Practice English Speaking&Listening with: This Year in F1 2020 – A Season Review

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A very special year lies ahead. 2020 dawns - ripe with possibility. The final

year of the old set of rules before F1 ushers in a sweeping set of changes set to shake

up the norms, banish Mercedes to the back of the grid and make overtaking so common

itll tank the price of overtaking on the stock market and cause another recession.

Eighteen inch wheels, revised aerodynamics, strict budget gaps. Transformation is coming.

With that, 2020 was set to be one last hurrah for the norms as Hamilton set a quest for

a record equalling seventh world title and 91 grands prix wins. But his was not the only

story worth anticipating. Out from the shadows, the much missed Esteban

Ocon returns from a years absence, while Nicolas Latifi rises as the only new driver

from the junior formula to join the ranks of the worlds elite. And with great sadness,

the paddock said its goodbyes to Nico Hulkenberg who walked away from the sport, likely never

to return. A gob smacking 22 races stretched ahead of

us: A shiny new street track waiting in Hanoi,

Vietnam The Dutch classic, Zandvoort being given an

aggressive makeover - now boasting some extreme banking for us to look forward to. Oooh it

was going to be good. Much like seagulls to a hotdog, we expected

Mercedes to swoop in and steal this years title, gobbling it down their greedy throats

and soaring off into the sky. But perhaps just perhaps it wouldnt be that

easy. Ferrari - for the last two years they had

looked ready to take the fight to Mercedes only to trip over their own hooves when it

really mattered. But perhaps 2020 would be the year the Horse could outsprint the Arrows.

Their partner teams - Alfa Romeo and Haas certainly hoped so. Their technical development

is woven tightly into Ferraris gains so if the Scuderia unravelled, all three scarves

could go to pieces. Perhaps Red Bull would be in touching distance

of the title fight this year? For the past couple of years they were there or there abouts

so if they got more than just a foot in the door and, like maybe a hand or an elbow too

thats a title in the bag, right? And the midfield. So tight and feisty last

year. Would McLaren, Renault and Racing Point continue to fight for the middle in exactly

the way a human centipede doesnt? It was looking likely.

Meanwhile Williams, after suffering the indignity of their worst year in the sport ever, were

hoping to begin their renaissance. Unlike the real Renaissance, Williams dont have

to depend on Italy getting strong and organised unlike some other teams.

With the season looming, the great unanswered questions lay ahead.

Would Mercedes still dominate or would they get a Brazilian wax - by which I mean have

the rug pulled out from under them Would the prancing horse stop prancing and

start galloping? And if so would Sebastian Vettel get his hands back on the reins or

would it be Charles Leclerc with his boots in the... stirrups? I dont know much about

horses. [hard cut to] Who would be best of the rest? Racing Point?

McLaren? Maybe even Renault? Would Red Bull continue to suffer its many uncontrollable

children, like the beginning of Kindergarten Cop, or would it get them all working in harmony,

like the end of Kindergarten Cop? Would twenty two races prove too many? Would

we the audience and they, the teams become overly fatigued by race after race from March

to December? Could we actually get too much F1? We were about to find out.

As is tradition, F1 headed to Barcelona in February for two weeks of winter testing to,

via intense data gathering, both prepare their cars for the season ahead and to ensure the

Spanish Grand Prix is uniquely dull. In recent years, Mercedes had kept some pace

in their pocket but now quite comfortably led the way in both lap times and laps lapped,

though the number of times the times lapped in laps lapped fell into the lap of lap time

leaders Mercedes was fewer than the laps timed and the lap times lapped in previous years.

We were left to wonder if Merc finally had a weak spot - a thermal exhaust port into

which rival teams could fire their photon torpedoes, if you will. Which I wont.

Looking sharp and squaring up as potential contenders were Red Bull. Instead of making

petty squabbles with the people that actually make their wheels turn or swapping young drivers

around like pieces from separate jigsaws, it looked like that might have been putting

their energy into making the car go fast. They did manage to produce lap after lap of

decent running, eventually showing a speed that was arguably comparable to the Mercedeseseseseses

[turn into dance remix] Could it be that Hondas disastrous first

few years back in the sport was squarely in the hands of incompetent mismanagement by

McLaren? We may never know.

And while McLaren still looked hot, it was the Racing Point turning heads on track. It

looked solid, speedy and reliable a real jump forward from a tricky rebirth across

the previous 18 months. What really got paddock chins wagging though

was just how similar the Pink Panthers looked to last years Silver Arrows.

Clearly the team soon to become Aston Martin had decided to shortcut their way

to success by copying the most successful package of the field. And why not? In F1,

thats a tale as old as time its not like they were actually using Mercedes

blueprints, right? But what did their rivals make of it? Well,

rumour has it if you pressed your ear to the Renault motorhome at a particular time of

day you could hear the haunting sounds of angry french moaning. Was it a ghost? The

wind? We may never know.

Ferrari though the team with so much success in its history and so much silverware in its

cabinets looked lost at sea. Were the team sandbagging? Conserving engine

wear? Or had their mysterious power unit investigation

by the FIA resulted in Ferrari having to cut back illegal gains in power made over the

last couple of seasons? We may literally never know.

But enough of what we dont know. The season was about to begin and all our questions were

about to be given answers. But as we headed to Australia, there was something.

Something concerning. Was it something Id seen on the news?

think think think... Oh! A new virus has been discovered that has

pandemic potential according to Chinese Scientists. The virus has yet to jump to humans but health

authorities are concerned that covid distraction could leave us vulnerable

So I think it is a very serious outbreak and it already has spread beyond China in

small numbers To the question of whether or not this

is controllable, the honest answer is: we dont know.

The novel virus, eventually named COVID 19 for COrona VIrus Disease 2019 spread across

China through January with the first death reported in week one of the year and, by the

end of the month, 7700 people were infected and 170 were dead.

As we entered February, cases were being confirmed in dozens of countries across East Asia, the

Middle East, Russia, Europe and America. China had started locking cities down and,

as cases reached 40,000 and deaths 1000 they arranged for their grand prix to be postponed.

Originally set for the 19th April, China now hoped its grand prix could be slotted in later

in the year but with a packed 22 race calendar, many were sceptical there would be room for

a race to be squeezed in later on. Mm hmm. Nevertheless, for now, the brand new Dutch

Grand Prix at a super beefed up Zandvoort circuit would take the 4th slot after Australia,

Bahrain and Vietnam. But as March rolled in...

Fears are growing that it wont be possible to stop the global spread of coronavirus

Covid 19 is beginning to disrupt lives around the world

The World Health Organisation says the risk of the virus expanding worldwide is now

classified as very high And just one week before the season was set

to get going, Bahrain dropped the bombshell that it was going to run the race without

any spectators. A closed door grand prix! It was a weird and unthinkable proposition.

Do you remember how it was a weird, unthinkable idea?

Things were starting to look troublesome for international sport - and F1 was no exception.

Nonetheless, as we prepared to head for the season opener in Australia, Andrew Westacott,

the Head of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation said there was not a chance the race

would be run without its 100,000 spectators. And you know what? He would be proved right.

Well major sporting events which draw huge crowds could be cancelled if Australia sufferers

a major coronavirus outbreak The F1 circus arrived for the first race of

the season in Australia, the country that had the GALL to take down the worlds dad,

Tom Hanks. And there were concerns. Some, like Hamilton, were furious at the organisers

for letting the race go ahead. Others like Vettel trusted the FIAs guidance.

But from there everything unravelled and it did so in an embarrassingly messy and public

way, in real time, on a live stage. At 8 pm, local time, Melbourne on the 12th

of March - the night before the first free practice session of the season - McLaren withdrew

from the grand prix after a team member was confirmed to be infected.

SURELY this would be the beginning of the end of the event. And we waited and waited

for news from F1, from the FIA or from the teams that the grand prix would be cancelled.

But nothing came, but for a tweet from F1 confirming they were coordinating next

steps. It became something of a car crash, with speculation

catching and spreading like a bushfire or well, coronavirus.

As evening fell in Europe and dawn approached in Australia, there was nothing but rumour

to feast on. The latest gossip spoke of teams voting on whether to go ahead and hitting

a dead stalemate. Classic Formula 1. Was it safe to go racing? Would fans be allowed

in? Were the drivers happy to go ahead?

And as F1 and the race organisers dithered and refused to confirm what the hell was going

on: News overnight that Formula 1 team McLaren

had pulled out of the race didnt deter thousands of fans arriving at Albert Park

this morning. Some queued for hours before the first signs of trouble.

If F1 was thinking at all of the safety of the local fans well that went completely

out the window, didnt it? And then, at 8am on the morning of FP1:

After much confusion, the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Melbourne has been officially cancelled

You could have told this f***ing earlier It was probably a result we all knew was coming

from miles off but the organisers decided to argue and fuss behind the scenes. Keeping

vital personnel in the dark for hours was an embarrassing shameful mess.

And with the collapse of the Australian Grand Prix, every race was now looking precarious.

How many races would be left? What would this season look like? Would we even have a season?

One day later, Bahrain and Vietnam were postponed and the season opener moved to the Netherlands.

At this point over 75 races had been cancelled or postponed around the world.

By the end of the weekend Ross Brawn was looking markedly pessimistic, claiming it would be

optimistic to get even a 17 race calendar together and was even starting to talk about

races going ahead with just 12 cars if necessary. Things were moving faster than Christian Horner

on his way to the stewards to complain about Mercedes.

By the end of the week, the grands prix of Netherlands, Spain and Monaco were all postponed

or cancelled with the season opener now moving to Azerbaijan in June.

In one week, three months of the season had been wiped off the calendar. And we had no

idea when wed be able to get going.

So what on earth were we going to do with ourselves now?

As the Australian Grand Prix turned to dust, Esport company Veloce started pulling together

Not the Australian GP in its place an online running of the Melbourne race with

a mix of real racing drivers and seasoned sim racers.

It was a popular event that was much more about gathering the community together in

a time of disappointment than actually replacing the real race.

A week later, F1 jumped on the bandwagon, launching its own Virtual GP series,

inviting all its drivers into the official game to play live and online.

Sim racing quickly became a bit of a thing as real motor racing went back in the box

for the foreseeable future. F1, Indycar, NASCAR, Australian Supercars

and Formula E were among those getting their pixels on and taking the competition online.

But while most series managed to corral the majority, if not all, of their actual athletes

into the gaming world, the Official Virtual Grand Prix series struggled to convince even

a handful of their own to show up, despite every driver being invited.

Instead, among junior drivers and racers from other series, we had personality from other

sports, stars from the internet and gaming, singers like Liam Payne (who luckily had learned

to go in more than One Direction) as well as a clown

It seemed most F1 drivers either didnt deem esports that serious or thought the Official

F1 Game wasnt serious enough for them to bother with.

Some of the younger drivers took their duty of entertainment to the fans seriously.

Lando Norris, for one, like a man fresh onto the poly scene

got involved in anything and everything including Race for the World, Veloce Pro Series, Australian

Supercars and Indycar - a series in which he won a race.

The only series he barely competed in was the official Virtual GP itself, constantly

left unable to connect as sessions went live and ultimately phoning up his own boss to

complain about the game live on air. So was this all real racing or not? Were F1

drivers right to dismiss it? Its hard to say.

It was entertaining but the official F1 game wasnt really built to be a full esports

sim and the audience and participants had to accept a little bit of chaos and bluster.

In fact, the most respectful motor racing all year had come in marble form.

Not knowing whether the racing was meant to be taken completely seriously or was just

for a laugh led to some nightmares in the uncertainty.

A disgruntled Simon Pagenaud laughed about punting Landa Norris out of the Indy iRace

lead, leaving Norris annoyed having spent a long time practising for the event. Kyle

Larson casually dropped the N Word on stream, getting himself suspended by his sponsors,

his team and the entire NASCAR series. Most controversial of all though, Daniel Abt

played a prank in the FE esports series by secretly swapping a sim racer in his place,

promptly getting himself fired by his real life racing team, Audi.

It was PC gone mad! So it was a chaotic Spring of sports gaming.

It was silly but entertaining. But in the end, though it scratched and scratched as

hard as it could, the itch for a return to the race track remained strong.

Luckily, F1 had not been sitting on its hands F1 gained the power it seems

To change the calendar without the teams Approving all their circuit hacks

To get the season back on track. The teams proved endless innovators

By making piles of ventilators To top up hospitals supply

Which, from the nightmare had run dry Dyou hear that Helmut Marko floated

The idea to give his drivers covid? So remember this, I must implore

Hes a doctor, yes, but just of law Emergency rules were put in gear

The new regs were pushed back a year And every car throughout the field

Had their car designs all sealed The calendar collapse advanced

With Baku, Singapore and France Japan, America removed

Wed need some new circuits approvedSo Austria and Britain agreed

Theyd double up - but not for greed. The season really needed places

To hold a minimum of racesWith the first eight races locked in stone

We looked beyond for where to roam And found hope in venues old and new

Like Turkey and Mugello tooKnow Imola and Nurburgring?

They came back too and also bring A brand new track in Portimao

Which raised much more than just eyebrows. And Bahrain too did double duty,

Though just to keep things extra fruity Chose to use its outer leg

Which some thought looked like an egg? It had been a been a horrid time

Hardly the subject of a rhyme With layoffs right across the board

And Liberty seeing its losses soar But with safety systems now in place

The sport at last was down to race 2020 where've you been?

Doesnt matter. Lets begin.

The opening triple-header was so packed with action and intrigue, strategy and suspense,

controversy and chaos that I challenge you to recall as many of the following happenings

from the first fortnight of the season: Bottas locking down pole in Austria on pure

pace despite spinning into the gravel in Q3 Hamilton getting the all clear from the stewards

for ignoring yellow flags in qualifying The stewards deciding to actually look at

the video footage at the very last minute and dropping Hamilton to 5th on the grid with

30 minutes til lights out. Lando Norris starting from third on the grid

Verstappen looking best placed to steal the lead on his medium tyres only to retire on

lap 11. Both Haases retiring. From race one. Again!

Vettel, turning an over eager attack into his signature pirouette!

Kimis wheel popping right off during a Safety Car restart

The Safety Car being redeployed after just one corner of green flag running

Oh come on! Were staying, were going, were staying, were going make up

your mind! Albon making a blindingly fast charge for

a likely win in the late stages Hamilton punting Albon off track and out of

a podium position for the second time in three races

The Mercedes cars having such fragile gearbox electronics that they had drive the final

phase of the race as if trying not to wake the baby

Hamilton getting a 5 second penalty for bashing Albon

Lando Norris driving the wheels off his McLaren to wind in fastest laps and steal a podium

from Hamilton by two tenths as he crossed the line.

Saturday in Styria being a complete washout, with FP3 cancelled and Qualifying delayed

by nearly an hour Hamilton grabbing pole by over a second in

horrendous weather The Ferraris crashing into each other and

out of the race, making it one-all for the drivers in red ploughing clumsily into turn

3. The Maccas, Racey Ps and Rennieboys entangled

in an extended threeway through the race for points.

A cuddly toy! Norris playing his Final Lap Fury ability

card once again to go from 8th at the start of the last lap to 5th by the final corner.

Verstappen and Bottas going on a two lap, wheel to wheel, side by side, crissing crossing

battle, only for Bottas to steal second from Verstappen.

Racing Point stealing the entire second row of the grid in Hungary

A wet track on Sunday causing Verstappen to crash on his way to the grid breaking his

suspension Red Bull fixing his suspension less than a

minute before they had to be off the grid. Haas spotting a canny advantage in a drying

track, pitting on the formation lap for dries and gaining loads of places in the races.

Haas subsequently getting penalised for illegally communicating strategy on the formation lap

and having their points SLASHED in half Verstappen storming to second place in the

race, this time managing to withhold a Bottass late challenge.

Bottas being cleared of jumping the start by the FIA whose sensors said it was absolutely

fine Bottas not being cleared of jumping the start

by everyone else whose eyeballs said it was clearly not fine

And Thats Remembering! Join us next time when well try and remember anything

that happened in the Spanish Grand Prix! After the opening triple header of a hectic

season, things had settled into business as usual with Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen

forming the creamy white of the Guinness and literally everyone else caught in the stormy

black below. We were frankly thrilled to have F1 back again

and the circus was pulling off a miracle with masks, bubbles and sometimes even robots to

keep thousands of people safe and running, with only two infections reported. And none

that affected the paddock. Until

On the Thursday before the first of back to back British races, Sergio Perez was denied

access to the circuit after an inconclusive COVID test. Later that day, he was confirmed

positive and was out for the weekend. You have to feel sympathy. Perez travelled

back to Mexico to visit his mother who had suffered an injury. Despite following the

FIAs guidance, he became another vector in the global pandemic.

The question then became who would pilot his car in his place. Surely Racing Point had

a reserve driver on standby as any top tier team would, particularly in the midst of such

viral risk where any driver could be taken out of action at any time?

Well it turns out no. It turns out, everything was an embarrassing mess.

Looking across the whole paddocks reserve drive plan revealed a really wobbly structure

ready to collapse with the slightest breeze. Williams had Aitken as their reserve driver,

though his promotion would cascade into the support formulae. Haas had Louis Delatraz

and Pietro Fittipaldi on call should them need them.

Now Red Bull and Alpha Tauri had Sette Camara and Buemi on their books, though Buemi was

unlikely to get the call and Sette Camara was focussed in Japan for the Super Formula

series so hardly the easiest guy to whip into action what with international restrictions.

Alpha Tauri would likely have to find someone from somewhere either way as Red Bull would

just steal one of the junior teams drivers if Verstappen or Albon were sidelined.

Ferraris official third was Gio, meaning Alfa Romeo were doubly at risk from Covid

as - like Alpha Tauri - their drivers would be poached by the senior team at a pinch.

Though Alfa also had Kubica as a steady reserve and could also call on Ericsson.

Mercedes, McLaren and Racing Point all shared reserves in Vandoorne and Gutierrez but Vandoorne

was in the middle of the Formula E finale in Berlin and Guttierrez had no active super

license. So thats three teams with no available reserves. In a pandemic. Brilliant.

Drivers with active super licences included Hartley, Button, DiResta, Palmer, Wehrlein,

Sirotkin and Alonso. But Racing Point chose none of these.

No, all eyes were on the Lonely Man. The Driver dropped by Renault. Wandering the earth without

a seat. Finally called upon by the team he once laughed at. Everything forgotten.

Nico Hulkenberg was rushed into action at the last minute, scraping through the official

approval process with just fifteen minutes to spare before FP1. In a very competitive

car, could he get that elusive podium at last? No. His car had an engine failure in the garage

before he could even drive to the grid. But Hulk got to stick around for the second

weekend of Silverstone and got himself third on the grid. Thats like a podium. A saturday

podium. Unfortunately a late emergency pitstop dropped

him from 5th to seventh in the race. But still. Solid points for the team under trying circumstances.

But what could have caused such a late stop on a blisteringly hot track at a circuit with

incredibly high lateral forces and loads?c Yes, Silverstone munched the rubber again.

Who could have seen it coming? At the British Grand Prix it destroyed the tyres of Kvyat,

Sainz, Bottas and Hamilton - with Lewis once again getting the look of Lady Luck and scraping

a win, with less than a lap of loosey leftie to live with.

At the Anniversary Grand Prix, Pirelli brought even softer tyres and the Mercedes struggled

to keep them in shape, handing a win to Max Verstappen with superior pace and a canny

strategy - he started the race on hards! But Hulkenbergs brief resurrection wasnt

the only reason that all attention was on Racing Point in Britain.

Remember when I told you the Racing Point looked surprisingly similar to last years

Mercedes and that it probably wasnt a big deal?

Well it turns out, to some people it WAS a big deal and hear to tell you about it is

my rip off Canadian correspondent: Rope Otter Merci, Chain Bear.

Aprs la styrie, il tait clair que Racing Point tait plus rapide qu'un orignal

la recherche de sirop. Compte tenu de la difficult de leur 2019,

la petite quipe avec une nouvelle injection de dollars canadiens avait fait l'un des plus

grands sauts entre les saisons. Quebec-whaaaaat was going on?

Avant que leurs sacs autrichiens soient emballs, Renault avait officiellement dpos une

plainte contre les Pink Panthers, citant cinq points de la rglementation sportive et se

concentrant sur les conduits de frein. Pour la FIA, c'tait une affaire rouverte

car ils avaient dj inspect le Racing Point de leur usine la recherche de signes

de jeu dloyal. Alors, ils avaient donn la voiture le

ok '' en hiver, mais maintenant Nikolas Tombazis, lhomme du monoplace, a dclar

qu'ils s'taient principalement concentrs sur le reste de la voiture, pas sur les conduits

de frein, heureusement ou malheureusement '' ?

La protestation portaient sur plus que juste Racing Point faisant potentiellement quelque

chose de sneaky. La nature mme de la "copie lgale" faisait l'objet d'un procs et pourrait

crer un prcdent pour les annes venir.

Racing Point a expliqu que leur nouveau cash-flow leur avait permis de devenir ce

quils appelaient des suiveurs rapides, un peu comme les pilotes Audi sur une route

voie unique. Mais ce n'tait pas seulement peindre quelque

chose de rose et l'appeler un jour. Ce sont pas des campagnes de sensibilisation au cancer

du sein. Beaucoup de travail a t fait pour que ces voitures livrent rellement.

Otmar Szafnauer a fait valoir qu'il fallait beaucoup d'habilet et d'ingniosit pour

copier une voiture. Il n'est pas sorti rapidement comme par magie!

Leur premire tentative de fabriquer leur propre Mercedes W10 tait un norme pas

en arrire - la taille de plusieurs secondes ... un peu comme ma premire tentative de

copie de Chain Bear Nous avons donc attendu les Grands Prix de

Hongrie et d'Angleterre, Renault continuant protester et placer des points d'interrogation

sur chaque rsultat Jusqu' ce que - le vendredi de la course

du 70e anniversaire - la FIA revienne avec une rponse

Oh l l - et devinez quoi? Racing Point avait enfreint les rgles et utilis des

conduits de frein qui n'taient pas de leur propre conception.

La FIA leur a inflig une amende de 400 000 euros et leur a retir leurs points

Du Grand Prix de Styrie La baisse des points a fait Racing Point et

Renault...er ont fait une swippety-swap! Trs appropri!

Et part les rprimandes c'tait a. C'tait une punition si trange que quatre

quipes ont fait appel du rsultat - Renault, Ferrari, McLaren et Racing Point eux-mmes.

Racing Point en particulier tait furieux, publiant une dclaration via un otage captur

derrire le paddock. I am extremely angry at any suggestion

we have been underhand or have cheated I have never cheated at anything in my

life. Mais le rsultat de cette enqute est all

plus loin que cela - La FIA voulait interdire compltement la copie en gros

La saga Racing Point, bien que principalement lgale, tait peu prs tout ce qu'ils

pouvaient supporter. Nous accepterons les composants individuels

copier dans les cas locaux. Nous voulons pas qu'une voiture entire soit une copie

d'une autre voiture En fin de compte, Racing Point a t autoris

continuer de courir avec les pices lgales qu'ils avaient conues illgalement Bien

que leurs poignets soient un peu roses Et les quipes? Ils ont accept dadopter

des rgles limitant regarder quelque chose et le copier.

Et sur ce, ils ont retir leurs protestations, heureux que le principe fondamental de concevoir

vos propres crations soit prserv un peu plus longtemps.

Chain Bear. Thank you, Rope Otter.

Now, while Racing Points development choices kept their cars well and truly bolted onto

the track, SOME teams found themselves handling as badly as a counterfeit gyroscopic scooter.

And speaking of bad segues: I suppose we have to talk about Ferrari at

this point. Remember them? The giants of Formula 1? The team so important and powerful they

get handed a few dozen million of the top of the prize money just for showing up? All

mighty Ferrari. Well they werent looking so hot this year,

were they? And it all goes back to suspicions of foul play back in 2019.

See Ferrari had made a huge leap in engine performance coming into last year and after

a while the rest of the teams were like, wait a minute

So after some prompts in the back half of last season from Red Bull for clarification

(polite Austenian barb for sir, we suspect foul play), the FIA brought out three technical

directives in four weeks clarifying and tightening up how teams behave with respect to sensors

in the power units. This culminated in the FIA notifying the teams

that a second fuel flow sensor would be added for 2020.

And interestingly, as soon as these technical directives - these clarifications - had been

issued Ferrari suddenly lost a lot of speed. How curious.

It was like suddenly and without warning theyd been left completely exposed.

Naked. Flaws, previously hidden, on show for all to see.

So the question now was - had Ferrari managed to trick or circumnavigate this sensor in

order to pump more fuel into the engine and get extra oomph?

Well, the FIA went to work by officially probing the Ferrari Power Unit and after what they

called a thorough investigation and conclusive analysis of Ferraris power

unit they reached a settlement with the team.

The FIA and Ferrari agreed to a number of technical commitments that will improve

the monitoring of all F1 Power Units going forward, as well as assisting the FIA in other

regulatory duties in F1 and its research activities in carbon emissions and sustainable fuels

Well what the f**k does that mean? The FIA considered this done and dusted Jean

Todt, President of the FIA, said, theyve been sanction ed. But we cant give details

of the sanction. He said he would LOVE to release details of the investigation, but

Ferrari wont let them And hes the President. And Presidents always

make sense and make the best deals. So we can trust that it makes complete sense that

the player has silenced the umpire. The thrust of common conclusions on the matter

seems to be this the FIA could not prove conclusively that Ferrari were cheating, but

they kinda knew Ferrari were cheating. It appeared to be a bunch of legalese courtroom

shenanigans whereby they knew Ferrari would slip through every loophole in the net, but

Ferrari knew that if this case went out publicly - even if theyd escape the letter of the

law theyd look like a bunch of cheating ne'er do wells.

I should note the official line from Ferrari is that they needed to keep the details secret

to protect their intellectual property. Nonetheless, agreements were made and Ferrari

made some changes to their power units and oh dear.

2020 came and Ferrari 2019s runners up were in serious trouble.

In testing, their short run and long pace left them fifth in lap times, over a second

off the Mercedes. Their straight line speed had clearly taken a massive hit, and with

it, their pace through the medium speed corners. Ferrari countered that they had spent a lot

of time working on their achilles heel - the slow corner pace. And yes, they had

managed to beef that up, but boy oh boy did that do little to hide their far more obvious

shortcomings. In Austria Ferrari hovered near the bottom

of the speed traps and fared pretty appallingly, with only one car getting to Q3 in each Grand

Prix and the team grabbing only one points finish over two races.

In Hungary, they both got to the third row of the grid, though dropped back in the race,

with only Vettel managing to grab any points. Through the double header at Silverstone,

Charles Leclerc managed to muscle his Ferrari to a handful of points on both occasions,

including a second podium, while Vettel just struggled through both weekends, seemingly

unable to find any driveability in his car and getting himself into another Lap 1 spin

that was becoming a terrible trademark of recent years.

While they got one car in the points in Spain, it seemed less like the team had a strong

hand on the rudder of the SS Solid Strategy and more like theyd been fallen off the

ship into the ocean and couldnt decide if theyd prefer to be thrown a swim ring

or a life jacket. This led to back to back pointless finishes

through Belgium and Italy with a sheer lack of pace in Spa and two DNFs at their home

race. By the time they had left Monza, their 999th

Formula 1 race, they were thanking god that the Tifosi hadnt been allowed to show up

as they now found themselves sixth in the standings.

Ferrari may have been able to hide behind a secretive deal with the FIA, but that was

little good when their complete lack of pace and potential illegality was on show for all

to see. Meanwhile over at Red Bull they had their

own problems. Red Bull historically cannot seem to manage

their kids. Unless they pop out of the incubation chamber as immediate race winners, management

just chuck them in the corner and hope they dont make a mess

They have ploughed through a ton of talented young puppies only to throw them out into

the cold when they no longer found them fun to play with. A bull is for life. Not just

for Christian. They actually railed through their young drivers

so quickly that they had to yoink one back out of the orphanage once they realised they

had empty seats and no bums. The most recent driver to wilt like a neglected

peace lily is Alex Albon, who was promoted to the senior team after they got tired of

Pierre Gasly not being Max Verstappen. Albon immediately stagnated.

It was like Red Bull liked keeping two lizards as pets but only one of their cages had that

special light thingy to keep them warm - I dont know guys, Im running out of metaphors

here. You get the idea. And actually - Albon looked on the up and

up as the season kicked off. So close to a win in round one before being booted off track

by Hamilton. But then he took 8 more rounds to reach the podium while Verstappen grabbed

six trophies, including a win, in the same time.

Unlike previous seasons where bosses Horner and Marko publicly dragged their drivers across

the coals, this time they defended Albon, even acknowledging the difficulty of the twitchy-reared

car and how he and Gasly simply hadnt had Verstappens experience in taming their

bucking bull. Nonetheless, it was clear the team needed

both drivers at a similar pace to force strategy during races something even Hamilton commented

on. Albon wisely chose to focus on himself and

his development, ignoring criticism on social media - a lesson we could all learn, to be

honest. However, finishing 7th in the championship,

five places lower and with half the points of his team mate is I guess what wed

call a place to grow from. And a lot of this has to fall on the shoulders

of his bosses who have spectacularly failed to nurture and maximise their young driver

development programme. Either they are terrible at spotting young

talent which they clearly are not or they just dont know what to do with it

once they have it. Be it a lack of training, coaching, support,

compassion or even basic humanity, Red Bull have squandered opportunity time and again.

And, potentially through their own bull-headedness they drove away Renault as an engine supplier,

leaving them with Honda who are now evacuating the F1 train. As it stands, Red Bull have

very few decent options for a power supply for 2022 or a second driver for 2021 without

having to munch on some humble pie. Once free from its entanglement, ex Red Bull

prodigies have become happy, successful and even champions elsewhere.

Now they dont have to feel like Kevin McCallister the night before Christmas vacation - the

dejected, finger-pointed, lost child of the family.

Gasly, once demoted, immediately looked his old self again - confident and racy and

even scoring a podium at the back end of 2019. In 2020 he is shining still.

The Italian Grand Prix, the home race for an already miserable Tifosi saw their hearts

break further still as Vettels brakes failed and Leclerc binned it into the wall, red flagging

the race. But from the ashes, in a different Italian

team came Gasly. With a canny strategy, capitalising on the back of Mercedes blunders and by

holding off a supremely hungry Carlos Sainz, Pierre won his first ever grand prix.

Albon was classified 15th. The headache, and frankly, embarrassment over

Red Bulls resource management was set to continue.

We werent even slightly done with Italy though as F1 headed to Tuscany for the first

of its clump of circuits old and new making cameo appearances to plump up the calendar

And Ferraris 1000th Grand Prix anniversary event a high speed, undulating circuit

with its lack of tarmac runoff and abundant, punishing gravel announced loud and clear:

I dont think youre ready for Mugelli, cause Biondettis too Buci-licious for you.

And so it was with a race so chaotic it struggled to even get its first racing lap completed.

Lap one was brought under the safety car after a four car squeeze knocked previous 2020 winners

Verstappen and Gasly out on the spot. At the restart with Bottas desperate to avoid

slipstreaming by holding up the pack til the last minute, the blind back of the queue creamed

the middle like an Oreo, eliminating four more drivers.

This gave us a second red flagged race in a row. 2020 remained effortlessly disruptive.

After all that, Hamilton went on to win from Bottas and drivers came away thrilled by the

challenge of the fast, unforgiving ribbon of tarmac out in the grapes, aching for the

sport to return Then we went to Sochi.

Then we returned to the Nurburgring, where poor Stroll got COVID and Racing Point once

again had to reach out to a trusting sub to return to the battlefield.

Hey big guy. Now I need you to turn this bird around OK? So help me out.

And once again, Bottas took an early lead only for Hamilton to steal it back from him

a few laps later and not look back. Not that it mattered too much, Bottas retired soon

after. Hamilton took victory, equalling Schumachers

record of 91 wins, and in a wonderful gesture, was gifted one of Michaels racing helmets

by the family. Nurburgring was a solid place to go racing

again, though I personally think Hockenheim gives us more bang for its buck.

But beggers we were and choosers we were not. Next came Portimao in a rather grey Portugal

- we had poured deep into Autumn after all, when we would have usually left Europe long

behind. This was a circuit everyone was looking forward

to - as if born from the philosophy: what if Barcelona, but good?

Sporting some serious elevation changes the drivers found themselves seriously challenged

by some blind-crested corners and lightning fast changes of direction.

If only there was a word fitting for such an experience.

Bottas absolutely nailed Free Practice 1, 2 and 3 only to get beaten to pole by Hamilton.

The race itself started under the lightest of rain which was enough to temporarily tip

things on their heads Sainz hustling past both Mercedes and heading the race... for

the six laps it took for the track to dry out again.

Bottas then retook the lead but Hamilton nabbed it back eventually. Because of course. Nonetheless,

action continued with some incredible side by side racing throughout that made everything

but the very edge of the seat redundant It was spicy, tight, fair racing that reminded

you that F1 can and will go wheel to wheel with the slightest opportunity.

Stroll meanwhile had a duffer on his return to the cockpit, getting 2 five second penalties

in the race - including one for abusing track limits too many times.

On Friday alone, 125 lap times were deleted for cars running wide. The drivers - these

world class athletes at the top of their game - could not stay within the white lines and

then blamed the FIA simply for policing it! This conversation about managing track limits

is something that would rage on all year long. Anyway, Hamilton won again, setting a new

record in the sport for most winningest person ever and drivers and fans agreed we should

definitely come back to Portugal. The run to Imola the following weekend was

so tight that they had to lop Friday off the weekend completely, giving the drivers just

a single practice session on the Saturday morning to figure out the track that had been

gone so long that only Raikkonen remembers it.

Bottas led the race convincingly. But if theres luck to be had it only seems to flow in one

direction. After Bottas made his scheduled pit stop,

Hamiltons team decided to run him longer and stretch his stint out and as circumstance

would have it, he was graced with the perfect little virtual safety car that just about

covered his pitstop, gifting him an easy lead. Eddie Irvine said being Schumachers team

mate was like being hit over the head by a cricket bat every couple of weeks. Bottas

must feel like hes repeatedly having the football pulled away from him. And then getting

hit on the head with a cricket bat. While Bottas spent the rest of the race struggling

with floor damage, Hamiltons other rival hustled his way to 2nd only to be thrown off

track with a puncture. This prompted a safety car - and at this point

George Russell in his Williams was in a position to potentially cling onto his first points

ever. But in trying to warm the hard tyres beneath

him, he spun and crashed heading into Acque Minerale, cursing himself like another Charlie

Brown. Would Russell ever get the chance to prove

himself? Then came Turkey.

The brilliant Tilke track, much missed from F1 got the call to action pretty late in the

day. Despite spending millions resurfacing the circuit in preparation, Istanbul gave

us tarmac that wasnt quite ready. With the fresh bitumen greasing up the super

smooth new surface, cars were slipping and sliding all over the place through Friday

like they were traversing a glacier. They seemed completely unable to get the power

down or commit to any corner. It was an extreme challenge - one the Mercs seems unable to

rise to. A rainy, brilliant qualifying gave us a Racing

Point 1-3, with Lance Stroll taking his maiden pole and Mercedes only 6-9.

N..nice? On a drenched but drying track, Stroll led

the race absolutely convincingly for the first half.

With Hamilton struggling, Verstappen spinning in combat and Bottas just doing doughnuts,

seemingly, Stroll marched on out front with a solid, confident pace.

But after his midrace pit stop it all went south for the rich Canadian.

Bearing front wing damage and running new inters that just did not want to turn on,

he plummeted out of sight from his once lofty heights like a Red Bull juniors career.

On the flip side, Hamilton didnt make a mid race stop. He kept his inters on from

lap 6, meaning that as the track dried his tyres became bald but stayed perfectly hot,

like Stanley Tucci. The race tipped back in his favour and not

only did he take the lead but he even pulled a whole pitstop ahead, claiming the win and

a 7th championship in incredible style. Behind him Vettel drove a super race throughout

to claim his first podium in over a year, passing Leclerc, who bottled it like a Pepsi

factory in the final few corners. What a brilliant time we had - all in all

- subbing in circuits from beyond the schedule. There were challenging, weird and extraordinary

circumstances throughout but Hamilton won every single one of them.

But despite Lewiss efforts on track, smashing through records like Vettel through polystyrene,

throughout 2020 Hamilton had been kicking and dragging the spotlight in a very different

direction We can not allow officers to be judge,

jury and executioner in the street You can see the police now firing tear

gas into the crowd All triggered by the death of George Floyd,

an unarmed black man who died whilst in police custody.

Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important. We have always meant

something. What are yall doing? What are yall

doing? Youre doing nothing! Quest-ce qui se passe en France

Systemic racism and oppression has always been present, but George Floyds death though

not unique seemed to break the camels back.

One ray of sunshine was seeing how many people instantly condemned what they saw

Lewis Hamilton, for one, has felt far more confident and grounded in his values and being

vocal about them. Lewis Hamilton has been the prominent leader

in talking about social issues, in and out of Formula 1, from within F1 itself for years.

But following the mass protests in a climate of racist oppression, Hamilton felt very alone

speaking up, calling out fellow drivers and Formula 1 for their silence

I know a lot of top celebrities, athletes, actors, who have big platforms and theyve

said nothing. And Im seeing them just stay silent and continue to post as if its normal.

We need every single persons voice [..] and the important thing is we all use our voices

together, because collectively we can make a huge impact.

Some drivers did respond in comradeship with Lewis and the fight against racism and F1

was spurred into launching a new initiative. Black people have been screaming about

this from the rooftops for years and years and years. He cant do it on his own. Black

people cant do this on their own. And unfortunately hes screaming from the rooftops in a white,

male dominated sport. We Race As One was about standing united against

racism and the start of Formula 1s efforts to do more to address inequality and diversity

in the sport. This is not a battle against other races.

This is asking for equality above the board. On the surface, this initiative was to include

a moment of reflection and was branded with a rainbow display built from the teams

colours - something a little co-optive of the Pride movement, but we dont need to

open that wormcan. Formula 1 actually went deeper, creating a

task force to research inequality and opportunity up and down the sport with a mission to make

real, lasting and tangible programmes to allow people from all backgrounds to succeed in

F1. Right off the bat, Chase Carey donated $1m and the FIA gave 1m.

And we all need to be held accountable. [...] You see a lot of companies over the

years who talk about diversity and inclusion, then you look at their staff and it doesnt

reflect what theyre speaking about. Simultaneously, Lewis Hamilton with the Royal

Academy of Engineers created The Hamilton Commission to discover how best to use motorsport

to engage with young black people in STEM and combat closed door that had previous held

them back from engineering and motorsport careers.

Around the world, the opportunity for black people is not the same as it is for white

people There was a lot of talk about whether drivers

would take the knee - a gesture started in American Football by Colin Kaepernick after

consulting with an army veteran over how to protest respectfully.

Lewis is calling out for people to say - and hes saying - its not enough enough

to be non-racist, its not enough for people to be saying yes I think we should more

diversity. Hes asking everyone to be actively anti-racist and actively pro-diversity.

Hamilton didnt kneel alone. In fact most of the drivers kneeled with him... though

not all. Some people also feel like they dont

know what to say but that doesnt mean you should stay silent and again that should mean

you go and learn for yourself, the information is out there.

And F1 has an inherent amount of built in bias where its drivers can stuck their

head in the sand. Where they dont have to comment on social issues outside of their

own sport. And thats what makes it so annoying and frustrating and difficult, cause Hamilton

was willing to put his own reputation on the line to say black lives Matter.

While the drivers kneeling or standing together felt a powerful gesture at the first grand

prix, it did kind of collapse over the next two. At the Styrian event, this supposedly

important moment of reflection was cut away from almost immediately in order to show pre-recorded

footage of a skydive. In Hungary some of the drivers turned up late, not all with tshirts

ready and had barely got themselves organised before programme cut to the national anthem.

I think sometimes what were gonna see - were gonna see people kneel that have

no intentions to further the cause, and then were gonna have some people standing that

have intentions on helping the cause. If you kneel I want you to know why youre

kneeling and youre willing to take steps to help that cause. And if not, stand brah,

Im not looking at you any different. The drivers who did not kneel insisted they

had their own reasons, but on a massive global platform, to an audience of millions, it really

did make you question if they race as one Are we that afraid? Are we that afraid

to speak out? Are we that afraid of pissing off our sponsors or promoters? Saying youre

anti racist should never be controversial. but we only got two seconds of that show,

which should be a shot of unity and we didnt really see that. [..] Does that send a mixed

message. As I said, I keep referring back to it. Other sports are doing it, does F1

need to do more? From the British Grand Prix onwards marked

out an Stand Against Racism official slot in the event timings and created a video message

from its drivers to stand against discrimination. Granted the video ran a little too close to

the wildly misjudged celebrity videos that had emerged through lockdown but it was better.

It did at least show some kind of front. F1 and celebrity is a huge platform that Hamilton

and others have chosen to use to keep systemic racism from being brushed under the rug and

maybe make a change. But Ive actually grown up in a sport

which has very little to no diversity and I think its an issue we are continually

facing. I think its all of our responsibility to use our platform for that, just that. For

really pushing for gender equality, inclusivity and really just making sure we are engaging

and really trying to represent what the world is today.

If you wanted to find the real on track stories in 2020, the twists and turns in the championship

battle werent found at the top. They were found in the middle.

Whilst the lower points-paying places had been the place to look for on track action

for several years now, this season really cranked it up a notch with the battle for

third so hotly disputed we worried wed have to sort it out at Four Seasons Total

Landscaping. The top two and bottom four teams took it

pretty easy, just hanging out in their lanes for pretty much the entire season. In between

though, teams were swapping about like those parties your parents used to go to.

Who would finish first? Who would end up behind? These were the questions your parents asked

at those parties, but ALSO questions that remained a question among the midfield til

the very end of the year. This battle was essentially between McLaren,

Racing Point and Renault though Ferrari did pretend to be part of it too - boop! - cute.

Even with the fifteen point penalty Racing Point bore for their little illegal brake

ducts adventure, they and McLaren looked the mostly likely teams to eventually end up third.

McLaren were having a year to feel good about after their years in the dark. Norris having

his rocketship-like end-of-race pace, Sainz chasing down a win for all hes worth in

Monza, both drivers getting both podiums and second row slots on the grid It was like

the McLaren of uggghh ehhh ... 2004. The McLaren

of 2004. Racing Point were having a spectacular time

in only their second full season in Formula One, being a legally entirely different entity

from the Force India-Spyker-Midland-Jordan team, despite being made of the same parts

and being based in the same headquarters. Like a kind of reverse Ship of Theseus.

And though Renaults form was unspectacular, their consistency in grabbing points (mostly)

kept them in the hunt to snatch best of the rest from the others should opportunity arise.

Which it did, briefly, with Daniel Ricciardos podium finish at the Emilia Romagna Grand

Prix. His podium triggered a forfeit for Renault

boss Cyril Abiteboul after a drunken bet with Daniel Ricciardo - being branded with a tattoo

of his drivers choosing. So, were all looking forward to Christian

Horners face staring back at us from Abitebouls chest.

The fascinating complexity of the inter team battle is found in the intra-team successes

between their cars. If we split the marques into their drivers

and track their course as the season unfolds the story is fascinating.

By the end, Racing Point, Renault and Ferrari clearly each have one breadwinner bringing

home the baps, baguettes and buns - and those teams must be wondered what might have been

if both cars had brought home as many points as the other.

To be fair to Stroll, as I often try to be, he had an extraordinary run of bad luck in

the second half of the year. After starting strong, a puncture threw him

out and into the wall in Tuscany, he was punted out on lap one of Sochi by Leclerc, he was

sidelined by COVID in Germany, he well OK, he had a clumsy accident of his own making

in Portugal and faced two time penalties there. And then Turkey came. Pole position and leading

the race. He could have so easily locked in a podium if he hadnt been pitted; instead

suffering wing damage and cold tyres and falling to 9th.

Now, this is no slight on Perez who grabbed 4th in the championship despite missing TWO

misses for COVID. But the turning point in the season is clear to see and things could

have been so much better for Stroll and, by reflection, Racing Point.

Whereas if you look over at Renault and Ferrari, the difference in performance between the

drivers is pretty clear across the season. Ricciardo and Leclerc really did seem to squeeze

everything out of their machinery - particularly Charles, whose Ferrari - as previously covered

- was a dog. And not, like, a good healthy dog but one of those overbred varieties that

sound like this - hnnnnngggh. Hnggggggh Pedigree dog breeding is a disaster.

Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris were possibly the tightest pairing of the whole field.

By the close of the Bahrain Grand Prix, there were one point apart and 7:8 on both qualifying

and race performance. Despite the seeming intensity of their rivalry, they remained

close, worked together and, if anything, had the complete opposite of drama. Even helping

each other out as need be. Interestingly, every one of these teams are

changing their driver line up. Three of them losing their top scoring driver, one of them

firing the only race winner of the bunch and another firing a four times world champion.

So this midfield scrum may look very different next year. In fact, the whole of F1s silly

season has been a lot more dynamic and dramatic than last year, running so late into the year

that I can only say that this helpful explainer piece was definitely accurate at the time

of the Sakhir Grand Prix Junior drivers in Ferrari

Ilott, Shwartzmann, Schumacher Seats require

Folks retire Maybe Kimi, Grosjean, Kevin

Maranello Now has one seat

Sitting next to Charles Leclerc Poor old Vettel

Lost his mettle Where oh where will he go now?

What about Red Bull? Horner says it isnt right.

What about Brackley? Bottas says theyre quite alright

What about Racing Point? Otmar says theyve got no space

Now its Aston- Martin, guess its

Fine to Sack off

Checo For Se-

bastion The champion

To carry the Canadians

Now Sainz moves to the red team

Leaving room at Woking For the smiling,

Shoey drinking Wishful thinking

Dan, Like shuffle mode on PornHub

DP World to team Splunk Leaves a hole thats big enough for HIM

Alonso Thought you were long gone bro

This will be a big blow To the babies

Going crazy Tired of maybes

But Look over at Team Haas

If youve got enough cash Maybe theres a brand new drive for YOU

Meanwhile Red Bull Say theyre sorted

Alex Albon All the way

But no clapping When hes lapping

Forty miles behind Verstappen Red Bull screw the number two

But still there is a mighty queue Pierre Gasly

Or Yuki Or Sergi-

Oh M G We just need

Vacancies For Schumi,

Ilott, Perez, Nico, Robert, Stoffel.. And George!

Looking for a top drive But was told to take five

Sit right down and Watch us sell the team around you

Then - Looked to kick out Russell

But stuck with the muscle Leaving Checo looking to Red Bull

Meanwhile Haas cleared the old lads

Posted up some job ads Took the cash from

Rich Nikita, driver beater Then

Looked at young Schumacher Said you are a cracker!

Now the field is done Except theres

Lewis waiting for the perfect time He keeps us

Waiting but hes surely gonna sign For Merc.

If not, then what? That slot is hot

To squat with Bot will sure- -ly be everyones favoured route

And make this whole song rather moot dizzy, dippy, silly season

Twen-ty Twen-ty

One Well that was weird.

Its also been a weird year for the FIA. While their substantial work in running not

just F1 but many series of motorsport in as safe an environment as possible should be

commended, theyve been part of many things this year that are just baffling.

Lets start with track limits. As with many sporting events, the active area

of play is defined by a white line. If youre inside it, youre good, if youre outside

it, youre out of bounds. But instead F1s rules are closer to: OK

the ball can go over the line, but as long as it doesnt hit the outer fence, its

fine. The FIA have repeatedly told drivers its

fine to let the car run super wide, way off track, as long as it still touches the kerbs

on the outside of a corner. Which is weird, because not only is this different from every

other sport, its also different from other FIA racing series that run at the same track.

And sometimes the track limits changed between sessions. And sometimes they wont bother

monitoring people running wide at all, even when it obviously gives an advantage.

And still drivers complained and complained about their lap times being deleted when they

ran wide, the same way Roger Federer complains that its too hard to keep tennis balls

inside the court. While gravel isnt the answer to everything

particularly not your horrible driveway *Susan* theres definitely something

to having a physical deterrent at the apron. But beyond all that, its been just a

weird year for stewarding and race control, has it?

After failing to spot Ferrari running what was likely some illegitimate power units,

they decided to ban drivers changing engine modes so they had to lock them in before quali.

Except they brought this change in mid season. And they said it was just to make it easier

to monitor that cars were running legally at all times, but also it was clear that it

was Red Bull that pushed for the change, unhappy at Mercedes so-called party mode. So which

was it? There was Bottass jump start in Hungary,

in which the camera clearly showed the Mercedes moving forward before lights out but race

director Michael Masi said was within the tolerances of the timing systems and needed

no further investigation. I declare the knives in!

Meanwhile at the same race, both Haas cars were penalised after their drivers were advised

to pit for dry tyres on the formation lap. Something which was technically against the

rules but not actually against the actions the rules were written to enforce.

Its frustrating! Everyone had a lot of questions after the

huge pile up at the Mugello restart, in which circumstance seemed set up to cause chaos

by design. The restart line was so far down Mugellos

straight that it would only ever force the leader to back the pack up instead of risking

a slipstream. The safety car light was put out so late than Ocon said he thought it was

a mistake. The back of the pack couldnt even see what was going on so prematurely

launched blind into the slow leaders. We hadnt seen elite millionaires make such

a mess since those kids at Eton dropped that pavlova.

Masi himself was offended at the idea that any risks were taken in race direction to

enhance the show. But then during the Eifel Grand Prix, after

Norris broke down a full safety car was called over a virtual option. The race took an age

to restart, in which time the tyres got very cold, irking drivers with Verstappen suggesting

this was all being done for theatrics. Masi rejected this, saying he had to let backmarkers

unlap themselves (which ironically let them warm their tyres up, causing a pace discrepancy

at the restart). But then in *Imola* lapped drivers were released

while marshalls were still on track, with some very close calls, prompting the ire of

Vettel. Masi said they would change the process going

forward and that we live and learn every day. Though some imagined that dont

release cars while people are on track would have been a lesson already learned.

Then in qualifying in Turkey, the wet session was green flagged while a crane was still

on the circuit. An unforgivable error. Masi here said he was comfortable with the

timing as he was told the crane would be out of the way by the time the cars got to it...

but he was wrong. He said double yellows were thrown so it wasnt a massive problem and

that we continue to learn. But we did learn. It wasnt that long ago

we lost Jules Bianchi to an impact with a crane working under waved yellows. That was

supposed to be the never again moment. We could have waited a minute or two for the

crane to be removed. Bahrain was a true testament to the fundamentals.

When Grosjean crashed, splitting his car and bursting into flames, the systems that were

laid down worked. The halo protected his head. The survival cell protected his body. The

enhanced race suit saved him from burning. The Medical Car team were ready and acted

immediately. The fire marshalls leapt to action. Yes the barrier might have failed or perhaps

been improper - we need to see the investigation to be clear on that. But every other piece

of the system was there to pick up the slack. What followed that day - the unnerving placement

of concrete blocks as barriers, the marshall running across the track in front of traffic

that still showed that many parts of race management are a little unnerving still.

Perhaps the team of stewards and race directors have too much on their plate and are being

pulled in too many directions - particularly Michael Masi. Should Masis role be split

among a team, managing safety, session running and stewarding separately? Is it really wise

to ask one person, no matter how brilliant they are, to be in charge of such a complex

and dangerous operation? I dont know the answer. But I know Ive

been feeling a little less confident this year than I had been.

And so, as is now a controversial decision - F1 came to the end in the middle east.

The two runs in Bahrain were dramatics in so many ways.

Grosjean, with his heart stopping crash that ripped his car apart and burst it into flames,

brought the F1 community together in ways that Gasly getting his poetic first win and

Paul Ricard being off this years calendar never could.

For all the talk of it being good and right that F1 drivers risk life and limb in their

roles at entertainers, everyone was glad to see Romain emerge pretty much unscathed, fully

conscious and without even a broken bone to speak of.

The burns to his hands brought sadly his retirement from F1 earlier than planned, with Pietro

Fittipaldi piloting his car for the run around the Sakhir ellipse.

But Pietro wasnt the only shuffle in drivers that weekend.

In a genuine surprise, newly-minted champion Lewis Hamilton became the third driver to

contract COVID and had to withdraw from the Sakhir Grand Prix.

Meanwhile, Mercedes first call reserve, Stoffel Vandoorne was just finishing off the Formula

E test over in Valencia and high-tailed it onto a plane as fast as he could to belt it

to Bahrain for a sweet chance of redemption in the fastest car on the F1 grid.

But by the time he got there, a lanky man had already taken his seat. Next time, Stoffel.

George Russell had been coaxed out of his Williams team to sub in at the top end. For

a guy with a very strong track record on the road to Formula 1 and who had squeezed extraordinary

things out of that Williams this was a big chance to get something back for his efforts.

Jack Aitken stepped up from F2 to pilot the second Williams machine, meaning there would

be two rookies taking their first steps on Bahrains Circular Circuit.

Russell, despite not quite fitting in the car, and spending most of Friday dialling

everything into his style and comfort, topped the first practice sessions and came within

a hairs breadth of grabbing pole from Valtteri - a driver who really needed to stomp all

over George this weekend to silence any doubts. Well for Valtteri in the race as with

me everytime Im halfway through making a YouTube video the doubts came in hard,

slapped him with his own hand and told him to stop hitting himself.

Russell grabbed the lead and led easily. He pulled a gap to Bottas when needed and widened

the margin through the pit stops. Despite panicking a bit with the steering wheel settings,

the win looked in the bag. But then his team put him on illegal tyres,

forcing an extra pitstop. And though he nearly recovered the win back again from 5th, including

a decisive pass on Valtteri through the tricky middle sector of the Sakhir Ring, a puncture

knocked him back down the order again. But Russell had done plenty to prove himself,

while Bottas caused more questions. Away from all the drama with the Mercedes,

though, Sergio Perez the man who had been fired from Racing Point, the guy who was last

on lap one after being boffed off track by Late-Brake-Leclerc, the man helped save Racing

Point from collapse he took the lead of the race and won.

It was a celebratory moment across the paddock and set a record for the longest win coming

- 190 races in and the top step was finally his.

As the Sakhir Grand Prix was the last race of the season and literally nothing happened

after that, could Sergio actually be bowing out of the sport for good on his finest result?

Or would Red Bull have a crack on him for 2021? As Im recording this, we still dont

know. Its nearly Christmas and I cant wrap up all the loose ends in this video.

Though, knowing F1 theyll all be resolved in the two days between recording this bit

and publishing the video and youll all type this aged well in the comments,

you b*stards. Anyway. The season did come to an end. In

Bahrain, as I said. And thats it! There was loads we didnt

have time to go into - Mick Schumacher winning F1 and moving up to Haas, meaning theyll

only have one driver next year, weirdly. Vettel telling Leclerc not to waste his extraordinary

talent, whatever that means. F1 packing in 23 races next year, including Saudi Arabia

and (controversially - TBC). Ive heard TBCs human rights record is atrocious.

What were F1 thinking? But the end it is and take a breath.

Lewis Hamilton is a 7 times world champion with more race wins under his belt than any

other driver in history. Goats in sport are always a matter of debate, but the dude is

at least like an Ibex or something. Mercedes have seven title wins in a row. Itll

probably be eight next year. Formula 1 has two new race winners to write

into the history books and plenty more set to join them.

We saw 23 drivers race this year, in 17 races across 14 venues in 12 countries.

We almost didnt have a season, but instead due to supreme efforts on all sides, we had

an incredibly fun season with plenty to talk about.

We saw the community grow, with lots of great new faces, opinions and content, particularly

right here on YouTube. The fanbase of F1 is growing and thriving on new audiences watching,

sharing and creating content together. This is where the new lifeblood is, even if some

powers than be cant seem to recognise th- So, we did it! We were there when the season

collapsed. We were there when everyone played video games instead. We were there when F1

returned, and by god we soldiered through a cram packed season and got to the very end.

And I wrapped it all up in just, what, 71 minutes? Drive to Survive will probably wang

it out for 10 hours. Get a f**king editor. Have a brilliant winter. Well be doing

the predictions wrap up at the end of December. Bye!

Dirty, dirty, dirty air D-d-dirty, dirty, dirty air

Dirty, dirty, dirty air D-d-dirty, dirty, dirty air

Always on my mind Keeping me behind

Wanna be side by side Wanna be three cars wide

To my place I resign Prisoner of design

The fight in me is denied The speed in me you can hide

How can it feel Oh how can it feel

Like Ive got no direction No firm grip on the wheel?

Just give me control Oh give me control

I need to escape From your cold dark air hole

Your d-d-d-d-d-d-d-dirty air Your d-d-d-d-d-d-d-dirty air

Your d-d-d-d-d-d-d-dirty air Your d-d-d-d-d-d-d-dirty air

Aint so cut and dried Makes me slip and slide

Murder on the racing line Keeping me from whats mine

This fate I am assigned Air pressure you combined

With consequences most despised And audiences unsurprised

How can it be Oh how can it be?

Its designed like a eagle But flies just like a bee

Im calling to James Im calling to Jeff

Theres filth in my airflow Ive got no rubber left

Your d-d-d-d-d-d-d-dirty air Your d-d-d-d-d-d-d-dirty air

Your d-d-d-d-d-d-d-dirty air Your d-d-d-d-d-d-d-dirty air

Im angry and confined You need to bear in mind

My traction is unstabilised By carbon oversensitised

On your tails I will dine This cloud aint number nine

Turbulence unrefined Flow remains undefined

How can I live How can I live

When the air thats before me Needs running through a sieve?

I need to feel speed Need to feel alive

But youve got me running In strat mode E5

Your d-d-d-d-d-d-d-dirty air Your d-d-d-d-d-d-d-dirty air

Your d-d-d-d-d-d-d-dirty air Your d-d-d-d-d-d-d-dirty air

Can only say goodbye In the wake that you supply

More than just a state of mind Wear my rubber to the rind

Cant see the finish line My fight you disincline

Your aftermath is oversized Its keeping me so demoralised

How cant you see, how cant you see

Its stirring the sweetness, from my cup of tea

I open my flaps, I open my flaps

But I can no longer go for your gaps

Your d-d-d-d-d-d-d-dirty air Your d-d-d-d-d-d-d-dirty air

Your d-d-d-d-d-d-d-dirty air Your d-d-d-d-d-d-d-dirty air

This plan we authorise Both toxic and unwise

To my rubber its so unkind A disaster for all mankind

Always on my mind Keeping me behind

Wanna be side by side Wanna be three cars wide

Your d-d-d-d-d-d-d-dirty air Your d-d-d-d-d-d-d-dirty air

Your d-d-d-d-d-d-d-dirty air Your d-d-d-d-d-d-d-dirty air

The Description of This Year in F1 2020 – A Season Review