Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Motorsports in 2010 Review (or We Didn't Start The Car) (II)

Seb Vettel and Dario, Red Bull and Fernando
Double J, Lorenzo Land, Sebastien Loeb

Red Bull’s hold of pole position, LMS of television
India joins South Korea – hosting a grand prix

McLaren’s F-Duct (onto wing air sucked)
Gillett, the King and Ray struggling with debts to pay

Richard Branson in heels, Lotus best of new teams
New champ has a little cry, Bridgestone Rubber goodbye

We didn’t start the car
Fuel started burning
Wheels have started turning
We didn’t start the car
No we didn’t start it
But we’ll try to park it

Spoiler back for C.O.T. V8 Super Courtney
Final laps, Will attacks, Helio’s ‘block’

Ratel’s new spell’s Bertolini Bartels
Beamer on the Nordschleife – Twice around the clock

HRT Christian Klien, Anderlecht’s the winning team
No new team will get the call, ee-jaf-jalla-juke-ll *

Strakka win in Budapest, Alabama snorefest
Turkish race, saving face – trouble is the team mate

Renault was backed by Lada
Russian cheques they’re cashing
Pay for Petrov’s crashing
Renault was backed by Lada
Their speed didn’t match it
Alonso couldn’t catch it

Tomizawa snatched away, Walkinshaw the other day
Gearbox palaver, Dindo balaclava

Hulkenburg claims the pole, Daytona pot hole
Edwards attempts homicide, NASCAR ratings still on slide

Carlos gets his Dakar win, Kimi keeps rolling
Ecclestone’s Hublot, U.S. team a no go

Peugoet blow on full attack, Audi win Le Mans back
GT1 is mighty fun, ACO don’t think so.

At last they parked Milka
She might be improving
Still she’s barely moving
At last they parked Milka
She’ll watch from the team pit
Now the fans will like it

Felipe Baby in review, Fernando’s faster than you
Newman Hamlin, pay drivers invasion

The firesuits on Delana, NASCAR Dani-mania
Ambrose ill hill, KV smash bill

Karthikeyan, Piquet, racing in the USA
Korea nearly washed away, wasn’t finished anyway

Rossi leaves Yamaha
Broken leg – no riding
Left Lorenzo gliding
Rossi leaves Yamaha
The success will judge it
Support will demand it

Lotus running everything, Schumel Shumi back again
Bahrain boring, Brand new scoring
Muller for the second time, Webber’s flipping airtime
Simona HVM, Japan Leeroy Jenkins

Surprised with the Delta Wing, sticking with Dallara thing
Belgian rains, Lewis wins, Button out, Vettel spins
Diffusers lose their second tier, KERS back after missing year
What is next then moving floors? I can’t take it anymore

We didn’t start the car
Fuel started burning
Wheels have started turning
We didn’t start the car
No we didn’t start it
But we’ll try to park it


Wondered what on eart you've just read? Have a listen to "We Didn't Start The Fire" by Billy Joel - cue it up and sing along - it really does work.

*This represents the name of the Icelandic Volcano - Eyjafjallajokull - that caused chaos in late April after its ash cloud cancelled the flights that would have returned much of the F1 circus back to Europe from the Chinese Grand Prix. It's not actually pronounced like this.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

2010 F1 Review - The Austrian Version

In honour of the F1 season of 2010 and Red Bull - the best thing to come out of Austria since the von Trapp Family Singers - here is a review of the season as you're unlikely to ever have thought of it.

And yes, this does fit into tune - I have been singing it for days.


F1 2010 - The Sound Of Music

There's a mad sort of singing from the pits of Red Bull
And the Milton Keynes people too
And round in the paddock and absurd little Bernerd
Is popping out to say "cuckoo"
Cuckoo, cuckoo

Regretfully he tells us
But firmly he compels us
To say goodbye.

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodnight
Vettel, he took the title in the night

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu
Massa, Massa, Fernando's faster than yieu

So long, farewell, au revior, auf wiedersehen
Sutil is still to taste his first champagne

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye
The Hulk must leave his team and say goodbye
Fernie could win (if Petrov let him by)
Mark flit, Mark float, Mark fleetly flee, Mark fly!
F1 has gone to bed and so must I

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

Friday, 25 June 2010

Fighting For GT1 After Le Mans Snub

I am fighting the corner for GT1 cars.

During the festivities of the Le Mans 24 Hours the race’s organisers the ACO (Auto Club de l’ouest) announced that the 2010 race would be the final time that GT1 cars would be accepted into the starting field for the historic race.

Quite why they made this decision is up for debate.

The low turnout for the class? Only eight cars made the start of the race – though only the ACO will know how many tendered entries for the selection process back in February.

The fact that they are based on the rules of a championship the ACO doesn’t run?

Or the fact that that series is not, by any stretch of the imagination, an endurance series?

Personally I fear it was one of the latter two, and the GT1 teams’ own knowledge of them lead to the low turnout.

The field was thin and the outcome embarrassing, as a decade old car full beat the shiny, new GT1 World Championship machinery and their attendant big name drivers. But I still don’t think they have made the right decision by killing off the class.

If they want a better showing of GT cars then show the teams that SRO GT1 really does equal ACO GT1 – don’t burn the bridge at the first sign of trouble. Yes, most GT1 teams have chosen the SRO’s World Championship, but that may have a lot to do with the prestige of the title and the better coverage the series gets – not only because it has a TV deal that’s worth anything, but also because (for better or worse) their not fighting with three other classes, with their own storylines, winners and losers, for screen time.

In my opinion part of the reason GT2 is so strong is that in past years different series have been all but interchangeable. A team could run an LMS race, then go to the GT2 class of the old FIA GT series, then go and race GT Cup.

Offer the GT1 teams a decent deal to come Le Mans Series racing and they will – to bastardise Field of Dreams ‘let them come and they will build it’. If they’re regularly going endurance racing then they will build cars that can survive 24 hours, and have teams that can pull off the sort of repairs you expect from Le Mans.

Sure most of the class retired from the race – but that’s only five cars. Eight GT2 cars retired, but no-one is calling for that class to be hauled away from La Sarthe is disrespect.

Even more non-sensical in my opinion is the belief that the GT1 World Championship will shrivel and die because its teams can no longer go to Le Mans.

Utter bilge.

A series, even a sportscar series, doesn’t need that glistening jewel in June to survive. In the same week as the ACO said no more to GT1, BMW revealed plans to homologate a car for the series. If it’s run properly (and the SRO know how to run a series) the GT1 World Championship will survive. For all that Mr. Ratel might not like manufacturers probably like his series because the race cars look like road cars – even massively aspirational marques have something of a ‘win on Sunday, sell on Monday’ ethos. That’s the one of the reasons BMW pulled out F1 after last season.

If you’ve not taken the time to watch a race this year, do so, it’s probably produced consistently the best races of any international series. Anywere .

Though admittedly not Le Mans.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

'Kid In The Candy Shop' GT1 At Silverstone

Firstly, I must apologise for the astonishing lateness of this post. And the length.

On May 1-2 I was lucky enough to have a media pass for the round of the FIA GT1 World Championship held at Silverstone, UK. I must stress that they didn’t just fall into my lap – I write articles on that somehow seem to be important enough to get behind the scenes.

There that’s the shameless plug over.

Now, despite the fact that the weekend was the third event in a little over a month I’ve had credentials for I am still a little ‘kid in a candy shop’ when I get there.

I spent many of my pre-teen years going to races around the south-east of England, sitting on grassbanks and in grandstands, straining to listen to the at track commentary while watching cars flash by, and the fact that I’m now getting into places that the 10-year-old me would have gladly sold his sister for is not lost on me.

I am also aware I’m a very, very tiny minnow in a very big pond, and occasionally I am made fully aware that my feet are some distance from touching the bottom.

The Saturday this feeling comes sharply into focus.

Arriving frightening early I put my laptop on a table in the media centre (the racing media are incredibly trusting when it comes to leaving hardware in full view, not that anyone would want my laptop, as it doesn’t even have a battery) I head out to find the Matech Competition pits – a team with whom I have managed to get an interview with for the weekend.

When I return to the media centre I find my laptop surrounded by the (relative) glitterati of racing media. There are the teams’ official press officers, LAT Photographic to my left, a cluster of Speedhunters to my right. The man from Autosport is in the next room (I always wonder whether if I steal his logo emblazoned jacket means I automatically get his job).

Despite this there is none of the “who are you anyway?” attitude I have expected, though I do feel a vague wave of distain from the man from Matech when I explain I don’t have “a card” and scrawl my phone number on a piece of paper ripped off the bottom of the Formula Three entry list leaning on the side of one of the team’s trucks.

As a whole the people from the team are very accommodating, considering it’s a race weekend and they spend nearly the whole event struggling with the car. I get a distinct feeling of power as I am let into the back entrance to their pit garage, emerging beside their blue and white Ford GT just as the public autograph session is finishing at the front of the garage. This feeling is only increased when I am let into their hospitality suite for the interview itself.

However, the highlight of the weekend is getting down to the pitlane.

For as long as I’ve watched racing on TV the work of a pitlane reporter has seemed like the best job there is. As soon as I saw the words “pitlane pass” in the paperwork for the weekend my eyes probably lit up, with little pitboards coming up in them the way dollar signs do in those of cartoon bad guys.

Let me tell you now; there is nothing like a racing pitlane, even during a practice session.

I get to stand feet away from a Corvette as it burbles by in the pitlane (I have spent many years listening to commentators claim there is ‘nothing like a Corvette’ and now I am finally in agreement with them).

There is noise everywhere. I stand feet behind a Lamborghini as it roars into life and feel an uncomfortable warm feeling in my right ear, the only thing that convinces me that I’m not deaf is that I can still appreciate the Nissan GT-R than rumbles along behind it.

Two of the Maseratis sweep into their pits infront of me, one coming worrying close to reliving me of my lower legs as I stand in the open entrance to a GT3 team’s garage while the Vitaphone team change the tyres on their two MC12s. Much of the GT3 team – Phoenix Racing – come to the front of the pit to watch the stop, then either retreat back into the garage, or put their fingers in their ears.

When men who spend their working days around cars are putting their fingers in their ears you know it’s going to be loud.

And it is loud, even with my fingers in my ears it’s loud, a feeling confirmed by the fact the whole pit seems to vibrate, as well as my internal organs.

The pitlane during the GT3 race is even more chaotic, with every car having to make a stop within a tem minute window it can get pretty crowded, a only made worse by the fact their trolleys of tyres and equipment are lined up on the pitlane as the GT1 teams are occupying the main garages. I haven’t a clue who wins, but it’s a way to watch a race that is simply unforgettable.

It’s dirty, loud, smelly and more than a little bit dangerous, and that’s how to watch racing.

Watching the GT1 races from the media centre, taking notes, is great, but a little too sanitized, like watching the race from your living room on TV, occasionally looking out the window. It’s improved in the second race as I am one of several people in the room commenting on the race, but it’s still not the same.

I am a racing fan, and there is something fantastic about eschewing the media pass for an hour and standing on a bank on the outside of the new Arena section straining your ears for the at track commentary over the assorted whines and rumbles of racing engines watching the race with the public.

Of course, that doesn't mean I'll be turning down credentials anytime soon.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

NASCAR & Carl Edwards: Sometimes I Despair

Sometimes I think that the people that make important decisions are not the same as you or I.

Sometimes I am completely sure of it.

Today was one of those times.

Since Sunday afternoon the media and fans alone have been campaigning for punishment, or otherwise, for Carl Edwards’ rush of blood in the waning laps of the NASCAR race at Atlanta.

Some called for him to be parked for a race or two, others a fine or a points deduction, others that he should be stopped from practicing at Bristol in two weeks.

What I saw no calls for was what actually happened.

A three race probation.

Three races when Carl has to not deliberately wreck someone. Well, at least not when anyone is looking, and even then you’ll probably be able to explain your way out of any further penalty. It is a punishment that will not have a single impact on Carl Edwards, his team and their season.

There is not a single thing about that decision that makes any sense.

Carl used his car as a weapon to deliberately put a fellow racer in danger. OK, so he didn’t mean to put him in as much danger as he ultimately ended up in, but if you caused the situation you should pay the penalty for the consequences, no matter how dire and unexpected.

Carl was 150 laps down on Keselowski at the time, two laps from the end of the race. Carl had just taken the last position he could before the race would end, having surpassed the number of laps completed by David Reutimann. There is no way Carl did not realise that there was nothing to gain from the final laps, other than revenge. That makes the fact Mike Helton believes that Carl being parked two laps early was a worthwhile penalty all the more unbelievable.

NASCAR has made a huge deal out of their safety advances in recent years. Their championing of the HANS device following a number of on-track tragedies, the SAFER barrier, the safety minded COT, with the driver seated more centrally in a taller ‘greenhouse’ (the barrier and car, in my mind combining to mean that we’re not talking about another of those tragedies this week).

For such an apparently safety minded series to almost green light reckless driving boggled the mind.

After the 2006 Daytona 500, when Jimmie Johnson’s car failed post-qualifying technical inspection Chad Knaus was suspended for over a month and placed on probation until the end of that December – a full 36 races.

How on earth can gaining a tiny aerodynamic advantage be considered 12 (or even more) times worse than potentially endangering the life of other drivers, and fans?

Of course, it’s not a surprise if you have followed NASCAR and their discipline record over recent years.

In an article I wrote earlier today, even I predicted nothing would happen, and why (you can read that article here).

It is also very interesting to note that a very similar sentiment showed up, during the press conference announcing Edwards’ non-penalty, on Robby Gordon’s Twitter account – “Just heard the news. I wonder what would of happened to me in that situation? Hmmm someone playing favourites?”

In that original article I said the NASCAR needed to park Edwards to draw the metaphorical line in the sand about what drivers could, or couldn’t, get away with and show that no-one was above punishment. Actual punishing punishment.

Instead NASCAR have not drawn a line in the sand, meaning drivers are still fumbling in the dark about what is deemed acceptable.

Friday, 5 March 2010

SRO Do Right By GT2 In Postponement

Say what you like about the SRO Motorsports Group and the eponymous Stephane Ratel but their postponement of the GT2 European Championship shows they have GT racing, or at least something more that exposure and bottom line in mind.

The news was confirmed yesterday that the GT2 series, cleaved from its normal GT1 counterpart as the latter is elevated to World Championship status, will have its inaugural stand-alone season postponed. The SRO say nothing of when the series will be revived, but suggested it would be, the official press release suggesting the series would be “relaunched once the future orientation of the GT2 class has been agreed with a minimum of four manufacturers, possibly around the introduction of Hybrid technologies in GT racing.”

That is the root of the right and proper thinking behind the choice. The SRO want GT2 to be worthwhile, whether through the size of the field or by the new technology it introduces (in fact a chance for new technology would probably find itself attracting manufacturers).

It would be very easy for Ratel to cheerfully collect the entry money from a handful of GT2 teams and put them on an embarrassingly small grid that would do nothing but damage the profile of the teams and the series.

The press release adds ““The thundering development of the GT3 category, with 13 models from 12 brands homologated to date and the likely arrival of three additional ones in 2012, offering cars more affordable with performances equal to those of the GT2 category, has forced SRO to redefine its plans for the GT2 category.”

What they have recognised is that the different series are in serious danger of becoming cannibalistic.

With the introduction of the new GT1 World Championship the French Hexis squad-run Aston Martins and the Matech Ford GTs have moved up from GT3 to GT1. Though Hexis have confirmed they will also run a GT3 campaign once more in these days of limited sponsorship, not to mention time (especially given the GT1 calender takes teams all around the world) if this happens too often then at least one series is bound to shrivel and die.

And that’s before you include the pressures from the GT Open series and the GT2 classes of the Le Mans Series – the new home for 2009 GT2 champions AF Corse, while runners-up Prospeed Competition have an entry for Le Mans.

Ratel and company realise that nothing good can come out of trying to shoehorn another series into a market where there are only so many teams, manufacturers, fans and sponsors available.

And that’s a good thing.

While the SRO benefit from being the single entity behind GT1, 2 and 3 series, compare their approach to the web-like mess that is single-seater racing. In Europe we have GP2, Formula 2, and World Series by Renault all vying for the position on the last wrung of the ladder before F1, below that we have the mess of national Formula 3 series, along with the Euroseries, as well as the new GP3 series.

Oh, and the various stages of Formula Renault. And Formula BMW, and Auto GP and Superleague Formula.

The list goes on.

Friday, 26 February 2010

UK NASCAR Coverage Proves We Matter

It has been a worrying winter to be a NASCAR fan living in the UK.

The Murdoch family owned Sky TV had carried live coverage of a vast majority of races for the previous two years. They had a trio of a presenter and two experts in a dedicated studio which they would cut to during many of the American breaks.

It was, as those of you who have read anything on NASCAR by me over the last two years, far from perfect broadcasting.

However, it was better than nothing.

It was better than doing damage to my eyes by squinting at slightly fuzzy streamed images on computer.

But this year we were faced with nothing. The presenter Sky used – Kieth Huewen – broke the news on his own website that Sky had not picked up live coverage for 2010.

Unfortunately I am only able to speculate as to why. It may have something to do with the fact that when they picked up the coverage ahead of the 2008 season Scot Dario Franchitti was looking to move to the series, as were other names more familiar to a UK audience – most notably Jacques Villeneuve.

However, given that 2010 sees Juan Montoya further forward than ever, Danica Patrick on NASCAR’s doorstep and ex-F1 driver Nelson Piquet Jr. making steps in the series I doubt that was ever the real reason.

The problem is I don’t know how much Sky were paying for the rights, and I don’t know how many people were watching the coverage – though there are claims that the number never bettered 50,000.

The fact the coverage was sponsored by Current TV – another channel carried by Sky – smacked of subsidy and an inability to find an actual product to sponsor the coverage – compare that to Sky’s live NFL shows which are sponsored by Dominoes Pizza.

We were faced with no live coverage of the Daytona 500 with only the NASCAR edited highlights package on Monday night.

An edit which is legendarily appalling.

If Sky’s 2008-09 coverage wasn’t perfect the highlight package makes you want to hurl your TV out the window in frustration of deep-fry your own eye-balls as the coverage jumps to a restart without any mention of ever being under caution.

But then on the Friday before Daytona (Feb. 12) stories emerged that there would, after all, be coverage of the Daytona 500.


On Sky.

Why, had this happened?

Had Sky bowed to a slew of angry emails from NASCAR lovers about the dropped coverage? Probably not, given the rumoured viewing figures they probably got about the same number of emails about NASCAR as they do complaining about the lack of coverage of the Estonian National Lesbian Mud Wrestling Championships. In fact with that description, NASCAR probably generated less emails.

What had happened, I will bet my left hand, is that NASCAR were so desperate to get their big showpiece event to the biggest possible audience that they lowered the price to a level where Sky simply couldn’t refuse.

We were back with the normal trio in the normal studio, not that they cost much as only one of the three – one time Craftsman Truck driver John Mickel – only appears on their NASCAR coverage.

We got the 500. We got all of it – it having overrun by some two hours by the time the brief post race interviews had been completed.

Then nothing. We were back to the ham-fisted highlights for Fontana.

However, the latest twist came yesterday when a channel called ‘Open Access 3’ declared it would be showing live NASCAR, starting this weekend.

This backs up the idea that NASCAR are desperate to get their coverage in the UK. There is no way OA3 would be able to do battle with the bids of Sky, ESPN UK or anyone else. Put simply this deal must have been dirt cheap or come with a massive sweetener from somewhere.

Just so you get an idea OA3 is channel no.190 on Sky Digital, only a few ‘+ channel’ buttons from the delights of programs trying to covert you to one cause or another, including the delightfully named ‘Contraversial TV’ and ‘Unexplained’.

Now, I am a little sceptical about the coverage we’ll see on Sunday. From the times the channel boasts it looks like we have a full hour of pre-race material and the full race, the total program running from 7pm UK time to 1am.

This is doubtless going to be a direct taking of the American coverage, who knows we might even get your ads.

There will be no studio team in the UK.

The will be no studio in the UK.

But it proves that someone is listening to NASCAR fans in the UK.

Monday, 1 February 2010

How to Launch an F1 car.

It’s February, the beginning of a motorsports season (unless of course you’re A1GP, which you’re not, because you actually exist) and it’s F1 car launch and test season, and this year more than ever the strategies for launching a car are many and varied.

If you’re an F1 fan, or a general racing fan, you’ll be familiar with launches.

They generally consist of drivers, and more occasionally team principal, pulling back a cover, normally of a colour corresponding to the car beneath or the sponsors there on, and revealing a car that looks like it’s been polished to the point just before the paint gets rubbed off.

We get treated to a tidal wave of stories and press releases about how the whole team has been locked in the factory over the winter, designers forced to spend Christmas poring over the front wing design, engine technicians fighting surviving on Pro Plus as they squeeze that extra horsepower out of an old block, simply to get the car finished on time.

Drivers will all tell us that they are looking forward to a successful season, no matter how badly they or their team did the previous season.

Then there’s the second part of the two pronged attack – pictures. We will get to see the car from every angle, every photographer will take pictures of what they deem important and doesn’t have a security guard, or the omnipotent blanket of secrecy, obscuring it from view.

Normally these take place in some swanky setting infront of a crowd of those deemed worthy to witness the birth of a new F1 car.

But this year is a little different.

Yes, McLaren and Ferrari’s efforts stayed within the normal template, as did Mercedes’ unveiling of last year’s Brawn GP car with some new paint on it, but soon the fact that F1 2010 is a little different reared is ugly, tightly budgeted head.

Sauber’s launch, if I’m going to labour (every single pun intended) the analogy of birthing, was the equivalent of a child being delivered in the car park of Lidl. The car abandoned in the middle of the Valencia track, drivers in plain white sponsorless fire suits, the car looking like a de-logoed BMW Sauber and initially grainy pictures.

The new Renault was simply wheeled out into the pitlane infront of some cameras while the Williams, Toro Rosso and Mercedes (the actual car, not just a paint job) were launched on the first day of testing with only the briefest of photo calls.

Then there are the new kind.

The online launch.

These are tending to be used by the new teams, like teenagers rebelling against the accepted ways of doing things. The first will come on Wednesday when we will log onto the internet to see a new Virgin under the covers (again, every single pun intended).

Online launches look to bring normal people into the same league as the invited great and good. Now what you think of this is all part of the constant debate as to how the internet, facebook, twitter, youtube and the ilk as part of modern businesses, but at face value it only seems to be a good idea.

The cost is surely less that the pomp and circumstance of the traditional launch (undoubtedly why it’s the new teams that are favouring them), while you still get the same end result.

You can direct what is broadcast to show your new car from the best angle (something that was sorely lacking from Sauber’s Lidl carpark launch) and hide the bits you don’t want anyone to see, either because their really good, or really bad.

And you connect with fans, rather than journalists, (probably another reason why it’s the new teams that re doing them).

But in the end, what is the point of launches?

Do they actually matter?

Can you honestly tell me the launch date of last year’s Brawn (not when it was masquerading as a Mercedes) last year, or the first picture you saw of the 2009 Force India, or what Felipe Massa said in the launch press conference at Ferrari?

Do you even think that sponsors choose who to put their money behind on the strength of who can pull a sheet off a car in the most photogenic manner?

Nope, what really matters is how fast the car goes compared to everyone else.

And don’t even get me started on testing......

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Bernie Ecclestone: Of Sound Mind And Body?

I think the writing has been on the wall for a long time.

We've all been denying it, hoping we were the only people who could see it, but personally I think it's time we all admitted it.

Bernie Ecclestone has gone completely insane.

The warning signs have been there for a long time, if we're honest. Who else would purposely ignore the opinions of experts (or at least those more knowledgeable than themselves) resulting in a washout at Sepang.

Who would think that a medal system that simply rewarded winner was a good way to decide the the World Champion in (arguably) the world's most expensive sport?

Who would try to force this dictat upon the people it affects without doing something so basic as consulting the rule book to make sure it was actually legal?

Who would rip the sport they controlled away from its traditional heartland, where a vast majority of the teams are based, where a vast majority of the fanbase lives, where many of the sport's most famous names come from and where many of the most famous races were held?

Who would take away races from France (the nation that basically invented Grand Prix races, the clue to that is in the name Bernie) and threaten to take a race away from the country that was the birthplace of the last two world champions?

Hell, who would remove a race from the market where there is the most ground for F1 to gain, and where F1's manufacturers see their biggest markets. At least there were manufacturers in F1 before Bernie's increasingly maniacal ways intervened.

If I haven't made a compelling enough case already, consider two of the most recent episodes.

Firstly, what exactly are the merits of taking away an F1 race away from Monza, and taking it to a road course around Rome? Erm, nope, I can't think of any either.

Secondly, Bernie has come up with a way to increase overtaking. No, unfortunately this isn't anything to do with aerodynamics (and Bernie is a pretty aerodynamic guy (yes, that's a short joke)).

No. Bernie wants to put a "shortcut" in F1 tracks to allow faster cars to 'overtake'.

Now, give Bernie some credit, the idea is not completely without merit, they use a similar idea in European Rallycross, where a driver has to take a "joker lap" once every race, where he takes a slightly different (though not necessarily shorter) route.

Except it's not really overtaking, more like bypassing. Bypassing is fine for small towns where people have the money to afford the printer cartridges to produce endless "Bypass [insert you insular community of choice here] NOW!" posters.

It's not good for racing.

Though that said is these shortcuts could be worked into the track by a second turning on a roundabout I'd love to see the addition of indicators to F1 cars, and have the FIA punish drivers for poor lane selection, a late indication or not checking their mirrors.

So, that is my case. No man of sound mind and body would think any of these are actually good ideas.

Bernie is old, his time has come.

I suggest a campaign to have him declared unfit for purpose, and open a new, sane chapter in F1.