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The Undiscovered Country


To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of?

Shakespeare - Hamlet Act 3, Scene 1.

Reused wonderfully by Star Trek a mere few centuries later in a rather poetic moment for a mainstream science fiction film, repositioning the quote to consider the future rather than that great unquiet slumber to which we are all eventually travelling.

Yet what a wonderful quote with which to dive heedless, nay, near reckless into season 2023, in the search for Spock, sorry, I mean the search for delightful entertainment dressed as sport, which was recently re-forged by new masters to render unending streams of gold.

Can any true soul continue to exist with such a conflicting mix of fates pulling at the threads of the very fabric of its being in this world, and probably the next one too? Let's take Liberty Media, the teams and driver line-ups through each line of Shakespeare's enduring words of enlightenment.

Grunt and sweat under a weary life - Ummm. Well Liberty Media are labouring hard to deliver outsized geese laying maxi-portioned golden eggs. So green tick one for the grunts, and the sweat. Ditto Netflix and their DTS. Methinks the rancid sweat is flowing freely at DTS HQ, as the gloss, rather like the shine on cheap patent leather shoes caught in monsoon rains, is rapidly vanishing in light of another viewing season built to formula, not out of love, passion or an abiding respect for the legends of the sport.

Drivers? One and all grunt and sweat. Yet they leave the weary aspects of life to the sponsors. Most especially in the past twelve months to FinTech and Crypto most of whom are now sweating as they (rightly) swing sledgehammers on the chain gang.

Team owners? To say Toto and Christian grunt is a major disservice to the poetry each delivers breathlessly to a waiting public each time they speak. No grunting. Sweaty? Only when the season's spreadsheets are being reviewed by the abacus-obsessed within F1 towers.

But that the dread of something after death - One would consider a somewhat well-known Mr Putin as being more concerned with this one than anyone in F1 this year. Not sure the Orthodox Church actually has God's number on speed dial, and can hence deliver 'get out of jail free' cards from one life into the next. Drivers have more to fear from the taxi ride to the circuit these days than driving on the track. For which the blessed Sid Watkins, among many revered others still living, is already being caressed by the hands of angels and drinking the milk of paradise while receiving thanks eternal - from Mrs Grosjean most especially - with each sunset.

Team owners? Your scribe could jest one requires a soul to have a fear of the life after this one. But your scribe is not that dispirited with the team owners quite yet. On the whole these guys work as hard as the drivers, so all good.

Liberty? Ah. Now one needs more than a Midas-sized love of gold to over-power concern for honour in this life or beyond. We need Liberty to discover the concept of soul, passion and eternal honour for them to fear something which they appear either not to comprehend or not to acknowledge as existing. No dread, no clue and no vision to build external monuments on the scale of the pyramids.

Sponsors? I've met Dragonflies with longer term vision than some recent sponsors. Others get the long term... on this plane of existence at least. Yet asking we believe the pedlars of cigarettes or betting tools are distressed over the impact of their actions on their souls, could be an understanding too far. Rich energy drink, crypto, and the afore mentioned FinTech gang are all likely to be as foolish as butterfly chasing net-monkeys on the edge of an active volcano.

The undiscovered country from whose bourn. No traveller returns, puzzles the will - If we could foretell the future, what joy for now? Much as a few small tips - Grand National winner the week before the race per chance? - might bring some relief to mortal souls, knowing every step before it is taken would soon be a distress. This scribe recommends the daunting Slaughter House 5 by Kurt Vonnegut to those that wonder what knowing future history might do to the soul of a species.

Drivers, as Sir Jackie Stewart and the mighty Fangio will confirm, get slow when they dwell too long and hard on how they exit this world so abruptly to the next. Yet none, like the addicted smoker, really believes it shall be them. Rather it is always "the other guy" who takes the fall. Self-delusion can be a saviour for the day of action.

Team founders tend to see legacy writ large, while team managers tend to see the writing on the wall in small script, under the bold words of the bean counters. God guided one, accountants the other. I never had the delight of meeting him, yet I already miss the remarkable character that was Dietrich Mateschitz. He was a living legend who can hold his head high as he strides into that corner of Valhalla reserved for champion leaders who dared to win.

Team Managers, accountant's lackey thy name be! Not you Christian or Toto. The word manager does you both a disservice. Leaders in heart, mind and soul are you.

Should Liberty be pondering anything beyond this year's financial results it would boggle my mind. To learn they all attend Evensong, Matins and compline daily, followed by a sunrise mass would actually be cause for joy, rather than a concern about an impending cult. As spiritual as a mudslide in a South American nickel mine. Nothing to see here, move along. I can only recoil in horror at the idea that some of their junior employees are boggled when a human gets in a hotel lift, and whence the doors open again are gone. "How did they vanish?" Wails young acolyte utterly befuddled by such advanced wizardry.

And makes us rather bear those ills we have. Than fly to others that we know not of? - Better the tormentor one knows, than the Demi-Gorgon around the corner, as yet unknown. Fear of that undiscovered country writ large.

So Mercedes keep the zero-size side-pods. The ill they have, rather than flying to those they know not of? Yup. Perfect example of avoiding an unknown, possibly worse, future... by retaining a horrid present. Avoiding the dread "I told you so", by retaining the horror that is known. Until they plunge like a barrel over Niagara into the potential as yet unrealised future none of us will know if they have avoided a worse hail of bullets or clutched to their chest a poison chalice for longer than required. Snow White's apple anyone?

Red Bull is the complete inverse. Keep the glowing immortal beauty of last year alive for another season? Or rush terrified into an unknown future? Methinks V. Max and Christian will both be men for all seasons this year. They will avoid the Thomas Becket four Knights and before one knows it, you're out of the Cathedral and smiling, still in both the rising and the setting of the sun. Such is the beauty of the Undiscovered Country!

Aston? They have smiled in the face of the Demi-Gorgon and torturing mixed-metaphors to the next level, have gone "Oh no! Not that Briar Bush!" And promptly, it would appear, embraced the chance to be thrown cheerfully into the undiscovered country of existing further up the grid. Should Alonso's delightful podium prove to not be a one-off it will be time for delight, merriment and additional rounds of rum this night. Third in the team standings and a few wins for both Alonso and Lance this season would see your scribe provisioning the Southern Pitpass cats additional catnip.

Haas? Change drivers, the car is perfect. Not expecting anything fun here. Mick S. Has dodged a bullet. Next? Williams? Where the known press release of striving, changing and building is so well known they have probably had to recruit ChatGTP to mix the sentences into a pattern not used within the last ten years. Yet Albon has claimed a point in the first race of the year! A wonderful start. May this be a season where they work back into the midfield with honour.

Ferrari? May the Titans smile on them from their golden thrones. They appear to have kept the ills they know and imported new ones. This season could make last season's implosion look like an easy afternoon in Disneyland. Engine still a touch delicate. Drivers tense. Tifosi expecting it all. New team manager, same old politics... Got to love Ferrari... This season is going to be painful.

Team managers? Toto and Christian actually get to write their own scripts, and occasionally each other’s. They are better than most at knowing which ills they need to keep and address, and which they can influence that are about to rear-up into a major crashing wave dashing them on the razor rocks of tomorrow.

Apparently the other teams have leaders too. No, I'm joking. They have managers. They manage to the Gods of Excel Spreadsheets, and they pander to the lines from Liberty. They murmur disquiet with the FIA, but only when no one is listening. Moving on...



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1. Posted by Editor, 13/03/2023 10:48

"@ Max Noble

I think you'll find that "Slap Fights" originated here in the UK, courtesy of John Cleese and Michael Palin, only they did it to music... and with a fish!"

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2. Posted by Max Noble, 13/03/2023 10:18

"@spindoctor - ah! Sweet nothings! Is it all but a dream within a dream? We had a tangential relationship to “Farmer Wants a Wife” here in Australia, and all involved were worse for the experience… but I digress (for those not based in Australia it is like Married at 1st sight, or the bachelor… but with only farmers…)

I’ve just read an article about UFC starting “Slap Fights” in the US, whereby big guys stand there and slap one another with an open hand. Like… Yuck. It takes the worst aspects of Queensbury rules (no moving), with domestic violence (my hand was open…) and well… what is that?

By comparison placing all the team principals in a Big Brother house for the entire season would actually be sport worth paying for!

Back on planet motor racing… Yup V. Max is looking good… but then so did Ferrari for three races last season…

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3. Posted by Spindoctor, 11/03/2023 7:52

"@Max Noble
Thanks for your optimism, despite the myriad contraindications to Joy you introduced!
For myself I'll be interested to see how Liberty & Co. present a season in which it's pretty clear that barring divine intervention, Max will win nearly everything without breaking sweat.

Their biggest hopes undoubtedly lie with the "heart-warming" prospect of near-perpetual underdog\genius Alonso getting the last laugh & trouncing 'arch enemy' Hamilton. They'll also be looking for signs of the collapse of the Hamilton\Mercedes\Wolff axis and will gleefully document it. We're also looking set for more comedy moves from Ferrari - just in case other stories lack pulling power.

All good fun & games for the casual viewer force-fed the synthetic reality & delights of "Big Brother", "Love Island" or "Married at 1st sight" , but a grim prospect both for those sweating at the F1 coal face or anticipating a Sporting spectacle.... "

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