Safety Measures Formula E & Other Series

Recently, the Bowling shunt of the Formula E New York Race, reminded me of several issues that the Safety measures do not include in most series. Maybe as you read this, you wonder: Who is this guy to talk about safety in such a prestigious series? Well, I have organized racing events in my humble Guatemala (yes, there’s racing in Guatemala, we even have a racetrack!), over 115 of them over 20 years, I have seen the most ridiculous accidents happen and the others where people have died as well, but never in one of “my” events.

Copyright @

Drivers are like superstars, the more successful on track, the bigger the star; but I had the chance to see them come from their humble, very humble beginnings to see them grow through the years and become these icons of the sport. Now, in the end, they are human as we all are, believe me, they make mistakes and they learn as well but sometimes they forget to keep educating themselves and focus only on the data, their driving and leave safety on the hands of the engineers that put the cars together, they take it for granted and that should never be the case.

When I started, I started a small, small event, few competitors, mostly friends ready to have fun but I always recognized the dangers and so I immediately set basic safety rules and regulations that drivers and cars had to comply with. There were always accidents but only material damages, in part, luckily you may say, in part thanks to these regulations. As cars got faster, drivers more experienced, it got more dangerous, it also quickly stopped being the sport for a group of friends, other people started to participate, and so I started to apply more serious safety regulations. Now, these regulations, in a country where money and access to recognized safety brands has limits, and even if we did, money is a problem for sure, focused a lot on the consciousness of the danger, they appealed at the driver’s awareness and attention to what was going on around them. People think it’s just about going fast but in my experience, the fastest driver is not the one who wins most of the time, it’s the one who is more aware of his surroundings and of course, has the tools and the abilities to be fast as well.

Looking at the accident at this past weekend’s Formula E, many people would blame it on the rain, blame the race direction for allowing the race to go on, well I disagree with the people who feel that way, the best events I have ever organized have been in the rain. Yes, there is a limit where the race direction has to stop the race, of course, there are times when this moment is so difficult to recognize, but there is a confidence in the race director who knows the drivers and their preparation that allows him/them to recognize that moment with more confidence. People may be screaming to stop it but the confidence of this knowledge allows for the best racing moments a fan or a driver will ever remember.

Copyright @

How do you accomplish this? Communication is a good start, we use to have meetings at restaurants where I would explain the reasons for the regulations, see past cases, talk procedures and, as some people were “too busy” to participate and would like to just show up with a 300hp-1,600 pound-Civic to the racetrack, I made a test, pass it and participate, fail it and go home. In a small country, many powerful business people wanted to do this, and got truly frustrated at me, but in all the years only a handful at most, didn’t come back due to their egos. The safety of the people participating in the event was always most important to me and it grew in them to feel that as a priority as well.

Now, coming back to the Formula E shunt, engineers work hard to make cars safe, race direction also invests in safety time, to prepare the medical assistance to get to the drivers too, but there’s something I have always seen in racing that I do not agree with, after an accident, the frustrated, uninjured driver, starts to loosen his safety belts and getting out of their cars, I always told my drivers, after an accident while the race is not neutralized, stay in your cars, you are safe there in case someone else looses control and hits you. This, of course doesn’t involve a fire for sure but in 95% or more of the cases, it is true. I saw a driver get out of his car as other cars were passing by, behind him, even if the flags are out, the risk of being hit by another car is huge, and that is the driver awareness I am talking about, comes into play.

Enough talk about drivers… what about the marshal’s safety? Marshalls run towards the accident by pure hero instinct, but as hard an impact, they shouldn’t, until the race is neutralized. Again, there are exceptions like, again, fire. I always told my drivers, if there’s fire, prepare to bail, but try to stop near a marshal’s post, not because the marshals are going to help you but because they will have fire extinguishers that you can use yourselves. Drivers are wearing Nomex race suits that will protect them to a certain extent, marshals aren’t. Is it fair for the driver to jump of their car and point them to extinguish the fire? Drivers are largely commended when they do this on their own but it is what they should do, don’t you think? After the point I am making?

It’s a high risk sport, I just don’t agree with putting the marshals at high risk. If a car burns to the ground, so be it, but if a marshal looses his life, that is irrational to me. This is also achieved by working with the marshals, I had a very efficient group, and still mistakes were made, small mistakes that only race direction recognizes, but there are still mistakes. I agree with having volunteers and I can’t talk about the preparation that they receive before the event, but in such an expensive sport, they should receive a wage for sure.

Let’s keep the sport safe, common sense has to prevail.

Eddy Tobias

Copyright @

Zarco 1st, Marquez receives grid penalty

Johann Zarco will lead the field at Malasya. Copyright @
Johann Zarco will lead the field at Malasya. Copyright @

Yamaha’s independent rider Johann Zarco will launch from Pole for the Malasyan MotoGP race after Honda’s Marc Marquez received a penalty from the Stewards of 6 grid positions after impeding Andrea Iannone from Suzuki on the track.

So it’ll be an independent rider, Zarco from the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team who will have the privilege of starting the race from the first spot of the grid, followed by Valentino Rossi from the official Yamaha Movistar Team and Iannone will ride the Suzuki Team bike from 3rd.

The second row will be filled with Ducati bikes with the official Team leading with Andre Dovizioso 4th, followed by Jack Miller and Danilo Petrucci.

The title race is over with Marquez claiming it last race at Valencia but the fight for second remains open.

Kimi Raikkönen wins the United States Race F1

Max Verstappen from 15th to 2nd at COTA. Copyright @
Max Verstappen from 15th to 2nd at COTA. Copyright @

Ferrari breathes a little longer on the Driver´s Championship fight, and that´s thanks to Kimi and not Sebastien Vettel who, again, had difficulties in the first lap where he went from 5th to 14th after under steering into the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo in between turns 12 and 13 of the track.  Track was really dirty when he made the move on the Red Bull in the straight from turn 11 towards 12 and then he just lost the front while being pressured by Ricciardo on the outside. Ricciardo went on to retire after lap 9 with yet another mechanical failure.

But the race didn´t really end there, Max Verstappen was to play an important part, with an outstanding start, going from 15th to 5th in 7 laps, by lap 9, the Virtual Safety Car was announced due to Ricciardo´s Red Bull stopped on track and Mercedes reacted by pitting Hamilton and changing to the harder Soft Tire compound. That proved to be to early, he looked on course to a win by mid-race but his tires started to give up by lap 35 of 56 and he was being caught up by Raikkönen and Verstappen so he had to pit again and even though he did catch up with Verstappen and made a try coming out of turn 17, he ran wide and briefly off and had to settle for third.. Vettel eventually managed to overtake Valteri Bottas for 4th position who was struggling with the Soft compound as his team mate had before.

With this result, the Driver´s Championship is still open with 75 points in play and Hamilton only needing to outscore Vettel by 5 points in order to win the tittle. Mexico comes next in one week´s time.

Nico Hulkenberg finished 6th place followed by Carlos Sainz who received a 5 second penalty but proved a good result for Renault.  This result was helped by HASS driver Romain Grosjean hitting the Sauber of Charles Leclerc in the first lap of the race at turn 12, which dropped the Sauber of Leclerc who eventually retired as so did the HASS driver. 8th place went to the Force India of Esteban Ocon who kept clear of problems, 9th for the second HASS of Kevin Magnussen and 10th to the 2nd Force India of Sergio Perez for the last point.

People really enjoyed the Iceman´s win, specially Ferrari, who ends the domination of Mercedes at the American racetrack.

1 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1.40.338 25
2 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1.39.494 18
3 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1.39.033 15
4 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1.38.708 12
5 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1.42.673 10
6 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1.41.837 8
7 55 Carlos Sainz Renault 1.41.922 6
8 31 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1.43.142 4
9 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1.43.413 2
10 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1.42.670 1
11 39 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1.40.380
12 94 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1.40.352
13 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 1.40.439
14 10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1.42.132
15 35 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes 1.43.902
16 18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1.43.967
17 16 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari RETIRED
18 3 Daniel Riccardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer RETIRED
19 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari RETIRED
20 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda RETIRED




Marquez wins in Japan, Dovi crashes out, 5th title for the Spaniard

In what was nothing but a totally exciting race, Marc Marquez won his 5th MotoGP title becoming the youngest and joining a very short list of elite riders Rossi, Doohan and Agostini. His main rival, the Italian Andrea Dovizioso launched at the start and held the lead brilliantly in his Ducati until his front tire gave up two laps from the checkered flag and he crashed out of the race and the title fight as well. Marquez put a lot of pressure from the start and he and Cal Crutchlow were the only ones that could keep up with the rhythm Dovi was imposing with Crutchlow fading out in the end as the two title contenders went into that extra gear of their own.

After Dovi´s fall, Marquez had his way clear to the win, Crutchlow barely held on to the 2nd position with Alex Rins in the Suzuki setting very fast pace in the second half of the race in a determined charge to the front. Andrea Iannone, the other Suzuki rider moved along with his team mate past Valentino Rossi but couldn´t match his team mate´s pace and crashed out as well, leaving Rossi with the 4th place of the race. Alvaro Bautista finished 5th, followed by Zarco, Viñales, Pedrosa, Petrucci and Syahrin.

Next stop is Phillip Island..

Marc Marquez wins the Japan MotoGP race. Copyright @
Marc Marquez wins the Japan MotoGP race. Copyright @

Qualifying Results


Qualifying press conference at COTA. Copyright @
Qualifying press conference at COTA. Copyright @

What an intense qualifying, Alonso, Sirotkin, Stroll, Ericsson and Vandorne were out in the first session. In the second qualifying session,  Verstappen ran out of the track and his car suffered a damage in the back tire so he will have to start 15th. Gasly, Hartley and Verstappen didn’t set a time in the second session and from the rest, Sainz and Magnussen were eliminated.

All out in the third session, it was Hamilton who managed to beat Vettel to the line with a difference of 0.068 seconds! Ferrari surely showed good pace once again but there’s uncertainty with the tires for tomorrow’s race since the practice sessions were disputed in rainy conditions and the race is expected to be in dry conditions… This time it was Esteban Ocon who beat the rest of the drivers not from the top teams…


    DRIVER TEAM 1st. 2nd. 3rd.
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes     1.32.237
2 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari     1.32.298
3 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari     1.32.307
4 77 Valtteri Botas Mercedes     1.32.616
5 3 Daniel Riccardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer     1.33.494
6 31 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes     1.34.145
7 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault     1.34.215
8 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari     1.34.250
9 16 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari     1.34.420
10 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes     1.34.594
11 55 Carlos Sainz Renault   1.34.566  
12 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari   1.34.732  
13 10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso      
14 39 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso      
15 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer      
16 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 1.35.294    
17 35 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes 1.35.362    
18 18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1.35.480    
19 94 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1.35.536    
20 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 1.35.735  


3rd Practice Results USGP 2018

Vettel fastest in 3rd Practice at COTA. Copyright @
Vettel fastest in 3rd Practice at COTA. Copyright @

Ferrari dominates the 3rd Practice session and first in dry conditions. With this times set by the Ferraris, still followed close by the Mercedes, they set the frame for what could be an interesting race, remember the best position Vettel may have is third, after his penalty so this could easily be a pole for Kimi Raikkönen who has played a real teammate part for Ferrari this year. Vettel’s mistakes have cost him dearly, let’s see if he makes up from here on.

Charles Leclerc was fastest of the rest, considering the three top Teams are faster, from his time to Fernando Alonso’s time there was only 1 second separating the 14 cars.

Third Practice Session
1 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1.33.797
2 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1.33.843
3 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1.33.870
4 77 Valtteri Botas Mercedes 1.34.556
5 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1.34.703
6 3 Daniel Riccardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1.34.910
7 16 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari 1.35.365
8 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1.35.411
9 55 Carlos Sainz Renault 1.35.450
10 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1.35.468
11 31 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1.35.562
12 10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1.35.713
13 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1.35.770
14 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1.35.882
15 94 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1.36.00
16 18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1.36.188
17 35 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes 1.36.193
18 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 1.36.302
19 39 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1.36.330
20 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 1.36.332

Vettel receives a 3 position grid penalty

Sebastien Vettel received a 3 position grid penalty due to not respecting a red flag during the 2nd Free Practice at the US Grand Prix. This will not help him stay in the Championship fight with Mercedes Benz driver Lewis Hamilton who is now 67 points clear in title fight with 4 races to go and 100 points in play. After this race, there will be only 75 points remaining which means that if the gap after this race is over 75 points Hamilton will be the winner. So Hamilton needs to add 8 points more than Vettel to be declared the winner, if he wins the race he receives 25 points with second place receiving 18 and third 15… Vettel would need to finish 2nd… In other words, it’s really difficult for Vettel to continue his hopes for the title if he doesn’t win this race and 3 grid spots as penalty are only going to make it harder but who can guarantee Hamilton won’t hit issues, to win first he has to finish…

Weather has improved significantly, a dry track is expected for the Third Practice session as well as Qualifying as well as the race. It’s going to be all or nothing in Qualifying for Ferrari for sure.

Sebastien Vettel at the USGP 2018. Copyright @
Sebastien Vettel at the USGP 2018. Copyright @

Speed leads championship after win at the DirtFish ARX at COTA

Speed wins at the ARX COTA. Photo: Dave Wilson Copyright @
Speed wins at the ARX COTA. Photo: Dave Wilson Copyright @

Scott Speed reigns the ARX Championship after the 2nd round held at Circuit Of The Americas in Austin Texas. It was the first formal ARX weekend in Americ and the first official use of the new track in Austin for this kind of event in preparation for receiving the World RX in late September. Ken Block finished 2nd in his Ford Fiesta ahead of Tanner Foust in the second Beetle.

For most North-Americans, this kind of event is unknown, but it is pretty exciting as this powerful rally-like cars run in a asphalt/dirt track that usually includes jumps (as you can see in the picture above) and a lot of car bruising takes place since it’s so tight to pass. It’s not a single loop track, it has what is called a Joker, which consists of a separate loop, like a pit lane, except you go flat out and takes longer to complete than a normal lap. Driver’s must complete one Joker lap from the 6 lap race and that’s when strategy comes into play as the teams have a guy called a Spotter who basically makes real time calculations and according to position tells his driver when to take the Joker, for example, a bad start would probably be compensated by taking it on the first lap and a good start at the end… It all depends on the race circumstances and the Spotter will play a very important role as bad timing for a Joker lap would destroy the chances of any driver.


It’s pure excitement from start to finish, qualifying rounds are held and each driver must complete at least two and make a time good enough to be in the semi-finals where position takes the top finishers to the final. They start from a standstill position so the reaction must be good as well, not to mention the top of the line drivers that will really put on a show.

Block split the VW's in his Ford for 2nd at COTA. Photo: Dave Wilson Copyright @
Block split the VW’s in his Ford for 2nd at COTA. Photo: Dave Wilson Copyright @

In Europe the World RX is a big thing, with drivers like Mathias Ekstrom winner of the Touring Car Championship in Germany (DTM), 9-time World Rally Championship Sebastien Loeb, and the driver who established the parameters from the start of the Series, Petter Solberg, also World Rally Championship winner. In the US, ex-Formula 1 driver Scott Speed, Fast and Furious and TV showman/stuntman, drifter at heart, Tanner Foust, both competing for Andretti in a couple of VW Beetles.. ex-Subaru World Rally driver Chris Atkinson, the famous X-Gamer Travis Pastrana, Patrick Sandell all racing for Subaru.. Hoonigan’s representative in the likes of Ken Block..

This event is for fans to go watch and enjoy at the track, excellent drivers in a super competitive environment with truly beautiful super cars giving it all!

This first race at COTA also marked the first race for ARX2 competitors, young guns in equal machines! Conner Martell managed to recover from a clutch problem in one of the qualifying runs to win the extremely fought race behind him with Christian Brooks and Cole Keatts in second and third. Next round will take place August 4-5 in Canada.

ARX2 winner, Connor Martel, recover well at COTA. Photo: Dave Wilson Copyright @
ARX2 winner, Connor Martel, recover well at COTA. Photo: Dave Wilson Copyright @

THE most exciting MotoGP race ever?

Marquez, Rins and Viñales share the podium at the Dutch TT MotoGP race. Copyright @
Marquez, Rins and Viñales share the podium at the Dutch TT MotoGP race. Copyright @

Perhaps I can’t, couldn’t, shouldn’t say it was, but in recent MotoGP history it must have been… Marquez took pole at Assen, he seemed to have the pace to out run the competition but a super fast starting Lorenzo jumped from 8th to first by the first corner and managed to hold on for several laps, perhaps way more than what anyone could have predicted. That triggered a series of over taking maneuvers from everybody behind with riders going up and down the position standings lap after lap and with some of the wildest saves we could have imagined possible.


Lorenzo for one, lost the front while followed by Rossi at no less than 195km/h and not only the Yamaha hit the back of the Ducati pretty hard, somehow Loreny managed to stay on the Ducati and keep leading for more laps!!! That was surreal to watch.

Marquez stayed second most of the time but not without his good share of luck as well, a very focused Alex Rins put his Suzuki on the inside of the Honda and both riders touched with Marquez loosing it… Did I say he lost it? No, in the surreal MotoGP world he didn’t, he not only held on, he payed back the maneuver to Rins after a couple of laps and went on to win this fantastic fairy tale race. Rossi led the race for a moment, Viñales came from the back, joined the party and led the race for a brief moment as well, Doviziosso led the race as well so it was a race worth watching from the start to finish.

Battles developed everywhere, we could say all bike brands shined at one or another point of the track and race, some took advantage of the cornering speed, some gained momentum on the straights, some under braking and some under acceleration.

Next round is at the Sachsenring in Germany on July 15th. For the Dutch TT results click here.  For the current Championship standings here.

Lorenzo leads the Dutch TT MotoGP race. Copyright @
Lorenzo leads the Dutch TT MotoGP race. Copyright @


Hamilton pushes hard as Ferrari keeps on fighting

Hamilton recovers the lead from Vettel at the USGP. Copyright @ Wise Racing World
Hamilton recovers the lead from Vettel at the USGP. Copyright @ Wise Racing World

A very exciting race was witnessed by the huge crowd of F1 followers that attended the Circuit Of The Americas this weekend.  Hamilton lost the lead at the start but regained it and never let go again making his one stop strategy work against a competitive Ferrari team that switched Vettel to a two stop in order to give him the chance to fight at the end but it wasn´t enough. This move however created renewed expectations by the fans and made it a very interesting race with several overtaking maneuvers all around. Also with a three stop strategy, Verstappen who came from the back with excellent pace, managed to overtake Ferrari´s Kimi Räikkönen on the last corner of the last lap but was penalized for cutting the previous corner gaining the necessary advantage to make the pass finishing 4th.

Alonso and Ricciardo had to retire both after mechanical failures, Bottas had a lot of trouble to make his one stop strategy work and it seemed the team reacted late to aid him and change it to a two stop when he couldn´t fend off the attack of the fresh rubber cars coming behind him finishing 5th. Force India added valuable points as a team, with Ocon finishing 6th and Perez 8th. Carlos Sainz impressed with his strong performance in a new team, new car, managing 7th position. Felipe Massa held off a strong attack and finished 9th for Williams followed by Toro Rosso´s Daniil Kvyat.  New Zealand´s Brendon Hartley pushed hard and managed to finish 13th keeping it together as he covered for the new Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly

Next race is in one week´s time, the Mexican Grand Prix.