Regulate this Mr Todt

July 2012

I nearly had a head-on collision with someone yesterday. This was caused because the Burk coming the other way was driving on the wrong side of the road on an almost blind corner. The reason he was doing this was because he wasn’t paying attention. The reason he wasn’t paying attention was because he was talking on his mobile phone. To be fair it probably wasn’t the act of talking that was the cause of his lack of attention; it was the fact that he was talking, holding a phone in his right hand, attempting to change gear with his left and simply ran out of appendages which meant he was incapable of turning the steering wheel properly.

I get really angry when I see people driving while using their phones. This is the sort of thing that never used to bother me. I used to do it myself. The only reason I stopped talking on my phone whilst driving was because a law was introduced whereby captain Fuzz had the right to pull you over and demand money off you at gunpoint so he could buy doughnuts for the rest of his shift.

Recently, a bunch off left-wing, nanny state morons demanded that even hands free kits should be banned because apparently talking whilst driving is dangerous. So based on that, I assume that listening to music and talking to your passengers will also soon be banned.

There are lots of things we’re not allowed to do whilst driving. Apparently eating and drinking isn’t allowed now because it is deemed dangerous. This is nonsense. I’ve successfully opened bottles whilst driving. I’ve even managed to unwrap those ridiculous packaged sandwiched you get from garages. The only dangerous thing about that was actually eating it. The problem is some people can’t do more than one thing at a time so the ones who are capable of driving and thinking at the same time are suffering as a result. The truth is that people who are incapable of doing anything else while they are driving probably shouldn’t be allowed on the road.

Basically, a lot of these rules are brought in to try and make things equal for everybody. Sometimes this doesn’t work because people are not equal and, as a result, sometimes people are disadvantaged because of them. A good example of this is in the championships I race in where there are regulations governing the minimum weight limits. Fundamentally this is a good rule because to not have a minimum weight in something where weight plays a huge factor in speed is almost a silly as Elton John’s hair.

The problem is I’ve always suffered with the weight regulations. Through no fault of my own I’m over 6ft tall. Also due to genetics I’m very slim. Possibly through my own doing I’m also very athletic. As a result, I am very light for my height. Basically in the birthday suit I weight barely 11 stone. In racing we are weighed with full kit; overalls, helmet and all the rib protectors and body armour I need to carry because I’m so skinny. There are two weight classes; heavyweight and lightweight. The heavyweights require drivers to be at least 80 kg with all their racing gear on. An additional 5 kilos of ballast is needed to make the minimum weight of 85 kilos. For the lightweight class, the minimum driver weight is 75 kilograms. When I am fully kitted up I weigh in at around 77-78kg which is right in the middle of both weight limits. It may not sound like much but it makes a huge difference. Lately I’ve found it harder to shift the weight. Partly because the British weather is so rubbish it’s been hard to get outside and do any decent exercise without drowning or freezing to death and partly because, since turning 30, my metabolism has given up.

Anyway, do I ever complain about being too fat? No. I always used to use it as motivation to lose weight and get down to the minimum weight limit. Now that I seem incapable of doing this and I’m aware that a 6 ft tall 31 year old who weighs less than 11 stone would probably be deemed malnourished, I will simply ballast myself up and move to the heavyweight class next year.

So this brings me neatly on to a bunch of whinging babies who always like to moan about regulations: Formula 1 drivers. For as long as I’ve been watching Formula 1, people have been complaining about how boring it is and how it is always dominated by the same few teams and drivers. For the first couple of years I watched it, Williams won 10 out of 16 races. For the next decade Schumacher won every race apart from when he was crashing into his rivals. More recently Vettel has been doing the same. Even before then, McLaren dominated. Before them it was Lotus. Alfa Romeo and Mercedes did it before then. Basically there have always been a small number of drivers and teams who have been at the forefront and one stage or another. For years, the famous “big four” were Williams, Ferrari, McLaren and Benetton. While these teams have changed somewhat over the years, the basic principle has remained the same; unless a driver has been in one of the top teams they won’t win.

The governing body and the fans have been rallying for a more level playing field for years. There have been several claims that seeing the same couple of drivers winning all the time is damaging the sport and fans will get bored and stop watching. In 2003, the points system was changed to stop Michael Schumacher from winning the championship so early in the season. Now we’ve finally got the level playing field. The FIA have had to take drastic measures by fitting the cars with fake overtaking devices and exploding tyres but the end result has worked. This year in particular has been brilliant with even useless monkeys like Pastor Maldonado being able to win. So are people happy? Well no. We now have drivers complaining that the unpredictability is damaging the sport and might cause fans to get bored and stop watching.

When Mark Webber first spouted this drivel I thought he was just bitter because he was one of the few drivers who hadn’t won a race by that stage. But then Fernando Alonso came out with the same nonsense. I was less surprised at this because Alonso is an annoying whiney little bitch. But then Jenson Button said something similar. I began to question whether there was something fundamental I was missing and perhaps these guys had a valid point that I couldn’t fathom but then Eddie Jordan said something similar and, since he is known for talking utter drivel, I knew that everything was alright with the world.