Home  /  December 2023  /  Comment

What an end to the 2023 F1 season.

In an absolute surprise, Max Verstappen, 26, clog, officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau and 2023 winner of the most (wins in a season, wins in a month, wins from pole, most wins not from pole, most magic words in the one radio call during a race, etc, etc) won the last race of the season by 18 seconds – or the equivalent in our world, three hours.

And what were the 2023 highlights of a sport worth $37bn a year, with 10 teams worth over $1.5bn each and the top drivers earning up to $5m a race?

Based on recent photos I think Hamo is talking about his hair.

And the joint was full of stars you’ve mainly never heard of.

Luckily, our very own Hemsworth bros were sitting in the front row (of seats). Soccer player, Ronaldo (pay slip shows $382m this year, less union fees) was looking, well how do I put this nicely without body shaming? a bit on the tubby side. Strange besties were Jason Statham (who has less hair than Hamo) and Yuki Tsunoda, 33, of Japan.

Jason clearly passed on what he learnt from the Fast and Furious franchise because Yuki was the best and most exciting driver of the day in a crook car. Yuki and our own bro’ Dan Ricciardo, drive for Alpha Tauri which is a clothing brand owned by Red Bull that only Jason Statham could get away with wearing – because no one would dare to say to him, you “look like a bit of a dick in that $600 T-shirt”.

Now don’t confuse Alpha Tauri (which is changing its name next year to reflect new sponsors) with Alfa Romeo which has pulled out of F1 because its cars had too many oil leaks and electrical problems and the team was only worth $1.2bn despite coming second last.

Talking of drifting – a sport invented by tyre companies whose products were lasting too long and so needed a sales boost – Qatari Abdullah Jawad Al Abdullah won the 2023 Qatar Drifting Championships, beating some heavy burners from Oman, Kuwait, Saudi … and Stepney.

Serious drifters will use about $5000 worth of tyres in a comp. No use writing in and asking was I at the F1 – the Bonhams auction where the beautiful black John Player special and the Wolf of Wall Street Lambo didn’t sell (the Lambo was in movie condition: ie. smashed and the US owner knocked back $2m for it) or the Qatar Drifting Championships.

Twenty readers, you have to be kidding. I was holed up in Ski Dubai in the Mall of the Emirates down there on Sheikh Zayed Rd, 138km from Abu Dhabi and 695km from Doha.

Look no lift lines, no people, plenty of hot bevvies from the Avalanche Cafe at the foot of the run and free Wi-Fi to watch the race and drift action on the cell phone.

While Bonhams were plagued by no sales, RM Sotheby’s had a lot more luck in Vegas. The Hamster’s 2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 stole the show, selling for $28m after a fierce bidding war, becoming the most valuable modern Formula One car ever sold.

The Ronaldo of NFL, a more svelte Tom Brady, sold his unwashed Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2023 game-worn and signed jersey for $2m, becoming the most valuable dirty football jersey sold at auction.

Good to have the team at Road & Track take my lead and announce the 2023 Chevy Corvette its 2023 Performance Car of the Year. “For its staggering track performance and engagement on the road, we anoint the 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 our champion.”

My favourite car that you can’t afford to buy or wait for here beat a Lambo, Porker and BMW M4 CSL and some other rubbish.

Talking of Porkers, one car Bonhams did sell in Yas Marina was one of two 1993 964 Carrera RSR Strassenversions in barn condition. It sold for $3.2m. Now given a Porsche 918 Spyder went for a million less and a McLaren P1 went for $500,000 cheaper you have to wonder who is really driving the karma bus out there in the desert.

Well Bob Ross at the Robb Report tells us that the car has only 10km on the clock and is “painted in Polar SilverMetallic and trimmed in Guards Red leather. This silver-and-red colour scheme was nothing new for the owner, who apparently ordered four 3.3 Turbo S lightweights in the same colour”.

This Porker hasn’t been driven in 30 years, so you’ll need the RACV to start it. Talking of old things – apart from me – reader 10, Allan Thomas, writes to tell the other 19 readers that Historical Society member Jennifer Buffier can no prove that worldwide, Speedway began in Maitland on December 15, 1923 – or 100 years ago this December.

Now Jen’s story is worth a read not so much for the speedway but because of the story of Kiwi Johnnie Hoskins, who got the sport up and running. It’s a yarn full of “strike me pinks” and “bonzas”. “And so, a tryout was held,” Jen writes.

“Ordinary touring machines – some of them with lamps on – were brought to the track. The riders merely rolled up their sleeves, spat on their hands and sallied forth with their ordinary dungaree outfits; there were no leather suits or crash helmets in those days.”

And no fusing textile technologies, purposeful design, aspirational styles and premium materials. This is not one for the pink Lambo set or the three-quarter soy latte with almond milk group; but it’s just a wonderful read.

Use your Google to find it. Definitely not on Foxtel or Kayo.



Support great journalism and subscribe 

Recent articles from this author

Article Search