FOTA Forum Barcelona 2013

If you missed the most recent FOTA Fans’ Forum at Barcelona, here is the video. The panel features Jaime Alguersuari, James Allison, Graeme Lowndon and Giedo Van Der Garde.

I do not own the rights – I have just posted it here for fans that missed the live streaming.


Do Not Disturb…

We are approaching the last few days of the year. Ideally, we would be spending this time with our families and taking a break from Twitter. So please do not disturb me unless…. there is news on these F1-related events in the next few weeks.

  1. Drivers for the spare seats at Force India & Caterham Formula 1 teams are named
  2. Launch dates for remaining 8 teams are announced (McLaren, Force India and Sauber will unveil theirs on 31th Jan, 1st Feb, 5th Feb 2013 respectively)
  3. Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) Fan Forum Survey is published
  4. Election of new chair-persons for Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) and Grand Prix Driver Association (GPDA) gets underway
  5. Norbert Haug’s replacement at Mercedes is announced
  6. Pirelli announces their test driver(s)
  7. Remaining 8 cities to host Formula E Championship are decided
  8. @Burn (Lotus_F1Team partner) is providing Tweeps with a sample of their drink
  9. Ferrari and Ducati WROOOM ski-meet is being streamed live as Alonso, Massa, Hayden and Dovizioso (who replaces Valentino Rossi at Ducati) race in Fiat 500s
  10. The presently unknown “TBC” F1 race is named

Until then…

Merry Christmas (c) @R4thbone

FOTA Fans Forum – Austin (Preview)

Formula 1 returns to USA next week at Austin GP (@circuitAmericas), Friday 16th – Sunday 18th November. In the lead up to this event, fans are invited to participate in a Formula One Team Association FOTA Forum in Austin on Wednesday 14th November.

Each #FOTAForum so far this year has had a slightly different “feel” to it; each incorporating feedback from previous events, thanks to FOTA Secretary General, Oliver Weingarten.

The AustinGP #FOTAForum will be hosted by SpeedTV Presenter, Will Buxton (@willBuxton) and the line-up announced so far is as follows:

Panel 1 17:30 (23:30 GMT) Sam Michael (McLaren), Nick Fry (Mercedes), Robert Fernley (Sahara Force India), Graeme Lowdon (Marussia)

Panel 2 – 18:15 (00:15 GMT) Heikki Kovalainen @H_Kovalainen, Alexander Rossi @AlexanderRossi  (Caterham), Esteban Guttierez @EstebanGtz (Sauber) and Valtteri Bottas (Williams)

Panel 3 to finish by 19:30 (01:30 GMT) – David Hobbs @MrDavidHobbs,Garry Connelly (FIA Steward) and ex-F1 and 2 US GPs winner John Watson.

And after the forum, fans can try out race-car simulators and have photos taken with Alexander Rossi and the Caterham showcar. The entire event will be streamed LIVE online here and fans can tweet their questions to  panellists via Twitter by tweeting @ollyFOTA with #FOTAForum hashtag, stating who the question is for.

Live Stream:

For some information on the type of questions answered at previous FOTA Forums/Fora, click these links:

Oxford, UK

Manhattan, USA

Barcelona, Spain

Interview with Oliver Weingarten

FOTA Promoting F1

Future FOTA Forums

The Secretary General of the Formula One Team Association (FOTA) tweeted a question about where fans would like future FOTA Forums (or Fora) to be held, and I’ve devised a poll so that fans can vote for their preference.

Ideally the event would be held a few days before a race. So get voting!

FOTA Fans Forum – UK

This is a guest-blog by fans who attended the recent FOTA Fans Forum at Williams F1 Conference Centre, UK in the lead up to the British Grand Prix. It gives first-hand experience of their trip and provides details on some questions covered during the event.

1) How did you hear about the event?

I check the FOTA forum website regularly and I got a reminder about it from Twitter. It was easy to register (just email and name)

2) Venue and Turn-Out

The venue seemed to be out in the middle of nowhere – unsurprising for a F1 team! But the bus service from Oxford Train Station stopped right in front of the conference centre so it was a fairly painless experience.

The registration took a few minutes and we had the opportunity to visit the Williams museum/collection of cars. Refreshments were served in the trophy room. I saw a long queue which I was a bit surprised to learn was for Pastor Maldonado signatures – especially given his “interaction” with British driver, Lewis Hamilton at the last race! Turn-out was very good obviously helped by some fans who were heading to Silverstone from this event.

A very popular event

3) What questions were asked / answered by the guests of honour?

The only driver present was Pastor; the other personnel there were team-principals and “The Legends” – ex-F1 drivers. Topics discussed ranged from the Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA), DRS/Pirelli tyres, Development of new drivers and Stewards Consistency.

Mercedes-Engine partners

4) How was the host – did s/he facilitate questions or ask all of them?

Lee McKenzie is known for asking pressing questions and getting very interesting responses! She did well as this event’s host; she picked out several people/questions from different parts of the room. She also supported the guests’ responses with her own personal experience with drivers and media.

5) Did you get an opportunity to interact with the drivers/team-personnel afterwards?

Derek Warwick and John Watson signed autographs and Lee McKenzie had a chat with some keen fans at the end of the event.

Lee, with EJ and DC

6) Would you attend another event and do you have suggestions for improvements?

I definitely would attend another event. Someone I was speaking to suggested keeping the mic close to fans after their initial question to enable a follow-up to a response if desired. Also, given the turn-out, perhaps more time should have been allowed to take more questions.

7) What was your favourite or “stand out” moment of the whole experience/event?

The whole event was an amazing experience, especially the free entry into the Williams museum/car-collection – but the thing that stuck in my mind was what John Watson said about racing drivers having to be able to accept that death is part of their sport, and if anyone didn’t think they could stay calm after seeing a fellow driver injured after an accident (as he saw Gilles Villeneuve’s body after his fatal crash), then they should not be racing.

FOTA Fans Forum – Manhattan

This is a short interview by @rfzeitlin who attended the recent FOTA Fans Forum in Manhattan. (Click here for the Barcelona FOTA Fans Forum). 

1) How was registering for the event? How did you hear about it?

It definitely was easy to register, just a name and email address were required.  I saw a post on twitter and went from there.  There were also a few articles that mentioned it, but I think it could have been much better publicized.

(*It was only publicised on Twitter and via the trade press. These events do not need wider publicising, because registrations would have been more substantial, leading to potential disappointment for more people)

2) Venue and Turn-Out

The venue was very easy to find, right in the middle of the city, no problem at all.  I actually arrived by train to Grand Central, so it was an easy walk to the hall.  The registration book at check-in was very, very long and I know they actually shut down registration because of extremely high demand.  I was quite surprised there weren’t more people there.  I don’t think the turnout mattered to the quality of the event, but as someone with a particularly vested interest in the success of F1 in the US, I was disappointed there weren’t more fans there.

(*Actual attendance figure was over 200 from 600 who registered for the FOTA Forum event but could not/did not attend)

3) What questions were asked / answered by the guests of honour?

The drivers present were Paul di Resta, Alexander Rossi, Sergio Perez (a treat, considering his Montreal podium), and Charles Pic.

Sergio Perez (Photo from @salukiconvert)

Before they came on, the panel started with Graeme Lowdon (Marussia) and Bob Fernley (Sahara Force India). There were a good number of interesting questions tossed out at these guys, including my personal favorite asking what the gents would change if they were Bernie for a day.


FOTA Fans Forum – Barcelona

This is a guest-blog by someone who attended the recent FOTA Fans Forum in Barcelona. It gives first-hand experience of their trip and provides details on some questions covered during the event.

I am a Formula 1 fan and always wish I had more access to teams’ personnel especially engineers and team principals. The Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) Fans Forum is an infrequent event which attempts to address this and when I heard of the next one in Barcelona, I immediately registered my interest for a place, without even checking travel arrangements or whether a translation service would be available!

The Trip

Luckily I was able to get flights and my place at the event was confirmed. I flew out on Wednesday morning, arrived with several hours to spare till the event and took a train to Montmelo. Even though Circuit du Catalunya already informed me that the circuit was closed to public, I wanted to visit this testing race track.

After the obligatory trip to Montmelo, it took a while to find my hotel – my search wasn’t helped by the diversions caused by a massive street protest in central Barcelona. A quick change of clothes and I hopped on the subway to Diagonal Metro stop; it turns out Avinguda Diagonal (FOTA event venue) is like the M25 of Barcelona – never-ending! After several “Habla ingles? No? Donde estas RACC?” and getting blank faces, I eventually flagged down a cab and arrived to the RACC Headquarters about 7pm.

At registration, each delegate received a badge and translation-headsets, and were shown to the auditorium which was already almost  full of Spanish fans. The headset was very useful but I spent most of the evening holding my hand to my ear like  a CIA agent because the ear-piece was too big for my ear! Free Wi-Fi was available and most people were live-tweeting from the event using hashtag #FOTA.

FOTA Forum

Drivers Pedro De la Rosa, Pastor Maldonado, Marc Gene and Vitaly Petrov were first on stage. A lot of attention was directed at local hero De la Rosa and they fielded some interesting questions like:

Young Drivers Testing: Pedro has long been an advocate for more testing especially for Younger Drivers and he admitted that as a third driver, he often hoped that he never had to replace the top 2 drivers as he feared the lack of testing would adversely affect his role.

Data Acquisition & Analysis: All drivers agreed that after each lap in practice they pay particular attention to speed, lateral acceleration, Gs, KERS-utilisation etc and compare it with their team-mates. Brake Pressure would also be assessed to quantify how much pressure the other driver applies to achieve the same braking power. Marc added that the engineers can often get lost in the masses of data but the driver can help narrow down what data to pay attention to and Vitaly commented that he does mental preparation before getting into the car.

Next up were the team principals Norbert Haug, Jonathan Neale, Luiz Sala and Eric Boullier. They tackled questions on financial arrangements within teams, the chances of agreeing to B-Teams and how capital-intensive several changes between seasons are for teams especially small ones like HRT. And also, that more changes could worsen their reliability.

Jonathan Neale, McLaren

McLaren’s Jonathan Neale was the star of the panel as several questions were directed at him: including the lack of Spanish/Catalan drivers in McLaren, how a physicist such as he ended up in Formula 1 and if McLaren would encourage other F1 teams to follow in their “green” footsteps and become carbon-neutral – to which Boullier responded that Lotus were in the process of achieving and Haug thought the masses of fans watching F1 on TV at weekends means fewer drivers on the roads. Watch the video here


Most fans who attended and those who watched online commented that it was an interesting and enjoyable event. Special effort was paid by the new FOTA Secretary General, Olly Weingarten, to catering for both English and Spanish speakers and the questions were not vetted – which I believe gives it an authenticity and interaction most fans want.

@riadasmat tweeted:

@OllyFOTA good to hear the #FOTA Fans’ Forum went well. Need more then!

@nobleF1 wrote:

Some interesting debate at the FOTA Forum tonight – and also a hell of a lot of love for Pedro de la Rosa. The fans and he loved it!

The date for the next forum is almost set; it’ll be either the Wednesday or Thursday before the Australian GP in Melbourne. I urge you to attend if you can; regardless of who the speakers are. It is an amazing unique opportunity to ask the most important people in the sport you love, questions that you might never get answered anywhere else.

Also spotted: