What a fantastic motor sport event yesterday’s Hungarian Grand Prix was. It was all there: drama, tension, skill, daring and raw talent. Ricciardo’s move to take the lead just laps from the end was truly ‘Sennaesk’ as F1 Racing Magazines Anthony Rowlinson said on Twitter last evening, and I have to agree with him.
Ayrton had an ability that is world renowned for not taking prisoners on a quick lap, when challenging for the lead or fighting through the field and we saw that yesterday from the young Aussie as he simply muscled his way into the lead. It was a breathtaking move and showed skill beyond levels seldom seen. As BBC TV commentator David Coulthard said “that was a move from a future world champion”.
So where does that leave Formula 1 after yet another blinding weekend of racing? The ongoing talk of GP crowd attendances, new venues, dropping older and more historic ones in favour of those that are new and more commercially lucrative rumbles on. Frankly, I feel these things are continually reported and debated out of the need for mountains of copy for the endless newspapers, magazines, internet sites et al that cover this fantastic sport. We should recognise what we have and that to me is a superb 2014 World Championship season.
It was not so long ago that the teams left the powers that be to negotiate the venues unopposed - we all simply turned up and raced but seldom were the venues subject to endless public debate -clearly today they are for we live in a changed world.
Whilst Christian Horner’s stern words at the press conference last Friday www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/115142 echoed the fact that he believes the teams are there to race, I personally feel they (the teams) also have to discuss and debate the moral standpoints of racing in certain countries and locations in what is currently a very political and unstable world. It may be me, but in the world in which we all live today, I do not believe that any sport can simply divorce itself from politics and human rights issues.
What is clear however in amongst all of the ramblings this year over engine noise, crowd attendances and venues is that Formula 1 Motor Racing is still of the most exciting sports on earth and everyone associated with yesterday’s race in Hungary should be rightfully proud of putting on such a great show.
I was always reminded during my automotive apprenticeship years that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and I believe that to be true of the current F1 ‘show’. Clearly there are long term issues to be considered, the distribution of monies to the teams, future technical regulations etc, but those things are their business and should be debated and negotiated behind closed doors.
If there is to be a meaningful role for a ‘popularity working group’ it should be to engage with social media, engage with F1′s fans and debate with global businesses as to what they would like to see within the sport in order to attract them to invest in it. Whilst some in F1 may turn up their noses at the NASCAR model, it sure as hell brings in the fans AND as a result the corporate spenders and that is where the real focus of any group should be for the raw material of F1 is cash. I also believe that working group should involve all teams, not just a select few as clearly the financial requirements of all of the teams need to be taken into consideration and the ‘popularity’ of F1 is what will drive the dollars inwards.
In the meantime, we should indeed ‘Count our blessings’ for having such fantastic F1 World Championships for Teams and Drivers alike.