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LIVE COMMENTARY: AUTOSPORT INTERNATIONAL - ASI 2014 LIVE - SATURDAY
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: ASI 2014 Live - Saturday
By Matt Beer, Sam Tremayne and Glenn Freeman
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
09:26 Good morning and welcome to AUTOSPORT Live's coverage of day three of AUTOSPORT International 2014.

Martin Brundle and John Surtees opened the show to the public an hour ago, and crowds are already flooding in.

Martin Brundle and John Surtees09:35 Today's line-up of star guests is spectacular. Over the next seven hours we'll be welcoming...

Martin Brundle, David Croft, Pollyanna Woodward, Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen, Jason Plato, the KX Akademy graduates, Matt Neal, Gordon Sheddon, Andrew Jordan, Colin Turkington, John Surtees, Petter Solberg, the McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award finalists, Gary Paffett, Toby Moody, Max Chilton, Graeme Lowdon, Rob Austin, Silverstone chief Richard Phillips, Sam Bird, Tom Ingram, Dave Newsham, Lea Wood, James Cole, Glynn Geddie, Adam Morgan, James Nash, Tom Chilton, Jon Lancaster, Nick Yelloly, Dan Cammish and Will Stevens.

09:46 So you can catch up on everything that has happened at the world's biggest and best motorsport show so far...

AUTOSPORT Stage with KX video highlights

AUTOSPORT International live blog day one

AUTOSPORT International live blog day two

AUTOSPORT International09:51 There are also six chances today to catch the Live Action Arena show.

Highlights this year include an indoor demonstration of the Lotus 49 and Lotus 79 classic Formula 1 cars, the McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award finalists taking each other on in Caterham, plus spectacular stock car racing, stunt driving demonstrations and performance cars.

09:51 2012 BTCC champion @gordonshedden is here today:

Looking forward to @Autosport_Show today. Great way to start the season @hondaracingbtcc @MattNealRacing

Shedden is scheduled to be interviewed on the AUTOSPORT main stage at 11.15 and 14.15 today, with several of his frontrunning BTCC rivals.

10:03 The Lotus 79 has caught Allan McNish's eye:

"One of the beauties @Autosport_Show in the live action arena."

10:03 The AUTOSPORT Stage with KX is up and running for Saturday.

Racer turned commentator Martin Brundle has joined our host Henry Hope-Frost.

10:05 Brundle defends the excitement level of Formula 1 2013 with a comparison to 2004, pointing out that while Sebastian Vettel dominated, there was plenty of action in the races and down the field.

He also has no doubt that Vettel is a once-in-a-lifetime talent.

"I'm not sure there's any point in my career when I would've fancied Mark Webber as a team-mate: he's so fit, so fast and so on it. And Vettel smashed him."

Sky F110:08 Brundle reckons the team behind Sky's F1 broadcast each weekend is bigger than some F1 teams.

And he says he's "never been happier" than at his current TV station, the third he has worked for after ITV and the BBC since beginning his full-time commentary career in 1997.

10:09 Within his TV role, Brundle has had a chance to test plenty of current F1 cars.

Now he wants a go in a 2014 machine as soon as possible - but on track, not in a simulator. "Those things make me feel sick. The young drivers like them..."

10:13 Brundle is worried about the potential for the field spreading out under the 2014 rule changes:

"I think we're going to see bigger disparity. I hope we don't see a three-tier championship across the three engine suppliers."

He expects a hugely unpredictable championship, and says even F1 team insiders "don't know where they're at" compared to the competition at this stage.

He also says that however Lotus presents its absence from the Jerez test, it will be "a massive negative. They'll be hoping it gets rained off."

Analysis: Why missing Jerez will hurt Lotus

10:18 F1 fans have been vociferous in their response to the likely aesthetics of the 2014 F1 cars, and Brundle shares those fears.

"One of the team bosses said to me a few months ago that he hated the look of the front of his new car. I can't use the words he described.

"We can't seem to get them elegant at the front. I really hope we don't get those appendages hanging off the front, but I think that's the way it's heading."

AUTOSPORT reveals the controversial 2014 F1 look

Video: How 2014 F1 cars will look different

Martin Brundle10:23 Brundle doubts he'll be sharing a sportscar with his son Alex again in the future.

"It's taking off for him now, he's becoming the real deal. I think he'd rather be sharing a car with anyone other than his old dad."

Alex Brundle's 2014 season kicks off with a Daytona 24 Hours drive in the Muscle Milk Pickett ORECA-Nissan later this month.

10:24 Martin Brundle had a famous rivalry with Ayrton Senna in British Formula 3 in 1983 when both were on the cusp of F1.

Intriguingly, Brundle reckons Senna would've thrived under the 2014 F1 format.

"An intelligent driver who works hard with his team is going to get an early edge.

"If you can understand the technology and what's under your right foot... Ayrton Senna would've been brilliant at it."

Anthony Reid10:26 Former BTCC star Anthony Reid is in Birmingham this weekend, and AUTOSPORT's Features Editor Kevin Turner has a Super Touring challenge for him.

We reckon the Super Touring pole at Oulton Park this year could be quicker than the main BTCC pole.

"I reckon it's doable in something like a late Nissan Primera," said Reid, who then requested special tyres!

Now to find him a car...

10:28 Next up are this weekend's Live Action Arena hosts Pollyanna Woodward and David Croft - who makes one of the more unusual starts to an interview by performing a version of the Poznan celebration.

10:33 Croft is full of praise for the Live Arena, but less so for this year's new-look F1.

"The stock cars in the Live Arena are mad, you have to see them, but my particular favourite is the Lotus 49 - sometimes you have to say Colin Chapman got it so right.

"With this year's cars, I've just said on the F1 Racing stage the nose looks a bit like Nigella Lawson's nose.

"I don't think it's ugly by any means, just unusual - but then you get used to it."

Tom Kristensen10:40 Sportscar legends Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen are now on stage.

The Dane - who was swapping notes with Petter Solberg earlier today - nearly missed his cue to walk through the curtain as he was busy checking his phone.

We weren't going to mention it, but his fellow World Endurance champion McNish made sure the audience knew.

10:47 From our Live Action host Pollyanna Woodward: "1st show down just taking 5 mins break with @CroftyF1 & @maxchilton @Autosport_Show :D"

Surtees Ferrari10:52 AUTOSPORT features editor Kevin Turner has just had a great chat with legend and AUTOSPORT International star guest John Surtees about his 1964 Formula 1 world title.

Talking of his Ferrari 158, which is the star of this year's Surtees display, he said: "It suffered from being a bit late, but after Le Mans we did some testing and got better regulation to the injection system.

"That made the car more driveable and it was quite a good handling car.

"It's a very pretty car too."

It certainly is.

See it and an array of other cars and bikes from Surtees' career in the special exhibition at ASI.

Surtees is due on the AUTOSPORT stage with KX at 1145.

10:52 Kristensen reveals his relationship with McNish dates back to the 1980s.

"I remember the first time I saw Allan - he was this tiny kart racer," says the Dane. "He could barely fit in the kart but he was very fast."

Tom Kristensen10:56 Time for a trip down memory lane, as McNish and Kristensen discuss their best days as team-mates (including Le Mans 2008), but also one of their fiercest battles, when Kristensen got the better of the Scot thanks to some canny pit strategy.

According to Kristensen, their Dads decided after that scrap that it would be safer if Audi paired them up from the following season!

10:59 It's proving hard for the BTCC stars to keep up the AUTOSPORT International pace, this from Dave Newsham:

"Drinking tequila at 4:00am is not clever! Need to get my arse to #ASI14 pronto! Thanks @BTCCDanWelch @RobertoAustini"

11:05 Overheard in the AUTOSPORT Stage bunker: "do you want me to chase Jason...?"

Yes, it's time for double BTCC champion Plato's interview but all is quiet backstage.

With Plato and five KX Akademy graduates rapidly rounded up, it's time to get the show back on the road.

11:06 Now AUTOSPORT Stage with KX host Henry Hope-Frost is setting the graduates a 'get the word ... into your banter' challenge.

Let's see if they succeed.

Stage11:07 Upstairs in the hospitality area, this is AUTOSPORT columnist Toby Moody's view.

Toby will be on the main stage talking MotoGP at 1315 today.

11:11 Ash Hand describes his opportunity with the KX Akademy as "thunderous".

So he immediately wins Henry's challenge.

11:15 Sam Tordoff definitely praises MG team-mate and KX Akademy mentor Jason Plato's contribution to his career more when they're sharing a stage.

When Tordoff's on stage without Plato he tends to talk about how he's going to blitz him in 2014...

11:16 Plato reveals that the graduates were also challenged to mention 'blancmange' in their stage interviews. They failed.

11:25 Plato is in demand today - he's back alongside fellow BTCC stars Andrew Jordan, Matt Neal, Gordon Shedden and Colin Turkington. The five have a bit of fun at Henry Hope-Frost's expense first though, hiding backstage as he introduces them to the crowd.

Formula Ford11:28 Some British FFord driver noise. Harrison Scott, the 2013 runner-up, is returning with Falcon for his sophomore car racing campaign.

The team could field four cars. Sam Brabham, of family name fame, is also looking to return. The single-seater rookie has raced in the MRF Challenge in the off-season and took a best finish of fifth in Bahrain (beating European Formula 3 ace Harry Tincknell).

Other potential returnees FFord include race winners Juan Rosso and Jayde Kruger.

11:34 As expected, there's a lot of banter flying about between this quintet.

Plato is quick to remind Shedden that he wasn't second in 2013, he was the first loser - and then jokingly concedes that means he was second loser.

Jordan meanwhile is his own censor, admitting his thought process after his race two exit at the Brands Hatch finale "probably can't be repeated out loud."

11:35 That continues when the floor is opened to fans' questions, and one asks what each driver's favourite crash was.

"Stupid question, send him out," Plato laughs. It seems each other's was the obvious answer across the board.

BTCC11:38 The next question from the floor is each driver's favourite moment from 2013.

Jordan has the obvious answer of his title triumph, but adds: "Silverstone too was great - Jason actually beat me, but that was good, clean, hard touring car racing, really enjoyable."

Neal's is a split decision: "I enjoyed Brands, to get the first win, and then Thruxton because that has always been my bogey circuit. Driving past Jason and then Andrew, who both had punctures, made it all the sweeter!"

11:42 Who is the most competitive?

"We all just have a bit of fun, we don't care who wins," Plato smiles. And then all five claim the honour of that title...

Except Plato has an answer the others aren't arguing against - series chief Alan Gow seems to be the winning answer.

11:52 Our first guest of the morning was Martin Brundle.

Here is the full video of his AUTOSPORT Stage with KX interview, including his thoughts on F1 2013 and '14 and how covering the sport on television has developed:



11:53 John Surtees is now on the AUTOSPORT main stage, reminiscing about his career 50 years on from his Formula 1 world championship win.

John Surtees11:55 Talking about his switch from two wheels to four, Surtees admits that when he first raced a car he was aiming for gaps in traffic that were only wide enough for a bike!

"I had to interpret the message from the machinery differently," he adds. "The main thing was I didn't know anyone in racing, and you have to know the people in the sport to get the most out of it."

11:57 Surtees, the only man to win the world championship on two wheels and four, reckons someone could still make the switch today if they wanted.

"I don't see why not," he says. "Thanks to the electronics the performance of bikes and cars are getting closer.

"The main problem is the scheduling. I could race in a car one week and then on a bike the next. I don't think that could happen now."

3M12:00 Want to get a first look at the livery M-Sport's Mikko Hirvonen and Elfyn Evans will carry in the 2014 World Rally Championship?

It's being put together at AUTOSPORT International right now on the 3M stand, where the vehicle wrapping firm's men have begun to apply the colour scheme to a Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

12:02 The subject of Ferrari brings up two topics for Surtees. Firstly, he believes that had he and the Italian firm not "divorced" they could have won more world titles.

He also said Ferrari makes him think of Michael Schumacher's ongoing battle to recover from his recent skiing accident.

"We all need to keep our thoughts with Michael," he says. "His time at Ferrari was remarkable - he achieved many of the things I had dreamed of doing there."

12:12 Next up on stage is 2003 World Rally champion turned World Rallycross star Petter Solberg.

Henry Hope-Frost's audience question "who misses Petter in the WRC?" gets a big cheer, but Solberg makes clear that he's moved on, even though rallying will always be in his heart.

12:13 Solberg is chatting about rallycross legend and fellow Norwegian Martin Schanche. He confirms that Schanche still has a moustache.

Petter Solberg12:16 Henry Hope-Frost asks Petter what he remembers of the party in Cardiff after his 2003 WRC crown was sealed.

Turns out he remembers very little, beyond his Subaru team-mate Tommi Makinen receiving two pairs of gold shoes as a retirement present.

The two WRC champions donned a pair each and took to the dancefloor.

12:20 Big F1 news breaking at AUTOSPORT International today as Marussia chooses the show to announce that it has retained Max Chilton alongside Jules Bianchi for a second season.

Full AUTOSPORT story and 2014 F1 line-up

12:21 Meanwhile back on the AUTOSPORT Stage with KX, Solberg is reminiscing about passenger rides alongside Colin McRae when they were both in the Ford's WRC team.

"I was scared to shit," Solberg admits, "but you have to learn from the best."

12:27 Solberg is now distributing free caps to the crowd again. While he does so, Henry Hope-Frost has to sit patiently on stage hoping the schedule doesn't go too awry.

A passing Toby Moody describes Hope-Frost as looking like "a thoughtful Guernsey trawlerman".

Speaking of Solberg's caps, AUTOSPORT has learned that the suitcase of promotional caps his team brought to the show weighed in at a massive 22kg.

12:37 The 2013 McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award winner Matt Parry is heading out on stage now, joined by finalists Jack Aitken, Chris Middlehurst, Seb Morris, Jake Hughes and Charlie Robertson.

12:38 AUTOSPORT columnist Toby Moody continues to leave mayhem in his wake.

"Great to have a cuppa with @AllanMcNish...but I spilt his tea. Table needed a winter rebuild."

12:40 Speaking of McNish, here's the full video of his on-stage appearance with Tom Kristensen earlier on.

Kristensen was concerned that they had been "too long" and it would need editing down. We reckon you'll want to hear all their tales from many years together as Audi team-mates.



McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award12:43 The McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award finalists get to spend plenty of time together at AUTOSPORT International.

As well as multiple interviews on stages around the show, they're performing in Caterhams in the Live Action Arena, and also had their official feedback session from the awards assessment process on Friday morning.

The camaraderie between this year's sextet is particularly good - something we can reveal (without mentioning any names or years) hasn't always been the case.

Indeed AUTOSPORT was surprised to find that they were all openly telling each other the laptimes they'd been doing in the DTM Mercedes during the crucial assessment test, information that the young rivals traditionally closely guard from each other.

12:54 2005 DTM champion Gary Paffett is now speaking on the main AUTOSPORT stage. After fighting for the title in 2012, the Briton said it was a surprise for he and Mercedes to fall off the pace last season.

12:56 While 2013 was mainly a season to forget, Paffett reveals that the race-winning car he had at Lausitz "was probably the best car I've ever had in the DTM".

He's got a lot of data to call on, given that he made his 100th start in the series last year.

Richard Burns Subaru12:58 The Motorsport News stand at this year's show is not hard to spot. Largely because it's made up of the Rally GB start ramp – which makes it the tallest stand in the show.

But what really makes it worth the wander is the chance to see Richard Burns' Subaru Impreza WRC – the very one he used to clinch the 2001 title.

It's just as gorgeous as it ever was and peering inside it's not hard to imagine Reading's finest and fastest flat-out on his way to taking over the world in Wales.

12:58 Paffett believes BMW's success since its comeback (including the 2012 title) is credit to Mercedes and Audi for helping the DTM's organising body come up with a set of rules that enables new manufacturers to join the fray and be competitive.

13:00 McLaren test driver Paffett is now talking about how significant the F1 rule changes are for 2014. Speaking from his experience in the McLaren simulator (he's been driving the new-spec for six months) he says the changes to the powertrain and the aerodynamics are a "big challenge".

13:23 After a rapid lunchbreak, AUTOSPORT Stage with KX activity resumes as AUTOSPORT columnist Toby Moody talks MotoGP.

Marc Marquez MotoGP 201313:27 Moody thinks the Marc Marquez era is going to be very special.

"He is a star. A real star. He's hugely charismatic when the helmet comes off."

But he does point out that the 2013 title race was no runaway, with Jorge Lorenzo just four points behind at the end.

He is also still concerned that Marquez risks a lot with his style.

"I do worry for Marc. He's so confident at 20 years old. He's going to have a biggie - it's as simple as that."

13:31 Last month Toby addressed the topic of Valentino Rossi's future in his AUTOSPORT column.

Does he think this will be the legend's final year?

"I think it might be. I don't think it will... but it might be. He's said that it will take him six races to make up his mind after 2015.

"It's a lot of mental effort to do 19 seasons on the trot. Age slows you down - that's a fact. That's one of the reasons why Marc Marquez is so fast. He's 20 years old, Valentino Rossi is going to be 35.

"He's got a lot of work to do to be back up there."

13:33 He is scathing about the mistakes Rossi's ex-team Ducati is making at the moment as it trails Yamaha and Honda.

"They won't be told. Some people have said 'this is how you do it' and they've said 'we know best'. You can lead a horse to water..."

13:33 Speaking of bikes, here's the full video of his appearance on the AUTOSPORT stage with KX from earlier.

Surtees, the only man to win world titles on two and four wheels, reminisces about his motorsport career, 50 years on from his Formula 1 world championship win, and discusses whether anyone in the modern era could make the transition between two and four wheels.



13:35 Moody has confidence in Ducati's new team chief Luigi Dall'Igna, poached from Aprilia.

"He's gone through it with a machete. Hopefully his rod of iron can make a difference."

13:39 "These are incredible. In-cred-ible," raves AUTOSPORT Stage with KX host Henry Hope-Frost.

Is he talking about a pair of racing drivers? One of the astounding cars at the show?

No, he's eating a Curly-Wurly.

"They're my Mariah Carey red carpet demand. Nothing happens unless I've got one."

Exhaust13:40 Walking through the show, AUTOSPORT rallies editor David Evans overheard a couple of lads talking about the importance of the size of car exhausts.

Having just returned from the Bloodhound SSC display, he was tempted to direct them to the rear of that car to have a look at what happens to the waste products from a jet engine producing 13,500 lb ft torque.

13:41 Audi duo Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish return for their final appearance of the afternoon - except they don't come out together. McNish is apparently still eating.

"He's always a little late," Kristensen smiles, "but only ever a little."

13:47 McNish has appeared - it seems the quintessential English cup of tea was to blame.

Kristensen meanwhile has been paying tribute to fellow Dane Allan Simonsen, who lost his life during this year's Le Mans 24 Hours.

"It was very tough. He was a great guy, and really just about to break into a manufacturer career.

"There's no doubt this year would have been very good for him. All that potential is sadly wasted with such a tragic record."

Coys13:49 Just across the hall, the Coys auction is underway this afternoon.

As usual for its AUTOSPORT International auction, the array of machinery up for grabs is remarkable.

A 1988 Le Mans 24 Hours Argo Group C car and an Opel Manta Group B rally car are among the lots.

The auction is happening today, but if you're not visiting the show until Sunday, don't worry. We'll keep an eye out but we don't think any of the buyers will be driving the cars home straight after the auction so you can still see them tomorrow.

13:50 McNish, who made a shock decision to retire at the end of last year, is discussing his career highlights.

"For me one highlight that always gets overlooked was my first karting victory.

"That was the first time I won something, and it gave me a lot of confidence and also a career direction."

13:55 Kristensen meanwhile has been singing the praises of Loic Duval, who joined the Audi stable two years ago and whom he will partner again in 2014.

"Loic slotted in very well when Dindo decided to call it a day.

"His arrival changed some aspects of our approach – over the winter we tried to make sure we were as strong as possible and he definitely helped."

13:58 McNish and Kristensen are taking questions from the floor now, and the first touches on the subject of safety cars at Le Mans - and whether three is the correct number to use.

"Personally I think three is too many, because it can split the race very quickly," McNish says.

"In 2010 I was right behind the Peugeot, literally a few seconds, and the safety car split us and he gained 45 seconds and that was it.

"But that’s the regulations, and I think like football they do balance themselves out."

Rebellion 14:03 The final question is about the future of privateers in the World Endurance Championship.

"It is tough because Rebellion and Strakka beforehand have been exceptional," McNish offers.

"Both have pulled performances out the bag that were worthy of wining the race. It just happened that we had a bit more in our pockets."

Kristensen meanwhile says manufacturer interest should be viewed as one of the championship's major assets.

"It's attractive to manufacturers because of the relevance to future road cars," he says.

"In the WEC and the Le Mans 24H you have the chance to come up with technology and to try and convince the organisers you can race with it.

"Of course you also get huge respect in the sport, and that means the WEC is on the right path."

14:05 Two hours ago over on the F1 Racing stand, Marussia announced that Max Chilton would stay on for 2014.

Now team director Graeme Lowdon and Chilton are up on the AUTOSPORT Stage with KX to meet the crowds.

14:08 Lowdon explains the decision to announce Chilton's deal at AUTOSPORT International.

"We wanted to come here to be as near to the fans as we possibly could to confirm Max as a Formula 1 race driver for the 2014 season.

"As a smaller team, we like to think we're more approachable and more accessibility.

"When you've got a massive task ahead of you, knowing that you've got support is really, really good, and everyone in the team feels it."

Max Chilton14:09 Last year Chilton became the first F1 rookie ever to finish every race in their debut season.

It might not be the sort of record that Sebastian Vettel is setting/shattering, but Chilton says it shouldn't be underestimated.

"It can be equalled, but it can never be beaten."

14:11 Marussia switches to Ferrari engines for 2014, and for Chilton getting an association with the legendary Italian firm is very, very exciting indeed.

"I remember when I was a little kid rolling around on the playroom floor watching this red car winning all the races, and that was Michael Schumacher.

"I never thought five years ago that I would be driving a Ferrari-powered Formula 1 car."

14:16 As Marussia begins its fifth Formula 1 season, it is still hunting for its first points.

While Chilton admits that "we said the same last year", he is very optimistic that 2014 could be the year the duck is broken, thanks to the reset of the rule changes and the possibility of greater attrition.

14:20 The Dan Wheldon Karting Trophy took place at AUTOSPORT International last night.

Organised in memory of and tribute to the 2005 and '11 Indianapolis 500 winner, the event raised funds for the Alzheimers Society.

After three frenetic hours, victory went to the AVAGO team comprising British racers Riki Christodoulou, Sennan Fielding, Sam Morgan, David Sutton and Ross Wylie.

14:22 The stars of the British Touring Car Championship are back on stage.

Jason Plato, Andrew Jordan, Matt Neal, Gordon Shedden and Rob Austin walk on still in semi-hysterics over their banter on the way across.

The good news is that they're wearing clothes.

Plato and co traditionally try to make life difficult for AUTOSPORT Stage with KX host Henry Hope-Frost, and joked earlier that they might arrive naked for their afternoon interviews...

14:26 On the serious business of trying to win the title, Plato reckons the Triple Eight MG is better prepared than ever.

Rob Austin is also buoyant. His self-run team's Audi took its first win last year and having secured new sponsorship from Exocet, there will be another two-car programme for 2014.

The identity of his team-mate is still unclear.

"It's not a five minute job to put these deals together," says Austin, who was joined by Will Bratt in 2013.

14:28 Shedden and Neal are swapping to the estate-shape Honda for 2014.

Neal admits that "marketing" was the primary consideration in Honda's request for the car switch, but he has no doubt the car can be quick.

"Honda said 'we don't want to do it unless you think you can win in it', and we do."

14:31 We're not showing the AUTOSPORT Stage videos live (because frankly that would be unwise), but those of you following from home can watch this morning's gaggle of BTCC stars on stage at the very same moment the afternoon session is happening.



14:31 It's now time for the audience to ask their questions. The first is "who gets the most assistance from Alan Gow?"

Everyone points at Plato...

"It probably is me," he admits.

Revenge for Plato as the next question is "can Matt go through a whole race without punting someone off?"

Plato is semi-diplomatic: "I think he could learn to do that..."

14:34 AUTOSPORT rallies editor David Evans popped along for a chat with triple British Rally champion and the real star of numerous James Bond films Mark Higgins earlier.

Unfortunately the Manxman was too busy selling his brilliant Simpson HANS devices. Good for him, less so for our news pages – but great to see the man who returned to British rallying and scored a Rally GB top 10 in a Fiesta R5 last November.

14:41 Next up on the AUTOSPORT Stage with KX is a pair of motorsport icons - Martin Brundle and John Surtees.

Richard Phillips, managing director of Silverstone, will be joining shortly too - and we'll be giving away tickets to the 2014 British Grand Prix to the best audience questions for the trio.

14:43 Silverstone has a special place in Surtees' affections, he explains, because:

"I remember going there with my father when he had his sidecar, and it had just stopped being an airfield.

"It's in a perfect location, it's a great track and I hope the fans will continue to support it and allow it to prosper."

John Surtees, Martin Brundle14:48 Onto the subject of Vettel's dominance, and Surtees says one man winning shouldn't necessarily be to the sport's detriment. He's also sceptical about 'artificial' efforts to improve the show.

"Vettel and Red Bull have done a fantastic job and you have to applaud the way he has approached it both on and off the track.

"One problem is the sport is always looking to go into new commercial areas and they are trying to bring in factors that provide artificial excitement.

"If one can appreciate the artistry out there, one can get pleasure from that. It's up to the others to beat him.

"In my day you did have a situation where Lotus and the engine manufacturer teams all had a bit of an edge on the rest of us, so there was an element of dominance.

"They were formidable competition. But you didn't have the reliability you do today, with cars now very rarely packing up."

14:56 Brundle and Surtees are also fans of the new era of Formula 1 that commences in 2014.

"I think F1 has to stay relevant," Brundle says. "Hybrid technology is dominating the market and it is the way the industry and motorsport is going.

"F1 has to be cutting edge and driving development.

"We mustn't forget we are a show; if we don't entertain people the sport will die. So we have to entertain, but at the same time F1 cannot turn into a spec formula with dinosaur engines."

Surtees meanwhile says he wants more open rules anyway in order to make the championship more appealing to manufacturers.

"I have always advocated that we should have fewer rules in F1 rather than more.

"F1 was always an area for research and development within a global arena. We're into a stage where it is a clean sheet of paper, where the teams have to start afresh.

"I'm sure other people are looking because it is an exciting period."

John Surtees14:57 And onto the contentious subject of double-points for the final race, which will be implemented for the first time in 2014. Neither Brundle nor Surtees are fans.

"It feels too random to me," Brundle says. "What I don't like is it suggests Abu Dhabi is worth more than a Silverstone or a Monaco.

"If we want to develop for the modern age, a bit like cricket and Twenty 20, we need to think about it carefully. To make one race double points looks too random for me."

Surtees adds: "I don’t like it. Apart from the points Martin made, we have to look at the viability of F1.

"It is quite costly with the new changes and now development will have to stay at the highest level right up until the final race.

"Often teams turn a bit of attention to next year's cars, and I think that is a costly effect - on top of not being fair."

15:04 The floor has been opened to fan questions, and the first is for Brundle: how does he think Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will get on as team-mates in 2014. Not too well, it seems...

"It will start with a honeymoon and break down.

"It will help with the fact they are two different characters, but it is almost guaranteed to end in tears.

"There will come a point when they are fighting on track and something will have to give. That is where you have to manage the egos.

"But that is brilliant, it’ll be fun to watch."

15:06 Next up, who is the best driver on the current F1 grid?

"I have to go along with Sebastian Vettel ," Surtees says.

"Mark Webber is a very good driver but Sebastian has been so dominant, both on and off track.

"I spoke to red Bull and they told me he is always the last driver to leave and the first driver in the factory looking at the next event.

"There are some very good drivers out there but he might be the most complete."

Brundle concurs, adding: "A year ago I would have said Alonso, now it is nip or tuck but I might say Vettel because he would outqualify Alonso."

15:07 You'll be able to watch Surtees and Brundle's chat in full later.

In the meantime, latest clips on the AUTOSPORT YouTube channel include Marussia director Graeme Lowdon and 2014 re-signing Max Chilton on stage shortly earlier this afternoon:



Lewis Hamilton F1 Mercedes 201315:10 But what, asks our final guest interviewer, would happen if Lewis Hamilton was in a Red Bull? Would he beat Vettel?

"I can only go along with the result we have seen," Surtees says.

"I can't say Lewis has demonstrated he can do any better than Sebastian has.

"Frankly it would be up to Lewis to prove he can do it."

Brundle is also backing Vettel to prevail, even if Hamilton might have the edge over a single lap.

"Lewis would be fastest overall," he says, "but Vettel would win the championship."

15:12 You get to experience some unique and privileged situations as an AUTOSPORT journalist that you simply wouldn't in 'normal' life.

Some are what we would call "fever" (such as looking round from this desk now to remember that John Surtees is stood behind us), others less so.

In the latter category is watching the faces of fans at AUTOSPORT International drop as you open the door to the backstage bunker and they turn round eager to discover which motorsport superstar they can chase for an autograph and picture, but instead just see a journalist on the way to the toilet.

Sorry everyone. It's OK, Jason Plato will be along in a minute.

15:13 Petter Solberg confirms he is a fan of AUTOSPORT International (relieving himself of 22kg of merchandise might have helped).

@Petter_Solberg: "My visit at the @Autosport_Show is over. If you couldn't make it this weekend, I recommend you go there next year!"

Caterham Experience15:16 At AUTOSPORT International you can watch live motorsport in the Live Action Arena, meet the stars of international racing, see the cars and buy an abundance of merchandise and competition products, AND you can get a hands-on taste of it in the Caterham Experience.

A roster of professional drivers is on hand to give show visitors exhilarating passenger rides around an indoor course in Caterham's classic sportscar. Which is more practical than trying to offer the same service with Caterham's F1 car.

15:22 Two top British racing drivers up next.

Neither Sam Bird nor Gary Paffett has started a grand prix (at least, not yet), but both do essential behind the scenes work with as Mercedes and McLaren F1 development men.

And their achievements in GP2 and DTM also prove how talented they are as racers in their own right.

15:23 "When I joined McLaren, the simulator was just a thing we used to test wacky ideas the engineers had had. Now it's a full-time tool," says Paffett, who adds that it felt like he was testing on track "every week" when he began his current role in 2006.

Gary Paffett15:27 Paffett admits he's having a quieter January than usual as McLaren's rookie signing Kevin Magnussen is hogging the simulator a bit.

Speaking of Magnussen, Paffett said earlier that he has very high expectations of the newcomer:

Paffett: Magnussen will push Button like Hamilton did

15:30 Bird's other day job in 2013 was in GP2 with Russian Time, where he came agonisingly close to winning the title with the new squad.

"I don't think I could've done anything more for the season. I didn't make many mistakes. I will look back on 2013 with great fondness.

"I knew it was going to be hard taking a team who were good, but not necessarily title challengers, and trying to get them to that point. I won at round two and we went from strength to strength."

15:32 Bird comes to AUTOSPORT International fresh from testing for the Daytona 24 Hours, which he will contest (along with Sebring and Petit Le Mans) in Starworks' PC class car.

He admits that's all he's got firmed up for 2014 at the moment, but says an upcoming meeting with Mercedes chief Toto Wolff might help fill his diary a little.

"There are a lot of opportunities out there."

15:37 Here's a clip from Martin Brundle and John Surtees' AUTOSPORT Stage with KX appearance just a few minutes ago, as the pair give their verdict on Formula 1's 2014 changes and the controversial double-points move:



15:43 We're back to BTCC fever, with Dave Newsham, Robb Holland, James Cole and Adam Morgan our next stage guests.

15:47 They're decidedly better behaved than our last group, and they're also all intent on breaking into the top order in 2014 - which shows just how competitive the series is.

"Sadly my campaign last year was cut short, but in my half-season I learned so much and really realised BTCC is the best place to be," Cole says.

"This year the realistic target is consistent top 10s and top sixes, and then with the madness the BTCC brings anything can happen. That's the way to be successful."

Robb Holland is similarly bullish: "The goal is to win, we're not here to run at the back.

"We have a long way to go developing the car and we won't have a lot of time to test. But we'd like to be knocking on the door of the top 10 by the end of the year."

Morgan, who enjoyed something of a breakthrough season last year, concludes: "It's a really exciting time for us: I have a lot to learn about developing a car but I'm looking forward to the challenge.

"Our first year was a bit mixed, we had some DNFs and bad results, but we kept improving and hopefully we’ll continue that in 2014."

James Nash and Tom Chilton15:50 And from the BTCC we switch to the world championship, and former team-mates James Nash and Tom Chilton.

The former has a special gift for Chilton - "what you missed out on last year, the third place trophy in the championship."

Chilton had been third heading into the Macau finale, but dropped to fifth after mistakes and circumstances worked against him.

15:55 There's plenty of needle between the pair, with old rivalries clearly dying hard.

Asked if he was happy with how he performed over 2013, Nash - who won the Independents title and finished third overall - says: "Not really - we lacked pace over the year but I had to use that to my advantage and I gained points by being consistent."

"He's basically saying all his points were from reversed-grid," Chilton quips.

"Like I said," Nash retorts, "I knew my disadvantages and made them work for me. I think Andy Priaulx won world championships like that."

AUTOSPORT International 201416:03 Pirelli's racing manager Mario Isola is a man usually found in Formula 1 paddocks around the world. Except not this week. This week he's been in Birmingham talking – predictably – about Pirelli tyres.

Less predictably, he showed AUTOSPORT around the Italian firm's new range of rally tyres that have been launched at the show.

Isola, a volunteer ambulance driver in his spare time (of which he doesn't much), is a big fan of rallying having spent numerous years in the WRC.

Lotus 7916:09 If you haven't made it to AUTOSPORT International 2014 yet, there's still one more chance to do so tomorrow.

The highlight for many show regulars is the Live Action Arena.

This year you can watch another spectacular array of races, stunts and demonstrations, included the added treat of some glorious Formula 1 machinery driving around indoors courtesy of Classic Team Lotus.

The 1978 design that carried Mario Andretti to his dominant world title is among the cars in action.

16:18 It's almost time for our final guests of the day on the AUTOSPORT main stage: junior single seater racers Jon Lancaster, Nick Yelloly, Will Stevens and Dan Cammish.

16:21 Lancaster, who was a race winner in GP2 last year with Hilmer Motorsport, says he was pleased with his season "after spending 15 months sat on the sofa and doing manual labour".

Jon Lancaster GP216:29 Interesting take on the financial situation on the ladder to F1 at the moment from Lancaster, who has always had to scrap to put deals together in his career:

"We all know it's about budget these days, so you have to accept that and work around it.

"You've got to try to make these things happen, so in my case I've had to make a lot of phone calls. To do well after that is a pleasant surprise."

16:30 Stevens, who was a frontrunner in Formula Renault 3.5 last year and will stay with Strakka Racing for a crack at the title in 2014, believes that he can emulate Kevin Magnussen's move to F1 as FR3.5 champion.

"Kevin did a great job last year, so we're going to try to follow in his footsteps. The goal is to win the championship, and there's no reason someone else can't do what Kevin did and use that to move straight into F1."

16:34 Dan Cammish made headlines in the UK in 2013, winning every race he started in Formula Ford en route to the championship. For the record, that was 24 victories.

But he admits that such dominance can bring some negatives with it, which played a part in him eventually not completing the season.

"24 wins on the trot was unbelievable. I hoped to fight for the title but I never thought I could win that many.

"However, winning so often can go against you. Towards the end it didn't matter to anyone if I won, it was expected of me.

"I don't think it was doing anything for me, and it made people question the quality in the championship which I don't think was right."

Martin Brundle and John Surtees16:35 That's it from day three of AUTOSPORT International 2014.

The final day features another star-studded guest list, so join us again tomorrow either here at the NEC in Birmingham or on AUTOSPORT Live from 10am to hear from:

Adrian Sutil, Martin Brundle, John Surtees, Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen, the KX Akademy Graduates, Matt Neal, Andrew Jordan, Gordon Sheddon, Rob Austin, Jason Plato, the McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award finalists, Shaun Hollamby, Daniel Welch, Jack Goff, Alex Lynn, Jordan King, Jack Harvey and James Calado.

See you then.

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