By Peter M. De Lorenzo
Detroit. Well, well, well, look who's calling Formula 1 "crap." No less than his majesty his own self, one Bernard Ecclestone, who railed in an interview published in French by the AFP news agency that he's struggling to sell a "crap product." Oh really? I got news, Bernie, racing enthusiasts around the world have known F1 has been a pathetic facsimile of itself for years. The Greed Circus masquerading as "Formula 1" - which was allegedly, lest we forget, the once-hallowed "epitome" of motorsport - has been carefully nurtured and orchestrated and run right into the ground by "The Diminutive One."
Ecclestone, who rivals even Sergio Marchionne in the carpetbagging mercenary department (no mean feat, that), has been crisscrossing the globe for decades, holding up star-crossed government leaders big and small for obscene amounts of money. He even hoodwinked Tony George and the Hulman family, damn near destroying the Indianapolis Motor Speedway while he was at it.
And what has Bernie's focus been as he held up government representatives, tracks and sponsors along the way? The construction of luxurious, cookie-cutter garages that wavered not one iota from country to country; palatial, antiseptic tracks that had all of the appeal and sameness of a sterile video game; and the ruthless upheaval of the schedule - tradition be damned - so that he could extract even more money from unsuspecting potentates for the "privilege" of holding an F1 race.
Note there was nothing in the previous sentence about the quality of the racing, the look of the cars, or the fact that Ecclestone's relentlessly numbing orchestration of the "spectacle" of F1 had turned it into a complete and utter bore.
Except for some occasional flashes of brilliance over the years when a glimmer of the "old" F1 reared its head, I gave up on the sport a long, long time ago.
That Formula 1 has needed a total re-think for oh, at least 20 years or so has been obvious to everyone but Bernie and his egregious band of rubber-stamping team owners and sponsors, who think their orchestrated and sterile version of "racing" is The Shit and we should all be bowing down and thanking them for gracing us with their presence every year.
Well, I'm done with it.
F1 is a giant, stinking bowl of crap spoon-fed to "fans" who should know better and I'm officially blaming everyone associated with the sport for turning it into the shit pile that it is. I'm especially singling out the manufacturers and big-ticket sponsors who gleefully go about enabling Bernie's Greed Circus because they've deluded themselves into thinking they're actually getting something beneficial from it. This just in: They're not.
I can almost hear the whiners who still think F1 is worth getting excited about working themselves into high dudgeon right about now, but I couldn't care less. I suggest you all consider this: Which would you rather see? F1 as it exists today, or the current F1 grid ensconced in 1000HP formula cars with minimal aero aids, complete with manual gearboxes that they actually have to shift themselves?
When and if a council of brilliant minds is formed to "save" F1 - a group of people who either have done it right in the past or are smart enough to know that what's going on now is not sustainable in any way, shape or form - I might be willing to give F1 the benefit of the doubt.
In the meantime, as long as Bernie Ecclestone and his band of mercenary cronies have anything to do with the sport, in the immortal words of legendary film producer Samuel Goldwyn, "include me out."
Publisher's Note: As part of our continuing series celebrating the "Glory Days" of racing, we're proud to present another noteworthy image from the Ford Racing Archives. - PMD
(Photo by Dave Friedman, courtesy of the Ford Racing Archives)
Silverstone, England, July 14, 1973. Peter Revson (No. 8 Team McLaren Yardley McLaren M23-Ford) at speed in the British Grand Prix that year. Revson would go on to score his first F1 win that day, with Ronnie Peterson (No. 2 Team Lotus John Player Special Lotus 72-Ford) second and Denny Hulme (No. 7 Team McLaren Yardley McLaren M23-Ford) third. Watch video highlights here.
Publisher's Note: Like these Ford racing photos? Check out www.fordimages.com. Be forewarned, however, because you won't be able to go there and not order something. - PMD