US GP: Red Bull preview

"Where are you all from?" was a common question for the Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso crews as they hung around their Indy hotel lobby, while their dirty team kit from Canada had inevitably gone missing in the depths of the city's ...

"Where are you all from?" was a common question for the Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso crews as they hung around their Indy hotel lobby, while their dirty team kit from Canada had inevitably gone missing in the depths of the city's laundry services. "Oh, England, that's near Europe right? You sure speak good English!"

Making allowances for geographical and linguistic ignorance is an inevitable requirement in the US, especially in these parts buried deep in the centre of the land mass, but facing the total ignorance that surrounds our chosen sport is harder to understand. "You're here for the Grand Prix? What Grand Prix? Formula One? What series is that then? Do the Earnhardts drive in that? Are the cars stock or modified?"

Formula One Grand Prix motor racing might have a long and honourable history in the United States, it has even produced two world champions, Phil Hill and Mario Andretti, but in all honesty, the sport has yet to reach a wide audience in this part of North America. Why? Well, part of the reason is that the USA has NASCAR, a far more readily accessible and sometimes spectacular sport.

While F1 is all about the latest state of the art technology for open wheel racers, NASCAR vehicles are supposed to actually look like real road cars, they weigh about four times more than their sleeker F1 relatives, but they can still knock out speeds in excess of 200 mph from old fashioned but powerful V8 engines. Both series have been in existence for over half a century and since the start of this year, Red Bull now has a foot in both camps, with Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso on the F1 side and Team Red Bull in the NASCAR camp.

Much about NASCAR seems really scary if you work in F1, like the fact their calendar is about twice as long as ours, like only using seven mechanics who take 14 seconds to change tyres, make adjustments and refuel, like having drivers whose names end in Junior or are really called Dick Trickle! But the scariest thing of all, even scarier than racing four abreast around a superspeedway is that they allow members of the general public into the paddock to see the cars close up. Madness! But it seems the biggest lesson F1 could learn from NASCAR is having a sense of humour about itself. Type in 'F1 humour' on an internet search engine and there's not much there, whereas the American series seems to revel in irony. Try this for example:

The top ten laws of auto racing:

10) The number of times you get hit in a pile up is directly proportional to the number of times you said I think it will go ok today"
9) You only get the lead when you need fuel
8) If a tyre can go on the wrong side, it will
7) A part will never break during a test session, only during a race
6) The driver behind you is always the one you punted last week.
5) The part you left at the shop is the one you need
4) The number of laps remaining is always one more than the amount of fuel left in the car
3) Your good car will get wrecked, your bad car will finish the race, two laps down
2) The concrete wall is harder at the tracks you wreck at
And the number one Law of Auto Racing is....
A 10-car pileup will never happen *behind* you!

Even the drivers can mock themselves it seems, as proved by the legendary Dale Earnhardt's own explanation of why he took so long to win NASCAR's premier event, the Daytona 500: "It took me 19 years to realize I had the emergency brake on. Finally I rotated and balanced my moustache. I stopped letting my 300-pound cousin Ricky ride shotgun."

Will we all be laughing in Indy this weekend

-credit: red bull

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Phil Hill , Mario Andretti
Teams Red Bull Racing , Toro Rosso