No. 976
December 12, 2018
 

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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 Ujian-nasional.info 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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Fumes


Monday
Mar152010

FUMES

March 17, 2010



Boredom in Bahrain.

By Peter M. De Lorenzo

(Posted 3/15, 12:00PM) Detroit.
Oh, this season was going to be different. New teams! New driver combinations! New rules (no-refueling!). Ross Brawn sells his World Championship-winning outfit to Mercedes-Benz, and Michael Schumacher was coming out of retirement to drive! Fernando Alonso was finally going to be where he should have been all along, at Scuderia Ferrari! It was going to be a spectacular-spectacular! A roaring comeback for Formula 1 as it reestablishes its brilliance - and dominance - over all other forms of motorsport! The anticipation was palpable. All True Believer F1 fans would finally be sated by a crackling good motor racing show. Even the SPEED channel stepped-up to the occasion with a terrific season opening mini-documentary.

And then they ran the race.

Uh-oh. Here we go again, folks. The same old procession masquerading as a Grand Prix. Even uglier cars - if that's possible - with the whole "Praying Mantis" design motif taken to a new level of absurdity. A clinical excuse for a race track that loomed out of the desert like some kind of movie set, a monument to pabulum and sand. No racing of any consequence at the front of the field. No emotion. No passion. No excitement. No passing. No nothing.

And except for the start, it was simply unwatchable.

Really? This is what it has come down to? I don't care how many are pleased that Alonso won for Ferrari and think everything is now right with the world - serious racing fans should be very, very worried at this juncture. Why? Because there has been no progress for the sport of F1. Not even a little bit. No refueling? Please. That isn't progress, that's the powers that be in F1 trying to show that they're being progressive while eliminating the need to transport refueling rigs. That's it.

Where is the innovation? Where are the visionary concepts? Where is the emotional connection? Tuning into watch the season opener in Bahrain was like watching a distant video game played out among people you couldn't care less about in machines that held zero interest in terms of eye appeal, or anything else for that matter.

In case we've all forgotten somewhere along the way, this isn't what racing is supposed to be all about. The sanitary display that F1 puts on is akin to charging fans and sponsors all over the world for the privilege of watching a glorified test session. We've watched as Bernie Ecclestone has slowly but surely taken F1's history and emotionally-connected fabric and turned it into a traveling circus of predictability and mediocrity. As a matter of fact, everything that has been done in the name of expanding F1's reach around the world has sucked the very life out of what once was considered to be the pinnacle of motorsport.

The appeal of visiting distinctive circuits around the world with quaint pit setups that are part of the local color and character? Nope. Instead, gleaming new palaces must be built so that nothing is ever different no matter where F1 goes. It's not the excitement that's palpable. No, not by a long shot. Instead, it's the eerie sameness and the cold, uninviting spectacle that F1 has become that's truly frightening.

F1 is a now officially a sham, run for the amusement and profitability of a few to the detriment and boredom of many. And unfortunately I see no hope of this changing anytime soon. Will there be a few good races this season? I certainly hope so, at least I would think that a proper motor race would have a chance of breaking out at some point along the way.

But a few good races doesn't make a season, or shore-up a sport that's listing badly.

F1 is in desperate need of a total rethink, and I don't see one person or group of people currently involved in the sport that seems to be capable of grasping what needs to be done.

And that's a giant, heaping, steaming bowl of Not Good.

 

Publisher's Note: As part of our continuing series celebrating the "Glory Days" of racing, we're proud to present another noteworthy image from the Ford Racing Archives. - PMD

(Courtesy of the Ford Racing Archives)
Spa Francochamps, Belgium, 1967. Jim Clark at speed in his No. 21 Lotus 49 Ford during the famous 1967 Belgian Grand Prix. Starting from the pole with a lap of 3 minutes, 28.1 seconds on the spectacular, blistering fast 8.761-mile Spa course, Clark streaked into the lead and put 20 seconds on Jackie Stewart (No. 14 BRM) and Dan Gurney (No. 36 Gurney Eagle-Weslake V12) after 11 laps. Clark then had to relinquish his lead to dive into the pits for a spark plug change, costing him a full two minutes. Gurney then had to make a pit stop with fuel pressure issues - which cost him 20 seconds - as Stewart took command of the race. But it was not to be for Stewart as a balky shift lever was distracting him. Gurney gave pursuit setting a new race lap record of 3.31:9, and he passed Stewart with eight laps to going on to win the race - the only American in the 100-year history of F1 to win a Grand Prix in a car of his own design - averaging 143 mph. Stewart would finish second that day, followed by Chris Amon (No. 1 Ferrari), Jochen Rindt (No. 29 Cooper-Maserati), Mike Spence (No. 12 BRM) and, incredibly enough, the great Jim Clark, who stormed all the way back to finish sixth.

 

 

See another live episode of "Autoline After Hours" hosted by Autoline Detroit's John McElroy, with Peter De Lorenzo and friends this Thursday evening, at 7:00PM EDT at .

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