Category Archives: Motorsport

An interview with British F4 title contender Matias Zagazeta

Interviewed by Tom Evans, Edited by Harshi Vashee 

First of all, who are you and in what series do you race?

I am Matias Zagazeta, I come from Peru and I race in the British F4 Championship.

When did you start to take an interest in Motorsport, and who were your favourite drivers?

I have been interested in Motorsport or cars in general since I can remember, watching it on the TV. I remember watching Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, they were my favourite drivers.

Why did you choose your driver number?

I chose number 8 as my number mainly because I was 8 years old when I started racing and my birthday is the 8th of September. It was also the number of my favourite all time driver, Ayrton Senna. 

You started karting in 2011, being your first season in the sport were there any major obstacles for you to overcome?

My first Karting season in 2011 was full of learning as I started racing in Peru with a small grid of cars. Then, I started to race internationally first around South America then, the United States and finally coming to Europe in 2017.

When you started competing in the European IAME karting championship, what was the hardest, but most rewarding thing about moving to the UK?

Coming to live in the UK by myself in 2020 was very hard because I was away from my family, friends and home and here it is a very different culture so it took me some time to get used to it and adapt. This however helped me be a lot more responsible and take care of myself.

You took the step up to British F4 in 2020. Was adapting to single seater cars difficult or easier than you expected? 

For me personally, I found it very very hard to get used to single seaters. Coming from karting, I had a difficult first season where I just couldn’t adapt to the car and didn’t have confidence in it which was the biggest problem. 

But also in 2020 you competed in some major Esports competitions. Do you think Esports is a good alternative to actual racing for great drivers on a lower budget?

Yes, before the season, British F4 organized some IRACING races and I joined just to stay sharp and have some fun during the difficult times. I didn’t have the best simulator compared to the other drivers but I had good fun! I think Esports has proven to find a lot of talented people and I think it’s also a good alternative for drivers. 

In 2021, you’ve had a brilliant British F4 season. With 4 wins so far, you’ve had a brilliant fight for the championship with Matthew Rees. With one round to go, do you think you can claim the title? 

This season has been fantastic, still learning a lot but the most important thing was that we managed to find the confidence with the car. It’s going to be an interesting last round as there’s 4 drivers still in contention so we will turn up and do our best, like we have been doing all season and this is no different. Hopefully by the end of the weekend when we look at the results, we are champions but, we will stay focused and do what we have to do to perform at our best. 

And finally what are your hopes/ambitions for the future? 

In the short term hopefully to be the British F4 champion after this weekend and in the long term, to become a Formula 1 world champion. Many drivers say they want to get to Formula 1, but why not push it a bit more?

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FIM RAISES AGE LIMIT FOR JUNIOR CATEGORIES

Written by Andrew Lwanga Edited by Harshi Vashee

Following a series of fatalities the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) which oversees Motorcycle racing has decided to raise the minimum age limit in a number of junior racing series.

Over the past 12 months, there have been three deaths in junior racing categories, all in series sanctioned by the FIM. In response a task force within Dorna Sports (the commercial rights holder for World Superbikes and MotoGP) was formed.

After much discourse between Dorna and the FIM it was announced on Friday that the minimum age limit for all junior championships will be raised. In addition to this, the grid sizes, which can at times field as many as 40 motorbikes, will also be significantly reduced. These changes will start to take shape minimally in 2022 and more substantially in 2023.

Starting from the next racing season, all Talent Cup Series will have a lower age limit of 13 with a maximum grid size of 30 riders. Red Bull Rookies Cup will raise its lower age limit from 13 to 14.

Meanwhile, the Moto 3 Championship, will raise its minimum age requirement by a year from 14 to 15 and cap it’s grid size at 32 bikes. The same grid size restrictions will be employed by the World Supersport 300, a support series of the World Superbike series. The minimum age will also be set at 16.

In 2023 age limits will be increased again and with the addition of an entry age of 14 for all Grand Prix type circuits including those graded B and C by the FIM.

MotoGP Championships including Moto 3 and Moto 2 will also have a new lower limit with the required age of entry being 18.

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Everything WRC has to offer if you are a fan of motorsports

Today at Divebomb we are going to be analyzing all there is to know about the WRC (World Rally Championship). If you are a general motorsport fan you will have likely heard of WRC at some stage. Whether it was through endless scrolling on social media platforms or through commentary during other motorsport events. Even if you have heard of WRC or not this article is for you. We are here to give you the full rundown of WRC between the weekend layout, the teams, drivers and co-drivers, engine specs we will cover it all. Let’s get straight into it!

Written by Megan Teahan, Edited by Mikaeel Ali

The Basics

The Championships this year consists of thirteen drivers and co-drivers across four different teams. The championship has a total of twelve rounds across eleven different countries. The season typically runs from January to November, this may seem like quite a long season, but a lot of the rallies have a gap of at least two weeks, with the Belgium rally and the following round after that in Greece seeing almost a one month “break” for everyone involved. Each Rally weekend features between fifteen to twenty-five timed sections or “special stages”. These stages take place on closed roads from the public, where each driver/co-driver competes alone on the section. Drivers go to and from each section adhering to local rules of the road of whichever country they are competing in. You may be wondering why there is a co-driver in the passenger seat and not just the driver alone in the car. A co-driver in WRC is just as important as the driver. The co-driver reads pace notes to the driver warning the driver of upcoming hazards. (We will touch back on co-drivers later). The timings from each section are taken to 1/10th of a second, added up after all sections are completed. Whoever completes all stages in the shortest accumulated time wins the rally. The top ten finishers receive points going from twenty-five, eighteen, fifteen, twelve, ten, eight, six, four, two and one. Extra points are also earned during the closing power stage, which gives points to the teams of the five fastest drivers.

A Rally Weekend

The rally itself takes place over three days. Two days before a rally begins the drivers/co-drivers practice the route of the different stages, where the time sections of the rally will take place. This gives the co-driver time to make pace notes and helps the driver to get used to the layout of each section. If you have ever watched an on-board video of a rally race you will hear a voice that is constantly speaking, this is the co-driver calling out pace notes. While to most these almost “cryptic” words mean nothing, to the driver they are everything. One wrong word from the co-driver can throw the driver completely off course and result in massive time loss. Here is an example of the pace notes the co-driver would have on his pace notes during a certain stage. “40 L5-/Cr 4+ -> !!!R4/BgJmp oc”. Can you decode this message? If not, the answer will be revealed at the end of the article!

The weekend begins with a “shakedown”. A shakedown gives drivers an opportunity to test out the cars and the type of terrain they will be driving on, each car must drive through the shakedown stage at least three times. The shakedown also allows for any final tweaks to be made to the car before the rally officially begins.

The rally race itself then takes place over three days; this is where the fifteen to twenty-five timed sections take place. During the three days of racing, you will hear the phrase “service park ”. This is essentially the WRC version of a pitstop. There are three service park sessions per day. Each session takes place at a predetermined time, during these times teams are allowed to perform mechanical work on the car and fix any damage the car may have incurred during the rally so far.  The first service park takes place in the morning before the opening stage of the rally, teams are given fifteen minutes for any last adjustments they would like to perform on the car. The second service park takes place midway through the rally, teams are given forty minutes. The final service park takes place at the end of the day where teams are given forty-five minutes to prepare the car for the following day. Service Park times are tightly monitored to make sure no team ends up spending more time on the car then they are allowed to. Rally racing takes place on different and constantly changing terrains therefore the car is bound to be subjected to damage at some stage of the rally. Therefore, the driver and co-driver are allowed to work on the car outside of service park times, using only tools and spare parts that are already in the car. If the car gets a puncture hallway through a stage, there is no “pit crew” following closely behind, you will see the driver and co-driver get out of the car to change the tire as quickly as possible. If the car sustains damage, the clock will not be stopped to allow time for the driver and co-driver to fix the damage. The clock will continue to run, and this will be taken into the final timings. Sometimes a car will be too damaged to continue with the race, resulting in retirement. Car retirements can restart the next day of the rally, granted the car is safe to drive but the driver will incur a ten-minute penalty for every stage they have missed. These time penalties will be added at the end. Time penalties will be incurred if drivers arrive late at control points for example, exiting the service park too late.

Technical Specification of a WRC car

We are going to focus on the technical specification of the m-sport Ford Fiesta WRC pictured below. This year m-sport are running two cars with drivers Teemu Suninen, Adrian Fourmaux and Gus Greensmith and co-drivers Jarmo Lehtinen, Alexandre Coria and Chris Patterson.

Rally cars are based off road cars that you; ether drive yourself or more than likely drive past every day on the road. It is the specification of the cars in the world rally championship that make them different to the typical road car.

The m-sport Ford Fiesta produces 380bhp, 450nm of torque from its 1600cc direct injection engine. If the previous sentence makes no sense to you, let’s break it down. Bhp also known as horsepower is the amount of power an engine can produce, the higher the bhp the faster the car can run. For example, the average road car has 120phb, which is not fast in terms of rally cars. Torque is a crucial part of generating power from a car’s engine, the more torque the greater the acceleration on the car. All rally cars are subjected to at least 425nm and no more than 450nm for safety reasons. 1600cc is a 1.6-liter engine, a direct injection engine has more power and burns less fuel.

The next aspect of the WRC Ford Fiesta is a six-speed sequential gearbox, to explain what a six-speed sequential gearbox is we will compare it to the typical road car gear box. Both gear boxes are quite similar, with a typical road car gear box you would press the clutch before changing/or putting the car into the gear. Following a “H” pattern of first gear being top left, second gear being back left and so on. With a six-speed sequential gearbox, you hit a lever/or paddle to change through gears in order whether you are upshifting or downshifting. This type of gearbox would be seen on most race cars.

Another main aspect is the MacPherson struts, these are basically the front suspension of the car. When a rally car becomes air bound and almost bounces back down to the terrain this bounce comes from the MacPherson struts. These struts also work as shock absorbers during collisions or impacts back to the terrain. These struts allow for more extreme steering hence why they are used in the m-sport Ford Fiesta.

If you want to know more about the m-sport Ford Fiesta WRC head over to the m-sport website for the full breakdown.

If you did not end up decoding the pace notes here is the answer “Forty, left five minus over crest opens over 40, tightens four plus, into triple caution right four over big jump off camber”. If this still makes no sense, you are not alone.

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The Triple Crown of Motorsport: What is it and will it ever be achieved again?

Written by Danny Jones, Edited by Morgan Holiday

The Triple Crown of Motorsport is regarded as one of the biggest achievements in sport worldwide, in fact, it is so hard to achieve that only one man has ever done it. Motorsport is full of various categories and series, from stock cars to motorbikes, to some of the best engineering genius the world has ever seen. And some particular series and races stick out from the rest. The Bathurst 1000, the Dakar Rally, the Daytona 24, the Daytona 500, but none come close to the three events which make up the triple crown.

The triple crown is made up of the three most iconic motor races in the world, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Monaco Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500. The 24 Hours of Le Mans has been held since 1923, and is the most iconic sports car race in the world, so big it is bigger than the series it is in, the World Endurance Championship. Three drivers take turns to hustle one car around the iconic Circuit de la Sarthe for 24 consecutive hours, whilst team personnel are always on standby to make sure the car is in pristine condition. The circuit itself is gruelling enough, only the Nurburgring Nordschleife is a longer circuit currently in use, which contains the iconic Mulsanne straight with a long complex of esses towards the end of the lap. What makes it so tough is the night stints, where drivers only have their small headlights to guide themselves through the blackness, and one small mistake means game over. Tom Kristensen has nine separate Le Mans wins, three clear of the next best, Jacky Ickx, and is regarded as the greatest sports car racer of all time.

The Monaco Grand Prix is the crown jewel of the F1 calendar. Although it regularly comes under criticism for its lack of overtaking opportunities or excitement, it takes nothing away from the accolade of the achievement. Held on the narrow Monte Carlo streets since 1929, the Monaco Grand Prix has drivers on edge all the time, with barriers either side of the driver, with one small mistake meaning certain disaster. It is also the one ‘the drivers want to win’ due to the prestige of Monaco, where celebrities like to play, and is the gem of the F1 season. Monaco is considered the toughest to win of the three, it is hard enough to enter F1, it is even harder to get into a team capable of winning such an event. Ayrton Senna is the most successful driver round the tricky Monaco streets, winning it six times, including in five consecutive seasons.

The final event that makes up the triple crown is the Indianapolis 500. The Indianapolis 500 is so big, that winning the race is a bigger accolade than winning the IndyCar series. The oval race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been held since 1911, and strangely was once part of the F1 World Championship. The Indianapolis 500 features the fastest cars in the world, capable of reaching up to 240mph, with drivers barely dipping below 225mph on their qualifying runs. They can do 2.5 miles in less than 38 seconds. The 500 mile event regularly lasts up to three hours, and with walls waiting to be collided with for 200 laps, it is a tough mental challenge for the drivers, particularly those fighting it out for the win with just ten laps to go. Helio Castroneves joined Rick Mears, Al Unser and AJ Foyt as the elusive four-time 500 winners in 2021. The question is, will the ‘spiderman’ be able to make history in the coming years?

How close have people gotten, and can it be achieved again?

The Triple Crown is prestigious for the variety of races needed to complete it. The toughest sports car race in the world, the toughest F1 race, and the toughest oval race on the planet. Famously, Graham Hill is the only man to have won all three, winning the Monaco Grand Prix in 1963, 1964, 1965, 1968 and 1969, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1972 and the Indianapolis 500 in 1966. 

The closest man to ever challenge Graham Hill is Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard won the Monaco Grand Prix in 2006 and 2007, before winning Le Mans in 2018 and 2019. Alonso has been so invested in the triple crown, he sat out the Monaco Grand Prix to compete in the Indianapolis 500 in 2017, something a driver hadn’t done for over 30 years. And after his ‘retirement’ in Abu Dhabi 2018, some of the first words said over the radio to Alonso were: ‘Let’s go win the Triple Crown.’ Alonso came agonisingly close in 2017, leading 27 laps, and running in a good position with just 21 laps to go, before his Honda engine blew out. In 2019, he embarrassingly failed to qualify, being knocked out by the unfancied Kyle Kaiser, before a lackluster result in 2020. The question remains if Alonso will want to return to the Indy 500 after his second F1 spell. With Helio Castroneves winning it at 46 years old this year, maybe it gives hope for Alonso in the future.

Juan Pablo Montoya is the only other active driver to complete two of the Triple Crown, winning the Monaco Grand Prix in 2003 and the Indy 500 in 2000 and 2015. Montoya competed in Le Mans for the first time in 2015, but in the LMP2 class. Debatably Montoya has got a better chance than Alonso if he can secure an LMH drive, but with more manufacturers competing and his interest in the Triple Crown much lower than Alonso’s, he may never be able to fulfill it.

However, the Triple Crown looks even harder to complete now, and there is no guaranteed method to achieve it. A driver would have to progress up the junior categories successfully, and then be able to get into a team capable of winning a Grand Prix, and after all that win at Monaco. Most successful drivers used to be able to get their way into a winning Le Mans team, as there was such little competition, but with 8 manufacturers in the premier class in 2022, the Le Mans challenge will be harder. And with the Indy 500 always conflicting with F1 schedule, a driver is unlikely to be able to do so until their later careers, where they may face some of the best oval racers in the world.

However, the growing links between IndyCar and F1 give a hint of an opportunity to some. Andretti’s growing rumours of F1 give Colton Herta a potential shot, as Andretti would easily allow him to take a seat in both the Indy 500 and F1. However, it seems it would take a while for Andretti to be an F1 frontrunner. Herta has also said he would like to do Le Mans later down the line, something not many teams would deny such a talent of. Pato O’Ward was in the running to win his maiden Indy 500 crown with McLaren this year, and with a F1 test coming up in Abu Dhabi, O’Ward would have the potential get a F1 seat for the future, particularly if he could win the Indy 500 and IndyCar championship, according to Zak Brown.

The Triple Crown will always remain the most difficult thing to achieve in motorsports, maybe even in sports altogether. For one driver to be so successful in three varieties of cars takes some talent, and with it getting harder to achieve, we may never see a triple crown winner again, unless Alonso can miraculously win the Indy 500 after his second F1 stint. Time will tell if it can be done again.

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Formula E Set up to revamp their qualifying format

Written by Andrew Lwanga, Edited by Harshi Vashee

Formula E is finally set to change its qualifying format. The format which has been subject of criticism mostly from the drivers since its introduction is expected to be entirely scrapped for a new system to be employed next season.

Since it’s fifth season, which ran from 2018 to 19, Formula E used a group qualifying system. Drivers were divided into groups of 6 arranged in descending Championship order, with the six highest placed drivers hitting the track first. With less rubber on the racing line of what is often termed a “green track”, thus meaning more often than not, the first group composed of the drivers leading the Championship would have the worst track conditions of all. 

Although it aims to act as a success ballast, in effect this system punishes drivers for being good. However it was very successful in keeping the Championship fight alive as was seen in the most recent 2020-21 season where more than half the grid were still in title contention come the last race. Though entertaining to the fans, this sentiment wasn’t shared by the drivers with eventual Champion Nyck De Vries calling the title fight “manufactured”. 

Whether successful or not Formula E now aims to completely revamp the format in favour of a tournament style format which Formula E co-founder Alberto Longo hopes will be much easier for fans to understand. 

The new system will divide the grid into two groups with the four fastest from each progressing to a one on one knockout round. 

Speaking at a press conference in Mexico, Longo explained that the new format aims to simplify Formula E’s race format

“We’ve gone back to basics, but we also like to be innovative. This format is very understandable because everyone understands a tennis tournament finals draw. Visually it is very attractive and on television we will offer something spectacular.”

“The key is in the first two groups of 11 drivers each, the drivers will have the opportunity to do several fast laps during the 12 minutes that qualifying will last. After that we will define the four fastest in each group.”

“In the quarter-final round, the fastest from group one will face off against the fourth placed driver from group two and so on.”

“From there, we will move on to the semi-final and the two finalists. Whoever wins that duel will be the pole sitter.”

Longo further disclosed that the advice for the new format came to him from driver Sam Bird. 

The new format expects to be ratified when the FIA World Motorsport Council meets later this week on the 15th of October.

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America – Why don’t they produce F1 drivers, and who will be their next driver in the sport?

Written by Danny Jones, Edited by Umut Yelbaşı

The USA has a long and rich history in motorsports. Formula One is set to have 2 races in the US in 2022 following the addition of the Miami Grand Prix. They’ve had the most circuits in F1 history, they host one of the 3 motorsport ‘triple crown events’ in the Indianapolis 500, and have some of the most prestigious race tracks in the world. But why don’t we see any American drivers in F1, despite the huge amount of racers they have? 

America hasn’t seen an F1 driver since Alexander Rossi in 2015. The last full-time driver was Scott Speed in 2007, and the last one to score a point was Michael Andretti, way back in 1993. However, the structure of the US motorsport system means that very few single-seater drivers will ever make it to F1, or even be close to it, and here is why.

Just like many European countries, the US has an F4 series, held since 2016. The natural step above that is Formula Regional America, similar to its European counterpart, albeit with smaller grids and pedigree. After that the next step would be F3, but America’s “Road to Indy” system prevents that from happening. 

The “Road to Indy” is similar to how most drivers get to F1. It has 4 stages: US F2000, Indy Pro 2000, Indy Lights, and IndyCar, similar to the F4, F3, F2, F1 format. However, the Road to Indy is much cheaper than the European Formula system, and additionally provides scholarships for the winning driver of each step, meaning they can progress on with their racing careers, ensuring that talented drivers aren’t affected by any possible lack of money.

And in 2022, a new unofficial step is set to be added to the ladder. USF Juniors will be a step below US F2000, and is set to bridge the gap between karting and USF2000, which will have the same scholarship award for winning the championship. Interestingly, it will use the same machinery as USF4, but with the purpose of low costs and high rewards.

Although the F4 and Formula Regional systems are designed to get drivers into F1, many young American talents will find the Road to Indy much more appealing due to the reduced costs, and therefore will only dab into European racing careers. The best example is Kyle Kirkwood, who won US F4 and US F3 (Formula Regional USA), before progressing onto the Road to Indy and performing unbelievably well, winning almost two thirds of his races during the Road to Indy. Someone with that much talent could easily cut it in the F3 system, but we see so many talented drivers drop out of F3 due to funding issues, contrary to the RTI, which has attracted European drivers.

This means any young American star will always be inclined to prefer the RTI. Although there are some exceptions, the pathway beyond F3 is too expensive and unreasonable, and if they can reach IndyCar, their seat will not be heavily influenced by finance, something everyone in motorsport wants to see. With the relations between F1 and IndyCar increasing, could we see the Road to Indy as a method for joining F1? 

Who could be America’s next driver?

Logan Sargeant is the first name that may come to many minds. Sargeant finished a superb 3rd year in F3, and although an F2 promotion was fully deserved, funding eventually prevented him from making the step up to F2. In his third year, with Charouz, Sergeant has worked wonders with usually average machinery, claiming his team 3 podiums, something they have never done before. However, funding will always pull him back, so the only way that Sargeant could make F1 is through a driver academy. With many teams sniffing around he has a reasonable shot, although it would be a stroke of luck, but a fully deserved one.

Jak Crawford

On paper, Crawford probably has the best chance of anyone. He dipped his feet in the Road to Indy, taking part in US F2000, at only 14 years old. However, since being part of the Red Bull Junior program after his US F2000 campaign, his funded career in Europe has gone successfully, and he is doing respectably well in his first F3 season. As a 16-year-old member of the Red Bull academy, Crawford has a decent chance, if he can prove to be good enough. The only downside for him is that the Red Bull seats are becoming more and more competitive. Liam Lawson and Juri Vips have been sensational in F2, and will be looking at an AlphaTauri seat very soon. Dennis Hauger looks set to win F3, with Jack Doohan currently 2nd in the standings, whilst Jonny Edgar and Ayumu Iwasa are also competing with Crawford in F3. Whilst Crawford has the best chance, both the quality and the quantity of Red Bull talent may hold him back.

Colton Herta

Andretti Autosport’s star, Colton Herta, can be debated as the best American driver at this moment, and although his chances of getting to F1 are on the lower side, he would certainly be a star in the sport. Despite being only 21, Herta has won 6 IndyCar races, in a struggling Andretti team, and is regarded as one of the stars of the series. Andretti have been rumoured to take over Sauber in the future, and if Andretti were ever be able to get into F1, Herta would have to be a primary contender. His raw speed is incredible, and has dominated races on numerous occasions. Herta has had a brief stint in Europe, where he challenged Lando Norris for the British F4 crown, and came close to the Euroformula Open Championship. If his IndyCar rise up the ranks continues, an F1 move may be on the cards, especially if Andretti finds a way in.  

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QUARTARARO LABELS COTA “NOT A MOTOGP TRACK” AS RIDERS VOICE CONCERNS OVER SAFETY

MotoGP returns to the Circuit Of The Americas this weekend for the first time since 2019. The return of Grand Prix motorcycle racing in North America has been marred however by comments from the riders over the track’s surface.

Written by Andrew Lwanga, Edited by Aiden Hover

COTA has retained a reputation as being a bumpy track for many years and, despite it being resurfaced in several places, much of the track remains uneven – most notably at turns 2,3 and 10. Riding through the bumpy surface has proven difficult and borderline unsafe, with a significant portion of the grid leaning towards the latter.

Amongst the more vocal riders was championship leader Fabio Quartararo calling it a “joke” and even labelling it “not a MotoGP track.”  

“It’s more or less a track I use to train with a motocross bike, but much faster and with a MotoGP bike. So, it’s really bad. I can’t imagine it, we said three years ago they need to resurface and it’s even worse.” Said the Frenchman. 

Despite his displeasure, Quartararo stated that the conditions could just about hold a grand Prix. 

“It’s just acceptable to race, I don’t know what to say. But it’s a joke. It’s not a MotoGP track for me. To make a race here – for one lap it’s OK – but for 20 laps, we will see that there will be some bad moments.

“You see a lot of bikes shaking in Turn 10. The thing is the bumps are in the worst places possible because if you have bumps in Turns 1, 11, 12, it’s OK because it’s slow corners.

“But Turn 1, Turn 2, 3, 10 are the worst corners you can have bumps, and there are bumps there. So, let’s see.

“I usually don’t go to the safety commission, but when there is something serious, I will go and today something serious that for the safety is… the track is unsafe. It’s clear to say that it’s not great and we need to resurface everything.”

Tech3 KTM rider Iker Lecuona echoed Fabio’s comparisons of the track to Motocross saying. “There are so many bumps, it feels like a motocross track and very difficult to manage.”

Another vocal critic of the conditions was Aleix Espargaro, “The asphalt is in poor condition, much worse than I remembered, and the times show it,”

“We have been complaining about this track for many years and they haven’t resurfaced it, the bumps are very, very dangerous,” he said. “The bikes in 2015 were much worse than now, it’s been six years and Marquez’s time after all this time is two seconds slower.

Espargaro went on to state that he thinks conditions are too dangerous to hold a Grand Prix this weekend at all “The track is very dangerous and for me, it’s too dangerous to race here on Sunday.”

His sentiment is shared by Peco Bagnaia who sits second in the championship with the Ducati rider stating earlier in the weekend that he’d have no qualms skipping the race and conceding 25 points to Championship leader Quartararo.

With the inherent risks that accompany motorcycle racing the addition of an uneven bumpy surface is not a welcome one. However, with the Grand Prix set to go on this weekend the Circuit Of The Americas will most definitely be the intensification of all the challenges that accompany motorsport in all aspects. Guess everything is bigger in Texas. 

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An interview with Tooned Illustrations and Pamin Designs

We at DIVEBOMB were recently lucky enough to talk to Tooned Illustrations and Pamin Designs, two up-and-coming Motorsport graphic designers, to find out a little more about what they do and who they are!

Interviewd by Tom Evans, Edited by Harshi Vashee

Tom: Did you take an interest in Motorsport at a young age or when you were older?

Pamin: Yes I did watch f1 here and there but never knew anything about it, at that moment of time it was just cars for me. I loved cars and that was what I used to watch. I started watching motorsports properly  when I went to college.

Tooned: Yes, I started taking an interest at a younger age

Tom: When did you decide to start graphic designing?

Pamin: I was never into graphic design. It was just a consequence of me being in a creative field and for any creative field it’s known that presentation skills are very important so doing that I gradually explored stuff and got into graphic design and further went into illustrations.

Tooned: When I was 18 i.e an year back

Tom: What’s your favourite graphic that you’ve ever created?

Pamin: The most favourite piece of my work is a black and white graphic of a car which I digitised when I was starting out illustrations. Actually the original sketch of that car was very old, I had sketched it when I was in 11th grade I guess. So that work is very dear to me.

Tooned: My favourite graphic is George Russell in the Mercedes outfit

Tom: If you could choose a brand, team principal and 2 drivers to join f1, who would you choose?

Tooned: Lamborghini F1 .

              Team Principal- Toto Wolff

               Engine- Koenigsegg

               Drivers- George Russell, Gasly or Seb

Tom: What are the hardest things about being a graphic designer?

Pamin: I don’t know what is hardest exactly about being a graphic designer but for any festive field or for every field I guess, I face it personally. The work which I feel is okay, average it blows up, everyone likes but the work which I believe is amazing and it would work well doesn’t match the expectations or it doesn’t work the way I want. It doesn’t happen every time but yes it does happens sometimes and figuring the right thing that would work is the hardest thing

Tooned: Definitely time and support

Tom: And finally, what do you hope to achieve in the future?

Pamin: In the future I would love to be a dedicated motorsport graphic artist but you know that life is unpredictable and no one knows what would happen at what moment so I try to do my best everyday and be a better version of me from the day before.

Tooned: I don’t have any future plans at the moment, but I would prefer my stuff to be a success.

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Women Crush Wednesdays: Catie Munnings

This week’s WCW is about Andretti United Extreme E driver Catie Munnings. You might know her after she won the Arctic Grand Prix in Greenland this summer, or from her European Ladies Rally Championship. Either way: this week’s all about Catie!

Written by Esmée Koppius, Edited by Tanishka Vashee

Catie Munnings was born on the 15th of November 1997 in the United Kingdom. She is the daughter of former rally driver Chris Munnings. She’s very smart; going to an all girls school in Kent, she acted as deputy head girl. She even took three A-Level examinations. She wasn’t just brainy though, and showed big potential in athletics, competing in national level tournaments. She was also talent-spotted as a dancer. She combined her school work with rally tournaments, and later on declined a place at university to focus on her dream: rally and motorsport.

Together with Susie Wolff, she works together on the Dare to be Different campaign. It encourages young girls to pursue a career in motorsport and racing. Next to that, she helps the IAM RoadSmart Charity.

She named Michèle Mouton (the 1982 World Rally Championship runner up) as her idol, and we can clearly see why. They have a lot in common.

Her racing career

Her racing interest started at seven, when she visited her dad’s workplace. By the time she was 13, she apparently was capable of doing a perfect handbrake turn. After that she even gave her friends driving lessons! But to qualify for the European Rally Championship, you need an international licence, so she entered the six club rally events (based in Wales and Norfolk) so she could get started in the ERC. Her dad became her mentor and even her co-driver. Eurosport gave her media training and she found a coach in former rally driver Urmo Aava. 

Catie made her debut in the ERC in the Ypres Rally with Saintéloc Junior Team in a Peugeot 208 VTi R2. There, she met her co-driver Anne Stein. Sadly, the race would end badly for her as she got one of her wheels in sodden grass which caused her to roll the car and damage the electricity pylon. Despite all that, she finished 65th out of 67, being the only woman to complete the rally.

Her second and final of the 2016 season was in Liepaja. Again, scoring points in this race and earning enough to win the FIA European Rally Championship Ladies Trophy. 

In 2017 she raced for Saintéloc again, and she became a Peugeot UK Brand ambassador. Next to that, she entered the Peugeot Rally Academy. At her first competitive race that year, at the Rallye Acores, she finished fifth because of an accident. The next race she entered, the Rally Islas Canarias, she ended 68th. Sadly, the race after that she had to retire due to an accident.

She took a stage class victory at the fourth race, despite changing a broken wheel. Her participation in the Rally di Rome Capitale was doubtful because of budget problems, but she entered the race shortly before departure. Overall, she took wins in city and night stages in the Ladies Trophy rankings. She ended that year ranked 14th out of 27.

2018 saw a continuation of the good results of that previous year. Racing with Saintéloc again, she had a total of four victories in the Ladies Championship that year, but sadly she placed second in the championship overall. She ended up being 8th in the overall standing of the Junior (under 27) Championship, with four fifth place finishes.

In 2019 she continued to race in the ERC3 category, having a new Co-Driver named Veronica Engan. Even getting a new sponsor that year, Red Bull UK. She won the 2019 ERC Ladies Category.

She got back in the car to race in 2021, this time competing for Andretti United in the all-electric Extreme-E series, alongside Timmy Hansen. She won a stage of the Arctic X-Prix this year, and had to dive into the freezing waters.

And she’s on the telly!

Catie even got a job as one of the original hosts of the CBeebies programme of Catie’s Amazing Machines in 2018, in which she drove large and fast machines. Sadly, she opted to focus on her motorsport career and left the series after 2018.

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Could Patricio O’Ward move to F1 in the future?

Written by Olly Radley, Edited by Morgan Holiday

In recent years, F1’s rookies have all climbed their way up the motorsport ladder to get there, progressing from karts, to the junior formula, to F1. Prior to this, it was also common to see a jump from Formula Renault or Formula 3 to F1. The same can’t be said for people coming from other series outside the ladder to F1. In fact it’s very rare for that to happen. That being said, it is possible, for example Pascal Wehrlein and Paul di Resta both got F1 drives after winning in DTM. Juan Pablo Montoya and 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve both had great F1 success after switching from IndyCar. The next of these ‘outsiders’ could likely come in the form of Patricio O’Ward, a man of young age, but of great success in America. 

Patricio O’Ward or “Pato” as he’s more commonly known, was born in Monterrey, Mexico, schooled in San Antonio, Texas, and is of Irish descent. Monterrey is not only Pato’s hometown, but home to former Sauber and Haas F1 driver, Esteban Gutierrez who raced in F1 from 2013-2016.

Pato started karting competitively in 2005 aged just 6, competing in various Mexican and North American competitions. He was found to be a very competent karter, and inevitably was put up against some of America and Canada’s best young talent. The Florida Winter Tour was always his most fierce competition, where he’d have to race some of the best; the likes of Lance Stroll and Logan Sargeant often among the frontrunners. He never did quite beat the pair but always put up a fight with a best result of 3rd in 2009 aged just 9. By the time he hit 10 that same year, he’d already racked up several championships across Mexico and established himself as a brilliant prospect.

When he was just 13, Pato joined the Mazda Road to Indy scholarship and contested 5 events in the F2000 Pacific Championship, winning 4 of them. In 2014 and ‘15, O’Ward also dabbled in Formula Renault 1.6, Latam F2000, and French F4, with little success in each of them. The next step for Pato was Pro Mazda, or Indy Pro 2000 as it’s known now. Racing with Team Pelfrey, Pato was at the front but a winless season saw him place 6th overall and 4th out of the Rookies. Pato needed a big confidence boost to carry on up the Indy ladder. This came in the form of the NACAM F4 championship. In his 12 race spell in the series, Pato cleaned up on the track and destroyed the competition, 11 podiums and 6 wins, 4 of them coming consecutively, boosting his spirits heading into his second season in Pro Mazda. Facing off against Aaron Telitz, O’Ward seemed to get off the blocks as the faster of the two, with 6 wins to his name by race 8 of the season. The Mexican tailed off in the remainder, though, accumulating just 1 win, losing the championship by just shy of 30 points. 

The next step after Pro 2000, would be IndyLights normally, but first we take a detour. O’Ward surprisingly took a venture into IMSA for 2017 as the only consistent competitor in the Prototype challenge class throughout the season with teammate James French. While this might sound quite unimpressive, Pato did take wins in every race bar the final round at Watkins Glen and strolled to the title. 2017’s IMSA success gave a lot of confidence heading into 2018, the season where people would really start to jot down the name Pato O’Ward. He joined the IndyLights series, the final stepping stone before IndyCar, with the Andretti team competing against the likes of Dalton Kellet, Aaron Telitz (the man who beat him to the title in Pro Mazda 2016), and his main competitor, Colton Herta. 

2018 saw Pato face off against a very tough and strong rival in Colton Herta, the young man racing alongside him at Andretti. The season played out in 3 phases, the start, the middle, and the end, where they both swapped places at the front. The start belonged to Pato taking 3 wins in the first 4. Herta returned with 2 wins at Indianapolis road course going into the first oval of the season, where they’d both ended up neck and neck, separated by a sole point. The Indy Oval race didn’t play out quite right for Pato, with himself, Herta, Urrutia, and Kellet all fighting for the lead, and almost 4-wide into the first corner of the final lap. Going into the corner 3rd, Pato swooped around the outside of Urrutia to take second; tucked up nicely into Herta’s slipstream racing towards T2. O’Ward sensed a chance up the inside, went for the move but it was inevitably too early from the Mexican, leaving him wide onto the straight, his eagerness to snatch the lead leaving him unable to take first, finishing alongside Herta across the line in second, and with that, Herta had taken the championship lead. Herta held the lead for the next 3 events, going into the next oval race at Iowa, a race where both contenders perfectly understood their assignment, win the race, take the championship lead going into the final stretch of the season. Pato had done a good job to take pole position over Herta and managed the race perfectly to win it, taking the full 47 points and retaking the championship lead over Herta. From then on in, it was plain sailing for O’Ward, winning in Toronto and both Mid-Ohio races going into Herta’s final chance to retake the championship lead, Gateway. This was the final oval event and Herta’s last chance to overtake O’Ward in their battle but it was not to be for the American. O’Ward placed third behind Herta in second. Then, O’Ward wrapped up another double in Portland and finished the championship 44 points ahead of Herta. Remember back to 2016 in the Pro Mazda Championship when O’Ward lost the title to a poor back end of the campaign, and then skip forward to 2018 where O’Ward managed the championship brilliantly and showed major signs of improvement in both his driving and himself.

2019 was nothing special, just a few races in F2 and Super Formula to no avail and a short 7-race stint with Carlin in IndyCar, the smallest and unfortunately worst team on the grid with a P8 finish in his first race and a championship finish of 26th, while his old rival Colton Herta completed the whole season, placing 7th overall with the Harding team including 2 wins at COTA and Laguna Seca.

Pato would come back stronger, much stronger. In 2020 he joined McLaren Arrow SP and partnered Oliver Askew and Helio Castroneves, who shared the No.7 entry, as well as F1 world champion Fernando Alonso, who the team entered into the famous Indy 500. Neither Pato or Fernando had qualified for it last year, the only two to enter but not even qualify. McLaren were partnering with the Schmidt Peterson team, who were solid midfielders in IndyCar at that point. Herta, meanwhile, had stayed with Harding, who had joined Andretti, one of the biggest names in IndyCar. If Pato wanted to beat Colton, he’d have a tough job on his hands.Throughout the start of 2020, it became very apparent Pato didn’t have a good shot at the title, but nevertheless Pato went about the year, collecting consistent, solid-points scoring results, seldom finishing outside the Top 10. Throw in a handful of podiums spread across the term and you have yourself a fine first full year in IndyCar. Herta’s sole win at Mid-Ohio saw him beat Pato by just 5 points, a kick in the teeth despite a good campaign for O’Ward. 

Now we’re in the present, in 2021. Now with teammate Felix Rosenqvist, Pato is really showing off his raw talent and natural ability, which has even attracted the eyes of certain F1 bosses. We’re approaching the final weekend of the IndyCar season, at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, where Pato goes into the race 35 points behind top of the championship, Alex Palou. The odds are slim, but he will still give it his all no doubt. Second place in his second full year is still not a bad result, though. Scott Dixon, 6 time IndyCar champion, took 3 years to win his first championship. Another one of his championship rivals Josef Newgarden took 6 years to finally win a championship, and at the tender age of 22, I’m sure Pato will have the opportunity to take the IndyCar crown.

The question is whether O’Ward could ever move to F1, and the answer is quite simply, yes. Like I mentioned before, the switch from IndyCar to F1 has been done before and it could be done again, this time by Pato. To be allowed to race in Formula 1, you need what’s known as an FIA Super License, which was introduced the year after Max Verstappen joined the sport at the tender age of 16. The premise of it is that you have to earn enough “points” on your license from competing in different series. You have to be 18 years old and have 40 points to qualify for one. O’Ward’s 2019 earned him nothing but his 2020 campaign earned 10 points for his license; while 2021’s almost nailed on 2nd place finish will earn him another 30. Obviously that in total is 40 points and so if he wants to, Pato can get a super license which can be renewed year by year.

The key phrase there though is “if he wants to”. In an Autosport interview in May this year, O’Ward revealed he is not pushing a move to F1 and that his “heart is in IndyCar”. One more thing he revealed, however, was that McLaren F1 and IndyCar boss Zak Brown has mentioned to him the idea of a switch and that if a spot came up, Zak “wants Pato in his team”. 

It seems that Zak and Patricio are very close; so close in fact that Zak made a bet to Pato that if he won a race this season in IndyCar, Zak would let him test a McLaren F1 car at the post-season Abu Dhabi test. Pato held him to this bet, winning the Grand Prix of Texas just days after they agreed on the bet, and it’s been confirmed since that Patricio will test the 2022 Pirelli tyres at Abu Dhabi at the end of the year. 

F1 Digital Presenter Will Buxton even said in an article on his fantasy 2025 grid that Patricio would make the switch after winning IndyCar and drive for McLaren in F1. 

Patricio is only 22 and has his whole career ahead of him, so what will he do? Stay in IndyCar or move to F1? That’s it then and from me it’s bye for now.

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