Safety car the winner

So we had a situation at the weekend where Korea had done a fantastic job to finish off their brand new circuit, the crowd had turned up en masse to watch their first ever F1 Grand Prix. 600 million people tuned in worldwide to watch one of the closest championship battles in the history of the sport and then at 3pm just as the start lights should go out, they decide that actually the race will not go ahead as planned.

Why? Because it was raining!

I have attended 100`s of GP`s over the years and have photographed many wetter ones than this, but for some reason we had to start the race behind the safety car. Then stop the race 4 laps later because the wet conditions were perceived to be dangerous. We then sat around for an hour whilst the rain still came down, until finally they paraded around behind the safety car yet again and eventually got the race going in fairly similar conditions to what we had at 3pm.

If the 24 most skilled drivers in the world cannot drive in the rain, then what a mad situation we have come to.

Ok other sports are occasionally affected by the weather. Cricket stops if it gets too dark, horse racers don`t like a frost. Footballers don`t like the snow. But come on, cars are designed to be driven in the wet. Drive to the conditions, grip and visibility that you have in front of you. And if this lot can`t negotiate the first corner then how do any of us get to the shops in a downpour?

The majority of the drivers drove to the grid on their intermediate tyres, and were then seen spinning and sliding all over the place. Well of course they were. They were gambling on the chance that they could get away with the inters, but arriving on the grid and deciding that actually they needed the full wets. But by then it was too late. The world tv audience and Charlie Whiting, the race director, had seen enough and the most exciting start to a race in a long time was going to be snatched from our hands at the last second.

I have great respect for Charlie. He is in a position where he has a huge burden on his shoulders to consider the safety, and his decision should be final. But the rest of the world wants to see a motor race and that has to be considered too.

And so after all the confusion we did have a race. And what a race it was. The action was thick and fast, there was overtaking galore, enough crashes and incidents to keep the crowd on their feet. Two of the championship contenders, Mark and Seb, failed to finish, turning the table on its head. So why oh why did we manage to have a race in the dark with no headlights, but we couldn`t have a race in the rain with no windscreen wipers?

Maybe the winners trophy should have been presented to the safety car?