Sorry it’s been a bit quiet. There’s not much been going on in the F1 world, with the focus being on Formula E and the Goodwood Festival of Speed. I see that a bunch of my friends ended up in Glastonbury for a muddy music festival. Whatever floats your boat… Actually, I am on a boat right now, crossing the Channel to England for the British GP and associated excitements. I would normally take the Eurotunnel but the prices were out of order and so I decided to go back to my youth and take a ferry. It’s really rather nice, apart from the coachloads of squeaky teenagers. I asked the barman where to find a quiet place and he recommended a lounge with a swipe card entry where squawking adolescents are not allowed and you get free drinks and nibbly things and a quiet view of the dunes of Dunkirk.
Last weekend I chose the non-racing route and spent my time going to the market, deciding on the best fruit and veg, getting a chicken roasted on-site and spending the afternoon building shelves and other DIY tasks. It’s not very F1, but I cannot afford the staff to do these things. I did watch the Formula E race, and was not much impressed by the track, although the driving was of a pretty decent calibre.
On Sunday we went to the annual brocante or vide grenier (rough translation = jumble sale) held in mottled sunshine beneath the trees in the town square where I live, near Paris. We bought bits and bobs, nothing more than 15 €, but came home with some real bargains. We had merguez in baguette for lunch…
I watched the second Formula E race as well and must admit that it was a pretty exciting show, if only because overtaking was virtually impossible without it becoming a contact sport. The drivers had to race watching their gauges and apart from the lack of speed and noise, FE seemed to suffer a lot of similar criticisms that F1 faces. The pit stops with a mandatory time at rest were just dull.
Maybe that’s what people want these days, but the standard of the track seemed like something from the 1950s. There was virtually no run-off but as the cars were going pretty slowly the plastic barriers seemed to suffice. A friend of mine, who is not into racing, said that the podium ceremony seemed a bit like a garden fete, with the lady of the manor – in this case the Duchess of York – popping on to the stage to give Sam Bird a prize for the best roses. It was just different – but that made it quaint and rather engaging.
I am a great believer in racing driving technology and I’m sure that Formula E will do that. I’m not quite sure how Alejandro Agag is going to pay for it all, but perhaps he will weave charming webs for investors and slip away while they work that one out. We will see. I suspect that if FE does make it to Paris next year and if there isn’t F1 on the same day, I will probably go to see the show.
I think Richard Branson’s postulating about the future was wildly optimistic, but I doubt he’ll be in FE in five years from now…