A Badger Staff Blog Entry:  Here at the Sett, as well as covering all the goings on in F1 and bringing great articles to your screens, we also like to share goings on at Badger GP HQ too.  We publish all these articles in the “Badger Staff Blog” and this enables you to have some fun, understand and get to know the people behind Badger GP…

For this, slightly random piece, we’re giving our editor, Adam Milleneuve the opportunity to explain why his chosen mode of transport is just like being an F1 driver…

What do you drive?

Ok, this may come as a shock, but my preferred mode of transport has two wheels rather than four with a maximum speed of around 70mph – yep, it’s a lovely silver Vespa called Lola.  It’s the only vehicle for living and working in central London – it’s quick through traffic, cheap to run and park and is just a whole heap of fun – no congestion charge either – bonus!

5 Reasons Why Driving a Vespa is like being in F1…

First things first, an essential (and legally required) accessory is a crash helmet – just like F1 drivers getting in their motors, you’d never get on your Vespa without wearing a helmet.  Gloves too, it gets chilly in London and it just makes sense to look after your hands should anything bad happen, so again, like a real racing driver, gloves are essential.

Ok, so gloves and helmet on and we’re on the road – now, let’s get back to basics – an F1 driver’s sole aim is to be first, ahead of anyone else and to overtake anything that’s in front of them.  When on a Vespa, the same is true – any other traffic is there to be overtaken and come to a set of traffic lights, it’s time to make your way to the front, ready for the lights to go green – just as all your favourite drivers strive to be in pole position, a Vespa rider also (albeit for safety reasons) will always want to be at the front.

The rain is a pain – many drivers, although enjoy the challenge, would prefer a sunny dry day to go racing rather than a wet, grey and cloudy Silverstone.  The same is true on a Vespa.  Just like F1 drivers, there’s no windscreen wipers, you’re exposed and a greater level of caution and control is required.  Brake while on a white line and you won’t be on your Vespa much longer – just as in F1, but without runoff areas.

Speed, ok so there will never be a 200mph Vespa, but as in F1, you’re fastest thing on the road on a Vespa – while all the cars are queuing up and stuck in a jam, the Vespa riders will be simply driving around them and getting around much quicker.  F1 drivers also enjoy being the fastest things on the track, nothing can match them.

Fun.  Have you ever had an F1 driver complain about having to drive at ridiculous speeds to earn a wage – no.  Why?  Because they enjoy it, that’s why and ask any Vespa driver if they enjoy driving around on their machine and you’d get a similar answer – Vespa drivers are Vespa drivers because they want to be.

Over To You

Vespas dont go in the snow either...

I could carry on with yet more reasons, but instead, here at Badger, we’d like to know what you, as an F1 fan drive and why you drive it… any other Vespa driving F1 fans out there?

  1. Me and the missus have got a Mini Cooper diesel – one of the new fangly Minis by BMW. Yeh, they’re not so new any more, and I don’t think they made the original Mini in a diesel-drinking flavour, but hey.

    It’s fantastic fun to drive, goes like the clappers in the right conditions, and is very fuel efficient (avg MPG is 55+ over the last thousand miles).

    Keeping with a speed theme, I’d very much like a Cooper-S instead – the turbocharged variety of BMW’s baby – but the extra cost of running one across all aspects of driving put me off.

  2. Vespas, in fact ALL kinds of bike, are a higher form of living.

    Why do they put such good stereos in modern (road) cars ?

    Because they are all so desperately, unavoidably, dull to drive . . . .

  3. Nice article Badger! I also rely mainly on a two-wheeled vehicle,
    albeit a non-motorized one, i.e., a bicycle. I usually ride on
    unfrequented farm roads so, as a good F1 fan, I approach corners in an
    out-in-out fashion, hitting the apices and carrying as much speed into
    the corner. Also quite fun in wet conditions, where the grip is quite low!

  4. I drive a Citroen Picasso all down to nescity of having to transport family about and not having the space to park or buy anythign else. While I’d love a scooter to get to and from work (as thats about 70% of my traveling) But as the roads are quiet I alway go for the racing line round the roundabouts and corners.

  5. Octane Photos says:

    A 1982 BMW 635csi :) (and a host of hire cars going to events). In these day of huge petrol prices though the Beemer’s tendency to do gallons to the mile when I get enthusiastic behind the wheel are pretty crippling!!

    And yes I park it at those “rakish” angles in supermarket car parks because it wont fit any other way… Tooo long for the car park designers apparently to deal with…… ;)

  6. Avatar of Brian Kiloh

    Your article reminds of James Hunt’s choice of road transport – an Austin A35 van on crossply tyres – the pure enjoyment to be had of driving something less powerful hard but remaining within the speed limit

  7. I drive a beautiful Fiat 500 called Bella Luna, Bella for short. Because I’m part italian, she’s full on italian, beautiful and the colour of the moon! She’s exactly like driving in F1 because Michael Schumacher has one. BOOM. (albeit the suped-up Abarth version..you try getting insured on one of them at 18!) Italian racing stripes..lowered suspension..cream leather steering wheel.. everyone at university thinks I’m harbouring a secret child at home because I refer to how much I miss my baby. Little too obsessed. Especially for a Fezza-hater ha!
    Oh the best bit? Her number plate.. ;)
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/60673041@N08/5527361787/

    • That is beaaaaaaaautiful! Love fiat 500s and the new ones are just as cute as the old ones – bags of character and yes, you should be proud of having such a machine! I’d miss it if I had one – great plate too!

  8. Avatar of Craig Normansell

    Like Lucy I too own a Fiat, but it’s the Punto HGT model from ’02. It’s jet black, with the sporting bodykit and all mod-cons. It’s thirsty with the 1.8 engine, and rattles a bit when idling.

    After having it since ’07, it has become clear that Fiat take their sports parts from old F1 Ferrari’s from the ’70’s. In previous MOT’s I’ve had the whole front and rear ends replacing (brakes, suspension, shocks, etc). It takes a while to warm up in the cold weather, squeaks at full opposite lock and the passenger door sticks a bit when trying to open it.

    But despite all this, when you find that great bit of road and open up the throttle, it makes it all worth while. If I find a tunnel and put the window down, the engine note is heaven. I wouldn’t change it for the world!

  9. Avatar of Adam Hargreaves

    I drive a 1995 Toyota Corolla Sportif in white. 1.3(and a bit)… she’s called ‘deathroller’, has no rear anti-roll bar (well it does, but it’s not actually attached to the wheel hubs any more…) and uses more fuel at idle than at full throttle…

    nevertheless, i love it… though she needs a new clutch bearing, after i tried racing a Jag away from the lights… Wouldn’t ever buy a non Japanese car… I’m going for a mark 2 MR2 as my next one! or maybe a Supra!

    • oooh, I’m sure many would disagree, but each to their own yes there’s much to be said for Japanese motors – the Supra has an amazing shopping-trolly style spoiler, but in all seriousness some of their engines are spectacular – the S2000 revs higher than a Ferrari 360, the Skyline ridiculous too!

  10. I drive a Golf GTI. mildly modified, brakes, exhaust, engine etc etc, but it’s a wonder at trackdays :-) 40 mpg average if I nanny it, too :-)

    • hehe – “if I nanny it” – great Clarkson-ism! For the record, I refuel the Vespa once every 2-3 weeks and it costs a whopping 7 or 8 quid…. and that’s for V-Power!! Only the best!

  11. Alianora La Canta says:

    I drive an arrive-and-drive 160bhp petrol kart in Newark occasionally. Otherwise I stick to being a passenger…

  12. David Harrison says:

    A 2005 Subaru Impreza WRX SL Prodrive SW (what a mouthful!)…

    Brutal performance (4.8secs 0-62mph) and astonishing road holding. Oh, and because it’s a ‘sportwagon’ (estate!), I can get the buggy and shopping in, so it appeases the missus ; )

  13. Avatar of Gavin Brown

    I ride my bike to and from work (Copenhagen is a cycle city), but we just bought a Peugeot 207 as we need to make long drives every now and then. Delivery is in 10 days, it’s our first car and we are super excited!

  14. Avatar of eddyworthy

    Annnnnnd here comes the embarrassing admission entry, I drive a Nissan Micra. Now that is embarrassing in itself but let me elaborate further, not only is it a Micra it is a version called the Micra Twister.
    Now this car has all the pointless optional extra garbage you don’t really need on a normal sized, non-crap, vehicle….parking sensors for example (don’t ask why because I honestly couldn’t tell you why a car the size of a pair of shoes needs them). It also has air conditioning, it gets very hot inside a tin can apparently, and it also has an engine so small that Nissan had to lie about the size to make it sound remotely car-like, it claims to be 1 litre……it is actually 998cc, oh the shame.
    Oh and just for good measure it has another bonus extra I added myself, a massive dent in the passenger door where I drove it into a pillar in a multi storey 1 week after passing my test.
    Biggest embarrassment though, I named it, it’s called “la pedorosa”, which was the name of Che Guevera’s motorbike and translated means “the powerful/mighty one”. Please hurl insults my way, I deserve them!

  15. Avatar of geeksandlies

    Vespa’s are for girls :)

    MK1 Leon Cupra for me! Not my favourite of the cars i have owned (of which their are allot for someone who has only had a licence for 8 years) but a decent enough motor all the same!

  16. Avatar of geeksandlies

    Adam Milleneuve
    Not bad, but re your Vespa comment – on the contrary – have you not seen Quadrophenia!?

    I have indeed but it was set way before i was born and in your defence i anything with less than 150BHP (don’t ask its an arbitrary figure I came up with a few years back when arguing with a mate down the pub after a few) is classed as “for girls” :)

  17. Ha, great little article! Although, I had expected (you did touch on it!) a mention of the fact that you put your life on the line everytime you step into/onto the cockpit, just like an F1 driver! Everyone I’ve ever know with a moped/scooter has come a cropper at some point! I hope that’s not an omen :D

    As for my “ride”, how about the “LRM” or, for its full name, the Lionel Richie Mobile. A 1991 BMW E30 shape 316i. In metallic maroon. The driver’s seat is leather, oh yes. Sunroof, electric windows and mirrors, an analogue MPGometer (the correct name escapes me at this second!) that probably lost its accuracy in 1993. Essentially, it is a special car, and for £360, you can’t go wrong! I can’t relate it too much to an F1 car. I would say, because of the cost, it’s probably along the lines of an HRT, but the problem is that it is far more aerodynamic than an HRT, so it isn’t a fare comparison!

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