Top Five Worst F1 Champions

17 08 2010

Jon was reminiscing about F1 in the 1990s and thinking about the man who appears as number one on my list, so he was thinking about who the world champions who had the most disappointing post-championship careers. I’m only going to look at single title winners, so we’ll start with Jon’s first thought.

1. Jacques Villeneuve

Son of Ferrari legend (and one of the greatest drivers never to win the title), Gilles Villeneuve, Jacques only took up karting at 15 after spending his youth on the ski-slopes. At the age of only 24 he won the last IndyCar World Series and Indy 500 before Tony George created the schism in American single-seaters. Frank Williams and Patrick Head then snapped him up and took him to F1 for 1996, with Jacques living up to his hype so much that he almost won his first race at the Australian GP, but a broken oil pipe meant he had to lift off to make the finish. Winning four races and finishing second in your first season isn’t too shabby, but Jacques went on to win the following year’s championship against the resurgent Schumacher and Ferrari. 1997 was the peak, but he reached the trough fairly quickly. He blamed his poor performances in 1998 on the engine, the car, and the tyres, so he moved on to the new BAR team for 1999. The team was to be built around him and they claimed they could win their first race… they failed to score a point all year long. He stayed at the team for four years, underwhelming the world as he went until he was dropped before the 2003 Japanese GP due to being consistently outscored by teammate Jenson Button (being dropped for Takuma Sato has to hurt). Without a seat for 2004 he sat out most of the season before taking Jarno Trulli’s vacant Renault seat for the final three races, but his failure to score – or even drive consistently – meant he missed out on the opportunity to drive a double title winning car the next year. He moved on to Sauber for 2005, staying on when BMW took over in 2006 before quitting when threatened with a shootout for his seat against Robert Kubica. Outside of F1 he sucked at NASCAR and released an album of crappy love songs. So long Jacques, stop trying to get back into F1, we don’t want you.

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Top Five Jordan Drivers

5 08 2010

Over the past few days I’ve been watching some old grands prix, which has made me nostalgic for one of the F1 teams of my youth; Jordan Grand Prix. Between 1991 and 2005 Eddie Jordan’s eponymous team weaved their own path through F1, debuting with the beautiful 191, introducing the nose art with Hissin’ Sid before following it up with the Buzzin’ Hornets and ending with the Bitten Heroes, finally shutting up shop due to skyrocketing costs. The team still lives on as Force India, but I’m going to look back at the halcyon days and pick my top five Jordan drivers.

1. Heinz-Harald Frentzen

After impressing in Group C sports cars at Sauber Mercedes (alongside a certain Michael Schumacher) he made his debut with Peter Sauber’s squad, he then ousted Damon Hill from Williams and performed… woefully. Only one win in the title winning FW19 just wasn’t good enough for Frank and Patrick, so he packed his bags and ended up at Jordan for 1999. Eddie brought out the best in him, a brace of wins and four other podiums made him an unlikely championship contender right up until his retirement from the lead of the European GP. He frankly embarrassed his teammate, 1996 World Champion (whose Williams seat he took in 1997) winning 54 points to Hill’s 7. 2000 was less stellar but he still picked up two podiums before he was acrimoniously fired on the eve of the 2001 German GP.

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Top Five: Films to Watch in 2010

3 01 2010

After a few retrospective lists, here’s a speculative ones, so here we have a list of five films that should be worth a watch at the very least in the year ahead.

1. Tron Legacy

Thankfully not featuring that guy, the sequel to the 1982 cult classic Tron is due for release in December. Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner will reprise their roles from the original and will be joined by Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, and John Hurt. The director of the original film, Steven Lisberger also returns as producer. The trailer was released to much fanfare at Comic Con 2009, and Disney have promised that the theatrical release will feature improved CGI and 3D. Definitely the film to look forward to this year.

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Top Five: Favourite Sports

2 01 2010

Today I shall be at Murrayfield for the Edinburgh versus Glasgow Magners League/1872 Cup match, so I’m (once again) in a sports kinda mood. Here are my favourite sports, if you don’t know them already.

1. Formula 1

If you hadn’t noticed by now, I talk about F1 a lot, so it’s not exactly surprising that this is my favourite sport. I’ve been literally obsessed with the pinnacle of motorsport since I was a young child, and this obsession continues unabated. As we’re in the off-season right now, I wait impatiently for car launches and testing. Man, machine, tactics, individual and team competition, I do love it.

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Top Five: New Year Hangover Cures

1 01 2010

Now yesterday was Hogmanay, so I trust you are now nursing the mother of all hangovers, so here are my top five sure fire ways to rid yourself of it, or at least delay it until the 2nd.

1. Watch films you have seen before

Now you may want to watch the frankly hilarious The Hangover (one of my top five films of the year), or maybe whatever is on TV, I have a tradition of watching the original Star Wars trilogy, but whatever you choose it had better be something you’ve seen before. Now the reason for this is your tender head, you don’t want any surprises, you don’t want to have to think, you need to know exactly what is coming. Also means you know you’ll enjoy it, so it’s a nice, safe experience.

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Top Five: TV Shows of the Decade

31 12 2009

I like television, so here are my favourite shows of the decade. In order to make the list the shows must have started broadcast in this decade, rather than a continuation from previous decades, meaning The West Wing misses out by just over three months.

1. Band of Brothers

This 2001 mini-series marked the first HBO-BBC co-production, and was both the most expensive mini-series ever made and most expensive TV show per episode ever at $12 million for each of the ten parts. The expense did not go to waste, by focussing on just one group of soldiers (E “Easy” Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, of the 101st Airborne Division) the show is stunningly accurate (trust me, I’m an historian). American reviewers have often slated it for apparently having no stand out characters, but that was really the point, you’re looking at a group of men as a whole, not the sum of its individuals. So, yeah, I like it a lot.

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Top Five: Albums of the Decade

30 12 2009

The best selling album of the decade is James Blunt’s Back to Bedlam, which is frankly shit, so on that basis here are my five favourite albums of the past ten years.

1. Funeral – Arcade Fire

This was a frankly stunning debut from the Canadian ensemble, which flows from track to track as if it were one. The title references the deaths of relations of the band’s members in the run-up to its release in the autumn of 2004. This album provides a soundtrack that you simply can’t ignore, it’s easy to just find yourself immersed in it.

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