National Motorsport Academy

Fact & Fiction: The Ringmaster of Formula 1

Go back through my blogs of a couple of years ago and I was telling you about a new author that was making waves with his writing on the subject of F1 fiction (some of it was a bit close to the truth. Ed). The chap is called Toby Vintcent and I think, as well as many, many others, that he has a superb style of writing and grasp on the machinations of Formula 1.

The Ringmaster

Coming back to the current, and to be honest, I missed the launch of the third book, The Ringmaster, at the back end of last year. Now that I have read it (in a matter of days because I could not put it down) I want to reiterate what I have said previously. This man has an uncanny knack of being able to thread a story together using contemporary and historical detail that could or might be so close to the truth it is scary!

Two years ago, I wrote “The topicality of its content; the feeling that this was written as F1 events unfolded or could have unfolded is something that gives such authenticity to its story that I almost believe it is true and should be in Autosport!” I stand by that comment even more now.


Motorsport Fiction:

I didn’t start this blog post to plug a book, I wanted to look at the changing Formula 1 rules, due in 2021 and, because Toby’s book is so topical, refer you to something he has written.

“Engines in Formula 1 cars were increased in size to 2 litres, and turbochargers were permitted. Acceleration and speed increased materially, as was their sound. Tyre regulations were overhauled. The leprous (good word! Ed.) compounds that smothered the track with marbles, creating huge risks for drivers ever leaving the racing line, were eliminated. DRS was scrapped. Permissible aero surfaces for downforce were more than halved. Without the over-reliance on aerodynamics, chasing cars were no longer destabilized by the dirty air from the car in front. They could be driven right in behind their target, bringing an end to the soul-sapping days of predictable Qualifying and predictable podiums”

That was fiction, but will the 2021 rules bring fiction into reality? Reading the release from the FIA does seem to indicate that thoughts are in this area (Does Toby Vintcent sit on the FIA panel? Ed.) So, is this prescient or could anyone with half an idea of the ills of F1 have come to the same conclusions?

Motorsport Fact:

The new regulations are due to be finalised and released in full later next month but Ross Brawn, Pat Symonds and Nicholas Tombazis, (the FIA’s Head of Single Seater Technical Matters) revealed the four core principles to

  1. More raceable cars
  2. More competitive grids
  3. Cars that make you go ‘Wow’
  4. A financially viable championship

2021 Formula 1 car

Tyres, aero and money are all in the mix so with Ross Brawn, who must be considered the ultimate authority on race car design, strategy and just about everything else racing (!), steering this process I am thinking that 2021 could see the dawn of a new era in Formula 1.

Vintcent’s fictional commentary hits the nail on the head. Whether he has the inside track or simply has an intuitive understanding of the sport and direction it needs to go in to keep fans happy and teams competitive, 2021 is going to be interesting.

Watch this space for a full comment on the new regulations once they are released at the end of October or watch Ross Brawn discuss the implications with Sky Sports here.

Side note:

Stop the presses! The Monza qualifying silliness where all the cars were tripping over each other in Q3 in their attempt NOT to be first on the road must be the low point of F1 in recent years. How can £1bn worth of teams allow their cars to miss the cut and look so stupid on the world stage? Thankfully Charles Leclerc saved them all the next day and hopefully this direst of spectacle will be forgotten in the euphoria of a new kid on the block.

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