Well I was just preparing to write a completely brilliant post titled “Twas The Night Before Racing” as an analogy to a “Christmas” eve for open wheel fans the world over as the F1 and IndyCar seasons were scheduled to begin tomorrow and we are all like children anxiously awaiting our “gifts” being opened in the morning.
It’s 630am in the states so I was up early, drinking lots of coffee, and waking up my brain cells to craft a completely brilliant and witty few paragraphs about the anticipation and excitement of the coming racing season. But then bigger things intervened……
Already in Melbourne, where the circuit, teams, and fans are all set up and ready to begin practice, the McLaren F1 team dropped a bombshell and pulled out of competition for the event. Turns out one of their team members has tested positive for this damn “coronavirus” or Covid-19 and, out of caution and safety for all involved, management has decided to pull their entire team from the event. At the moment I’m writing this it is anticipated that the entire event will be cancelled, but we await word from Formula 1.
Also I’m just getting word that organizers of the IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Petersburg are meeting with city officials about the status of running the race there this weekend.
So obviously what I want to convey here has changed. This could be a rambling post as I am writing it quickly and on the fly, but I hopefully my points are somewhat cogent.
Now there will certainly be lots of second-guessing and hand wringing about whether the races should have been cancelled earlier, but the fact is that for the safety of all concerned the decision had to made now.
First and foremost, I think we can all agree that the public safety is more important than anything else. This virus is serious, especially for people who are a bit older or in ill health. Nobody wants to see any one sick or gravely ill due to this nasty little bug.
If you are inclined to criticize the decisions currently being pondered by Formula 1, the FIA, teams, management, race organizers, or fans, please just refrain. These are very complex and difficult decisions to be made in the middle of a quickly evolving public health crisis. Having a social media account does not make us “experts” about the situation, or the reaction to it.
How about we just say a prayer for the safety of all involved, a rapid end to the chaos this issue has caused around the world, and the health and well-being of all involved. Criticisms and judgements serve no purpose at this point other than spreading negativity and are helpful to no one.
While we are all very passionate about our love of motorsports, this issue is much bigger.
OK I have said my piece on the naysayers and trolls.
As I write at this moment it appears that the Australian Grand Prix will not take place this weekend while the IndyCar Grand Prix at St. Petersburg is still slated to go on as scheduled. For motorsports fans many events and schedules may be in chaos for a while, but the state of racing in general is still strong.
For fans here in the United States things are on the upswing.
Formula 1 is gaining popularity with increased TV ratings and serious talk of a second GP coming on the schedule.
IndyCar is seeing a huge resurgence with the purchase of the series and the Indy 500 by Mr. Roger Penske, as well as lots of great racing, new teams, new drivers, maybe a new engine manufacturer coming into the series and increased TV coverage and ratings. Not to mention a new emphasis on the fan experience, more corporate exposure (which leads to more dollars flowing in), and cool new improvements to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
NASCAR has made great strides in improving their on-track racing product, have an all-new and racier car coming on line in 2021, and the tracks have been making huge investments in upgrades for the fan experience.
MotoGP and Supercross are as exciting as ever too!
So take heart race fans. In this time of uncertainty and chaos in our world, many things will be a bit different for a while, including the sport we are so passionate about.
For now please just take precautions, stay safe, and be patient and positive. All will be well, and we will all be back enjoying the greatest sport in the world very soon.
As always I encourage you to interact and comment! Leave your comments in the section below and let’s talk racing!