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Home  /  December 2021  /  Comment

A couple of days ago Chuck Windsor hit Hamo, who had his left knee resting awkwardly on the knighting stool, on the left and right shoulder with a big knighting sword and said (well something like):

“Up you get Hamo, despite being dudded by the FIA, Betty, Camilla Shand, Bill, Meg, Ed and even Henry and me think you should be world champion rather than that nasty Dutch boy, so we are making you a knight and all those rough lads and lassies on your pit crew have to genuflect when they see you and call you Sir Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton MBE HonFREng.

“Naturally, without looking like an apologist for the News Corp multimedia empire, this does entitle you to a free nude portrait, courtesy of The Weekend Australian motoring in the business section by our official artiste in the colonies, Michael McMichael at his Stepney Rd atelier and BMW service centre.”

Let’s be clear. Last weekend’s final and deciding race of the F1 season was a disgrace. Trying to justify a complete lack of professionalism and the continuing favouring of Mad Max Verstappen as just “a race” only demonstrates how far the sport’s administrators, who are headquartered in the historic Hotel de Crillon, 8 Place de la Concorde, Paris, are removed from the 1.8 billion punters who watch the races and the $10bn industry that F1 is.

Just to recap: Hamo had basically led the race into lap 53 and was 11 seconds or a lifetime in front when Nick Latifi found the wall in his Williams. That meant a safety car came out and that’s when everything went merde. Bottom line is, no one knew what was going on.

Race director Michael Masi first stopped lapped cars from passing the safety car, but then changed his mind. So, with one lap to go, that decision gave Mad Max (on new tyres) a clear track to take on Sir Hamo (on very old tyres).

Can I leave it to 11-year F1 veteran Johnny Herbert (and Times correspondent) to take it from here: “The FIA got it wrong and Lewis Hamilton was robbed of winning his eighth world championship title.”

Tell us what you really think, Johnny.

“In the past, when the safety car is going to come in, all the lapped cars have been allowed to pass, not just a couple. But it was wrong and unfair because Lewis did absolutely nothing wrong.”

Well did Masi pick the world champion? “Yes, because he made the race ‘not a race’. He effectively changed the rules or didn’t follow through on the rules he started.” Was Hamilton robbed of the championship? “Yes. He was robbed of it.”

After a very large outcry, FIA emperor Johnny Todt issued a ­decree from his winter palace at 8 Place de la Concorde saying: “Following the presentation of a report regarding the sequence of events that took place following the incident on lap 53 of the grand prix and in a constant drive for improvement, the FIA president proposed to the World Motor Sport Council that a detailed analysis and clarification exercise for the future with all relevant parties will now take place.”

Eighteen readers, one family member, one friend we all know this trick! Yup it’s the old one we used when I was in the union. Got a problem? There’s two responses: the mirror and the vomit. The mirror is: “we’ll look into it” (call an “independent” inquiry, review, etc). The vomit is: “I’ll bring it up with the union secretary” (or the minister, or the chairman, etc). So Johnny Todt and the lads (no lassies or others) will look into it and have “a clarification exercise”.

Toto Wolf and the gang at Mercedes should take the FIA to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Now despite the fawnees of the FIA complaining that this is the first step down a slippery path of making F1 less sporty, the court is a serious place where sports on the scale of F1 and serious athletes take blues. In fact, there is a whole section of the bar (law, not warm beer) in London that specialises in the Court of Arbitration for Sport issues.

In fact, it’s where Australian swimmer Shayna Jack got to get back in the water after the court dismissed an appeal lodged by the World Anti-Doping Agency and Sport Integrity Australia.

Talking of having a look at things: what about Tesla’s market cap. The other day it was over a trillion dollars. That’s more than the Sultan and I make a week! You laugh but it’s true.

As The Drive’s Rob Stumpf says: “Tesla is worth more than its next nine largest competitors combined (and there are some 50 car manufacturers globally.) It only feels crazy compared to Tesla, especially since Tesla makes most of its money from selling carbon credits, not cars.”

Talking of weird things: last week Bonhams sold Henry Wink­ler’s (The Fonz from the tautologically named TV show Happy Days, which if you are sandwich short of a picnic you can watch on our very own Foxtel or Binge) 1949 Triumph Trophy Custom motorcycle for $324k.

This was a world record for the brand and put it in the top 100 widow/widower maker sales of all time, but well behind the $1.3m an Aussie patriot paid to bring the land speed record-breaking 1951 Vincent 998cc Black Lightning back here.

Look, I don’t really give a toss about motorbikes even though some of my temporary colleagues here hop on, but this one’s important because Bud Ekins built three of them for the show. The other two have gone to bike hell, hence the price.

Please don’t tell me you don’t know Bud Ekins. Think the Steve McQueen jump over the barbed wire at a Bavarian prisoner of war camp.

That was really Bud on the Triumph TR6 Trophy hitting 130km/h in the run-up to clear the 3.7m barbed-wire fence onto an inclined landing area 19m away. Bud was one of the greatest stunt men of all time, a serious racer and Triumph dealer.

And in bad news I will be here next Saturday with our bumper Christmas edition (because everyone else is taking the day off).

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