lewis Hamilton

Parc Ferme: Gag, or not to gag, that is the question?

lewis Hamilton f1 drivers gagged by IA

So, all the teams have now hoisted their proverbial skirts and revealed their 2023 Formula 1 mechanical offering, while some of the little demure things have only revealed an ankle, others went full can-can

However, despite there being ten teams on the F1 grid currently, there only seem to be three types of cars: a Red Bull, Ferrari, or Mercedes.  Sure, they have different colored dresses, but the overall contours are either Team Blue or Team Red. In fact, only Mercedes really stands out from the crowd, as they still seem intent on trying to make a silk purse out of the W13’s ear.

Something I hope they do, as at least they dare to walk a different path from the rest of the sheep. Regardless, we’ll have to wait for the season openers to discover who is all fur coat and no panties. However, there is one thing they all share. If the cars were female models, they’d be clothed in branded micro bras and thongs because I’ve never seen so much bare carbon fibre.

To gag or not to gag F1 drivers?

While outright hostilities between the FIA and FOM appear to have subsided.  The sniping seems to continue regarding the F1 driver’s freedom of speech or lack thereof. Part of the recent FOM PR offensive against the FIA focussed on highlighting its undemocratic idea to restrict what the drivers can and cannot talk about.

It’s interesting to note that FOM now appears to have gone a bit lukewarm on its protests, possibly in the realisation that it may actually be a good thing, well, for FOM that is.

Shoot the messenger

Let’s be clear here, there is only one region where this comes into play. There’s no Russian or Chinese Grand Prix these days, so no camels for guessing where the problem currently lies.

However, the self is a huge amount of money being invested in F1 at the moment, and a large portion of it is coming from the self-same place.  Unfortunately, many of the subjects some of the drivers want to blow hard on are taboo in this part of the world.

For sure, FOM does not want to undermine this revenue stream and needs to put the brakes on drivers burning down the house with their views. So, it’s genius to let the newly labelled bad guy do the perceived dirty work while they stand back on the moral high ground tut-tutting from the side.

Don’t bite the hand that feeds you

However, the FIA has now enlarged on the policy, which basically boils down to saying anything you want if it is not during FOM/FIA time. That is, at any official FOM/FIA activity. Outside of this, the drivers can insist that the earth is flat and hug as many trees as they want.

Personally, I have no problem with this policy now I see how it is delineated, and neither should the drivers. F1 provides them with a very lucrative income from what is more or less their hobby. Being invited and paid to visit somebody’s house and then embarrassing them when you get there is, in my view, disingenuous.

If you think the culture or society is wrong, no problem, but please vote with your feet and don’t attend the race(s). By all means, speak out on your preferred patronage but not publicly while you’re a guest of someone who will feel acutely uncomfortable by it.

It’s like telling a chef who has provided you with an expensive free meal that his food is pooh when you have just cleared the plate and sucked the bones dry!

Saints preserve us

Fortunately, the wheels are now turning, and testing is underway. A rather strange affair in F1 as it’s the only time in the season when the teams compete to see who can go the slowest or sandbag the best until the real stuff begins.

No doubt, each one of them will appear either at the top of the timesheets or near it in at least one of the test sessions at some time or another in the traditional F1 fan teaser event. Meanwhile, I will end with a thought on free speech and those who easily speak out on causes. In the words of Shakespeare: “there is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2