During the lockdown brought on as a response to countries combatting COVID-19, motorsport fans are finding themselves with more free time on their hands. So much so that the sports stars we know and love are busy entertaining the nation in new ways not seen before. Most recently, Lando Norris will be shaving his head having exceeded the total he intended to raise for charity. It is no secret that there are many films and tv shows for petrol heads to get their teeth into. However, if not yet ticked off, The F1 podcast ‘Beyond the Grid’ should be top of your to do list.
As any listener knows, the secret to any enjoyable podcast is a host speaking with passion on the topic. F1’s weekly podcast Beyond the Grid is hosted by Tom Clarkson, a man who has a rich pedigree in Formula 1.
Tom Clarkson’s credentials include working on TEN Sport’s coverage of Formula 1 and then this was followed with a place on BBC’s Formula 1 team as a pit-lane reporter in 2013. In recent years though, Clarkson has been sat in the chair hosting every drivers’ and team principals’ televised press conference. This level of access and rapport has enabled Beyond the Grid to become a ratings success and the stories discussed have hit the headlines worldwide.
For anyone in any doubt as to why this series should be ‘binge-listened’ during the lockdown, let me take you back to the very first episode when Tom Clarkson sat down with Lewis Hamilton to discuss with the (at the time of airing) 4-time F1 world champion everything from: success to regrets, travel to fashion, relationships to making music - and even his dog, Roscoe’s, modelling career.
In recent weeks, a comment made by Lando Norris on his edition of the podcast included a hilarious recollection of how George Russell was such a ‘cool guy’. Russell responded to the McLaren driver on social media commenting how it is always nice to meet a fan and he also offered to sign memorabilia for Lando Norris - which resulted in a whole host of memes online.
Ideas, opinions and stories which are revealed on the Beyond the Grid podcast soon find themselves in headlines around the racing world. No wonder that when a new episode is ready for a free download it is met with much anticipation and excitement by fans and journalists alike.
Tom Clarkson’s line up over more than 70 episodes certainly covers a wide range of racing greats and will hopefully educate some newer racing fans who may be unaware who Gerhard Berger is or what Toto Wolff did prior to being involved with Formula 1.
Ayrton Senna is sadly unable to share his own stories but there are many encounters retold from surviving racers who clearly were impacted by racing with this much-loved and desperately missed legend of the sport.
Whether it be Christian Horner’s honest reflection of realizing that he was never going to make it at the top in racing; Romain Grosjean sharing the way the fallout after that Spa-Francorchamps first corner crash impacted him or Jacques Villeneuve’s honest opinion of how F1 cars are clearly too easy to drive seeing how an 18 year old can jump into one and be a tenth off the pace – your time listening will be well spent. I challenge anyone to listen to one of Tom Clarkson’s podcasts and say they already knew everything by the end of it.
The descriptions themselves are enough to whet the appetite of any racing fan, as shown by the most recent advert for the latest edition of the podcast:
On this week’s show he [Flavio Briatore] opens up about his unlikely journey from the fashion business to F1 team boss, about working alongside Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso, locking horns with McLaren boss Ron Dennis, and that most controversial topic: crashgate...
Yes, we have a lot more time on our hands due to the pandemic but if ever a time to look for positives and seek escapism was needed – Formula 1’s Beyond the Grid podcast is the answer.