Daily: 23rd June 2011

23 June, 2011 at 00:01 (GMT+01:00)

By Colin McBain

Morning all to this, my second ever contribution to Sidepodcast. I'm starting to get used to this already.

This weekend will see the Formula 1 circus descend onto Spain for the second time this year when we'll be in Valencia for the European Grand Prix. I was thinking of doing a list of memorable moments from this racetrack, just like I did with the Montreal circuit last time, then I realised: this is Valencia! There are no memorable moments from this racetrack! So instead, I've decided to do a list of memorable moments from the European GP itself, spanning the four different tracks in which it's been staged. That is, if you don't count the 1920s to the 1970s, where the European GP was an honorific title given to a particular European race, which changed every year. But before we begin our look back on ghosts of European Grand Prixs* past, I wanted to throw you a...

PUB QUIZ QUESTION: The European Grand Prix is one of two GPs in Formula 1 history that is not named after a country or a principality. Can you name the other? The answer will not be revealed in my next post - or ever - because I suspect you will all know the answer. But if you are stumped, this'll be bound to help you.

  1. Who can forget the 1st lap of the 1993 race at a wet Donington? People who didn't see it in the first place, I suppose. But anyway, this was the time Ayrton Senna went from 4th on the grid to losing a place at the start to leading the race in the space of one lap. Unforgettable.
  2. 2007 also heralded an incredible opening couple of laps. The rain started almost as soon as the lights went out. One lap later, Kimi Raikkonen missed the pitlane entrance whilst trying to switch to wet tyres, several cars spun off at turn 1 and amidst all the chaos, Markus Winklehock, in his first race in a Spyker, and who qualified last, led the race.
  3. 1997, and in the championship-deciding Grand Prix in Jerez Michael Schumacher is trying to hold off Jacques Villeneuve, the only man who could take the World Championship from him. And then this happens...
  4. Well, I suppose I should put a mention in for Valencia, even if the video provided is mirrored for some reason. In 2010, Mark Webber was involved in a terrifying accident with Heikki Kovalainen, in which the former creamed into the back of the latter, flew into the air and crashed straight into the tyre barrier. However, due to the level of safety provided by the modern-day F1 car, Webber jumped straight out and walked away.
  5. Of all the Euro GPs in history, 1999 must be by far the most action-packed. A dry-wet race, a frightening incident at the start, several lead changes, several drivers crashing out of the lead, mechanics forgetting to put tyres on Ferraris, all of which culminated in Johnny Herbert winning his first Grand Prix for the Stewart team. And a Minardi scored a championship point. Btw, it's 'Sandstorm' by Darude. Or you can just use the 'mute' button.

So in closing, Valencia may not have inspired close, exciting racing in the past but you never know. What with the new overtaking devices and tyres available to the drivers this year, even this race has the potential to be one to remember. Perhaps...

And finally, I just wanted to mention the IZOD IndyCar Series is on this Saturday. It's in Iowa. Can Dario Franchitti continue his winning streak from Texas to Wyoming and make it three victories in a row? Will Takuma Sato make it an entire race without crashing into something or even going off the track? Will the host broadcaster be able to show more than five minutes-worth of racing without throwing out several ad-breaks in a row?

For the answer to all these questions plus others, then tune in and watch the race live at 8pm Saturday night USA Eastern Time / 2am Sunday morning UK time / 9am Sunday morning Perth, Australia time / 11am Sunday morning Melbourne, Australia time. In other words, I won't be staying up to watch it.

* should that be ghosts of Grands Prix past instead of ghosts of Grand Prixs past?

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