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Consider, if You Will…

Probably about seventy-five percent of my thinking is done either in the shower or on my way to and from the PATH station. Raw ideas tend to take shape during the walk; idea refinement and articulation happens in the shower. Oftentimes, the raw ideas aren’t particularly worthy of refinement or articulation, and they’re either filed away or discarded. And then sometimes, I’ll just regurgitate them, unfiltered, on this blog.

A lot of those “raw ideas” would be better described as “fantasies,” I’ll admit. Friday, I had one that was a culmination of various stories I’d read about Barcelona and earlier preseason testing, especially triggered by this story. It seems everyone believes Red Bull is sandbagging right now — but how much? Exactly how good is the RB7?

Take a look at this video James Allen posted on Sunday. It’s an interview with Mark Webber. I’d like to direct your attention to his face when Allen asks him about testing and how good the car is. Looking at Mark Webber is never a chore, but here it provides some additional fodder for this fantasy of mine. Could he be putting more effort into containing his glee? He wants to be all, “AHAHAHA OUR CAR RULES SO HARD! IN YOUR FACE!” but he knows he can’t! Not yet! Got to keep some semblance of a poker face while talking to the journo!

In my fantasy, by midseason, we’ll be able to look back on this video and laugh. Perhaps we’ll marvel a little at Mark’s ability to maintain his composure the way he does. Because little does anyone other than the Red Bull team members themselves know that the RB7 actually performs A LOT LIKE THIS:


What will happen during Friday practice in Australia a few weeks from now? Will Red Bull keep sandbagging a bit, for maximum dramatic effect? Maybe they’ll even let someone else snag the fastest practice lap time and, therefore, the headlines. I imagine it being Fernando Alonso. He’ll refuse to indulge the media by seeming as confident as they want him to seem, because he can sense that something is up. There’s something different about that RB7.

And then qualifying. BAM. Now, lapping at its full speed, the RB7 is a god among cars. Its engine noise is heavenly music like nothing ever heard before. It streaks around Albert Park so blindingly fast that spectators are left without much more than an impression that something blue and red has been within their field of vision, but the brain doesn’t have quite enough time to interpret it as car shaped. The other teams watch with their mouths hanging open in awe tinged with sadness. Sebastian Vettel’s final qualifying time is 1:10.344; Mark Webber’s is 1:10.505.

It will be all over the news — not just F1 news. Not even just sports news. Newspaper headlines will read,


The car will be scrutinized down the the last molecule, yet it will be found to conform to the regulations in every way. As quickly as Martin Whitmarsh can think of other parts of the car that might be illegal, Red Bull offers them up for inspection, and they pass with flying colors. So how is it possible? What manner of devil magic has Adrian Newey summoned to be embodied in this fearsome car? It will all be so fascinating and mysterious that countless new fans will be sucked into the sport, including here in America — and soon, half the people I know will want to get together for breakfast and grand prix viewing. A CRAZE WILL SWEEP THE NATION.

Yeah, okay, I know — that fantasy got a little too crazy at the end, there. But you have to admit that the rest of it seems totally feasible!


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