Formula Fun: Martin Brundle, Mercedes, and an Announcement

Well hello there readers, I hope the week is finding you well. We are hot off the heels of the British GP, and are looking at the week of the Silverstone test. In this edition of Formula Fun we are beginning what I will call “Season Two” of this column. I’ll leave exactly what that means until the end of the piece, as there are other topics I would like to tackle today. Let’s go on, shall we?
First up on the list is SkyF1 broadcaster Martin Brundle. Known for his horrifying crash at the Australian GP, having some rotten luck in his many race starts, and being a great TV personality after retiring. I respect the man greatly, and everything that he has accomplished. Normally he is level headed, informative, witty, and interesting to listen to. That is, in my taste, until he starts to talk about safety. From talking about the Halo device, to run off, to safety car starts, he always seems to try to harken back to a “Glory days” that I don’t think ever existed. In Silverstone, for example, we had a safety car start. This was entirely appropriate as we had a deluge not 15 minutes before the race start. With the amount of standing water and spray, it was far too dangerous to have a regular standing start.
That’s where he starts to grate on me. He goes on brashly complaining that we are being robbed “A show” and that they should just let them race. This is at a time where the drivers are still talking to the pit wall letting them know if the conditions are okay to race. But yet, the man sitting in the booth is going on about how these drivers need to be men and face the weather. Martin Brundle is the sort of man who probably shouts about cars having too many safety features and drivers aids these days. He just doesn’t seem to take safety and progress seriously.
We are only one year removed from the loss of an F1 driver, and not even that from losing Justin Wilson. But yet he is “Not comfortable” with any form of cockpit protection. A statement that is so backwards and reckless I am shocked that it is coming from someone with such a background in the sport. If we do nothing to further help protect our drivers, than we are all guilty when they get injured. I am lucky that I have only seen a handful of drivers die in motorsports in my lifetime. Motorsport will always be dangerous, I know that, but we still need to act. Martin acting as if the danger is a major aspect of “The show” which I find equates drivers more to gladiators than I think is responsible.

But enough about the shouty man who is getting out of touch, and let’s move onto the big story of Silverstone; Mercedes. Mercedes has been the star of the new Turbo era, with two very talented, and headstong drivers. Hamilton and Rosberg have traded blows on track far more than any other pairing I can remember, and it has started to show. The cracks are starting to appear in the Silver Arrow’s armor, and the breaking point might be their two stars. Reports of ruined drivers rooms, rules of engagement, and a frustrated team leadership have all clouded the teams triumphs lately. Combine that with a huge radio breach this weekend, and you see a Merc that has thrown away a second place, and threatening the possibility of team orders if the drivers touch again. Will the team survive this lineup for another year? Will Hamilton or Rosberg run into the arms of another team if things sour even more? These are the storylines that will be playing out all through the rest of the season, and boy am I excited.
And lastly, I have an announcement. Well, maybe two. One, this column is now going to be more topic focused than race recap focused. Writing a recap of the race has been difficult for me lately, because I honestly find it a tad boring. So instead, the column will look more like this from now on. But, if you want to hear me talk about each race when they happen, I am apart of a new motorsports podcast with our very own Bradley Brownell. It’s called the DFL Show, and you will be able to find it every Thursday here on Hooniverse.
And that’s all for this edition. If you have any suggestions or comments, I am always reading what you all reply.

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  1. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar
    Dean Bigglesworth

    Even if one can make a case for starting behind the safety car, the fact that nearly everyone pitted for inters immediately after the safety car proves they left it out there way too long. Obviously it would be safest of all to drive the whole race behind the safety car, but you have to draw the line somewhere.
    As for head protection, has there been a recent accident where the halo would have helped? I doubt it would have done anything for Bianchi, and it most likely wouldn’t have helped Massa either when he got the spring in the head a few years ago. Better safety is obviously better, but does the halo actually make the cars safer in actual races? The drivers, too, are divided. Some are safety uber alles, others feel the danger is an essential part of it. Others are somewhere in between.
    I doubt Hamiltons alleged room smasing was because of Nico, it would have been because he was pissed at himself for screwing up. That’s how you’d expect someone to react. Lauda should just keep his mouth shut.
    I doubt they’ll switch teams since there are no other seats available in top teams.

    1. Patrick Hoffstetter Avatar

      Justin Wilson, the aeroscreen would have prevented Massa’s injury. If there is evidence that some injury could have been prevented, why not fix the hole?

  2. engineerd Avatar

    Hamilton and Rosberg are no worse than Senna and Prost.
    As far as safety in F1, I can understand, to a point, both sides. Safety must advance, but not at the expense of the soul of the sport. The halo doesn’t bother me other than it’s kind of ugly, but F1 cars for the last decade have been pretty ugly so it doesn’t really matter. The downside of this is that it could, potentially, lead to drivers taking more risks. Watch American football players vs. rugby players. In football, it’s not uncommon to lead with the head; to the point that the NFL is trying to crack down on it. Rugby players hardly ever lead with their head to tackle. Football players have a helmet, padding and better neck protection making them more likely to take risks and rely on the safety equipment to keep them safe. In that regard, Brundle’s “show” should not be affected and possibly enhanced.

  3. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    I have a much different take on F1 and the Silverstone race. I thought it was a great race, with plenty of passing and suspense, even though Hamilton was never really challenged. Maybe the safety car stayed out too long, but drivers sure seemed to find enough opportunity to spin off in the damp bits. Now there’s a race for the championship, and other teams are strengthening, so the season should be very interesting.
    I think the Halo wishbone is a very bad idea. F1 is open wheeled and open cockpit. I’d say the gunwales are far too high as it is. Once upon a time you could see who was driving, and what sort of a day they were having. Now you see smoky lexan on part of a helmet. The fact that there is a constant risk of severe bodily injury is what makes it a true sport, worthy of notice. As it is, risk must be less than ten percent of that in the sixties – when it was far better competition, where a driver’s skill courage and sportsmanship could make all the difference. If you want safe, stick to video games.