No. 976
December 12, 2018

About The UjianNasional

Author, commentator, influencer. The Consigliere. Minister of the High-Octane Truth. Editor-in-Chief of .

Peter DeLorenzo has been in and around the sport of racing since the age of ten. After a 22-year career in automotive marketing and advertising, where he worked on national campaigns as well as creating many motorsports campaigns for various clients, DeLorenzo established on June 1, 1999. Over the years DeLorenzo's commentaries on racing and the business of motorsports have resonated throughout the industry. Because of the burgeoning influence of those commentaries, DeLorenzo has directly consulted automotive clients on the fundamental direction and content of their motorsports programs. DeLorenzo is considered to be one of the most influential voices commenting on the sport today.

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By Peter M. DeLorenzo

Detroit. I don't know where to begin in writing about the 2018 F1 season opener in Australia. Do I start with the fact that the safety "halos" on the cars are so off-putting that the cars are almost unwatchable? I didn't think that it was possible to make the cars any less attractive, but the brain trust in charge of F1 has succeeded. Wind screens would have been a much better option, but when you have a group that thinks it knows absolutely everything about everything, that's what we get, it seems. 

And what about the total fiasco that was ESPN's maiden coverage of F1? Yes, things can go wrong in an inaugural event involving picking up a broadcast from another entity - especially with the way ESPN chose to bring the sport to our TV sets - but Sunday's display was a complete disaster and inexcusable from a historically savvy network like ESPN. Yes, ESPN apologized, but in this nanosecond-attention-span world we live in, ESPN operatives shouldn't be surprised that a large number of F1 racing enthusiasts don't bother coming back. And wishing that somehow NBC Sports will come back is noble but a 
a fool's errand at this point, so racing enthusiasts are left with only hope that ESPN can get its act together, and quick.

Those two things would be enough for anyone to be turned off, but the fact that Lewis Hamilton was robbed of the race win because of a software malfunction pretty much sums up everything wrong about F1 in its current guise. I realize that the Technology Genie was let out of the bottle a long, long time ago, swallowing the sport of racing whole. And I am also painfully aware that motorsport will continue to be inexorably affected by the constantly evolving onslaught of technology for good - and mostly bad. But something has to give, and soon, because the Technical Sterility of F1 is so relentlessly tedious that it has completely sapped what little interest is left in the sport.

Former World Champion Damon Hill blasted F1 over the weekend on Twitter, suggesting that the best thing that could happen is that both Ferrari and Mercedes stick to their bluster and make good on their threats to leave the sport. Given everything that has transpired over the last decade, I am finding it difficult to disagree with him. Something has to be done to make the sport more compelling, and more technology doesn't seem to be the answer, not even close in fact.

I would like to see a reimagined set of rules that reduces the involvement of technology in the sport by at least 75 percent. A pipe dream? Absolutely. But having a room full of 100 people monitoring a racing machine down to the very last digit seems about as far away from the spirit of the sport as you can get. I would much rather see all of the current F1 stars in F5000 machines made to contemporary safety standards - sans halo, of course - than sit through another race this season. Technical Sterility has robbed F1 of its passion, and pretty much everything else that was once worth watching too.

And that's the High-Octane Truth for this week.


Publisher's Note: As part of our continuing series celebrating the "Glory Days" of racing, this week's image is from the Ford Racing Archives. - PMD
(Dave Friedman/The Ford Racing Archives)  
Riverside International Raceway, October 4, 1970. Parnelli Jones (No. 15 Bud Moore Engineering Ford Mustang Boss 302) started from the pole in the last Trans-Am race of the season and rocketed away at the start. After a major crash with a back marker wrecked his steering, Jones had to wrestle the car over bumps to get it to turn. He stormed back to win the race - setting the fastest race lap - and he delivered the 1970 Trans-Am Championship for Ford, preventing Mark Donohue, who finished third, from winning the championship in his No. 6 Penske Racing Sunoco AMC Javelin. George Follmer (No. 16 Bud Moore Engineering Ford Mustang Boss 302) finished second.