For the next article in the SW Sport Series, we look at Formula 1 Motor Racing and how this billion-pound industry has become so predictable.

However, before we get started, our first story in the series raised a great deal of debate (link and comments at the bottom of this article), including the question of why we are looking at global and national sporting stories in a local forum.

The answer: All debate is valid.

Our views on a local level are just as important as national discussions and, most importantly, every sport at the highest level has an impact on perception, participation and development at a grassroots level.

And when it comes motor racing, we have one of the best SW venues to enjoy the intoxicating thrills of this high-octane sport in its purest form.

Wiscombe Park, near Honiton in East Devon, is described as the premier venue in the SW for motorsport and those racing and watching this incredible sport deserve better from the billionaire corporations at the top of the sport.

From the earliest age, I was obsessed with sport, playing it, watching it, talking about it and now writing about it. It is the unpredictability of sport that makes it so fascinating. There is no script in sport and that, to me, makes it the greatest drama on Earth.

Now, I must confess to not being a petrol-head in any way. My car is a vessel to take me or the kids to the next game but, just because it isn’t my leading passion, I still have full respect for those who love their cars, bikes and machines.

Just down the road from my house, there is a chap who owns a vintage motorbike, and he loves it!

On a warm summer evening, he is often joined by other enthusiasts and their bikes, along with a bag of tools and they wear the grease on their hands with as much pride as the mud on a footballer’s knee.

There is always something to fix, nuts to tighten, screws to tweak. I don’t know whether they are preparing for a race or just loving being around their awesome machines, it is just their passion and enthusiasm I admire.

The fans who descend on Wiscombe Park share that passion and enthusiasm, because they know the competitors stretching every physical and mechanical sinew to achieve the best times on this SW track have put in countless hours of effort and love to preparing their machines for the thrill of the race.

At the very top of motorsport, the passion, enthusiasm and dedication is just the same as the local scene. But there is one major difference: the local race is unpredictable, the script unwritten, the outcome unknown.

I wrote this article on Saturday, hours before the lights went down on the Japanese Grand Prix, but I’m going to take a safe punt in saying Max Verstappen won the race in his supreme Red Bull Racing machine.

(He did win, btw!)

There will be boundless excitement and anticipation on the grid before the race, the track will be swarming with celebrities and rich people with shiny faces, pundits will weigh up the chances of all the cars in the race, and then Verstappen will win.

I’m not diminishing his talents as a driver, he is obviously supremely fit, physically and mentally, and perfectly understands every nuance of his machine. He also has an army of mechanics and team advisors steering him around the track.

However, there is a simple and unavoidable fact. Verstappen is driving the fastest car in the race!

The Japanese Grand Prix was the fourth race in the season. Verstappen won the first two, in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, but was beaten by Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari in Australia. Or, more to the point, his Red Bull conked out and Sainz stepped into the gap.

If you look at the recent history of F1, Verstappen has won the World Championship for the past three season, mainly because he had the fastest car. Lewis Hamilton won six out of the previous seven titles, because he had the fastest car. Sebastian Vettel won four in a row, because he had the fastest car, Michael Schumacher five in a row, because…you get the point.

There have been brief spells in F1 history where genuine competition and rivalries have emerged: Prost v Senna, Mansell v Piquet, Schumacher v Hill, Hunt v Lauda, but they are too few and far between.

It would never happen but how about a drawing of lots before each race to determine which drivers races in which car?

Line up the 20 drivers and the 20 cars, and draw the lots, so for today’s race, Lewis Hamilton drives the Red Bull, Carlos Sainz is in a Mercedes, Max Verstappen in the reconditioned Robin Reliant.

But why is the outcome of a virtually pre-destined race in Japan important to those committed racers and viewers at Wiscombe Park on a sunny Devon afternoon, or the petrolheads tweaking their bikes down the road?

It is because every sport thrives on the next generation, every sport needs fresh talent, and that talent is inspired by what they see on TV.

If the spectacle at the top is painfully predictable, fewer people watch the sport, fewer people want to participate in the sport, and the Wiscombe Parks of the future will suffer.

We want your views on the future of Formula 1 and Motorsport in general. Please leave your comments on our social media pages or you can email them to me on

Thank-you for the amazing response to our article on Women in Football. Please follow this link to read the story and below is a small selection of the comments we received.

“Sport is about opinions, I just don’t understand why people get so upset about pundits and commentators, male or female, they’re just talking about the game, like we all do.”

“All sport, like life, is about opinions. I think Lucy Ward is up there with Hoddle and that is why she gets so much work. There are some truly appalling male pundits and co-commentators -McManaman, Richards, Ferdinand (my opinion). I think the problem is they have brought in too many females in, too quickly to tick the boxes, that have not had the training and exposure at lower level first.”

“There is far too much wealth at the top of the men’s game and this needs to be redistributed to lower levels of football, including boys and girls grass roots levels, but also to the women’s game throughout the participation pyramid.”

Next on our list: we look at the brutal reality of boys’ Academy football?

View previous articles in our SW Sport Series archive
Women in Football
The Greatest SW Rugby Team