Our Grand Prix Editor Mark Hughes is renowned for looking beyond the basic headlines. This week he delves into the cockpit in a six-page feature to find just what makes a Formula 1 driver tick – and how those personality or driving traits can affect performance in any given set of circumstances or even era.
It also presents interesting challenges for the teams as they strive to find the characteristics in their driver line-up to cover all bases: McLaren looks to be strong in riches in this regard, with the polar opposites of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton on board.
Mark also looks into the minds of engineers in his weekly column as he marvels at the ingenuity of the men charged with navigating their way through – and around – the technical rulebook. In news, meanwhile, he analyses the underlying trends from testing to gauge who is competitive.
Also in news, Alex Wurz was standing trackside at Barcelona and presents AUTOSPORT with his verdict on how each of the new cars look.
Felipe Massa – This is a crucial season for the Brazilian. Tony Dodgins talks to leading medical figures from the sport and analyses what's troubling him – and whether he can ever bounce back to the form he showed before his 2009 Hungarian GP incident.
Daytona 500 – Our report on NASCAR's showpiece was supposed to be in our 'early' section, which gets sent to the printers on Monday evening. But rain and a Juan Pablo Montoya inferno meant it didn't finish until Tuesday morning. Luckily, our legendary managing editor Pete managed to shift Daytona into the 'late' section so you can read Georgia journo Jonathan Ingram's four-page slice of Americana that culminated in a Matt Kenseth win.
Formula Renault 3.5 test – McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award winner Oliver Rowland is the man of the moment, so who better to send to Motorland Aragon to test Renault's new racer? Unfortunately he's too young to rent a car abroad, so he had to sit alongside our own Peter Mills on the way to and from the airport. Still, he survived to tell the tale.
WTCC preview – Mills has been a busy boy this week as he interviews Chevrolet's Rob Huff ahead of the kick-off to the World Tourers' season, at Monza on March 11.
WTCC retro – CD players, miners' strikes, mobile phones as big as toasters… Ah, the 1980s. And we can't forget the BMW M3 and Ford Sierra RS500 that fought out the once-only World Touring Car Championship in 1987. Our man Gary Watkins – who continues to resist CD technology in favour of his old vinyl – talks to some of the key players from an epic season.
V8 Supercar preview – If you like your touring cars bigger and more spectacular than 1.6-litre buzzboxes (and who doesn't?), it's Aussie V8 time in Adelaide this weekend. Glenn Freeman interviews Frenchman Alexandre Premat, who's diving in at the deep end down under.
World of Sport – Action from the NASCAR Nationwide Series and Rally Azores.
Sports Extra – News from around the world of national motorsport.
National focus – Euro NASCAR is growing in status – with official blessing from the boys at Daytona Beach. We sent Ben Anderson to drive one at Brands Hatch.
From the archive – No Italians in F1? We go back to the German GP 1973, and work forward to the tricolore's current sorry state.
Race of my life – It's 'Race of my life gold' this week, with late team boss Ken Tyrrell talking of his fondest memory.
Read this week's AUTOSPORT digital magazine.