A Daily Round up of Formula One news, inside whispers, opinion and comment. Today,
Forget the Virtual Safety Car
To reign in driver misbehaviour under double-waved yellow flag conditions, the powers that be developed the idea of the virtual safety car. However, we’ve not see it yet and the man we have to thank for that is – unsurprisingly – Bernard Ecclestone.
According to Auto Motor und Sport, the self-proclaimed Zampano has pressured Whiting to prefer the proper safety car in order to bunch up the field and create artificial drama. When the race had to be neutralized for Verstappen’s barbecued Toro Rosso, it would have been a model situation to deploy the VSC, but the Dwarven Council decided it would look bad on TV to have the cars trickle in with big gaps between them.
Basically, the whole idea looks like a token effort, sacrificed on the Altar of artificial entertainment.
The dreaded Vorführeffekt
Vorführeffekt is a German word that, literally translated, means ‘demonstration effect’. It describes the situation that something that has always worked goes immediately wrong the moment you show it to someone else.
A second use of the term is described in English by the term ‘commentator’s curse’. Those old enough to shave will remember those classical situations when Murray Walker would praise a driver during a race and five minutes later said driver would crash through the pearly gates backwards with his hair on fire.
And of course there’s the case of saying something and five minutes later it turns out to be wrong;
I don’t make mistakes. I make prophecies which immediately turn out to be wrong.
— Murray Walker
And so it appears that I have turned into a fat version of Murray Walker minus the talent for classical quotes. In my defense it shall be pointed out that I didn’t write my recent waterhole article the night it was published but a few moons ago, but the fact of the matter is, my writing about the fortunes (or lack thereof) of Danica Patrick, arguably the highest-profile female racer world-wide at the moment, have been partially invalidated by something that is preposterously named ‘reality’.
Meanwhile the young lady has doubled the number of top-10 finishes from three to six, two of which were achieved in the last three weeks. Now, you might say, a top ten isn’t much – Saubers and Force Indias manage to achieve that. And you would be correct until you realize that NASCAR has something we’ve not seen in F1 since 1992 – pre-qualifying. And even after the sick and the weak have been weeded out, a whopping fourty-two cars start the race, and all of them weigh more than Belgium and take up more space than Jarno Trulli.
The thirty-three year old, who came close to being groomed for F1 in the early noughts, but got caught in Ford-internal politics, drives for Stewart-Haas, and yes that’s the same Gene Haas who’s coming to F1 with a Ferrari B-spec car next year. There have been rumours that she might be drafted to F1, but Patrick has insisted for years that she is not interested in F1, which is too bad, as she definitely has more racing credentials than, let’s say, Carmen Jorda.
As it stands now, the lady seems to get the hang of this tin-top malarkey and lying currently at 13th in the championship she would even come close to be the first female to qualify for ‘The Chase’. That and the first NASCAR win by a woman are about the last records left for her to break. She’s done so with all the others by now.