Crofty's Tracks 2017

We Don’t Know - The Strumberellas

More top music from Canada, this time from Ontario six-piece The Strumberellas. We Don’t Know is the bands favourite track from their last album ‘Hope’ and it’s easy to see why. It’s catchy sing-along chorus should have you hooked pretty quickly, I know it did me, from the first time I came across the track. The song made the Top 20 of the US Alternative Chart when it was released last Autumn, such a shame it didn’t get more airplay in the UK. Why it didn’t, I certainly Don’t Know?

 

David Croft Writes for Silverstone

So, here’s your starter for ten this week. Is it just me or are we falling in love with Fratelli d’Italia once again? You don’t know the song? Trust me you do. It goes something like this Da da da daaa, da da da daaa, da da da daaa, da da da daaa. You’ve got it, it’s the national anthem, one of the most jolly happy national anthems you could ever wish for and one that, for the 226th time in Formula 1 history, was played out in Bahrain on Sunday night.

After the fireworks had left their red stains on the night sky, Sebastian Vettel stepped out, dancing his way onto the podium – note to Seb here, the Egyptian Walk isn’t really a local dance in this part of the Middle East, but it was a nice try. The trophy he said, “is really special here, one of the best of the season”, and he should know, it’s the third time he’s held it aloft.

But it’s the first time he’s done so as a Ferrari driver and you can tell that it means so much to him. The Scuderia is back, ladies and gentlemen, and all is right with the world. After a long period of expectation, followed by exasperation, the most famous team of them all has appeared on the track in 2017, taken two of the first three races, backed up their winter testing form and look like genuine championship contenders.

Now, come on Crofty you say, there’s a long way to go this season and anything could happen. Which is true, it could, but that’s not the point. The point is that they look like contenders rather than flattering to deceive, and after three years where Mercedes have lead the way to the extent that you felt they could have beaten the rest with one wheel tied behind their backs, isn’t it great not only to see a challenger emerge, but for that challenger to be Ferrari.

David Croft Writes for Silverstone

It’s Thursday morning, somewhere around 11am.  Could be the afternoon though, or the evening, my body clock isn’t quite sure where it is as I stare at the lift doors in front of me.

I’m heading up to the Media Centre at the circuit. Nine floors up and housed in a bridge that spans the track. Right where Giovinazzi crashed in qualifying, and the race. Poor lad, he did have a proper weekend to forget.

Anyway, I’m staring at the lift doors and thinking to myself, I like leaning! I’m also quite a fan of a random button pushing! And whilst I’m not overly keen on slapping the door, I most definitely do enjoy playing and jumping! Who is the person responsible for taking all of these glorious things away from me and is this conclusive proof that F1 just isn’t fun anymore?

Maybe that’s a bit over the top, but I wasn’t happy that leaning, one of life’s best pastimes, had been taken away from me. So, with a little frown on my face, I ventured into the Media Centre to pick up some pre-race weekend info from the nice people at the FIA.

Crofty's Tracks 2017

Come Join The Murder - The White Buffalo

No spoilers here, I’m way behind on Sons Of Anarchy, but I know when I get to the finale I’ll be hearing this tune from Jake Smith, a.k.a The White Buffalo in the finale, eventually. It’s a sprawling, epic song from one of the finest Americana writers out there at the moment and quite frankly, encourages binge watching as I can’t wait to see and hear how it fits in to the end.

 

 

David Croft Writes for Silverstone

There’s not a single person in the F1 world that doesn’t like coming to Melbourne, I’m sure of it. Maybe those in charge of logistics might disagree, after all, it’s a long way from the factories for all those last minute ‘go faster’ parts to get to the track. But in terms of atmosphere and entertainment for the fans it’s a brilliant way to start the new season.

On Sunday morning the fans were queuing round the block to get in. I’ve never personally seen queues like it at Albert Park and whilst I’m not going to claim that there was a record attendance, I’d like to think that numbers were up on previous years.

Fed a non-stop diet of on track action and noise from the skies, there are plenty of reasons to be queuing from the early morning too. As there will be at Silverstone when you come along in July, there’s plenty of support series racing, Aussie V8’s being the highlight in Melbourne, along with the daily visit from the Royal Australian Air Force. A display so loud that it actually shakes my commentary box. Not just mine either, wherever you stand you feel your rib cage rattling. This year though, thanks to my new Isolate ear plugs I actually managed to get a shot of the plane flying overhead. Previous attempts had failed because a) the plane was going too fast and b) taking a photo whilst trying to stick your fingers in your ears to avoid deafness is a pretty pointless exercise.

Now at this stage, I could make a subtle link from my own personal pointless exercise to the new F1 regulations, which according to some of the tweets I received after the race, you believe to be a total waste of time too.

I fear that this blog might just take on a similar theme to years previous where I implore you all to have patience and a bit of faith in the night, and not get to negative too quickly. Maybe it’s the way of life but I do get the sense that we are all guilty from time to time of over reacting to change and quick to condemn.

I’m well aware that there wasn’t much overtaking in Sunday’s race, trust me I was watching every moment. But Melbourne is a track where overtaking can be tricky enough at the best of times, so let’s not declare the new regulations a total failure just yet.

One race, people, where apparently F1 became a total bore fest. Or where some wish they hadn’t bothered getting out of bed. Or where there was no racing whatsoever, definitely not better than before. So many tweets, so much negativity and whilst you’re all very much entitled to an opinion, shouldn’t we be a little balanced here?

David Croft Writes for Silverstone

Testing, testing, one-two, one-two, as they say. Well they do if they’re my mate Baggy for instance. He’s a sound engineer and probably says that quite a bit, but you might not have uttered that phrase ever, I really don’t know.

Either way, it’s all been about testing in the last couple of weeks in the world of F1. Eight days where the new cars were put through their paces and where the teams battled to find the sweet spot and try to put their car in a window of performance in time for the first Grand Prix.

In truth, most will have come back from Barcelona thinking that they’re sat on the ledge outside their required window of performance, whilst some will have gone back to base believing the window was still firmly shut. From what I could gather from the various conversations I had over the course of the four days I spent in Barcelona, nobody was completely happy.

Not even Ferrari who, for the second year running, posted the fastest two times. And, unlike last year, preferred to let their car do most of the talking, rather than make bold predictions. Information was scarce from the Scuderia, but the reliability was good and the times, at first glance, impressive.

Beware, though, of reading too much into the times. Some teams were definitely hiding their true pace, Ferrari may not have been hiding as much as some.

Crofty's Tracks 2017

Legendary - Welshly Arms

With a name taken from a Saturday Night Live sketch - hot tub at the Welshly Arms Hotel anyone? - a love of blues with rhythm and soul and good old rock ’n’ roll, what is there not to like about Welshly Arms? And when it comes to this track, what is there not to LOVE? The band have just signed a deal with Universal Music in Europe, so with a bit of luck you’re going to be hearing a lot from them this year, and as for this track…. I don’t think I need to say anything other than it’s… well… just… Legendary! Actually no, it’s better than that!!

David Croft Writes for Silverstone

Is it too late to wish you all a Happy New Year? Probably, but it’s been ages since I last wrote a blog and it feels only right to do so. Because, in Formula 1 terms, after two weeks of launches and the start of testing today, the new year and the new season finally feels like it’s getting underway.

A new and improved Formula 1? Well that’s the hope of course, and there’s plenty of hope and expectancy at the moment that the 2017 season won’t be dominated by one team and their two drivers.

Certainly we have a new look to the cars and, for some teams, new colours to those new look cars too. Even the sport itself has new people at the helm, controlling the commercial side and making new promises for the future.

The launches have been eagerly anticipated and that anticipation has turned into plenty of debate as to which cars look the best, which look the fastest, and on Friday, whether it was the old Arrows or the Marussia that proved the inspiration for McLaren’s new colour scheme? For the record and in answer to the many tweets I’ve had on the subject of the new livery, I don’t dislike it, it’s a colour scheme after all. The important thing is whether the car is more competitive than it has been for the last couple of seasons. With Ron Dennis no longer at the helm though it was important for the team to park that era in the past and I like the fact that they turned to the original Bruce McLaren livery as inspiration. But the end result does rather look like a compromise of the toughest of the dozen people that Zac Brown said were involved in the decision.

David Croft Writes for Silverstone

So Lewis Hamilton won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and Nico Rosberg became the 2016 Formula 1 World Champion. Who’d have thought that eh? Well, to be honest, most of us. It was always the likely scenario but what a tense 55 laps they were on Sunday. Funny how a race run at such a slow pace, turned into such an enthralling spectacle as Lewis Hamilton tried his damnedest to secure a 4th title.

In doing so he went against the wishes and instructions of his Mercedes team. Ignored the calls from his race engineer, Pete Bonnington, to speed up a bit and also from Paddy Lowe, his boss, that the pace he was running was threatening a Mercedes win.

So were Mercedes right to make those calls and was Lewis right to run the race for his own aspirations rather than those of the team? So many opinions have been expressed, but now we’ve had a chance to calm down a bit, here’s how I see it.

Crofty's Tracks

Dropkick Murphys - Blood

The first single aken from their first album release in 4 years, ’11 short stories of pain and glory’ Blood is another one of those typically brilliant anthems from a band who haven’t half released a few decent anthems over the years. “If you want Blood we’ll give you some” they scream, well yes please and hopefully some UK dates on their tour next year as well!