Antonio Nartea

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    Antonio Nartea

    1. Mercedes
    2. Ferrari
    3. Williams
    4. Red Bull
    5. McLaren
    6. Force India
    7. Renault
    8. Haas
    9. Torro Rosso
    10. Manor
    11. Sauber

    Mercedes has the best chance to top the field once again, but I expect them to have a much harder time while trying to do so. A much closer fight at the top looks to be in the making.
    Williams should finish off confortably in 3rd.
    Red Bull will have a slightly improved season, as their revised Renault engine in combination with another brilliant chassis will give them a bitter-sweet edge over Renault.
    Inbetween them, the radical improvers of the season, McLaren, who finally find some sort of balance and capitalize on their drivers generally overperforming to claim 5th.
    Force India manage to trail once again in 6th over the course of another typical / no-surprises season for the team.
    Renault took on a difficult taks trying to rebuild the sinking Lotus ship. A learning year is a learning year afterall and they have to settle with 7th at the end of the season.
    Surprises come from both Haas and Manor teams, capitalizing on their newly-founded partnerships with the biggest guns in the sport. Wise driver choices in Grosjean and Werhlein put them one step ahead of Torro Rosso, making the best out of their outdated engines and Sauber, respectively, who endure one of their worst seasons once again, finishing without scoring a single point.


    Antonio Nartea

    If we’re talking about track racing, the Le Mans 24H and the Nurburgring 24H hold a special place. Perhaps I’d classify the Nurburgring 24H as even harder than Le Mans, given the lenght and nature of the track and the monstrous field of over 150 entries. Trying to deal as efficiently as possible with that kind of traffic for 24 hours straight on a 14 mile track that’s virtually impossible to master is sheer madness.

    But if we’re talking about motor sports in general, well, the Dakar Rally has to be it. THE single toughest race on Earth. Both physically and psychologically.

    The WRC used to include some seriously tough events in its calendar back in the day as well, like the Acropolis or the Safari Rally.


    Antonio Nartea

    I’d still like to see Kobayashi being given a chance, but on the other hand I’m actually happy to hear that Nakajima is well. Back injuries are one of the worst things that can happen to a racing driver. I’m glad he’s recovering and doing so at a very fast pace. If he gets himself back up to 100% in time and manages to race competitively at Le Mans, it’s going to be quite an achievement for him.


    Antonio Nartea

    Off the top of my head I’m going to say Luca Badoer (even though I remember him as being a test driver for Ferrari, I’ve completely forgotten he actually raced), Norberto Fontana (acted as a replacement for Sauber in 1997), and Luciano Burti.

    From recent years I always tend to forget Vitantonio Liuzzi was out there for quite a while. The only memory I have of him is his Monza shunt in 2011. Nothing from his Torro Rosso and Force India stints.


    Antonio Nartea

    @xtwl Kobayashi should indeed do a better job than Nakajima who never really stood out as being neither the quickest nor the most composed driver in those two line-ups. The bar isn’t really set THAT high. If Kamui dials his aggressiveness down a bit and keeps it clean in the long run he can’t possibly make a fool of himself.


    Antonio Nartea

    @fastiesty Also, I don’t think it’s just Le Mans where they’ll need a substitute. Unfortunately there are rumours saying Nakajima’s injury could keep him off the circuits for as long as six months.


    Antonio Nartea

    @fastiesty Lapierre is confirmed to race with KCMG in the LMP2 category at Le Mans this year.

    Sure, driver swaps and line-up changes happen easily in the WEC and he is still under contract with Toyota, but I think whatever differences they had are irreconcilable. Lapierre left under dubious circumstances and no one spoke about the real reason yet. Toyota used the generic “personal issues” to describe the context of Lapierre’s departure which can only mean it goes way further than that.

    Also, Toyota already said Kobayashi would have even raced at Spa as well if they didn’t have to fly him in last-minute from Japan.

    Let’s just hope Toyota get their act together and manage to sort their drivers (whoever they will be) out with a competitive car in time for the 24H race.


    Antonio Nartea

    Nakajima now looks unlikely to make it to Le Mans after being diagnosed with a broken vertebra. If so, technically Kobayashi is next in line to join Davidson and Buemi in the #1 car for the 24H.


    Antonio Nartea


    I think there are a lot more factors to consider regarding the number of races in the WEC calendar than the duration of the races per se.

    First of all I do believe it’s a financial decision and that it strongly relates to the restrictions on the number of engines and components used by the teams. More races = more engines, more components and automatically higher costs for the entrants. It might not affect the LMP1 class and the factory teams that much, but it would definitely mean a chunky budget increase for the privateers (most of which are even struggling now, with full-season costs being around 500.000E in LMP2). Adding 3-4 races to the calendar might throw the whole LMP2 class into extinction and it might affect some of the GT privateers as well. And since Neveu is trying to position his championship as further away from F1 as possible, teams dropping out due to increasing running costs is the last thing he needs. From this point of view I don’t think more races are going to happen until they figure out a decent cost capping solution for LMP2, especially. Or until they manage to attract the interest of more sponsors and/or investors or get more outfits involved.

    Second of all, the whole championship is built around the Le Mans 24H, a race which is radically different than any other race in its approach and which takes A LOT of preparation. Le Mans is not a weekend event, it’s a whole week event. Maybe more if you add up the scrutineering and the whole logistical chaos implied by running a 24H race. The teams need every bit of that month between Spa and Le Mans to put everything in its place in order to stand a chance to be competitive. So the problem is the organisers simply cannot cram more races in before Le Mans. They could probably push for one more race before Silverstone, in March, but that’s it! Even that is a long shot given the fact that the current (ultra-relaxed) calendar saw two LMP1 teams not making it to the grid for the season opener.

    The third issue is overlapping with other competitions, especially F1. Sure, Formula One might be losing viewers and attendees at an alarming rate, but when you’re a 3 seasons old endurance championship, you’re not going to be too keen on running on the same weekends and at the same time as your main rival competitor. Plus, the WEC has an immense roster of drivers, out of which (inevitably) many will be committed to other series as well, during the course of the season.

    It’s also so many tracks capable of hosting an endurance race in perfect conditions. I’ve heard Neveu on Radio Le Mans talking about how much he wants to take the championship to Australia and so on, but… where would they race other than Bathurst (which, even though it’s a brilliant touring track, it doesn’t really do the prototypes any favours)? I’ve also heard talk about getting more classic circuits on board the WEC calendar, but I don’t see that happening either considering the current legal and financial status of many circuit administrators out there.

    Add that to the fact that the WEC could do (in my opinion) without at least two current circuits (Shanghai and Bahrain) and it doesn’t really leave you with that much room for a quality “12 race per season expansion”.

    I for one don’t see it happening in the immediate future.


    Antonio Nartea

    @fastiesty I don’t see either Wurz/Sarrazin/Davidson/Buemi leaving Toyota anytime soon. Kobayashi could be set for Nakajima’s seat as he not the most impressive driver out there. Or Conway’s if he’s thinking of taking on other commitments next year (otherwise he’s a pretty quick and reliable driver to replace).

    However, a 3rd car at Le Mans is slowly becoming a necessity for them. Toyota is yet to win the 24H race since its comeback and the fact that this year they’re outnumbered 9 to 2 isn’t really doing them any favours again. The problem is Toyota isn’t really keen on the costs implied by running a 3rd car and I don’t think Kobayashi is enough of a reason to change their mind. If they do finally(!) decide to run a 3rd car in 2016, I’ll bet my a#&! that Kobayashi is going to be in it, though .


    Antonio Nartea

    I like what they did with the headlights to be honest. That’s a proper oldschool look they went for there. And it’s pretty much in (high) contrast to the Audi and the Nissan.

    LMP1 is a looker this season!

    Also, that Kobayashi story is good news. Could pave the way for a full season drive in 2016. Or for a 3rd car at Spa an Le Mans, hopefully.


    Antonio Nartea

    I’ll update this for Romania where, surprisingly(!!!), IndyCar is shown live:

    1. What country are you in (and state, if applicable)

    2. Which channels broadcast IndyCar near you?
    Digi Sport

    3. Do they show all the races live or only a limited number (if so, how many?)
    All races from the 2014 calendar are live (or in some cases delayed).

    4. If they are a subscription channel, what does a full year’s subscription cost (excluding limited time offers)?
    A subscription to RCS-RDS Digital (~80.00€/year), Analogue Cable (~68.00€/year) or Satellite Television Services (~65.00€/year) is required. More info here:

    5. Do they broadcast coverage online? If so please post link/s
    Yes, on Digi Sport Live TV:
    Available to RCS-RDS Internet Services subscribers only.

    6. Please supply any other relevant information such as alternative viewing options


    Antonio Nartea

    Hi Keith,

    Thought I’d update this for Romania as well.

    1. What country are you in (and state, if applicable)

    2. Which channels broadcast F1 near you?
    Dolce Sport

    3. Do they show all the races live or only a limited number (if so, how many?)
    All races are live.

    4. Do they also show qualifying live?
    Yes. All qualifying sessions are live.

    5. Do they also show practice sessions live?
    No practice sessions are being shown live. No highlights either.

    6. If they are a subscription channel, what does a full year’s subscription cost (excluding limited time offers)?
    A subscription for Dolce Digital Television Services (starting at ~156.00€/year) or Dolce Satellite Television Services (starting at ~78.00€/year) is required. More info here:

    7. Do they broadcast coverage online? If so please post link/s
    Yes, on Dolce Web TV:
    For Dolce Digital Television Services and Dolce Internet Services subscribers access to Dolce Web TV is free of any extra charge.
    For non-subscribers, access to the “Sports Pack” on Dolce Web TV (includes Dolce Sport 1, 2, 3, 4) can be purchased for 1.50€/day or 4.00€/month.

    8. Please supply any other relevant information such as alternative viewing options
    A good alternative (and the only one as far as I know) is RTL Germany, included in the “DTV Maxim Pack” for UPC subscribers. The price for the whole channel pack is ~150.00€/year.


    Antonio Nartea

    Best Driver: Magnussen
    Worst Driver: Gutierrez
    Best Team: McLaren
    Worst Team: Lotus
    Best Overtake: Bottas on Raikkonen
    Funniest Moment: McLaren’s “porcelain” nose
    Most Surprising Result: both Torro Rossos in the points
    Least Surprising Result: Mercedes winning
    Special Mention to: Bottas, Ricciardo, Button
    Race Rating: 8/10

    World feed rating: 7/10


    Antonio Nartea

    There’s very good rationale for introducing double points for the Indy 500 but not so much the others.

    I’m guessing it’s related to the Triple-Crown promotion they reinserted last year. If you think of it like that and add the fact that all Indianapolis, Pocono, and Fontana are all special racetracks in their own way, it’s still much more rational than what F1 does.

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