According to the NHS, nearly half of all women will have at least one urine infection during their lifetime. It’s far less common in men, where only one in every 2,000 will ever develop a UTI. It’s something to do with the subtle differences in the plumbing ‘downstairs’, apparently…
Lucky ol’ me, I won the UTI jackpot a few weeks ago and, whilst it wasn’t in the slightest bit life threatening, it was an inconvenience as I was spending more time in the toilet than anywhere else.
There is a point to all this before you dash off and read something else. It made me realise just how much more demanding Formula 1 is to watch this year than ever before. The action has at times been so frenzied that if you leave the room for a moment, it’s often not a case of missing something – you might not be able to even pick up where the race is.
My dalliance with bacteria in the bladder just so happened to occur during the Turkish Grand Prix, a race that featured an unbelievable 82 pitstops and a silly amount of passing manoeuvres all thanks to this DRS business.
Now I’m no fan of DRS. Fundamentally it means that not all cars are operating to the same rules at all times, and in grand prix racing that surely should be the case. And yet, the other recent changes – Pirelli rubber and the return of KERS – have also improved the racing, of that there is no doubt. As a consequence, strategy is more important than ever before, but that of course is conducted behind closed doors.
And therein lies the reason why I won’t be attending this year’s British Grand Prix: the plight of the spectator.
It has always been the case that the TV audience has a better chance of understanding what is going on in a race than the fans do around the track. Formula 1 and motor racing in general have never really been good spectator sports (NASCAR aside), but what chance do the race-going public have this year when they can’t even see the DRS zone(s) and have only the PA system – competing against the sound of the cars – to be informed?
Spectators have nearly always been neglected. They pay a lot of money to go and watch a race and as such they deserve first-class amenities. They should also be able to receive information as good as TV viewers get without having to fork out the best part of £60 to gawp at a Fanvision unit. More TV screens, free handsets – is this too much to ask? Seeing as the venues have difficulty affording to run a grand prix, it probably is. And the money generated only seems to go in one direction…
What is also somewhat galling is the appearance of the new Wing complex at Silverstone – it compounds my theory that precious little is being done for the spectator at the track. Whilst the building is certainly impressive, what’s in it for the great unwashed? It’s only for those in the paddock or those who form part of Formula 1’s equivalent of the ‘prawn sandwich brigade’ in the Paddock Club.
Surrounded by a legion of jobsworths, nobody will be able to get anywhere near it all weekend. It’s also completely ruined what used to be a sublime view from Stowe down to Club and, along with the revised layout, has sucked almost all of the character from Silverstone and made it feel alien.
I don’t for one moment begrudge them for constructing such a mammoth building as without it there would probably be no further grands prix at Silverstone to even spectate on. I do, however, believe that somewhere down the line someone is royally taking the Mickey at the spectators’ expense, and it doesn’t take a detective to realise who that individual may be…
If you are one of the many who will be waddling along with their coolboxes this weekend at the home of British motorsport I genuinely hope you enjoy it. I doubt I’ll be joining any of you trackside until it stops being comparatively poor value for money, and there’s more chance of me levitating one of the teams’ transporters to the top of the Silverstone Wing than that happening anytime soon.
So until that unlikely day comes, when someone makes going to a grand prix a more appealing experience, I’ll almost certainly continue to watch Formula 1 live on the TV. A rare example of when it is better to watch something on the box than actually being there.