This seasons Formula One Grand Prix has been, to be honest, a little bit boring. There have been no fireballs, except Heikki Kovalainen’s uneventful fire in Singapore, and no real crashes except Webber’s summersault in Valencia.
Many people put this down to the ‘no refuelling’ rule, others to the fact they only have eleven sets of tyres, but I think it’s down to something else.
Sponsors are the power units in modern motor racing; without a sponsor, you’re stuffed. And if you’re stuffed (that is a proper, very technical motor racing term, of course) you don’t get paid.
This, I think, has led to the drivers becoming far to safe. Overtaking has become a thing of the past, and that, for every Formula One fan is a great shame. After all, a race without a crash is like a car with no wheels – it doesn’t really work.
If you look at past races, the races from, as the more ‘aged’ fans will say, the good old days, you can see that even thought they had next to no down force, no real safety features, manual gear boxes and over 1000 bhp, they really went for it.
Take Ayrton Senna as an example. He has been praised , but also criticised, for overtaking in the most dangerous of places and putting other drivers in a position where if they try to make a corner, they will crash but if they don’t, they will lose.
Nowadays, however, this ‘do or die’, ‘gun ho’ attitude is all but lost, meaning that all you see on the telly are some reliable cars driving reasonably quickly without incident.
In fact, the only really good overtaking is done by those drivers who have just come up from Formula Two. So why watch Formula One? Well, because Formula One is on at a convenient time on BBC, not very early or very late in the day on an obscure channel, like ITV.
But I think I know what could be done to improve things a little bit; stimulate the part of a persons brain that rather oddly enjoys two cars coming together at high speeds.
What we need is some motor racing spring cleaning. If you like the sound of that, read on.
I spent yesterday morning at a Scalextric fundraising competition and it was great fun. What most people wouldn’t believe is that it actually takes quite a lot of skill, something I have very little of when it comes to model car racing.
But, at the end of the morning, after three hours of racing and after nearly one thousand laps of a very demanding scale circuit, my team won, and gained the coveted 2010 trophy.
Excellent. Now I can tell someone I have won a Formula One race, albeit in Scalextric.
But on the journey home, filled with the excitement of victory, I remembered that later that day I would have to watch the Japanese Grand Prix.
It was at this point that I struck upon a gold mine of opportunity.
Why don’t we control the cars? The drivers can still do the steering, but leave the braking and throttle to randomly selected race watchers? A sort of F1 Lottery?
This would satisfy our need for excitement, as the drivers championship could be changed dramatically with just one sneeze of the fan clutching onto the throttle control, and the drivers themselves would really have to work the wheel of the car to get paid, especially if we decide to use the brakes only every now and then.
So Bernie, if you’re reading, sort it out!