Monday 13 December 2021

An F1 pundit writes

 Unquestionably that is not how you want a world championship to be decided. The procedure at the end was irregular and Mercedes are right to be feel aggrieved. Ordinarily Lewis Hamilton (who was far more gracious in defeat at the end of the season than Max Verstappen was on last week's podium, when he flounced off) would have won under the anticlimactic condition of a safety-car finish. However, Mercedes should cease with their challenges against the result and just accept what has happened. Verstappen is not an undeserved winner. He has driven well (if aggressively) throughout the season, both teams have at various times benefitted from odd decisions, and yesterday's result was always going to be on a knife-edge.


  1. I think Max is a worthy champion. Congratulations to him.

    But, this is not how it's supposed to end.

    Horner and Wolff has taken this season to new lows with mudslinging and pure psychological warfare. I don't blame Mercedes for protesting, as it seems like that has been par for course this season. The problem is race direction has enabled that.

    Michael Masi is a terrible race director. He needs to go. Whenever Wolff or Horner calls him up he changes his mind and some random spot decision happens. I think it's a disgrace.

  2. Last week's negotiations between Masi and Red Bull over a penalty was not a look good.

    I wonder if red flagging the race would have been an option? They could have cleared the mess, restarted from the grid and had five laps of pure racing.

  3. Red flagging would, as I understand it, have definitely been on the table. I don't know how experienced Masi is in terms of how long it takes to clear an incident away, and maybe he's less skilled than Charlie Whiting was at getting answers quickly from marshals etc, but this really seems like the key decision. Red flag would have allowed both to change tyres and given us a dramatic sprint to the end. Once he had failed to make that decision, what a mess he made of the rest of it. Not allowing the lapped cars to pass, then only allowing some of them thus triggering the one lap fiasco where Lewis was only going to lose unless he engineered some sort of accident was like watching the proverbial slow-motion car crash. All forgotten next year I suspect if Mercedes are as far ahead in their new-regs car as they are rumoured to be. Cheers, Rob.

  4. Yeah, you are not suppose to be able to make deals with the referee. Masi have listened too much to both Horner and Wolff, and they both are stronger than him.

    I read a commentary that said it's easy to ask for Masi's head, but who do you replace him with? I say that's totally irrelevant. The commercial enterprise who runs the show will have to figure that out. I dread a 2022 season with a race director we all know is not objective, and can be manipulated. If we no longer have the faith of a fair sport, what do we have?

    With the bonkers rule about being able to repair the car and change tires in the pitlane, that would have been a way to have the race end racing, but with equal opportunity, yes.

  5. Certainly not the way you want the last race of the season resolved, but this isn't the first time there has been controversy near the end of an F1 season. To my mind, if Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton had been better during the season, the results of this last race would be moot. But if you're not quite that good, then the questions and "what-ifs" naturally arise.

  6. Hi Alastair,
    I apologize for off topic post on your blog. I am a big fan of your talent. I’ve read most of our work with the exclusion of Poseidon's Children Series. I generally save your work for the end of the year so I can enjoy it during Christmas holidays. I recently finished your Permafrost novella which I enjoyed a lot but it left me with some questions (most of your work is crystal clear to me). I hope you can help me out to make sense of the ending. I apologize in advance for my long approach in formulating my question.
    At various points in Permafrost it is established that if something changes in the timeline, the change will affect both reality and the memory of every person. If somebody makes a change in the past, that change will alter the future, and nobody will remember the way things were before the change. Reality will always have been the way it is after the change.
    It was demonstrated this with the pen experiment (after dropping two pens, everybody remembers that two pens were always dropped, and the data shows that two pens were dropped, even though for a brief moment it showed that only one pen had been dropped), and also when Valentina breaks the MRI machine (after that the records in the future show that she had caused damage to hospital property, and that it had always been that way).
    After Antti tells Valentina that she has acquired the seeds, she also tells her not to do anything in the future that might alter what Antti has accomplished in the past. But right before the plane crash, Antti tells Valentina that she has to end it, that there's something more important than their mission, and that Permafrost can't be allowed to continue. She understands that doing so will set up a paradox and "grandfather" everything, but still she asks Valentina to destroy the time travel machines in the future. The logical thing to do would be to wait until Antti travels back to the past to set off the chain of events that leads to seed acquisition and emergency vehicle crash/rescue with subsequent plane crash. But Valentina decided to act right away and together with Cho they blow everything up. At this point in the future, Antti hasn't yet traveled back in time. So, with the machines now destroyed, she will never be able to travel back in time. Which means she will never acquire the seeds, she will never rescue Tanya/Valentina from emergency vehicle and later get in a plane with Valentina and crash land with the seeds near Permafrost leaving clues to Cho.
    And still... Nothing is grandfathered. Reality hasn’t changed. Memories aren't changed. The seeds are still present. Everything that couldn't have happened still happened.
    One can argue the delay explanation. It's made clear that there is a lag between actions causing changes, and reality catching up to get consistent again. During the two pens experiment that takes only a few minutes for that to happen, during which time Valentina is quite confused and unsure what is real.
    Once Valentina starts stopping the whole project, she is creating paradoxes left and right. Changing the future, changing the past, changing the future that will be changing the past. Reality slowly changes, but because of the lag that is mentioned, is not consistent during the change. She even has contact with the past when all machines that should enable that are destroyed. But even with this approach the seeds eventually should disappear once reality catches up to all the changes made as these seeds will never be acquired by Antti in the past. By the way Valentina never checks the presence of seeds; we only know that there is a container that according to Antti has seeds. The fact that Valentina is able to reach the container and Tanya’s body shows that she is holding objects that should not exist in the first place which creates an interesting time paradox.
    Would you be so kind to clarify the confusion I have with Antti not being able to acquire the seeds, rescue Valentina from emergency vehicle and fly her to crash site?

  7. Hi Andrey, good to hear from you. I appreciate your fine-grained analysis of the end of Permafrost. I must admit, for better or for worse, I try to steer clear from explaining, or attempting to explain, my own stories. I don't mind coming back after a few years and offering my own take on what I might have been thinking, but that's slightly different than commenting on a piece that's still relatively fresh.

    That said, if I had to offer a resolution to the above, I might suggest that events are still in flux when we leave the story, and that after the various paradoxes have rattled up and down the timeline, Valentina might end up remembering a different set of narrative events that still lead to her being on the ice with Tanya. However the main thing for me was that I wanted to end the story on that image of them finding each over.

  8. The US cover art for Eversion is on Amazon...