Your essential F1 briefing #3: Spectacle
Name Spectacle Age Long dead, according to the commentariat Appearance Nebulous concept recognised only when seen
What… so if they were artificially made noisier, they’d then actually have to race at lower speeds in order to last the distance with the regulated amount of fuel? Correct. I bet nobody’s thought of that. Do say: Hand me the vapours. Don’t say: That idea is spectacle-larly bad. I know this joke: “No, nurse! I said ‘Slip off his spectacles!’” Not quite. The great and the good of F1 are poking their heads over the parapet to say we need to do something to “improve the spectacle” for trackside fans and those watching on TV. The racing’s not good enough for them, then? What are they after – jugglers? A lion tamer? Swapping sides at half time? The world championship to be decided by a bake-off? Actually, a bake-off would probably be less unpopular than the double-points rule, but that’s not important right now. We’re talking about spectacle. Noise! Vapour trails! Sparks! Oh, I love Sparks too, but it’s been a long time since ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us’. Have they had any hits recently? That’s also by-the-by. What we’ve got on our hands is a random selection of bolt-on ideas to gussy up the racing a little bit. It all kicked off with complaints that the engines are too quiet. What are they going to do about it – fit some Cherry Bomb exhausts? Not far off. People are talking about the ‘good old days’ when the cars kicked up sparks off their titanium skid plates and left vapour trails. You know, I don’t mind things being a little bit quieter. Now I can tell which Red Bull is Seb Vettel’s because I can still hear the whine when they turn off the engine… Very droll. But since noise is a form of energy, making the engines noisier would contradict the point of making them more efficient. The reason they’re so quiet is that more of their energy is being used to make them go faster.