The Insider’s Insight – A survey of F1 Podcasts

Posted: June 30, 2011 by thevillainf1 in Uncategorized

As a massive F1 fan I obviously consume huge amounts of media covering the circus to keep up to date. In effect, the F1 news cycle has become 24/7 with so many great sources available on the internet. Aside from twitter and browsing the usual suspects with great F1 sites like F1 fanatic , planetF1 , formula 1’s official site , joesaward’s blog , jamesallenonf1  and formula1blog  I usually also get a lot insightful information from a selection of podcasts. With hours of that kind of entertainment on my ipod there’s never a dull moment in the large amounts of time I spend on the road.

In what will hopefully will become a new installment of blog posts, I intend to cover the most insightful things I’ve picked up on these podcasts in case you missed them, or in the case of the very interesting RenaultsportF1 podcast if you don’t speak French 😉

But before I start this new blog segment in earnest, first I’ll discuss which shows  my regular menu of podcasts consists of. Needless to say I highly recommend listening to all podcasts listed below. I guess I’ll start with dividing them up according to their style.

1. Entertainment

a. Sidepodcast F1 Debriefs

Hosted by Christine and Mr.C, this is one of the most fun filled and interactive podcasts out there. You won’t learn much insider stories from their regular race debrief podcasts but they sure will make you laugh. A great plus to this podcast is the interactivity. After the race you can call in or send mp3 with your opinion which they will then play on the show and if it’s silly enough, comment on it. One protip: If you want to annoy Mr.C always mention you had a hard time finding the contact details on their page and that it would be better to have a dedicated contact page. The show is filled with friendly banter, and Mr.C always has a sharp opinion to share about certain drivers/cars/tracks. Christine skillfully drives the podcast along for what’s usually a good hour and a half F1 entertainment. As you may have noticed judging by my blog post titles, I’m always a big fan of witty titles and again sidepodcast doesn’t disappoint here, picking a funny quote from during the cast as title for the F1 debrief. Their site is also quite amazing and usually has some interesting debates going on in the comments section. I won’t go into all the features of their site since of course this is a discussion on podcasts. We will discuss another one of sidepodcast’s audio shows later when I get to the ‘Insights’ category.

b. Another F1 podcast

Don’t expect to learn anything new about F1 listening to this one, but the hosts Terry Saunders and Kevin Shephard are just hilarious. This is the most non Politically Correct podcast you’ll find out there. They don’t shy away from (f)lame wars with rival podcasts (all in good fun of course), bash anyone in F1 doing something silly with razer-sharp comments and it’s not unusual for me to laugh out load when listening to one of these. This is the ideal stepping stone into F1 podcasts for people not necessarily fanatically involved with the sport as a fan.

c. RMC motors

A French podcast, in fact a Sunday afternoon radio show released as a podcast on itunes. Good fun and covers all the major motor sports events going on that particular weekend. Nothing you’re really missing here if you don’t speak French but to me it’s always nice to get a non-British dominated opinion on Motorsports. They cover everything from F1 to MotoGP, motocross, Touring cars, Le Mans. Basically if it it has an engine and wheels, RMC motors covers it.

d. Formula1blog Podcast

In this Brit dominated motorsport podcast extravaganza, the Formula1 blog podcast is brought to you by American F1 fanatics. Hosted by Todd aka Negative Camber this  show often provides 2 hour long fun filled F1 discussion and analysis. He is regularly joined by the entertaining and feisty Grace, the unflappable Mark Hallam and racing driver Paul Charsley. While the essential knowledge at the start of the podcast is finding out which beverage everyone is imbibing, the show flies by despite it’s usually very long duration. Paul Charsley provides excellent insights into the driver’s heads in analyzing incidents, Grace doesn’t shy away from making a strong point or two and Mark is just a very enjoyable guy to listen to and one cannot but sympathize with his undying devotion to the Williams team in the face of their current woes. All of this crazy banter is led expertly by Todd. The podcast doesn’t limit itself to F1 and often segways into other motorsports like MotoGP.

2. Journalists and Broadcasters

a. BBC Chequered Flag F1

Hosted by good ‘ol Crofty and the rest of the BBC crew like Nathalie Pinkham and Anthony Davidson, this podcast provides you with an excellent roundup of all the major quotes and happenings from the F1 weekends. There usually are two shows per race weekend: a preview and a debrief. It features all the major interviews with drivers and team owners and insights from Crofty and Davidson on the hot talking points of the weekend.

b. Motorsport Magazine Podcast

Hosted by Ed Foster it usually features the very insigthful Nigel Roebuck and Damian Smith.  They release a regular race debrief podcast/ video which is always good fun to listen to, and the opinions of the motorsport staff are usually very insightful. Often I learn things I didn’t know before about F1 or see things in a different light when listening to their podcasts. Their monthly audio podcast is also highly recommended as each month it features another prominent figure in motorsport. Recent guests have been Alan Mcnish, Dario Franchitti and Martin Whitmarsch. These hour long shows are usually very interesting to get an insider’s view on the current issues.

c. F1 Weekly

Hosted by Clark Rodgers this is one of my favorites because of it’s magnificent ‘Motorsport Mundial’ by the King of Karachi, Nasir Hameed. It provides us with something no other podcast really does by giving a very detailed insights into what is happening in the lower series to see who are the upcoming talents pushing to get into F1. The discussion goes from GP2, GP3, World Series by Renault to F2, F3 and much more. If you want to know who will be the next F1 wonderboy, this podcast is one you don’t want to miss. In addition to the motorsport mundial the podcast also expertly covers the current ongoings in F1.

3. Insider’s Insights

A note before diving into the wonderful world of insider F1 knowledge. I realize these cross the bridges between entertainment and journalism, but I decided on this separate category because these podcasts deliver the most in depth analysis on F1 and present us with in depth insights and news the ‘normal’ F1 fan does not know about and can’t read on sites.

a. The Flying Lap

Hosted by Peter Windsor this live webcast is also available as an audio podcast in case you miss the online shows which are hosted every Wednesday evening at 7pm GMT. Peter Windsor has been working in F1 for decades  and is a true encyclopedia of F1 knowledge. The amount of quality and high profile guests he manages to attract weak after week shows that this is a man with some great insider connections in F1. What attracts me most in this show is the delicate mix of F1 history and current affairs he manages to produce. One episode he might be interviewing the legendary Derek Daly or Jody Scheckter and the next he’ll have Sebastian Buemi or Mark Webber doing an in depth interview. Guests on the show also always appear to be rather candid about everything as Peter manages to break through their defenses and creates a friendly atmosphere on the show. Other regular guests include the amazing Scarbs F1 – the technical guru of F1 reporting, and Keith Collantine of the very popular site F1fanatic.

b. Sidepodcasts’ ‘An aside with Joe’

As promised sidepodcast returns with another personal favorite of mine. As usual hosted by Christine and Mr. C, the incredibly knowledgeable and funny Joe Saward regularly calls in for a chat with sidepodcast and goes in depth on anything F1 during this amazing podcast. Joe Saward is in my opinion the most knowledgeable, witty and well spoken F1 journalist around. Joe has been reporting on F1 for decades and always seems to know what exactly is going on behind the scenes, he is also your go to guy for any breaking news stories before they even are breaking news (if that’s even possbile!). Aside from the podcast, I also warmly suggest you check out his website. It is always the first website I check when another big F1 news story breaks for in depth analysis of what it all really means. If you only have time to listen to just one podcast, I’d recommend it be this one.

c. RenaultsportF1

A very, very interesting French podcast. Sadly it is only available in French so non-French speakers are left out of some incredibly useful insights into the Renault powered teams – so this is not LRGPs podcast, it is the engine manufacturer Renault. Luckily for you I do speak French so expect some insights you haven’t heard anywhere else when I start this blog segment in earnest reviewing the podcasts’ content in upcoming installments. Every race weekend RenaultsportF1 invites the Renault engineers responsible for the engines of Red Bull (Cyril Dumont) , Renault (Ricardo Penteado) and  Team Lotus (Thierry Salvi). This podcast offers very candid insights into what has been going on behind the scenes in these respective teams. I have a feeling the engineers are a bit more candid than their teams would perhaps like them to be, maybe because it is in French and thus less listened to in the anglophone dominated motorsport world. Especially in view of the engine mapping regulations being enforced for Silverstone, this podcast will definately be one to look out for to figure out how exactly it has affected the Renault powered teams.

d. Formula Fanvision

Hosted by Holly Samos, this is also one I always have a little ‘yay’ moment when I see it coming up on itunes. The show features engineer Pat Symonds (yea, yea, the Singaporegate guy but boy is he one knowledgeable man!) and Maurice Hamilton (journalist and broadcaster). This podcast provides you with the most in depth race reviews. The presence of an expert engineer like Pat Symonds really helps to truly understand why certain strategic decisions were made, why this car or driver struggled, what the effect of certain upgrades were, how the tires behaved… In short, if you want to really understand what truly shaped the race weekend, listen to this podcast. It’s fairly short at about 30 minutes but so packed with information you could easily fill 2 hours with a podcast like this.

4. F1 Teams Official podcasts

1. Red Bull Racing

Enjoyable but nothing special to see here. Just a race weekend wrap up with interviews of the drivers, Christian Horner and other team members

2. Lotus Renault GP

Same as Red Bull but occasionally also a more in depth interview with Eric Bouillier.

3. Team Lotus

Nothing special bar from the fact that it is released quite irregularly, they seem to skip a few races from time to time.

4. Force India

The best of the teams’ podcasts. The segment with reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg interviewing team members (such as recently the caterer) is quite funny and it is good to see an F1 team put the guys behind the scenes into the spotlight as well.

As you see this is quite a lot of listening pleasure. I hope you find some podcasts you didn’t know about in this list, and stay tuned for when I start doing (bi)weekly reviews of the content presented in these podcasts. I won’t be regurgitating everything they said, but highlight what I found the most interesting discussions in selected podcasts. Feel free to let me know if I have missed other F1 podcasts you find entertaining.

  1. Gary Barlow says:

    Thank you. I was just about to ask a_F1podcast for recommendations since they’re late AGAIN. Also just happened upon you in the online racing world. Swoon.

    Anyway, I listen to both TFL and SPC already.

    TFL – Technically great. Fantastic guests, even better interviews, in fact I’d even go so far as to say he could get something decent out of Lewis Hamilton. All the important stuff is on point. The negative has to be the southern handshake he gives everyone and I mean EVERYONE. He has this habit of talking up EVERYTHING and introducing EVERYTHING. He’s like Jonathan Ross but 103090484 times worse. But at the same time I love him. I actually feel bad but I know I’m not alone. There would be a gap in my life (walk to work) if I didn’t have his podcast. Highly recommended – just be warned.

    Sidepodcast – If I’m brutally honest I’m more a fan of Joe “Lapchartin motha fucka!” Saward than Sidepodcast. SPC is decent but ultimately it’s like Mr C is like this nice enough guy who’s pissed off but doesn’t know why so he’ll randomly abandon his reasonable train of logic and proceede to say the most stupid, catty and childish things at times. It’s almost as if he thinks being objective means saying something contrary to public opinion for the sake of doing so, which unfortunately undermines the decent observations he makes. There’s the irritating laugh and his refusal to pronounce the letter ‘A’ correctly but that’s just me being unnecessarily negative. Other than that it’s a decent show. I nearly always listen. I guess I’d say it’s like the BBC coverage. It’s not for everyone but it’s commendable and nearly always has something decent in it that brings you back.

    Anasidewithjoe – Always interesting, informative and bitter. Love him. Gets a bit catty at times but he’s a embattled journalist who reports on a sport home to types like Bernie, Ballateste (Sp), Max and Ferrari. Don’t give a fuck about the lap charts though. SHUT UP ABOUT THE FUCKING LAP CHARTS. I’m 25, raised on Playstation and obviously is dislexic and got ADHD so stop talking about numbers. I’m glad you do it though because it obviously works for you. lol @ me talking to him rather than about him.

    Anyway, love the blog.

    kthanksbye x

  2. Mr C says:

    he’ll randomly abandon his reasonable train of logic and proceede to say the most stupid, catty and childish things at times. It’s almost as if he thinks being objective means saying something contrary to public opinion for the sake of doing so, which unfortunately undermines the decent observations he makes. There’s the irritating laugh and his refusal to pronounce the letter ‘A’ correctly but that’s just me being unnecessarily negative

    *strikes gary off me xmas list*


  3. Drudeboy says:

    Not really related, but when are you going to put your next expert career race on youtube? those were really quite good.

  4. […] In the world of F1 podcasts, RenaultsportF1 produces a gem after every GP weekend where the engineers attached to each Renault powered team on the grid tell us how their race weekends went. While these are Renault Sport employees, they are each dedicated to the work for their respective teams and an integral part of their operation. Therefore these guys are in the know about all technical details and insider stories, and we’re lucky enough they share their views in a candid 30 minute discussion. […]

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