The Power of Love

20/03/2024
FEATURE BY MAX NOBLE

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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Published: 20/03/2024
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