Yes, F1 fans and residents of Albert Park, it’s only seven weeks until the start of the 2023 season and 10 weeks till the Albert Park Lake, the Hare Krishna Temple and Cricket Victoria come alive to the 140 decibel sounds of Formula 1 cars (Note to residents: Hearing loss occurs at 85 decibels).
Albert Park’s three days of fame are sandwiched between countries with very similar values to ours: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan. I think the government of F1-land has similar values to these governments, not to mention other F1 hosts like Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Las Vegas. (China was cancelled.)
For example, a new amendment to the FIA’s sporting code says that drivers will get their heads and arms chopped off if they make or display “political, religious and personal statements or comments notably in violation of the general principle of neutrality”.
FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem, 61, of Dubai, this week told anyone who would listen that if drivers say anything other than the world would be a better place if it was just like FIA HQ (which is in the Hotel Crillon in Paris, handy location, nice rooms but no plastic shower curtains, no breakfast hatch and no Foxtel, for around $4.5k a night), it’s choppy choppy.
This is not a good go for persons like the Hamster and Seb Vettell who have been vocal and physical about issues like LGBTQ+ rights in Saudi Arabia and climate change everywhere.
I know you’re still trying to work out why state governments subsidise extraordinarily profitable toll road companies with even more taxpayer money but this is rort is simpler but weirder.
So Red Bull was the “winningest” team last year. Mr Bull pays a standard fee of $900k to enter his two cars in the 23 race series. But wait there’s more. Then Bully has to pay an extra fee for every World Championship point the team scored in 2022. But wait there’s more. Because Red Bull won the championship the points are supercharged (unlike your Frequent Flyer points) and they had to pay $9m just to get on the track. Mercedes who came third only had to pay $5.5m.
Of course, the les citoyens à l’Hôtel Crillon don’t miss any chance to make a euro, so each driver has to pay for a licence. Once he’s done his eye test and had his photo taken at the FIA registry, Mad Max had to pay $1.5m for a few months on the track. The Hamster only had to pay $800k, while the persons down the back of the field, such as new boy Oscar Piastri, only had to find $16k.
Talking of sports cars, I have to report some very bad news for persons of the male persuasion. According to a report in The Times of London (part of our owner’s multimedia physical and online global news platform): “Men who are insecure about the size of their penis do covet sports car.
“And the effect becomes all the more noticeable, as they approach middle age”. If it’s in The Times, it must be true.
Indeed, one survey found, that more than 30 per cent of sports car owners claimed to have above-average penises, while only 12 per cent of their female partners agreed.
The researchers’ leading hypothesis is that the men “seek to compensate for their disadvantaged primary sexual charisma with an increased show of secondary sexual characteristics”.
Naturally Tom had to quote Greta Thunberg who put it more succinctly saying they have “small dick energy”. Lucky I drive a Volvo.
Talking of men with a love for sports cars, in September the Goodwood Revival will celebrate Carroll Shelby turning 100.
I don’t think Carroll will be there but the prices of his old sports cars are going off. In October, Broad Arrow Auctions got $2m for a beautiful blue 1967 Shelby Cobra 427 Roadster from the Jim Taylor collection.
In a few weeks RM Sotheby’s is selling a 1965 Shelby 427 Competition Cobra for around $5m. The 22 427 Competition Cobras are the most lusted-after Cobras (no comment on penis size here) but this one was driven by Elvis, was raced in serious competition and used as a factory press car.
Silverstone auctions is selling the 1966 Elan S3 Drophead Coupé “as driven by Emma Peel in The Avengers”. After filming, the studio gave actor Diana Rigg the car. Only 3000kms, and yours for $250k.
Actor Peter Sellers loved sports cars (hmmm) and his rare 1966 Lotus Elan S3-SE will probably see $170k. One for me is the Colin McRae – Robert Reid Rally-winning 1976 Ford Escort. After 30 years of ownership within the McRae family this would be a steal at anywhere under $400k … and it’s not a sports car.
Talking of rallies, two Australians – Queensland beekeeper Dan Sanders and previous winner Toby Price – are running second and third in the motorcycle section of the 5000km Dakar Rally.
Molly Taylor’s Maverick XRS Turbo off-road Mad Max machine is still hanging in there.
And talking of endurance races, next month’s Bathurst 12-hour race has some serious sport cars including a few Mercedes-AMGs, Audis, BMWs, Porkers and Lamborghinis.
And some serious drivers who love sports cars like MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi, Craig Lowndes, Shane van Gisbergen and our hero, Grant Denyer in the Wall Racing Lambo.