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Doughnuts off the menu
In yet another showing of common sense by the FIA, doughnuts will be made legal as part of a celebration following the conclusion of a race. Whoever crosses the finishing line will be free to celebrate how they wish, as long as it complies with a select few regulations.
An amendment to Article 43.3 clarifies that the race winner – only -as a celebration, will be allowed, before reaching the Parc Ferme, to perform them if they desire to. Expect to see them becoming the norm at races around the world from now on, which could lead to the spectacle of it all diminishing somewhat. As much as so many seemed to hate the ‘Vettel finger’, it is/was a victory salute which became boring for many, so what is stopping doughnuts going the same way?
Furthermore, to avoid penalty, the safety of other drivers and officials must not be affected as well as the legality of the car must not be questioned, and the podium ceremony should not be delayed.
This all seems well and good, but at what point has the podium ceremony been delayed? When, as Vettel did in Brazil 2012, a driver sits on his car for all the associated media to take their back cover money shot? When a driver goes over to hug mechanic(s) and spends more time than just an embrace there? Passion is part of what attracts people, so seeing this side is so vital to maintain the interest levels of the casual viewer.
Another aspect to consider, which has now been cut off, is what about drivers doing doughnuts at their home GP? The McLarens were well off the pace at Silverstone in 2012, but Lewis Hamilton still took the time to delight the crowds there – something which is now prohibited as he was not the winner that day.
One possible way around this would be for drivers having to ask for special permission to perform doughnuts at a specific event, even if they do not win. However, all this seems rather formal and takes away the emotion and spontaneity of it all.
A final thought must go to the teams who now won’t have the ‘fear breaking the rules’ to hold back their drivers from performing such acts. Acts which put such pressure on the gearbox, as the regulations tighten further to make a gearbox have to last for 6 races now, instead of the previous 5.
“I think the stewards need to be empowered to give a little more leniency in extraordinary circumstances,” said Horner back in November (Autosport).
“Sometimes in life there are things that happen that don’t fully comply with a regulation,” he continued. “Perhaps it is a tennis player climbing out of a court and going to embrace his parents in a box at Wimbledon, or a footballer going to hug a family member in the crowd. What Sebastian did was exuberant, but he had just realised a fourth world championship and he chose to celebrate that.”
So as of Melbourne, people will be able to celebrate every race like it is a World Championship win. Well faith in humanity is restored, as once again F1 refuses to be outdone, allowing bigger, better and more outlandish to be the only way.