Kim Reimer

F1 drivers ready to cheer on home nations at FIFA World Cup

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F1 might be one of the series that we primarily focus on at MotorSportsTalk, but sometimes we find ways to branch out into other sports. In this case, it’s soccer.

With the FIFA World Cup coming up in Brazil, a number of the current Formula 1 drivers are looking forwards to cheering on their home nations at the biggest event in soccer, and it is a good way for them to wind down from the racing.

“Yeah, I love football, I watch everything, so I will maybe be watching most of the games,” Brazilian driver Felipe Massa explained during the FIA press conference on Thursday. “I really hope that Brazil can be there in the final. To win the championship at home would be fantastic so I will be there watching and supporting Brazil.” Felipe, there’s a good chance that might just happen.

Germany will enjoy a considerable amount of support from the F1 paddock, with four drivers on the grid. “Well I hope that Germany is going to be good,” Nico Hulkenberg said. “But I’m not a football expert but I’m sure I’m going to be behind the TV following the World Cup.”

The likes of Mario Gotze and Manuel Neuer will also enjoy some support from Adrian Sutil, whose allegiance is split: “I’ll be watching, cheering for Uruguay and Germany, because I’m half Uruguayan.”

Uruguay is tasked with getting through a group that includes Italy and England, with the latter having the faintest of hopes of repeating its triumph in 1966.

Lewis Hamilton is hoping to get out to Brazil to watch a game, saying: “I don’t follow it as much, but I will probably catch a few games and I want to try and see if we can go out to one of the games at least. The dream will be to go and watch Brazil and England play, that would be pretty awesome.”

Compatriot Jenson Button said: “Yes, I totally agree. I’m not a massive football fan, I don’t support a team but when it comes to nationalities, countries playing, obviously I will be supporting England and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Final word to Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi: “Me? On soccer? I don’t really care so I don’t follow anything. All I know is that Japan is not really strong so I don’t care.”

The FIFA World Cup gets underway on June 13th in Brazil. Be sure to check out ProSoccerTalk for all of the latest reports and news from the tournament.

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Gabby Chaves

Gabby Chaves
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MotorSportsTalk continues its run through the driver-by-driver field in the Verizon IndyCar Series. In 15th and the rookie-of-the-year for 2015, was Gabby Chaves.

Gabby Chaves, No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda

  • 2014: Indy Lights champion
  • 2015: 15th Place, Best Finish 9th, Best Start 12th, 0 Top-5, 2 Top-10, 31 Laps Led, 19.3 Avg. Start, 14.4 Avg. Finish

Some drivers finish better than their performances show. Some drivers have performances better than their results show. The latter statement applied to Gabby Chaves in his rookie year, in what was an impressive first season after making the step up from Indy Lights, which deservedly earned him rookie-of-the-year honors.

The best comparison I’d make for Gabby is of Josef Newgarden in 2012 with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, a first-year driver on a single-car, newish team to the series.

Chaves rarely dazzled in qualifying but that wasn’t his fault; he and engineer John Dick worked well together and Chaves recounted multiple times this year that a tweak here or tweak there, the wrong way, on the aero kit would send them down the wrong setup path.

Results in races didn’t measure up either but again that was through almost no fault of his own. The only time Chaves looked truly like a rookie was at St. Pete, when he had several collisions. Otherwise he was ahead of eventual winner James Hinchcliffe at NOLA before getting punted off, reliable through the month of May in Indianapolis, finally able to break through for a ninth place in Detroit race two, overachieving in Texas, 11th at Milwaukee after some great wheel-to-wheel racing with series winners and champions, and then phenomenal at Pocono as he was on course for a first career win or podium before late-race engine issues – his first DNF of the season.

For both Chaves and Herta, you’d love to see them together for another season, and the results and confidence for both parties will grow as a result. Those who’ve seen Newgarden’s rise over four years with Fisher and now CFH will note the long-term stability, and that’s what Chaves could do if he gets the time.

He planted the seed of being a great IndyCar driver, and he became pretty versatile during the year too with additional appearances in the DeltaWing prototype, a short-track midget and one of Herta’s Red Bull Global Rallycross cars. To boot, he’s a smart, great kid who is mature beyond his years, and someone you should be buying stock in now. Anyone who saw Chaves in the Mazda Road to Indy should not have been surprised by his rookie season in the big cars.

Off The Grid: Monza preview (premieres Saturday 10/10 on NBCSN)

F1 Grand Prix of Italy
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Having already taken you behind the scenes in Barcelona, Budapest, Singapore, Melbourne and Silverstone, Will Buxton and Jason Swales now head to one of Formula 1’s most iconic venues for the latest episode of Off The Grid.

Monza has appeared in all but one F1 season since the formation of the world championship in 1950, and is a firm favorite among drivers, teams and fans alike.

However, there is far more to the Italian Grand Prix than meets the eye, as we find out in Saturday’s premiere of Off The Grid: Monza at 9:30am ET (follows Russian GP qualifying).

Having honed his talents in go-karts as a kid, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo is now trying to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of racers. But can he teach Will or Jason a thing or two?

We also catch up with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and get a feel for life on the road as he takes us for a tour of his lavish bus in which he travels in for the European F1 races.

Have you ever wondered just how the suits F1 drivers wear are made? We go behind the scenes at Alpine Stars’ factory in Italy and find out.

Off The Grid: Monza premieres on Saturday at 9:30am ET on NBCSN following Russian GP qualifying.