Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Myths About Formula One Savagely Torn to Shreds

Benedict Francis_Kentigern, or BFK as he's know in these parts, is the PMC's occasional motoring correspondent. Here he sets fire to a few myths surrounding the interesting world of Formula One, raking over the charred ashes afterwards, if he remembers...

Myth No.1: "Formula One is dangerous".
BFK writes: This is one of the longest running myths of all. It was dangerous in the past as my previous post explained, but modern day F1 is as safe as a Swedish wendy house. You've more chance of dying than of being in an accident in an F1 race, even if you're a driver.

Myth No.2 "Children are not permitted in the Formula One Clubhouse"
BFK: another misconception. Children and dogs are always welcome in the clubhouse. They just aren't allowed to sit at the bar, that's all.

Myth No. 3 "Formula One is dull".
BFK: this is one of the commonest preconceptions about F1. Nothing could be nearer an abject lie. There have been several exciting races down the years. The last one, in 1982, saw one driver finishing ahead of another, and then only just, and that after a tense moment since for a while there it looked like the other guy was going to win.

Myth No.4  "Formula One works year round, 24/7"
BFK: Would that it were, but even those supermen need a holiday sometimes. In fact, half closing day for F1 is Tuesday afternoons. In Formula 2 the half closing day is a Wednesday, something that arose during the East-West schism and the council of Nicene.

Myth No. 5 "The F1 supremo has always been Bernie Ecclestone"
BFK: Whilst Bernie has been 'the guvnor' for a good long while now, and nothing happens without his say so, there was a time when Bernie wasn't head of F1. The post was previously occupied by a bloke called Dave.

Myth No. 6 "Formula One cars automatically run anti-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern".
BFK: Not so; this is a commonly-held falsehood based on water flowing down a plughole. In fact the designers of courses have slightly more initiative the flowing water and on some course cars run clockwise, others anti-clockwise, and 80s driver Andrea de Cesaris wherever he god dammed pleased.

Myth No. 7 "Formula One cars are fast"
BFK: An optial illusion I'm afraid. Although they appear to be going very fast indeed, since the footage is speeded up, average speed is about an adult male's walking pace at a slightly hurried gait.

Myth No 8 "Your Granny could drive an F1 car these days".
BFK: Not so. Your Granny could NOT drive a formula one car, because she doesn't have a superlicence. She also doesn't know how to work the gears, and would probably reverse into some armco whilst parking.

Myth No 9 "All the formulae are numbered sequentially, 1, 2 etc all the way up to 5000"
BFK: It seems logical, but in fact the various formulae are based on prime numbers (remember, that's a number which cannot be multiplied, ever, and doesn't contain a zero or a 7 in it). Thus, it runs Formula 1, Formula 2, Formula 3, 5, 7, 11 .... and so on.

Myth No 10: "The chequered flag waved to show the finish of a race is sometimes utilised by bored officials and mechanics to play chess or, more plausibly, draughts"
BFK: Stop this, it's silly...

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