The Formula 1 Season So Far

Vroom vroom, mes amis!

I had intended to write this post last week, but I’ve been in a writing rut lately, so here it is a week late and $7 short.

Get it? Because when you’re a day late, you’re a dollar sho…vroom vroom!

Sorry, I got interrupted by a car.

For all you mathletes out there – and I know there are plenty – the Formula 1 season is 33% complete. Last weekend, the gaggle of drivers made their way to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, for the seventh race of the season.

Get it? Because a gaggle is a flock of geese and Canada is known for their gee…vroom vroom.

Those darn cars!

This has always been my favourite part of the schedule and it has nothing to do with being Canadian.

When I was a kid, I’d play the Formula 1 video game and the 6th race of the season was Monaco and right after was Canada. It’s still that way in real life. They were my two favourite tracks to drive and I couldn’t wait to finish the first five.

For those of you who don’t think video games are of any value, I’d argue they’re quite educational. I was 10 years old and getting a full geography lesson on which city was located in which country.

Also, thanks to video games, I’ve been able to memorize most of the tracks. I would draw them for you but, hahaha.

Monaco is my favourite race of the season because of how tight the circuit is, and how aesthetically pleasing the whole place looks.

Plus there’s a tunnel in the middle of the track. For some reason I’m like a dog with its face out the window of a moving car when I see the Monaco tunnel.

Now that the cars are wider than they were in previous years, it’s even harder to pass at Monaco (as well as everywhere else), which I don’t like so much, but Monaco is still #1 for now. Azerbaijan might replace it in my power rankings at some point in the near future, though.

One memory I have of a race in Monaco is from 2001 or 2002. There was a driver for the Arrows team named Enrique Bernoldi. Their car was orange and black – picture Halloween  on wheels.

Their car wasn’t any good and Bernoldi was frequently lapped during races. Well during this race, he held up a frontrunner for almost five laps instead of getting out of the way. I believe it was either one of the Ferraris, or Eddie Irvine in the Jaguar.

I tried looking it up, but all I found was video of Bernoldi holding up David Coulthard in the 2001 Monaco Grand Prix. I don’t think that’s what I’m remembering. In that race, Coulthard had pole position, but his car stalled at the start of the race and he had to work his way through the field.

He was stuck behind Bernoldi for 35 laps, despite his car (a McLaren) being faster.

By the way, the cars back then were the best. Can we go back to them?

But yeah, my point being, Enrique Bernoldi was no turnstile at Monaco. I’ll never forget it. From then on it was always like, “Ohhh Bernoldi, don’t wanna get stuck behind him.”

As for the Canadian Grand Prix last weekend, it was pretty boring outside of the crash on the first lap. Oh, and Winnie Harlow waved the checkered flag a lap before she was supposed to, so that was great.

Before the race, the analysts had a demonstration of just how much force the drivers have to exert in order to press the brake in their car. I always took that aspect of racing for granted. I assumed it was sensitive like the brake us mortals use.

Nope. They’ve basically got to throw all their weight on the pedal to get the car to slow down. Imagine doing that a few hundred times during a race.

Also, both pedals are molded to fit their feet. The more you know.

Back to the race, itself.

There wasn’t a lot of overtaking, nor a lot of close battles on track. I don’t know what happened to this sport, but most of the races seem to be decided during qualifying.

I know the regulations and the make up of the car has something to do with it, but someone smarter than me can get into the specifics for you.

I remember when Pit Stops were about 8 seconds – they’d change the tyres, fill up the gas tank, maybe even wipe the driver’s visor, before offering them some hors d’oeuvres, and then the lollipop man would release the car. They would do this 2 or 3 times per race.

So many things could go wrong and it always added drama to the race.

Now, Pit Stops are about 2.3 seconds. They’re no longer allowed to refuel the car during the race, which is smart. I saw my fair share of Pit Lane fires, with guys running to the scene with fire extinguishers and bags of sand.

Dare I say that was exciting, though?

There’s not even a lollipop man anymore. Well, there is. But he’s not the one who has final say in when the car leaves.

It’s an automated light system telling the drivers to go. This system doesn’t always have the pit crews’ safety in mind. Earlier this season, the automated system told Ferrari driver, Kimi Raikkonen, to go, but the pit crew hadn’t replaced the back left tyre yet. They were struggling to get it off.

The automated system saw that all four tyres were on and released Kimi. Kimi’s car broke a pit crew members leg as he drove off.

Anyway, the point I was getting at was almost every race is a one stop race. And each stop is so fast you can hardly tell they changed the tyres. There is a significant lack of added drama.

Sure, we get the whole “undercut” vs. “overcut” strategy discussion when pit stops are taking place, but that’s it.

Maybe they can implement a rule in the future that requires each driver to stop at least twice. Because when I see someone go into the Pits on Lap 10 and the commentators say their car should be good until the end of the race, I’m no longer that happy dog with its head out the window.

Let me just catch the wind in my face and enjoy it!

Near the end of races, the commentators try and give us hope that a late overtake will happen. They’ll say that a driver is only 4 seconds behind with 6 laps remaining, and they’ve been gaining a second on the car ahead of them in each of the last few laps.

Great, but then that car has to get by the one in front of them and that doesn’t happen as much as it used to.

As things currently stand, Sebastian Vettel leads Lewis Hamilton by 1 point in the Drivers’ Championship, and Mercedes has a 17 point lead over Ferrari in the Constructors’.

I’ve found myself cheering for Red Bull the last few years, even though they are the third best car on the grid. I can’t get behind Mercedes – they win too much. I like Vettel with Ferrari, but Raikkonen looks like he checked out years ago.

At this time, I’ve run out of things to say. I know, it’s abrupt.

Oh wait, one last thing – Fernando Alonso better return to Formula 1 next year, I’m not ready for him to go. And when he returns, it better be in a car that can put him in contention for a podium. He’s too good to be battling for 9th place every race.

So yeah, that’s all.

I’ve always thought it would be cool to go to every racetrack at some point in my life. Maybe if I ever get rich and find someone to go with.

Though I’d probably have to use an alias like Paul E. Mahogany just to fit in around such a prestigious crowd. I’d have to adopt an accent befitting of a rich person, too.

I just used the word “befitting”, I’m feeling wealthier already.

Okay, I’m done.

Vroom vroom.

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10 Responses to The Formula 1 Season So Far

  1. great post Paul, I was at the race in Montreal last weekend, fabulous all around ! I haven’t gotten around to writing at post yet 🙈, a bit behind – we are ferrari – Vettel fans – i think you are correct about Raikkonen, i too can’t get behind the Mercedes team. As a whole the race was a bit boring except for the crash right at the beginning…. happy Ferrari could hold onto the lead

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      That’s so cool that you were there! Looking forward to reading your post about it. I’ve always wondered if the fans in attendance know what’s going elsewhere on the track – I know there are video screens, do they paint a clear enough picture of how the race is going?


  2. Dutch Lion says:

    Paul E. Mahogany! I like that. I want to thank you for turning me on to F1 this year too. I’ve been watching a little bit. I want to watch more, but I agree with your assessments. I want more pit stops. I want LONGER pit stops. I want more passing on the track. I want more tunnels! I too love that Monaco track! It’s so cool, right? I love all those million dollar yachts in the that harbor right near the track. And was that castle at Monaco or maybe Azerbaijan? I really liked the castle. Uhh, let’s see, what else? I honestly really enjoy the trophy ceremonies. I love the drinking out of a boot thing and the interviews with the drivers. Yeah, you pretty much covered it. We need more passing! Nonetheless, I need to watch more. But now that CFL is back……I might have less time. Of course, NHL and NBA are done so there’s that. Thanks! Reid

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Those yachts right on the harbour are great! Yup, Azerbaijan is the one with the castle. That race is still fairly new but it has so much drama to it, plus the castle! I don’t think pit stops will ever be longer than 2.5 seconds again since they took out the refuelling for safety reasons. It was getting too dangerous I guess. But the teams have said there should be more pit stops to make things interesting, and there will be regulation changes in the coming years to make teams more even, so hopefully that helps. They made the cars & tires wider last year and passing has been hard ever since.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dutch Lion says:

        I like the old-time pit stops where they had to fuel up the car and change the tires. Then they’d have the counter and I feel like the typical pit stop was 17-20 seconds. Half the drama of the race was if they could get to the finish line on that last tank of gas. Those were the good ol’ days.


  3. Ely says:

    You WOULD be waiting for some guy to get set on fire at the pit stop HAHAHAHAH, so would I. Awful. Lol!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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