F1 goes into Friday in Melbourne limping, having (once again) successfully shot itself in the foot.
It seems that the sport is incapable of producing a positive news story when one is required. On the first day of the new season, we should be seeing comments about how Nico and Lewis are going to go stick it one another again this year. Fans want action and character. They want conflict. They want bread and circuses. Mercedes need to provide that. They know that. Their car is good, probably great. The opposition is not going as well. So what we want is Nico Rosberg saying: “Lewis, I’m going to beat you” and Lewis saying: “Yeah, yeah, bring it on.”
It would be good to see Lewis wearing a cowboy hat and a blanket with some spaghetti western music twanging away as he walks into the paddock. It would be good to see Nico (in the black hat) squinting into the sunlight, looking nervous. A little theatre would not hurt anyone. Instead we have Lewis in serious introvert mode, shrugging at questions that involve any tiptoeing.
Come on boys, give us a show! We need to paint the picture of F1 in 2015 and our paintbrushes are ready, but if you don’t give us some paint, there is not much we can do. The other great positive story this weekend is the survival of Manor Marussia. It shows all that is good in F1. A doomed team surviving thanks to ingenuity, grit, effort and the bulldog spirit. Instead we are all focussed on the ridiculous Van der Garde-Sauber kerfuffle, which is packed full of negatives.
F1 is just useless at telling positive stories. Last year we launched amazing new technology and all F1 people could do was whine about the noise. This year no-one is talking noise and the ticket sales are up…
Just occasionally it is good to escape from this and behind the main grandstand there is a row of old Delages and Bentleys to set the hearts a-fluttering.
If you want to come and discuss this with me, you’re welcome to come to my audience tonight. Sign up here… There are still a few places left…