So what the hell? Reaction to the engine thing. What is the problem? I must be missing it. Actually, I'm not missing it. I just disagree with some of it.
In the beginning, we (including me) were all really really no fire about engine competition. Three engine companies doing their own thing without colluding will help break up the Festival of Sameness that has plagued IndyCar for FIVE YEARS or more. Awesome. Massive cheering.
So we get competition. And -- shocker of shockers -- one engine (Chevy) is better than the rest right out of the gate (Honda and Lotus) and one engine is a pig (Lotus). Plus, Honda wants to tweak their turbo (is that part of "the engine" or not? DISCUSS) and Chevy protests. Hearing set for today.
Suddenly for many (but by no means all) fans this is HORRIBLE! Huh? Did I miss something. John Barnes (@Jbindy4) of Panther tweets: “@Jbindy4: Today is the day to resolve TURBOGATE! I hope @indcar gets their act together. It has been embarrassing.”
Insert me rubbing my eyes and adjusting my monitor here. And tilting my head like my dog, Chester, does when he is trying to understand what I am saying. I'm not even sure what John is saying is embarassing.
John Barnes is by no means the only person making strange statements. I've had many fans who are aghast at the events. Oh, I GET why some people are suddenly at the negative pole from engine competition, but I don't agree.
Here's why: as Danica Patrick says (and one of my favorite racing quotes of all time) "This isn't miniature golf." That is such excellent shorthand for don't bring a lawn chair to a knife fight. Which I just made up and means "don't expect comfortable entertainment at a brawl." I'm reminded of stories of early battles in the Civil War where the aristocracy packed a lunch, dressed in their finest complete with parasols and took their carriages and wagons out to the fields to watch a battle. What a gay (as in happy) occasion! Martha, you simply must come along; it will be such fun spectacle.
And then when actual war broke out and rifle fire started whizzing over their heads and the ruffians refused to kill each other only in the designated area -- when shit got re-al -- the comfortable spectators had to flee for their lives.
THIS is competition. This is what it looks like. I recognize it immediately and have no issue at all. In fact, I think it's all rather interesting. What did we think it was going to be? Representatives from Lotus, Chevy and Honda meeting at the gentleman's club for brandy and cigars? Popping 'round for a rubber of bridge? Saying, "I say old man, bad show on the turbo, what? Poor form." Or far worse yet, it all play out in SECRET so we needn't be discomforted by it?
Hahahahaha. We love competition -- just as long as it's PG and it doesn't get sordid. As long as nobody gets angry. Seem to want competition, kind of, so long as it's not too intense, and nobody loses too badly, poor dears. More of a "friendly competition" vibe.
Among engine makers? Coffee spew. Not going to happen. I'm just a little surprised at some of the reaction to the knife fight. Any time you have competition you're going to have winners AND losers. And sometimes you'll have BIG LOSERS. If that's an issue, don't seek competition.
I hear the argument that if one engine company gets issued a beatdown so frequently they'll leave. Yeah, that's an issue. BUT IndyCar includes a regulation where mid-season engine makers can come out with new, tweaked up engines, to try and adjust themselves. Maybe there needs to be more of those points in the season (after one third and two thirds, maybe). The idea is to avoid 2005 when Chevy and Toyota were so mercilessly beaten by Honda that they left.
Honestly, though, there's only so much you can do. Especially early on in the start of competition when it's all so new. And the reason for competition is to introduce variables so that, perhaps, the same exact two teams with same exact drivers don't win (seemingly) 95% of the races. (Put your calculators away, I know it's not REALLY 95%, to me it just seems like it.)
As for now, I think the conflict is interesting. Look at the news buzz it's generating. The appeal that's being heard today that John Barnes finds embarrassing I find interesting. This kind of stuff happens annually in F1 when one team protests a new gizzmo that another team has, and fans lap it up. Debate and react to it. Love it. It's interesting, not embarrassing. There's a dispute, IndyCar has a process to resolve the dispute, professional. What's the issue?
Here's the issue: IndyCar is it's too tame and too gentlemanly and lady-like. All so vanilla and harmonious. Blah. I don't want brawls in the pits, but come on. Some animosity is a good thing. Rivalry, even bitter rivalry, is a good thing. Remember when Danica Patrick and Dan Wheldon went nose-to-nose after Danica thought Dan wrecked her at Milwaukee? THAT WAS AWESOME. Nobody swung. I don't think anyone even used F-words. We got great pictures and video (which TV used a billion times in promos), Wheldon said "That's just Danica being Danica" and a man and a woman went nose to nose in conflict and it was righteously gender-neutral. GOD I miss that.
I am OK with drivers who really don't like each other, and don't do a lot to hide the fact. As long as it doesn't get personal or ugly, I'm fine. Again, nobody wants violence or potentially swerving at each other on the track, but I seriosuly doubt IndyCar drivers would come to that. A "I really just don't like that guy/girl" attitude is highly encouraged.
Otherwise, let's all have tea and crumpets and discuss this fair weather we're having tea and crumpets.