Fox (n): carnivore of genus vulpes; crafty person; scavenger; (vb) to confuse; -ed (adj): to be drunk.
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Wednesday 26 October 2011

Necessity is the mother of invention.

I AM always in two minds about Formula 1.

Firstly it's just cars going round in a circle, which however fast they do it is quite boring, and I'd be much more engaged if they either went cross-country, had someone riding shotgun or tried doing the M25 on a wet Wednesday evening.

Secondly the most interesting stuff about F1 always happens off the track. The drivers, the models, the technology. It's thanks to F1's innovations and perfection of existing tech that the rest of us have access to anti-lock braking systems in our own cars, carbon fibre-bodies, shock absorbers, improved suspension and tyres. F1 also gave us carbon-composite seats in military vehicles to protect soldiers from bullets and shockwaves, better wheelchairs, patient health sensors, pit-stop style intensive care procedures.

Do you remember the Beagle lander? The British-designed exploration vehicle we sent to Mars and promptly lost? Well, it was covered in a heat-resistant material originally designed to protect F1 car exhaust pipes. Wherever the Beagle lander is, it didn't burn up on the way there.

This year F1 cars will start using flywheels in their engines, which will capture energy created by braking so it can be used later for acceleration. They can trap enough power to get a normal road car from 0 to 46mph, and now commercial manufacturers are looking at ways to include it in new cars to conserve fuel for the rest of us.

Of course we'll be waiting a long time for F1 to come up with a decent windscreen wiper, which is why they're still made of rubber and squeak like they're on a Model T Ford.

But against all these gains is one dreadful cost. It's not the petrochemicals, it's not the carbon footprint, it's not even Jeremy Clarkson.

It's the double-headed hydra of Tamara and Petra Ecclestone, the two vacuous, rage-inducing spawn of F1 boss Bernie to whom we are subjected on what seems like an almost-daily basis. Today the elder of these gorgons of gluttony has posed in a magazine amid, at a conservative estimate, £200,000-worth of shoes, handbags and associated designer garishness, none of which is tasteful enough to be worn down Wigan High Street even if you had the cash.

Let's not mention the thoughtlessness which made this sound like a good idea when unemployment's spiralling, belts have been tightened beyond endurance and even the Business Secretary 'forgets' to pay his full tax bill.

Let's not even quibble the fact that the daughter of a billionaire who calls herself a TV presenter and seems intent on making a career out of having no need for one has a lot of shoes. I have a lot of shoes and if I had a billionaire for a dad I'm fairly sure I'd have even more of them, and a walk-in closet to put them in.

No, let's shake our heads and gnash our teeth and rend our clothing over the fact this prime candidate for the first human attempts to colonise another planet has FIFTEEN PAIRS OF UGG BOOTS.

I mean, once you've got the brown and the black and a pair customised with purple crystals spelling out your name WHAT THE HELL ELSE IS LEFT?

Tamara says: "People think I'm a spoilt rich girl, but I want to demonstrate that I am more than just the daughter of someone famous."

I wish you the best of luck with that one, love.

As for me, I'm building you a rocket.