By The Fat Hippo.
Written in association with Missed Apex Podcast. Listen in the player below the article and please don't forget to comment.
A Hippo's life in a Waterhole is generally boring. You spend your days getting even fatter while trying not to get eaten by lions or flipped over by a crazy elephant. So one needs a hobby, right? Granted, drinking beer is a nice hobby, but being hogwashly bladdered every night isn’t very healthy, says my doctor. Back in the day I used to watch Top Gear, this shining beacon of utter Britishness, but unfortunately it is now run by an irritating little ginger man who shouts louder than a hooligan at Old Trafford and an American who couldn’t be more wooden if his name was Pinocchio. Oh, and there’s a German with an atrocious accent too.
So, not much fun for the Hippo these days, or so you might think. But there’s always the internet. Just go to a motorsport forum and read the hilarious stuff that’s posted there. The latest thing is people crying out loud about the fact that Azerbaijan of all countries is about to host the European Grand Prix.
Complaint Number One: It isn’t a European country.
That can only come from people who wonder if that desert they invaded was spelt Iran or Iraq. There are several countries on this planet the territory of which is spread over two continents: Russia, Turkey, Georgia (that’s not the one in America, in case you wonder), Armenia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. They all have a smaller part of their landmass located in what is geographically Europe and a much bigger part in what is geographically Asia. And now the shocking bit: Despite the size difference, they are all European countries. They all compete in European championships, are part of the European council and so forth. So, a European country hosts the European Grand Prix. How shocking. Nobody seemed to be too concerned when the San Marino GP was hosted in Italy, the Luxembourg GP in Germany or when the Swiss GP was held in France.
Complaint Number Two: But that is one sinister country. They violate human rights.
Um, newsflash people, we are running in countries that invade other countries without a UN mandate. We are racing in countries that run, in violation of international law, a concentration camp in, let’s say Cuba, where people are detained and tortured without the chance of getting a fair trial. We are running in countries that very nearly elected a bona-fide Nazi for president (I’m looking at you, Austria). If you look closely enough, you will find enough dirt on each and every country that hosts a Grand Prix, so simply drop the politics or all races will have tobe staged in the Vatican, except that isn’t possible either because they are very mean to people who think that a man should be allowed to love another man.
The whole point of sporting competitions is that people compete with each other, at the end of it there is a winner, and the defeated are still alive. Politics have no place in it. Everybody with half a brain knows that he who pays Bernie enough money gets a race, simple as that. If you really want to bring politics into it, do it for every race, not just the ones you dislike.
Complaint Number Three: The track is so boring, so many ninety-degree corners.
Well, Einstein, it’s run in a city, where ninety-degree corners happen to exist quite frequently. Everybody who has seen the first on-board pictures released last week, and who is old enough to have watched F1 in the eighties and early nineties will immediately be reminded of Adelaide, and I can’t remember too many Australian GP’s of the olden days that were boring. It is a sort of reflex reaction to hate everything that has the name Hermann Tilke attached to it, but the fact of the matter is, this track is a properly good one.
The section between turns eight and eleven is just plain bonkers and it makes one heave a sigh of relief that Pastor Maldonado is no longer an F1 driver, whilesimultaneously being terrified that Jolyon Palmer and Daniil Kvyat still are. For years we’ve complained that all tracks are too sanitized. This one isn’t, and I like that a lot.
All in all, we should bin the politics talk, because that’s not F1’s job and in comparison to some of the places we run at – China, Russia, USA – Azerbaijan looks positively liberal and democratic anyway.
Cheers the Hippo
Please note that this article solely represents the author's opinion and not that of Missed Apex or any other living person for that matter.