Why do they call each event on the F1 calendar a race?

A race is a competition between people, animals, vehicles, et cetera, to see which one is fastest. In F1 we know which one is fastest. So Mad Max has a demo drive each event and the other 19 drivers try not to be too embarrassed. Occasionally Max will let his teammate, Sergio Perez, win but generally he is up to 33 seconds ahead of the first loser. And Serge has lost the plot, so you won’t see him again this year.

In motor racing places are generally measured by tenths of a second. So, in V8 Supercars, the first three Fords or what used to be called Holdens over the line are less than second apart. Now I know you’re saying, “but they are all so close in F1 qualifying”. That’s true and the first seven cars in Japan last week all qualified in under one minute 30 seconds. But as The Independent’s Scott Hunt wrote, Maxie finished “a massive 0.581 seconds clear of McLaren’s Ozzie Piastri. Eurosport’s James Hilsum said Maxie finished “a mammoth 0.581 seconds ahead of Oscar Piastri”. You see, as your correspondent can tell you from bitter experience, multiplying even 0.581 seconds by 53 laps (the race distance) makes things look pretty ordinary. Then again, everyone can be quicker when they are only doing laps by themselves with no traffic. 

The two McLarens driven by Lando Norris and Ozzie filled out the podium. Three drivers finished over a minute (ie: a lifetime) behind, five were a lap back (seriously lads – no lassies in F1 – why bother turning up?) and another five sensibly didn’t bother finishing.

How did the McLarens and to some extent Ferrari get so quick over the year? Not sexy but it’s the floor. The bottom of a F1 car generates the downforce that keeps the car stuck to the track, particularly around corners.

Mercedes haven’t fixed the floors and the cars are not only slow they’re a nightmare to drive.

Maxie’s car is really an easy-to-steer rocket ship and he’s an astronaut. With six races to go, Red Bull has already won the constructor’s championship and Mad Max will take the driver’s championship in Qatar. Twenty readers, no friends and eldest son, if you are heading to Doha to watch the race, can I suggest a reservation at the Liang Restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental. While they have shelved the Australian Chinese menu, thus denying all of us the dishes that made Canton cooking great, like sweet and sour pork, honey chicken and Mongolian lamb, their double-boiled treasure soup and running koi fish are super, as is the roast duck (what do you see looking out at you from under the lid of a Chinese serving bowl? Peeking Duck!) washed down with some of Penfolds’ best reds and a few Tawny Ports.

Talking of Alfa Romeos, and I normally don’t, reader five, Pete Matthews, from what he tells me is the Gold Coast or as the rest of us call it Damascus by the sea, is selling his beautifully sorted 1983 Alfetta GTV6. Forgive the bias, but I think this is the best GTV in Australia or Syria.

Pete bought it in 2018 from a family who had owned it for more than 25 years. My guess is, that over the years this Alfa has had over $70k invested in it and it shows. From Classic Car Market. Asking $75k.

Talking of Lotus, there’s a very disturbing trend where marketing geniuses think by adding the name of a car brand to dodgy products sales of both will shoot the lights out, crush it but then again let’s keep it simple, we don’t need to boil the ocean.

Today’s example is Lotus’s unique collaboration with Onoto, the soap dodger pen brand. In an example of vomit-making PR spin, Onoto, a small artisanally operated company, says its new writing tool (perfect name if you buy one) is the celebration of the 75-year heritage of Lotus. For a trifle under $6.5k you can have an Onoto in one hand, a nice Cooper’s traveller in the other and watch Succession on the iPad screen of your Lotus Emira bought from Craig Rose at Lotus Brisbane (go the Broncos and the Lions) while you try to endure the tedium of your commute from your vision of European grandeur, your French-inspired mansion overlooking one of the Gold Coast’s 135 bull shark-infested, man/woman/other made lakes to the sausage factory of your accounting business in Queen (soon to be renamed King) St.

Talking of F1 again. One thing that amazes viewers watching F1 on Kayo (shameless plug – you know who owns it and how my KPIs are set) is the amount of relaxed chatter from the drivers to their teams during a race.

Last week’s Japan race starred Pete Gasley who lost his Gauloises and his Kronenbourg 1664 traveller soon after the start. “I feel like there’s something between my feet in the cockpit,” Pete told Alpine HQ. “Pete, it’ll be OK if the ciggy is out.” Later he got some very bad news from the boss. “We want you to swap positions with teammate Esty Ocon.” Pete didn’t take this news well and ranted for about an hour till the boss basically said: “Do what you’re told and we’ll discuss it in the office later.” Man, you know you are in deep doo doo when you hear the words discuss it in the office.

OK a few readers have said they would like to try racing without laying out Ferrari money and risking death or worse. If it’s for your ankle biters, then karting is the best introduction and the best-run sport in Australia or Syria. If you are a person of more mature age, try someone like the person I pay as race coach/car provider and team manager, Phil Alexander at raceawaytracktime.com.au



Support great journalism and subscribe 

Recent articles from this author

Article Search