I'm Running for FIA President, Here's My Manifesto
Does anyone know any FIA Delegates?
Dear Mr/Mrs FIA Head of Presidential Elections (let’s be honest, it’s the FIA, it’s a Mr),
With the news that Jean Todt will not be standing for re-election in the FIA Presidential Elections, and because you won’t return my calls, I am writing to you to nominate myself for the role of FIA President and to provide you with my manifesto, having been nominated by FIA member Joseph Madre. I do hope you can see the merits of my manifesto and why it will benefit global motorsport and I trust that the FIA members will help me to become the first FIA President without a racism scandal.
1. Ramps on the Mulsanne
Ok, fine, we can’t have the full-on Mulsanne straight anymore (thanks to the Nanny State), but the chicanes can be improved upon. They don’t inspire as much overtaking as they should and nobody really likes a chicane anyway – it’s course-altering, rough to drive, and irritating. And they’re used everywhere. But fans won’t like just any old change (and most fans just won’t like any change), it needs to be one that draws on the long and storied history of Le Mans while also feeling modern and fresh to bring in new fans. Looking back upon The Great Race’s history, what is a more memorable moment than the 2nd most memorable thing to happen at Le Mans – Peter Dumbreck taking flight? What’s more is that nowadays cars taking off has even become something series have begun to encourage! The rising popularity of Stadium Super Trucks is clear evidence that the race-going public has only one desire: “Car go up”.
Not only does launching cars into the air in a semi-controlled manner, through the use of ramps, improve the safety of such a spectacle, but it also increases the road-relevance of the series as, due to climate change (thanks Brussels!) and its associated extreme weather conditions, cars taking off in strong winds will be a much more prevalent problem with manufactures having to invent safety devices to control cars in the air. What better way to test such solutions than on the racetrack?
Furthermore, this will increase the difficulty of Le Mans, which has become all too reliable in the modern era (apart from ByKolles). Gone are the days of an LMP2 having an outside chance of the overall podium, here are the days of bulletproof Toyotas and one of the 4 Gibsons making it to the end. Having at least 10.1KN of force come down on the suspension twice a lap would definitely increase the chances of a car breaking down, or at least a lengthy pitstop to shake up the order, thereby increasing the unpredictability of the greatest race of them all. Also: it’d be fuckin sick!
2. Cockpit Cocktail
My next proposal is to spice up the post-race technical inspections while also generating some #viral #socialcontent. Teams can choose to discard either the car’s fuel sample or its driver’s drugs test sample, allowing them to cheat that element of the rules, with the only catch being that the driver must then drink the sample in order to discard it. Said drinking could then be filmed for social media or to be used as evidence in any upcoming employment tribunals. This would drive up engagement amongst youths, perverts, and youthful perverts, increasing interest in the sport, while also allowing the teams release some of that cheating energy they’ve had stored up since the 90s.
To keep F1’s rich history of technical innovations and cheating alive and well each team will be allowed to ignore one regulation every year. However, to stop teams bringing 8-wheeled fan cars with X-wings and a third brake pedal, if any teams choose the same regulation that loophole will be closed and the teams that chose it will not be allowed to choose another.
This rule will also increase the parity of the sport as big teams will be unlikely to go for big loopholes, as those are more likely to be chosen by other teams, focusing instead on smaller gains that benefit their design philosophies and near-guaranteeing themselves an advantage, while the smaller teams with less to lose would be more likely to take a punt on a big loophole as they’d likely be near the back with only a small loophole so might as well take the risk – with the consolation that any team that chose the same loophole would be similarly disadvantaged. Furthermore, it would increase the chances of big order shake-ups between years should a team manage to call everyone’s bluff and sneak through a big loophole. As the old saying goes: “it’s easier for an F1 designer to pass through a technical loophole than it is a rich man to enter the gates of heaven”.
4. “Automatic Brake-Bias Adjuster? I barely know ‘er!”
This one’s part of my crusade to end the FIA’s focus on boring, hard to understand and explain paperwork and bring in a more “vibes-based” approach to the regulations. To help viewers understand and visualise technical protests teams must physically picket the garage of the team they are protesting. Furthermore, it would cause a boom in the placard industry and I’m sure F1 teams would get their own official card, felt-tip pens, and wooden stick suppliers. Plus, Social Media managers could earn some extra cash coming up with placard slogans.
The best part is that “This Haas to stop” could be used for when Schumacher’s Gurney Flap is 0.001mm too tall OR against sexual assaulters in prominent positions within teams and the culture which allows them to continue in their jobs! But we all know which is more likely… With F1 teams how they are, it’d be like the 1982 Drivers’ Strike every week.
5. It ain’t over ‘til the Bob Constanduros says champagne.
Another thing from the past that everyone loved, unless your name was Jacky Ickx, was the Le Mans start. Now, we all know that re-introducing that would be far too dangerous and impractical, so I’ve come up with a far greater alternative: the Le Mans finish, in which the winner is the first to get to the top step of the podium, keeping the spirit of The Good Ol’ Days with much less of the reckless endangerment. Also, it’d get rid of the post-race interviews that don’t add anything, really speeding up the podium ceremony – and you can’t complain about broadcaster’s cutting away from things that don’t happen!
As with the Le Mans Start’s original intention of improving road relevancy through placing importance on how quickly a car started up, the Le Mans Finish will place importance on the ease of egressing a vehicle, which can help improve vehicle entry methods for disabled people. And maybe Mercedes will invent teleportation and we can all finally be done with this whole affair.
6. Musical Chairs.
Now, don’t get me wrong, F1’s new initiative to get more junior drivers more experience by forcing each team to run a rookie driver in two FP1 sessions a year is a good idea but, like a driver who’s lifting and coasting, it can go further. My proposal is that each F1 driver must be replaced by an F2 driver at one round per season, for a laugh. Teams can choose when each driver gets replaced, but no F2 driver can drive for the same F1 team twice.
However, to stop a Raghunathan or a Deledda happening, and because there may be more F2 drivers than F1 drivers in certain years, there will be no rule stipulating every F2 driver must drive in one F1 race per year. F2 drivers will only be eligible for Grands Prix at rounds that the F2 paddock are also attending, as the F1 driver that they are replacing will replace them in that weekend’s F2 round. Not only will his stop the F1 drivers getting bored, but it will also help raise the profile of F2 and help the F1 drivers remember how to overtake.
7. Noel’s Rallycross
Oh no, World Rallycross is dying! Don’t worry, I’ve got just the thing: everybody loves joker laps, but they could do with some spicing up. We’ve got to differentiate the joker course from the regular course and the best way to do this is to use a different road surface – one that is visually distinct from whatever surface a course is already using and is also more difficult to drive on than the regular surface. Only one creation can fulfil both of these – the gunge from Noel’s House Party (American courses can use the Nickelodeon Slime). The gunge could also provide a branding or advertising opportunity –it could be coloured pink for International Women’s Day or blue as part of their sponsorship deal with Sexism Incorporated.
Furthermore, as gunge is a non-Newtonian fluid, it will also make the joker lap more difficult because if a driver drives too slowly or too quickly the gunge will be harder to drive through. This may encourage an even greater level of strategy where drivers actively avoid taking joker laps at the same time as other cars to avoid contact which could leave them bogged (slimed?) down in the slime – and as Dave Benson-Phillips used to say, you can always Get Your Own Back on the next lap. Plus, it would be massively cheap to do as I’m sure they’ve still got barrels and barrels of gunge out the back of the Channel 4 studios that we could half-inch. It might even draw Mr Blobby out of hiding, so that sick monster can finally face the consequences of his actions.
8. One Universal Engine Formula is an UEF
Get it? Like enough? Anyway, with the need for hybridisation and cost-cutting increasing day by day, the time has finally come for a Universal Engine Formula in the top tiers of global motorsport. Picture this – a two litre 3-cylinder free-valve ICE – akin to Koenigsegg’s Tiny Friendly Giant (which they can get 600bhp out of in a road car, so imagine what German Efficiency™ can do with it in a race setting) - with two turbos and the manufacturer’s choice of up to two hybrid systems (out of MGU-K, MGU-H, Flywheel, etc) with no limit on the amount of energy recovered each lap. As the TFG only weighs 70kg (28,000 dwarf hamsters) when built for a road car, and could fit in a flight carry-on bag, it would also have the advantage of lowering the weight and size of some of the motorsport series more well-endowed in the chassis department.
The choice of up to two hybrid systems means that manufacturers can choice to develop systems that they believe will be better for their road cars or only develop 1 or no systems to save on weight, while the fact that the TFG uses alcohol-based fuels and could be adapted to run other alternative or synthetic fuels further boosts this formula’s environmental benefits. Such compactness could even mean that this formula could be transposed to the WRC, meaning that a manufacturer could enter F1, Indycar, WEC, IMSA, and WRC with one power unit.
Please note: due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this formula has been deemed too expensive. Not to worry – I’ve found the old Life W12 in the bins round the back of Maranello that I’m sure we could reverse-engineer designs for and I’ve got a crate full of the little electric motors they use to power those handheld fans that I’m sure we could strap to the side of it.
9. Electric Avenue to F1
All of the single-seater junior categories need to be electric. The instant torque will make the racing much more exciting, as well as make them feel faster as the cars move more when getting on the power. Additionally, as electric motors have far, far fewer moving parts than Internal Combustion Engines there will be far fewer Mechachrome Moments™ than certain current junior series that drivers are paying several million euros for.
On the theme of those millions of euros, switching to electric motors would actually make running a car for a year much cheaper, and thus increase the accessibility of motorsport competition (if only slightly), because all series can run the same powertrains and batteries, just limited to certain power levels in the software, and they won’t have to pay emissions charges when they race on street circuits! Furthermore, range anxiety won’t be a problem in junior series, as their races are already the same length as or shorter than existing electric single seater series. But, above all, the main reason to electrify all junior series is to properly prepare drivers for the premier single seater category – Formula E!
10. Roll the dice on a new concept
Global motorsport needs a new home – common ground for fans of all motorsports to call home. Why? Fun. Of course, it can’t be a track that exists today, that would be too tied to whichever categories already inhabit it, but it still needs racing heritage. The ideal venue would be permanent, to allow all series to be accommodated, and in a city, to ensure that people can get there, but not a heavily populated city - a destination city with few true residents to get annoyed by noise levels. Vegas, baby. Where in Vegas? I think you know. Caesars Palace. COVID has shown the vulnerability of indoor facilities and led to physical casinos losing a lot of market share to online casinos meaning they will soon be needing to diversify their portfolios.
I say knock down as much of the casino and malls as possible and build a motorsports complex. I’m talking rebuilding the full F1 circuit (with allowances for motorbike racing), with the world-famous Indycar oval layout (that Mario Andretti genuinely called the best oval he’d ever raced on) which could even include banking this time, as well as constructing a rallycross stage, motocross stage, dragstrip, local government vanity project, kart circuit, skid pad, and media centre coffee machine.
What makes this different to every other circuit struggling for money with similar amenities? Vegas, baby! The circuit will work with the casinos to plan and organise events to draw people to the races and the casinos, benefitting both. This Mutually Assured Fleecing will keep the casinos happy (unlike the original Caesars Palace race) and that will in turn help bring people to the races. And, if it doesn’t work, there’s always the ol’ FIA Wink Wink Nudge Nudge Say No More, Say No More.
11. Win the World Championship. Your Time Starts Now.
Anything can happen in Taskmaster - and it usually does! The undisputable greatest television show on earth has joined the Channel 4 content stable, alongside the self-styled pinnacle of motorsport, opening the door for some delightful crossover content. Lee Mack in an F1 car? Fernando Alonso being forced to impress the Mayor of Chesham? Yes please! However, as the FIA President this won’t exactly fit into my remit (that will have to wait until I’m the Head of Programming at Channel 4) so I propose another solution: turn the FIA Prize Giving Gala into a Taskmaster Champion of Champions.
Take 5 of that year’s champions (For example: F1, FE, F2, WRC, W Series), or alternatively the top 5 in the F1 standings, kidnap Little Alex Horne, make Ross Brawn the Taskmaster and away we go. Stick the drivers up on stage, tell them it’s a competition and they’ll be chomping at the bit. They can perform live tasks during the Gala (with potential for pre-recorded tasks if the relative series’ social media teams would be willing to play ball), with Brawn scoring them using the standard 5-4-3-2-1 Taskmaster system. The winner receives whatever prizes the other contestants brought in, a giant gold Ross Brawn head, and whatever money the FIA haven’t put behind the bar towards a charity of their choice. And however bad they may be, it’s not like they can be worse than Roisin.
12. This Is Just How They Built The Haas VF21
The Montreal Raft Race shouldn’t be the only opportunity that engineers get to show off their creativity, and there’s a way to give them another outlet while also helping encourage future generations to get involved in engineering: Scrapheap Challenge with motorsport engineers! Give motorsport engineers a scrapyard, a challenge, a whiteboard, and 48 hours and see what they come up with. It could even be that F1 graveyard everyone gets sad at if those cars still have engines, but even if not, who doesn’t want to see James Key design a trebuchet that uses the body of an old Mini as a counterweight to a caravan projectile?
If that alone doesn’t inspire every child in the world to become an engineer, then the chance to have their designs built by F1 engineers just might! A spin-off show for kids could be produced as well, with kids brainstorming the ideas and the engineers making them a reality. They’d be inspired by watching other kids’ designs be realised and coming up with their own, and we can all have a laugh at the ones that don’t work. The presenters will, of course, be Sam Collins and Hazel Southwell with Scarbs doing the blueprints and the blueprint voiceovers, because they’re all incredible at their jobs, are each incredibly knowledgeable about different areas of Racecars™, are popular with The Youth (me) so will bring in younger audiences, and maybe a little bit because they’ve liked my tweets on twitter so I’ve got a way of pitching it to them.
Where it is filmed will depend on who picks it up: ITV would have it in a jungle, Channel 4 in the Taskmaster house, and the BBC in a Welsh quarry (if they can even afford that anymore). The nostalgia, combined with the popularity of shows like MasterChef: The Professionals, will make it a hit even TV executives can’t ignore. It’ll be expensive to fund, as I’m sure the FIA would be expected to foot some of the cost, but I reckon you could get a whole episode out of the fine from one Audi driver refusing to serve a drive-through penalty and, who knows, maybe they’ll even inspire the 2025 F1 regulations…
Thank you for your time, Mr FIA, I await your call. Do I have to have my fire-suit zipped all the way up for the entirety of the inauguration ceremony? I will be spraying you all with champagne.