Over the last couple of years, the Formula 1 seasons seem to have been getting better and better, with two successive British driver's champions, the drama of the Honda team almost going under, then returning, phoenix-like to dominate the early half of the season with the double diffuser, taking the constructors championship and giving Jenson the driver's championship, Pirelli coming back and taking the hugely brave direction of delivering tyres which degrade, and in the process giving some fantastic action.
The combination of the new deal for Silverstone, with it's new track layout, Jenson and Lewis at McLaren together as the two most recent driver champions, and, for me, the chance to see a team from Norfolk racing in green called Lotus, meant I actually saved up and attended the Grand Prix weekend in 2010. I say saved up, I obviously mean bent the credit card, but it's pretty much the save thing, right?
Now, however, with the BBC apparently unable to afford the final year of their contract, half of the races in 2012 will only be available as highlights, later that day, as has been well publicised, and covered in other places. The BBC coverage since they got the F1 back from ITV has been, generally, fantastic. No, not everyone was a fan of Jonathan Legard, including me, and yes, Eddie Jordan isn't universally popular, but moving Martin Brundle to lead commentator, and adding David Coulthard as colour commentator was a fantastic choice. They've got it just right, in my opinion.
Next year I can only (legally) watch all of the races live if I pay out fat wedges of cash
to Sky. And if I do, will the production come close to what Auntie have been putting out for the last couple of years?
Today though, the news about the team name changes being ratified has annoyed me enough that I'm contemplating spending my motorsport watching efforts next year on the BTCC instead. After all, ITV 4 shows hours and hours on end showing the entire meeting, all three feature races and pretty much the entire support package too.
Even though the Team Lotus to Caterham name switch has been inevitable since Tony Fernandes bought Caterham cars (there's no point spending all that money to advertise a competitor), I'm still feeling grumpy about it. One of my favourite toys when I was a child was a model Team Lotus F1 car, in the JPS colours. The green new Team Lotus seemed to have that same sort of ethos about them, as well as being based in Norfolk, and having the late, great, Colin Chapman's cap, ready to be thrown in the air in case of victory.
Next year though, the Lotus pounding round the Grand Prix circuits will be the car company Lotus, not the racing team, Team Lotus. To me, this feels wrong.
On the other hand, Caterham make the 7, which is basically the Lotus road going car of old, so the bloodline is there, it's just a different name. A rose by any other name, etc.
And if I wasn't so tall, fat, and if I lived somewhere where car ownership made even the slightest bit of sense, and insurance wasn't utterly stupid costs, a Caterham 7 would be very high up my list of cars I'd want to own.