16 Mar 2014
Reflections on the Australian Grand Prix
After a great run-342 km -roundtrip to Bilpin in the 2.7 Porsche and despite a ferocious thunderstorm on the way back I made it home in plenty of time to sit down and watch nearly all of the Australian Grand Prix in an effort to reengage with F1.It was pretty processional and I would hardly call it riveting.There were some high points.Firstly the ever obnoxious Sebastian Vettel retired very early in the race with engine problems.Sadly the cameras did not record his dummy spit when he came in but I am sure it was world class.Kamui Kobayashi continued the great Japanese F1 driver tradition by making a kamakaze move early in the race - in his case at the first corner - and managed to knock Massa in his Williams out as well as knocking the front wheels off his own car.Daniel Ricciardio ,the ever smiling Australian driver,finished second in his first ever race for Red Bull and finally the Finnish driver,Valterri Bottas,driving a Williams Mercedes finished sixth after a spirited drive which would have really pleased Frank Williams and his new partners Martini.If Bottas had not kissed a wall and broken a wheel and had to pit he would have finished on the podium.Although it should be said that he kissed the wall because he was driving so spiritedly.
The cars sound like junior formula cars and all the hype and technical twaddle was as wearing as I had anticipated.Obviously I do not have a photo of the race but dug out this old one of Frank Williams and his F1 "team" a very long time ago at Silverstone as a counterpoint.A very long way from today's hoopla.I love the fuelling arrangements particularly the cloth fuel filter.And how about that tool box? Even I am tidier than this when I work on my cars.
Which was the most exciting part of my day? No doubt about it - driving the Porsche very hard down an empty Wiseman's Ferry Road on a beautiful clear morning and particularly the rapid descent down Mangrove Mountain with the bark of that aircooled engine echoing off the cutting walls.I'll take heel and toeing over pressing a paddle any day.
Since writing the above late yesterday Ricciardio has been disqualified for a technical infringement of the rules relating to fuel flow rates.Rules are rules and even in the good times of F1 drivers were disqualified for tecnical infringements but F1 now seems only about the rules and the racing does not seem to matter.It has become a gigantic cash cow and the thousand who make a good living out of it -- and many make a very good living out of it-like multimillionaire good living- don't care about the racing or motor sport or the spectators and it's just a case of "I'll keep playing Bernie's game as long as you show me the money."
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