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The Power of Love

FEATURE BY MAX NOBLE
20/03/2024

Frankie Goes to Hollywood remains a unique experience for any who lived through those years.

As noted at the time, "Frankie owned 1984 like no other band has ever owned a year". Cleary George Orwell would be spinning well defined circles in his grave over that one. Big Brother is not now watching you, he is streaming for you.

The love is in short supply at Red Bull right now. While it would appear they all wish to be Big Brother. I'm not sure if seeing Christian in leather pants and a cowboy hat is more of a worry than him confirming he works for the Ministry of Truth. Considering the sinister latter is fractionally more palatable, the Ministry of Truth would be working overtime right now to get the story straight at Red Bull. Their twenty-six contradicting versions of the truth are all correct (trust us), and we, the unwashed, are wrong, whatever our view might be (you have no idea, trust us).

Let's mix bands, simply because I can. It comes down to "Should I stay, or should I go?" Yet we, the great unwashed, do not know who is asking the question or of whom.

Is it... Max goes. Helmut stays. Horner goes. Jos stays. Horner strays. Everyone leaves. The shareholders buy each other out. Ford buys the operation and makes it a works team. Eddie Irvine returns to the Ford payroll as the new team principal. Like wow. Dietrich is for sure spinning in his grave faster than a rotisserie duck in a Chinese restaurant window. Seriously, the Godfather dies, and all the kids throw the toys out the pram like kindergarten is out for ever. And it becomes knife fights at dawn in the dark alleyways behind the Red Bull factory.

How did we get here?

An unknown person of (reportedly) the "I identify as female" style has said Mr. H. Was a rat bag. A leading UK KC investigates. Not to be confused with KFC, of course, which is possibly what some are currently calling him, hint, in this instance the middle "F" is not for fried... So we have a massive "He said, She said" battle going on in full view of the court of Twitter (sorry, X), sorry again I mean legal justice.

"Case dismissed!" cry those in power. "I demand an appeal!" cries the aggrieved. Good lord. Taking all the legal know-how on knock-down, drag-out tactics to the next level. Trump has spent the last few years delivering a master class in the power of money, megalomania and endless lawyer's delaying tactics to show how opinion can overpower logic and facts, if powered by enough venom and dollars. Red Bull has caught the same fever. The venom is powering them faster than a double Vodka and Red Bull, while it would appear the viper's nest has more than enough venom to power a medium-sized country to civil war.

Currently we have Red Bull, the FIA, Liberty Media and several other leading teams all indulging in Trump-like tactics of "my opinion, money and lawyers beat yours!" As each then, like European powers in 1915, digs deep trenches and readies for a war of attrition. The horror of war is upon us. The power of love right now barely gets beyond the shine of the sponsor's logo on the front of the hospitality tent.

I cannot remember the last time I wrote purely about racing, hitting the apex, the last of the late brakers and all those wonderful things we used to love about motorsport. (That makes two of us - Ed) Actually I do still love all those things about motorsport, it is just that Liberty Media's love of the mighty dollar, at any cost to the sport, is overshadowing any love for anything more refined. The FIA and Liberty are locked in a power battle, the teams have all started back-stabbing in a way not seen before, the days when the likes of Ken Tyrell or Frank Williams helped others to the grid seemingly long gone.

I admire much for which Sir Lewis stands. Yet can anyone see the likes of Sir Jack Brabham, Sir Stirling Moss or Sir Jackie Stewart falling in line with the lack of love around the paddock these days? All tough fighters in their day. Sir Jackie in particular has never cussed on live TV, or uttered evil words about anyone as far as I'm aware. Now, in private he might drink half a bottle of Glenlivet and chuck darts at a picture of Colin Chapman or possibly Henry Ford, but I seriously doubt it.

Rather than turning F1 into WWE for petrol heads, could Liberty slow down on their dollar addiction, and turn to the power of love? Love of the fans? Love of classic circuits? Love of cheap entry tickets returning the sport to the masses? Whisper it... love of new teams joining the grid? While the old saying might well run, "the more the merrier", it would appear that the "greed is good" mantra of the 1980's is bubbling in Liberty's corporate brain with "the fewer, the more dollars each!" being the new battle cry.

The latest fully researched, shoot from the lip, comment by Zak Brown, valuing every team at 1bn plus is pure capitalist dollar mania! Seriously? We are expected to believe there are waiting rooms packed with cashed-up buyers begging to part with a billion or more US greenbacks for Haas, Alpine or the artist previous known as Sauber? Your scribe thinks not.

So the Andretti family, who one could reasonably believe have an inter-generational love of all things motorsport, have teamed with General Motors (who I'm sure love their mothers...) in a passion-fired quest to join the grid. Only for Liberty's love of the dollar, to overpower their love of the sport.

Thankfully Zak loves himself, and no amount of F1 infighting can take that from him. His love of self is safe for all time. We can all sleep easy dear reader, with this truth warming our hearts.

Me? I love the skill and dedication of the drivers. I love the passion of hard working team members. I love the history of Ferrari. I love the genius of Adrian Newey, just as before him I loved the work of Patrick Head, Gordon Murray, Colin Chapman, and many other determined, respectful, hard-working humans.

I loved the Schumacher years. I loved the day Eddie Irvine openly admitted in a press conference he simply was not as good as Michael. Can you imagine that today?

I loved the tyre wars, I loved the madness/genius of the six wheeled Tyrell, the Brabham fan car.

For the life of me, I still love all that is F1 more than I love soccer, cricket or rugby.

In life it is the reason we believe something, or the reasons that drive our actions which define the meaning we place on the thing or action. Marcus Aurelius noted: "Our lives have no meaning other than what our thoughts give it."

To destroy is usually far easier than to create. I love F1 because it is a massive complex beast which pushes human capability to the limit. The drivers, the designers, the engineers. Seeing a modern F1 car full-tilt through a series of fast corners takes my breath away. Seeing Romain Grosjean walk away from that horrid crash was a wonder of modern engineering, and track safety feature design (I watched it when it happened and will never watch it again. Thinking of it now makes me teary eyed. It was horrid, yet remarkable.)

There is so much in F1 to be in awe of. To love, to be excited about, to discuss down the pub over a pint on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Yet right now my love for the sport is a lonely, personal thing. It is feeling like a guilty pleasure. Liberty Media (ironic that "liberty" is in their name, when they appear to be anything but...) are in love with the dollar first, second, third and possibly fourth. Actually, for sure, fourth too.

Those within Red Bull have a mix of dollars and power, the two always go together, running as a deadly virus through their veins. Just when they should be loving one another and the fact that they are on top the world, avarice, greed for power and self-love (refer Zak example) are over powering the power of love.

No one is going to come out of this looking good. The power of love is clearly missing at Liberty Media HQ, the FIA ivory towers, Fortress Red Bull and the UK KC's "never to be released" locked draw.

So dear reader. Draw a glass of aged port, or warm milk if that's your thing. Throw another log on the fire (for those in the Northern hemisphere), then sit back and give your beloved cat(s) ear fuss as your eyes gently close. Smile and recall all those moments in our wonderful sport that you've loved. You'll love it. The lucky cat will love it, and the room will fill with a quiet contented love. You and your cats will all feel better for it.

Then, just before you slip into a peaceful early evening nap, rejoice in the power of love. And find it in your heart to keep loving the core of our sport which makes it amazing, and know that for Liberty Media, and the current FIA hierarchy "this too shall pass" and love will remain. The sport is bigger than them all, and that's a fact to love.

(Foot note: For all those dear readers who own dogs rather than cats, please note you are encouraged to give your dog's ear fuss and reflect on all that is good in our sport. I know the dogs will enjoy it every bit as much as the cats... those with Axolotls... you're on your own...)

Max Noble

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

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by trackrecords, 27/03/2024 2:46

"@Max Noble - while not a Christmas number one, you might be familiar with the highly usefully-titled [but utter dross] Joe Dolce song, "Shaddap You Face". Perhaps memorable to Antipodeans for spending 8, yes, EIGHT WEEKS at number one on the Australia Kent Music Report in 1980.
But for those in the UK, it committed the ultimate sin of blocking Ultravox's magnificent anthem, "Vienna" from ever hitting the top spot, by squatting there for 3 weeks, from 21 February 1981 until 8 March 1981.
Oh, on how many occasions would the words, "Shaddap You Face" be a suitable reposte from a Clerk of the Course, to silence disgruntled teams and drivers..."

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2. Posted by Max Noble, 22/03/2024 5:30

"@Editor - simply love that story. I cannot imagine the TikTok streaming chaos it would generate today…! A few years back I had the pleasure of meeting the former professional cyclist Jens Voigt, and it was a joy to simply talk to a top sportsperson as a human. To mash a famous quote from a tragic event, “I love the humanity!”
"

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3. Posted by Max Noble, 22/03/2024 5:08

"@everyone - Some great past stories appearing, thanks for sharing!

@trackrecords - quite correct they didn’t make #1. They were considered to “own” the year, as in they were suddenly everywhere and you could not escape their “in your face” style of disco/pop/indi music. And the endless “Frankie says…” tee-shirts which sold about a billzillion copies. Any of you who heard the remix where they have a voice actor sounding like (at the time) Prince Charles talking about the considerations of orgasm compared to mere ejaculation will likely never forget it… So far more madness than “simply” a Christmas #1. I’ll reflect on how I could possibly work an article around Wham’s “Last Christmas”…! :-) (may-be Marko singing to Horner “Last Christmas I gave you my heart!”, with Christian replying, “And the very next day you gave it away!” - that would be a duet I’d pay to see…)


"

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4. Posted by trackrecords, 21/03/2024 19:44

"Rather than "The power of love" being a Christmas 1984 hit [even though it had SFA to do with Christmas] I thought that honour went to Band Aid - Do they know it's Christmas?
A completely different song of the same title, by Huey Lewis and the News, was featured in the 1985 blockbuster film 'Back to the Future'."

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5. Posted by Cobra Driver, 21/03/2024 13:51

"Let me take you back to the "thrilling days of yesteryear" (my apologies to the Lone Ranger). Before the money grabbers and grubbers at Liberty, before the questionable antics of Bernie E., before the time when dollars bought you a seat in the F1 Circus. Back to the age of pure racing talent such as Gilles Villeneuve (my racing hero), Nelson Piquet and Renee Arnoux. The operative words being "pure racing". Picture the 1979 French Grand Prix. Neither racer had real-time data feeds to the dashboard, nor engineers on the RT shouting changes to the brake bias settings, nor personal trainers demanding 100 sit-ups. Back when skill, determination and courage were paramount, when running side-by-side through the corners was acceptable because you were out there to best the track, the car and the competition. And in the pits were wives like Joann, urging their drivers to success, not third rate "entertainers" who can only be recognized because they insert punctuation into their names. When a race announcer knew of what he spoke, when his name was Murray Walker."

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6. Posted by Superbird70, 21/03/2024 13:02

"@ClarkwasGod, I have the DVD version of "Grand Prix” and the extras on the DVD are pretty good. All the motor and shifting sound effects were done after filming. The drivers came to Laguna Seca?, and proceeded to drive the course as if they were at Monaco or Spa etc. in order to replicate the shift sequences correctly for the film. They had everything memorised of course. Mind mapping instead of engine mapping."

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7. Posted by Spindoctor, 21/03/2024 9:29

"Spot on Max!
The number of fans seeking a return of the Max'n Bernie Show indicates just how bad things have got....

We have acquired two kittens whose ears may well be worn out before F1 returns to the core values of Sport & a bit of Love"

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8. Posted by ancient70!, 21/03/2024 8:54

"Again great article Max. I love motorsport, in the broad sense, not just F1. I have followed motor sport from the early 60’s, maybe even earlier via my father’s Auto Motor und Sport magazines imported from Germany. On the other hand I have never regarded myself as a fan. Maybe somebody should explain to me definition of a fan? I always thought fans were born when Chapman painted his cars to resemble a cigarette packet! I must say I was totally shocked when I first saw the photos, how on earth could they do that, English cars are supposed to be green! Nowadays we accept any weird wild and wonderful colors schemes as normal.

As to the Red Bull goings on, what exactly is the scandal and who is playing for what power?
I ask myself the basic question, who benefits if the team implodes? It is definitely not Horner, nor is it Max, Checko, Newey, or Marko. I don't Jos will benefit nor does the Red Bull team members, or even RB HQ.
On the other hand there may be many a F1 paddock piranha club member who would quietly giggle in glee if the team implodes. Maybe even F1 and co, as they suggested the current Verstappen domination is bad for the sport, really?? "

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9. Posted by Tyrbiter, 20/03/2024 21:12

"Bring back Max and Bernie and then bring back Ron Dennis and anyone else whose veins are filled with 100 octane.
Never mind "Does he have a budget?", could we just go back to the days of "Is he quick?""

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10. Posted by Editor, 20/03/2024 19:25

"@ ClarkwasGod

Then there's Phil Hill going into manic overdrive at Brands Hatch... "He's on fire, he's on fire!!!"

Other than Graham Hill it was good to see the likes of Jo Bonnier.

It was the finale at Monza that caused me to fall in love with the circuit.

In mind of the current saga, I believe John Surtees successfully sued the makers following suggestions that one of the characters was based around him.

You'll also note that for the final race Jean Pierre Sarti (Yves Montands - who my mother fell in love with) word a different helmet. This is because Surtees - whose helmet he had been wearing all season - had split with Ferrari and replaced by Mike Parkes - whose helmet Jean Pierre wore for the final race.

Finally, my mother and I were at Brands for the day they shot James Garner's fire - there was an advert for unpaid extras in the programme. It was on the Monday after the race... I'm there but have never seen me. These days fans would be on the track with their phones."

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11. Posted by ClarkwasGod, 20/03/2024 19:01

"Coincidentally (honest!) I started watching "Grand Prix" (not for thirst time, of course!) last night. Yes, it's a film, and the storyline does rather suck, and the "F1" cars the actors are seen in are F3's with bits added to make them look like the real thing.
But.......the contemporary drivers are in it, even speaking a few lines, and the camera work just because it IS of a pre-digital era, brings the spectacle so much more to life than any CGI of today. Should Sunday's "race" (well late Saturday evening for me) prove as processional as feared, I may well just watch the rest of the movie, and get the "highlights" (hahahaha) later through my VPN."

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12. Posted by Apexing, 20/03/2024 16:38

"Brilliant as always. Love the 1984 references: Our teams are worth $1B. There has never been racing as good as this. We have always been at war with Eastasia..."

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13. Posted by Willy56, 20/03/2024 12:40

"Max has hit the nail on the head once again with his take of the bottom line focused corporate driven world that F1 has become.
Liberty has never had the good of the fans, teams or sport in their sights as it has always been about how fast they can fill their coffers.
I would not have believed I would pine for the Bernie days but here we are."

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