MAURICE HAMILTON

Caught Short


Here is an advisory note we believe to be under consideration as the result of an incident involving a driver prior to a race. Mikhail Aleshin almost missed the final round of the 2010 Formula Renault 3.5 Championship at Barcelona last October when he became locked in a toilet. Members of the Carlin team had to use a crowbar to get him out.

It has been noted that F1 drivers, having consumed enough liquid to flood the Nile Delta, take a comfort break moments before each Grand Prix. In order to control the situation and prevent mishaps, race organisers must supply, adjacent to each car on the grid, a portable toilet.

This facility must be large enough to accommodate not only the driver but also his manager and physio, without whom the driver appears unable to move throughout a race weekend.

The aforementioned companions must do their bit by attempting to wean the driver off the drinks bottle to which he is permanently attached. FIA approved dummies, tried and tested by Kimi Raikkonen, may be used but, as proved by Mr. Raikkonen's verbal responses, it is essential that these dummies be removed prior to giving interviews to the scrum of television reporters that will invariably have gathered at the lavatory door.

To cover all eventualities and as a safety precaution, drivers must prove capable of evacuating the toilet in five seconds from a seated position with their overalls round their ankles, but without head-butting the door.

Should a driver become stuck in his lavatory, the start will not be delayed. A brown flag will be displayed. The first few laps will be run behind the Sanitary Car while the driver and his companions are released and the toilet removed from the grid. A waved brown flag with yellow diagonal stripes will indicate caution is required due to officials having accidentally dropping the lavatory off the back of a rescue vehicle.

In the meantime, should a driver collide with the aforementioned lavatory, his personal toilet will be placed five kilometres from the grid at the next race. Should that driver be found relieving himself at the back of the pits, Force Manure will not be considered a reasonable excuse in any language.

A portable lavatory will henceforth be placed behind the barrier at each corner on the track. Should a driver crash at a particular corner, he will be allowed to enter the facility and hide himself away until such time as he has composed himself and feels ready to face the media. Soothing music must be played inside and a loose-leaf copy of The Racing Drivers' Book of Excuses should be hanging on the back of the door.

In the event of team-mates colliding to their mutual detriment, no team orders are permitted to determine which driver should use the toilet first. However, priority must be given to the driver who is weeping openly, stamping his feet and clearly in discomfort.

A team member rushing to the spot and throwing a box of tissues to one driver in particular will be deemed as issuing a team order. On the other hand, a message passed to either of the drivers warning of an absence of toilet tissue inside the facility will be viewed as merely an essential advisory note and therefore quite legal.

Should a driver refuse to leave the facility after the regulatory 20 minutes, the Sanitary Car will be deployed. A team of crisis councillors will be rushed to the spot and speak to the driver through the keyhole. Since the race is being televised before the 9pm watershed, other drivers are requested not to make obscene movements with either hand while passing the scene.

As a last resort, a crow bar will be used to force open the door. This crow bar must be FIA approved. (Tests with a crow bar manufactured by Red Bull Racing have proved unsatisfactory. While appearing to be strong enough when scrutineered in the pit lane, the crow bar was found to flex excessively at each end when applied in a hurry.)

It is essential that every team is provided for on the grid, particularly HRT. Under no circumstances do we wish to compound a difficult situation for this team and give unjustified reason to use to that dreadful expression: 'They haven't got a pot to piss in.'

Maurice Hamilton , a freelance motor sport writer and broadcaster since 1977, is the author of more than twenty books and contributes to websites and magazines worldwide.

His weekly column for Grandprix.com was Highly Commended in the 2011 Newspress New Media Awards.

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