With all due respect to Button and Hamilton, now in different garages, Fernando Alonso is still my prime reason to tune in to the Grand Prix. He is to F1 what Cantona was to Manchester United, or John Lennon to the Beatles. He likes cards, tattoos, James Bond and rock ’n’ roll. He can drive a car that is almost a second slower than his rivals and still take the 2012 season to the last race. In 2013, he will again be slower, but in testing the gap between the Ferrari and the Red Bull came down to two-tenths of a second.
F1: Australian Grand Prix: Sat (qualifying) 5am Sky Sports F1/5.55am 5 Live; 1pm BBC1(highlights); (race) 4.30am (Sun) Sky Sports F1/5.30am 5 Live/2.20pm BBC1 (highlights)
Lions hungry for revenge
After Saturday, the British and Irish Lions will roar again. The Triple Crown and Six Nations titles mean everything to northern hemisphere rugby, and I shall cheer every thumping tackle and laud every try; but then all four home badges will merge. It has been 12 years since the last Lions tour of Australia and revenge is on the menu, but not until we enjoy our last course of a Six Nations that has given much food for thought.
Six Nations Rugby: Italy v Ireland Sat 2.05pm (k/o 2.30pm) BBC1/2.15pm 5 Live Sports Extra; Wales v England Sat 4.30pm (k/o 5pm) BBC1/ 5pm Radio 5 Live; France v Scotland Sat 7.30pm (k/o 8pm) BBC2/8pm Radio 5 Live
Football’s going home?
Giving Brazil the World Cup is like relocating the snooker to Ronnie O’Sullivan’s mum’s house. It’s hardly fair, although the only other time Brazil hosted it, in 1950, they lost in the final to Uruguay. Only to England and, possibly, the Republic of Ireland does the World Cup matter now. It pains me, but Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland’s players look set to sit out summer 2014 on holiday. Damn it.
World Cup Qualifiers: San Marino v England Fri 7.30pm (k/o 8pm) ITV, not STV/7pm 5 Live; Scotland v Wales Fri 7.30pm (k/o 8pm) SS2; N Ireland v Russia Fri 7.30pm (k/o 7.45pm) SS3