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September 29, 2015 @ 1:56 pm

2015 Japanese GP

Could Renault be in the middle of some Ocean's 11 style conspiracy theory that would shake the sport to the core? Probably not, but Max Noble asks the question anyway as he joins Chris Balfe and Mat Coch for the Japanese Grand Prix podcast.

In its 50th show (yes, it's had more starts than Marc Gene) the team pushes the boat out to shine a light and dig a little deeper into, behind, underneath and through the biggest stories in the sport. They're not hiding away from mixing metaphors either as they dissect all 500 metres of the Japanese Grand Prix before turning their attention to more important things, like the blank piece of circuit the director felt was more important than the race leader.

Meanwhile Coch is too busy wondering what Romain Grosjean is thinking to add much to the discussion. The Frenchman, who was expected to join/has been confirmed with Haas for next season had a decision to make, and Coch doesn't understand why he did or didn't make the right one. Confused? So is Coch.

There is an intense discussion on the situation at Honda, and whether Fernando Alonso might have gone too far with his comments this time. After branding his Honda power unit not better than a GP2 engine (which were once supplied by Renault), the Spaniard's mid-race tantrum earns a strong thumbs up from Balfe.

Earning two thumbs down was Lotus' announcement that it had signed a letter of intent, as our editor evokes memories of Neville Chamberlain's letter from the German's decreeing peace in our time.

Speaking of peace, Sauber and Force India rate a mention following news they've submitted a complaint to the EU after growing tired of the other teams beating them up in the playground and stealing their lunch money. It's an important development for the sport, one that – unlike Noble's assertions about Renault's devious scheme – could have genuine repercussions for the sport. And that's a good thing, says Balfe, who suggests the sport could do with a bit of a shake. Plus, the team reckons it knows some perfect candidates to work on the investigation.

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September 22, 2015 @ 2:41 pm

Singapore Grand Prix

No stone is left unturned and no subject is off limits in the latest Pitpass podcast as Max Noble, Chris Balfe and Mat Coch again join forces to dissect the Singapore Grand Prix.

Focussing on the racing opinions are split on the performances of drivers up and down the field. Max Verstappen is commended for a strong drive back, though both Balfe and Coch agree the young Dutchman was more lucky than good. Coch is also more critical than his colleagues when it comes to debutante Alexander Rossi, suggesting he needs to see more of the American before deciding whether he has a place on an F1 grid.

Noble finds himself at odds with Balfe and Coch over the Massa/Hulkenberg accident and stands as the lone wolf in support of Hulkenberg's penalty. The German, Noble argues, could have left more space for Massa while both Balfe and Coch suggest the Brazilian should have used the brakes, and that Hulkenberg had the racing line.

There's also spirited discussion over the future of Red Bull, Renault and Lotus with the team delving into the implications of the current situation. Noble also goes out on a limb by suggesting that if he were in charge at Volkswagen he'd be on the phone to Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz to ink a deal post-haste with little regard for the possible $18billion worth of fines in the US.

No conversation would be complete without an examination of the driver market, with Balfe suggesting we should all come to grips with the fact Jenson Button has to, at some point, retire. Whether that's now the team isn't so sure, but they carry on debating the ins and outs of who'd step into his shoes anyway.

The team manages to completely avoid mentioning the tyres, almost, as the matter is discussed and dismissed as a storm in a tea cup and instead Balfe gets rather enthusiastic about the potential for a proper championship fight thanks to a revitalised Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari. Cue Max Noble for a Crompo-esque conspiracy theory.

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September 8, 2015 @ 2:50 pm

Italian GP 2015

No expense has been spared in the latest, star-studded episode of the Pitpass podcast.

Max Noble, Mat Coch and Chris Balfe are joined in the studio by a panel of guests, all eager to share their views on the Italian Grand Prix. From team bosses to world champions, the Pitpass team gets the low down and nitty gritty from those involved.

Discussed are topics such as the current plight Pirelli faces in view of the Belgian Grand Prix, and the unusual actions taken in the wake of that weekend in the Ardennes. There was a bizarre media release from Formula Management, an unprecedented statement according to Balfe, while Coch wonders if there's not something a little deeper going on. Questions are also asked about the rights and wrongs of Mercedes being allowed to compete with tyres that were under inflated, with the panellists only too keen to avoid answering.

The show wouldn't be complete without talking about driver safety, with the trio wondering what can realistically be done and if introducing canopy style protection would do more harm than good. Coch though has a different idea, and wonders if, counter-intuitively, the increased safety standards are actually the root cause for many of the high risk manoeuvres and therefore accidents we see in modern racing.

Perhaps weary of Pitpass' reputation for calling a spade a spade the panel is reserved in its statements and reluctant to give anything away, but that could just be because Bernie has put a gag on them.

It makes for a fascinating show in which all the biggest topics get discussed with all the biggest names in the sport.

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