Getting to the finish line… to start

There is one huge advantage about going to the airport tomorrow. It will mean that I can get away from what seems like an endless European winter. It is sub-zero in and around Paris and I opened the newspaper this morning to find reports of snow in Nimes and Perpignan, down on the Mediterranean coast. I seem to recall that Spring is supposed to begin on March 21 but when I googled this to check I discovered that March 20 is meant to be the middle of Spring, based on the angle of the sun. Apparently the temperatures do not follow the sun, however, as the earth and sea have thermal latency and take time to warm up. Despite this everyone still to think that March 21 is the first day of Spring.

It has been a long and bleak winter. I seem to have spent most of it, staring at a computer screen, making ends meet, or at least trying to. And it is now a race against time to get everything done before I have to be on the plane to Bahrain. It will be great to see the F1 troops again as I did not go to any of the tests or indeed the launches, although I must say that the break from travelling definitely did me a lot of good. The Formula 1 seasons are getting longer and harder – or perhaps it is just me getting older.

Once the entry situation was sorted out last week, everything in F1 circles has gone very quiet. The cars are en route to Bahrain, indeed they are probably in the garages at Sakhir by now. There is talk of Sauber changing its name, which is entirely logical given the horribly messy BMW Sauber Ferrari tag which makes the teeth of branding specialists stand on end. I understand that there will be a Formula 1 Commission meeting to discuss the matters of the moment in Bahrain, so we will learn more about this and probably about the rules for 2011 as well.

One other thing of note: this is the start of the 60th Formula 1 season. One could celebrate the sport’s 60th birthday in Bahrain as this is the first race of the year; one could celebrate on May 13 – when we will be at Monaco – as this was the actual date of the first World Championship event; alternatively one might celebrate at Silverstone in July as it was at the Northamptonshire venue that the first event took place. The date of the celebrations do not really matter. F1 has made it to 60 in very good health. There is the prospect of a great season ahead. And I cannot wait to see the cars in action.

35 thoughts on “Getting to the finish line… to start

  1. I don’t want to be a party pooper, but last season was Formula One’s 60th… hence Ferrari’s F60 type number. So, the 2010 Championship is the 61st season. So, to correct your quote: “F1 has made it through 60 in very good health.”

  2. > F1 has made it to 60 in very good health
    Mr. E’s wallet you mean? We lost several teams in the last year…

  3. Joe,

    I only discovered your blog towards the end of last season and I’m thoroughly looking forward to reading your insights as this most exciting of seasons gets going.

    Have fun in Bahrain!

  4. Happy 60th, and God Speed for the Season Joe…

    what i found cool though is that the BIC management are trying to get all the living F1 champions together at Sakhir… that would be a great thing to witness.

    but do you think they will miss Raikkonen if he doesn’t show up?

  5. Should celebrate 60th birthday at the end of the season.

    We celebrate human birthdays when you have completed the N years. 10th birthday when you are 10 years old, on the first day of your 11th year. 60th birthday when you are 60 years old on the 1st day of your 61st year.

    If this is the start of the 60th F1 season that means F1 is 59 years old and won’t be 60 until the end of the season.

    Why should F1 birthdays be counted any differently to how we count human birthdays?

  6. Joe,
    I’m looking forward to the end of the phoney war and the start of the action.
    I’m sure you’ll be keeping us informed from the heart of things.
    Safe Journey,

  7. Well said on all counts – except the winter in and around Ottawa has been very mild – and happy 60th birthday F1 – I have only followed the sport for around thirty years and usually when someone gets to 60 people start to think of pensioning you off! Despite some worrying times of late it is wonderful to see the sport in such rude health with the prospect of an amazing season ahead! Red lights out and throttle to the floor!

  8. Well Joe there is the branding specialist’s problem, their teeth are supposed to stand on end. I think I would find teeth lying down flat a little ineffective and maybe that would add to the frustration with the long painful Sauber name!

    “There is talk of Sauber changing its name, which is entirely logical given the horribly messy BMW Sauber Ferrari tag which makes the teeth of branding specialists stand on end. “

  9. Just a quick correction, Joe: While it is F1’s 60th birthday, it is the 61st F1 season since we started in 1950. If you’ll remember, the FIA celebrated the 50th F1 World Championship with a special logo in 1999. 🙂

    On another note, I am excited for F1 2010. Time to separate the pretenders from the contenders. Let them race! 😀

  10. 60 years! Wow I’m getting old! I attended my 1’st Grand Prix at Monaco in “1957”, then, along with Mo Nunn, signed our Ensign entry in there 23 years later. So, for me, Monte Carlo is anniversary time. How happy I was! Thanks , for your very fine column, It’s an everday must for me…….Also enjoy the quality of the bloggers attracted to your work, they are a joy to read.

  11. I hate posting negative comments but while 2010 is the 60th birthday of F1 it is its 61st season. I really don’t like picking people up on details like that but I am a pedant.

    Like everyone else I can’t wait for the season to start to see who is quick and who was competitive in the winter championship but can’t deliver in summer.

  12. The four quarter dates are March 25th (Lady Day), June 24th (Midsummer), September 29th (Michaelmas) and December 25th (Christmas). The last one is easy to remember, obviously, but the clue to the others is that the date is 20 plus the numbers of letters in that particular month.

  13. Of course Joe posted the preview issue of GP+ before moderating these comments. Thanks for the issue. Very nice. 🙂

  14. Hi Joe Saward,

    Really nice blog, thanks for your dedicated info.!!

    I was wondering, this is not the 61th F1 season, reason why last year Ferrari named his car F60??

    Thanks and looking forward to an excellent season!


  15. Sorry to hear about the cold over there Joe…the eastern U.S. is enjoying great early spring weather at the moment 😉

  16. Thanks for that massively uplifting peice. Let’s celebrate the rude health of an industry, a sport and an enterprise that really celebrates intelligence, application, inventiveness, humour and fun (no, really I mean it). An antidote to all the empty hideous talentless vacuity in the reported world. Bring on Sunday – can’t wait!

  17. “…which makes the teeth of branding specialists stand on end”?

    Surely you mean hair Joe.

    Haven’t had your coffee yet Joe? ;o)

  18. Joe,

    Not to put a damper on your celebration, but….

    “International Racing Formula 1 (or ‘A’ or ‘I’)” celebrated its 60th birthday in 2007.

    The 60th anniversary of the World Championship for Drivers (Championnat du Monde des Conducteurs) is this year, which is, interestingly enough, also the 30th anniversary of its being terminated, an act that JM Balestre committed as his contribution to the FIASCO War, Alan Jones being the last in the line of these world champions, the last event in this series being the United Stats Grand Prix held on 5 October 1980 at Watkins Glen.

    The 30th anniversary of the “FIA Formula One World Championship” will be next year, the current championship beginning with the Grand Prix of Long Beach on 15 March 1981. This was an entirely new championship, even if this is not openly admitted, which was established upon the termination of the original championship by the FISA so as to allow the FISA to literally own the championship, something which it did do with the one established in 1950.

    True, no one cares today, no one “noticed” then — which is not true with the teams, the FOCA, or the FISA, but a nice myth none the less among those who ignore this awkward bit of history — but then again history is such an ugly thing with its inconvenient facts such as these.

    Just setting The Record straight as far as automobile racing history is concern.

    Don Capps

    1. Dear Don,

      Point taken, but let us not spoil the fun. It is 60 years since the championship started. That is the important thing.

  19. Thanks for the preview GP+ Joe (and the resent password!). Time to increase the iphone data plan gonna be a great season.

    Enjoy all.

  20. Personally I am not concerned about 10,20,40 or 60 years the ones I remember have mainly been good. But hidden in these comments is one far more important, from Chuck Jones, the history of F1 (or what ever you want to call it based on years etc.) is one thing but Chucks’ comment is a real social history and something that needs recorded.

    Think of all those personal recollections out there, they need recorded for another generation. – wrong context I know, but “least we forget”.

    Another book for you Joe?

    If not I’ll have to start a website just for the social history, what people recall, what they remember; their first Grand Prix etc …

  21. “Dear Don,

    Point taken, but let us not spoil the fun. It is 60 years since the championship started. That is the important thing.”

    Sorry, but while it is sixty years since a world championship began, it just not the one that currently exists. Then again, why not celebrate the very first CSI world championship which began with the International 500 Mile Sweepstakes at Indianapolis in 1925 on Memorial Day?

    If trying to provide what is both historically and factually correct is “spoiling the fun,” then so be it. One gets used to it. I have long abandoned any hope for much in the way of accuracy where the FIA and the past is concerned, revisionism being second nature to the organization.

    As it was once said to me, “Being right is often irrelevant.” Apparently it was true then and continues to be so today.

    I am just up the Gulf from Bahrain in Kuwait and would not attend the F1 race even if given free VIP tickets, airfare, and lodging, which is saying something given the paradise in the desert that Kuwait is. I like Bahrain, but….

  22. Don Capps, “1925”, “60”, “61” years. For me, interesting, but not worthy of argument, especially if you no longer feel that F1, even with free tickets, should be honored by the grace of your presence! How many years, or when it started , I beleve, are less important, than certain points in time are for most of us. At the moment, other than my family, Bahrain, Friday A.M. 3/12/2010, pretty much fits the bill! Thank you Russell Perrott! for your comments. Joe he may be right, a bundle of personal stories, regards F1, would be interesting!!!! I have a some of good ones, myself! But, considering my relatively minor envolvement in F1, there must be tons of material from the more notable participants. I would be more than happy to help get the ball rolling though. Thanks again for your fine work, and the thoughts that it generates from us bloggers!

  23. Chuck

    “Thank you Russell Perrott! for your comments. Joe he may be right, a bundle of personal stories, regards F1, would be interesting!!!! I have a some of good ones, myself!” You do yourself down, you are part of an important history.”

    I am more than interested in getting a “social site” going, if you would like to help stories etc as you indicated. Please e-mail me then I can get back to you.

    Joe – that is if you are not thinking of another book, unless it could be worked with a site as well.

    Joe, moderate accordingly understand if you “filter this”

    Many thanks


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