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Rules, Ruler, Ruled

FEATURE BY MAX NOBLE
16/09/2022

Were Miss Physics to cry each time a person of merit passed away she would have been in constant tears these past few thousand years.

The first few billion years of the Universe did not see too much human endeavour, while the past couple of centuries we have exploded with progress. Yet through it all the universal rules of Miss Physics have remained a constant. As the old joke runs; The speed of light. Not just a good idea. It is the law. Or in more street-like vernacular; Rules is rules.

September the 8th, witnessed the cellular renewal of a beloved monarch make its last replication mistake, and with grace a remarkable ruler shrugged off this mortal coil. Her human form ended so fast that on Galactic scales it was as if she never graced our lands at all, so brief was the time span. Yet at the human level her legacy is mighty. At the Quantum level so many trillions of sub-atomic spins and vibrations occurred during her life time that dear Elizabeth the Second was a rock for the ages to the smallest of Miss Physics' helpers.

Her Majesty was a modest four months old when the 1926 British Grand Prix was held at Brooklands. This was the fourth round of the then AIACR World Manufacturers' Championship, conducted not on the full Brooklands circuit, but a shortened version, with added chicanes... it would appear, dear reader, that some things do not change with the passage of time.

Raced over 110 laps, giving a race distance of approximately 463 kilometres, being 287 miles, it was won by Robert Senechal, a remarkable French industrialist, and World War One pilot with over 7,000 missions to his name, and Louis Wagner (also French) in a Delage. Malcolm Campbell was second in a Bugatti. He is rather better known for his land speed records. After a remarkable run at Daytona Beach in 1931 he returned to be knighted by Elizabeth's Grandfather, King George V. He would go on to be the first human to exceed 300 mph in a motor car, with Bluebird on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in September 1935.

Third in the race were Robert Benoit, and Andre Dubonnet, also both French, and also in a Delage. And yes, he is the same Dubonnet as the French aperitif manufacturer, which provided him the wealth to race... also sounding rather like current season financing in many ways.

Legacy, complex personal histories and the birth of a future great ruler all within the space of four months. What a year.

February 1952, and Elizabeth becomes Queen on the death of her father George VI, who only became King due to his older brother's rule infringement leading to his abdication. Even rulers by needs must follow rules, otherwise what social system can live long without social order? Which, by nature, must be an order defined, and maintained with agreed rules. No rules. No order. No order, no stable society over which to rule. Miss Physics knows well that order is everything, and everything must follow her rules.

Alberto Ascari emerged as the 1952 Driver's Champion, but my, what a year of tortured rules to be sure! 1952 was the sixth year of FIA Formula One racing, but only the third year of the Drivers' Championship, which still included the Indy 500. As a result the year was witness to the Formula One rules, World Championship Formula Two rules, The Indy 500 AAA rules, yet with the Drivers' Championship including F1 races, but being run to the F2 rules! The Good Lord and Miss Physics can only imagine what the 2022 Twitterverse would have made of that amalgamation!

The 1952 season having opened with the Swiss GP, went to Indianapolis, and then witnessed Ascari do the triple at Spa. Pole, fastest lap and race win for Ferrari. A feat he would repeat for race seven of the season, the Netherlands GP.

June 1953, and Queen Elizabeth II had her formal coronation. The 1953 season saw a continuation of the mixed rules. The Drivers' Championship was held to F2 rules, the Indy 500 was held to AAA rules, and the F1 rules were something of a side conversation. Regardless, Ascari became the first driver to successfully perform a back-to-back, winning the Drivers' Championship for a second time. As of this typing... that was the last time an Italian driver won the World Drivers' Championship. To think dear Queen Elizabeth II has ruled over a time no Italian has been F1 champion. How curious is life? Good job the Roman Empire got all that serious Ruling in so early in history.

Fast Forward. The tumble of culture that was the 1960's, the disco ball overload of the early 1970's and we arrive, as smooth as Doc and Marty in a DeLorean in 1977. We witness Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee. 25 years on the throne.

We will start the 1977 season with a longing glance into the rear view mirror. The 1976 season had been remarkable. James Hunt won a season long melee with Niki Lauda by a lone point. This, after Niki's near-death moment following his horrific Nurburgring crash and unbelievable return to the cockpit after missing only two races.

The ruled and the rules clashed throughout. In Spain Hunt was disqualified, only to have the race win handed back some months later. At the British GP Hunt used an access road to rejoin the track after a first lap pile-up. Ferrari objected, and having won the race on-track, it was taken from Hunt off it. At the final race in Japan, Mario Andretti won in shocking wet weather, with Niki abandoning the race for safety concerns, and Hunt splashing around to third place, thus sealing the championship by that lone point. Pause for breath dear reader! That was a season for the ages.

Back to 1977. Hunt commenced his title defence in fine style. Pole and fastest lap, but sadly not the win. Retirements were to be the endless heartbeat for Hunt in 1977. He retired from nearly half of the seventeen races over the course of the season. Was the year well-seasoned with a generous crushing of rules? Oh yes...

The 1977 season was the 31st Formula One season, the 28th World Championship of Drivers, and the 20th International Cup for Formula One Constructors. Only the first six placed drivers scored points for each race. However, each driver only counted their best eight finishes from the first nine races, then the best seven races from the final eight. Thus we had a season where Mario Andretti won more races than Lauda, but Lauda was the more consistent, and so won the title. Ferrari won the constructors' cup from Lotus-Ford. Rules, glorious rules!

Tragically 1977 was witness to yet more horrific accidents. At the South African Grand Prix, Tom Pryce was unable to avoid track marshal Frederik Jansen van Vuuren who was rushing across the track with a fire extinguisher. Frederick was killed instantly, while the extinguisher flew into Pryce killing him on contact. Then at the season ending Japanese GP, Ronnie Peterson and Gilles Villeneuve collided at the end of the straight. Villeneuve's Ferrari flew from the circuit into a crowd standing in a restricted area. The terrible impact killed two photographers while injuring many more people. Yet, back in 1977, the race continued, with Hunt taking the win, with teammate Jochen Mass second, and John Watson third.

Where were the safety rules when needed? Today people usually only mention safety rules because they appear irksome. The Monza race last weekend ending behind the safety car annoying far more than it thrilled. Yet there is mortal reason for this! The 1970's were the beginning of a new understanding of how vital strong, clear safety rules are for safe, enjoyable racing. I'm sure both Tom Pryce and Frederick would have preferred a virtual safety car, or indeed a full safety car, rather than their tragic end that day. Sound, logical rules benefit us all, especially the teams and drivers, even if they vex us so...

The 1980's vanish in an explosion of Big Hair, the 1990's in an explosion of Boy Bands. Our overworked - and with all this time travel Lord knows what the service schedule looks like - DeLoren eases into a 2002 parking bay for the Queen's Golden Jubilee. Fifty years on the throne, and into the 21st century, regardless of 1999, or 2000 being the last year of the 20th or not...

For her Silver Jubilee, Elizabeth watched Niki waltz around the planet to win in his Ferrari. 25 years flow by with all the madness that is humanity toiling away, and Liz can gaze upon Michael Schumacher romping home in a Ferrari. The more things change the more they stay the same dear reader. Plus ca change, Plus c'est la meme chose as my favourite Canadian rockers like to sing it.

The 2002 season was the 56th official F1 season, running from March to October, with seventeen scheduled races. Such was the might of Schumacher and Ferrari, that the German finished first or second in sixteen of the races, only dropping to third in the Malaysian GP! Michael also set the then-record of eleven wins in a season, and the swiftest securing of the driver's title, which he achieved at the French GP with six races still remaining. 2002 and Michael's time as ruler was at a peak, especially as it was his third title in a row with Ferrari.

With loyal wingman Rubens Barrichello running never more than an end-plate's width behind, Ferrari secured as many constructor's points as all the other teams combined. Naturally this caused the FIA to change the points rules for the following season.

2012, and it is Diamond Jubilee time for dear Elizabeth. The decade since Michael's 2002 dominance witnessed score system changes, rule changes, circuit changes, team changes and driver changes. Michael was in his final season with Mercedes, having already retired once, but unable to resist a few more seasons.

2012 set records in a number of areas. We had seven different winners in the first seven races, a remarkable record that I'm sure Liberty would be keen to equal... or break. The season included 20 races, a record at the time, and had a record number of world champion participating: Vettel (who would go on to win that year's title, his third), Alonso, Button, Hamilton, Raikkonen and Schumacher. Within the rules three teams changed name, and were thus not new entries requiring a new entry fee. Lotus became Caterham, Renault became Lotus and Virgin became Marussia. Within the rules of the legal world, Team Lotus, and Lotus Renault GP continued to argue naming rights. A season fitting for a Diamond Jubilee celebration!

With a bang we find ourselves in the 2022 season. Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Platinum Jubilee in February. Seventy years as ruler. F1 will witness the 73rd running of the F1 World Championship. It was to be a 23 race season until the Russian GP, like Russian drivers, was dropped from the sport. As of the time of typing the Italian GP has been won by Max Verstappen, who is potentially on track to equal, or beat the record for number of wins in a season. Sadly it was also the first F1 race to take place without Queen Elizabeth II being on this planet.

The Dutch GP of 4th September, also won by Max, was the last to take place with dear Elizabeth still breathing fresh air while enjoying the green hills of Earth from her beloved Balmoral.

Epoch's colliding with not a sound. Max won the last race under Elizabeth's rule, and the first under Charles'. This month the FIA organised their very first race in history with Elizabeth gone. Max is well on the way to confirming he and Red Bull are the current rulers of F1. Elizabeth has handed the ruler's role to Charles, while the FIA continues to fiddle, mess and create rules that irritate and confuse in equal measure, while changing the racing order not one jot.

Miss Physics commenced her reign as ruler of reality mere fractions of a second after the Big Bang calmed down. She will continue to celebrate jubilee after jubilee until the last star-heart grows cold and the entire material content of the Universe settles for all eternity at absolute zero. Yet with no clocks ticking, no caesium clocks vibrating, and no star-hearts burning there will be no time. No time for anything. Night eternal shall rule us all.

Yet this season the FIA apparently made more rule changes than in a generation. Did any of us notice dear reader? Plus ca change, Plus c'est la meme chose.

May the honour, integrity, duty, and service, of Queen Elizabeth II live on for many years to come, a shining example to each of us that respects such a life as we seek dominion over our own minds, hearts, souls, and Earthly destinies. For if we cannot successfully rule ourselves, what else on this Earth can we possibly rule? Requiescant in diis pace dear Elizabeth.

Max Noble

Learn more about Max and check out his previous features, here

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Max Noble, 22/09/2022 12:07

"@overdriver - I’m sure you’ll get the joke… ab astris ad luto … as my Marine grandfather would jest…"

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2. Posted by overdriver, 22/09/2022 11:28

"@Max - Blimey, as the inaugural Monaco GP was won by a Williams (as in Bill Grover-Williams a.k.a. W. Williams) you must speak Latin like an Aventine native!"

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3. Posted by Max Noble, 22/09/2022 5:15

"@overdriver - I bow to the wisdom of your anorak, as my school-boy Latin is weaker than a Williams around Monaco… (sad for all parties…!)."

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4. Posted by overdriver, 21/09/2022 14:57

"Just a technical linguistic point Mr. Noble. My understanding of ancient Roman speak leads me to believe that 'requiescant' should read 'requiescat' (singular). Also, the phrase should not be followed by an address i.e. name as 'requiescat' uses the hortative subjunctive thus translating as "May she rest in god's peace". Therefore "Dear Elizabeth" should precede the phrase.

Do anoraks ever go out of fashion or just out of favour?"

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5. Posted by Max Noble, 18/09/2022 12:33

"@Kenji - quite… A cheeky, yet not inaccurate summary… No “Cheese eating surrender monkeys “ vibe down here. No not at all… not at all… Oh, actually… "

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6. Posted by kenji, 18/09/2022 11:31

"@ Max...'what are Alpine doing'? Sad to say but they are completely 'butt hurt' by the disloyalty and behind the scenes dastardly dealing by those miscreants [ ex convicts ] hailing from that largely desert island at the bottom of the South Pacific. So much so that they are going to shut down their Academy for needy young and pimply adolescent drivers.Fluffy beds and bouncy pillows plus a few dollars pocket money isn't, it seems, enough to buy long lived loyalty to 'Le Grand Marque'."

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7. Posted by Max Noble, 17/09/2022 11:28

"@ancient70! - emailing Zak, the FIA, and Liberty right now… Dang I *need* that super license! Oh, what are Alpine doing…?"

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8. Posted by ancient70!, 17/09/2022 9:38

"Really nice piece, With lots of food for thought. This should give you enough points for a essay super license?
Just kidding!"

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9. Posted by Max Noble, 17/09/2022 7:43

"@ PitPass Folk - my thanks, all kind words humbly received. Simply inspires me to ensure I maintain high standards, and I’m sure Esteemed Editor Balfe would also welcome commitment to a regular release cycle…! :-)"

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10. Posted by alvarezh3, 17/09/2022 6:44

"Mr. Noble, your writing abilities are at the level of Ian Fleming or John Le Carré, what are you waiting for? Your books could be on the NY Times "Best Seller List" at a minimum!

Great talent, thanks for sharing it with us! :>)"

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11. Posted by Apexing, 16/09/2022 20:39

"As always, brilliantly written. Although, now I have Circumstances playing on an endless loop in my head! Ah, well...there are worse ear worms to have."

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12. Posted by ClarkwasGod, 16/09/2022 20:01

"Just perfect."

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