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January 2, 2023 2:36 pm  #1

Slow and steady wins the race

This is a solo project for myself. If you've read my parts of Movie Night you may recall I wrote about a fictional F1 season. I've decided to write it as a full length story. It will have some crying scenes in it just not the volume you see in the role play. Enjoy


Chapter One: The Prize Giving

It was the first week in December and the motor sport community had gathered in Paris for the annual FIA Prize Giving ceremony. At this ceremony the top three drivers and the winning constructors or manufacturers would collect their trophies. Attendance for all Prize recipients was mandatory, however since nobody had ever skipped the ceremony, the punishment for non-attendance was unfortunately a secret

Jeff Nelson winded his way through the crowds and the media courteously answering their questions.

'Lukas Weber recently signed to the Canox team for next season.' One reporter asked him 'How do you rate his chances with his new team?'

Jeff paused in reflection. What could he say? His working relationship with Lukas had rather broken down after his driver had been unceremoniously fired after the Belgian Grand Prix. Nevertheless despite this a part of him was very sorry his F1 dream had turned sour.

'They are lucky to have him' he told the reporter (who's name turned out to be Claire). 'He's a hard worker he will do very well'

He only half believed this statement. Lukas was moving from the World Champions to a team that had finished fourth the previous season. A tram that hadn't even scored any points until halfway through the season. But there was no doubting his former driver's work ethic. He DID work hard. Maybe this would give his new team the boost they needed

However his new team mate was another story. Oscar Piastri had won the F3 and F2 championships in successive seasons and was clearly no slouch behind the wheel. So maybe this new start might not turn out how he wanted

The crowd parted and unexpectedly Jeff saw Lukas in a group with his new team.

'What is he doing here?' Callum Gray his fellow race engineer said into his right ear. It was true that Lukas didn't have to attend anymore after falling to fourth after his firing.

'He's got as much right to attend as everybody else' Jeff told him sternly. His opposite number had been crowing just a little too much after the season he'd just had; 17 wins, 15 pole positions and 12 fastest laps. If you counted the two races from the season prior, his driver Devon Butler had won 19 races in a row. It was domination of the kind that had never been seen before.

And it turned off many people who had watched the sport. The ratings for the season had dropped considerably until hardly anyone had watched the World Champion get his eighth grand slam - pole, fastest lap and win leading every lap - of the season, equalling Jim Clark's record

The media's cameras began clicking. Devon had arrived with his new wife of two weeks - the French-Canadian model Nicole Weston - on his arm. She was looking very nice in her long silk dress, with her long blonde hair loose down her back Jeff thought.

They had reached the appointed time to enter the special ballroom for the ceremony. The various champions and other drivers took their trophies and after a couple of hours it was Devon's turn to accept his trophy

He drove his winning car on stage and stepped out for his trophy. Amid the smattering of polite applause, Nicole whooped her appreciation as tears of happiness streamed down her face.

Jeff turned his head towards Lukas seated across the room, wondering what his former charge was thinking at this moment. Next year they would be rivals, but despite this Jeff DID want his former charge to do well. To silence the doubters once and for all

Last edited by reptongeek (January 4, 2023 7:19 pm)

Security will run you down hard
And I will lead them on a merry chase

January 3, 2023 2:27 pm  #2

Re: Slow and steady wins the race

Chapter Two: All Beginnings are Delightful

Lukas took a deep breath before opening the door to his new teams factory. Today he would become a fully fledged Canox driver when he officially signed his contract

He opened the door and went in. The reception area was currently empty, no one was manning the desk. So he took in his surroundings. It was smaller than the Audi teams reception area, quite understandably. Nevertheless they did have a small trophy cabinet displaying their collection of 2nd place and 3rd place trophies

The sound of heels click clacking on the floor came to his ears and he turned his head to greet their owner. She was a young woman in her twenties in a silk sleeveless blouse and a black skirt.

'Mr Weber' she greeted. 'We weren't expecting you so early' She held out her hand 'I'm Marianna'

Lukas took her hand a gave it a warm shake.

'Please call me Lukas' he told her. 'As you English say, I like to start as I mean to go on'

Marianna smiled. He liked it, the way her mouth moved and...

Stop it he told himself sternly Your job doesn't involve falling for the receptionist on your first day

Despite this however once they had arrived at his new team principals office and was asked if he wanted a hot drink, he did secretly wish that Marianna would be the one to bring it

Sam Michael opened the door and asked his new driver to come in. The contract was on Lukas' side of the desk ready to be signed. He started to read and after confirming that everything was in order he signed his name on the dotted line.

His cappuccino arrived then and as luck would have it Marianna did indeed bring it up for him. He thanked her and took a sip as his new boss asked him about the circumstances that lead to his dismissal from his previous team

Lukas paused. He had hoped he wouldn't be asked this as it would certainly dredge up some unpleasant memories. One of the trophies in the foyer had been a 3rd place trophy from the Italian GP the first race he had missed

Yet he knew Sam had been in the sport a long time. He'd started out as a mechanic, then a race engineer and then a technical director before becoming Canox team principal. He had dealt with some complicated personalities and would almost certainly want the truth not soundbites

So after taking another sip of his Cappuccino he divulged the reasons behind his sacking from the Audi team. Satisfied at the explanation, Sam drew the contract over to his side of the desk and signed his name. The agreement was now official

Lukas took his leave from the office and demurred when Sam's secretary Simone offered to take him on a tour of the factory

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January 4, 2023 3:50 pm  #3

Re: Slow and steady wins the race

Chapter Three: Winter Testing

'Hey Weber!' Devon Butler hailed his former teammate. 'How many millions are your team paying you to get spanked by Piastri'

'They aren't' Lukas replied politely.

'Your such a liar mate!!' Devon crowed 'I know what you got paid last year, and it wasn’t 750k'

'What makes you think I will get 'spanked' as you put it' Lukas continued

'Your not championship material' Devon told him 'And for that matter neither is your car'

As the World Champion strolled arrogantly into the garage, Jeff who had heard the entire conversation decided to have a word in his ear

'Did you have to be quite so harsh' he said 'Was it necessary?'

'I'm just being honest Jeff' Devon replied. 'His teammate has won two consecutive championships, Weber never has. And based on the testing times the last couple of days he has the third quickest car'

It was Day 2 of Winter Testing at the Circuit de Catalunya and the teams were all getting to grips with their new cars, in some cases like Lukas, a new team and new working relationships

Jeff had been surprised that his former charge had decided to go with Branko Tomovic and his team rather than the Number 1 race engineer. In addition at Lukas' suggestion at the recent tyre test his Canox team had chosen to switch to Michelin's which together with their Toyota engines gave a few people flashbacks to the 2005 United States GP

However Sam Michael had agreed with his suggestions and that was that

It was true however that the Canox was the 3rd quickest car behind the Audi and the McLaren. Their first day of testing had been split between Oscar in the morning session and test driver Ronny Robinson in the afternoon and the highest either of them had got was 5th place in the standings at the end of the day, some one second behind the Audi's

Despite this there was a cheer from the contingent of Canox fans in the stands when Lukas drove out of the pits for a three lap installation run. Half out of habit and half out of loyalty, Jeff watched his first run of the day, which naturally put him top of the standings.

Devon decided to go out next, again on a three lap installation run and to Jeff's complete non-surprise managed to obliterate his time by half a second

It was fifteen minutes before Lukas emerged again. He seemed to be doing a race simulation because he stayed out for thirty laps or so. Devon just because he could, came out of the pits right in front of his former teammate, who had to back off a little

Jeff rolled his eyes as the World Champion floored it round the circuit setting the fastest time on his first flying lap. Lukas however didn't seem to be taking the bait and carried on smoothly lapping the circuit. At one point he was 3rd in the standings behind Lewis Hamilton and in front of the other McLaren of Lando Norris.

Then Devon over reached himself and spun into the gravel on the approach to Turn 4, bringing out the red flag. All the drivers returned to the pits as the lead Audi was craned onto a recovery truck

Callum Gray, Devon's race engineer clicked his tongue slightly annoyed. He had a full testing programme lined up and this unexpected trip into the gravel wasn't part of the plan. By contrast Jeff noted, Lukas hadn't made any mistakes at all not even a locked brake on his way to a current 4th

It took a while for Lukas to go out again, indeed it was just over an hour before the lead Canox emerged from the pits for another run, ending the day in 3rd place behind Devon and Lewis Hamilton but ahead of the second Audi driven by Aidan Jackson

Jeff hadn't been too happy about the late signing of Devon's teammate. When Lukas had been fired the previous season his place had been taken by Pietro Fittipaldi who had been fully expecting to continue in the new season.

For whatever reason this hadn't been the case and Aidan had been signed literally two days before Winter Testing had started. If Jeff didn't know any better he thought this was deliberate, to destabilise his new charge before the season had started. If so it appeared to be working. The Audi top brass wouldn't be too happy their Number 2 had finished the day behind their previous driver

The chequered flag waved and the second day of testing had officially concluded

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     Thread Starter

January 5, 2023 1:43 pm  #4

Re: Slow and steady wins the race

Chapter Four: A Great Place for a Race

'Claire Brodie, Channel 4. Lukas you've mentioned there are no team orders in the Canox team. In past F1 history, both Williams and McLaren have lost championships due to this policy. Does that worry you at all?'

Lukas thought for a few seconds before replying

'No, because I believe what happened in 86 and 07 was a little more complicated than just simply two drivers taking points of each other. I'm not worried at all.'

Another journalist in the room asked him how he was feeling going up against Oscar Piastri considering his record of the last two years

'I'm looking forward to it. We I'm sure will have some great battles on track, I will for sure keep it clean, but this is a new category for him, a new challenge for me. We will both start from a clean slate and count them up at the end of the year'

The questions continued and Claire allowed her eyes to wander to the other side of the room, where Lukas and Oscar's PA'S were standing. Lukas' PA was most attractive, if not the most attractive of any of the drivers assistants. According to Claire’s handwritten media guide (Her 'Formula 1 Codex' as her brother dubbed it) she was called Keely Moore, and despite being in her team uniform was making Claire’s lesbian heart flutter

After a few minutes the two Canox drivers concluded their ten minute pre season conference and the Audi team was brought in

Devon Butler was in no doubt about what his former teammates chances were

'He's a has been' he said arrogantly. 'He'll be out of the team by summer you'll see. He won't perform against Piastri, the Aussie will ride all over him'

The press pack were all very glad when the conference was over. Devon had turned it into his own private show and Aidan Jackson hadn't managed to answer a single question to his irritation

Claire did think that Devon's comments about Lukas were very below the belt. There was no need to call him a has been for instance. Perhaps he needed this change to show the world what he was actually capable of

It was the first day of action at the first round of the season at the traditional venue of Albert Park, a street circuit around the lake in Melbourne, Australia.

Looking at the Circuit from the first shots of Free Practice 1 several changes to the circuit had been made for this year. The AstroTurf from behind several kerbs had gone and the full compliment of painted lines existed round the circuit. In previous years half of them had been burned off, but this year they all remained presumably to increase the challenge for the drivers

Devon's somewhat savage opinion of his former teammates chances seemed to be born out when at the end of the first day, Oscar was the quickest of the two drivers hovering around 5th and 6th. Lukas by contrast was around 9th and 10th some considerable margin from Devon at the head of the standings. Aidan Jackson wasn't doing too badly though finishing 3rd at the end of the first day

Lukas in his end of day interviews didn't seem worried though about the gap to his teammate or Devon

'It's only Day 1, we did make some valuable progress today and I will look forward to tomorrow'

The next time he talked to Claire things were looking much better. After Free Practice 3 he was much closer to his teammate albeit still behind him, but closer nonetheless

The one hour qualifying session for the next day's race was what everyone was looking forward to and as predicted Devon strolled to Pole Position putting him in prime spot for his 20th consecutive victory. A lot of mutterings on line were devoted to listing the various things that could 'happen' to him to prevent this event from occurring but it seemed preordained somehow

His teammate joined him on the front row with Lewis Hamilton in 3rd. Lukas Weber was a surprise 4th, his teammate Oscar Piastri falling to 7th.

First Blood to the German Claire thought as the drivers slowly made their way through the media pen after qualifying

Last edited by reptongeek (January 8, 2023 12:57 pm)

Security will run you down hard
And I will lead them on a merry chase
     Thread Starter

January 6, 2023 4:30 pm  #5

Re: Slow and steady wins the race

Chapter Five: A Great Place for a Race II

The Canox team had even more reasons to celebrate the next day. Lukas managed to be top of the standings on Morning Warm-Up

When Claire interviewed him on the grid, he was quietly confident of a good result

'The Audi's are probably too quick for us but I believe we can have a good result. We'll survive the first lap and see what happens'

The drivers soon made their way to the front of the grid, where they paused for the National Anthem and a minute's silence in remembrance of Murray Walker, the retired and much loved commentator who had recently died. Claire had herself viewed some of the races he had commentate on and found them most exciting

'Well listen, because THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE OUT ALREADY!!!' he had exclaimed joyously on Lap 6 of one race that lost eight drivers in the first ten minutes

After the minute's silence, Claire returned to the pits to her place in the media pen. Her role for the race was interviewing all the retirees. If it was anything like her favourite race she was going to be quite busy!

She had just entered her box when the Canox cars started smoking on the grid. Her heart immediately sank to her toes. Would they be able to even take the start.

The race procedure was aborted while the two cars were dealt with and then pushed off the grid, which meant a delay of about 15 minutes. The voice of her producer crackled over her headphones asking her to go to the Canox pit and ask what the current situation was

Running up the pit lane she arrived  and a little out of breath, tentatively asked what the current state of play was.

Branko, Lukas' race engineer put up his finger to indicate that he had heard her inquiry and putting his mobile to his ear asked the race director Michael Masi if his driver was okay to take the start

The answer appeared to be yes, because Lukas immediately got into the spare car.

Claire’s eyes filled with tears. This meant the home driver couldn't take the start. Oscar despite being devastated at this news did submit to an interview.

'The temperature of the engines in both our cars rose, and basically set fire to the wiring loom. It's a shame but we have just the one spare car and it's allocated to Lukas because he's the fastest qualifier. Hopefully he can get a good result and I can make my race debut in Malaysia'

Tears ran down Claire's cheeks as she left the garage to walk down to her box in the media pen. This was so harsh and unfair. She wiped away her tears and started to watch the race

Another driver failed to take the start as during the formation lap, Nikita Mazepin spun at Turn 4 and stalled his car meaning out of 22 starters they were down to 20 cars already

Thankfully the remainder returned to the grid okay. Lukas was taking the start from the pitlane

Despite starting at the back he did a super job, picking off drivers right, left and centre. By Lap 15 he was in sixth place. He pitted for some more fuel and the end of the Lap and continued on his merry way

Behind him all sorts of mechanical issues were affecting his fellow competitors and as she had forecast Claire WAS very busy.

On Lap 30 Pierre Gasly had a shunt into the wall approaching Turn 6. Immediately there was a Team Radio message from Lukas to his pit telling them he was coming in. He took on some more fuel and his second set of tyres and exited the pits to line up behind the green Aston Martin Safety Car

On Lap 34 they were off again, Lukas dispatching a lapped Esteban Ocon with ease. However there was another incident at the chicane on the back straight as Aidan Jackson in trying to lap Casper Ackerman took him off the circuit. Casper managed to get back to the pits to retire adding to the increasingly long list.

The multiple retirements had allowed Mick Schumacher to rise to the heady heights of fourth behind Lukas, who had managed incredibly and almost magically to rise up to 3rd from his pit lane start. He clearly wasn't fighting the Audi's just wanting to bring it home. However on Lap 49 the plan changed

Mick had pulled off with engine failure and this meant that not only were there only five drivers left, but that meant that Lukas had some competition for his podium slot from Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso

And according to a recent radio message his engine had a misfiring cylinder.

Lukas turned up his engine as much as he dared and pressed on. His speed was such that he was catching Aiden in 2nd who was giving his teammate a wide berth 15 seconds behind. Only now Aiden had to speed up and so did Devon

Claire found herself crossing her fingers as the laps counted down. The tension was unbelievable. Magnificently Lukas held on and finished in his 3rd position sending the Canox fans in the stands into rapturous joy. The team celebrated like mad things too

Tears streamed down Claire’s face as he got his trophy. He deserved this so much. Devon's achievement of winning his 20th race seemed an after thought.

Claire wiped her tears and got ready to interview the podium party

Last edited by reptongeek (January 14, 2023 4:48 pm)

Security will run you down hard
And I will lead them on a merry chase
     Thread Starter

January 8, 2023 1:59 pm  #6

Re: Slow and steady wins the race

Chapter Six: Malaysian Mishap

Despite the 1-2 finish for the Audi team the atmosphere in the garage was not what it should be

Whilst Aiden had finished in a strong position, he had taken out Casper and nearly taken out Devon at the same time. Plus he had argued about a team order to lap to a certain delta in order to give his teammate more space. Ironically he would have to disobey this directive when Lukas had to speed up and managed to get fastest lap as a result

Not only that Devon had been sullen the last three days. Most of the headlines had gone to Lukas and not him, a podium position from a pit lane start regarded with greater weight than a 20th consecutive win.

Not only that his heroics had been enough to be awarded Driver of the Day in addition to some extra points for dedicating his podium to the late Murray Walker

'O Captain, My Captain. Thank you Murray for everything you have done for us in the sport of F1. Rest in Peace my friend, this one is for you' he had said in a message that showed his class. Devon by contrast used his slowing down lap to curse his teammate for having him off

The lead Audi driver had however perked up considerably when qualifying had concluded. He had secured pole again and Lukas thanks to a small slide coming out of one corner leading to the end of lap hairpin had only managed sixth. The surprise package this time round was Oscar Piastri who had pipped the two McLarens and finished 3rd, a tremendous result

It hadn't lasted. Morning warm up had been wet and the conditions hadn't improved when the field lined up on the grid for the race. To the surprise of no one the Safety Car lead the field round for the first 3 laps

Lukas had taken a clever gamble and started on intermediate tyres, however because of this he had been slow away from his grid position. Under the regulations he was permitted to get it back but if he couldn't at the end of Lap 1, he was obliged to go to the back of the field

Which was exactly what he did. However because the conditions were drying out after the Safety Car this meant that he had been on the right tyre and so didn't have to pit. Oscar it turned out had done this as well, so it was a Canox 1-2 for a short spell, ending Devon's stranglehold on the lead. He had lead over 270 laps displacing Ayrton Senna but was 35 short of Alberto Ascari

Callum had to do some mind management on his driver when he lost the lead. When Devon had finished giving his opinion on the subject, he looked like he had been put through a paper shredder

Jeff felt sorry for his opposite number for the first time. His driver had shown his true colours for the first time in eighteen months. Easy going when the good times rolled but a pain in the behind when they didn't

Devon got back into the lead when the Canox's pitted for fuel and dry tyres. Lukas unluckily had a sticking wheel nut which cost him two places and he exited the pits in fourth. Robert Kubica the Williams driver set off in pursuit of him.

As the race settled down, Aiden managed to get his second place back off Oscar. The young Aussie was driving superbly clearly wanting to prove something after his non start in Australia, and was holding off his teammate remarkably well. The two Canox's put some light between Kubica as the laps counted down

On Lap 48 however Devon started to drive very slowly. Jeff knew what was going to happen now and unsurprisingly Aiden asked for permission to overtake

'I'll get back to you Aiden' Jeff replied to his driver. However Brian Mills the team principal disagreed

'Tell him to hold position' he ordered. Jeff relayed this instruction to Aiden who predictably pointed out that the team could still win the race, but if they held station they would lose it

'Hold position for the championship' Brian told Aiden. Jeff hoped that would be the end of it but his driver protested again

'That's a direct order' Brian barked at him. 'Obey it or lose your drive, your choice'

Jeff put his head in his hands. The media was going to love this. Aiden wisely did as he was told but as the laps counted down, the problem still wasn't over.

The two Canox's and Kubica had increased their speed after being notified of the radio spat and at the conclusion of Lap 54 what Aiden had forecast happened. Oscar and Lukas swept past the slowing Devon and Aiden followed by Kubica a lap later

And that was how it finished. Oscar took an amazing first win, the first driver since Giancarlo Baghetti to win on his debut. The top three was greeted with cheers that had never been heard before and it was clear this result was great for the sport

The Audi garage wasn't a great place to be after the race. Devon had stormed up to his team principals office and ranted for quite sometime

'THIS IS WHY WE HAVE WINTER TESTING' Jeff heard him yell through the closed door. He really didn't need anymore grief but he got it in the shape of Aiden still trying to put his point across

'Aiden, right now I don't care!' He told him angrily 'This is going to be a very long, very unpleasant year, I can just feel it. Just keep your head down and do your job okay!!'

Last edited by reptongeek (January 14, 2023 4:48 pm)

Security will run you down hard
And I will lead them on a merry chase
     Thread Starter

January 10, 2023 1:58 pm  #7

Re: Slow and steady wins the race

Chapter Seven: China

'I'm concerned Oscar's manager is over promoting him' Keely told Lukas as they walked through the paddock, towards his next interview

'He's just doing his job' Lukas replied

'I know but he seems to be doing it at your expense' his PA responded

'The only thing I can control is my own performances on the track' Lukas told her 'I'm not worrying about Oscar or his manager, it will be fine'

Keely nodded and they made their way to Claire for the after Practice interview. The Aston Martin's proved to be quick this weekend finishing ahead of the two Canox's on the standings

'I'm not quite dialled in yet to the circuit' Lukas admitted to Claire, when asked about his ninth place in the list, two behind Oscar 'But there is still time'

'It's quite a competitive midfield around you, do you think the Aston Martin's have taken a step forward?'

'They seem to have' Lukas admitted. 'However Sebastian in particular was quite competitive in Australia so we'll have to see. It's quite up and down at the minute being the beginning of the season, we need a few more races possibly to see where we are in relation to the others'

After a few more questions Claire ended the interview and Lukas moved towards another.

When he returned to the pits Devon was still giving his press briefing. He hadn't forgotten what had happened on Malaysia and seemed determined that nobody else should either

'I'd give him real money if he'd shut up' Nick his Number 1 mechanic told him

'Then we have that in common' Lukas told him. Nick grinned and the two of them joined Branko and the other mechanics to discuss their plan for the next day

After Practice 3 on the Saturday prior to qualifying things were looking better. Lukas was still behind Oscar but much closer in 6th place. The surprise package was Sebastian's teammate Casper Ackerman who was in 4th

However just before qualifying, both Oscar's car and the spare car developed a water leak, which was fixable but there was no time. Lukas and Oscar would have to share his car.

Sam Michael tossed a coin to decide who would go out first and Lukas 'won' the toss

'Give me four laps of fuel' he instructed his team. 'Then when I return to the pits, give me another four laps worth, that should give enough time to switch it over for Oscar'

The mechanics nodded their ascent and soon Lukas was out on track. However his return to the pits was delayed a little by a summons to the weigh bridge. This happened on a random basis throughout the year and could happen to any driver at any time. It wasn’t something you could ignore as a failure to stop resulted in exclusion from the event. Trevor Foster the Canox race director had made it perfectly clear to all three drivers that he wasn't going to apologise for reminding them every time they went out

Despite the delay Lukas was back out swiftly and after beating his current fastest time on his fourth flying lap quickly made his way back to the pits

After he exited the cockpit he joined his team in extracting his seat and his pedals so Oscar's mechanics could install their driver's necessary items so he could qualify

They got a brief reprieve when Devon had a smash coming out of the last corner on his flying lap spreading his car over the circuit and bringing out the red flag

'That's another $500k write off' Nick said to Lukas who just grinned

They managed to get Oscar out on track and he managed to qualify well in 5th, however Lukas only managed 12th, the track not at his best when he went out. Devon after his smash only managed 2nd behind his teammate

That could get spicy Lukas thought to himself

The following day dawned dry and hot which was exactly what Lukas needed. In the practice his Michelin's had worked superbly in the heat allowing him to get 3rd fastest behind the Audi's

At the race start Aidan maintained his pole position going into the first corner but had to pull off the circuit at the end of Lap 2 at the hairpin. Lukas had a fine race despite his low grid position and eventually finished 5th. His teammate unfortunately had a spin coming onto the long straight on Lap 10 damaging his front wing which condemned him to a 8th place finish

The race win went to Casper and Lukas was very pleased for his friend. At least he was until he had been through the media pen and returned to the pits. Branko told him that unfortunately Casper had been disqualified as his front wing was 5mm too close to his front wheels. This promoted Lukas up to 4th and Oscar up to 7th

Aston Martin still had a podium finish as Sebastian Vettel was elevated to 3rd but Lukas knew that he would take no joy from the result whatsoever

There wasn't a prize for guessing who had inherited the win. The Audi garage had a party atmosphere going as Devon celebrated. Lukas ignored the sound of the party and went to commiserate with his buddy.

This hadn't been the first time a race winner had lost a win. However all of the previous occasions hadn't been first wins. And it was doubtful Casper would get another

'I'll be okay, Lukas' he told him. 'Just ask that greasy squit Butler to stay out of my way. Because if he doesn't I'll punch him in the mouth'

Last edited by reptongeek (January 14, 2023 4:48 pm)

Security will run you down hard
And I will lead them on a merry chase
     Thread Starter

January 12, 2023 12:07 pm  #8

Re: Slow and steady wins the race

Chapter Eight: Spain

Following the previous round in China, Devon hadn't been exactly appropriate in his remarks following his inherited win, bluntly telling the Friday Five press conference before first practice that the Aston Martin team had deserved to be disqualified as they had cheated

'If you don't follow the regulations, you get a punished' He said brutally.

Jeff considered this was a pretty off colour remark, especially considering that the Aston Martin team principal was also in the press conference. Asked for a rebuttal he merely said; 'Can we talk about something else'

The atmosphere on the other side of the garage wasn't much better. Aiden had responded to another team order by simply parking his car and retiring from the race costing the team at least six points which hadn't gone down well with Brian Mills

'You talk to him' he had fumed to Jeff, but he hadn't had any more luck than Brian. In the end it was ironically Lukas who reminded him of his responsibilities

'You don't want to race for senior management that's fine' Jeff heard his former driver tell his current one. 'Race for Jeff, for your mechanics and your fans who have paid good money to see you compete, not pull out of the race to prove a point.'

Aidan hadn't said much for the rest of Friday but Jeff saw that the point had been made

Devon was quite another story. His wife Nicole was back in the pits after missing the last two rounds, looking Jeff thought rather uncomfortable in the skimpy outfit she had been seemingly forced to wear. Apparently Lukas' new PA had gone viral as many people had swooned over how gorgeous she looked

It all seemed rather petty and unnecessary, particularly since Lukas freed from the shackles of the Audi team didn't appear to want to have a rivalry with either Devon or his teammate. He simply concentrated on his job, which Jeff hoped the two Audi drivers would start doing. The Canox team were a bit too close to them in championship terms and anymore screw-ups would decrease the gap and increase the pressure

At the end of Friday practice, Lukas had beaten his teammate for the first time finishing 3rd in the standings making Jeff nervous. Casper had been his friend and he would be more motivated than ever to put one over on his former team

The next morning saw Casper claim retribution for Devon's comments in the two weeks since China by ramming him up the back at the Dry Sack curve, breaking his own front wing and Devon's rear wing. The Aston Martin driver was predictably hauled in front of the stewards who deleted his two fastest times from the later qualifying session, meaning he would have to set three times to count for the grid

'Lucky we've got some spares' Callum had muttered. By the time qualifying ended Devon had returned to the top of the pile with Robert Kubica in the Williams joining him on the front row. Lukas had repeated his practice form by finishing 3rd and then it was Oscar 4th and then Aidan in 5th

Jeff rubbed his eyes as he considered whether his driver had been giving it his all. He decided to talk to him about it the next day.

Sunday however brought another turn of the screw. Lukas was fastest in morning warm up again, even getting some airtime as he had a good natured scrap with his countryman Sebastian Vettel. This didn't improve Devon's mood and Jeff could see his wife getting more than a little stressed

His heart went out to her. She looked her age for the first time - she was only 20, and seemingly stuck in a situation she didn't know how to deal with.

'If you need to talk to someone" Jeff told her 'I'm here for you' She accepted his business card with a quiet smile as tears ran down her cheeks. They were quite different tears from the ones he had seen in December. Then they had been happy tears unashamedly streaming down her face. Today however she needed to wipe her cheeks as soon as possible

At the race start Devon screamed into the lead, Lukas got swamped initially losing a couple of places, but calmly and decisively he overtook three cars to lie second behind his old teammate. He wasn't doing too badly either Jeff noted managing to hold a ten second gap to Devon

On Lap 24 Devon came in for his pit stop, however Jeff noted that Lukas didn't seem to be doing the same, despite every other driver pitting too. Instead he was setting the track alight breaking the lap record. Finally after 11 laps he made his stop on Lap 35 which appeared to be his only stop judging by the amount of fuel in his car

When he emerged he was still in the lead and Devon hammered round the circuit trying to catch him. He in fact went so fast that he needed to pit early for his second stop as he was running out of fuel, costing him a place to Robert Kubica

Callum tried over the radio to get him to calm down but he ignored him. On Lap 65 his driver ran wide over the gravel and picked up a puncture. Luckily for him he was not only close to the pits but Aidan was behind him

Jeff requested he drove to a certain delta and Devon emerged in 3rd, in front of his teammate and Oscar Piastri. And that was how it finished with Lewis Hamilton rounding out the point scorers in 6th

Lukas was happier than Jeff had ever seen him as he picked up his trophy for winning the race. He and Robert Kubica happily sprayed the champagne, while Devon just picked up his trophy and left the stage not wanting to bother with the traditional photos

Nicole watched the ceremony with tears streaming down her face. She was so unhappy as she gave Jeff a look that said; 'I'm not looking forward to the journey home'

Last edited by reptongeek (January 14, 2023 4:49 pm)

Security will run you down hard
And I will lead them on a merry chase
     Thread Starter

January 14, 2023 1:47 pm  #9

Re: Slow and steady wins the race

Chapter Nine: Monaco

The Monaco Grand Prix was always the highlight of the calendar, although it had to be said it was losing its lustre a little

A dull race the previous year, hadn't won many fans. However Claire was optimistic that this year would be different. There were reports the race could be wet, although from sources in the paddock nobody thought rain was likely during the time frame for the race

Like Melbourne, Monaco was a street track and just like at Albert Park all the white lines were present. In addition some of the kerbs had been chipped away and a tyre barrier extension had been installed at the chicane for track limits

There had been some discussion Claire noted on one F1 forum, as to who would be the first driver to crash onto one of the many armco barriers surrounding the track. It didn’t take long for anyone to find out as Devon spun into the barriers hard at St Devote the first corner. Once again he had been trying to beat Lukas who had gone out for an instillation lap as usual

Does your team have enough spares Claire wondered as she watched the Audi being craned onto a breakdown truck. It was a legitimate question, even more so at Monaco where a mistake could prove very costly. The first days practice continued and Devon did manage (when he got out again!) to post the fastest time

Lukas on the other hand seemed to be setting up for the potential rain on Sunday as he only finished the two practices in 18th and 17th place.

On the Saturday he seemed to be switching to a dry set up as he rose up to 6th which became 5th in qualifying. His teammate Oscar joined him on the third row with the two Audi's in their usual front row slot. Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren and Robert Kubica in the Williams were between the two Audi's and the two Canox's

Morning warm up on race day was also dry, and Devon took another chunk out of his car by hitting the barriers at Casino Square and pirouetting down towards the street, making his team very unhappy. Claire had found out that Devon had been in the spare car after his own race car had been damaged beyond repair in Thursdays shunt

Half an hour after warm up had concluded, the heavens opened soaking the town. At the discretion of the race director a special Acclimatisation practice could be scheduled to allow drivers 15 minutes of running to familiarise themselves with the change of conditions

This he duly did and so at 11:30 the pit lane opened and the field left the pits to circulate round the track. Over her headphones, Claire listened to some team radio from the Audi team. Callum in no uncertain terms told his driver that he was driving his third chassis of the weekend, and so if he crashed and his team couldn't repair it he was out.

Lukas' work on the Thursday paid dividends when he finished fastest in the extra session, and this carried over to the race

The rain had stopped long before 1pm, but the track was still treacherous. Nevertheless Lukas showing tremendous skill overtook his fellow competitors and chased after Devon in the lead. Soon it was time to change to dries and a flood of drivers came into the pits, Devon and Lukas maintaining their one two positions

The next significant incident happened on Lap 32. Oscar had managed to get himself into 4th place behind Aiden and was closing the gap when Aiden's engine blew. Blinded by the smoke Oscar crashed at St Devote putting him out of the race. The Safety Car was deployed to clear the cars and put cement dust on the road to soak up the oil from Aiden's car

They just got going again on Lap 36 when Nikita Mazepin in the Haas ran up the back of Pierre Gasly in the Alpha Tauri, ending both their races in the barriers at Massenet. Three more laps behind the Safety Car followed and when it went in on Lap 40 Lukas decided it was time to push a little. Previously he had held a gap to his former teammate of about 8 or so seconds. Now he was right with him, decreasing it to four seconds.

On Lap 53, he was even closer. Devon finally cracked as he came out of the final corner, fishtailing as he did so and Lukas pounced, out braking him into St Devote.

He was in the lead but Callum pointed out to his driver to just stay with him, he would have to stop again for fuel.

Then things got even more fun. It started to rain again. Claire knew that the race would now almost certainly be time limited and sure enough on the world feed it informed the viewers there was 20 minutes left. Some drivers dived into the pits for wet tyres but Lukas didn't pit for a while. Finally Devon had to pit so he came in for wets and a top up of fuel. Lukas came in the lap afterwards but curiously only for intermediates and no fuel.

This absolutely flummoxed the Audi pit wall as Lukas' pit stop earlier in the race had not been shown on the world feed. Claire however knew what happened and her mouth curled into a grin.

Early pitstop for fuel just like Olivier Panis in 96 she thought to herself.

Devon was getting angry with his race engineer and was also sliding around a lot. By contrast Lukas in the lead was serene.

As the clock ticked over to 5 minutes remaining another message came over the radio to Lukas telling him he had a slow puncture. After being informed there were less than five minutes left, the Canox driver opted to stay out

Babe, are you trying to give us all a heart attack! Claire thought. She could barely watch as Lukas carefully and deliberately drove round the circuit managing his tyres. The clock expired on Lap 67 and Lukas received the chequered flag to visible applause from the crowd.

Claire visibly breathed a sigh of relief. She didn't want to go through that again, if she could help it

Last edited by reptongeek (January 14, 2023 4:49 pm)

Security will run you down hard
And I will lead them on a merry chase
     Thread Starter

January 16, 2023 2:42 pm  #10

Re: Slow and steady wins the race

Chapter Ten: Monaco, II

'Just stay with him, he still has to stop for fuel just like you' Callum told his driver after he had been overtaken on Lap 54. He swallowed nervously

Jeff was looking at the sky and seeing a dark cloud move in towards the circuit. If it started to rain then the cat really would be set amongst the pigeons

On Lap 56 it started to drizzle and Callum asked the mechanics to get some wets ready just in case. The following Lap it got heavier so Devon pitted for his wets and a top up of fuel. Lukas however stayed out.

'What is he doing?' Jeff wondered aloud. At the end of Lap 58, Lukas did indeed pit, but not for wets just intermediates and most surprisingly of all no fuel

Callum looked visibly shocked and he didn't know what to do next. His hand shaking as he pressed the radio button he informed Devon of the current situation and a torrent of swear words filled the air

'I don't know Devon!' He replied to his driver's questions

'You don't know much do you Gray' came the snapped response. Jeff felt a sting of anger rise through him. So much that he felt like telling Devon off.

The race because of the weather and the two Safety Cars had entered it's time limited phase. It would be a two hour race and not 78 laps. Devon continued his struggle with his car which all of a sudden didn't want to perform as well as he wanted.

Jeff knew why this was. The World Champion had set his car up for the dry not the wet, something Lukas must have done given his pace in the Acclimatisation session. And although it was wet, it wasn't wet enough for the full wets. Whilst he could pit for some intermediates this wasn't an option as he would lose second place to the Haas of Mick Schumacher who had also taken some clever strategic gambles and was closing down on Devon

But why wasn't Lukas pitting for fuel. There were two reasons for this. Either he had fuelled up at his first pit stop when he pitted for dries, or (and this was an even worse thought) not actually pitted for fuel at all.

The Monaco GP due to the slower average speed was thirty miles shorter than all the other races, and would Jeff estimated be shorter still now the race wasn't going to go the full distance. So in theory Lukas could manage without a pit stop

With five minutes to go, Branko his race engineer told him he had a slow puncture. Lukas without hesitation told his race engineer he was staying out

'Are you sure?'

'Quite sure' Lukas replied. Jeff suddenly got very tense and the last few seconds felt like an age. Lukas finally took the chequered flag to visible applause from the crowd and the Canox team celebrated wildly. They had just won their third race of the year!

This put Lukas in the lead of the drivers championship - on the same amount of points as Devon, the FIA clearly considering that two on the road wins was higher than one on the road win and one inherited. The Canox team were in the lead of the Constructors as well but only by three points

Lukas and Mick Schumacher pulled up to the Royal Box to get their trophies and the Audi team mechanics got into position to welcome their driver home. However he wasn't there. They waited for five minutes but nothing happened. When Jenson Button had won this race in 2009 he had run down the pit straight because he'd parked his car in the pitlane by mistake.

But it didn't look like the same thing had happened here. Someone spoke on his radio to one of the marshalls who delivered his message in French. He relayed the message to Stefano Domenicalli who nodded his approval to start the podium ceremony with a stony look on his face

After the podium and the champagne spraying, Lukas came over to the Audi mechanics to deliver the 2nd place trophy and the unsprayed bottle of champagne

The Audi team started to pack up. There was definitely going to be some reprisals for this one. Devon didn't even attend the press conference either so it was just Lukas and Mick, the younger driver seriously impressed when he was told that the winner had indeed done the whole race on a single tank of fuel and dealt with a slow puncture

'My Dad would have loved to have seen that' Mick told him, which raised the emotional bar a little. His father's accident on a ski slope had been a great tragedy

Brian Mills was in a shockingly bad mood. He appeared to he having a nervous breakdown, screaming and shouting at people. Jeff wondered if this was because his driver had cost them $2m over the course of the weekend in car damages and fines, or because Lukas had shown him the talent he had cast aside so easily.

Wanting a break from the tension he walked out of the garage and over to the radio perches. Lukas' mechanics were telling him to take off and get ready for his meal at the Palace, while his PA Keely Moore invited Channel 4's pit lane reporter Claire to walk the circuit with her.

The sun was starting to set and the lights of the town made it a very romantic setting. Perfect for a night walk Jeff thought

His reverie was broken by his phone going off. Devon's wife Nicole was on the other end.

'Jeff, where is my husband' she sobbed. The race engineer went as cold as ice. Ducking out of the podium and your press responsibilities was one thing, but leaving a spouse in the lurch was quite another. He took no joy in telling the model that they didn't know where Devon had got to

Callum joined him. He looked emotionally spent already and they were only on the fifth round. The next race in France was going to be harder still if they couldn't turn this around

Last edited by reptongeek (January 18, 2023 4:19 pm)

Security will run you down hard
And I will lead them on a merry chase
     Thread Starter

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