I don’t do a review of the year on this blog. You can get my opinions on what happened in 2012 by way of GP+ and the Business of Motorsport newsletter, if you care to know. If you want everything for free then… tough!
I thought, however, it might amuse you all to know that the most absurd moment of my season of F1 travelling was when I was asked for ID when ordering a glass of wine in a restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia. Being a middle-aged man, with a slight frosting of the locks, this was plain silly. “It’s the law,” they told me in an exasperated fashion when I said: “You’re kidding me!” and I wondered whether it might be a good moment to ruminate on the absurdity of a system that allows you to be killed while serving your country in the military, buy guns, vote, smoke, serve on a jury and be prosecuted as an adult, but will not let you buy an alcoholic drink…
Absurdity is never far from life when one is in Formula 1 as the people involved tend to be slightly more “out there” than the average, and we travel to many varied and interesting places. Still, over the Christmas break things tend to go very quiet on the news front and the only source of excitement is that Team X or Team Y has passed a crash test. There is the New Year’s Honour list in the UK but the sporting side of 2012 was utterly dominated by the Olympic Games. I do enjoy scanning through the Honours as one sees the most remarkable things: “For services to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and London Underground” was a particular favourite this year, amid all the usual for service to beekeeping, pipe band music in Northern Ireland, Scottish country dancing, bowls, the rather sinister “for services to defence” and my absolute favourite this year: “for services to wildlife crime enforcement and to girl guiding”.
I noted that the President of the World Curling Federation was given a CBE after two years in the job and could not help but feel a little sorry for Max Mosley’s efforts with the slightly larger FIA over a much longer period. Ah well, I guess it is still all about who you know…
The Legion d’Honneur in France offered a little more news with recognition as a Chevalier for Jean-Jacques Isserman, who worked alongside Professor Sid Watkins for many years to improve safety in F1. I was impressed by the fact that the award mentioned 63 years of service.
Elsewhere there was little to report. There is still no word on the identity of the second Force India driver, with the choice being down to Jules Bianchi and Adrian Sutil. It seems that the team is suddenly rather keen on Bianchi in that he is very well-connected at Ferrari and the team seems to be sniffing around for an engine supply from Italy for 2014, on the basis that this might offer a cheaper deal than Mercedes-Benz.
If one reads the Indian papers one continues to find all manner of stories about the team’s owners and sponsors, the most recent of which is that Kingfisher Airlines has lost its permit to fly, the deadline for the previously suspended license having expired.
The other piece of news was that there was a press release from a Russian organisation called “Formula Sochi”, which says that it is building the circuit that is needed for a race in 2014. This is good news as things were rather too quiet.
“The construction of the racing track in Sochi is going into high gear,” said
Alexander Bogdanov, CEO of Formula Sochi. “The 5854 m long circuit is one of the longest in the Formula One World Championship. The autodrome will also host different racing series.”
The statement said that “more than a thousand engineering personnel and workers and 110 units of construction machinery” are involved in the work. The circuit will be integrated into the Olympic Park infrastructure being built for the 2014 Winter Olympics. The track will run around the various facilities on the Olympic site with 18 corners in total. The release said that construction of Race Control building is nearing completion. They even sent out a picture of what it might one day look like.