News and views on motorsports

Saturday, December 07, 2013


I haven't written in a while and I'm not about to start writing regularly again. I had planned a series of articles to sign-off this blog but just couldn't bring myself to start. Mainly because it would have repeated a lot of things that I had said previously. Yeah, I told you so on a lot of things. But having read Mike Lawrence piece on Pitpass, I felt compelled to put my thoughts down. The article is called The Young Ones, and it reflects a lot of the apathy I feel towards Formula 1 specifically and motorsports in general but couldn't crystallise my thoughts into the written word. I guess that's why Mike's the professional.

Before I expand further, a word on Mike. Obviously he's an excellent writer but he does tend to have his bouts of pomp which I find incredibly condescending. And clearly there are things that he has gotten wrong and I simply don't agree with. For instance, the question of the value of so-called superstar designers. I find it hard for anyone to deny that four world championships on the trot in addition to those at McLaren and Williams clearly proves Adrian Newey is worth his weight in gold. But he must be allowed to do it his way, which is what Red Bull have done. For Lawrence to suggest that the championship winning 1998 McLaren was perhaps the fruits of Neil Oatley, I mean.. Come On! Oatley was a journeyman designer whose previous MP4/3 of 1987 was scrutinised over by Gordon Murray and brought to the conclusion was that it was a noodly piece of junk. That before Gordon himself designed the all conquering MP4/4 that bore no resemblance to the crappy MP4/3. And just exactly what did Oatley do until early to mid 90s? No sorry Mike, not buying it. And I've yet to see a retraction from you.

But this latest article from Mike Lawrence really hit the spot. You see, for the last year or so, I've felt little or nothing on over Formula 1. And as Lawrence says, its nothing to do with Sebastien Vettel's dominance. I've followed Formula 1 for the last 30 years and there have been many periods of domination by one person or team but in the past, I still felt the buzz before the start of any grand prix weekend. Frankly speaking, I do enjoy watching Seb drive. 4 world championships in a row? That takes real skill and no matter what you fools say, he is a truly great grand prix driver, up that with the very finest. Given a dominant car is one thing but the driver still has to do the work. Do you really believe if Mark had been the leading driver he would have won so many championship? Please get real.

 So its not the domination of Red Bull that brings a sense of weariness. As Mike Lawrence puts it, its all this redundant bloody glitz that Bernie tries to introduce. All the stupid American NASCAR inspired showbiz they try so hard to inject into grand prix. All to appeal to stupid people and the so-called "casual fan." Broadening the appeal seems to be the order of the day and with it the dilution of the purity of motor racing. The objective of which is of course ever increasing (casual) eye ball count which leads to more money for those bunch of parasites called CVC. Have I given you a fuck you recently CVC? No? Well, FUCK YOU.

Mike puts it best:

Granted, all kinds of information is available on-screen, but this is like watching Hamlet while referring to one of those books designed to help students pass exams. I want to experience the rhythm of a race, not try to work out who is really where after pitstops and whether their tyres might go off after 19 laps, or 23. That is the stuff of videogames.

I feel you Mike. I remember watching grand prix decades ago, before all the silly cluttering info-graphics multi-aspect cameras, all the nonsense pictures of drivers in gangsta poses. It was still possible to enjoy the race. But I hear so many complaints, mainly from American fans, that the coverage is still not good enough. Not informative enough. I want this and that data splashed across my screen. Just fucking grow up already and look carefully and you will know what goes on.

And to continue further, all this tweaking of the rules to make it supposedly more exciting. Like bits of Pirellis melting after 5 laps, or bloody KERS and DRS. We had none of that before and it still produced exciting racing from time to time. We have these stupidities these days and guess what? Excitement still only comes sporadically.

Supposedly people want to see overtaking. I guess much like basketball where there's a score every few seconds. But you know what? Basketball is boring. I much rather watch football. That's soccer for the terminally stupid on the West side of the Atlantic, just in case you're too dumb to realise the context I'm speaking about. I rather enjoy the tactical aspect of football, the display of skill, spacial awareness and sense of timing. These are details to be savoured.

And so it is with motor racing. Though no overtaking at all is much like a nil nil draw in football. But a pass here and there combined with the suspense and display of attempts and counters, these were what drew me to watch for many years. And the truth is, if we still had proper racing circuits like Spa for instance, we needn't have stupid DRS or the completely redundant KERS. Therein lies the problem, its just so artificial.

I bring another excerpt from Mike Lawrence:

Meanwhile Bernie hunts for new countries to stage what have become vanity events and established races are under threat if they do not meet his exacting demands. The trouble is that his demands are all about glitz and glamour. That's fine if it helps the sport become more attractive to movers and shakers, who might invest in it; less fine if it places unreasonable pressure on organisers. The two races believed to be most under scrutiny are Canada and Belgium, yet they are among the most popular with enthusiasts.

Bernie, the CVC and the FIA simply doesn't care for the enthusiasts. They're too busy with their obsession of money. With, and I simply detest this phrase, profit growth. Its not simply about having a profitable business, to the parasites at CVC, there must be a growth in that profit. And that growth rate itself must grow for a business to be even considered a good investment. Its rats like CVC who do not realise that this is unsustainable. And on a larger scale, its this blatant capitalistic business school philosophy that brings ruin to the world. Growth but at what cost?

This year I took up the sport of cycling or I should say re-discovered. I had done it for many years previously. And given the choice of watching Chris Froome battling it out with Nairo Quintana and Alberto Contador in a fabulous 2013 Tour de France versus watching yet another grand prix, I chose cycling every single time. Despite all its troubles, there's still something genuine about that sport. And of course, its more relevant to me as a cyclist (albeit a recreational enthusiastic one) than Formula 1 will ever be. But forget relevance, Formula 1 still managed to grab my attention for the last 30 years. Now, thanks to the collective efforts of big corporations, the FIA, Bernie Ecclestone and CVC, they've turned me into one of those people they're so desperate to please - a casual fan. But I'm far from pleased. So a big fuck you guys.