We discuss why F1 isn't as exciting as it once was
Matt Prior
22 September 2017

While I was out walking the other day, a light aircraft flew overhead.

Nothing unusual about that; with its single engine, whirring away gently like they do, it milled across the sky like it could have been any time during the past 70 years. 

Then I walked past somebody who was wearing tweed; which, again, is not uncommon round my way – the peculiarly, slightly disconcertingly old-fashioned bit of Middle England where trousers of colour outnumber people of colour by an alarming ratio. 

Anyway, there’s a reason for tweed: it’s late summer, after all, so it's starting to get a bit cooler. Perhaps, I thought, when I get home, I’ll warm the house up by setting fire to a lump of wood. 

Odd, isn’t it? All of these pieces of – for want of a better word – technology have been surpassed. Or could have been, if we’d wanted to surpass them. Perhaps I’m stretching the point a little with the light aircraft, but there are far more ‘technical’ fabrics than tweed, far more efficient and less time-consuming ways to heat one corner of one room of a house by seasoning wood for three years and then burning it. But, here we are, yearning for the inefficient: owning a range cooker, mowing lawns ourselves when a robotic mower would do it better, buying vinyl or, indeed, using a classic car. 

‘Eschew’ is a banned word in the Autocar style guide for the good reason that it makes you sound
 like a div, but when it comes to modernising elements of our lives, it fits. There is a great deal of eschewery of the latest things going on. I could control the temperature of my home via an app, on a phone. Apparently some people even do. But somehow it is nicer to watch flames flicker and burn. And then go out. And then flicker. And fade again and… I don’t know, I think it would have been easier if I’d just put the heating on. 

I don’t think this is nostalgia.
 At least, not in the accepted sense. 
I just think there comes a point in
 the development of things when
 we accept that technological advancement has served us well enough. Neither the plate, nor the fork, say, has needed any further tinkering for quite some years. It’s possible to buy an electric, even digital, salt dispenser. But why would you? Things are not just fine. They are good. They are enough. 

Which leaves the car where exactly? When it comes to motor racing, it is, I suspect, done. The spectacle probably peaked when cars were at their noisiest and wildest and drivers at their most visible, which is why classic car racing is so popular, regardless of how tech-laden some racing series, contested by companies with cars to flog, have become. 

In the road car market, though, we’re not done. We can’t be. It’s an odd time. Too many people die, we sit in queues for too long and air quality is too bad. It has been for decades, yet only now do we seem to have noticed. 

And yet? And yet still few people buy an electric car. Active safety systems remain negligible reasons for buying one. For all of the modern car’s faults and drawbacks, there’s something of the salt cellar about it. It just fits, albeit sometimes uncomfortably, into our lives. To move on, I think we’ll have to be pushed. I wonder when it will be? No idea. But I don’t doubt it’ll be worth it when we get there. 

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22 September 2017

...nothing on tlevision is quite as amusing as the Saturday night repeats of Dad's Army.

22 September 2017


22 September 2017
I'm not comfortable with being pushed. Governments should not interfere to the extent that they do. The calibre of politicians, these days, is, by general concensus, pretty low, and yet their meddling in our lives seems to grow. There is no need for the car to change other than organically. Air quality concerns are entirely unfounded and are nothing other than a scare story to generate more cash to feed the ever-growing state.

22 September 2017

Ah, I think you must be a visitor from Planet Brexit. Welcome to Earth. Please note that guided tours of many Eath hospital respiratory wards are available on request, as long as you don't disturb the hard-working staff with fatuous claims.

22 September 2017

​beechie - youre deluded, sure there is some exaggeration from some quarters about diesel emissions currently, but seriously, you do really think "air quality concerns are entirely unfounded" ? If governments had not bought in emissions regs 25 years ago you simply woudlnt be able to breathe now. Sure "the general concensus" maybe that "the calibre of politicians these days is . . . pretty low" - this doenst mean that the calibre IS pretty low, its just a reflection of the fact that the majority of the polulation dont know anything about politics, dont follow politics and dont care about them either. Most politicians are dedicated, hard working people, sure their solutions arent always good, but more people need to get of their *****, pay some attention to politics, engage and most importantly vote.

XXXX just went POP.

22 September 2017

Is air quality actually worse now? I can remember 40 odd years ago, buildings like Buckingham Palace or The Houses of Parliament were practically black with polution. I can remember, 25 years ago having to get off my bike while cycling up the hill from Wansdsworth to Clapham because the overpowering stench of petrol fumes on a hot day was giving me a thumping headache. I don't mean to belittle those that suffer from Asthma etc, but to my lungs and nose, the air today is cleaner than before in my lifetime. 

22 September 2017

As a former London cyclist, I understand where you're coming from. 30+ years ago, the pollution was much more overt - big, black soot particles and clouds of vehicle exhaust that did indeed leave you gasping at the side of St John's Hill. That has largely gone, but what's left are the actually more damaging PM1-PM2.5 particles that get deep into the lungs and stay there, with the smallest ones actually being able to pass into the bloodstream. Which isn't good. Similarly with gaseous emissions: it's the stuff you can't smell or see that get you.

22 September 2017

As a child of the 60s, I always found that the smog norf of the river was of a better sort than sarf of it. So breathing in St. John's Wood was better than in Wandsworth. it didn't get better till you got darn to Fornton Eaf.

22 September 2017

​Indeed and isnt it ironic, in the light of the current attitude towards diesel emissions, that the most efficient wood burning stoves produce 10 times more particulates than diesels ? More and more people are going back to wood and coal fires for heating, the very thing that caused appalling smog in London right up to the 1960s until they were banned, at which point the problem (almost) went away. Now a lot of the people banging on about how diesels are evil, go home to their trendy new stoves and fires cos "theres nothing like an open flame".

XXXX just went POP.

22 September 2017

Must have done. Anyway. F1 is boring because the risk (for the most part) has been health & safety'd out of it. There is little sense of impending doom for the drivers that take part.

For real thrills and spills you have to watch Moto GP or take a trip to the Goodwood Revival. Proper racing, and not an oversized flashy watch in sight.


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