Stuck in the Middle (East) with You
The 2017 F1 season ends with a whimper and a silly new logo in Abu Dhabi. Cheeka, Phill and Terry look back on the final race of the season and generally talk nonsense about everything and everyone, as per usual.
The 2017 F1 season ends with a whimper and a silly new logo in Abu Dhabi. Cheeka, Phill and Terry look back on the final race of the season and generally talk nonsense about everything and everyone, as per usual.
Hamilton hit a wall, Bottas hit his talent limit and Massa hit the end of the road (nearly). The Brazilian GP happened, and now Cheeka, Phill and Terry are going to bloody well talk about it. Also, there’s a book review, like on Radio 4.
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2017.18 - MEXICO
Mama Mia, Shat It Up Again (Buy merch)
Bring out the revolving DJ, it’s the Mexico Grand Prix episode! Hamilton is champ, Vettel is a chump and Verstappen is a cheeky chappy. Cheeka, Phill and Terry reflect on a weekend of unexpected results and oxygen depletion, and there’s a special appearance from SANTA HIMSELF. Kind of.
It’s awkward when the freshly crowned world champion isn’t on the podium, it happened in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2012 so it’s a problem that needs addressing - and, full disclosure, I had the idea for this state of F1 before liberty media slightly addressed it. But as ever, could do better.
The F1 season is made up of 22 races and each is as important to the championship, except when they’re not. Each race is its own little entity and 1st, 2nd and 3rd matters - even more so when it’s someone unexpected or new on the podium
But, on one race each year the cumulative effect kicks in and it’s about maths and possibilities - this weekend Lewis had to finish fifth to guarantee the championship, 9th ended up doing but 1st, 2nd or 3rd would have made for less weird telly.
So what did liberty get right? First - the 4th spot in the winners enclosure for the new world champion - brilliant idea. Also - big interview with him whilst he ran around. This was less brilliant.
Then a revolving DJ on a subdued podium, fucking weird
So what’s missing from this equation? What possibly could be added to make it seem more, I don’t know, ceremonial?
The clue was on the grid with the big fucking world championship spiral trophy. WHERE THE FUCK WAS IT AT THE END?
Think about wimbledon, the second the championship point is played they roll out a big carpet and line up all the officials and ball boys and girls and then wheel out Sue Barker to give out the - what is it they give out? A handshake, a well done? NO - IT’S A BIG FUCKING TROPHY. LEWIS HAMILTON JUST WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP - GIVE HIM THE FUCKING TROPHY
But no, what F1 have always done is wait until December then give it out in a closed door ceremony in Paris. Really great for the fans.
I actually thought they were going to get it right when the podium started spinning round like an episode of Bullseye. I thought that liberty had masterminded everything and had a special one step podium that Lewis Hamilton would appear on with the trophy in hand, and hopefully Sue Barker. Then you could have a slightly more formal interview after he’d calmed down a bit and then you’ve a smashing photo opp etc as new world champion holds the thing he just won.
There needs to be more visual rewards in F1 full stop, a way of keeping each race a separate entity, give each podium ceremony its own flavour, yes even if that is a revolving DJ.
But also, what about separate championships? Get the calendar more geographically sensible and then have the main championship split into a European Season, a US season etc. Maybe in the future we can even have teams that come in for part of a season - an American indy team coming in for four races just to beat Haas? What about drivers championships split into categories as defined by me? Old Farts, whiny dicks, sexy ones - Pascal Five times world champ!
Liberty have done a lot - there’s so much more to do.
The US GP saw a boxing legend humiliate himself, the drivers and everyone watching, while Lewis Hamilton put one and a half hands firmly on the drivers championship by winning again. Cheeka, Phill and Terry discuss the cringe-inducing antics and controversial penalties from the Circuit of the Americas, and play your new favourite quiz, Homes under the Hamilton!
This weekend showed us the modernity of Liberty Media butting up against the Jurassic age of Bernie with a spectacular american spectacle. With bobby duffer doing boxing style announcements, confetti and eagles everywhere it showed how f1 is open for business with arms and legs wide as it wants as many people as possible to climb inside.
Then the race ended on a penalty that no once guessed, made a mockery of the podium celebration and led thousands of people to question why they were allowed to go over the lines most of the times if not all of them.
Let me reaffirm, Verstappen is a dirty cheat who gained an unfair advantage. But is it his fault, or is he the symptom of a broken age of F1 design.
I watched with a friend who is not as f1 fan and for most of the race and quali she questioned quite why they are sliding all over the not very subtle lines onto the ridiculous Stars and Stripes run off areas, though as an aside I do want more flag themed run offs at other tracks, if not just to have those bores that moan when the Union Jack is upside down.
It’s quite simple, if you give drivers room to run off they will runoff
Gravel. It’s not high tech and it’s dirt cheap at home base but let’s bring back gravel, or big bunkers, or water features, crocodiles, massive spikes, electrified fences, or my own personal favorite, gunge. I’ve always said that f1 should be more like the fun house with pat sharp so now here’s your chance. Yes it might be dangerous but if going wide ends your race you won’t go wide. If there was a grizzly bear with a shotgun on that bend then Max wouldn’t have cheated
F1 will act slowly on this so if you are going to one of the remaining races this season do a great escape and have gravel in your trousers, wander on to the track between sessions and whistle as you dump your load on the run off area.
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Joleeeene
(I'm begging you please don't drive our car)
Our favourite driver is leaving F1, and Cheeka, Phill and Terry are bereft. Or happy. Wait, what does bereft mean? The gang discusses Palmer's exit, Ferrari's fuck ups and the future of F1, as well as all the usual nonsense. Oh, and the swearing's back.
Ain't Verstappen Us Now
Cheeka, Phill and Terry are back to discuss the last ever Malaysian Grand Prix. All the details of a rather interesting race are pored over in forensic scrutiny, and this week, in a radical change of editorial direction, NO SWEARING is heard at all. Instead, we talk Vettel and Stroll's post-race fracas, Verstappen's birthday win and there's a QUIZ. Oh yeah.
Ferrari screws everything up, Verstappen gets another beating with the Unlucky Stick and Hamilton eats celebratory vegetables. Cheeka, Phill and Terry pick through the charred remains of the Singapore Grand Prix while also ruminating on McLarenault, Toro Ronda and what future awaits for Joyless Palmer.
In the wake of the Italian Grand Prix, Cheeka, Phill and Terry talk grid penalties, shitty poetry and disappointing Ferraris. Will Mercedes now dominate? Will McLaren sign with Renault? Will anyone hire that random drummer girl again? Literally none of these questions are answered, as per usual.
Let’s get this straight, I’ve idolised the Williams F1 team since I was a kid, all my heroes drove for them, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, even Ayrton Senna, briefly
Their slide into the doldrums of F1 was depressing to watch and good old wheelchaired Sir Frank Williams has always been a bastion of how to get things done.
Then the Film “Frank” came out, all about a fictional version of Frank Williams with a Paper Mache head and played by Michael Fassbender. But in the last few weeks, however, the sequel to Frank has come out. Simply called ‘Williams’. in which we learn all about the man himself, what makes him tick and how he sleeps at night.
Spoiler alert - Frank Williams is a right cunt.
We learn in the film that he’s from a poor family, mixed with a bunch of posho’s, nicked their accent, drove some racing cars not terribly well then nicked some blokes girlfriend and married her, not that she’d know as he fucked off after the ceremony then kept fucking other women until literally he couldn’t because he was a paraplegic.
The film mainly takes place from the point of view of Ginny, his now deceased wife, who had left a bunch of tapes of interviews with a friend when she was working on a book in the 80’s called “A Different Kind of Life” subheading: FRANK I AM SUFFERING WILL JUST JUST FUCKING ACKNOWLEDGE ME YOU TIT, I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M GOING TO HAVE TO WRITE THIS AS A BOOK TO GET YOU TO EVEN NOTICE WHAT A PRICK YOU ARE. Through these tapes we learn that Frank was a disaster at running his own team in the 70s and only stayed afloat by Ginny lending him money she’d never get back and that he was basically a laughing stock in F1. When Walter Wolf came in and bankrolled the team he got so sick of Frank that he fired him then went on to win their first race.
Perhaps most people, having been shit at something for years, would think it’s time to throw in the towel, but this is one thing I share with Sir Frank and off he went to make another team WITH THE VERY LOUD PATRICK HEAD that he called “Williams”
In this time he was screwing around but ginny don’t mind because this was the 80’s and weird looking men were expected to be fucking everything that moved and she was the wife and should just keep writing cheques and not at all in any way deal with issues or acknowledge that anything exists.
Then in 1986 the tragic car crash, Terry, is this where you’re going to get sympathetic? NO. He admits to driving like a cunt ,everyone who got in car with him thought he was a dangerous driver and its only a minor miracle that passenger on the day, Peter Windsor, didn’t get killed. In a modern interview Frank says he used to get GetHomeItis where he’d try and set a record to get back from a circuit. What a cocking bellend.
The film ends with a scene where Claire Williams (daughter and chip off the kid block who is posh and has banished her brother to tinkering with old cars with a man named Dickie.) reading from her dead mothers book about how her own father won’t open up or acknowledge anything and with Claire crying, me watching crying and all the film crew crying Frank does a wince like he’s had a paper cut and then does a face like he’s pissed off no one has put the kettle on
the close of the film is a horrible moment where on an extended camera shot we watch old man frank doze off in the back of the garage before being woken by an F1 car starting, as though even the directors were hoping he’d actually die during the filming, not just because it would make a good end to the film but because he is an irredeemable shit
Mark Kermode, if you’re after a new reviewer I’m free on tuesdays.
F1 is back after the summer break and Belgium provided some much-needed mediocrity, punctuated by Vettel and Hamilton thrashing at the front, Ocon and Perez thrashing each other and Alonso parking a perfectly functional, if utterly shit car. Cheeka, Phill and Terry are in London in the summer and have to battle with terrible buskers to take the piss out of it all.
K-Mag becomes our new favourite driver after a foul-mouthed offer to Hulkenberg; perhaps the highlight of an ultimately tedious Hungarian GP. Still, away from the race there's plenty of soap opera-level nonsense to dissect, from mandatory flip-flops to what Sauber will be powered by next year. Cheeka, Phill and Terry drink beer and discuss it all.
So the halo is here, looking as natural on an F1 car as a young CGI Jackie Stewart - “Ach I won’t have a drink as it looks like my face is about to fall off and it’ll all leak through my chinnae, aye?”. It looks like the bar they lower over you before going on a rollercoaster, they could at least have the decency to have a minimum height requirement for F1 drivers.
The thing that worries me most about the halo isn’t so much the fucking ugliness of it, but boy is it ugly. It looks like one of Flavio Briatore's thongs has been flung from a yacht mid-Monaco and landed on a poor drivers helmet. Why do you think everyone in F1 has started spontaneously throwing up in the last couple of weeks? But that it’s been said the teams can add their own aero to it to make it less conspicuous. Reading an article about Robert Kubica this week I accidently saw a picture of a 2008 car, it looked like a normal f1 car but with some nasty rash, bits poking out everywhere.
And this, after the race that Aero ruined, cars following each other like it was the M25 on a friday afternoon. Imagine a football match where the commentators and players keep saying, it’s hard on this pitch as you can’t actually kick a ball.
Upforce. Each car gets measured by the FIA for the amount of downforce it creates and mandates the opposite amount of upforce on the halo, cancelling out the silly front wings. This will hopefully lead to good, proper, sensible front wings that a just straight lines LIKE WHAT THEY USED TO BE. DUNKIRK AND ALL THAT. For every 100ft mural of Alonso in a chair I’d like just a chance to have a normal front wing that doesn’t ruin the rest of everything forever. I watched the F2 races this weekend, then a bunch of old 80’s races in a documentary - it was great. I’m not just being nostalgic, it was actually better in the old days.
Lewis Hamilton, the villain of F1 Live but the hero of Silverstone, wins the British Grand Prix, and it all goes to shit for Jolyon Palmer, as per usual. Cheeka, Phill and Terry reflect on the boredom and excitement of the race, Ferrari's exploding tyres and all the usual bollocks.
Oh, you may have noticed: this podcast contains SWEARS.
This is a post about the wankers at the BRDC (Bellends Ruining Drivers with Contracts).
Firstly, let's not forget that Silverstone’s main thing going for it is that it’s old. It’s like saying that we should probably replace Stormzy with old Cliff records on loop. Silverstone is flat, muddy, has bad parking and is called Silverstone. Stupid. Donnington imploded and since it last hosted a race Brands Hatch has shrunk to be about 30cm square so is no longer suitable for F1.
Therefore Silverstone should be onto a winner, history and ubiquity mean that there isn’t really another choice for F1 - and we need a British GP as basically all the teams live here and so does Murray Walker.
This all seemed to be apparent in 2009 when the BRDC (Ballbag Rutting Damon's Corns) signed a deal that would keep the British GP at silverstone until 2027 - from a BBC article at the time:
“The contract on the table was believed to demand a £12m fee for 2010, with an increase of 7% per year after that. However, it is now understood the increase has been pegged at 5%. There is also a clause in the contract that allows either side to end the contract after 10 years.”
They never had any intention of going further than ten years! I’ll bet that they worked out Bernie would be dead by then and they could appeal to the new owners who would see how ridiculous a 5% increase each year is. It’s a 17 year contract - 5% more each year is 85% - don’t check my maths.
And they were almost right. Bernie is gone and Liberty are in charge but let’s not forget they also quite like 5% of extra free money each year especially as, even though Bernie would take the money from your pocket he’d do it whilst maintaining eye contact, shaking your hand and somehow with your full agreement.
And to time their divorce announcement to be the week before the Grand Prix and then have people like Derek Warwick be really shitty every time asked about it and basically saying look how great the race is why don’t you all fuck off of course they’ll sign means that the official FF1S line is fucking bin Silverstone.
But Terry, I hear you cry, where should we conduct a race, would the streets of London really work?
No, course not, won’t ever happen. Instead we need to think laterally, what with Brexit happening we need an advert to the world that we are open for business. Therefore I say we tour old Empire countries - the British GP in Australia, in Canada, in India. No. Wait. THE FUCKING FALKLANDS. That’ll show them, with a bonus GP in Gibrlatar.
This week saw the Formula Circus/Invading army take over central London with little notice to the general public. Terry went to check it out.
First things first, this was a logistical masterpiece: stages, cameras, bollard and those red and white plastic barriers all went up overnight, totally taking over Whitehall and Trafalgar Square.
I had to pass through security checks to get into the area which led to the first of many angry and confused Londoners who didn't give a shit about F1 suddenly having a small town placed between them and their journey home from work.
And for the poor people who's offices and shops were inside the village? They had to battle their bikes and shopping through huge crowds of people staring at an empty road. Tensions flared and people moaned, it really was the true marriage of London and F1 that everyone was hoping for.
Trafalgar Sq itself had a stage, a bar, an opportunity to buy F1 merch and a heavy police in jumpsuits presence (part of the reason they only announced it the day before was to avert the threat of terrorism).
There were big screens and a mini show where Jake Humphrey (Old F1 host on Sundays) and Rochelle Hume (one of The Saturdays) did some thirty second interviews with various F1 people, all so bland that this may as well have been called The F One Show.
Then a singer who did a song about taking gloves off and fire whilst a montage of drivers taking off their gloves and setting on fire played on the big screen (no, really).
Eddie Jordan was up on the stairs outside the National Gallery interviewing K-Mag (who disappointingly did not say "Fuck this" again), Hulkenberg and Ocon - they all then together announced Bastille playing, despite the lack of a French GP this year. This event was fast becoming about incredibly short segments with long waits in between.
Up the steps are a bunch of 2016 cars and the McLaren guy was allowing people to sit next to the car and have a picture taken. This caused a problem for me, I wanted to get a picture (embarassingly desperately) but that meant fighting the crowd to get noticed AND battling in front of cute children who clearly have more right than me, don't worry though, I got one.
Then off to Whitehall to try find a good spot (impossible) to watch the cars, luckily I'm tall but people had been camped out for hours so just had to put up glimpses of the cars through the crowd, whenever they would come... which would be ages away. More interviews with The Saturday and Sunday hosts and Brundle, Hill, Coulthard: the normal lot of F1 stars. Button did a bit, Alonso got a huge cheer.
At this point it seems fair to mention the Elephant in the Square, Lewis Hamilton was not there, when asked on stage Toto Wolff said he wanted to concentrate and focus on the British GP - this got boos from the crowd. Whichever way you look at it, it's a big miss for Brand Hamilton.
It was apparently great to see all these drivers up close, but really I just watched them on a giant screen.
The cars were firing up at last. Who will be the first driver to power down Whitehall to raise the flag on this new modern, forward facing media friendly F1? That's right RENE ARNOUX!
He drives down in the 1970-something Renault with a huge loud amazing sounding turbo engine. But Rene Fucking Arnoux? Longtime listeners of the podcast might balk at me saying this, but I think I'd have preferred Palmer.
Now the drivers came, one by one. Whizzing down Whitehall, doing a loop around the end then some doughnuts before repeating it all again then pitting.
The cars were of all different vintages with those weird F1 nerdy facts, that Vettel was driving the Ferrari that he beat Alonso with and Ricciardo driving Vettel's old Red Bull. But aside from the Turbo Renault and the iconic 1989 McLaren-Honda all were in 2016 liveries.
The difference in the engines sounds is quite startling when you're up close and the 2014 hybrid Williams really did sound like a dogs dinner being thrown up.
Then there's the unspoken truth, kinda gets a bit boring watching all these cars go one at a time with no real speed. And I was hungry, so we went to get some food before it finished.
The hills are alive with the sound of Vettel moaning about other drivers again, shoey-gate hits a low point and Cheeka is educated about the one and only Stefan Dennis - yes, it's all the obvious talking points from the Austrian GP.
And bonus feature, for those who are Cheeka's age or younger, here is what all the fuss is about...
Two things happened this weekend that pissed me right off about the state of f1 and if they get fixed I'll know liberty are on to a winner
First off there was the Bottas at the lights which reminded me that this red lights going out thing is nonsense. It should be red then green, I know it's because of reaction times and can see something going off quicker than coming on. But traffic lights, cartoons and computer games all have red to green. It's the will of the people. Also,clarification that Austria has an extra corner this year because reasons despite no actual track change, so what was corner two is now three, or one. No one cares. Numbering corners is THE WORST thing that has ever happened in f1. Circuits used to have inspirational and exciting names for corners, the tobacconists , maggots, the bus stop! Now it's just dreary numbers that make every circuit an identikit off the rack humdrumodrome. Ooh this turn three is like last weeks turn four, really? Fuck off.
Everything should be named and quick before sponsors get in on the action
And actually that's what annoyed me most this weekend. Heineken. Three things . Not only was there a terrible CGI Jackie Stewart advert in which they fail to make him look young next to some black and white Heineken bottles (as an aside, he's so wily im surprised in the 60s he didn't get footage of him with every possible brand for future advert rights). Anyway then we see him refusing a Heineken from a tray because he's driving but since when does he drive anywhere? It's stupid. Also the billboard that had a Heineken bottle appearing from the ground and making it look as though there was a rocket taking off every. Single. Lap. Impressive, great even, but terrible in a dull race because I kept thinking ooh a rockets taken off, that’ll liven things up.
And the helicopter looked terrifying.
Green lights, corner names, no stupid adverts. There you're done. You want more? Fans get to name the corners. I vote that at silver stone the first corner be renamed to k-mags fuckkk thisss
Baku was all set to be dull as ditchwater, but then everything went fucking ridiculous. Cheeka, Phill and Terry look back at a topsy-turvey Azerbaijan Grand Prix and talk about Lance Stroll as F1's new saviour, Vettel as Satan himself and why Force India's new name is just as shit as the current one.