I have had quite a few comments and emails etc regarding my piece about the Fiesta Junior championship and the huge crashes that have happened in that and other junior championships so I thought I would give my thoughts on the matter.
We had a dog once, he was a rescue dog, lovely animal but a bit of a handful. He was generally naughty and had a propensity for embarrassing us with certain unwanted male dog activities. He calmed down immensely once the vet had cut his balls off, he became much calmer, more easily controlled and generally nicer to have around.
His problem, as it turned out, was that he had teenager syndrome where testosterone was flowing freely but he had no experience of how to control it. Humans are still basically cave men and once puberty is reached and the external genitalia takes over the brain's responsibility for rational thought all sorts of things happen. The first of those things is that the typical young male wants to shag anything that moves, if that can't be found something that doesn't move will do just fine. The second thing is that they get the desire to succeed and be really good at something to stand a far better chance of shagging something worth shagging.
This is all perfectly normal and exactly how nature intended it but once petrol becomes involved it can cause a few problems, I believe this is what we have seen so many times in these various feeder championships. The desire to win is sometimes so great that rational thought goes out the window and carnage quickly ensues.
Last Saturday of 23 cars that started the race only 9 finished, this was a 15 minute race, although it ended up being an awful lot longer than that with the number of damaged cars that needed to be removed. It was so bad that the organisers had to call a meeting and lay down the law. It is by no means the first time that such a thing has happened, it is by no means limited to the Fiesta Juniors either, pretty much all series have seen large incidents caused by young driver's gonads doing their thinking for them.
Everybody wants to see a good race, nobody wants to see competition taken out of proceedings but something has to be done to protect these kids from themselves. It's pretty unfair on the teams, other competitors, the paying public and indeed the series itself when these massive, avoidable accidents occur. Sure the roll cages are a thing to behold and offer an enormous amount of protection but with the average big shunt costing the team upwards of 10 grand a time it's no laughing matter in what should be a low cost series. These are supposed to be feeder series for other formulae, if credibility is lost because it's more like a banger race everybody loses.
While I am not recommending cutting off the testicles of any driver as part of the application process, something has to change and surely that has to be the implementation of an effective penalty system.
I discussed this with Malcolm and we agreed that a red / yellow card system was probably the way forward. Keep the racing element, let them race and develop but if they do anything that puts themselves or others in danger they have to understand there are consequences. For a first offence maybe they just lose a few points, for a second they have to sit out a race, for the third they get banned. It's not rocket science or a new idea, they have penalties in all sports, including other motor sports. It's a difficult balancing act, it's easy for a keyboard warrior to come up with the solutions, not so easy for the organisers to keep everybody happy. They have to do something though, otherwise the value of the series as a feeder series will be eroded and the series will die - nobody wants that, it's a great way of getting tomorrow's stars on the ladder to success.
If the yellow / red thing doesn't work - then they get their balls cut off. It worked for my dog.