Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
• Hamilton 1.90
• Rosberg 2.10
• Vettel 13.00
The Formula One season comes to a belated end this weekend as the circus heads for Abu Dhabi with the championship all wrapped up for both drivers and constructors and the winners, Mercedes, already eyeing up next year’s trophy. Their form means they’re favorites already and that could make it dull viewing, so perhaps what F1 needs right now is one of those sports scandals that are rocking the rest of the competitive world.
Everyone in athletics is as high as a kite pretty much constantly according to WADA, footballers are jacking themselves with god knows what according to Arsene Wenger, and Tyson Fury thinks there’s so many drugs in boxing that they should legalize them just to level the playing field in the ring. Seb Coe is being investigated for connections with Nike, Platini and Blatter are both looking at life bans, and Tiger Woods still can’t shake off his Lothario reputation, or poor form. Sports scandals are everywhere.
Everywhere but Formula One.
It’s tricky making people traveling an inch or so off the ground at 200mph boring but Formula One has managed it as those that like to bet on sports in Finland can confirm. An over-arching fixation with safety after the death of Ayrton Senna has slowly eroded Formula One (which in of itself is a sports scandal) leaving a competition between garage mechanics who are only as good as their budgets, and drivers who are all pretty much clones of each other in differently hued and sponsor-emblazoned romper suits.
The concentration required to race F1 now no higher than in years gone by, but the pressure from big money team sponsors mean that all the character has been beaten out of the drivers, the sponsors want a polite smiling automaton before the cameras and an robotic organic machine in the car’s cockpit. Young men at the peak of physical fitness and mental fixation with driving, perfect for driving high performance machines and winning races but absolutely useless for generating sports scandals and F1 needs one right now.
Rise Of The Robots
With audience numbers slipping a sports scandal could boost interest and give the sport a bit more of the texture it has been lacking. James Hunt and Gerhard Berger might have said the odd inopportune thing before the press, and indeed perhaps not always won as often as they should, but they were great advertisements for a suave and sophisticated sport, the sort where you might expect James Bond to step tux-and-all into a team’s car and race. But with these drivers? It seems unlikely.
This is a sport in which Lewis Hamilton is a super-star and regarded by Bernie Ecclestone and the powers that be as a great advertisement for the sport. He (apparently) parties hard and then goes out and wins, how great is that? But whereas you can picture the old time drivers getting drunk, ravishing a grid girl in a jacuzzi and stumbling into the pits for qualifying hungover, can you really picture Hamilton doing the same? Posing a bit at an expensive club then going home to play X-box, yes. Sports scandal making orgies? No.
Of course if you were Finnish gambling laws of nature would eventually cause Kimi Raikkonen’s mouth to say something explosive and create a sports scandal in F1 you’d be severely disappointed. His poor results at Ferarri have somewhat knocked the wind from his sails and the once sarcastic and laconic answers he’d assail the press with are the thing of legend not pre-or-post race interviews now, which is a shame. Just another small erosion of F1’s character.
Sports Scandal In Formula One? I Should Coco!
You only have to look at Valtteri Bottas’ face for a moment to know you’re not going to get a sports scandal out of the other Finnish Formula One driver on the grid, the baby-faced gurning grin just not the sort you’d see associated with the sort of scandal F1 needs. A driver needs to be caught by the press doing something inappropriate, you know, caught in a Costa Rica brothel hotel with six prostitutes, a huge plate of coke and a Premier League footballer’s wife chained to a radiator…..that sort of thing.
Sadly it won’t happen the sport is all about money now not character, which gently brings us back from pipe dreams of sports scandals in F1 to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marine Circuit, a track about which Kimi Raikkonen once memorably said “The first few turns are quite good but the rest of it is shit.” We won’t even get started on the pit-exit tunnel, which is not so much a scandal as an extra little challenge in F1’s final race that, like Singapore, is a evening race.
ComeOn! Sportsbook has all the odds and gambling news for Formula One (although not on there being a sports scandal in F1 any time soon) with Lewis Hamilton getting 1.90 in Abu Dhabi, Nico Rosberg right behind him on 2.10, the Ferrari of Sebastien Vettel gets 13.00 to win with teammate Raikkonen back on 26.00 the same as Daniel Ricciardo with youth Max Verstappen getting 29.00. Should you bet on anyone but a Mercedes? Of course not. This is Formula One.