Imagine a world where everyone is Hercules. How would you determine who the best Hercules would be? If each person had the same amazing abilities how would a clear leader ever be able to emerge?
I watched the Formula One Qualifying coverage at Abu Dhabi this past weekend and this thought came to mind. Formula One is an intense mix of companies and countries vying for the title of champion
Up to the minute breakthrough technologies push the machines to their limit while the forces of nature and the hunger for speed ouch the drivers to theirs. Each and every company from Force India to Marussia to Ferrari is easily more capable at achieving speed than most any racing organization out there. All of them grasping for that slight aero push, that half-pound of downforce, that hundredth of a second to separate them from the juggernauts they compete with – even if they are on the same team.
Mark Weber would capture the pole in AbuDhabi beating Sebastian Vettel with a time of 1:39.957s over the three-time Champion’s 1:40.759s. Roughly, that calculates to 0.802s – an eighth of a second. When you race at this level, an eighth of a second is the difference between success and failure. It is also the amount of time it takes to make (or break) a World Champion.
Some may say F1 is too technical and takes the passion out of racing. I can understand their point, it’s not seat-of-the-pants barn burning. This is more computer simulation and wind tunnel designing. Even with that, I find myself sitting on the edge of my seat, holding my breath waiting for each car to cross the line. Hey, I do that with NASCAR, NHRA and Midget Sprint Cars, too. The passion is still there, masked under computer-aided design and stone faced interviews done with any number of fluent exotic accents.
It’s great to see someone lead by a car length with a clear advantage. However, there’s something equally satisfying about seeing Thor battle the Incredible Hulk. You respect them both as Avengers but you know that your favorite hero won only by the smallest of margins. With each so capable, you forsake watching how powerful, they are for observing how clever they can be. To call out Alonzo, Sutil, Raikkonen and any other name in the paddock area is to speak of Herculean men, indeed.