Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

The Motorsport Saga: Breaking dawn // Happy new racing year

Published by Mr. C

It's fair to say Sidepodcast's 2017 finished a whole lot better than it started. For Formula 1 the opposite was arguably true. All the intrigue and promise of the opening races rapidly withered on the vine, culminating in what was by all accounts an unwatchable race. I won't pretend we even tried.

The saviours of F1, Liberty Media, failed to make any significant impression in their first year - although to be fair they did bring back the boat race in Canada which was commendable. Elsewhere the upstart Formula E series stole our hearts and all the manufacturers from other categories. Bringing motorsport to New York in July was a bold and brilliant move, pulling the same trick in Switzerland next summer may prove to be even more significant.

Motorsport heads into 2018 with some pretty colossal questions to answer. Clean and renewable energy is now the de facto power source of choice and with every passing day battery technology makes the petrol tank look hopelessly out of date, and perhaps just a little quaint. It surely won't be long before the combustion engine goes the way of steam power. Furthermore, the introduction of fully autonomous self-driving cars means the very concept of humans driving for any purpose at all comes into question. Where does motorsport sit in a world where people no longer need to learn to drive or own a vehicle of their own?

One concern this year was the abundance of gibberish emanating from those who derive income from F1. It ought to be a journalist's priority to provide honest and balanced coverage. Yet there were times when commentary became indistinguishable from pure fantasy or fan fiction. If it is a crap race, call it a crap race. Meanwhile the paid up apologists cry "if you didn't enjoy it you weren't watching properly." It is of course your fault if you didn't enjoy the race, you weren't trying hard enough to like it. Thankfully, we have the luxury of telling it like it is. F1 was crap in 2017 and it needs to do better.

One beacon of hope this year came in the shape of e-sports with both Formula E and Formula 1 promoting their own e-racing events. Motorsport is suffering from an ageing problem. Existing fans are old and youngsters aren't discovering racing in large enough quantities to grow the sport. For the first time in a long time, e-sports provide a means for the younger generation not only to gain exposure to racing, but also to partake in what would otherwise be an inaccessible past-time. No-one should have to risk their life for our entertainment and because virtual racing is completely safe, competitors don't even need a silly halo.

Despite a lack of on or off track excitement, we did very much enjoy the past 12 months. Christine started not one but two new podcasts. Our interest in other motorsport has expanded wildly, thanks in no small part to the antics of a frustrated Alonso. Huge thanks go to Adam for his tireless work on the Class of the Field column, his enthusiasm continues to inspire us. Cheers to Pat and Lukeh for taking time out to explain Indycar and to Superlicense F1 for having us as guests on their show. Lastly, a massive shout out to everyone who sent us a voicemail or contact message.

We don't have anything exciting planned for our 12th year, nothing to announce at this time, no teasers or promises to keep people tuned in. We are just open to see what, if any, racing inspires us.

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