Tag Archives: motorsports

Connor Zilisch, Formula E, Nascar Tire degradation
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Wednesday Wrap-Ups: Everything you need to know from this weekend’s motor racing

Spring has sprung when a racecar has won. All racing is back, and we couldn’t be happier. This past weekend, we saw racing from Formula E, NASCAR, and the 72nd running of the 12 hours of Sebring. There was a lot to digest, from heat and tires to crashes and rookies making moves. We’ll break down a few key talking points so you can sound like an expert if anyone asks your thoughts.

IMSA – Twelve Hours of Sebring

Image credit: IMSA

Florida’s Sebring International Raceway is one of the oldest continuously operating race circuits in the States. It’s a wiley course that will test patience in the sweltering heat, with devious bumps, unforgiving turns, and cruelty to tires and engines.

After leading the majority of the race, Pipo Derani crashed out halfway through, and it was wild to watch in real-time, to say the least. He and the Whelen Cadillac Racing team qualified 1st in the Grand Touring Prototype class but finished 10th because of this incident. Pipo walked away rattled but no worse for wear. The fact that he was okay is a testament to how these cars are designed now, as well as the safety measures IMSA has in place to protect drivers and fans alike.

Colton Herta was one of many IndyCar drivers who stepped away on an off-weekend to participate. He and the Wayne Taylor Racing/Andretti Autosport team finished 1st. He and teammates Louis Deletraz and Jordan Taylor (Wayne Taylor’s youngest son) were at the front of the Grand Touring Prototype class for most of the race in their Acura ARX-06.

Speaking of Indy drivers… Romain Grosjean finished 7th, also in the Grand Touring Prototype class with Lamborghini. This is a bit special as he took the helm of the SC63 prototype racer, making this its first WeatherTech Championship start at Sebring. He also had to drive several laps with his door ajar. Was this good or bad in the ungodly Florida heat? You’ll have to ask the Phoenix yourself.

We especially love the win of Trackhouse‘s developmental driver, Conor Zilisch. Winning in the Le Mans Prototype class, this is the 17-year-old’s second IMSA podium this season. He also placed 1st at the 24 Hours of Daytona in February. The future certainly seems bright for him and the Era Motorsport team. Zilisch was presented with sparkling wine for the celebration, not champagne.

Win the Weekend is a great IMSA series if you’re looking to learn more.

Formula E – São Paulo E-Prix Round 4

Image credit: Formula E

This was probably one of the best races of the year so far. I know it’s early, but the way I screamed for the last 30 seconds was incredible. While I am a Porsche girlie for Formula E, I do like to keep an eye out for McLaren drivers in all series of racing. With record temperatures in Brazil at the São Paulo E-Prix, drivers were asked to manage not only their batteries (thanks to several caution flags and safety car appearances) but also the actual heat of the whole car.

My beloved Portuguese veteran, Antonio Felix Da Costa, and his teammate Pascal Wehrlein ran front for most of the race. At one point, just a three-second split separated the top ten drivers. It was tight, with Attack Mode activations hitting around the same for most of the top pack. It certainly kept this E-Prix interesting.

With battery power trickling down and laps flying by, Jake Dennis in the Andretti car was hitting critical temperatures trying to defend his position. Sam Bird enters the chat.

I loved everything about this win for Sam. After being fired from Jaguar after three seasons with them, he looks mighty good in Papaya. At barely 1% of his battery remaining, Sam completed one of the most amazing overtakes in Formula E history with seconds on the clock to do so. He proceeded to pray to the EV gods, flying by Mitch Evans in the Jaguar car. If he flipped the bird (wink) on his way to victory, no one would have judged him. I certainly didn’t.

Still hoping for a De Vries-alution; he finished 18th. Justice for Nyck.

Feel free to peep my Formula-E explainer here, if you need a little insight.

NASCAR – Food City 500 Bristol Motor Speedway

Image credit: Brittney Wilbur/NASCAR

The horrifying confusion and surprise about tire degradation need to be studied. Y’all, I grew up remembering dirt tracks. Okay, I know it was dirt not that long ago, but I think after this weekend, we’re headed back to red clay somewhere. This new era of NASCAR tests every discipline of racing, except dirt, in a real way. I beg you, NASCAR, to bring more dirt tracks back! Maybe Bristol was never meant to be concrete. The track was a nightmare in qualifying, and not a single team could figure out what it was going to be like on the big day.

Thus, on Sunday afternoon, it was just all over the place. Goodyear and NASCAR had a crisis regarding when to release more tires to the teams and how fast each was shredding. Ty Gibbs took stages one and two, with Denny Hamlin winning the overall. Insert eye-roll emoji.

And because I’m a messy bitch who loves drama, Ross Chastain lives rent-free in Ryan Blaney’s head. After another run-in at Bristol, Melon Man is getting cozy in that man’s mind. Viva la Trackhouse. #Dale

Upcoming for this Weekend

Formula 1 is back in Australia. Catch the race on Sunday at midnight for East Coasters on ESPN or F1TV. F2 and F3 will be a part of the Australian GP.

IndyCar will return to the South Palm circuit for the Thermal Club $1 Million Challenge. Catch the race on Peacock or NBC Sports—at 12:30 pm EST.

NASCAR hits one of my favorite tracks at COTA in Austin. Tune into Fox at 3:30 pm EST for what’s sure to be another amazing race. Legendary driver Kamui Kobayashi will be jumping in the #58 Mobil 1 for 23X1, just for this race. And Trackhouse bestie SVG will be in the #16 WeatherTech car for Kaulig Racing.

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Image credit: Rob Wilkinson / AiM / APEX Pro / Garmin
Buying GuidesDealsSaturday Morning Car Tune!

These lap timers will help you become a better track driver

Attending track days is one of the most fun and fulfilling ways to express one’s automotive enthusiasm. What’s not to love? You’re in a safe and controlled environment where you can drive at way higher speeds than pretty much any other place on paved earth. This enables ample opportunity to truly enjoy what your car was designed and/or modified for, sharpen your driving skills, and even become a safer motorist along the way.

Then, there’s the bit about track driving that’s even more fun, and incredibly addictive: Setting and gradually dropping lap times. Changing your line, turning in earlier or later, refining your acceleration and braking; the process of setting and achieving goals to go faster is a fun one, and along with it comes a hearty sense of pride and accomplishment. It may not be the most financially healthy activity for car nuts, but hey, it sure beats hard drug use!

One tool that’s of massive help along the way by giving you all the information you need to go faster is a good GPS-based digital lap timer. 

Guidance from a qualified instructor is another top method, and certainly shouldn’t be overlooked as part of the learning experience. A lap timer that records data is a strong accompaniment—analyzing and digesting this data post-track session expedites the learning process and paints a very detailed picture of what it takes to get faster. Let’s go over three popular digital lap timers and discuss their various positives and negatives. We won’t rate them, but rather to help you figure out which is best for your budget and learning style.

Skip to product:

Image credit: Peter Nelson

For the most digestible data and video on the spot: Garmin Catalyst Driving Performance Optimizer

Garmin Catalyst lap timer
Image credit: Garmin

What’s hot?

  • Includes video
  • Simple, fool-proof setup
  • Very easy to digest data post-session
  • Logical software
  • Stays plugged into a 12v outlet or USB, so won’t lose power on track

What’s not?

  • Expensive
  • Doesn’t allow as deep of a dive into data as other systems
  • Requires earbuds or another improved hearing method

Kicking off this list is a comprehensive system by Garmin. I call it a system because using it requires a bit of setup time. Inside its fairly hefty box lives a bunch of wires, connectors, plugs, and various electronic doohickies, plus the sturdy Garmin tablet itself that’s the brain of the whole operation. Read the directions and allow ample time to properly piece it all together—don’t do it 10 minutes before you head out on track—and you’re golden. In fact, it’s a good idea to turn it on the night before, connect to Wi-Fi, and ensure all software is up-to-date.

Once the Catalyst is all set up and running, it’s so incredibly pleasant to use: Select the track you’re at, and it’ll automatically start and stop recording both lap times and video. While filming laps and displaying lap times, it has a delta timer that shows how much faster or slower you are compared to your best-recorded lap. It also utilizes its various sensors and GPS to record accurate data covering acceleration/deceleration, speed, your precise location on track, and so on.  Then, the footage it puts together includes a very handy data overlay for even easier data digestion, which you can review as soon as the session is over.

Image credit: Peter Nelson. Note the camera mounted to the center of the windshield, and the tablet attached via its suction cup high off to the side.

Post-session, pulling the tablet off its mount and tapping around to look at different laps, examine speed, acceleration/deceleration, and track position, as well as learning where opportunities to improve lie, is incredibly easy. It’s as easy as surfing the world-wide-web on an iPad. Plus, the layout/interface is incredibly logical, so it takes no time at all to get used to.

The Catalyst also makes suggestions on how to cut time, but does so based on your own performance—it’s not going to compare you to Lewis Hamilton. Then, by dividing the track up into different sectors, it puts together an optimal lap of all your best ones; think of it as essentially a Best Of compilation. It’s a fun challenge to try and replicate—or better yet, improve upon—this lap in a future session.

Here’s an example of what the recorded video looks like.

One downside is that its spoken instruction (that’s right, it’s got that too) is awfully quiet. The optional earbuds are a must if you’re on track with most track day organizations, as they require you to run with the windows down for safety reasons. These simple suggestions are definitely worth listening to as well. They include stuff like “brake later next lap,” “turn in earlier next lap,” and so on.

After discussing the Garmin Catalyst at length, with almost all positive remarks, here’s the catch: It’s an expensive system. It’s knocking on the door of one thousand American dollars, which isn’t exactly pocket change for most folks. In fact, that’s more than a set of good track tires in many common sizes. Though, for its ease-of-use, video, and coaching aspects, and easy data digestion, it could prove to be a very wise investment in your lapping education.

The OG for extra-deep data potential: AiM Sportline Solo 2 DL GPS Lap Timer and Dash Logger

Image credit: AiM

What’s hot?

  • The best display
  • Easy to fire up and start recording
  • Mid-tier price
  • Excellent application integration
  • Programmable lights

What’s not?

  • Potentially too much data for some folks
  • Expensive to integrate a camera
  • Slight learning curve, though all of the units in this list have that to some degree

The AiM Solo 2 DL is the oldest of the bunch, but that’s by no means a knock against it. This capable device has a lot going for it.

First and foremost is setting it up: it’s so easy to turn the DL on and begin recording once you’re underway on your warm-up lap. Like the Catalyst and APEX Pro, it utilizes GPS to figure out where you’re at and suggest which track you’d like to select from its massive database, which saves precious seconds while prepping to head out on track.

Also like the other two, its GPS is quite accurate: In my experience, all three record lap times that are within a hundredth of a second of any track’s conventional transponder-based timing system.

But where AiM’s product beats the others is its crystal-clear backlit screen: I consider it the easiest to quickly look at and understand, especially on very sunny days and other harsh lighting conditions. Not only that, but it also has a very clear delta timer. However, like the Catalyst’s, this feature can be hazardous at times, as it often motivates folks to really push braking zones and hang out on the ragged edge of the grip.

Image credit: Peter Nelson

Like the APEX Pro below (which I’ll get to shortly), the Solo 2 DL has a system of lights, but here you can program them to mean different things. For instance, the DL part of its name means data logger, specifically its ability to pull data from the OBD2 port and log it with the data it produces itself (G readings, location on track, etc.) You can program the lights to serve as a shift light, meaning it’s pulling this data from the ECU in real time—though, this requires some work with a PC and its desktop application to set up. They can also be programmed to convey predictive lap timing, though this function I’m not as familiar with.

Mounting up the Solo 2 DL is easy with a suction cup mount or a more permanent solution, though, like the Catalyst, there are some wires to run for OBD2 data integration. You can also choose to wire its power into a 12v circuit somewhere with the right wiring option. This is so you never have to worry about recharging, which is convenient for purpose-built track steeds.

Between the Catalyst, APEX Pro, and Solo 2 DL, only the latter two are able to pull and integrate vehicle OBD2 data. This means that folks who like to dig deep into this kind of stuff are better off with one of the two. 

And speaking of digging into data, AiM’s software makes for a very, very thorough experience. You can review sessions on your phone, but its full potential is best enjoyed with the brand’s desktop application. Seriously, you can spend hours and hours examining everything it produces.

For diving a little deeper into data: APEX Pro Gen II Lap Time Optimizer

Image credit: Apex Pro

What’s hot?

  • No wires means easy portability and setup
  • Convenient app-based program makes post-session review a snap
  • Much less expensive than other systems
  • Good battery life

What’s not?

  • Has a learning curve (though it isn’t steep)
  • Additions cost extra
  • Some folks might not like the system of lights

Where the Garmin Catalyst has a bunch of wires to run and a camera to set up, the Apex Pro Gen II is as easy as magnetically attaching a little box with lights to a glued-down post or suction cup mount. It’s also a good idea to keep your phone strapped down somehow, like with a quality Ram Mount.

No, really, it’s that simple, and a big part of the APEX Pro’s appeal. All you do is turn the unit on, open up your phone’s app and connect it, calibrate the unit’s position, and then hit “Drive.” It’s just a few taps and is as quick and easy to get used to as the Catalyst.

When the session’s done, you’ve got a list of laps on the APEX Pro app and a bunch of data. These include speed, track position, acceleration/deceleration G, and more, which help you see where you could improve, where you did well, and so on. It doesn’t make suggestions like the Catalyst, but the company has a lot of useful resources to help you figure out a good plan of attack for the next session. It also utilizes its GPS sensor to record your lap on a track map, which makes zeroing in on and analyzing certain sectors a cinch. Finally, having the ability to page through various graphs containing pertinent data points is very useful; once again, it takes a little bit of education to learn how to read these. My favorite is examining the lateral vs. longitudinal G scatter plot—it’s a simple x and y axis, so it’s easy to take a quick look to see how much of the lap you were on the edge of grip, and didn’t leave any G force on the table.

See that little thing on top of the dash? That’s it!

Instead of the APEX Pro giving you real-time verbal suggestions on track, it does so with a system of lights. These can indicate many things, from leaving speed on the table to being off the right line (especially in regards to your speed) and more. For example: All green lights: You’re golden. Almost all green lights: You’re doing well, but you’re leaving speed on the table. Once again, reading over the instructions is required.

Finally, you can export your data and analyze it even further in certain desktop applications, which is great for those who’d really like to get into the weeds with numbers and pinpoint where there’s time to shave.

One downside to the Apex Pro is it takes time to figure out its way of doing things. Though, once you’re there, you’ll have no problem quickly diving deep into analysis. Another is needing to purchase accessories or subscribe through your OS’ app store for more features. If you’d like to include OBD2 data (a super helpful data addition), you’ll have to buy the company’s dongle. If you’d like expanded features like recording via your phone’s camera, that’s an added subscription. Still, it’s a great overall system that’s quite comprehensive and easy to use, and quite a bit lower in price than the Garmin Catalyst.

Check out the lights in action!

Go forth and analyze

You can’t go wrong with any of the above digital lap timing units, it just comes down to your learning preference, what you want features-wise, and what your budget looks like. They’re all sturdily constructed, so you can toss ‘em around a bit like other track equipment. Though, I wouldn’t use any of them to chock your wheels in the paddock. Video is certainly a useful accompaniment, which the Catalyst does best as its camera is a default accessory to its function. The APEX Pro requires a subscription but does it well enough, and the AiM requires its expensive SmartyCam to put two and two together here.

I should point out that the Racelogic Performance Box Touch, Racelogic VBOX Sport, and RaceBox Performance Meter Box are also well-regarded options, but I don’t have any familiarity with them personally.

GRIDLIFE Laguna 2023
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

Regardless of which option you go with, make sure you spend time reading through its instructions, do a little perusing through any applicable Facebook groups and/or forums, and ensure it’s set up properly before heading out on track. Then, head out there and enjoy setting and achieving all your lap time goals!

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These are the best deals to grab from the F1 store in their huge winter sale

With pre-season testing still in Sakhir a month away, now is an excellent time to stock up on gear for the new year. The official F1 Store is having a massive winter sale to make room for new merch and styles. There are over 500 items to grab with discounts of as much as 70% off. We pulled a few of our faves that would make an excellent fit for your 2024 F1 Sunday outfit. And don’t worry. Yes, everything is officially licensed.

1) Scuderia Ferrari Race MT7 Track Jacket

Image credit: F1 Store

A few things Ferrari does well is make merch people want. This jacket is sleek and chic, you’re sure to stand out in the classic red hue. Save 48% on this, and cross your fingers for a Charles podium. Lord Perceval hasn’t had a win since the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix, but this jacket could be a good luck charm.

2) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 2022 Team Baseball Cap

Image credit: F1 Store

A classic black baseball hat never goes out of style, and neither does Sir Lewis Hamilton. It’s just $17 and will see you through the 2024 season, and possibly podiums for both George and Lewis. This cap is easily adjustable and made from 100% recycled polyester, so it’s breathable even in the hottest of climates.

3) Oracle Red Bull Racing 2023 New Era Beanie

Image credit: F1 Store

Winter just decided to start with lots of snow in many parts of the world, so it’s a good idea to cover your noggin. Red Bull is a winner, and so is this adorable $21 beanie. It’s a polyblend (so easy to clean) and designed by New Era.

4) McLaren USA Crew Sweatshirt

Image credit: F1 Store

The papaya is strong with this sweatshirt. I like the vintage college vibe of this one, and I also like that this has crossover appeal. Wear it for F1, Formula E, and IndyCar races. It’s a cotton blend, versatile, and a steal at 57% off.

5) Scuderia AlphaTauri Team T-Shirt

Image credit: F1 Store

RIP Alpha Tauri. This shirt is now a collector’s item as the rise of Visa CashApp Racing Bulls takes its place on the grid. If you think that is an awful rebrand, don’t worry. We do, too. I heard a girl once call Alpha Tauri ‘Sugar-Free’ Red Bull, and honestly, why they didn’t go that way is beyond me. But grab this unisex cotton tee for just $27, and still show your love for Danny and Yuki.

6) Formula 1 True Classics Crew Sweatshirt

Image credit: F1 Store

There are a few basic F1 merch items available in the sale, and I love the ones that are so subtle. This classic crewneck sweatshirt is a nod to the start of the sport in 1950. With clever racing stripes down the sides, this is a mod way to show you’re a motorhead too. It’s just $33.

7) Mercedes 2022 W13 E Performance No.44 – Lewis Hamilton 1:43 Model

Image credit: F1 Store

A few of these models from the last two seasons are on sale for just $7. These make great gifts and decorations for offices, living rooms, and bookshelves. If you got a Merc fanatic in your life, this would be a nice little present to surprise them with. It’s die-cast metal and plastic and a stunning representation of the actual million-dollar monster.

8) Michael Schumacher Legacy Classic Edition Poster

Image credit: F1 Store

We recently celebrated the legendary driver’s 55th birthday. Schumacher has no doubt left a huge mark on F1 and motorsports as a whole. This poster honors him and his supreme legacy. Printed on high-quality paper it was designed by Automobilist as a collab piece with the Keep Fighting Foundation. This is a brilliant piece of art for only $20.

9) Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 2023 Official Team Cap

Image credit: F1 Store

Save $30 on this 100% recycled polyester, totally adjustable official team hat. I love this green color and think it looks so stunning in a crowd. As a Fernando lover, I couldn’t make a list and not recommend something that represents him. There are a few items from Fernando’s Kimoa brand on sale as well.

10) Williams Racing Off Track Sweatshirt

Image credit: F1 Store

I think Williams knows how to lean into quiet luxury. Must be a British thing. This year especially they have designed a great line that isn’t flashy. This 100% knitted polyester sweatshirt has zipper pockets and is $39.

11) Alfa Romeo 2023 Valterri Bottas Driver Cap

Image credit: F1 Store

Of course, I’m including my favorite driver on this list. While Alfa Romeo was sunset for Sauber, the historic Italian brand will still live on. I have one of these and absolutely love the Milano cross and snake boldly standing out. I’m going to miss this team a lot, but I’m also preparing my soul for this to be Valterri’s last year as well. Nothing official, my gut just feels like this is it. Save 49% on this and add it to your collection.

12) Oracle Red Bull Max Verstappen Zandvoort Special Edition Tee

Image credit: F1 Store

Are you a member of the Orange Army? What better way to celebrate another outstanding year for Verstappen than with a tee celebrating the Dutch lion’s home race win? I love the Max design on this cotton unisex shirt in that fetching neon shade. Save it for the Dutch GP, or wear it every Sunday as they play the national anthem we’ve all come to know so well.

13) Haas F1 Team – Miami 2023 Limited Edition Poster

Image credit: F1 Store

Haas isn’t the best team, let’s be honest. But making dope posters is one of the good things they do. I love this one from the Miami GP, where, if you’ll remember, Magnussen actually got points. While their house may be a little on fire, so are these designs. This is not currently on sale, but if you sign up for the newsletter, you will get 10% off, and it ships directly from the printer.

14) Kimi Leave Me Alone Crew Socks

Image credit: F1 Store

There’s no way I could make this list and not include my other favorite Finn. These cotton blend socks designed by West Coast Choppers immortalize one of Kimi’s best F1 moments. These are also a great way to communicate with loved ones when the race is on.

15) Pirelli Podium Cap

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This is not on sale either, but I highly recommend buying this on the site and not at the track, where it is double the price. This is an item I want to add to my hat arsenal, and I just love the way it looks. It’s one of those “if you know, you know” when you see one in the wild. It’s retro, which adds a little something. You don’t need to be a fan to rock this, but it doesn’t hurt

If you are interested in catching the Bahrain GP, it will be on Sunday, March 2 at 10 a.m. (EST) on ESPN in North America and, as always, on F1TV.

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how to watch formula e
Features

Formula E is back! Here’s how to watch it and what you need to know

Formula E is back this week with its tenth season. Where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday, Nelson Piquet Jr. was being crowned as the first champion, and Renault was dominating as Teams’ Champions. This is a really special type of racing in motorsports, and every year, it gets a little better. As an extremely competitive series, you will find yourself rooting for a favorite driver or team in no time. It is that exciting. Here is what you need to know to jump in and where to watch Formula E.

What is Formula E?

Image credit fiaformulae.com

Let me start off. You’ll be jarred by the sound at first. It’s like nothing you are used to from racing cars, but you’ll adapt quickly. Ok, we are past that. Formula E is the first fully and prominent electric racing series, with is unveiling to the world back in 2014. This top-level single-seater championship series has been net-zero from the start. Hitting street courses around the globe in cars from teams with very familiar names. We are now in the era of the Gen3 car; it’s faster, more powerful, lighter, and pushing the technology forward not just for racing but for EVs in the wild.

Much like other Formula series, the drivers who complete the set amount of laps in the fastest time win. The top ten drivers will score points per their position after a race is finished, with the winner being awarded 25 of them. Drivers can earn extra points through having the fastest single lap time as well, one point in the actual race and three points from qualifying.

What is most fascinating about this type of car and racing to me is that the drivers can recharge the battery through regenerative braking. With a powertrain at the front of the car, the Gen3 lets drivers get power from all four tires.

Attack Charge is a system only available at some races, where teams can use the charging stations to add more power to the battery. Last season was the first time they were ever allowed to do this when they pitted.

Were you curious about tires? I knew you were. They compete on a single tire type. Crazy, right? Formula E uses 80% less tires than other motorsports. The Hankook iON race tires are designed specifically to handle any and all conditions. And you guessed it, the tires are also developed with sustainability in mind, with plant-based materials (up to 30%), and completely recycled. Using only six to eight tires a weekend sure is different from other racing, where upwards of 80 tires may be used.

One of my favorite things about motorsports is watching the trickle-down of innovation, like how proper motorsports should be. The technology from the engines to the batteries to the tires used is being honed and tested for the eventual availability to the consumer market. Everyone benefits.

Who to know in Formula E

Image credit fiaformulae.com

Eleven teams and 22 drivers make up the garages and grid of Formula E with many familiar names. Nissan, McLaren, and Jaguar, we are certain you’ll find a team and driver to root for.

I’m obviously keeping an eye on former Champion Nyck de Vries as he returns to the series after a less-than-stellar run in Formula 1 with Alpha Tauri. He seems a good fit for Mahindra, and with a very seasoned driver, it will be interesting to see what they are able to do with him in the seat. I am a bit of a cheerleader for Nyck because I do think he was done a little dirty in how he was let go. But we roll on, and so does Nyck.

Last year’s champ, Jack Dennis, has American ties. He races for the one and only Andretti Autosport. Only one driver has been able to maintain their championship from the year before. Does Jack have the literal power to pull this off? Perhaps. With Michael Andretti at the helm, you can certainly understand how Jack became a champion and could be again. See, American teams can be successful, and this is in no way a dig at Gene Haas (nervous look).

Jehan Daruvala is the only rookie on the grid this year, but don’t think that is a disadvantage. He’s pretty pedigreed. If his name sounds familiar, that’s because he is the first and only Indian Formula 2 race winner. Daruvala also holds the honor of being only the second Indian driver to race in Formula E. He will be behind the wheel for Maserati after a full year as Mahindra’s reserve driver. Rookies have historically done well for Venturi/Maserati; Norman Nato, Lucas di Grassi, and Maximilian Guenther all had wins in their first seasons. Maybe there is little magic there.

Now, you know me, and I love a veteran. I’m rooting for Antonio Felix da Costa. He’s participated in every season, is a former Formula E Champion, and races with TAG Heuer Porsche. And you know I’m a fan of Porsche drivers. Never count an old dog out (as they say), and I certainly don’t with this charming man from Portugal.

Formula E season structure

Image credit fiaformulae.com

There are 16 rounds (this year) in 10 different locations, covering Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North and South America. There was already a bit of drama with scheduling even before the season started. Round 4, Hyderabad E-Prix, was completely canceled due to a breach of contract. This will give the drivers some rest in between the Saudi Arabian E-Prix doubleheader (yay, night racing!) before jetting off to the absolutely gorgeous course at São Paulo. Personally, I’m excited to see what Tokyo’s E-Prix looks like as they host their first Formula E race.

I’ve mentioned before that if you can get to a race this year, please do. (London is partially indoors and totally wild!) Formula E does an amazing job with fan events and creating an atmosphere. They really think about the whole experience. The season kicked off this week in Mexico City. This is an electrifying track that drivers love for the overtaking opportunities and visually stunning layout. Being one of the fastest tracks of the year, there are sure to be some thrills. What a way to start season 10!

Where to watch

It’s actually quite easy to catch practices, qualifying, and the actual race for those in the USA. Free Practice 1 is on Fridays, and obviously, the times will be different for those given locations. You can catch practices on Formula E’s Roku Channel, YouTube Channel, or through their app.

Your Saturday holds Free Practice2, Qualifying, and the Race. Qauli and the feature race will be held for free on that Roku Channel, which is available on most streaming devices. Getting all that content without paying a penny is truly mint.

Additional materials

Racing Green – Kit Chapman

If you want to better understand electric technology in the automotive space I cannot recommend Racing Green enough. It was absolutely one of my favorite reads last year, and I was an EV novice. (check out our EVs Explained series for more!) Author Kit Chapman turns a deep and detailed history with big words and bigger concepts into a palatable and humorous travel tale. You certainly don’t need a degree in physics or aerodynamics to learn about the evolution of electronic vehicle technology.

Formula E: Racing For The Future

This book is in my to-read pile. It’s a true behind-the-scenes look at teams, drivers, concepts, technology, and, of course, the history of the series. This book was written pre-Gen3 car, so you won’t get any insight on that, but it’s still packed with tales of first-hand experiences from the formative years.

Formula E Unplugged

Yes, to use the comparison, this is Formula E’s Drive to Survive. Unplugged! Season 3 is on my “What to Watch in January” list. Seasons one and two of Unplugged are on Paramount +. Season 3 has three episodes out right now on their YouTube channel. New episodes will launch every Monday and Wednesday until February 5th.

Every race from last season is archived for you to watch in its entirety on Roku Channel as well.

Enjoy this historic 10th year, and let us know who you are cheering on.

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Features

Here are the New Year’s goals of your favorite Formula One drivers… probably

A new year is upon us, and with that comes this whole idea we will be new people too. Or at least we will try to be, and make improvements and changes here and there for the next few weeks until we forget. Formula 1 drivers are no different than us. They put on their racing boots on one at a time. Testing in Sakhir is over a month away, and each of the 20 drivers has their sights set on podiums, points, and improvements. If I had to venture a guess into a few of their goals for 2024 this is what I’m certain they are.

Logan Sargeant: Score double points

Image credit: X.com/F1 & F1TV

Logan only needs to score two points to make this happen. Which I think is quite doable. If we completely ignore that his first point in F1 was completely by accident and only happened because of other drivers’ penalties, he did great. He also technically did not finish last, so let’s aim for 19th this season. Now that Logan is no longer a rookie and given a new lease on life by Team Principle James Vowles, how about we also don’t cause the most damage on the grid? All of these are achievable goals, Florida boy. Would love to see him get those points in his hometown of Miami.

Lando Norris: Collaboration With Martin Garrix

Image credit: X.com – Lando Norris

Martin Garrix is the real paddock princess. Any party an F1 driver has, he is there. During his sets, Max and Lando are right behind him. He’s rolling around the garages more than Perelli. 2024 has to be the year Lando gets serious about turntablism and finally makes this happen. What’s the point of one of the best internationally known DJs hanging on your jet, mixing in Monaco, and waiting to take pics with you if there isn’t a creative project in the works? The obvious move would be some sort of reimaging of “Friday” or Lando’s famous rollercoaster radio transmission. Either way, there better be an EP this year.

Charles Leclerc: Daily affirmations

Image credit: Getty

I’m imagining something like Colin from Ted Lasso. A messy-haired Charles stares in the mirror and tells himself he is a strong and capable man, and the car is not a piece of shit. He is worthy of good engineers, and Carlos doesn’t need to be a tactical wizard. He will win in Monza and bring full glory back to Ferarri and the Tifosi. Or at least these are the mantras I’m picturing him scrawling in his bathroom, then lighting a lavender-scented candle and gently rocking himself back and forth. “I am NOT stupid.”

Fernando Alsono: Major internet crossover event

Image credit: Getty

I need Fernando to crossover into every inch of the internet so the entire world can experience him. I am an Alonso Appoogist, and I don’t care. He flirted with a mini-bump into new territories when an absurd rumor was dropped that he was spotted with Taylor Swift. Honestly, you’re welcome, Swifties. Fernando is magic. Watching gossip columnists scramble to understand who he is was a fun moment. And, of course, Fernando ran with it. Our dark lord and savior is perfectly poised for a breakout year in 2024 as far as the interwebs are concerned. But what will the moment be? Personally, hope it’s like Kimi Räikkönen at the 2006 Monaco GP, and he just walks onto his yacht and sails off with the El Captain hat on, spraying champagne on everyone and everything.

Yuki Tsunoda: Starts a cooking channel

Image credit: X.com – Marina Bay Sands

Yuki has done a few teasers in this area here and there. He’s participated in cooking challenges for Alpha Tauri’s social media channels, with much success. Who doesn’t want to see Yuki in his true natural environment? I know he is a busy F1 driver, but imagine if filmed a a bunch of videos where he just teaches other drivers how to cook. Forcing Lando to make sushi but not telling him would be top-tier. Making pancakes with Carlos, how adorable would that be? And reuniting Yuki with his BFF, Pierre Gasly, would be divine. Imagine them making heart-shaped cakes for each other. The sky’s the limit with this. We would also be open to a collab with a popular brand, like Momofuku x Yuki. They could release it in Vegas at one of their locations. Yuki, call me. I’m happy to be a brand agent for you.

Lewis Hamilton: One more World Championship

Just one more Lewis, then you and Roscoe can spend all your time together. Sir Lewy Hammy deserves his eighth (or ninth, if you subscribe to that) Championship. Love him or hate him, no one has been a better ambassador for this sport than him. Pushing F1 and the FIA into a new era, forcing them to look at their failings in diversity is part of his legacy. I would love to see him have a post-F1 career as an F1 Academy mentor or jump on board in a bigger role with Susie Wolf. Whatever Lewis decides will be brilliant, thoughtful, and done with love and dedication. He knows no other way. While I love him dearly, when he decides to retire it will truly be the end of an era.

*My Roman Empire is Brocedes

Danny Ricc: More focused Enchante drops

Image credit: Instagram.com – Enchante

Daniel, we beg you, ease up on the releases. Our poor wallets can’t handle several of these drops throughout the year. I wish he would focus on an actual cafe line. Mostly because I want one of the teacups so bad. What if he did a whole tea set for Silverstone and the British GP? Super on brand. He’s already dabbled in wine, why not tea next? Ric3 tea has a nice ring. As much as I enjoy his releases, they have become rather predictable.

I’m hoping he goes back to the table and thinks outside the box a bit. Like Sir, where is the Aussie collection? Miami was cute. Austin was cute. Monaco was cute. I’m just wanting a little more from a guy who is so funny and creative. Perhaps, providing a wider range of pricing for his fans who don’t feel comfortable spending $250 for a jacket or $100 for a sweatshirt would be a good move as well.

Max Verstappen: Ease up on the Red Bull

Image credit: Red Bull

I genuinely worry about Max. His blood has to be mostly Red Bull at this point, and/or champagne. With the reports of Panaera Charged Lemonade killing people, I can’t stop thinking about this. Does he actually consume all the copious amounts of taurine he seems to in post-race interviews or on his live streams after hours of sim racing? Is it all just a ruse, and those cans are filled with water? Is he really the most hydrated driver on the planet? The jury is out on this one. But I’m thinking let’s just cut back a little Max, or switch to sugar-free.

Haas: One pole, just one

Image credit: Haas F1

Let me be delulu in 2024. I’m a big fan of Team Dad, plus Haas is American-owned. Last year, they had such an American promo that I so hope is back. Dubbed the “We Score, You Score” program at the Miami Grand Prix, official sponsor Chiptole agreed to give away 10,000 burritos if Haas ended up in the points. I say do it for every race. Finishing dead last in the constructor standings (with twelve points), doesn’t seem like a huge risk. And if anyone deserves to be on the podium it’s Nico Hulkenberg, who scored a third of those points and drives like a madman in one of the worst cars on the grid. Not to be overshadowed, K-Mags also had moments of qualifying brilliance.

My heart just says Haas is due for huge improvements and a spot on pole. With the exit of Guenther Steiner after eight years, and engineering director Ayao Komatsu stepping in to take over, big things are on the horizon.

Valtteri Bottas: Retires in Budgy Smugglers

Image credit: Instragram.com – ValtteriBottas

Valtteri is a man of many talents and ventures. He’s just an F1 driver for the heck of it. Valtteri has been thinking about a life post-F1 and planning accordingly. With ownership stakes in a gin company, a coffee company, and a wine company, he’s got his bases covered, unlike his own base. The famously bare-bottomed Formula 1 driver, who feels more Australian than Finnish, is poised for great things when he hangs up his gloves. His longtime girlfriend, Tiffany Cromwell, is a partner in those business undertakings as well. And as a road and gravel cyclist, you can certainly see her influence on him as he’s taken to the bikes quite well. Who knows, maybe we see Valtteri Bottas Cycling Champion in the future.

Before we get there, I would love nothing more than for his last race to end with him stripping off his suit to reveal a pair of custom farewell “Budgy Smugglers.” And then he and Tiffany literally cycle off together. A girl can dream for her favorite driver.

Honorable Mention: Nyck de Vries: Formula E Champion (again)

Image credit: Mercedes

What a beautiful middle finger that would be to F1 naysayers and Helmut Marko, not that he cares but still! I have a soft spot for Nyck and don’t know if it was the right move to let him go so quickly. I’m wishing Nyck all the success in Formula E this season with Mahindra Racing. And every time he gets on the podium, I will do a little clap. There can be more than one fantastic Dutch driver in a Formula series.

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Features

Spend January with these racing docuseries and get ready for every new season

As we patiently wait for all the new seasons of racing to start, there are plenty of amazing car nerd documentaries and racing docuseries to get you revved up. Call it the Drive to Survive effect, but more and more areas of racing are following this model. Now, that is in no way a bad thing. Putting these series in front of more people is a good thing. I’m selfish, so I applaud this because I’d love to talk about Formula E without getting met with a blank look. If you’ve ever been curious about any of these types of racing, January is a great time to jump.

Brawn: The Impossible Formula 1 Story

Yes, I have to start here, and I’m not sorry. Aside from being an amazing docuseries about a time in F1 that isn’t likely to happen again, it features my one true love, Jenson Button. Sorry, World Champion Jenson Button. Not to sound like Stefan from SNL, but this docuseries has everything: a cheating scandal, financial ruin, infighting, betrayals, defeats, and triumphs. This was such an amazing series, especially to see a snapshot of this very significant time in F1 from the perspectives of so many of our favorite former drivers. It’s also wild to see young Christian Horner and young James Vowels.

Keanu Reeves is excellent, perfectly creating drama, tension, and humor in the interviews. Jenson is as charming as you would expect. With his return to racing at full capacity this year, I hope this creates more Button fans. This series is well worth watching; each episode leaves you wanting more.

Michael Fassbender: Road to Le Mans

I spent a lot of last years talking about Le Mans; I mean, it was the centennial of the race, so it was only fitting. I got to speak with Parick Long, a long-time Porsche driver at Le Mans, and got some real insider knowledge. We talked specifically about the influx of actors turned drivers as he trained and raced with Patrick Dempsey. We touched on Micheal Fassbender, who was participating for the second time with Proton and driving a Porsche 911. This is a great look into the craziness that goes into getting the mind, body, soul, and car ready for the legendary 24-hour race. Fassbender, in no way, is just another pretty face or arrogant actor thinking they can just hop in and command a car of this caliber. LeMans requires so much more than grit and money. It takes tenacity, heart, and a little luck. This documentary perfectly encapsulates that. If you know nothing about Le Mans, this is an excellent place to start. Mark your calendars for June 15th and pop on MotorTrend, where you can watch the entire race. There is nothing in the world like it; it is truly unique.

Formula E Unplugged Season 3

In less than two weeks Formula E starts its 10th season in Mexico City. Aside from being a decade old now, this is the biggest calendar season they have ever had, with 17 races scheduled. If you aren’t familiar with Formula E, it is the top level of electric single-seater racing. It’s just as fast, fun, and aggressive as Formula 1. If you’ve never been to a race, I highly recommend you catch on this season. I recommend London; it’s indoors and unlike anything you’ll ever experience. But I digress. There is more than enough time to catch up on seasons one and two of Unplugged on Paramount +. Season 3’s first episode just dropped on YouTube. New episodes will launch every Monday and Wednesday until February 5th. You will get an in-depth look at the previous season and understand the personalities and intensity of this series. Keep an eye on our site this season. I’ll be happy to walk you all through this celebratory year. If you want a little more on Formula E and the science behind EV racing, check out Racing Green. It’s a book I recommend a lot.

PS. Justice for Nyck de Vries, if you know, you know.

500 Days to Indy

This six-episode series is about the preparations for the Indy 500 and is the most ideal introduction to IndyCar. As I’ve mentioned in other articles, I have loved seeing the trickle of interest from F1 into the other series, specifically IndyCar. It is a more palatable type of driving/system for Formula 1 fans to digest. Because everyone wants a DTS hit, IndyCar came together with the CW for this production. Without any prior knowledge, you can jump into this and get a feel for how special this race is, but also how significant it is to motorsports history. It’s one of the most famous races in the world. Also, Fast Friday is one of my absolute favorite ‘holidays’ in motorsports. Don’t worry, you’ll know what I’m talking about soon. IndyCar’s new season kicks off in St. Petersburg on March 10th.

(Full disclosure: I love every single one of the McLaren drivers in this series. )

Drive to Survive: Season 6

Honestly, the DTS hate has to stop. Is it as spectacular now as in the earlier seasons? No. Netflix picking and choosing what to show, how to show it, and how to edit is their prerogative. All reality TV knows you have to create villains and storylines to keep audiences engaged. The DTS producers are no different. You do have a special advantage if you watched the previous seasons of knowing the truths and real drama. But hey, for someone who has no idea about F1, it’s not a bad thing to me if people learn about Fernando Alonso or Guenther Steiner through this show. This should be an interesting season, I’m hoping to see more behind the scenes of Vegas, because my god. Season Six will air in its entirety on February 23rd, with the first race of the season following on March 2nd.

Keep an eye out for…

NASCAR Full Speed

Not to be outdone, NASCAR has tossed their hats into the DTS ring. I will say Netflix is getting better with each of these shows, in how they cover sports and live events. Will lightning strike twice for them? Perhaps. Rather than focus on a whole season, this show will solely focus on the Cup Series playoffs and Championship race from this past year. (Again, of which I had feelings.) This series is expected to be five episodes at 45 minutes each. They teased an early 2024 release, and it will drop on January 30th, just a few weeks before the 66th running of the Daytona 500 takes place. This kicks off the new season officially.

Logan Sargeant: The Step Up

Williams Racing has teased this as something longer, but if not, this is a nice look inside the experiences of a rookie. I am glad James Vowels is giving Logan another shot to prove himself in F1. Yes, he is the first American to score points in the series this century, but there is definitely something special about him. You don’t get to Formula 1 without being talented and having a heck of a lot of potential. Really hoping for a better season for him and Williams in 2024.

The Lionheart

Image credit: Tribeca Film Festival

All my fingers are crossed that this documentary on Dan Wheldon gets major distribution/released this year. It made the festival circuit rounds to very positive reviews. Dan was an absolute legend of IndyCar. Over a decade after his passing at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, his story certainly has a place in Indy history. Dan was an absolute force, loved both on and off the track. This is his story as it is now his two sons, Sebastian and Oliver, who are racers as well. It is a tribute, and it is part of coping after a life-changing loss. HBO is said to still have the rights, so I’m praying it gets a Max release this year.

Honorable Mention: Win The Weekend

This came out last year, but it is perfect for those who are IMSA curious. It’s eight episodes and is a great way to spend a weekend. Get a first-hand look at the dashes of Acura, BMW, Cadillac, and Porsche. Last season, IMSA also introduced an electrified hybrid GT Prototype, pushing the tech of the sport forward in a fast-paced way only they could cook up. The 2024 IMSA starts January 19th with the 24 hours of Daytona.

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best formula 1 gifts
DealsFeatures

These are cool (last minute) gift ideas to impress Formula 1 fans

When gift buying for a Formula 1 fan, it’s important to consider a few things. Teams, drivers, tracks, champions, there’s a lot to take into consideration. If you’ve perused this space enough, you know the same designs and dropshipping tactics that pop up all over the internet. As someone with lots of F1 merch, I think I am uniquely qualified to make this list. This is especially true when I see roundups that include nothing but the most generic items I’ve ever seen. Seeing the same three Etsy stores is disheartening. We can do better. Let me guide you.

Oh! Also see these F1-centric, non-holiday-specific gift guides:

1) Clothing

Formula 1 tshrits
Image credit: Sheilah Villari

Two companies stand out for me in this space that I rarely see at races or at least haven’t seen in North America. However, Furious Motorsport‘s jerseys have a chokehold on the entirety of F1 TikTok. This is probably while you see a million of them at races. Hard not to when everyone and their mom is pitching a discount code. I do genuinely like what they make for their good quality. I wear my Danny Ricc one quite often. It’s just predictable.

It’s no secret I love my Finns, and Kimi will always be my number one. A cherished shirt in my collection is from Heritage Racing. It is, in fact, their Räikkönen tribute tee. I like this company because the tees are soft, wear/wash well, and you just don’t see them in the wild. I also like that all of their Icon collections hit a wide range of racing, so it’s not just for F1 fans. I’m grabbing one of their Rally shirts soon.

Another company to spotlight is Stint Apparel. It’s a small business with a female designer. I get so many compliments when I wear my Fernando Alonso gear out. And even after a million washes and surviving multiple gym trips, it’s held up so well. I’ve seen copycat versions on Etsy, but this brand is the real deal.

2) Wall art

Image credit: Sheilah Villari

This has been a great year from Grand Prix posters, and Alpha Romeo killed almost every one of their designs. Getting art directly from the creators or photographers is always the way to go. Jamey Price is one of the best motorsport photographers working right now, and his series on curbs from all the circuits is amazing. Any of those would look awesome in your home and certainly be a convo started.

I have not been able to stop thinking about this Charles as Lord Perceval print all summer since I saw it on Tumblr. I tracked down Jojogieriz’s INprint store along with Aphrostiel. Sites like INprint, Redbubble, Etsy, and Society6 are excellent places to discover new artists in the Formula 1 space. Instagram will often lead you down this path as well.

3) Stickers

Formula 1 gifts stickers
Image credit: Sheilah Villari

With the babygirlification of F1 this year (good or bad, it’s here), the rise of water bottle sticker collecting at the Grand Prix has happened. Much like the trading of “friendship” bracelets, this is another element that’s just kind of become part of the culture. Even the drivers wear them. I’m just as guilty of participating in these on both accounts.

Etsy is kind of a cease pool of stolen designs, but there are two creators I stand by and have a ton of their work. GoodLuckTess and DR3CreationsCo are both women-owned and designed. All of their stuff holds up well, even after a thousand washes, many road trips, and days at the track.

4) Memorabilia

Image credit: Sheilah Villari

Surprisingly enough, there is a lot of affordable official Formula 1 memorabilia available on the interwebs that would make excellent gifts. Yes, there are secondhand sites like eBay and Mercari, but it can be hard to trust a seller, even with authentication. I say let it come right from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Beyond the basics of signed gear (pictures, hats, gloves, etc.), they offer so much more for every fan. Replica suits, hand-cut bodywork keyrings, checkered flags, actual car parts re-engineered into lamps, the skies the limit. I just wish I had the space (and extra bucks) for this Mercedes Rear Wheel Rim table.

5) Track art

Image credit: Sheilah Villari

While neon signs of Monaco and COTA are cute, we can elevate this idea. I’m such a fan of track layouts and different circuits as 3D art. I think the Block Zone does this better than anyone. This makes the art piece more fun and interactive, so you could even help build it with your loved one. Each of the tracks is made with over 300 bricks that fit perfectly into place to display the flag of the country’s circuit, as well as the actual layout itself. These just pop if you need a bit of color on the walls.

If you are looking for a particular race from this past season to commemorate, Grand Prix Frames is a spectacular seller to buy from. The one downside is they currently only offer Max or the Ferrari boys as car options. But seeing as how Max won basically every race, it feels poetic in a way. KartaTrak provides a nice selection of circuits past and present; each is an intricate layered engraved mahogany wonder. This is definitely a more sophisticated option.

6) Subscriptions

Image credit: Sheilah Villari

A gift that keeps on giving is truly a great one. Take the stress out of your fave fanboy and fangirls season next year by just paying it ahead. Grab a yearly subscription to F1 Pro for just $80. You want the Pro version so they have access to all the features F1 TV has to offer. Being able to watch from any driver’s POV and get their radio feed during any race is the only way to watch. Also, having the ability to watch any race you want, whenever you want, wherever you want, is unprecedented. Might I suggest my favorite: the 2006 Monaco GP. They can even catch F2, F3, and F1 Academy races. It’s worth every penny.

To correspond with those races for next season, gift a monthly box from DriveCrate. Each month, they will receive a specially curated themed box of racing goodies directly related to the Grand Prix. I’ve seen the unboxing of these all over TikTok and getting an official that makes it worth it alone. It’s around $48 per box, so we understand if you want to pick out a special Grand Prix for your motorhead to be surprised with this. I’m genuinely excited to see how this company grows next season, what they pick, and the drivers they feature.

7) Experiences

Image credit: Sheilah Villari

If you are that person and would love to splash the cash on your loved one, grab them an experience package for a thrilling Grand Prix weekend. Now, I can tell you, that you can attend a GP without it costing your life savings, there is a way. You don’t have to attend all three days either but like, why are you there? Some packages can be as low as $1,300 for weekend attendance, but if you want the grandstand, a box, and paddock access, start adding a lot of zeroes. But who are we to judge?

Check the Instagram of specific drivers for more personal experience. Valtter has had packages all season with his gin company, and Max had one for Circuit Zandvoort (obviously). Most teams also offer tailored experiences for them and their drivers. Do a little digging, and you will find the right fit.

8) Adult beverages

Image credit: Sheilah Villari

If you don’t think of booze when you think of Formula 1, I’m not sure about you. We can start with the iconic “champagne.” Yes, I had to do that because it’s sparkling wine, as Ferrari is made in Italy. No podium celebration is complete without it, and neither should any of your celebrations. As someone who has consumed copious amounts of this, I highly recommend it.

It seems like alcohol is lucrative for many of the drivers on and off the grid. Danny Ricciardo has his wines, Jenson Button has partnered with Coachbuilt whisky for his own blend, and Valtteri Bottas has both a wine and a gin (co-owned with girlfriend, Tiffany Cromwell) company. I’d bet we will see more in the future, as many of the sponsors are booze based.

Not to be outdone, Lewis Hamilton released his non-alcoholic Almave a few weeks ago. It sold out almost everywhere already, as one would expect. Lewis is a man with a finger on the pulse of trends and saw his place in the market, too. And I have to say, I am deeply intrigued by it.

No matter what you pick up from this list, it will mean a lot to your Formula 1 fan. We are ravenous beasts. Not everyone understands it. And even if you don’t, you tried, and we love you for that.

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Acceleramota Toy Guide
Buying Guides

The 10 best car toys to gift this holiday

Gift-giving shouldn’t be stressful. It’s a fun time of year to shower our loved ones with presents we know they will appreciate. If you’ve got a car enthusiast to buy for, be they young or old, we’ve complied a list of unique toys to brighten their holiday. Car toys come in an array of categories but all are fun. I got to play with a few of these at this years Toy Fair in New York City back in October, so I can vouch for their awesomeness.

1 — Max Verstappen Funko Pop!

With the 2023 season closed, Max Verstappen remained Champion and Red Bull handily were in control all but one race this year. He’s an amazing driver, you can’t deny that. Even if you are a Max hater you have to admit he is the actual best. #SorryNotSorry. I got to see the first run of the new Red Bull and Mercedes Funko Pops at Toy Fair, and they are really that sweet in person. And of course you know I’ve got Valtteri in my living room.

2 — LEGO Speed Champions 1970 Ferrari building kit

LEGO is fun for all ages. I’m a big fan of these kits because it’s a great activity to pass a rainy or snowy few days. You don’t have to be a Ferrari fan to appreciate this model, but it doesn’t hurt. It’s only 261 pieces, but the detail is still pretty impeccable. LEGO is good like that. The classic Ferrari red and yellow color combo will pop anywhere you display this. Feel free to pretend the minifig is Mr. Smooth Operator himself, Carlos Sainz Jr.

3 — Jada Fast & Furious 1970 Dodge Charger RT remote control car

Ages ago I got to collab with Jada on the diecast Fast & Furious line they released. It was glorious. They make really quality beautiful replicas. Of course, I kept Dom’s Charger on my desk at work. This remote control version is just as awesome, maybe more so. If I had this one I would’ve been a menace driving it through the office. I love that these newer remotes are fully rechargeable by USB, although you do get batteries to start the action right away. The RC controller is hefty and durable, so no need to be gingerly with it. Sadly no Toretto is included.

4 — Sillbird transforming robot & racing car

Speaking of movies, we all can agree the only Transformers movie worth anything is Bumblebee. (Disclaimer: The actual best is the 1986 OG animated movie.) While this isn’t an officially licensed Bumblebee, it’s close enough. What makes this special is that it’s a teaching set for you and young ones to enjoy. There are 560 high quality pieces and this can be a great bonding gift. Or can gift this to a fidgety kid as a projector to concentrate on for a few hours. Step-by-step instructions make it user friendly and the finished product looks killer either as flashy race car or noble Autobot.

5 — NTT IndyCar Pato O’Ward figure

Pato O’Ward is having a moment and has emerged as IndyCar’s darling driver of 2023. Funny, young, adorable, and genuine. It’s easy to understand how he became a fan favorite. Making close ties with their F1 McLaren family, he is now officially a reserve driver for them and we couldn’t be happier. This is a great little gift for a Pato fan or McLaren Arrow IndyCar fan. We hope to see more successful races from him next season.

6 — Carrera Bull slot car racing track set

I got to see this set at Toy Fair and it is as beautiful and impressive as you’d think it would be. If you’ve got the space to set this up and keep it out, I would 100% do that. It looks stunning and is just as fun. There is something nostalgic about it as well, if you grew up with an older relative who always had one of these. Battle your friends and family with fast paced lane changes and smooth defensive moves. Lay the track for swerves, curves, crossovers, and nice long straight-aways. You can buy expansions and add up to six cars for a real competitive night. I found the controllers are exceptionally responsive and adaptive once you get going. This is an absolute slam dunk to have around for the holidays or any big gathering.

7 — Aoshima 1/32 Model Car – Nissan R34 Skyline GT-R

If you’ve ever wanted to build a model car but are intimated, Aoshima’s sets are for you. They couldn’t be easier. They take all the stress and time consuming nature of model building away. These kits are strangely relaxing and I’ve got a few of them. Aoshima has a ton of models to pick from, so if you find you love one you can create a whole series to show off. The instructions are in Japanese, but much like Ikea their are idiot-proof with pictures. I’ve never run into an issue getting a car put together, so I don’t think you will either. I do recommend getting a basic tool set to help with the assembly of tiny parts.

8 — Hot Wheels Barbie The Movie toy Corvette

I don’t know if there’s a part of me that will ever fall out of love with Hot Wheels. I’m sure for many of us they were a staple of our childhoods. Hours spent with siblings, friends, or on our own maneuvering these solid little metal cars all over the house and outdoors. Now, many are collectibles and make fantastic decorations for gearheads of all ages. Cars were always a things that brought my entire family together and in the Hot Wheels brand there is something for everyone.

9 — Yofe 24V electric go-kart – McLaren Edition

Another thing I saw at Toy Fair! Well, not exactly this one. I got to see Go-Kart’s Aston Martin version, which isn’t out just yet. They wouldn’t let me sit in it either. Rude, honestly. Something about them being made for kids and then me protesting that, “But I’m so little.” Officially licensed a full charge will get your lil ones over an hour of cruising excitement. I’m sure your child is also the size of Lando Norris (and under 135 lbs.), they will fit comfortably in the cushioned seat. There are two speeds at five and eight mph so nothing truly dangerous for them to accelerate to. It’s low to the ground for better control and would make a killer gift to unveil this holiday season.

10 — Miata plushie

Image credit: Autoplush (Etsy)

If you’re looking for a gift for your Sheilah or a Mazda enthusiast might I director you to the cutest plushie that’s ever existed. Yes, that is correct. The already adorable and endearing Mazda Miata can now be purchased as a cuddly stuffed animal. It’s available in five colors to vibe with that of your giftee, but you can never go wrong with a fetching red if you can’t decide.

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vegas hotels formula 1 1
FeaturesHot Takes

Here are our favorite F1 drivers as Las Vegas hotels, right on time for the Vegas Grand Prix

Well, that was interesting. In case you missed it, early this morning, we East Coasters witnessed Carlos Sainz’s car spark into oblivion after hitting an unsecured drain cover in the first free practice on a freshly constructed track. The Vegas Grand Prix could very well be a total disaster. With 3-day passes dropping to as low as $1,000 days before the race and frequent backlash and criticism from city locals, this experiment might have been a major miscalculation for Formula 1.

With free practice three later today/tomorrow morning, who knows what this race will have to offer? I certainly hope they figure out all the mishaps to keep drivers and fans safe. It might still be fantastic, but things at the moment do not look good. And people make fun of me for turning down the opportunity to go. Time might be on my side for this one.

With some hotel rates plummeting to 70% off what they were when the race was announced, inspiration was sparked. We decided to have some fun and give our readers a primer for this absolute debacle and spectacle. Here are a few Formula 1 drivers as iconic Vegas hotels.

“But Sheilah, what do they have in common?”

Honestly, a lot more than you’d think. This article practically wrote itself. Almost.

Lewis Hamilton / The Flamingo

lewis-flamingo
Image credit: Twitter, mercedesAMGF1, casino.com

The Flamingo is the oldest operating casino still on the Strip, so this seemed an obvious place to start. As Gabe stated in our group chat, “Lewis is The Flamingo, because he’s old, and I’ve heard of him.” The overall vibe is just pink, and if any driver can pull off pink and pastels, it’s Lewis. While the hotel has been updated and remodeled, the retro and classy feel remains. Lewis, being the second oldest driver on the grid, exudes the same energy. Lots of history, but still very much relevant and cherished. Plus, the gardens with all the exotic birds, wildlife, and pools are so zen. Tell me that’s not Sir Lewis.

Pierre Gasly / The Cromwell

Image credit: Twitter, gracingline, TripAdvisor

The Cromwell is newer but a bit weird. It’s drenched in velvet to give the illusion of something much more sensuous than it is. It’s also vaguely French-themed. This is 100% Pierre Gasly. He’s always mere seconds away from a dick joke or raunchy frat boy comment. But we will give credit where it’s due. Sometimes, they do land. The mirrors in the showers give off major sex party vibes. Of all the drivers, he seems the most likely to visit a strip club or brothel while here, it’s Pierre. Overall, The Cromwell is trying so hard to be sultry and ultimately translating into something a little weird and off-putting.

Lando Norris / The Luxor

Image credit: Cristiano Barni, Getty Images, Allied Esports

To the tune of Avril Lavigne: “He was a gamer boy…”

The Luxor is very recognizable, and we’d agree so is little Lando Norris. His quintessential curls, dashing smile, and papaya gear make him easy to spot. Both debuting in the 90s (early & late, respectively), each is a spectacle to behold. While on opposite ends of the size scale, they do have one very big thing in common: Esports. The Luxor is home to the HyperX Arena, the first permanent Esports venue on the Strip. The state-of-the-art gaming and broadcast center is available to both pros and amateurs who want to check out the 50-foot LED video wall.

And that’s something we love about Lando too. With his Quadrant brand, he’s brought gamers from all walks of life and levels together for exhilarating and wacky competitions. We want more and hope to see him in his bright orange race suit on the podium soon, even if it is virtual.

Logan Sargent / The Tropicana

Image credit: Jared C. Tilton, Getty Images, Instagram, troplv

“Florida man drives car 200 mph on Vegas Strip.”

The lone American and Miami boy himself, Logan Sargent, had to be the Tropicana. Everything in this hotel feels and looks like Miami. A bright and vibrant hotel, it feels more like a South Beach airport than a high-end casino. And that’s ok. It’s not trying to be anything other than a vintage touristy spot that is quite endearing. Just let it be Floridian and tropical.

Valtteri Bottas / The Excalibur

Imagine credit Instagram, valtteribottas, excalibur.mgmresorts.com

Valtteri Bottas is a legend and mythical. If that isn’t The Excalibur, I’m not sure what is. From his knightly mullet to his stately mustache, Valtteri is a man who isn’t afraid to be himself. Affectionally dubbed “Medieval Times on crack,” The Excalibur is a treasure trove of entertainment. Outside of the main attraction of the Tournament of Kings, you also get Thunder From Down Under.

This is fitting in two ways. A) Bottas has always been joked as being the most Aussie non-Aussie on the grid. And B) If there is any driver most likely to get naked at the drop of a hat, it’s him. He literally just made a calendar of his bearing his, well, his BottASS.

Fernando Alonso / The Sahara

Image credit: essentiallysports.com, lasvegas.com

A Vegas mainstay, the Sahara is one of the oldest independently operated hotels on the Strip. With over 20 years in Formula 1, we’d argue Fernando is also a beloved classic. The Sahara is modern, even if its age shows in a few places. It’s also a bit on the small size compared to the other hotels on the famous boulevard. But what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in flash and allure. Spanish Celebrity Chef José Andrés has his Bazaar Meat restaurant here, which is full of wacky experimental meals and cocktails. All of which are very expensive but ultimately well worth the experience.

Lance Stroll / The Four Seasons

Image credit: Twitter, samirsynthesis, fourseasons.com

Nice, clean, and expensive. That’s as Canadian and as Lance Stroll as it gets. A room can set you back $1,000 for a one-night stay. The Four Seasons is giving generic luxury, and sometimes so does Aston Martin. There is nothing very stylized or sensational about it, but it does smell like a refreshing spa.

George Russell / The Waldorf Astoria

Image credit: tommy.com, visitlasvegas.com

Posh. That’s all you need to know. Sleek and chic. George Russell serves swanky if the memes made in his honor are any indication. One of the few hotels without a casino, it’s meant to pull you off of the Strip and take your mind off the Vegas craziness. While the rooms aren’t cheap, you do feel like you’re living your best penthouse life, even in the lobby. The hallways feel upscale as well, with marble and stately fixtures. Tasteful, ritzy, and non-offensive.

Danny Ricciardo / The Venetian

Image credit: Moy, xpb images, Instagram, vegasreels

When I pitched this idea our Editor-in-Chief, Jeric Jaleco, chimed in with this, “Daniel Riccardo as the Venetian because it’s nice, and I like it.” And he’s not wrong to make that connection. Everyone loves the Venetian, and it’s a huge draw on the Strip for good reason. It’s a little silly but pretty and kind of Italian. The last time I was here, I did, in fact, do a gondola ride, which is kind of goofy but overall a charming encounter. Sometimes, you just do things for the plot.

Sidenote: We hear the Bellagio got a “Shoey” Bar in honor of Danny Ricc, so we would like to formally make this our plea to make that a permanent establishment.

Team Haas / The Mirage

Image credit: LAT Photo, tripadvisor.com

Haas is The Mirage for one very obvious reason. Me thinking Nico will ever end up on the podium is an illusion. No matter how many practices or qualifying sessions we are teased by both of these guys, we know it’s all for not. It’s not real. It was all a dream. It was a… Mirage.

If you are interested in catching the Vegas GP, it will be on Sunday at 1 a.m. (EST) on ESPN in North America and, as always, on F1TV.

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FeaturesHot Takes

NASCAR should learn from Liberty Media and F1: why their Ryan Blaney championship roll out was so sad

Say what you want about Liberty Media’s handling of the Formula 1 races in the US, but they kind of get it. I was at the Miami Grand Prix, and it was cringe as hell at times. Overall, though, incredibly fun. Something Liberty does very well is connecting with the right audience, even if there are missteps. Formula 1 is blessed with so many drivers with charismatic personalities that shine for the press.

Watching Danny Ricciardo command the late-night and podcast circuits with ease and charm for the Vegas Grand Prix is a dream for the Red Bull social and marketing teams. So how did NASCAR fumble the bag so spectacularly with the NYC media tour of their newest champion, Ryan Blaney? They literally had a playbook in front of them. They had exactly how F1 captured the hearts of America through a carefree Australian dripping in allure.

NASCAR crowns a new champion!

NASCAR couldn’t have asked for a better champion to emerge as their season winner a week ago in Phoenix. Ryan Blaney is funny, young, personable, and pedigreed. He is a likable nerd who is a fan favorite and beloved in the garage. He is the ideal bridge between all fans. NASCAR is very much suffering from an identity crisis and has been for years. This year, it felt like the tide was changing.

The success of the inaugural Chicago race, having Formula 1 legends like Jenson Button and Kimi Räikkönen make track appearances, and mixing old traditions with new ideas, all had to have interests peaked. Full disclosure: I am a Trackhouse girlie. But watching owners like Pitbull come in and fully support drivers such as Ross Chastain, Daniel Suarez, and, come the next season, Shane van Gisbergen breathes life into this entire series. It gives you hope that this product can’t just be good but great.

Trackhouse Racing
Image credit: Instagram, th_project91

Growing up loving NASCAR, there was only ever a brief moment when it felt so vibrant. The country, as a whole, knew who Jeff Gordan and Dale Earnhardt were. Motorsports was cool and lucrative. Perhaps the untimely and tragic passing of Earnhardt halted the sport’s growth. Perhaps. Then, Dale Earnhardt Jr. seemed poised to be the face of the brand and bring a younger audience in. The addition of an easy-on-the-eyes newcomer named Kasey Kane ticked female viewership up as well. But again, NASCAR just couldn’t fully capitalize long term.

Now, in 2023, after a rather good season (please hold your feelings about the playoff structure), with a very marketable champion, the stars aligned for NASCAR, and they couldn’t get it together. They fumbled on Ryan Blaney’s New York City Championship unveiling.

Here’s how.

1) Sending him to the Empire State Building.

Fine. Totally untestable, it is one of the most recognizable NYC landmarks. But for the love of whatever deity you believe, why was he in a blazer and dress pants? The man was still rocking his full playoff beard. And I get it to some degree. His girlfriend looked lovely as well. But if your sport is trying to target a new demographic, why not lean into what you are? I ask you, why was he not in his fire suit? The photo opportunity of him in his iconic yellow and black hoisting the trophy would be worth it alone. It’s just good business to be displaying your team name and sponsors to a wider audience because we always have to be making money. Also, it just looks dope. Do you know how many 20-something-year-old guys I saw dressed as Ricky Bobby and Cal Naughton, Jr. on Halloween this year? That movie is almost 20 years old. That is your audience. This is who you should be appealing to.

Image credit Instagram, NASCAR

2) Every sports champion pays homage and makes the talk show/podcast rounds now.

Danny Ric goes on Jimmy Kimmel and slays. Hell, even Christian Horner was a fantastic guest for Dax Shepard. He’s effervescent, lively, and dashing. Everyone falls in love or more in love. Ryan Blaney goes on (checks notes) Kelly and Mark. You know who watches Kelly and Mark? My mom, who ironically does know who Ryan Blaney is by way of his father. Why on earth would you put this man in front of an audience you are not aiming to convince to watch your sport? Ryan should’ve been in the Barstool office. He is absolutely the kind of guy who could vibe with Caleb and make a great viral video. Put this man in front of an engaged viewership that is under 50. He’s not a nobody. There was no reason you couldn’t get him in front of the right crowd. He drives for Team Penske, the family who literally owns almost all media news outlets. Do better.

Image credit: Instagram, livekellyandmark

3) No fun fan engagement.

Sure, they sent him to Times Square to stand there with the trophy and look at the Nasdaq building. Spectacular. Riveting. Insert sad face emoji. They so easily could have had the car and trophy downtown at the Seaport for photos and a meet and greet. Small things like this expand who could be interested in your sport. Formula 1 does popups and public events for their teams and drivers each race that are fun, fluffy, and inviting. It’s such a low lift. It’s the end of the season. Where is that car going after? What’s the risk? None.

Image credit: Instagram, NASCAR

It’s so disheartening to watch a sport I’ve loved for so long continually miss every opportunity to improve it and bring in new fans. I hope some of the F1 shine trickles down to NASCAR as it does for IndyCar. But if they continue with tactics like this, I have little to no hope. Regardless, I’ll be there next season in a Melon Man shirt, cheering on Mr. Worldwide’s team. At least he knows how to draw a crowd.

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