You’re still here? It’s over. Go home. Go!
No? Well, fair enough, we’re still here, so why shouldn’t you be. The F1 season doesn’t really end, it just has fewer engine penalties for a couple of months. By the time we get to Melbourne, everyone will be doing the joke about race 22 of the 2019 season. For the crew down in the loading bays, that’s actually true: the sea-freight will be long-since dispatched by the time the first fist fight breaks out in Centre:MK over the last Fortnite Nerf blaster.
Actually, next year it’s pretty true for all of us. There’s precious little changing in the regs for 2020, so it really will feel like Race 22. More so now that F1 has collectively decided to stick with 2019’s specification of tyre. There are ten teams of genius aerodynamicists collectively looking like someone just shot their dog – but Spy’s wearing the rictus grin of absolute amazement. I’ve seen many strange and wonderous things in two decades of F1 but having all ten teams unanimously agree on anything qualifies as a genuine Christmas miracle. Spy’s only theory is that somebody must have added something spectacularly tranquil to the FIA Gala’s mince pies.*
…and that gets Spy thinking. If the teams are going to suddenly start agreeing with each other then we could do anything. There are no limits. All the irritating things about F1 could magically vanish. It could be brilliant. Just thinking about it makes me feel drunk on power. What would I do?
A lot of time and attention is given to making F1 cars that can race each other, but there’s a lot of inertia to shift given that about 5,000 very clever people are employed by F1 teams to ensure the opposite happens. Everyone’s trying to build the fastest car they can, and that’s only ever going to work well when there’s nothing else in front of it. This is not a genie willing to go back into the bottle – BUT there are certain circuits where there is always a good race, regardless of bodywork. I know which ones these are; you know which ones these are; they know which ones these are. F1 has to share tracks with other races so it can’t have everything its own way, but could we not at least consider tailoring a couple of corners to help us have a decent race at the events that are a little more… processional?
Which reminds Spy, this year’s French Grand Prix was a real snorter. Proper edge of the seat stuff – if you were there. If you were watching on TV it… wasn’t. Apparently. Perhaps I exaggerate – but only by a little bit. The last lap had about six passes for points positions, with cars flying around all over the place and garages glued to timing screens and GPS trackers – because we have the same TV pictures as everyone else – which was showing a parade. We’re the most high-tech sport on the planet, can we not manage a split-screen?
Fix the Calendar…
We fly East from Europe to Singapore than back West to Sochi, then East again to Japan. Spy’s body clock feels like something painted by Salvador Dali. Clever people say this makes sense from a logistics point of view – but they get decided shiftily and change the subject when asked to explain how. If we have to do 22 races, could they not at least make some sort of sense?
Don’t do 22 races…
…but if we absolutely have to, can we at least keep the German Grand Prix? It’s taken us 15 years to crack winning at Hockenheim. Now we’ve done it, they’re cancelling the grand prix! Though at least that means we get to keep the trophy.
And about that. It is right and proper to quaff from the cup of glory. Or tip the cup of glory over the chief mechanic’s head. Or look like an idiot wearing the cup of glory as a very heavy hat. To do that, you need a proper trophy. One that is large, and silver and bejewelled.** One into which a beverage – say, for instance, a jeroboam of Champagne – can be safely poured. It shouldn’t be a piece of modern art and it also shouldn’t be one of those beautiful porcelain things they have in Hungary. Those are fantastic – but everyone’s too terrified of dropping them to enjoy the experience. Imagine what your Mum would say…
* does the Gala have mince pies? I don't know, Spy’s never been invited. For all I know they lock the doors, set a pile of Autocourses alight, loosen their bowties and dance a conga around the bonfire in comedy sombreros.
** the jewels can be fake and the silver can be stainless steel – that’s actually better, you can put stainless steel in the dishwasher just before it’s time to hand it back to the promoter.