A tangle of thoughts fidgets in my mind after the nothingness of Spa: I can't gather them in a braid, but I can't even untangle them. The day after does not help, and the great shame continues to stand out, tinging with red a dark rancour, gloomy like the sky of the Ardennes. No winner, not even moral, and one big loser: F1. So all that remains to do is to rewind the tape ignoring the sordid havoc, to return to the events of Saturday, when the track was at the center of the scene, despite various and understandable controversies.
To tell, to argue or simply to comment is difficult after this insanely dismembered weekend, whose bizarre amputation followed the pattern of torture. It was not a question of saving what can be saved, but of waiting indefinitely, with a ruthless masochism, for the surrender of an enemy impossible to beat. History has taught us that Spa-Francorchamps, under certain circumstances, can be pure ecstasy or an unfortunate massacre.
There are no middle ways and looking for them is only the result of a pusillanimous attitude. Acting or not acting promptly in F1 can make the difference for those twenty guys who would like to give us only challenges and who instead find themselves begging - unheard - for the end of the game. But the great puppeteers pretend they don't know.
Show must go on and, if there is a good accident to celebrate, what could be better? We don't want to miss the wonderful opportunity of a new Spa '98, right? Forgetting respect for what happened two years ago, despite it being a sunny Sunday. Because the photos of Charles and Pierre, with their moving pilgrimage and the bouquets of flowers, are just a means to attract easy consents, apparent-goodness for use and consumption of F1 2.0 likes.
But Sebastian disagrees, it's from him that we hear the first and the most vehement 'no'. Vettel, an experienced driver, very skilled in the wet, is clamoring for a red flag that takes too long to arrive. It comes 'when the omelette is done' and Norris' McLaren looks like a beaten egg. An unlit cigarette butt, a maimed body after the violence of an impact that had to be - and could have been - avoided.
Fortunately Lando is fine, but Vettel does not know and wants to understand immediately the conditions of his colleague. To make sure he approaches his car at the wreck of the McLaren and waits for the sign from the boy, which is not long in arriving. No words are needed, in that case. A lot of them are needed to comment on what happened and Sebastian does not censor them, on the contrary, he adds to the dose. It is not possible to risk so much, ignoring the opinion of those who know the pitfalls of the track, of those who can avoid the specter of a tragedy.
The German knows that none of them would hold back, he understands the pilots' instinct, he reads the gaze hidden under their visor. Prudence is a word that does not belong to the vocabulary of Lando or George, ready to push hard against all logic and common sense, in order not to miss their first great opportunity. For this the blessed red flag should have appeared a moment before.
F1 drivers are not gladiators to be sent into the lion arena. They feed themselves to the beasts that represent their own demon. This is why we need a directive from above. And for those who want risk knights back, I allow myself to give them some fraternal advice: woe to misrepresent reality. There have been crazy and ferocious years in which every race was an arm wrestling with death, in which team mates, opponents, friends, fell on the circuits like soldiers on the battlefields.
And a certain distorted narrative has fueled the idea that they were bold, unaware boys, ready to mock the black lady. Nothing more wrong. They brought death next to themselves, respected it and feared it. They fought it with awareness and without fear of admitting their fear. They always ran, despite everything, as they were allowed to do so. They ran alongside black sheets or under the torrential downpour, but never forgetting their fragility.
Sebastian is well aware of this, he knows F1 history like no other driver. For this reason, his words and his gesture take on the meaning of a warning, the urgency of a radical change, to be implemented obviously in the appropriate places, but also and above all in the mentality of some fans. Vettel, with his spontaneous participation, gave us the measure of how thin the line is between risk and tragedy, between error and fatality.
For this reason, rather than celebrating him as he actually deserves, we will mainly have to limit ourselves to listening to him. To listen to him and all the drivers saying 'no'. Because that 'no' does not mean cowardice, but only represents the greatest act of love and trust in this sport.
F1-Autore: Veronica Vesco – @VeronicagVesco
Translation by: Patrizia Campanella
Foto: Aston Martin Cognizant Team F1, F1