 1 has been a hot topic recently. In light of the collision between the Mercedes drivers and all the instructions that we hear from the pit wall that have been seemingly ignored recently by Lewis Hamilton, it’s a subject that people have varying opinions about. In both Budapest and Monza, I think Lewis was absolutely right to ignore the pitwall and keep pushing on. Although he’s part of a team, Lewis is fighting for the Driver’s World Championship and sometimes he has to be selfish and then deal with the consequences later. Mercedes meanwhile should be applauded for letting their drivers race and fight it out despite the odd skirmish which cost them a win at Spa.

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So many roads to the top

August 2014 : I was really wondering about what to write for this month’s column and to be honest, not feeling especially inspired. I had a couple of suggestions but none of them really got me excited. It’s a been a very busy period wrapping up Formula E testing and also doing some work with my Murphy Prototypes Le Mans team for 2015 so writing was far from my mind.

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Magical Goodwood

July 2014 : The Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK has become an annual highlight for me. It’s a fantastic opportunity to see, and drive, some great cars from a different era, meet some of the biggest names in the sport and catch up with friends from different championships who are all living in different parts of the world.

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Looking forward to Formula E

June 2014 : It’s been a really busy few weeks for me with plenty of flying around. I had the European Le Mans Series race at Imola followed by F1 TV duties in Qatar, the launch of the Mahindra Racing Formula E driver line up, the official prologue test for the Le Mans 24 hour race and the first shakedown run in the Formula E car. I write this sitting in my camper van in the Le Mans paddock with just a few days to go for the biggest race in the world – hopefully by the time you read this, we’ve had a really good race and result !

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Adaptability

May 2014 : Since the end of 2011, my career has taken me from the world of mainline single-seaters to categories away from the ladder to F1. Initially this was a big change for me but over time, you realise that being able to jump into different cars and be quick straight away is actually a great challenge and one that ultimately makes you a better driver.

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F1’s new era has begun !

April 2014 : The new era of Formula 1 has gotten off to a real rollercoaster of a start. Reigning champions struggling, crowd favourites Ferrari lacking performance, Force India and Williams showing great form and new hot shots coming through with impressive performances. But above all else, Mercedes have emerged as the big winners of the winter battle and I’m not pretty sure that the World Championship battle is going to be a two horse race between Lewis and Nico.

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Early Form Guide for the F1 Season

March: I have to admit that before the Melbourne GP, I was very sceptical about this year’s F1 season. It really looked like Red Bull were in a class of their own, not only after winter testing but also on Friday after the first free practice sessions. They never looked like they were trying particularly hard during the tests and when it came to the first race weekend, the pace they showed straight out the box was very ominous for the rest of the pack and indeed for everyone watching.

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The Circus gets Ready to Roll

February: The new season is nearly upon us. All across the globe, motorsport folk are heading backing to school as the winter break draws to a close.

Paddocks in Spain, Florida and Portugal are filling up with teams doing shakedowns and pre-season tests. Drivers are scrambling to get their deals done. The ones that have the deals in hand are sorting out their calendars, getting their kit organised, booking flights and finishing their last big push of winter fitness training. Engineers and designers are looking at their newest creations with nervous excitement – will the car be reliable, will it be gentle on its tyres, will the car be consistent, will the setup window be big enough for all circuits and most importantly, will the car be fast ? Mechanics are learning the nuances of their new cars – the spanner sizes they need are a bit different, the wiring looms need to be installed differently, the bodywork doesn’t quite fit, the driver’s need new seats to be made. Elsewhere, marketing teams are making their plans, PR guys defining their strategies and the sponsors are working on new ways to leverage their tie ups with the team. Truckies are making sure that all the new equipment will fit in the transporters. Team managers are ensuring that the motorhomes are in good condition and the new catering teams are prepared for the season ahead. So much to do… and time ticking away so quickly !

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A busy off season

January: For most racing drivers season normally finishes in October/November, be it F1 or WEC or Indycar. This is the time where we drivers get some time off to recover from the past season and plan ahead for the next year of racing as well as fulfill our commitments to the media and the sponsors. However for the first time in many years I found myself racing in one of the intriguing events that I have ever participated in. The Race of Champions is a unique concept that pits some of the best drivers in the world against each other in different cars. This was the first time that India has been invited for the year ending event and was fantastic experience for both Narain and me. Winning the ROC Asia was harder work than we thought to be honest but that made it more satisfying. It came to a point where every race was a decider and crucial to the final outcome. The biggest challenge in the ROC was jumping out of one car and straight into another. It required us to be able to quickly reset their brain and re-focus into a new driving style.

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Crazy end to a crazy season - Brazil

November 27, 2012: What a crazy end to a crazy world championship that was !! Brazil has thrown up some crazy races in the past and the world championship has had some crazy deciders but last weekend's race has to be one of the best. Mind you, i still think Bernie was sitting with an on-off switch for the rain to make it entertainment...

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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

November 07, 2012: The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was one of the best races of the year ! I was on commentary duty for Espn - Star Sports over the weekend and have to say i needed a bit of a lie down after that race. The circuit facilities in Yas Marina and the organisation of the event are second to none but the circuit itself isn't the best layout for racing, or a particularly outstanding layout to drive. The previous races haven't really been classics for overtaking or racing but this year's race fully made up for that !

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Momentum is such a valuable thing

October 10, 2012: Winning a championship in any form of motorsport requires speed, consistency, reliability and a slice of luck. There are plenty of uncertainties that come up, plenty of unpredictable events and enough twists and turns that make it hard to predict the outcome. One thing is certain though – momentum can go a long way to helping a team or driver secure a championship.

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