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The Juggernaut Rolls On

September 25, 2011 by Matt

Singapore Marina Bay Street F1 Formula 1 Circuit Track City Course

It’s profoundly ironic that for all the regulatory meddling the Formula 1 administrative body, the FIA, engages in to try to contain development costs, level the playing field and promote competitive racing, there’s one factor they can’t equalize: Driver talent. And that one factor is making this Formula 1 season into a supremely uncompetitive, lopsided farce to rival Schumacher’s rampage through the 2004 season.

What am I talking about? Sebastian Vettel’s win from pole position today at the Singapore Grand Prix, easily clinching his ninth victory of the season. As with so many events this year, the true battle was for second place, with Vettel turning in machine-like fastest laps far into the race. Apart from a couple of incidents, most notably a fender-bender between Hamilton’s McLaren and Massa’s Ferrari and a botched overtaking attempt by Schumacher that sent him into the tire wall, it really was a snoozer. A pretty snoozer, but so, so boring nonetheless. The first night F1 race I’d seen, the track certainly looked spectacular. We were treated to gorgeous aerial shots of F1 cars duking it out on the track while “mere mortal” cars coursed along the arterial highways above the circuit. One commenter on the linked Autoblog writeup mentioned the absence of views of spectators, and he’s on point: The cars looked as though they were racing around some perfectly-lit, inert urban canyon, tearing through a life-size video game with none of foliage, heat waves or general human elements that characterize other circuits.

Far be it from me to wish ill on anyone, but I do hope something happens in the remaining few races of the season to make things a little more interesting.

Filed under: Formula 1, News, Racing


  1. Joel says:

    Love the content, Matt. Do you follow MotoGP, as well? I believe their series has had the reverse problem for years.

    Whoever is aboard the factory Honda or Yamaha takes it. American Nicky Hayden wins championship in ’06 on Honda, switches to Ducati and rides midpack. Valentino Rossi boatraces the field for years with Honda and later Yamaha, contracts w/ Ducati and is hardly competitive. Suzuki has withdrawn from the premiere class entirely. Not to mention the non-factory teams ordering themselves at the back. Essentially the races are decided by lap 2.

    As you mention though, it’s still a beautiful to watch the best drivers pilot the best machines.

    • Matt says:

      Joel! Great to hear from you. It’s funny; I was writing my post on the 914 today, and I was this close to including the story of the time you let me drive your 911 (or is it a 912?)–one of the true highlights of my “car life,” haha.

      I don’t follow MotoGP, but I can understand the way a small cadre of manufacturers can dominate a racing series. Incidentally, it kind of pokes a hole in my argument that Vettel is way better than everyone else. The alternative is that he could just be a decent driver (and his teammate Webber a crappy one) and their cars, the Red Bull Renaults, are ridiculously superior to anything else in the field. Same thing happened with Hakkinen in the late ’90s–he was a middling driver until he got a seat in a Mclaren-Mercedes (which was going through a really good period), then he won two world championships. Never did a thing before or after. The truly greats like Schumacher and Senna have been excellent in whatever they had. Or it could just be they knew exactly when to switch cars. :)

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