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Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for All

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Join Christine as she guides you through all the happenings in the fast-paced world of Formula 1. Bringing you information, gossip, statistics and humour, with the odd race report thrown in for good measure. But don't think this is news churned out the normal way - the lady tells it like it is. Conspiracy theories, honest opinions and irreverent musings all add up to a refreshing listen.


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Recent Episodes

Post-F1 Paths - The official
Hello there, you’ve tuned in to the final episode of Post-F1 Paths, a mini series of seven short shows from Sidepodcast that looks at career options for drivers hanging up their F1 helmets. We’ve covered plenty of on and off track options so far, but today we’re looking at the drivers who decide they want a little bit more responsibility over a race weekend.Formula One stewarding has often been considered something of a black art. It’s not a role that has much love attached to it, given that any decision is going to be considered wrong by a good proportion of people. Give a driver a penalty, that’s either too harsh or not enough of a sanction. Leave drivers to race and it’s probably because the stewards are biased towards one driver, or maybe they’re doing absolutely the right thing and letting the action unfold unhindered, or maybe they’ve gone to sleep in the Race Control office. It’s a very difficult position to be in.To help give the stewards some additional insight into races, and to give the stewarding process a bit more credence, new FIA president Jean Todt brought in a fourth steward for the 2010 F1 season – each one a racing driver. The move hasn’t exactly made stewarding any less of a controversial role, but it has, at least, given some additional expertise to those making the crucial decisions.Many drivers have opted to join the process, including Emerson Fittipaldi, Alan Jones, Derek Warwick, Mika Salo and Mark Blundell. Some are more vocal about their appearances than others. You can often see Derek Warwick prowling the paddock, pit lane and starting grid, overseeing the activities. He’ll even talk to the media about what’s been going down, although all stewards are careful about what they say about decisions made.Other drivers decide to keep more of a low profile, and are perhaps spotted heading to the stewarding area and then never seen again. It’s not a surprise: some of the decisions made by stewards can have a significant impact on the racing action and results, and they aren’t always the most popular of people. Adding the driver was a good move by the FIA, however, particularly when it comes to dissecting specific two-car crashes.It’s a fan-favourite topic to analyse an incident where two cars have collided. Who’s to blame? Did they see them? Did they turn in or could they have done more to avoid the incident? Lots of questions and lots of debate. Driver stewards can analyse what’s happening in the car with the added insight of probably having been in a similar situation themselves at one time or another. They can listen to the testimony from drivers if they are called to explain themselves and decide whether it makes sense or not based on their own experience.Standing in judgement of your fellow driver may not suit everyone, but there are official FIA positions available that don’t require becoming a steward. Emerson Fittipaldi was Preisdent of the FIA Drivers’ Commission until the start of 2016, when he was replaced by endurance racer Tom Kristensen. Emmerson Fittipaldi and Nigel Mansell were pivotal in creating this new commission, which aims to be a liaison between the drivers and the governing body, to understand any issues within each championship and to work with the relevant FIA commission to fix them. Safety is naturally the number one priority, but there’s also talk of the technical direction of the cars, the nature of the circuits and finding the right balance between appealing to fans and still remaining a sporting challenge for drivers.And FIA roles are not all commissions, although I admit it does sound like it. Many F1 drivers, current and past, are involved in the FIA’s road safety campaign, and plenty of faces from the paddock have taken part in initiatives for the FIA’s Women in Motorsport campaign. It may not be as well-paid as driving a high speed car for 20+ weekends a year, but some of the work the FIA does can be far more rewarding.That’s all for this episode, and this series of Post-F1 Paths, we’ve reached the end of our seven short shows. If you’ve got any feedback about the show, or about what other activities drivers get up to once they’re done racing, do let me know All that remains to say is thank you for listening and see you next time!See more on Post-F1 Paths - The official
Post-F1 Paths - The broadcaster
Hello and welcome to the latest mini series from Sidepodcast – Post-F1 Paths. Here we are assessing the options available to Formula One drivers when they are finally ready to hang up their helmets, or if they have been politely requested to do so by their teams. This is the penultimate show and today we are looking at a gig for a driver who wants to remain close to the sport on race weekends, but perhaps wants a more relaxing time of it.Many of the official F1 broadcasters have a template when it comes to hiring their on-air talent – traditional anchors and journalists are partnered up with former racers, so there’s a little bit of professional broadcasting talent alongside the expertise and insight of those who have been there and done that. If you take the current set up in the UK, with two TV broadcasters, it’s become a haven for ex-racers.Channel 4 have roped in Mark Webber alongside David Coulthard and test driver Susie Wolff, with the occasional addition of former team owner Eddie Jordan. Bruno Senna makes an appearance sometimes too. Coulthard provides commentary duties alongside his on-screen presenting, describing what’s going through driver’s minds as they navigate each tricky race weekend.Sky have managed to get more of a cross-section of experience, with Johnny Herbert and Damon Hill providing opinions from racers who have been long retired. Anthony Davidson and Paul di Resta provide insight from those who are more recent racers – often combining their role with a racing seat in another series.And there is, of course, Martin Brundle, teamed with David Croft, to provide commentary for the race. Brundle has been commentating on F1 since 1997, moving across many broadcasters and making his voice one of the most recognisable as the voice of the sport – although no one can beat a certain Murray Walker for that.Brundle raced in F1 for twelve seasons, spanning the 1980s and the 1990s, scoring 9 podium finishes and just missing out on 100 career points. He drove for Tyrrell, Williams, Brabham and McLaren, giving him a great wealth of experience across a mixture of competitive and not-so-competitive teams. He also endured a handful of terrifying crashes, and so his insight is truly trusted when it comes to considering what the drivers on the ground are thinking, feeling and why they are reacting the way they are.And that’s the key for a driver to make a broadcasting career for themselves after they’ve finished racing – being able to eloquently describe the feelings, to translate what happens out on track to the armchair fan. I have no idea what it’s like to drive a car at 200mph, except I can imagine it’s exhilarating and terrifying in equal measure. Listening to a driver describe the experience brings me one step closer to the action.It’s not something everyone will be able to do, but there are options across the globe – not just in the UK. Many drivers tend to gravitate back to their home country to share their knowledge with the home crowds. Alexander Wurz has been on screen in Austria, Luciano Burti in Brazil, Franck Montagny in France, Tiago Monteiro in Portugal and Mika Salo in Finland.More and more, the current crop of Formula One drivers get a good feeling of whether they could turn their career towards broadcasting later on, as there are many media duties placed upon them. Interviews for the TV crews quite often turn into skits, sketches, games and more, as well as some of the more experimental advertisers getting drivers to do all kinds of fun things on camera to promote the brand. It’s a good sign of whether they are comfortable on screen, whether they can communicate successfully and most importantly of all, whether the audience engages with them and likes them. Jenson Button has often been discussed as a name that would make a good broadcaster, Kimi Räikkönen, not so much.That’s all for this episode of Post-F1 Paths, the mini series from Sidepodcast that takes a look at options available to drivers who have raced their last Formula One event. Thank you for listening this far, we have just one episode remaining this series, so please do let me know your thoughts at and join me again tomorrow for our final episode.See more on Post-F1 Paths - The broadcaster
Post-F1 Paths - The athlete
Hello one and all, welcome to Post-F1 Paths, a mini series brought to you by Sidepodcast. This is the fifth episode of seven short shows in which we are travelling through the opportunities available to drivers once they have decided to give up Formula One in favour of something else. We’ve covered a handful of sporting achievements that drivers can aim for after F1, but this time we’re talking about using their fitness for other athletic purposes.Drivers opting to try their hand at athletics after a successful career in Formula One has never been more relevant than it is this year, with Jenson Button’s triathlete endeavours. The F1 champion was clearly ready for a break from the grind of travelling the world and racing fast cars, so for the 2017 season (barring a one-off Monaco return) he retired from the sport. Instead, Button has been focusing on becoming a triathlete champion.Now, the athletic competition of running, cycling and swimming isn’t new to Button. He’s participated in many events over the past few years and even holds his own annual charity event open to any and all who want to participate. He’s gradually improved his own skills, and with the added high standards of fitness required to be an F1 driver these days, has never been in a better position to do well in his new career.Unfortunately, Button was disqualified from his World Ironman efforts despite finishing third in his age category. The impressive performance was diminished when it emerged he had been speeding through a slow zone during the bike phase – something that was a gleeful moment for headline writers, but must have been a disappointment for Button. Still, with reserve driver duties out the way, he can get back to the running, swimming and biking that is now inspiring him.And if inspiration is what you’re after, then we must look no further than Alex Zanardi. The Italian driver was more well known for his CART efforts in the US, but also participated in over 40 F1 races. A terrible crash saw Zanardi lose both his legs but the accident barely slowed him down. Zanardi was soon behind the wheel again in modified racing cars, but he also took up handcycling.He started participating, and winning, handcycling marathons. He won a gold medal in the 2012 Paralympics, and followed it up in 2016 with two golds and one silver. He also completed the Ironman World Championship, coming 19th in his age group. Absolutely incredible.Competing in the Olympics isn’t a new thing for racing drivers, either. One of Formula One’s very few female drivers started out as an Olympian. Divina Galica, who started three F1 races in the 1970s, came fresh from a stint as captain of the British Women’s Olympic Ski Team securing some solid finishes in both the winter Olympics and world championship events. After the Formula One career didn’t work out, Galica returned to the ice and snow, participating in the 1972 Winter Olympics as well.The challenge of representing your country and competing for a tangible and well-recognised gold medal is understandably appealing to drivers but it’s not all about the Olympics. Other sports are just as fascinating but also come with health warnings. We all remember Mark Webber’s unfortunate cycling accident – sustained whilst participating in an off-season bike race for his foundation in Tasmania – that left him with a broken leg. The one thing that came out of this was a greater insight into the training and rehabilitation that drivers can undergo, as Webber was very open about his progress in healing the leg and training as best as possible to be ready for the upcoming 2009 F1 season.Webber also, quite notably, cracked his shoulder in a second cycling accident that forced him to drive the final four races of the 2010 season in some discomfort. We know that Webber has bad luck, but it’s also more and more obvious why drivers should perhaps wait until after they’ve finished their racing career before they go all out on another athletic sport.That’s all for this episode of Post-F1 Paths, thank you, as always, for listening. Do you know of any other drivers who have taken up another sport after their career, or do you think any more of the current batch might try? Let me know at, and please do join me again tomorrow for the penultimate episode of Post-F1 Paths.See more on Post-F1 Paths - The athlete
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Podcast Details
Dec 26th, 2014
Latest Episode
Dec 16th, 2017
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13 minutes

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