Pre Season Chat With Ali Rushforth


As I’ve said from the beginning, I intend to pretty much diary my pit lane and paddock antics this season while Ben does his around Europe, its fast turning into a double edged sword as the 1st weekend in May comes ever closer as Ben leaves May 1st for Barcelona, the flip side is I am sure that I will meet a wide variety of new friendly faces, from differing walks of life and plenty of interesting conversations to be had.

As the MG Trophy Championship starts on May 2nd at Brands Hatch, I thought it would be a good time to catch up with Ali Rushforth and find out a bit more about what goes on in the final run up weeks to a season start.

I, for one am so overly excited for this so while I was at it I wanted to know how Quali work and the points system, hopefully I’m not alone in that I have more enjoyment when I understand more about a formula and as I have confessed previously the MG Trophy is a new one for me so i’ve shared this also as I know I’m not the only newbie this year!


Q) How’s the season’s preparation going?

A) Very well, there wasn’t a great deal that needed doing as maintaining the car is a constant process. There’s a few bits and pieces I’d like to change on the car to aid the evolution of it but these are niceties not necessities.

Q) How excited are you for the season ahead?

A) Very!! I think I’ve said before that I had considered a year off in order to concentrate on Lewis starting karting but after recent visits to race circuits to run other drivers, my enthusiasm has been reignited and now I can’t wait for the season to really kick off.

Q) How’s the car looking and more importantly sounding?

A) She is under-going a bit of a make over and even if I do say so myself, she looks amazing and will look even better when the final touches are added.

Q) Any chance of testing likely to happen?

A) Probably not although I may try and run the engine for a bit before round 1 following a top end rebuild.

Q) Apart from yourself and the car, what else have you got to get ready?

A) Finances, Logistics of getting everything/one there, Sponsor tickets, Food/Drink, Hospitality equipment, Personnel, Accommodation.

Q) I notice the car is a she, does she have a name?

A) Was originally Maria-Grace as to keep the initials MG, however I decided to follow what F1 Stock Car drivers do and name her after my wife, so its Becky.

Q) OK so I see there is a mountain of things to tick off the list before setting off for Brands Hatch , at what point can you get into the zone so to speak and think/concentrate on a good Quali for a great race win?

A) I’ll probably be in racing driver mode when I go to bed on the Friday evening following a cycle around the track.

Q) The BIG question….are you going to win the championship this year?

A) I’ll be giving it a damn good go again. This year however sees class C of the MG Trophy being the most competitive in it’s history with 20 cars in that class alone entered for Brands Hatch. The points system means that any driver in  any of the classes could become overall champion so we may find the classes with fewer drivers are able to score consistent points throughout the year. Rest assured though that I’ll be giving it 110% from the first green light of the year.

The MG Trophy Championship will be over 12 rounds :-

1 & 2 – May 2/3rd Brands Hatch Indy

3 & 4 – May 30th Donington

5 & 6 – June 20/21st Silverstone GP

7 & 8 – August 8th Castle Combe

9 & 10 September 12th Oulton Park

11 & 12- October 10/11th Snetterton


Qualification is done over 20 mins, the results of which the overall fastest lap gives you pole position for race 1 and the 2nd fastest lap time gives positions for race 2.

Points Awarding System :-

1 point – Fastest Lap in each class

1 point – Pole Position in each class

Race points are awards as follows – 1st (20), 2nd (17), 3rd (16), 4th (15), 5th (14), 6th (13), 7th (12), 8th (11), 9th (10), 10th (9), 11th (8), 12th (7), 13th (6), 14th (5), 15th (4), 16th (3), 17th (2) 18th and all other 1 point.


My Autistic Son

Most of you know my eldest child at home is a boy who’s 12, Leon and as it is World Autism Awareness Day i felt now is a good time to open up this part of our lives.

Leon is on the Autistic Spectrum, its hard to explain exactly where, its probably easier to reveal some of his difficulties and strengths.

Leon has obssessions, racing cars & dinosaurs are his main ones, he will line his cars up in a row a very neat perfectly positioned road and will go absolutely mental if it gets ruined or moved even slightly.

He is also very vulnerable, the best way to explain it is he doesn’t have that inner voice that helps you reason if something is a good idea, goes through consequences with you, so he is very impulsive and outright a danger to himself sometimes, at 12, 13 in August he still can’t reliably cross a road alone, he also struggles with anyone but himself as in he believes if he crosses a road for example that the car should stop for him, he has no concept that if its going too fast it simply can’t stop in time.

Food is another big issue, he has a problem with textures, so has turned very fussy based on textures of different foods.

Its worth saying that Leon has sensory disabilities too, he was born completely deaf, with no left ear canal and that ear although it looks like an ear is alot smaller and scrunched up. He suffered with glue ear and repeated ear infections and burst eardrum in his good ear right up until very recently, his hearing now stands at approximately 20% of a hearing persons, although you would never know as he lip reads so well.

This has led on to his other senses compensating and therefore they are alot more sensitive than say mine, so textures have become a problem.

He also suffers with ADHD and is on medication for this as without he becomes a complete danger to himself, the compulsiveness of the hyperactivity combined with the lack of the inner voice of reasoning means without medication he would probably end up in casualty often! 

To be completely honest i worry for his future and if he can function as an adult in the adult world and hold down a job etc and mix with people as he is like the stereotype of Autism he is a loner in the main part and not good with physically showing affection, he adores racing cars and at the minute wants to build Ferrari F1 cars, even though i’ve explained the factory is in Italy!

So there you have it…a basic idea of my son’s struggle with living with Autism and as a family i’m sure you can now envisage how it impacts on almost every aspect of our lives as well as his.

Thanks for reading this very personal post 


British GT’s Media Day 2015



It was a sunny Wednesday morning and Life In The pitlane went off to Brands Hatch to walk their pit lane and admire all the fresh new British GT cars for the 2015 season.


I admit GT’s is new to me however as a McLaren car fan as well as the F1 team, I am very aware of their stunning cars, this is probably the main reason, the idea of prestige cars careering around a track, I mean come on! and with 13 Aston Martins in the mix to say the least, it seems to be in the common man’s term posh cars racing!


I had Leah Nicole with me, who likewise is no expert in this field even though we have spent many days at Brands Hatch, this has been to watch BTCC ,now ask me about that and i may actually have an answer.


However what did happen while there was a rush of emotion that can only lead to one outcome, a whole new motorsport love affair, to see a McLaren 650s and an Aston Martin Vantage racing around  track, with the roar of a big V12 engine…..oh that sound!!!!


lets not forget yes others were in attendance, BMW Z4 & Porsche,Mercedes Benz SLS AMG & Ferrari 458 Italia (not in attendance at the Media Day), Lotus Evora & Toyota GT86…..oh boy I suddenly have a lot more to do this year too…..alot more pit lane action for me!!!




Q & A With MG Trophy Championship Driver Alastair Rushforth

wpe5655ab1_05Those of you who know me from Twitter will no doubt already be familiar with Ali Rushforth’s name. I can’t say enough about this guy, a genuinely decent family man with an amazingly supportive wife, great sense of humour who was awarded Most Entertaining Driver in 2012, so it can’t just be me who finds him funny & pretty good at driving a race car fast too. Get following Ali on Twitter and go and say Hi, he is  very interactive with fans and always up for a joke. I also have it on good authority he cooks a mean BBQ in his hospitality area trackside on a race weekend!! He karted with Anthony Davidson and the late Dan Wheldon and Jenson Button, who’s Dad built both Jenson’s and Ali’s kart engines so i thought it was about time we all got to know more about what makes him tick before the various Tin Tops seasons get underway……..

Q )If you could drive any car on any circuit, what would it be?

A) Aston Martin GTE at Spa… That car is a work of art & Spa is an awesome circuit with some world famous corners that require big balls as well as skill.

Q) What got you racing?

A) My dad used to rally & hill climb so I was in rally stages & race paddocks as soon as I was born.
A garage my uncle, who’s not really an uncle owned had a make-shift motoX track at the back for his son, so my parents got me a bike when I was 5 or 6. But I think they decided bikes were dangerous as they soon found out about karting & we went that direction instead.

Q) Who is faster JB or you?

A) In a triathlon, JB… In a car, me of course 😉

Q) What was it like racing against Dan Wheldon?

A) Danny (he was Danny when we were all 10 years old & always will be for me) was great, even as kids he was the most professional out of everyone (including JB, Davidson etc).
On track he was hard, but in the paddock playing football or with radio controlled cars he just liked to laugh.

Q) For someone who has never seen MGCC before,what/who should I be looking out for at brands hatch?

A) MGCC are unlike any other club in the country as they organise car events as well as race meetings. At an MGCC race weekend expect to see anything & everything with an MG badge, on track & in static displays.
Te club is run by members for members so everyone is an enthusiast of the famous marque… It’s like a big family atmosphere & everyone is approachable… You’d love it 🙂

Q) Do you still see yourself racing in 5-10 yrs time & where would you like to be by then?

A) Really hope so. In an ideal world where there was lots of money in my bank I’d love to have a go at BTCC or even British GT’s which has really caught my attention recently.

Q) Could you ever imagine doing anything outside of motorsport & what would that be?

A) I’ve grown up around Motorsport my entire life & I’ve now subjected my wife & kids to this so I really don’t think I’d be any good at anything else… I was an average footballer, half decent sprinter when I was younger, but my golf swing is rubbish.

Q) You have a wealth of motorsport experience, working, driving, running your own team, if you could pick 1 year out of all of that as a favourite, what year and what were you doing?

A) That’s tough… Maybe 2007,
It was my 1st year in MG Trophy having raced minis previously & at the start of the year, the car wasn’t mine. I didn’t touch the car in any way & we won the first 2 rounds. I missed Cadwell Park, yet we arrived at the final round still able to win the championship. I had engine failure in race 1 & a rival team offered to bring parts to repair it for race 2, however they forgot 1 part. I didn’t take part in race 2 & their driver won the championship so who knows of it was accidentally or on purpose the part was forgotten.

Q) I think most people now appreciate how hard it is for independent drivers,but what are the best things about being independent as opposed to a works driver?

A) I’m not sure really, I suppose you don’t have the pressure from the manufacturer to perform & act a certain way on social media, but that said I don’t swear on social media anyway as you never know who’s reading.

Q) What is the toughest part of being an independent driver?

A) Finding the money to go racing. True works drivers are employed by the manufacturer/team.

Q) If money was no object this season and all seats in all motorsport were available to you, what would you choose to drive?

A) BTCC with WSR or the 888 MG, or British GT’s in an Aston Martin.

Q) What other sports do you enjoy watching in your leisure time?

A) I’m big into athletics so get excited when the Olympics, Commonwealth or World championships are on. I also enjoy Speedway & go to watch at Swindon during the summer.

Q) You have just been given a one off race to arrange, with a bottomless bank account,any cars you want for any driver from any era, you are also competing, you can have 5 others,name them and the cars you want them in?

A) Birmingham Superprix with some 1990’s super tourer BTCC cars.

Driver wise I’d chose Steve Soper, Andy Rouse, Ayrton Senna, James Hunt & Jason Plato.

Q) Your son has not long been karting,what are your aspirations for him within motorsport?

A) More than anything I want him to have fun. There’s no agenda with it & certainly no pressure from me.
He’s started very late compared to a lot of kids in karting so for us, this is just some dad & lad time.
The fact he’s enjoying it as much as he is is very exciting to me.

Q) I am your fairy godmother for one wish to help make this year your best,what wish shall I grant?

A) Money to ensure I can do every round without worrying & also some rest days… I’ve not done any testing since 2010 so sometimes can be on a slight back foot when we arrive at race weekends.


For more information on Ali or to get involved and become a part of #TeamAli please visit

Its not too late to see your business’ name on the car this year.

The MG Trophy Championship is televised on Motors TV with a viewership of over 1 million on top of those in attendance.



© Sandra & Ben Hebbourn 2015

So Near Yet So Far



So the time to get up at silly o’clock is here and that means the start of a new season in F1. The wait is over and its time to see who ‘s who on track.

As my role within F1 falls consists of Audio Visual work within the team Motorhomes my actual F1 season doesn’t start until May when the circus moves to a mainly European location.

This means that for the first four races I am watching as a fan but as well as looking at who’s who on track I am looking at who’s who off track. All the people that are walking the paddock and working in the garages are the same mechanics, journalists and ex racing drivers that will be at the races I will attend.

Although as I said I am watching as a fan I am also watching something very familiar, similar in some ways to a déjà vu.

I have loved Motor Racing from a teenager and I have followed F1 since then. That equates to around 10 years of viewing as just a fan. 10 years of not really paying that much attention to who was standing in the garage or who was at the podium celebrations etc. Then it’s just some bloke or a group of non-descript blokes jumping and cheering. 10 years of wondering what it would be like to be there.

Personally I was very lucky to get to work in F1 and I never, not once ever planned to get a job within the sport. The day I walked into a race circuit and then into a team garage and stand next to a real F1 car was a very surreal experience. One I will never forget.

These days my viewing of the race is of course completely different. I have a good knowledge of the way things are done, the protocols that are in place and the faces of those working in the garage. No longer is it some bloke, it is a person I may consider a friend, somebody that I have had some good times with and seen them doing and saying things that will forever remain in the private domain but I know happened.  I may see somebody that has been out of f1 for a season or two working for a team or organisation and I make a mental note to go see him or her when I get trackside.  On track if the car is does or is doing well it adds an extra buzz of excitement that you may get a chance to run to the pit wall and be apart of that crowd at the foot of the podium yourself.

As well as that there is also the realisation in the back of your mind that your season is fast approaching and whatever you may have left to do in your preparations in and out of work it needs to be done sooner rather than later. Work wise its not so bad because you have a set deadline and the set-up time at the circuit so any final things can in a worst case be finished there. At home however you are leaving for (in my case nearly a month) an extended period and so certain things need to be planned ahead or be in place because you don’t want to be sorting your personal life when you hundreds of miles away. Of course things do pop up when you’re away but its best to try and keep that to a minimum.

When your working at the circuit you may not get the chance to pay 100% attention to the race, you may not get to see it at all so being at home on the sofa with a cup of coffee and your racing buddy is nice. Once the race has finished you can turn the TV off and go make a Sunday roast which is also nice knowing that those guys out there have to now pack up. On the other hand there is a part of you that wishes you were there and it makes you look forward to getting involved.

That feeling also comes with a pinch of guilt if, like me you have a young family. You may be looking forward to being in F1 but you are not looking forward to leaving them behind.  Older children can be told and have an understanding of why you have to leave but a baby does not. This is something that I find difficult to deal with, knowing that mummy will have to deal with everything that the baby throws up which will include a few frustrated tears at wondering where I am. Skype does help a little but you can’t have cuddles through a web cam.

So watching the first four races is a mixed bag of emotions but one thing to look forward to when you do the European races only is that you know that you can watch the conclusion to the season back on the sofa with that cup of coffee and my racing buddy who also happens to be the love of my life.

F1 Testing Review

Barcelona:Circuit De Catalunya Day 1. 

The first day of any test is full of anticipation of what is going to happen and today was no exception. Were Ferrari going to continue with there Jerez table topping pace? Where Mercedes going to dominate the lap totals? Can Mclaren and Honda add some reliability to the MP4-30? and has Ikea got enough in stock in their depot to build a Sauber for the week? 
The test ended with Pastor Maldonado on top in the Lotus E23. Lotus had a troubled morning with two break downs at turn 5 which almost begged the question of a possible curse on the team. This was quickly dispelled however and at the end of the day on the soft tyre the E23 had pace. 
The day started with the news that after only 11 laps Lewis Hamilton could not continue due to a bout of man flu. 
This then prompted the question of why Nico Rosberg was not suited up but reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein was called up. Especially when he was already working up the pit lane in the Force India garage!
It was said by the team that they didn’t want to ‘overuse’ Nico but later in the day it was revealed that he had a trapped nerve in his neck. Whatever the reason it was clear that Mercedes don’t want to get into a ‘he had more testing time than me’ scenario. 
Sergio Perez took over the duties at Force india and Wehrlein had the honour of on paper, being in two places at once. 
Ferrari did continue form where they left off in Jerez and began topping the time sheet from almost the first run of the day. With the news that there Australia aero package is to arrive in the second test it is again, a good sign that the Ferrari has some genuine pace. Has Vettel made the right move at the right time and has Alonso left at the wrong time? Have Ferrari built a car that is fast straight out of the box and one that can bring the fight to Mercedes? 
Fernando was not driving the Mclaren today instead Jenson Button was at the wheel and he made a positive start putting the Mclaren at the sharp end of the time sheet and on two occasions posting the fastest time. Although there are still gremlins the car is starting to look fast and the Honda engines unique sound is getting more and more angry as the power is cranked up. Their day was cut short by a power unit problem that promoted an engine change. The cause of the problem was a seal that has to be re-designed and will not be ready until Saturday. Alonso has been brought forward to drive tomorrow but it is not known if the part that failed before will fail again. 
The other main event of the day was the very unusual event of two cars colliding in a test. This privilege went to Philipe Nasr and Suzy Wolf. They caused a 20 minute red flag as they came together and ended up in the gravel with Nasr losing his rear wing. As the dust settled it appeared that it was Nasr who was at fault. 
Red bull had a quite day and only managed a few laps in the morning but came out in the afternoon and did some more running. We have yet to see the best of the RB11 but things are looking good. 
As we head into the second day it will be interesting to see what the fastest time of the test will be as the times today already beat those posted in last years qualifying and what are Mercedes going to do if Lewis is ill and Nico does have a bad neck and cannot test. Does their programme cater for Wehrlein and will they ultimately be losing some valuable testing time? We wait and see………….

Barcelona:Circuit De Catalunya Day 2. 

Today we reach day 2 of the test and the half way mark for all of the  winter testing. It was another sunny day in Barcelona and all the teams were out running their cars.
Mercedes started the day with Nico at the wheel but after 66 laps he got out and swapped over sighting the neck problem he has picked up with Lewis who was feeling better after yesterdays ‘fever’.
Lewis managed 89 laps and revealed that he had done a race simulation. In fact he said they have been doing them since the first test! Does this point to the fact that the silver arrows squad is in cruise mode, well ahead of the game? It will be very interesting to see when they start to crank it up a bit. 
Before Lewis got into the car Nico was well ahead in completed lap times so was the swap more of a even-stevens tactic?
Ferrari had another solid day and the new team principle Maurizio Arrivabene gave a press conference where he played things pretty cool and said that they are not interested in being winter champions and were not looking to start shouting about winning races and championships. 
One clue to there form could be the his admission that Kimi is smiling in the garage and some team members have even asked him if he is feeling okay? 
He did also confirm that they will be supplying 2014 engines to the now out of administration Manor F1 team. 
Mclaren had a good day and ran all day putting 59 laps on the board suparsing the expectation that the same seal that failed yesterday would fail again. Fernando commented that he had a ‘beautiful day’ in the car and is very confident that the winning way is not far off. 
Honda chief Yasuhisa Arai said that the final engine design has been completed even though there is another week to go before the engine homologation.  
Eric Boullier said that the team had done more than they expected to do and in doing so may be able to bring some of the planned upgrades to the next test. He even hinted that they may do a race simulation before they leave for Australia. 
Red Bull started to look promising as they finally had a solid day and not only finished top of the times with Ricciardo but completed the most laps of the day with 143 chalked up. Within those laps was a full race simulation.  
Other things to note were that Williams also had a good day with Massa finishing up in third place and GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer took command of the Lotus and had a solid day completing 77 laps. The team tweeted that he had done a good job but it remains to be seen if the lotus has pace. 
There is rain forecast for tomorrow so it could be a day of keeping dry but one thing is for sure, there will be something to report…..i hope!
Barcelona Day Two Timesheet 
1. Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1:24.574, 143 laps;
2. Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:24.584, 90 laps;
3. Massa, Williams, 1:24.672, 88 laps;
4. Perez, Force India, 1:24.702, 121 laps;
5. Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:24.923, 89 laps;
6. Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:25.556, 66 laps;
7. Alonso, McLaren, 1:25.961, 59 laps;
8. Palmer, Lotus, 1:26.280, 77 laps;
9. Ericsson, Sauber, 1:27.334, 113 laps;
10. Sainz, Toro Rosso, 1:28.945, 100 laps.

Barcelona:Circuit De Catalunya Day 3. 

The rain in spain comes mostly on the third day of testing and although there was not a real downpour there was some showers that played a little bit of havoc with some of the teams running plans. 
Mclaren had more than a shower to scupper their day as the greatly anticipated re-designed seal did not live up to expectation and this resulted in Jenson not getting the full day he wanted in the car completing 24 laps in total. He was sidelined for a while over the lunch period when the car stopped suddenly on track and then when he re-appeared the engine was turned down and the team concentrated on aero set up. 
Speaking afterward Button commented on the fact that he has yet to drive the car in anger. So still a lot of work to do for the Anglo Japanese squad.
Maldonado once again finished on top of the time sheet when he did a run on the super soft tyre and Max Verstappen second again on the super soft. Pastor is sounding positive about the form of the Lotus E23 saying that it was more of a complete package. The Mercedes power unit must be a big step up in that package. 
Lewis Hamilton was back in the seat for Mercedes and did another 100 laps. He managed third on the time sheet but this was done on the soft tyre which is beginning to point to the real pace of the silver arrow. Lewis was still feeling unwell and will be looking forward to a break and a change to recover for the final test next week. 
Ferrari had another solid day except from when Vettel put the car in the gravel during an outlap causing a red flag. Vettel sounds upbeat about the car and their season prospects but whatever happens it is clear that the team and the car have made some big steps forward. 
The up and down testing season of RedBull continued as the Renault power unit gave them some trouble but Kyvat managed some good lap times matching that of  race winner Ricciardo. However the issue of whether Ferrari have overtaken them in the performance stakes is becoming more and more likely. Renault are still playing catch up. how long before they pull out or RedBull move engine supplier? 
Williams had a troubled day also as the rain stopped a lot of their plans. Massa ran in the morning and did some long runs but after lunch poor Bottas was confined to pit stop practice after pit stop practice. Like Mercedes the true pace of this car has yet to be seen but it can assumed that they are still the best of the rest. 
Tomorrow is the last day and after that there is only 4 more days before Melbourne. Some teams seem to be cruising there way to Australia while others are having to put some effort in and some are probably behind schedule. 
When will we see what Mercedes and Williams really have up their sleeves and can Mclaren put the whole package together and be at the sharp end? 
As this test draws to a close things just get more interesting. 
Barcelona Day Three Timesheet 
1. Maldonado, Lotus, 1:24.348, 104 laps;
2. Verstappen, Toro Rosso, 1:24.739, 129 laps;
3. Hamilton, Mercedes. 1:26.076, 101 laps;
4. Ericsson, Sauber, 1:26.340, 53 laps;
5. Vettel, Ferrari, 1:26.407, 105 laps;
6. Kvyat, Red Bull, 1:26.589, 112 laps;
7. Massa, Williams, 1:26.912, 55 laps;
8. Wehrlein, Force India, 1:27.333, 81 laps;
9. Bottas, Williams, 1:27.556, 49 laps;
10. Button, McLaren, 1:29.151, 24 laps

Barcelona:Circuit De Catalunya Day 4.

Todays test was once again all about Mclaren and unfortunately, not for the first time this winter test period for the wrong reasons. 
Fernando was in the car and was looking to have a good day with 29 laps under his belt but then the MP4-30 went of the track at turn 3 and hit the inside wall. 
Fernando was air lifted to hospital by the circuit helicopter and after numerous tests including an CT and MRI scan was given the all clear bar a minor concussion. He is staying in the hospital overnight as a precaution and is expected to drive in the next and final test starting on thursday. 
It is not know what happened to the car but it has been reported by a number of drivers that there were high winds around the circuit and so that could have played a part?
Roman Grosjean topped the time sheet with an run on the super soft tyre. It was his first time in the E23 and he has already set the fastest time of all to date. Signs again that the Lotus is a big step in improvements from last years car. 
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg was one of the people to mention the windy conditions and he commented on the day being a tough one. The car had a small gearbox issue that was sorted without any mechanical intervention and overall he is very confident about the form of the W06 and considering the fact t hey have yet to test either the soft or super soft tyre suggests that they are still the team to beat. 
Carlos Sainz Jr was another victim of the wind as he too left the circuit at turn 3 which bought an early end to Toro Rosso’s test. Sainz Jr was doing a long run on the hard tyre at the time of the crash so the grip levels may not have been great. Despite this he said afterward that he had gained a lot of confidence in the car and was happy with the progress towards his debut in Australia. 
Bottas managed to get 129 laps in the Williams despite their first break down. The team are keeping very cool about their form and i am sure that we will see more from them in the next test. 
RedBull were third in the standings but are still pushing Renault for some upgrades to the power unit. A Renault spokesman said that they worked purely on reliability in the off season and the drivability issues that are holding the RedBull back are going to be sorted for the opening race.
They have teamed up with Mario Illien of Ilmor engineering to try and inject a boost of knowledge into the Renault power unit. for those of you who have short memories Ilmor were the people who where behind the Mercedes engines in the Mclaren years of the nineties. 
So there are only four more days of running to go before the cars are rolled out on the other side of the world and raced in anger. I think that by the end of those four days we will have a clearer picture of a few things. One is who is going to be at the sharp end and who is going to struggle and another is can the Mclaren Honda be a competitive race car and have Ferrari really overtaken RedBull? 
The next test should be the time that the teams test for race set up and we can review all the teams long run pace and their consistency over those long runs. We should see a number of upgrades too so lets look forward to Thursday. Until then………. 
Barcelona Day Three Timesheet 
1. Grosjean, Lotus, 1:24.067, 111 laps;
2. Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:24.321, 131 laps;
3. Kvyat, Red Bull, 1:24.941, 104 laps;
4. Nasr, Sauber, 1:24.956, 73 laps;
5. Bottas, Williams, 1:25.345, 129 laps;
6. Sainz, Toro Rosso, 1:25.604, 88 laps;
7. Vettel, Ferrari, 1:26.312, 76 laps;
8. Hulkenberg, Force India, 1:26.591 36 laps;
9. Alonso, McLaren, 1:27.956, 20 laps.

© Ben & Sandra Hebbourn 2015

Bencipe: Pulled Pork with Homemade Slaw

There are fewer things better in life than juicy fragrant pulled pork dripping in BBQ sauce stuffed into a small bap or slider if your of the american persuasion.
The process is very simple but does take an ounce of patience as the cooking time is over 5 hours. It is however well worth the wait.
With some homemade coleslaw on the side this is a summer classic or winter warming treat.
The cut of pork used is shoulder which is quite a cheap cut. Large amounts can be bought at a good price at the moment meaning you can divide it up and store in the freezer for another round of pulled pork another time. This recipe uses an unusual spice mix but i think that when mixed with BBQ sauce gives a different dynamic to the usual flavour.


Pulled Pork

Pork Shoulder; around 1.5kg
Moroccan Spice mix; 3tbsp
Pomegranate Molasses; 3tbsp
Preserved lemons; 4 slices
Salt; 1 tbsp
Some string for tying the meat.


1/3 White cabbage
1/4 Red cabbage
2 Carrot (grated)
1/2 an Onion
Juice of half a lemon


Set the oven to 220 degrees or Gas Mark 7.
Line a baking tray with enough foil to cover over the meat later.
Roll out the meat into the tray and pad dry with a piece of kitchen roll. Mix together all the ingredients into a bowl and then rub it all over the meat leaving around a third to use later. To get a better flavour you may want to do this the night before so the flavours really soak into the meat.
Roll the meat back up and tie off with some string. Place in the oven for 30 minutes.
Then turn the oven down to 150 degrees or Gas Mark 2. Cover the meat with the foil and roast for 5 hours.
After the 5 hours is up turn the oven back up to 220 or GM 7 and uncover the meat and blast it for a final 30 mins just to crisp it up. After this take it out, cover back over with the foil and let it rest for 20 – 30 mins.
While this is going on its time to make the coleslaw.
Finely shred the cabbage and onion and grate the carrot into a bowl. Sprinkle with salt to absorb some of the moisture and mix. Sprinkle a little more salt over it and let it stand for 10 mins.
Add mayonnaise and mix until the level of mayonnaise is to your liking. Then add some chopped parsley and the lemon juice and mix one more time. Done!
With a pair of forks shred the pork into a serving dish and add the rest of the spice mix. Stir it in and then enjoy in a bap with some BBQ sauce.


© Ben & Sandra Hebbourn 2015

Ali Rushforth

Get To Know Ali
Born on 9th February 1979 in Huddersfield, this Yorkshireman now lives in Didcot, Oxfordshire with his lovely wife and 3 children, of which his son is following in Dad’s footsteps in Karting.

Ali is a highly experienced driver with 25 years under his belt, manages and runs his own team as well as is not only a driver but an instructor too.

Not only is Ali quick but he has a personality that shines through everything he does, his social media presence is fantastic, he engages with his fans and is ever the joker yet highly professional, great at being very approachable and a very popular driver and man within the paddock.

please check out his website at :

and if you own a business or know someone who may be interested in sponsorship then please take a look at the different ways to become involved and provide your business with TV exposure on Motors TV on top of the usual expectations of a partnership please do take a look at this years media presentation here:

The Emotional Side Of Working In F1

      Our most recent posts have mainly been Ben so today I am taking control and answering a very common question. How do I cope with Ben being away and do we mix with other families?

In order to honestly share how I feel about Ben’s job away playing racing cars with the lads half the year I need to explain how our relationship works as it’s different for everyone and some people would enjoy the time apart.

He really is the other half to me, any other person i’ve ever had a relationship with I could’ve coped with the time apart, just not Ben. He is my best friend, we never argue, we never get sick of each other, we’re that couple that could actually work together all day and go home and still find things to talk about, so it is like losing a part of myself when he goes away, I also feel like I lose any control over my own life & career.

I am not blessed with much family especially since my mum passed away last june 2 days after the baby was born, I literally have my best friend and one other to ask for any sort of help with anything  This is something else to bear in mind, some may have a lot of family close by so are able to carry on normal life whereas I am not.

Much as Ben says do whatever I want to with my life he’ll support me whatever and we’ll find a way, physically this is impossible when he is away, my bestie has a full time job and my other help has two small ones herself so there are times I may want help but simply cannot have it, how can I go out to do a job on set days at set times of the week when from May till September every year that reliable back up disappears.

So from this point of view I feel like my life is on hold, I can’t do everything I want to as his work is the dominating force in our lives, he already has his career before we got together so I simply have to be the one sacrificing as I knew this was his life when i decided to enter into a relationship with him.

When it comes to mixing with other families, I have met other wives of Ben’s work colleagues, although the ones i’ve met had much older children than we have, more recently we’ve met other couples and families within Motorsport rather than F1 in particular that we’ve hit it off with, so there are some blossoming friendships growing there. I’ve not wanted to intrude on Ben’s friends within work as in the real world with any other job they are HIS friends not mine, but we do have a few meet ups planned in the next few months so I will meet a few more.

As we’ve said before you have to love the sport to work in it & I wholeheartedly believe now I have experience of it myself that it takes a special sort of person to be with someone who works within any kind of Motorsport

© Sandra & Ben Hebbourn 2015

F1 – A Few Questions Answered

Hello again,it’s been a while

The last week has been a busy time in the lives of Life In The Pit Lane. There has been a new car to collect (we made our own light hearted launch video which is on TPCO here : )
Also a teething baby that does not seem to understand the concept of sleep. This is good for a job in F1 but she is still a little young!

For these reasons todays blog is going to be a mash up of some of the questions and suggestions we have been sent via Twitter and the F1 Spy Facebook page.

What do we think of the new Mclaren MP4-30?

My first impressions of the MP4-30 were that it looks good. By that i mean two things. The first it looks sleek and fast. You know what they say, if it looks fast then it is fast!
The second is that it looks like cars that have been competitive in the previous season. You can see hints here and there of a certain silver car and a bovine based team. The latter is of no real surprise as there is a new designer in the drawing office.
As well as this there are parts that look like they have been well designed and this combines to make a tasty looking package. There doesn’t seem to be any areas of the car that look forgotten about. Like the area behind the side pods on the new red car for example or the larger rear area of the MP4-29.

After the first test i think that despite the limited running they did there are some very positives signs.
Although there were problems they all got fixed. It was not like the bovine team at that test the year before. Mclaren stayed for the 4 days and did not need to pack up early and go home to do some emergency re-designing.
I don’t think any team last year that started with the new power units had a smooth ride in that first test. To fix the issues and get out for even 70 laps or so is good. Especially considering the clash of cultures, the combination of McLaren and Honda systems and the aggressive design of the engine packaging.
When the car was on track it looked like there was some real power available. There is a BBC clip about the engine noise and Alonso is driving the chicane more like the Monte Carlo rally than a F1 test. I may be wrong but there is no way that the engine was at full power and to be doing that shows it has some serious power on tap.
Also the speed trap numbers are not that far off considering again that the engine is not at full power and the aero package has not been set up properly.
If the car goes out and starts putting some good lap totals under its belt in Barcelona i will be very encouraged indeed. So lets get to Barcelona quick. I can’t wait!!

What are Fernando and Jenson like?

Working in the same space as any F1 driver is a privilege that not many people get to experience. You get to see a small part of there preparation and general attitude before and after a race. Although there is not much face to face contact you do see them walking around and socialising and being the person behind the camera.

Jenson Button is a very nice, grounded and happy person. He has a good set-up in terms of consistent people around him and a great manager who is very approachable and has great sense of humour.
His general demeanour around the motorhome is positive and even after a bad result he can find a smile or have a giggle at the team press conference.

Fernando is somebody that i have not worked with much. I did have some experience of him in 2007 but this was very limited.
What i have seen is somebody who is quite private but has a sense of humour. This is all i can say about him really.

More about Logistics?

Re-branding. When a team has a new sponsor their maybe a colour scheme change to deal with. This was certainly the case with Williams last year when they took the iconic Martini Racing livery.
It is not only the car that has to be resprayed but everything involved needs to be re-vamped. The most obvious being the team kit. This will be tops, trousers, shoes, jumper and jacket at the very minimum. Most likely 4 or 5 tops and trousers each and maybe 2 jumpers and 1 of each of the rest. Shoes maybe refreshed mid season. That amount of clothing times 150 in different sizes is a lot of boxes! These have to be unpacked and complied for each team member.
Then there is the garage. This may mean that the current panels that are used to create the space are sent away or maybe a whole new set will be made. This has to be organised pre-season even before the first test maybe all whilst the new car is being built and made ready.
Other pieces of equipment that may have stickers on will have to be changed over and maybe even laptop covers and mouse matts will have to be swapped.
Then there is the motorhome side of things. The entire structure may have to be sent away for a re-spray and then all the furniture and anything inside that is in the old colour scheme will also have to be changed or re-sprayed. The sponsor may be a manufacture and they may want to have their products on display. New area’s and new items of furniture may have to be commissioned and made to the sponsors specification or they may send things to be built up.
If the sponsor makes laptops for example then all the laptops used by the team engineers will have to be swapped over. This will give the IT department a lot of work to do as each person will need there laptop seamlessly changed over.
A new sponsor doesn’t mean just money or a nice looking car. It means a lot of work for a few people in the team.