You know as well as I do that many sporting associations, like many other organisations that appear to have a social purpose, have as their operating principle that the world will end soon and dinosaurs will come back and rule the earth.
Naturally they are the dinosaurs.
This is because they believe their sports and their headquarters, cunningly disguised as palaces, are not just part of the world, they are the world and everything and everyone else is superfluous. Of course, you want an example and of course I’m going to start with the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile.
Not because last Sunday’s race in Baku was boring. Which it was.
Last year there were 22 F1 races. Red Bull won 17 and graciously allowed Ferrari to win four and Mercedes to win one. Mad Max won 10 of them.
This year there have been four races. Red Bull has won all four. Maxie and Sergio Perez have alternated as winners. Now maybe Baku was boring because it was nearly impossible for the cars to pass one another which usually forms a big part of a race versus a procession.
Maybe it was because the safety car was, once again, more important than the actual racing cars. Maybe it was because the Red Bull cars are so much better than the rest of the pack that the only excitement this season will be the battle between Sergio and Mad Max.
How much better? Chuck Leclerc came third in his Fezzer 20 seconds behind the Red Bulls. The last 11 cars to finish on Sunday were up to three years further back. Maybe it was because Baku is, sorry Azerbaijan Tourist Association, about as exciting as the Carlo Sand Blow at Gympie on a Monday night.
Look, for a start the place is 28m below sea level. The top attractions are the Carpet Museum, the oil drilling machines (they are just behind the TV tower) and the Museum of Miniature Books. Wow. No wonder New York and Paris are finding it hard to attract visitors.
But knowing how much the lads (not many lassies, well except for persons like Fabiana Ecclestone, 47, formerly of Brazil who is the partner of B.C. Ecclestone, 92, formerly of Bungay, Suffolk, Soap Dodger Land) love the reptiles of the press, it came as no surprise that representatives of the FIA let about 20 snappers and reptiles block the entry to pit lane just as Esteban José Jean-Pierre Ocon-Khelfane, 26, of snail and frog legs land, was speeding in on the final lap for a mandatory pit stop.
As Ted Kravitz, 49, of Sky Sports said: “This is a shambles, absolute shambles. That is a total and utter shambles in organisation.”
But the last word goes to the sport’s most diverse commentator, Matt Bishop, who wrote: “Message to Mohammed Ben Sulayem: we’ll have absolutely no more footling nonsense from you about trivia such as Lewis Hamilton’s nose studs ’til you’ve got the FIA’s race-safety house in order.”
Of course, Matt was referring to the FIA president trying to ban the Hamster from wearing jewellery. But London’s Telegraph (a pale imitation of our very own Daily Telegraph) this week reported that Mohammed Ben Sulayem “is facing mounting pressure after fresh allegations of sexism and bullying at motorsport’s world governing body”.
“Telegraph Sport can reveal that Shaila-Ann Rao, the former interim secretary-general for motorsport, sent a letter alleging numerous instances of sexist behaviour prior to her abrupt departure last December,” it reports.
“The claims were never investigated. Telegraph Sport has also spoken to dozens of current and former FIA staff, including elected officials, World Motor Sport Council members and stewards who likewise paint a picture of erratic and bullying behaviour behind the scenes.”
Our own younger reader adviser, JP, of Perth says: “The 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix was pretty boring. I was hoping for more yellow flags and even a red.
“But the most entertaining part of the race was counting how many Taylor Swift references were made by the Sky Sports commentators towards the Alonso and Swift rumour.
“You could mention that in this week’s column, however I doubt how many of your readers know who Taylor Swift is”.
Easy on there JP. Our 20 readers know all about the speculation that Swift and Alonso — who are both recently single — are secretly dating. In fact, our very own Emily Selleck (a relation of Tom’s but JP you’d be too young to know who Tom Sellick is) tells us that “the couple has been seeing each other for a week now”.
Next on the list is the team from the Last Generation, a German group of climate change activists who climbed over fences and tried to glue themselves to the track at the Formula-E electric car race at Berlin’s historic Templehof Airport circuit last week.
While to most, the name Formula E would be a dead giveaway that the race cars don’t use a lot of fossil fuels, the Lost Generation said they were at the Formula E racetrack “to sound the alarm”.
Perhaps this is the same alarm that the folks from Just Stop Oil sounded when they got a World Championship snooker match cancelled after one of the activists leapt on the snooker table and threw orange powder over the green baize. I bet they never fill that table with BP Utimate again.
And in the land of free, Hagens Berman, a global plaintiffs’ rights complex litigation law firm with a tenacious drive for achieving real results for those harmed by corporate negligence and fraud, has filed a class-action lawsuit accusing American Honda Motor Company of selling 2022-23 Civics which it knew were equipped with dangerously faulty electronic power steering systems.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a preliminary investigation after receiving 145 reports of “momentary increase in steering effort,” described as “sticky steering,” which could result in the inability to avoid a road hazard”.