Modern F1 – Cui bono?

Modern F1 is largely a reflection of western capitalist society, thus we have…

  1. A sport promoted by a WASP-y aristocracy that is overwhelmingly funded by non-WASP-y nations & companies with massive vested interests in the perpetuation of the world’s reliance on fossil-fuel powered personal transport.
  2. A sport that is happy to have its brand power co-opted by incongruous, corrupt, foreign political elites for the sole purpose of furthering their nefarious personal, economic & political agendas.
  3. A sport where at the UK’s most traditional, state-sponsored information gatekeeper, moral outrage at the war-making activities of event-hosting foreign political elites lasts exactly one season, as if the abominable end results of war-making were somehow separable from, and less important than, the easily-condemned means employed.
  4. A sport that is heading inexorably down the road of implementing a caste system based on a makers / takers, with implicit reverence to the gospel according to Ayn Rand.
  5. A sport where the neoliberal primacy of winners / losers is writ large. The winners take all and the losers can look after themselves. The rich are getting richer and the poor will get the picture.
  6. A world where creatives are courted, coerced, co-opted and corralled by plutocrats into serving the singular purpose of further increasing their already astounding personal wealth. Mateschitz – Red Bull – Newey. Bernie – The Sport – The Teams.
  7. A sport where money buys you honour, credibility and championships. Enzo’s upstart garagistes are a long-forgotten historical curiosity.
  8. An ostensibly technology-focussed sport where the exultation of extrinsic value has completely trumped engineering. Surfaces and impressions now matter far more than function and so the rules are changed if the best technical solutions offend the poorly-tuned senses of mug punters.
  9. A sport where the measure of a person is exclusively related to their market value to the sport / team. Pleasing driving style – clean, smooth, daring – means nothing if you don’t have winning talent or extreme sponsorship. Pleasing personal style – attractive, agreeable, engaging – means nothing if you don’t have winning talent or extreme sponsorship. Diversity had better have a big wallet.
  10. A sport where any notion of the collective good is ruthlessly destroyed by a cabal of winners who have an overwhelming stake in the already wildly off-balance status quo that sees the technical, sporting and financial elements of the sport shamelessly tilted in favour of the established, moneyed elites.
  11. A sport where “who you know” (nepotism) only trumps “what you can afford” (plutocracy) if you are a favoured member (or former member) of the ruling elite. And so we have the ‘grandees’ of the sport who are handed free coin, even if they are pants.
  12. A sport where we have insurgent rumblings from the smaller teams and from the drivers who are increasingly marginalised by the existing power structures. The power of the rule-makers and the grandees to shape events to suit their own self-serving agendas is absolute, rendering all other parties impotent – with their status effectively downgraded from participants to mere spectators.
  13. A sport where the best response to being presented with the pronouncements of any of the sport’s myriad forked-tongued phrasemongers is “What’s this lying bastard lying about to me now?”
  14. And finally, a sport that proves that the best measure of an activity’s inherent value is whether it would survive if sponsorship money disappeared.

Not that there’s anything wrong with any of that…