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Tyre smoke and mirrors
publication date: Feb 8, 2016
author/source: Captain Pugwash
The sport that is F1 on a Saturday and Sunday afternoon is usually great.
The business that is F1 for the rest of the week isn't.
In fact the rest of the week is in great danger of causing people to ignore what happens on a Saturday and Sunday.
The fate of the teams that occupy the lower steps of the F1 ladder clearly illustrates the feudal system operated by Baron Ecclestone where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer or are allowed to die.
Nothing new really as there have always been teams that have struggled at the back of the grid and it can be argued that these teams, and not the grandee teams, are the real life-blood of F1. Without these teams the likes of Alonso, Massa, Raikkonen and Webber may not have got into F1.
They served their apprenticeship and endured the frustrations of knowing they were never likely to finish in the points no matter how well they drove. Not for them the luxury of being groomed by a top team and then stepping straight into a very competitive car. Maybe that's why Lady Hamilton continues to throw his toys out of the pram when things don't go his way. Although to be fair to Lewis he did claim to serve his apprenticeship and endured frustrations by living in Stevenage!
But no matter how much sympathy there may be for the sport's minnows it's the grandee teams that attract the audience. People are more likely to flock to a race track or switch on their TV to see a Ferrari, Williams or even an increasingly fading McLaren than a new Lotus, Sauber or Manor.
You may wonder why I've ignored Mercedes and Red Bull when referring to grandee teams - because they are not.
Red Bull has no real F1 heritage (winning four back to back drivers/manufacturers championships is commendable but hardly qualifies as heritage) in the way that Ferrari, McLaren and Williams have, and Mercedes F1 even less.
F1 is, and always has been, a marriage of convenience between the established grandee teams and the ambitious support acts. Is this marriage likely to end on the rocks if The Baron turns his back on the plight of the chorus line? I hope not as they need each other more than they will admit, if nothing else to make the fading grandee teams look good!