State of F1: Halo Goodbye

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.

Don't worry, I have a solution

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.

The F One Show

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.

STOFFELROFL in a good McLaren-Honda

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.

Rene Ar-WHOx?

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.