News and views on motorsports

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Round Ups

Been a while since I posted. Partly due to work. Partly just plain laziness and partly because I was just absolutely turned off with Blogger for all the errors that have come up whenever I try to create a new post. Not very good lads.

Anyway, since the last time, Barrichello won at Monza and the horrible Shanghai circuit. Mind you, not horrible in terms of the facilities or infrastructure but the circuit layout is a standard Hermann Tilke affair. I really hate this guy. The Shanghai circuit is a lot like Sepang. The first turn is the a ridiculous 270 degree hairpin that just goes on frustratingly forever, which leads off to another slow corner before a straight. Much like Sepang's first and second corner. In the second sector of Shanghai we are treated to perhaps its fastest series of turns which is a "stupendously" fast 4th gear corner. Fourth? When a modern car has seven gears!! Sure, there's always that long-ish straight but really, unless your car is massively quicker and I mean Schumacher Ferrari quick then you're not going to see much overtaking.

If you examine Tilke's circuits they are pretty much the same. Very artificial and have none of the charm of the great road circuits in Europe. But they just keep building more of these dogfests. Next year of course, we'll see another one in Turkey. I mean, goddamn, Turkey?? And for this they want to axe the British Grand Prix at Silverstone?

This is perhaps the most devastating news in the last couple of months in Grand Prix Racing. What is seems to me is just plain greed which happens when you have businessmen running sport. No Mr Ecclestone, sport should not be run like a business. It should be sport. Sure cronie laden countries in the Middle and Far East would pay any amount of money to Bernie to get noticed. But just how does it benefit the fans?

Bernie says that fans visiting circuits like Sepang and Shanghai get superb facilities blah blah blah. Yeah, and he and Tilke get money from the governments financing the construction of those circuits. Then to run the Grand Prix those same circuits pay a TON of money to him for the privilege every year. Again, financed by the government who of course uses taxpayers money for it.

Look I'm all for spectator comfort. And Bernie can really make all the money in the world I don't care. But I just want to see good racing. On great circuits like Spa for instance. Besides I just see 1 race in a year on location. I sit on the hills doing it. It is the TV audience that counts. From TV, watching a Shanghai or Sepang procession is absolutely boring. The Spa spectator may not see much of the Spa circuit. But from TV, the circuit is absolutely spectacular. Besides, with modern big screen TVs most spectators these days can just watch that. Why would I need to see the whole view from the circuit?

Of course what Bernie means by spectator comfort is much to do with corporate spectator comfort. Yes, those frequented by politicians, their cronies, corporate fat cats. I mean hell, are these people real Formula 1 fans? I very very much doubt it. I've followed the world championship for 20 years. After a few years these so called fans these days will probably stop watching.

And yes, at the heart of it, it's people like me who keep the world championship alive. When all the other casual fans have stopped watching, it's the hard core fans that make up the numbers. Hard core fans like me though are pretty fed up with this intense profiteering at the expense of good racing circuits and good racing.

If Bernie loses us, in the long run there will be no world championship. But really what does he care. In the long run that old man will be dead and I guess he knows this.

I'm all for a new world championship. Run by sports people instead of businessmen. A new world championship that doesn't give a goddamn to bloody politicians and cronies and fat cats. One that for once, decides to give the fans a real treat. Think BTCC in the 1990s. But on a global scale. OK, so the money would be so huge without fat cats but it will be enjoyable. And if the fans come so will the fat cats. Except that they would have to dance to the fans' tune not the other way around.

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