Monday, May 23, 2005

The Flying Finn

I haven't had much to say lately (count your blessings), but as anyone who even remotely knows me knows, I am a absolutely nuts about Formula 1 racing. Every other Sunday from March to October you'll find me in front of the big screen, sitting, pacing, gnawing at my fingernails, as I watch the WORLD'S BEST automobile racers drive the WORLD'S BEST automobiles around the WORLD'S BEST racing circuits. It is a world sport that most Americans pay no attention to, preferring instead to watch normally-aspirated Ford Taurus' chase Chevy Monte Carlo's around and around and around some oval for 3 or 4 hours. Please shoot me first.

Anyway, at 7:00 a.m. yesterday I was ready to go, coffee and bunny slippers and the greatest race of them all about to begin, the Grand Prix of Monaco (That's where "Monte Carlo" is, NASCAR fans). Kimi Raikkonen, the young Finn whose unshakable nerve (and seeming inability to crack a smile) has earned him the monicker "Iceman" led pole to pole in a mad dash through the winding streets of the town. Good stuff, this, as I am a fan of the Mercedes-McLaren team for which he drives.

What prompts this post, however, is this news item about how this world reknown race driver got ticketed in his home country for, get this, driving a car and trailer without a proper license.
I kid you not. Not only that, but check out the fine! 30, 000 Euros, which in real money is $37,659.00. That is because Finland charges fines based upon your income.

At first I thought "Goddamn Socialists!" But the more I think about it, I wonder. I mean, if a $10,000 fine for flipping the bird to a fan doesn't faze a professional sports idiot, is a $150 dollar fine for speeding in a school zone going to slow the moron down?* What if instead the court took 10% of the offender's monthly income, minimum $150? Losing 10% of your income would get most people's attention, and discourage behavior that society has determined is potentially dangerous.

What do you think?

* A young school girl was struck and killed by a speeding hit and run driver the other day after getting off her school bus. They caught the driver. She is 19 years old and her life is already over.
Slow the hell down people.


KJ said...

Go with your first instincts. Friggin' socialists. The fine should reflect some cost/benefit analysis of the potential harm and activity(risk on incident caused by violation times damage of average incident). Then everyone should pay the same -- they cause the same risk and same damage.


I'm no expert on NASCAR or F1, but it seems to me that F1 is just the car junkies soccer. Oh, you stupid Americans with your crude "football" -- just don't appreciate the real "futball."

Besides, having the pole in F1 is pretty much a guaranteed win isn't it? I'll bet the pole means more in F1 than in NASCAR or Cart Racing. F1 cars are so jet engine like that passing is nearly impossible on the winding road courses -- from what I've read. But I'm not taking sides -- just asking.

KJ said...

Not to mention that UK's most famous fan, Ashley Judd, is married to an F1 driver.

portia said...

Welcome back. Boy, this season is heating up nicely, and not a Schumacher on the podium since last year. Very fun race yesterday. Two in a row for Kimi. and you have JUAN PABLO too (call me a G-I-R-L). Makes me think I switched teams precipitously after suffering through McLaren's broken engine syndrome last year. What can I say, Jarno turned my head...and my tires :)

Kimi driving without a proper license? DOes he even need a license? Anyway, I'm all for the hefty income-based fine. Let's start with the drunk drivers. A few years ago, Guiliani tried to impound the cars of drunk drivers but lost that effort after NY Civil Liberties took it to court. So I say if we can't take their cars let's take their cash, and hit 'em where it hurts so they maybe they'll stop hurting.

Besides having the pole in Fi is pretty much a guaranteed win isn't it?
KJ, in Monte Carlo most definitely, given how difficult it is to pass. Spd can probably offer percentages but pole position doesn't guarantee a win especially after new regulations affecting tires and engines went into effect, and the whole circuit is up for grabs. As best I can tell, this season pole position means that driver has best car for that race. But what do I know I'm still a G-I-R-L :)

spd rdr said...

Yes, Portia, Kimi needs a license; it's called a "Formula 1 Super License." As only about 25-30 guys in the world hold them, you've got to be pretty damned good to get one. Word is out that California native and eponymously namedScott Speed may take the chair for the Red Bull Team as earlier as Canada, but for sure by Indianpolis. It'll be good to have an American driver back on the F1 Circuit. But please, no Michael Andretti clones. Please.

As far as the pole position goes, it's hard to get, but it's definately a factor at some circuits, such as Monaco, where passing is at a premium. Other tracks, such as Nurbergring (Don't forget, it NEXT weekend) offer more opportunities. But, as Fernando Alonso found out yesterday, having to run the same tires through qulaifying and the entire race means you've got to drive carefully. He was sitting pretty in second place for nearly the whole race until his rears lost their grip and he got overtaken in the same chicane by not just one, but BOTH Williams BMW's, the second it it TWICE after Alonso cut the chicane to advance his position. Good racing there.

Kj makes a good argument as to the fines being linked to the harm/risk, and under no circumstances am I advocating that the law's punishment should be different for different classes of individuals. But look at it another way. Today is "DL Day" at the rdr's; my third daughter gets her official license and she doesn't need her father along for the ride. But if she gets caught speeding, the court takes her license back for a year. This is a preventative measure insofar as it scares the kids silly (we hope) and helps keep them alive until they really learn how to drive. These children are treated differently because a) they are children, and b) driving is a privilege, rather than a right. Now, if the punishment for abusing this privilege can be different for one class of drivers based upon age, why can't the punishment for others been based upon income?
Goddamn socialists.

portia said...

I never heard of F1 One Super License. What does Super License get you? Off the hook in Finland?

Scott Speed . Can't beat that name. Maybe it will help on home turf...easy name to remember, easy to pronounce, and he not talk funny like the others. Is it a "done deal" Spd or does Speed have to do something to qualify as a third driver?

Congrats on DL Day. Five down, one more to go. Oh by the way, your insurance agent would like to buy you a beer.