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F1: Constructors’ championship tenth place travesty by Mathias Olaf Uncertain
27th Nov 2013
Both Catercousins in their usual positions on track: ahead of both Motherfuckers
Both Catercousins in their usual positions on track: ahead of both Motherfuckers
Banbury-based Anglo-Russian squad Motherfucker have been awarded tenth place in the official F1™ constructors’ championship, reputedly worth around $13million in prize money, leaving Leafield-based Anglo-Malaysian Catercousin with no prize money at all¹, despite all the objective evidence available demonstrating without doubt that the latter were the better team.

Allow us to demonstrate, firstly by reference to the fact that Catercousin convincingly secured the coveted official² FIEh? 2013 F1D3³ Constructors' Championship in Austin, with 653 points to their rivals’ 613, and finally finishing the season 30 points ahead.

The F1D3 World Championships are open to any Formula 1 team or its drivers (as applicable) should the team fail to trouble the scorers in the relevant year. For the 2013 season, points have been awarded on the usual scale of 25-18-15-12-... and that has been as far as it has got since Millions scored their first point in Hungary. Positions are recorded regardless of whether the race was actually finished, and championship points may subsequently be adjusted in the event that any team does succeed in troubling the genuinely official FIEh? F1™ World Championship scorers.

In all honesty, the F1D3 championships are inevitably close, mathematically speaking, because with only two competing teams the maximum score differential in any race is only 16 points, and 2013 was an uncannily close season as a result of the competitiveness of each “new” team’s number one driver. And the F1D3 championship is also slightly artificial for a number of reasons, including inter alia the fact that officially-unclassified finishes and DNFs are counted for points. So it might be worth looking at some other more compelling evidence.

Why Motherfucker allegedly deserved 10th place
The black-and-red team were awarded 10th place in the constructors’ championship on the basis of section 7.2 of the F1’s so-called “sporting” regulations, which say that in the event of a tie on points in the championship (in this case, nul points), then the higher place in the championship will be awarded to the team that hold the greatest number of first places, or, if the number of first places is the same (in this case, yes, none), then the number of second places, and “so on until a winner emerges”. (This provision appears to outweigh the seemingly infinitely more appropriate in the circumstances of equal tenth place in the championship application of section 7.1: “Prizes and points awarded for all the positions of competitors who tie, will be added together and shared equally.”)

Applying the provisions of section 7.2 leads us all the way down to 13th place in a single race (Malaysia), secured by Jules Blankcheque. You might argue that thirteenth place at Malaysia in a Motherfucker was a fantastic achievement, and hence the team thoroughly deserve their 10th place in the constructors’ championship and the $13million prize money it brings, and Catercousin deserve nothing, niente, nada because they didn’t ever come even close to matching this outstanding result.

Really? What do the stats really tell us?
Well, we’re glad you asked that. We really are.

Let’s start by looking at that result in Malaysia shall we? Jules Blankcheque finished in his championship-winning 13th place as a result of beating, fairly and squarely, all his “new” team competitors, of course, but was this single performance really worthy of securing $13million of prize money for his team, and, importantly, denying any of this prize to Catercousin? Not really.

He finished in 13th place in a race in which six competitors failed to finish (the second highest attrition rate in 2013, after Monaco, when the seven retirements included Pique and Blankcheque). Had those competitors all finished the race, he would have finished in (13 plus 6) nineteenth place: the default position for the top car in F1D3.

Would it be reasonable to assume that Blankcheque would have finished ahead of any of those other cars on track? No. On the evidence of every other race in 2013 they would not have, and at Malaysia in particular, all of the retirees either retired from positions in front of the Motherfucker, or, in the case of the hapless Farce Indias were out of position after pitstops before their nuts fell off.

That’s all very well, of course, but it is in the nature of Formula 1, and motorsport in general, that reliability should be rewarded, and the Motherfucker was a reliable car, with only three retirements and with Paris Chilton famously the only rookie driver to have been classified in every race. Which is fair enough, but should reliability alone win prize money when all the other available statistical evidence suggests that the less reliable team actually performs better - performs so much better, in fact, that its lesser reliability is more than compensated for in terms of race performance, just not at the race with the greatest number of retirees out of the teams in front?

Here are some stats, in addition to the F1D3 results referred to above.

Stat the first, part one: A Catercousin driver finished ahead of both Motherfucker drivers (i.e. “won” the “new teams” race) 11 times, to Motherfucker’s eight. Part b: Similarly, the team in green came second twelve times to their rivals’ seven.

Stat the second: Both Catercousins finished ahead of both Motherfuckers five times - a feat the Motherfuckers never reciprocated.

Stat the thrid: Only two drivers out of the “new teams” finished ahead of any other car on track during the 2013 season. They were the Catercousins.

At Bahrain, Charles Pique beat the Sober of Electric Guitarist. Although the Mexican had started at the back of the grid with a five place penalty, and had an early collision that forced him to pit, iSprout considered that the pace of the Sober should have been sufficient to get past the Catercousin. Indeed, Pique actually overtook the Sober on lap 13, and Guitarist spent 26 laps of the race just behind Pique and unable to overtake, but this was not down to the effects of the earlier collision, as Guitarist demonstrated the potential for better lap times and straight-line speed throughout the race.

Later in the year, at Spa, Greedo van der Cantina beat 2012 Spanish GP winner Pastor Maldonarsehole, who had, admittedly, had a bit of a coming together with Paul di Other-One but still, frankly, should have been able to keep the Catercousin behind him, but for what appears to have been a good pitstop strategy by the green team. Again, Maldonado was not suffering from the outcome of his collision, as he was still demonstrating better straight-line speed and lap times.

Just for the record, neither Motherfucker ever finished ahead of anyone other than a Catercousin on track during 2013, and, just to rub it in, they even failed to finish ahead of a Catercousin more often than a Catercousin finished ahead of them.

Rant conclusion
Is Motherfucker’s performance in 2013 really worth $13million more that Catercousin’s? We would say “mos def not” (something we usually say only in response to the question “who should play Ford Prefect in a disappointing motion picture adaptation of the greatest work of fiction of all time?”).

Although, to be honest, you might ask whether Catercousin’s performance was really worth $13million either, especially when ninth-placed Millions only get about another $3.5million, despite their actual points haul and the fact that, when all’s said and done, they pretty much always finished ahead of both of the “new” teams, and frequently ahead of other teams too.

And this is where we come back to the so-called “sporting” regulations, and in particular section 7.1: “Prizes and points awarded for all the positions of competitors who tie, will be added together and shared equally.” They finished in joint 10th place. What’s wrong with that? After all, if you average out all of the actual objective positions in which each team finished in every race, Catercousin and Motherfucker both finished on average in exactly 17.894th position.

Slice the pie and eat the rich, brothers!

¹ From 2010 to 2012, by special arrangement, appropriately with XXX Mosley, teams falling outside the top 10 were awarded $10million in booby prize money. So Max did do something worthwhile and/or respectable during his presidency.
² This is a lie.
³ F1 Division 3.

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KEY TO SERIES NAMES (hovering over the abbreviations in the table above also shows the full series name)
EF3F3 Euroseries
Amalgam of french and German F3 premier leagues, which has cheekily been challenging British F3's supremacy.
F1Formula 1
The world's most prominent, most expensive and frequently most tedious single-seater series.
FFEFIA Formula E
All-electric single seater racing series. Sounds like a swarm of angry wasps.