"When our actions do not, our fears do make us traitors." - William Shakespeare on the nature of fear from Macbeth.
You can fight without ever winning, but never win without a fight. Chasing shadows or blinded by the light? Fear and worry stalk all of us at some point in our endeavours. Yet rising to the fight, and finding our humanity reflected in others is core to our being here... alive... together.
Forced to be a Formula One Omega Man, endlessly driving alone, unwatched by any human eye would become swiftly meaningless. It would provide no challenge, and nothing to worry about, except long term boredom. It is our connection to other humans that renders our own humanity visible and real. Provides us with our meaning though the act of struggling for triumph, gifts us situations to worry about to motivate us to transcend the moment to achieve near-impossible goals.
If Fangio had driven alone, simply time-trialling himself year after year, yet with curious others watching, it would have been interesting to a point. We could compare his 1957 German GP time trial drive at the Nurburgring to the '56 or the '55 outings. Was he shaving tenths due to the new chassis, the refined gearbox or the improved tyres? Yet his 1957 triumph would not exist in our solo-sport universe. By 1957 would we have any interest in seeing Fangio push himself just a touch harder, but not too hard, in the pursuit of a solo time swifter than the year before? Would we still be discussing the feats of the human infested 1957 race sixty-five years later if it had been the lone Fangio racing against his time set the year before? His racing worries might have been reduced piloting solo, but the gladiatorial splendour gifted to a transfixed public by the actual race would be lost for all time.
It was the humanity of the racing, of pushing the human ability to perform and the ability of the machines to survive a race distance, all while dancing with death through every corner, braking zone and over-take. Yet, with the gift of struggle and sporting conflict, comes a world of worry. Possibly of fear.
So much visceral subject matter to worry about; placing a hand-finished tyre in the dirt; replacing fragile parts; even jumping in your team-mate's car because yours is broken beyond immediate repair, was not a worry any team or driver gave a moment of consideration to in the literal drive to survive race distance at a time Grand Prix, racing was more of a mortal combat.
The World was worrying about rebuilding after World War Two, the growing threat to the West from an increasingly powerful, and nuclear armed, USSR, and teams around the World were preparing for the 1958 Football World Cup to be hosted by Sweden which would result in a certain Pele being named best young player.
Did that make everything better? Is Fangio's 1957 German GP winning Maserati a finer car than the machines being wheeled onto the grid in season 2022? Is Fangio a finer hero than Vettel, Lewis or Verstappen? Or is each simply a man of their time? So much nuance over how to worry! Temporal fears, leave me be!
Many now worry about the Greatest of All Time (GOAT). While the worry first took root within Tennis, it has spread to most forms of sport, and even some areas of music. Oh the humanity of the worry!
Nuvolari used to rent space in his rivals heads via stories like his only ever buying a one-way railway ticket to races, as he would quip that you might never need the return ticket, so why waste the money? Delightful gamesmanship, if only it was not so terribly true in his day. Was Nuvolari worried?
Sir Jackie Stewart reminds all who will listen, and listen they should, that F1 in his day was about burying heroes on a monthly basis. Sir JYS focused his worry into supporting the drive for a far safer sport. A fine reason to worry turned into immense action on safety for which every driver alive and racing today should say a heartfelt "Thank You", for having a very high chance of returning home safe and whole after each race. Their only worry being a good take-off time slot at the airport.
Teams today. Ah, so much to worry about and so little time to post to social media about it! Christian Horner makes Chicken Little - he of "the sky is falling" fame - look like a full-time hippie on finest Amsterdam weed.
Ferrari, the Stewards, the fans, Lewis, friends of Lewis, Toto, tyres, the weather, Honda, the former engine supplier no longer referred to as Renault... So much to worry over! Let alone running a team and getting results each racing weekend! And do not get Christian, or I, started on worries over the evil incarnate that is the budget cap! Lord!
Mother Teresa is spinning in her saintly grave over how many of the World's poor could dine out on a shattered end plate. Let alone the mental distress of another Spice Girl's reunion. One can only assume Christian has moved all his supporting psychologists outside the budget cap so that his worry, about worry, is not an additional worry within said cap.
The FIA worry about... well it appears to be power, image and being seen as a saint of safety in that order. Road to relevance? More path to purgatory.
One thing they are not worrying about is Masi. He has been suitably prepared, his severed head on the finest silver platter, served for public consumption, and thus the worry for them is over. Which should be a worry for us fans.
The issue, like a pending plague sore, is festering below the surface likely to manifest painfully when least expected. Could Liberty and the FIA, survive two tainted championships in a row? Could a major team really withdraw in disgust at yet another poor application of the rules to the extent races, and by extension championships, can be placed in a grim fog of uncertainty as to the true outcome? Races must exist within a logical, fairly applied rules framework or they are rendered as meaningless as a water fountain at the bottom of the Pacific.
The Green worry! Goodness. Dearly missed Max Mosley gave the finest quote on this a couple of oil crises ago. When pressed on the evil impact of motoring racing willy-nilly all over the sweet rolling hills of this earth, Mosley replied that the best way to "Green" the UK was to ban fishing.
He highlighted the amount of petrol consumed by all those fish-murderers racing around country lanes and seaside promenades was far and away in excess of the thimble fulls of fuel sipped by F1 cars each weekend. Possibly one of my favourite mis-directions of all time!
Your humble scribe fears for the planet and has "Green Worries" each time he turns on an item of technology or ventures out the door into V8 infested Australian suburbia. F1 with its globe striding antics, huge number of team members and gleefully travelling fans is not about to save the world via a synthetic fuel. No a sincere Green Worry, not shaped by the existing Big Oil Fat Cats is well overdue.
Does the English Premier league worry about Green? Play games during the day or in the dark to save on stadium lighting power? Tell everyone to watch from home and not burn energy travelling to games in person? Cease playing in Europe to cut team travel energy usage? Let alone the most enjoyable recent Commonwealth Games which saw athletes converge from the four points of the Compass and entertain millions of fans. Why not call the games off and save a bucket load of energy?
We all need to champion a safe, long-lasting, healthy planet. It is our joint social duty. It is not something a virtue-signalling obsessed F1 needs to directly worry about. Be a great sport. Be socially responsible and enact useful Green Worry!
Next F1 worry. The relevance. Once they are viewed as green as an Irish bog in Springtime, the FIA and Liberty then want to be relevant. Reflecting on football once more. Is it relevant to everyday life? Is art? Is the Tour de France? Directly, well of course not, and none of them worry overly about this relevance issue at all. For they appear to grasp, which the FIA and Liberty clearly do not, that the relevance each requires is provided by the transcendental desire to fight intrinsic to the human condition.
It is the honour, the trial and the difficulty of the fight that provides both great art and great sport with all the relevance required. Forget technical relevance. It has never been about the technology. Sport, and art, has a soul of competition (creation for art) that it gifts back to humanity as the delight of the fight and the honour of the win. Not new brake blocks. Not sticky tyres. Not non-road relevant energy recovery.
The grit to take on the fight, fall over and get back up. Time after time. The gift of competition improving humanity. The meaning being the act itself. In F1 this means the driving, the planning, the engineering, which makes it relevant to the teams, and hence, in its highest form, relevant to us the fans.
So FIA, stop worrying about infantile technical relevance, focus on the honour of the fight within logical well-framed rules, and you will have all the relevance you ever need. Each team fighting with their raw humanity to overcome the fear of failure, the fear of loss, the fear of being wrong. Oh, so many worries! None related to being road relevant.
I wonder what Masi is worrying about? I hope it is nothing more than the urgent morning test of which one of many fine local coffee shops to visit for the perfect wake-up brew, prior to the exciting worry of the perfect matching pastry. The past? I recommend Masi leave any worries about that day to those too busy living in the past to enjoy the delights of the present. The future? I believe Masi is well respected enough in motor racing that his future will quietly sort itself out, as we say down here in Oz, with no worries mate!
Us fans? We should worry that the FIA and Liberty increasingly turn a remarkable, human condition transcending sport directly relevant to the betterment of the human spirit through racing into a distressing Desperate House Wives-on-wheels reality show romp. A contrived romp which once it is no longer considered the fashionable must-watch item of the day by a fickle quick to come, faster to leave, audience will have no relevance at all. Swiftly won audience numbers vanish, chasing the latest shiny thing, while the rusted-on fan will be rudely brushed-off by too many new brooms mindlessly sweeping clean.
The inaction of the FIA to address urgent issues will lead to fear for all fans, and make traitors of us all. To ourselves, to the sport and to the greatness of the human spirit pushing the bounds of the possible. Yes, that's a Shakespearian worry for the ages.
Learn more about Max and check out his previous features, here