Friday, 18 October 2019

1/43 Model Review: 1997 Stewart SF1 Ford


Three Time World Champion, Jackie Stewart would be funded by Ford to start up a Formula One team on their behalf, running the team with his son, Paul Stewart, and hiring current Autosport analyst, Gary Anderson as designer with Alan Jenkins. The team, through its various incarnations is the current Red Bull Team who are double World Constructors' Champions. Rubens Barrichello drove all three years for the team, and finished second in the Monaco GP in its debut year. The car was able to battle for points positions, but poor reliability hindered the team from scoring more points.

I remember in the UK when the F1 broadcast moved from the BBC over to ITV and I wasn't looking forward to the race being interrupted by adverts, but they did some special features in the build up for the first race, one being a documentary on the new Stewart team. I remember enjoying watching that quite a few times when I was younger.


Minichamps 430970022

Minichamps 430970023

I do miss the days when there were more differences between teammates so from a longshot you could identify which car was which, Magnussen running with a blue headrest and blue on the nose cone. The model itself is quite nice, but it could do with more defined shapes, like the airbox and hte sidepod openings, it's just a little simplified. The tartan looks good and the chrome wheel rims are nicely done. A solid budget model for the time.
Score: 7/10


Tameo TMK250
The Tameo kit model is based on the Monaco GP with removable engine cover and wet tyres. A fabulous model, with fantastic detail, even underneath the engine cover is nicely reproduced. I can't find many pictures of this model, so I can't review the model in any detail, but knowing the quality of models that Tameo produce, it looks like a great model.
Score: 9/10

Thursday, 17 October 2019

1/43 Model Review: 2019 Ferrari SF90 (Looksmart)

Looksmart have continued to produce excellent Ferrari's again, being priced around £100, more than the resin Minichamps cars. These SF90s are based on the Chinese GP, the so-called 1000th F1 race.

Looksmart LSF1019
Looksmart LSF1020
I will compare it to the BBR model that has already been released. The first thing to notice for me is that the BBR car is longer, with the rear wing endplate having at more of an inclined angle (more akin to the 2018 rules). The detailing looks of similar high quality from both model makers, and besides the length, proportionally both cars are very similar. 

The front ends of both cars look of very similar high quality, there's good definition of the front wing elements and the turning vanes on the underside of the nose. The complex bargeboard and sidepod leading edge section is well modelled by both brands. The Looksmart car does come with a driver figure, though the helmet remains the same basic one that they've been using for years - it could do with updating. 

The rear of the BBR car seems more defined, from the mini T wing, to the slots in the rear fin.
The only thing that I'm not too keen on is the red on the Looksmart model. It is matte compared to the previous year's model, but I think it needs to be a little less pink. Still, a very nice model.
Score: 8/10

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

2019 Japanese GP Review

The Japanese Grand Prix was not the most exciting of races, with Typhoon Hagibis disrupting the order of running. FP3 was cancelled and qualifying moved to Sunday morning, gave teams less preparation than normal. Kubica and Magnussen crashed out, and Hulkenberg had hydraulic issues so there wasn't as much time as normal to get these cars back out for the race.

Ferrari stole the show again, showing some surprising pace in Q3 when it mattered and Mercedes could not respond. Red Bull were a little disappointing that they weren't a bit closer, but Albon and Verstappen setting the exact same time was good to see. Vettel took pole position ahead of his team-mate who could only acknowledge that Vettel did a better job.

The race was by and large decided at the first two corners. Vettel moved before the lights went out, but was lucky to catch it without moving out of his box and being stationary when the lights went out, all of which was different when Raikkonen did the same thing in Russia. Vettel got away with a penalty, but didn't get away particularly well understandably. Leclerc also made a poor start, whilst Bottas produced one of his rocket starts, blasting into a clear lead. Verstappen was alongside Leclerc into turn 2, but the Ferrari driver was caught out by a loss of grip when Vettel came across the front of him and Leclerc went wide taking Verstappen out. He was given a five-second penalty after the race was finished, and Verstappen retired the car a few laps later.

Leclerc's damaged car did not come into the pits at the end of the first lap and should have been given the flag to pit and get his car repaired. Instead, the front wing end plate came off taking off Hamilton's wing mirror and lodging some of it in Norris' McLaren brake ducts ruining his race. Given how close it came to Hamilton's cockpit, you have to say this was a near miss that could have easily been avoided and could have been much, much worse. Some of Leclerc's passing on the way back up the grid was awesome, avoiding a late defensive block from Verstappen, passing Kvyat and Gasly into Spoon, and just about clearing Kimi's Alfa Romeo into 130R, brilliant.

There was a bit of back and forth between Hamilton and his team over strategy and one wonders whether he could have pulled off the one stop in the end and Mercedes could have ended up with a probably 1-2. Instead Hamilton was given fresher tyres to chase Vettel on a track that was difficult to overtake on. Vettel did well to defend, and time his overtakes on the lapped cars, giving himself DRS when Hamilton looked closest. With the chequered flag error that came out a lap too early, imagine if Hamilton had gotten past on the last lap only for it to have not counted.

Mercedes took their sixth consecutive Constructors' Championship and made certain that one of their drivers will win the Drivers' Championship. This Mercedes era ought to be celebrated for the incredibly professional job that they have been doing, the cars remain quick, generally well set up and run, good strategy, on form drivers, fantastic reliability and few mistakes have all propelled the team to a dominant position. The competition are getting closer, their cars faster on occasions, but their challenges have not been sustainable, their mistakes frequent and costly and their strategy calls questionable.

Bottas had a good weekend, on a driver's track, he out-qualified Hamilton and ran away with the race after he took the lead. Mercedes had a race pace advantage, but he made sure Ferrari were never in the question, that's the kind of Bottas we want to see more consistently.

Magnussen's and Hulkenberg's start though! Magnussen started at the back with Grosjean in Q3, and Kevin passed his teammate at the start. Shame there's not that much more to write about the Haas boys after that.

Albon did not have a great start and had to battle his way past the McLarens. Once again, we don't have a direct comparison with his team-mate.

Carlos Sainz made the most of his weekend, and looked closer to the top three and further ahead of the rest of the midfield. Norris, as discussed above, was unlucky to have to pit early to clear debris and later was caught out by a late dive from Albon into the final chicane. Thankfully no real damage done, and no silly penalties issued.

Perez had a good weekend, albeit crashing out of the last lap that wasn't counted. He could have given Gasly a bit more room in their battle for 8th place.

Ricciardo made a great recovery drive, helped by his team-mate waving him through, but he made some great overtakes, had good pace and finished a well deserved 6th place (after Leclerc's penalties).

Gasly had another strong performance, qualifying in 8th place and finishing 9th, miles ahead of his teammate who had a lacklustre weekend. Did well to keep it together at the end when he had suspension problems, and in the end his tangle with Perez counted for nothing.