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What Has 2022 Ever Done For Us?


Just like the age-old question about the Romans, 2022 was a tricky one to define in terms of benefits, and detriments. Thankfully no one was crucified, no fake beards were stolen and no one had to get stoned for highlighting fine dining reviews of fish dishes.

Which, rather like consideration of a well-constructed aqueduct, leaves one asking, "What enduring memorial do we have from season 2022, and is it any good...?"

As water flows ever down such a suitably graded aqueduct, so it was we saw Daniel Ricciardo and Mick Schumacher both have gravity exert a considerable downward pull on their careers. The recent news of Daniel rejoining Red Bull, plus the fact they have already strongly denied it means he is going to race again for them, are both great signs that the waterwheel of fortune could be slowly spinning once more in his favour. Does that mean Perez is going to take a cold water dunking? Let's wait and see. But this is a great gift from season 2022 if one looks forward with one of Daniel's trademark smiles.

Mick. Sigh. I can only hope that Toto actually has a plan to ease him from the Ferrari school, and into the barbarian camp of love which is Mercedes.

While the opening scene from Gladiator was a convincing win for the Romans, with the German tribes taking a true hell-fire beating, one can only hope that in Mick's case that outcome is reversed. Then again, poor old Mattia Binotto's downfall as Roman team captain was about as brutal, swift, and testing as that of Maximus.

Spreadsheet-gate! Who would believe way back in the carefree days of, oh, say mid-COVID crisis lockdowns, that accountants, spreadsheets, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, and accounting systems (I'm specifically looking at you Oracle Financials...) would enter stage left for Liberty Media to give a few more pantomime gasps to us the fans?

Reaching out to appeal to that untapped market of spreadsheet and exchange-rate loving accountants to get more eyeballs following F1 was a Drive to Survive act of genius.

What's more, all those bean-counting alchemists know... it all starts again next season! Dang! I'm sure in deep, dark internet chat rooms where operating income, tax write-off and R&D tax off-set are all discussed with demonic glee that commencement of the 2023 season accounting period is already being anticipated with the sort of fervent mania usually seen in hamsters recently banned from the wheel for a week due to bad behaviour.

No more Masi! Yup. Bet that looks like another great decision from the FIA. This year the teams were even more upset with decisions than last year, which actually goes to show what a remarkable job Masi did. He's been replaced by a team and they still cannot get it right in real time!

Clearly the further observation from this is that, just like Sid Watkins and Charlie Whiting, Masi was a one-off character who cannot be easily replaced.

The Romans threw Masi to the lions last year and appear to be allowing the hyenas to nibble the poor staff this time around. 2023? More change, plus new team moans is my prediction. The enemy is quite clearly the popular people's front of Judea...

The biggest rule overhaul since Pontius Pilot was a kid! How did that work out?

Well they lined-up two-by-two in respectful biblical fashion at the last race, and George Russell was the only Philistine, sorry, I mean non-top team driver, to climb Calgary and look on the bright side of life without getting nailed to a cross. Sorry! A step on the podium.

Seriously. Mercedes slip the massive, empire ending, slide of first to third. Red Bull climb the massive hill from second to first and Ferrari go around in circles as ever, while only just leapfrogging Mercedes, give or take a gourd or sandal. Oh, and other teams finished somewhere behind these three.

If only I had a simple witty, more or less politically acceptable joke, that begins... "Jesus, Mohammad and Buddha walk into an FIA meeting, and..." Quite simply this massive rules overhaul has resulted in the season 2022 racing looking much like the season 2021 racing. Added to the cost cap which has changed the pecking order not one jot, and one really wonders what the blazers at FIA central have actually achieved for all their huffing, and puffing...

AWS racing insights! Dang but that has really enlivened the drama by giving remarkable, super-computer powered observations such as "Alonso could be in overtaking distance within 31 laps, with a 51.2% probability." How did I ever watch a race without being told a faster car was catching a slower car!? If AWS could tell me next weeks' winning lotto numbers I'd be far more impressed. AWS insights? Like the weather man or woman telling you it is raining, when you are already standing in a monsoon, or worse, the local river has just swept your family home down-stream, simply useless...

The new digital frontier? The inside rim of the Halo device! Now this is a real win. I love the information they now overlay in this area. It is so cool seeing revs, g-force, and all the other numbers in real time for the driver. This has been a real win for me, and I love it each time they dive into the cockpit view, and overlay graphics which add to the instant drama. In this instance the Romans have completely delivered for us! If only they would actually hold the shot when something of drama is about to happen, rather than cutting to five year olds being tasered by their parents to scream and yell and jump for the Netflix cameras on demand...

Tyres... Yup tired of a single supplier. I've written previously on this. The control tyre is not helping the game, and the lack of a tyre war is boring. One of the greatest upgrades to a road car (other than chipping it and getting a straight-through exhaust for your turbo...) is top quality tyres. And just like moveable aero surfaces, it is unavoidable for F1. Seriously... bring back the tyre wars!

Sprint races... As V. Max has noted. From the pure sporting and historic perspective... Who cares? This scribe does not watch them. A bit like watching the main gladiator event but not watching the unarmed Christians being thrown to the Lions, I'd simply rather it was not part of the spectacle.

More races in places you've never heard of... Well ummm... Expansion is a good thing, other than when it is one's waistline, but into countries with no racing history, an oppressed population, questionable laws and governance... It is only good if Liberty Media and the FIA, get the new host nation to sign-up to meaningful UN or similar global body, regulations that they commit to meeting within a specific timeline. Minimum wage within ten years. Equal rights within fifteen years. Recognition of non-binary people within seven years, etc. If F1 wants to make a difference, get new host nations to sign-up to a timeline of improvement. It's not difficult. I'd give the FIA 0.5/10 on their direct action on improving questionable host nations. Right now they simply take the money, while improving nothing.

As Genesis noted, there has always been Ethel. Which each time I play "Selling England by the Pound" I transmute that line into "There's always been Vettel". Now he's gone, gone, gone. Or is he...? He clearly loves the sport of F1, as opposed to the politics and manufactured show, yet he is walking away on his own terms to potentially return, as what? Team advisor? Floating RB consultant? Sinking Ferrari consultant? TV talking head al la Nico R.? TV crazy as per Eddie Jordan's endless Road Runner impersonations? Who Knows?

So what did Season 2022 ever do for us...? It gave us a V. Max supreme. It gave us the final season of Vettel. It gave us remarkable laps from the top three teams, RB, Mercedes, Ferrari, whereby their pilots pushed to a shade over the limit and presented the adoring fans with a number of remarkable side-by-side moments and stunning overtakes.

It gave us more spreadsheet analysis time than any of those of us that gaze on such things on a regular basis a splitting headache. Then arch-jester Christian and arch-villain Toto gave more than a season's worth of gibberish jabber in one day, to ensure the "Look behind you!" crew were fully entertained.

Oh, and like a rat out of an aqueduct Alonso flew to a new team, but, well, we all knew that was going to happen, so we cannot blame the Romans for that.

Max Noble

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



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1. Posted by gcdugas, 25/12/2022 6:21

"Ok, besides the last race for Vettel, no more Masi, spreadsheet-gate, the new digital frontier, more races in places you've never heard of, V. Max Supreme.... what did 2022 do for any of us?"

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2. Posted by Spindoctor, 15/12/2022 14:20

"@editor & @max Noble Thanks for the compliment!
@ancient70! I agree. VAG's decision to join the F1 Circus doesn't fill me with optimism for the future well-being of the Sport I'm afraid."

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3. Posted by ancient70!, 15/12/2022 7:15

"@Spindocktor, well said! One thing we seem to have lost in the current era is what is the motivation to go racing? It used to be a passion for competition be that for own ego or national pride. This would then result in building the fastest possible car by team of gifted people, driven by an insanely fast driver, and finding the money to make it happen. One tends to forget that old man Enzo sold cars to go racing, not the other way around! So he was passionate about racing, for himself and Italy. The current F1 has become a way of making insane amounts of money? This leads me to wonder why is Porsche now interested? They had a brief period as a factory team in the early sixties, which was promptly canned as it was not achieving much and diverting money from their sports car effort. Why the interest now? Do they really need F1 publicity, or do they get the rich aroma of money! "

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4. Posted by Max Noble, 15/12/2022 1:52

"@ancient70! - wonderful story of “be careful what you wish for…!” :-) Also agree. What do people expect? If one looks back at the likes of Sir Jackie winning at the “Green Hell” by *several minutes* from the second placed car… well not only what’s there not much overtaking, but that which did happen was only seen by a few black Forrest squirrels (who one assumes were already deaf…).

@Spindoctor - outside the friendly field of battle which was the PitPass Podcast recording studio I frequently and cheerfully agree with Esteemed Editor Balfe on things motor racing. I share his enthusiasm for your insightful comment. Indeed a near-future article of mine cannot but help be drawn back into the world of Black Belt Accountancy, because it would appear that is what F1 has become… look forward to it be formally renamed “Finance One” overseen by “Finance Internationally Accountable” (FIA)…"

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5. Posted by Editor, 14/12/2022 11:58

"@ Spindoctor

Post of the day... week... month... year, possibly all-time.

Especially the final sentence."

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6. Posted by Spindoctor, 14/12/2022 10:36

"@ancient70! Quite so.
The past is a foreign country & they definitely did things differently!
I'm not so exercised by visions of "close racing" but would like to see some "racing". I mean situations in which Drivers & Teams stiffen their sinews, summon up the blood (&c.) and transcend the ordinary. That after all, is what makes Sport so attractive. Messi dancing through the Croatian defence, for example.

My take on F1 at present is that in order to produce the necessary financial ROI F1 has become too corporatist and therefore "safe" for Investors & various "partners". Chapman may have been a 'Garagista', but he drove car design forward at a huge rate. It's not just the Teams, either. Most of the problem lies with FIA whose pusillanimous behaviours and constant deferring to crass financial interests of the "owners" of F1 (Liberty) are leading to a downward spiral into mere orchestrated spectacle."

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7. Posted by ancient70!, 14/12/2022 8:52

"Reading al the comments here, I wonder what people really expect from motor racing, and F1 in particular? The expectations seem unrealistic, and close racing in the good old days was pretty crappy! I attended 3 gps, at Kyalami in 68 , 69 and 70 or 71, not sure which. The proceedings went as follows, leader would disappear into the distance, ie sir JS and the other one Hulme. Close racing? not where I was sitting, on a deckchair on the back of a flatbed track, parked on the apex of sunset bend. That was really cool as you could look straight down into the cockpits and watch the driver fervently downshifting, no paddle-shift! The engines sounded great. The most entertaining gp was the one where the high wing fad had taken hold, every second lap a car would trundle by dragging its rear wing behind attached by cable stays, or the front wing canted to one side cutting furrows in the track. Close racing, nahh!
Ferrari held a test at Kyalami with the 312B and 312P for Ickx and Reggazzoni, clever me, I decided to watch 312P being hustled around by Ickx from the main grandstand across from the pits, which was deserted. Now this construction consisted of corrugated side and rear panels and corrugated roof. So basically a corrugated sheet box open on the side facing the track. Well I lasted 2 passes, then I go the hell out of here, the sound was absolutely excruciating, once the car got to Crowthorn, it was all lovely wailing flat 12, but in that stand it was hell! Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for, louder engines??"

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8. Posted by Max Noble, 14/12/2022 1:18

"*Oromo = room. Good grief auto correct… what is an Oromo…?"

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9. Posted by Max Noble, 14/12/2022 1:17

"@Spindoctor - good summary! Yes it used to be an off-season battle of the engineers, followed by an in-season battle of the drivers, plus a side serve of in-season development. Now we have the added twists of DTS back stabbing, black belt accountants at Dawn 365 days a year, the FIA drawing a joker from the pack, and rewriting rules on the fly, “Just for giggles”, and endless sucking of teeth over how many droplets of water demand a full safety car, or red flag event…! I’m waiting for the DTS interviews where the faces are blurred out, and the Oromo dim, as we are half shown massive spreadsheets on huge dual wide screen monitors, while someone breathlessly mutters… “”…and that’s when we looked into this litter catering firm in Bromwich…!!”

Season 2023! Coming to a spreadsheet near you soon! Now with extra added external catering macros!"

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10. Posted by Spindoctor, 13/12/2022 8:03

"'The biggest rule overhaul since Pontius Pilot was a kid! How did that work out?'

@ancient70! confirms your strictures about how various tweaks have changed little of importance in F1. There was indeed a lot of "following" - of the Top Teams by everyone else.
We do have a new top-dog gladiator in the shape of the ever-gracious Verstappen Maximus abetted by his pater familias...
Tyre tedium continues, as you say: 'the lack of a tyre war is boring.'. Competition we are told 'improves the breed', but Pirelli is still having to dumb-down its products to meet the scripting requirements of Liberty\FIA.

There were of course some bright spots to keep us from switching to the Cookery Channel, Property Porn or just switching off all together.
* Inevitability Max & RBR won (nearly) everything hands-down.
* Mercedes was pretty impressive: their 'PoS' car was polished to the point of being almost competitive.
* Young Russel minimus developed into a genuine contender
* Ferrari clowned around providing light relief: the wheels & nearly everything else coming off their challenge
most weekends.

Assuming Mercedes manages to ramp up its performance to match RBR (who will also improve) 2023 could provide us with some racing at the front. Should Ferrari get its act together then we could see a three-way fight & find-out just who really is top-dog ...."

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11. Posted by ancient70!, 11/12/2022 8:38

"For the year in general there was a lot more close following, as has been remarked by many people. The thing that really caught my attention was how many drivers got it sideways and yet managed to get it back facing the right way. With the previous generation of cars if you got half a degree of yaw, you were history and doing loop de loops!"

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12. Posted by Apexing, 10/12/2022 18:52

"@Max - the show was awesome! This was the 2nd time I had seen them play this year, and yeah, it was great! They had a different setlist this time (no Selling England...), and a different drummer, but it was a fantastic show..."

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13. Posted by Max Noble, 10/12/2022 6:48

"@Apexing - Glad to be of service! I had the joy of seeing Steve Hackett here in Perth WA a few months back with our youngest son… and I had the same problem! I do hope you enjoyed the concert as much as we did. All of Selling England by the Pound, plus Seconds Out… It was a very spiritual moment I must say. Here in Perth they got several minutes of standing ovation for Supper’s Ready, which they appeared to greatly enjoy. Well deserved.

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14. Posted by Apexing, 09/12/2022 20:23

"Dammit, Max! I went to a Steve Hackett concert Wednesday night, and they played "I Know What I Like...". And naturally heard "there has always been Vettel". Now I can't unhear it!! Ha ha ha!"

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15. Posted by Max Noble, 09/12/2022 3:36

"@overdriver - Indeed so! “… now Pi$$ off the lot of ya!” Off-screen Brian getting a flick around the ear… Or as Mattia has just discovered “Romans, they do without the house…?” The FIA need to get their grammar corrected quick sweet time for season 2023, or as Brian assured the crowd… “You’re all different!” With the legendary response “I’m not…” On reflection… as the Python crew have not released their own film in some years one wonders if Turk Thrust and the scripting unit secretly signed a contract with them to pen the DTS narrative… as at times these days F1 could well be a Python sketch…

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