5 October 2014

F1

Do you recognise this young man? It is Jules Bianchi, a racing car driver. Yesterday, his car smashed into a big yellow tractor at the side of the Suzuka track in Japan. The tractor was clearing up debris from an earlier crash. In appalling wet conditions, Bianchi careered into the salvage vehicle at high speed and after being prised from his cockpit he was rushed to hospital where he received emergency brain surgery.

For those of us looking in who are not Formula One followers, it seems startlingly obvious that the race in Suzuka should never have taken place. The conditions were dreadful with spray on the track and the constant prospect of skidding  incidents or collisions between cars. But the racing authorities went ahead with it anyway. Why? Because of the money, because of the TV coverage, because fans had paid a king's ransom for their tickets and because the various populous F1 teams had travelled to Japan at great expense over several days. Imagine the cost of transporting all those cars and the spare tyres etc..

You may already be getting the impression that I am not a big fan of Formula One - well you would be perfectly right. In an age when we are meant to be conserving fossil fuels, we allow young men in fast cars to circumnavigate Grand Prix tracks at high speed wasting endless gallons of top quality petrol. And what for? Just so that one of them can cross the winning line first. Whoopee-doo!

We are also meant to be living in a motoring climate where we should be careful about our speeds but Formula One sends out an invigorating counter-message that speed is exciting. I don't think that this is a good message for young viewers who will later become new drivers.

Another reason I don't like F1 is the unevenness of it all. This isn't a sport like sprinting where each man or woman is equal to the runner in the next lane. In F1 the drivers' prospects of success depend very much on the particular racing team they are in. Stick Vettel or Hamilton in different cars and they would probably come last. Perhaps F1 would be fairer and more of a sporting competition if the drivers raced in identical cars - preferably Ford Anglias!

And another thing - there's so much advertising tied up with F1. It's on the cars, it's on the drivers' suits and it's on their ridiculous post-race baseball caps. Some might think that the whole show is largely about promoting products and making money. They would probably be right.

They go round and round a race track over and over - their cars whining, their tyres breaking up. To me it isn't really a sport at all and if there was a referendum, I would vote to consign F1 to history. Having said that, I hope that Jules Bianchi comes out of hospital without the kind of life-changing effects that can accompany any brain injury.

15 comments:

  1. I love motor sport.

    No reason not to race, they weren't on full wet tyres and there were only two accidents resulting in DNFs.
    I agree it is wasteful but it is enjoyable.

    I wish Bianchi a happy outcome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With your love of gadgetry, I guessed you would be a petrolhead kind of fellow Adrian! Brrroooom! Brrroooom!

      Delete
  2. 100% in agreement with you, YP, I have never understood its attraction (well, not since I was about 10 years old) and find the attention it gathers (let alone the money it moves) bewildering. Lots of "public entertainment" activities don't stand up to a close analysis (why should Messi get 100 times the salary of a Hull FC player, for example; why should Justin Bieber be getting more money than Tom Jones?), but this one takes the biscuit. Over here they show the races live on prime-time TV, even putting the news bulletins back until the race is over - despite there already being a special Sports Channel for stuff like this.
    If it were just the race, but as you say, probably the worst side effect is the one it has on "normal drivers" who all race round our towns as if they were Emerson Fitipaldi!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oi! Hull FC is a rugby league team Brian! I was never too fond of Scalextric either.

      Delete
  3. I used to love F1 when the drivers were real men, not like whingey-pants Hamilton. It is all about the sponsors nowadays and big money, as you say YP. I have been to a couple of F1 races and the atmosphere is fantastic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. <ollykins - I can imagine you drooling over Stirling Moss when all sport was portrayed in black and white.

      Delete
    2. Ha ha! Way before my time.

      Delete
  4. Dear Sir,
    Here is my signature for the referendum. I agree 100 % with everything you said here about (or against) F1.
    M. Riley

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Miss Arian = M.Riley? Oh - your married name - I see. Stupidly I had expected a Germanic surname like Pfeiffer... M.Pfeiffer? And I wonder what your surname is Helen. For a teacher I think a good name is Boreham or maybe Whipcracker.

      Delete
  5. I hope Jules Bianchi come through this. I don't dislike Formula One...but I don't watch it avidly. I'm not a fan of Sebastian Vettel...he comes across as being very arrogant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Vettel is a bit of an arse but his smile isn't as broad this year.

      Delete
    2. Yes...having another Aussie stirring him up wouldn't please him much! Riccardo is right on his tail now that Vettel's previous Aussie nemesis, Mark Webber has retired. Webber would've given fellow Aussie Riccardo a few clues re Vettel! ;)

      Delete
  6. I have never understood the appeal of motor racing ...never will

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've got something in common there John.

      Delete

Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.