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Parc Ferme: The F1 Off-Season

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Once upon a time the Formula 1 off-season was just that. Yes, the teams would be busy building their new car, but the drivers and the principals would be quietly recharging batteries and getting ready to face the up-and-coming season. All seen but not heard.

Fast forward to today and it’s all changed. Gone is this quiet period of the year, now replaced by a cacophony of social media bollocks, clickbait, and that stuff that makes the grass grow greener in Texas.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a bit of Hyperbole. It keeps the typewriter running when there is no actual racing going on. However, things seemed to have taken a turn for the surreal.

What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is mine

Apparently, the people who thought they owned F1 don’t. Well, not for another ninety-odd years that is. The Faustian pact signed by the FIA (Max Mosely) with FOM (Bernie Ecclestone) excludes the former from doing anything with F1 except signing off the regulations shoved under their nose by the latter.

The FIA’s President and his team have been reviving this worst-kept secret since the beginning of last season. FOM’s response has been to ignore what’s been said.

Who’s gagging who?

Domenicali: Liberty letter to FIA important to clarify role of each of us

Letting sleeping dogs lie is a well-known adage and for good reason. It’s normally best to get on with what you want to achieve quietly and tip-toe around them.

However, when the President tweeted that the Saudis would be schmucks if they coughed $20-Billion for F1, it was tantamount to taking a run-up and planting one straight in FOM’s goolies. I must admit I’d have to agree with him, but unlike the FIA, I can say so without receiving a legal gagging order. All rather ironic as a few weeks earlier, the recipient was trying to issue his own to the drivers.

I can’t look

Either way, both were tactics that were likely to end badly, and they did. Not only did FOM get legal, but they also got down and dirty. Nursing sore testicles, FOM appeared to crank up its Media Ninja assassins. It wasn’t long then before someone in the dirt department dug up something that someone wished they’d never said or opined about. Something that together with a whole series of other news items, started to make a front-of-house role in F1 untenable.

As a consequence, President Ben Sulayem will now step back from the day-to-day running, and has appointed Nikolas Tombazis to do the necessary when it comes to all things F1. Apparently, his objectives have been achieved in this area and he will now take on the executive role he wanted to do in the first place.

This means the FIA will probably return to “Todt mode”; which means, when FOM moves its hand behind the FIA’s back, the FIA will say “gottle of geer,” or “yes”.

So, this is what happens when pot gets legalized

Meanwhile back in the pitlane, the owner of Aston Martin appears to have been over-inhaling on class C goods and is promising big numbers!

Nothing to see here folks, he did the same last year, and look how that turned out. The only big numbers Aston Martin are likely to generate in 2023 are the dollars being shovelled into Fernando Alonso’s wallet.

Every man has a price

However, based on the amount of Aston Martin drivel Alonso has been pumping into the social media stratosphere, it must be a hefty sum.

Some of his statements were just the normal, meaningless pre-fight banter like “it’s only a matter of time…”. Sure, it is; given enough time Mick Schumacher and Nicolas Latifi would have won a grand prix. Well, maybe not Latifi.

Anyway, I could have let that go but when he claimed Lance Stroll is a future F1 world champion… That was just too much to bare. The rumour now is that Laurence Stroll has Fernando Alonso’s footprints in his underpants.

Fortunately, we are getting closer to testing and returning to what it’s all about, cars rotating around racetracks as fast as possible.

In the meantime, I’m just waiting for the next incredulous instalment of the off-season. Two WAGs going at it in the pitlane because one’s husband/boyfriend/shag shoved the other off into the Tecpro! As Alonso said, It’s just a matter of time…