Motorsport: Resolving the woes of Formula One
We are already halfway through January 2016 and I’m sure most of us have already broken half our New Year’s resolutions.
The gym hasn’t had a visit yet, the diet slipped off after a day or so and the wardrobe is just as full of old clothes as it was a month ago.
So what resolutions should have been made by a few of the masters of Formula 1?
For a start Bernie Ecclestone should resolve to stop hoarding money and put more of it back into the sport to ensure there is a sport and there are teams in the sport in the future — that is after he has handed in his own personal paddock pass and applied for one from his maker.
Likewise the actual owners of Formula 1, CVC Capital Partners, should resolve to invest some of the billions of dollars they have stripped out of their Formula 1 cash cow back into the sport instead of watching it bleed to death by a thousand corporate swords.
FIA President Jean Todt surely must have resolved to grow some balls and do what a FIA president should do.
That is, take some form of control instead of worrying about his own future with the United Nations and having his belly tickled by Ecclestone and others.
Honda must have resolved to stop the bull in the press releases, tell the truth about the power unit and get some real power out of it so that we can get McLaren, two past F1 World Champions and Honda themselves, back where they belong and into the competition for race wins and not wooden spoons.
A special resolution for Lewis Hamilton to stop acting like a kid whose big sister has stolen his toy when he has been beaten, and be a little more gracious in both victory and defeat.
Another Ecclestone resolution. Stop saying how bad F1 is, I think “crap” was a recent description, and do something about it otherwise we will all think that way.
Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone. Picture/AP.
Please, please, all the drivers must resolve not to have a “make up artist” and “stylist” accompany them to the paddock at each race. Some people in
New Zealand must resolve to stop bleating about how motorsport is ignored by media and celebrate what we do have.
The more the public turn up to race meetings the more publicity the sport will generate.
Now a special resolution for whichever Government agency, the police or whoever it is, that consistently blames speed as the major factor in road accidents in New Zealand.
I have just returned to the country after a month away and in that month I covered some 4000km driving on the roads, mainly in the UK.
Each year in NZ we are told that there will be a “blitz” on speeding drivers with even minor infringements heavily penalised. Yet still the road toll rises, this year by more than 20 per cent.
Hasn’t it yet dawned on these agencies that perhaps speed is not the root cause of this dreadful, horrible blight on our society.
Much of my driving was on Europe’s largest car park, the M25, the London Orbital Motorway.With multiple lanes and often jammed in places, it is also a high-speed car park with the normal traffic speed being around 135km/h, well over the posted limit of 110km/h.
Apart from the fact that the police do not seem to bother with speedsters unless that speed is over 140kms/hr, the road users have an inbuilt discipline, by and large, over lane changing, faster cars overtaking, not hogging lanes and plain sensible driving.
There are exceptions of course but very small in number and the miscreants quickly understand just where they have gone wrong.
Jean Todt, President of motorsport governing body FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile), Jean Todt. File Picture/ Brett Phibbs.
The same attitude extends to normal road driving, country lane driving, city centre driving, in fact driving generally.
Since the year 2000 road accident fatalities have pretty much halved in Britain.
Road fatalities per 100,000 population in 2014 for the UK stood at 2.1 and although it is still below the numbers for some European countries, in 2013 New Zealand stood at 5.7, in 2014 it was 6.5.
There is no one single answer, obviously, but continually blaming “speed and alcohol” is like saying “the car and alcohol” or the “road and alcohol”.
The root cause is the driver making seriously bad decisions either with or without alcohol impairment.
Going too fast may well be one of those decisions on occasion, so drivers have to be equipped to make better choices.
The general standard of driving in New Zealand is far, far below that of many other countries so a good start in remedying that would be education, training and more education backed up with a far more stringent driving licence test and harsher penalties for those who continue to drive impaired or with no licence.
Driving is an acquired skill involving a deadly weapon and people must be properly trained in acquiring that skill.
Penalising normally law-abiding drivers who travel at just a few kms over the limit on a safe and capable road is more often than not revenue gathering rather than education.