Clip The Apex
So this Saturday sees the start of a brand new form of motorsport with the beginning of the Formula E Championship in Bejing. If you’re on European time you can tune in at 8am and enjoy it over your breakfast and if you’re across the pond you can stay up and have a late one. There has been a lot written about Formula E but its still not massively clear on what to expect from the new series. To prepare themselves for the championships the new teams decide to hold extensive test sessions at the Donnington Park race track and as its only up the road from me (and it was free to get in) I thought I’d go along and see what exactly to expect from Formula E. I took along my good friend Glenn who is a pretty good photographer so I thought I'd share some of the stuff he took. I took along my old Dad too who is the bloke next to me in the first pic.
The organisers from Formula E have continually been preaching the mantra that they are not a rival series to F1 but something completely different. This is probably very wise as the series does not want to fall down on over hyping itself and previous ‘rival’ series from F1 have fund themselves crushed under the irk of Bernie Ecclestone. You do get the impression though that, however much they insist they are not a rival, secretly deep down they would like to be. They certainly seem to have gone out of their way to embrace aspects that F1 has previously been criticised for not making more of. The main thing that struck me on being at the test was how much access to all aspects the teams and drivers were willing to give the crowds. Sam Bird arrived at the track the same time as me and within 10 mins was up on the pit wall waving at fans and chatting away to the track commentator over the PA system. Someone at the test told me that first thing in the morning Fabio Leimer (who was testing that day) was sat in the stand on the main straight taking pictures of the cars going past on his phone whilst freely chatting away to people around him. During the hour lunch break they opened up the pit to the general public and let us all wonder in and out and I couldn’t believe how close we were allowed to the equipment they had with teams specifically leaving noise cones and power units out for the fans to inspect, photo and even (shock horror) handle. Sebastian Buemi and Nicholas Prost sat in the pit garage about 5ft away from fans analysing all the data on a laptop. Bruno Senna walked up and down the pitlane posing for pictures for anyone who wanted one, at one point someone handed him an old school Senna vs Prost poster and he ran off with it in order to track Nicholas Prost down to sign it too. Katherine Legge was also sitting and smiling in the pitlane and seemed quite comfy with it. On leaving the pitlane I witnessed Karun Chandhock jogging through the car park hi-fiving fans as he went announcing loudly that he had to dash as he was due up at Silverstone to do commentary on the GP2. It was the kind of stuff you wouldn’t get from the lofty F1 drivers and teams with no attempted hiding of information, I’m too busy attitude or ‘put stuff away in the garage or Joe Public will break/nick it’ mentality which was really good to see. Formula E’s remit appears to be bringing the sport close to the fans which is the idea of having all the races on street circuits in the centre of cities. From what I witnessed at the test I do think that if you go along to a Formula E event you are going to get access you wouldn’t get at the F1.
Welcome to the 1st of 10 discussion threads for the 2014/15 e-Prix season.
Normally this introductory post would talk about the history of the circuits, famous battles from previous years and of course what we expect to happen in the upcoming race. As this is a completely new series of Motorsport, mainly set in circuits that have never been seen before we don't have any previous history to go on. This won't stop me introducing you to the event plus a quick run down of the teams and drivers as well as a quick look at the circuit itself.
The basic format will be 2 practise sessions, followed by a 30 minute qualifying session and a 45 minute race. 2 cars are allowed per driver and a pit stop is mandatory to change cars at somepoint during the race.
Full rules and regulations can be found here: http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/guide/rules-and-regs.aspx
Today I watched the Monza Grand Prix and was throughly the fight between Jenson Button and Sergio Perez until afterwards we hear a radio message from Perez which states "Did you see what he did too me?" Which, I have to admitt, slightly tainted the whole thing for me.
This is not the first time this has happened this season. The mighty Alonso/Vettel duel at Silverstone was also spoiled for me by both drivers constantly complaining about the other. This in something that is increasingly been creeping in to F1 for a while now and I'm not especially happy about it.
The problem is that all the drivers are now fully aware that race control are listening to the radio broadcasts and so are using it to try and influence any sort of steward decision and in this day and age where every track incident has to have a good guy and a bad guy its highly effective way of gaining and advantage on the track.
Whether its the cry of "look at him on track limits" or "you can't race like that" it seems the reactions are increasingly more calculated to gainer a racing advantage. Thats without even bringing in to play the 'double bluff' radio call of pretending to be shocked about something when you've actually done something wrong (Buttons classic "whats he doing" at Canada 2011 springs to mind).
For me this trend is becoming an annoying spread of gamesmanship and I'm linking it to the phenomenon of diving in Football. Every one does it and its now seen as ppart of the game. Do we want that from F1? I ceratinly don't and would hope other fans share my view.
How do we stop it? Well we could isolate the stewards from the radio calls so they are of jo influence but that might be a safety issue or we could start penalising drivers if they make an appeal that is mot judged to be correct. It all might seem harsh but they'd certainly stop doing them.
I can't say I'm 100% keen on either of those ideas but the 'tactical' radio messages trying to get other drivers penalties annoys me more.
Am I alone in this irritation? Does anyone have any ideas on how to stop it?
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