With the 2019 Formula 1 season looming, I thought it was about time I got back into the swing of writing content for you all again. Thankfully, Sky Sports F1 invited me down for their season launch event to promote their fantastic new £10 per month on their Sky Sports F1 package. To celebrate the offer, they were giving motorists a free tank of fuel to celebrate, so what more could the avid motorsport fan ask for!
The event also gave me the unique opportunity to quiz former F1 driver and current Sky Sports F1 commentator Martin Brundle on his thoughts for the 2019 season, so here are just a few of the highlights!
AW: Ferrari looked strong in testing, can they topple Mercedes in 2019?
MB: I do think Ferrari will look strong all year, because a good car is a good car whether you’re at Monaco or Monza. Whatever the challenges of the race track, that car seemed to be ‘plug and play’. You have to be careful with testing as you don’t know the fuel loads exactly, and it’s quite cold in Barcelona so we’ll have to wait and see until we get to some other tracks. But Barcelona is a pure chassis circuit, so if your car works there it tends to work everywhere.
AW: Who will emerge victorious in the 2019 midfield battle?
MB: It’s so difficult to know at this stage as we head off towards Melbourne. I think it will be Renault, Haas and Toro Rosso look quite good as well – that’s the benefit of being a Red Bull B-Team – so yeah, Renault and Haas ought to be leading the midfield, but who knows?
AW: Can ROKiT Williams Racing recover after a dismal start to the season?
MB: It’s really sad to see the great Williams team struggling so much isn’t it? Unfortunately when the flywheel slows down in terms of a teams performance, the money stops, the sponsorship stops coming in and the bell rings for a team like that. In terms of top people not wanting to join the team, or they start moving on if they’re already incumbent, morale drops and people start pointing fingers. I believe they’ve got 800 people there at Williams, so keeping them focused and all rowing the boat in the same direction, getting the correlation between the wind tunnel and CFD and the race track; the whole thing just starts to unravel. I think that’s what’s going on at Williams now sadly.
AW: Which of the Rookies are you most excited by?
MB: Well we can’t call Leclerc a rookie as he was in Sauber last year, but he’s moved to Ferrari and I’m really excited to see how he does alongside Vettel in what looks like a race-winning car. Lando Norris, George Russell, Alex Albon are all coming in and looking handy. These are the best prepared young drivers joining F1 in the history of Formula 1. They’re so complete in terms of their technical knowledge, their driving skills, hydration, nutrition, their media abilities; just perfectly honed to come in and hit the ground running. Whether they’ve got a fast enough car or not, especially for George, remains to be seen.
AW: What can fans expect from the Sky Sports F1 Team this season?
MB: We have a big offering of presenters this year, I think there’s 14 of us now. Jenson Button joins us of course this year, Nico Rosberg stays with us, so with Damon Hill we’ve got three World Champions in the team. A lot of experience – I’ve been to well over 500 races – we’ve got our 1000th Grand Prix in China this year. So we’ve got real knowledge and depth, and then a field of F1 cars with great quality and depth there as well to talk about. Of course whenever the green light is on at the end of the pitlane, we’re on air. We cover every single second of every official session in Formula 1.
AW: So where is the best place for fans to catch all this great coverage?
MB: There’s a fantastic offer on with NowTV, so you’re looking at under £200 for watching a year’s worth of Formula 1. If you’ve got a Sky platform; £10 a month now to get Sky F1. So at a tenner it’s a pizza really isn’t it? I think we’re live 14 hours a weekend plus all the background pieces we do. 21 races, with the last race being December 1st, so there’s plenty of F1 to watch! Indycar is now live on Sky F1 as well this year, so if you’re a petrolhead then there’s so much to see, I think it’s a pretty good offering.
AW: Finally, what’s your prediction for the Melbourne podium?
MB: Podium in Melbourne, well if I knew I would be sitting on my 100m yacht out in the Caribbean at the moment, stroking a white cat saying “Get me some more marmite on toast” wouldn’t I? I dont know, my business is explaining whats going on in F1, it’s all about facts and knowledge, I don’t do guessing. But as you’ve asked me the question so I’ll go; Vettel (1), Leclerc (2) and Hamilton (3)
So there we have it, do you agree with Martin’s predictions, or do you think Mercedes will be the team to beat once again as Formula 1 heads down under for the start of the 2019 season? One things for certain, we’ve only got one week until we find out and I’ll be glued to the TV screen watching to find out!