Motor Racing Journal

News and views on motorsports

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Present Day Fabrications

I can't remember the last time I watched Formula 1. Well, I think I've said enough about it and really despite the title and its applicability to that circus, this post isn't about that. I'll touch on automobiles in this post. Specifically, BMWs.

For those who have read my previous postings, you'd know that I view most BMWs as nothing more than accessories for mistresses and wannabes. Most but not all of them. Recently, I had the chance to drive an old E46 BMW M3. And what a gem that was. Being rear wheel drive, the steering and handling of that thing was a complete revelation. The balance of the chassis, the responsiveness and agility are stuff of legend. And that straight six - essentially half a McLaren F1 road car engine, sometimes reminds me of old Jaguars in terms of sonic quality at least. The performance - whilst not exactly fast by comparison to cars in the present day - is more than adequate for me. In fact, I love it.

Also recently, I've had the chance to ride in the very latest BMW M5. Now of course, that is a brutally fast car. Forget next level, its several levels above the M3. 4.4 litres, twin turbo V8 with 560 bhp with attendant torque. There's a sense of the inexorable with this car.

But here's the thing. The 5 series BMWs share the same platforms as the 6 and 7 series and get this, the Rolls Royce Ghost. OK I'm outdated. You knew this already. But Rolls Royce Ghost?? No wonder I keep mistaking 5 series BMWs for 7 series. Its seriously huge and portly. Near 2000 kgs for an Motorsport division road car. Gone are the days of the lightweight sports saloon that built BMWs reputation. This car is seriously like a big barge.

Except that it isn't. Or at least it pretends not to be. And herein lies my biggest bugbear. The engine note. BMW pipes in engine noise into the cabin by playing tracks on the speakers! Yes, I knew this for some time. But it didn't hit me hard until after I drove the E46 M3. That car is honest - though there are loads of probably superfluous features on it. Well, its honest enough. But playing the sound of a V10 in the cabin through the speakers? That takes the cake for fake.

What does it say about us a consumers and buyers? I mean BMW I'm sure knows its market extremely well - otherwise you'd never get absolutely stupid cars like the X3, X5 and... oh god, the X6 and its ilk. And knowing its market so well that it knows that buyers would tolerate or dare I say demand such fabrications as engine noise through the speakers. Forget about electric steering and the dead fake feel from the steering wheel. Whatever happened to the purity of the driving experience? BMW to me has stooped to a new low point.

This is from the same company that made such legends as the BMW 2002, M1, E30 M3, the first M5, the E60 V10 M5 and of course the E46 M3. I really don't know what else to say.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Little Too Late

Though I've almost completely stopped watching Grands Prix (can't remember the last time I did), I do on occasion browse through the news websites, notably Pitpass and I've completely stopped going to the F1 website equivalent of (British) The Sun newspaper, Planet F1.

So I've noticed lately Pitpass being highly critical of the monetary greed in Formula 1. More than once aiming its sights on the loathsome CVC.

Funny, I had been saying the same thing for years now. Even from back in the day when Pitpass (et al) was singing praises and in full support of the expansion of Formula 1. Not least because it gave them more readership I suppose.

Let me just reiterate the point I made in my previous post. They so wanted to expand the appeal of Formula 1 particularly to those bunch of idiots called the casual fan. Well, all it did was drive away the core enthusiasts. People like me who have been following the sport for nigh on 32 years. And now for some reason, the very casual fans are also deserting the support as evidenced by falling television audiences.

The only way to stop the decay is to bring back the purity of the racing - and not keep tweaking and introducing artificiality into the "sport." But Pitpass is of the opinion in their latest article that this is not possible. I'd beg to differ but I couldn't care less anymore.

Actually I do hope that Formula 1 decays even further until such point we can be rid of people like CVC and all the money men. As a (previous) fan I hate being used as some sort of cash cow to make a bunch of financier and a senile old fart in Bernie wealthier. Fuck off bitches. Leave for good!

Oh and Pitpass... instead of referring to the rest of us who are not you as Para Sites, why don't you have a careful look at our arguments instead. Because, when it comes to the greed and the decay of Grand Prix racing, I beat you to it nearly a decade ago.

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.