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February 7, 2023 6:23 pm  #21

Re: Slow and steady wins the race

Chapter Twenty One: South Korea

At the stop over in Hong Kong, Jeff reflected on the events of the last two races. On the surface it was pretty good. Two consecutive 1-2 finishes had brought them closer to the Canox team who had two bad races only scoring minor points.

Of course it had to be said that one of those races was because of Devon driving slowly over the line after the first Safety Car restart an action that resulted in a warning and a reprimand from the FIA. Both Canox's had been affected, Lukas finishing 5th and Oscar in 7th.

The return to South Korea following a year's absence was slightly bittersweet for another reason. Last time, Lukas had won his first Grand Prix at the venue when Devon had spun out. In an almost carbon copy of what had happened in Germany earlier this year, Lukas had tried to build a gap so he could retain his 2nd position but this put him in Devon's mirrors and under pressure he had spun off with 15 laps to go.

The mood in the Audi pit afterwards was like being at a wake. And it didn't take Jeff long to realise this was because the 'wrong driver' had won the race. Lukas had been called into Brian's office shortly after his press commitments to have a chat. What transpired Jeff never quite knew but the aftermath was Devon winning every race for the remainder of Lukas's time with the team

And then had come his firing after his spin in qualifying at Spa Francorchamps. Which Jeff had found out was actually due to a glitch in the differential which had triggered as he left the Bus Stop Chicane and spun him into the wall

Knowing what Jeff knew now about Devon, it had been clear that this incident had just been used as an excuse to get rid of him, with the convenient smokescreen of 'under performing' being used as a justification for the decision.

And all this because Lukas had beaten Devon to a World Karting title when they were eight years old. Lukas would go onto win two more, but Devon had been so upset by his defeat he never entered another, even though he could and should have won just as many

Jeff heard the announcement of his flight and went to his gate

The South Korean F1 circuit at Yeongham had completed its city surrounding the circuit. This meant all the drivers and team personnel could stay in a nearby hotel on the grounds and simply walk into the paddock.

The plan for the weekend was as it had been for the previous two to secure another 1-2 finish with Devon on top. Jeff knew that he would also be gunning for another Grand Chelem having failed to do so at the last round when (uniquely) the two Aston Martin drivers had taken the fastest lap by setting the same time on Lap 59

Before he had the chance to do that however they had to qualify well. And it was no surprise to anyone they got their customary front row slot, Devon taking the first step to the Grand Chelem by securing Pole Position. Lukas was 4th, and Oscar in 7th, both McLarens, the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz and the Williams of Robert Kubica qualifying between them

At the start the two Audi's streaked away and Lukas held station behind Lewis Hamilton. Oscar managed to gain a couple of places to stay in fourth behind his teammate.

Robert Kubica though was flying and over the course of a few laps overtook several cars to lie second behind Devon, albeit 19 seconds back

The first round of pit stops took place and everything went well until Aiden suffered an engine failure down the main straight. Jeff should have felt something, anything from this event but he didn't. It was just as well then that this temporary return to the Audi team was just that. Temporary

Lukas was having quite a ding dong battle with Robert. It was certainly a high quality encounter as they were scrapping really closely, overtaking each other at the exit of Turn 3 twice in ten laps. Oscar was behind this battle enjoying the ringside seat

After the second round of pit stops Lukas had got himself ahead and only Devon was ahead of him. He could have turned his engine down but Robert was breathing down his neck again. Finally on Lap 53 he overtook Lukas once more and not wanting to fight and risk his car, the championship leader settled for 3rd. Oscar finished behind him in 4th with Lewis Hamilton leading Carlos Sainz home

Devon got his grand chelem, winning the race some 30 seconds behind Robert in 2nd place. The championship situation was now very tight going into the final two races. In the Driver's the gap was now seven points (95-88) and in the Constructors there was a five point gap between Canox and Audi (127-122)

Aiden had taken the opportunity to point out that had his team let him win the Malaysia and Italian GP's they could be champions at the next round and Jeff whilst he disagreed at the way he put his point across, had to concede that he was right

It was also true that Devon could be champion already if he hadn't made two race ending errors that had given Lukas two crucial wins

But this wasn't a game of if's and but's. They could still win, but they would need to keep winning and time was running out. Jeff was also acutely aware that their title rivals had an update for Brazil. They weren't giving up just yet

Last edited by reptongeek (February 8, 2023 4:09 pm)

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

February 9, 2023 10:43 am  #22

Re: Slow and steady wins the race

Chapter Twenty One: Japan

Claire was excited to board the plane to the penultimate round. The Suzuka International Circuit in the Land of the Rising Sun had seen many a championship showdown over the years. Would this be another one

Both championship contenders needed to win to still be in with a shout, but the pressure was more on the reigning champion ironically than the championship leader. Devon needed to win both races while Lukas only needed one.

To twist the screw even tighter, there were reports a typhoon was on it's way and was due to hit the circuit sometime during Sundays race, which would put further pressure on Charlie Whiting, F1's race director after the tragic events of 2014 which saw Jules Bianchi have a devastating crash that would claim his life nine months later.

Claire’s eyes drifted over the cockpit of the plane to where Keely was sitting. She couldn't deny her feelings anymore, she was in love with the bisexual PA and she was quite sure Keely felt the same way. They had both had to be careful at the previous two rounds, but Japan had much more relaxed views on same sex relationships.

Still she DID still have a job to do, it wouldn't do any good to be distracted by other things. Her handwritten F1 Codex was nearly full, luckily there was still space to include the final two rounds and the final classification. She slowly flipped through the pages reminding herself of a most extraordinary season. It would certainly be talked about and remembered for years to come

They soon landed at Tokyo airport and took the Shinkansen train to the circuit. The most notable feature of Suzuka was the fairground next door, the famous Ferris Wheel dominating the skyline. Claire decided to take a punt and asked Keely in a text if she wanted to take a ride after they had both finished for the day. The reply came back very quickly and the young reporter's heart gave a quick flutter when she saw the answer was yes

The two practices on Friday dragged for Claire as she slowly counted down towards her date with Keely. Lukas wasn't giving up just yet actually setting the 2nd fastest time at the end of FP2. Aiden was in 1st and Devon in 4th behind Oscar

The two Canox driver's were positive as they were interviewed about the day's events, Oscar positively glowing about the race track

'I love it' he told Claire. 'It's my favourite track of the year so far'

Finally at about eight o'clock, it was time for Claire to get changed out of her worm uniform and into a nice top and jeans and knee high boots for her meeting with Keely. They went into the fairground which was a little busy with fans who had come to watch the race.

They found the Ferris Wheel okay and managed to get into an empty car. As they gently rose over the circuit, Claire gently took Keely's hand and rubbed a booted leg up against hers

Keely smiled at her and the beautiful reporter couldn't help her eyes filling with tears.

They reached the top and Keely remarked;

'That's quite a view'. A tear overflowed Claire’s left eye and ran down her cheek.

'Yes it is' she said her breathing going slightly quicker. 'Quite a view'

Keely tenderly wiped away her tear and after stroking Claire’s ponytail for a few seconds, pulled out the hair tie allowing it to fall down Claire's shoulders

Claire clasped her hands on Keely's face and gently kissed her. The two women continued their making out session until they were jolted back into reality by the ferris wheel moving back down

Claire giggled in spite of herself and Keely joined in as she handed her girlfriend her hair tie back. After Claire had retied her ponytail and the car had reached the ground, they left to return back to their hotel.

'See you tomorrow' Keely said, giving her a final kiss. Claire shut the door of her hotel room and allowed tears of joy to stream down her face

The next morning the news about the Typhoon hadn't improved. It was still on course to hit the circuit on race day, so Charlie Whiting made the decision to move the race forward 24 hours. Qualifying would be at the time originally allocated to FP3

The Audi team protested this decision but with memories of Jules Bianchi still in everybody's mind, their complaints fell on deaf ears

The rejigged Qualifying session ended with Oscar on a surprise pole position, Devon in second while Lukas was in 3rd in front of Aiden

On the grid, Claire asked Lukas about the schedule change and he replied that he didn't mind

'Charlie is in a difficult position with the Typhoon approaching and the championship battle being what it is, but it's always a tough choice to make. At least this way, we get to have a race in the dry in safety, as the rain can be a lottery if it gets too bad'

Claire thanked him and the race got underway. Devon firmly taking the lead off Oscar into Turn 2 as the field went round the first lap.

The tension was high in the pits as the front runners pitted with Devon still in the lead. Lukas was in second when he came in having dispatched Oscar and Aiden earlier, but a problem with the fuel rig caused him to drop behind the surprise package in the Aston Martin's. To make the Canox day worse, Oscar suffered the same problem

There were also woes at one side of the Audi garage, although sadly from Lukas's point of view not from Devon's perspective. After the second round of put stops cycled through Aiden was trying to pass Nikita Mazepin to lap him  only for the Russian to turn in on him too early and damage his front wing

Luckily for Aiden he was close to the pit lane, but this dropped him out of the points. Lukas meanwhile was busy fighting the Aston Martin's. Casper Ackerman putting up a sterling defence of his 3rd place. Finally on Lap 51, Lukas managed to get a good run out of the fearsome 130R and overtook his friend into the Casio Triangle chicane.

This was a crucial move as it meant he would go to Interlagos one point ahead of Devon (99-98). With Oscar finishing ahead of Aiden - who also managed a last gasp overtake to finish 6th, the Constructors was ties on 133 points each.

Because of the incoming Typhoon, it was necessary for the press briefings to be fast tracked as all the race equipment had to be packed up before it arrived. Claire noticed as she completed her regular team report feature, that Lukas and Oscar were helping their team, whilst at Audi only Aiden was helping, Devon presumably sulking somewhere

The final round was going to be a classic

Last edited by reptongeek (February 9, 2023 11:01 am)

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

February 11, 2023 3:08 pm  #23

Re: Slow and steady wins the race

Chapter Twenty Two: The Threshold Is The Place To Pause

Lukas stood up on the rostrum gathering his thoughts. Finally he put the microphone to his mouth and began to speak

'A year ago today, I arrived at this team and met you all for the first time' he told them 'I was looking for a fresh start and a new beginning, following my firing from my previous team, for a crash I know now wasn't my fault. And I found what I was looking for in the Canox team.'

He paused, then continued

'This has been an incredible year for all of us. We've all achieved things this year, we could only have dreamed about last October. In Brazil we could win two world championships. And that is all down to everyone of you. Irrespective of what will happen at the final round of the season, you should all be very proud of what you have achieved this year, so thank you very much.'

There was a roar of claps and then Oscar took the stage. Whilst he wasn't blind to the fact that the season hadn't gone quite his way, he was equally complementary.

After the meeting, Lukas went outside for some fresh air. He had some thinking to do. Devon had been posting on social media and none of it was particularly nice.

His championship rival had blasted him for being 'the worst team-mate he'd ever had and if he won the world championship, it would be a travesty of the sport'

'He has no pole positions, no fastest laps and he won't have led the most laps either' the post continued. 'I achieved all those things so therefore I deserve the title, not him'

Lukas heard the sound of heels clicking on the tarmac. He turned towards the sound and saw it was Marianna, wearing the same outfit as she had worn exactly a year ago.

'I liked your speech' she said to him.

'Thank you' he replied. Marianna's eyes filled with tears. It was almost as if she was sharing all of his stress and worry

'I can leave you alone if you want' she told him. Lukas shook his head.

'Devon's been posting on social media. He says I won't deserve the title if I win'

'He's wrong!!' Marianna told him passionately. 'You've driven amazing this year, and what has he done. Either side of doing what he always does which is just zoom into the distance, he's cost his team an unfathomable amount of money in crash damage. You haven't'

Lukas saw her stop speaking, realising that not only was she now crying, her tears streaming down her face, but she had let escape all of her feelings towards him. Embarrassed she wiped her face and her eyes with her hands.

He considered what to do next. It should be her decision Keely had told him in Belgium, when they spoke after Oscar's crash in qualifying. The same crash that had put him out of Italy

'I can't guarantee I'm going to be safe' he told her seriously. Those beautiful eyes of the woman he loved once again filled with tears

'I know' Marianna told him softly, taking him by the hand

'But do you though' Lukas reminded her. 'Justin Wilson, a driver I liked and respected died because a nose cone hit him on the head. He passed away through am accident that wasn't his fault. I need you to be absolutely sure'

Marianna gently kissed him on the lips. It was everything he had wished. After a few seconds, she broke the kiss as another round of tears ran down her cheeks

'I'm sure' she told him softly. Lukas wiped her tears away, her face felt cool to touch.

The moment between the two of them was broken by Simone who informed Lukas (while trying to suppress a grin) that his visitor had arrived

He said goodbye to Marianna and followed Simone back to reception to greet Emma Raducanu. The recently crowned US Open champion had mentioned at Wimbledon that she was an F1 fan and Lukas had decided to invite her as a guest to see him race

After Lukas had received her thanks for inviting him to Brazil, he took his guest around the factory for her tour.

The following week the team made their way to Interlagos for their date with destiny.

Proceedings kicked off with the title rivals press conference. Whilst Lukas was very polite and respectful, Devon just parroted his social media post and got very angry when he was asked any other questions

'Who was the last driver to win the title without a pole' he snarled at Claire. 'You can't tell me can you!'

'Actually I can' she replied. 'Niki Lauda in 1984. And he was a legend of our sport'

Devon stormed out at this comment, leaving Lukas to finish the press conference alone. Actually he remembered Niki Lauda hadn't even started on the front row when he won his third title, just like him. Not a bad club to be in really

Following the press conference, it was time for FP1 and it was during this first session, that Devon came upon Ronny Robinson who was testing the new aero package the Canox team had brought to Brazil

He'd caught up to her rather quickly but instead of simply hanging behind her or waiting for the third driver to move out of the way, he slammed right into her side

Ronny flew over the grass and slapped right into the tyre barrier

Last edited by reptongeek (February 11, 2023 3:08 pm)

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

February 13, 2023 2:58 pm  #24

Re: Slow and steady wins the race

Chapter Twenty Three: Brazil

'Oh for God's sake!' Jeff exclaimed in the pits after seeing Devon's collision with Ronny. He saw the reigning Champion get out of his car and walk away, clearly not bothered if the third driver was okay.

Red flags flew round the circuit and the Medical Car was soon on it's way. Meanwhile there were endless replays of the incident and the more it was repeated the worse it got. There was little doubt who was at fault, and the repercussions were going to be nasty

Ronny was extracted from jet car in a process the commentators noted she was familiar with as she had gone through the extraction test earlier in the year. She was placed in the ambulance and driven to the medical centre, the session resuming shortly afterwards.

Normal procedure included bringing Devon back too, but for whatever reason he wasn't brought back and had to find his way back to the pits on his own. By the time he had done this not only had FP1 concluded but his title rival was able to give news on his teammates condition

'She has a quite a deep cut on her leg' he informed Claire 'And some bruises but is otherwise okay' He paused and then continued;

'I mean it was such a silly incident, after today he isn't going to see her for the rest of the weekend, so it was a pretty mindless crash to be honest. And of course this means we have no spare car for the rest of the weekend. Plus she was carrying the updated package too, so we've lost one copy of that'

This was the first time Lukas had got cross all year, but somehow he was still diplomatic. He wouldn't be drawn on Devon's inevitable punishment stating that Charlie had enough pressure on him as it was.

Jeff knew this had been a reference to Japan. The promised typhoon had unfortunately bypassed Suzuka on the Sunday which meant the original schedule could have been run. Of course it was easy to say this with hindsight, but still this hadn't stopped the race director getting it in the neck from the keyboard warriors of Twitter

And now he had this to deal with. Ronny was not only the first female F1 driver to have scored a point for decades, she was also a very attractive F1 driver with a strong fan base, and they would not be happy. Neither was her boyfriend Will Aston who called upon Devon to be excluded from the event in a video posted on his Instagram

Jeff knew this wouldn't happen, but the punishment was still going to be severe. He recalled that Casper had two fastest times in qualifying deleted in Spain for running into Devon, and in that instance there were special circumstances. There wasn't in this instance

By the end of FP2, the stewards had made their decision to delete five fastest qualifying times from Devon, meaning he would have to set six times to get into the race. It was the closest punishment you could get to exclusion without actually doing it

The next morning, Lukas struck the first blow by getting fastest time in FP3 before qualifying. Devon was behind him in second but with his handicap coming later who knew what would happen

It was necessary for him to go out early to ensure that he set a time for the grid. This meant there was no time for tweaking setups or anything. He had to do three runs of four laps to get in the race. One incident and he was out of not only qualifying, but Lukas would be World Champion. Jeff reckoned this was the point of his punishment to force him to focus

He had done his first two runs and was back in the pits for a top-up of fuel and fresh tyres. After some minor setup tweaks he was out on track to finally get into the race. Lukas had completed his laps and was hovering in second behind Lewis Hamilton. There was a slim chance he might get ahead of both of them, but it was very slim

Jeff then realised that Aiden hadn't qualified yet and there were fifteen minutes left. There was a mass panic as everyone descended on Aiden's car so he could get out and set a time. Lukas meanwhile had been displaced by Sebastian Vettel in the Aston Martin, meaning no front row start and the chance to equal Niki Lauda's achievement from 1984.

Aiden had only time for two laps, not surprisingly his time wasn't good as he was in traffic for most of the lap. Devon eventually ended up fifth with his teammate in eighth.

Jeff was charging up the radios after the session when Aiden out of his race suit and looking very upset, stormed past him.

'Aiden stop' His driver turned round, he was crying.

'I'm done Jeff' he told his race engineer. 'I'm going home'

'What's happened' Aiden didn't say another word and just walked out to the car park. Jeff followed him

'You can't walk out, we need you to win the Constructors' Aiden wheeled round him, pouring tears

'No you don't!' he shouted. 'He's never needed me, ever since Malaysia!! Well he can stuff his drive, this team and this whole chuffing sport. I'm leaving and I'm not coming back'

Jeff tried to stop him but Aiden just swore and shouted some more and drove away from the paddock. The veteran race engineer wondered what else could possibly go wrong.

Then his phone rang. It was Charlie

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     Thread Starter

February 15, 2023 2:10 pm  #25

Re: Slow and steady wins the race

Chapter Twenty Four: Brazil, Part II

Lukas was feeling pretty good the morning of qualifying for the last race of the season. Ronny had to be sent to the nearest hospital after her practice crash, to have stitches put in her leg, but she told him not to worry or apologise for the incident

'It's not your fault I'm here' she said. 'It's Devon's'

The championship leader had felt a little down the previous day. He knew he had a job to do, but he was still concerned that people he liked and respected were being hurt by his title rivals constant rages

Jeff however had told him not to be silly

'You go out there and win this championship' he informed him. 'You deserve it, you've driven brilliantly this season and don't let anyone tell you otherwise'

This made Lukas feel much better and he entered the paddock with a new kind of optimism. Ever since his spin in Turkey, he'd done okay but he had by his own admission tightened up and this had affected his performances. But Jeff's endorsement had given him the boost he needed. He was going to win this title and he was going to enjoy it, and hang what Devon or his fans actually thought

In FP3 he'd managed to get second place behind his title rival, who would be handicapped in the upcoming qualifying session by having his top five times deleted. This was the perfect opportunity to get himself on the front row for the first time this season.

And with fifteen minutes to go he was still there, hanging on behind Lewis Hamilton who was on pole position. Oscar was sharing his car so he could benefit from the updated aero package and did a sterling job to qualify 3rd. However in the dying minutes both Canox's were displaced by Sebastian Vettel. Sadly no front row, but Lukas didn't mind

'If it's good enough for Niki Lauda, it's good enough for me' he told the press conference. 'I'll certainly see if I can emulate him tomorrow by winning the championship without a front row start and also see if I can follow Emerson Fittipaldi who won both his titles without fastest lap'

After his press commitments, he returned to the garage to help his mechanics set up his car for the race. It would feel emotional saying goodbye to his car at the end of the season. Ever since the Australian Grand Prix he had driven Chassis #3 in every race, practice and qualifying session. When he had spun in Turkey and scratched the paint, it had been carefully restored for him so he could drive it in Singapore. He had made it a point the last time he had been at the factory to thank every member of the paint shop for their hard work

He was in the middle of adjusting a setting when Keely told him Charlie wanted him on the phone.

'Can I call him back Keels'

'He said he needs to speak to you now' his PA replied. Lukas's hands were a little mucky, so Keely put her mobile to his ear.

'There's been a problem during qualifying' the race director said 'I'm going to need you to stay behind while we sort it out'

'What sort of problem?' Lukas asked, getting very worried

'I'm sorry, I'm not yet at liberty to say' Charlie apologised. 'But I will need you to stay in the paddock'

'Does the rest of my team need to stay here'

Charlie replied that they didn't just him. He hung up and summarised the conversation to his team

'You should go back to the hotel' he told them. 'You need to get some rest for tomorrow's race' Everyone wanted to stay, even Emma Raducanu

'We can't abandon you to your fate, whatever that might be' she said, and a few calls of 'here, here' rang amongst the group

'Please, go back and rest' Lukas insisted. Reluctantly everyone finished up and left, wishing him good luck.

Lukas was now left alone in the paddock. He returned to his driver's room with only Keely's phone for company. The time dragged. His team had left at 5:30 to return back to the hotel, and it was now 6:45 and still no word.

Fifteen minutes later at 7pm, he was startled by Keely's phone. Charlie was ringing back asking for him to come to the media centre. Lukas was sorely tempted to ask what the hell was going on, but demurred and said he was on his way.

As he walked through the darkening deserted pit lane, he saw Claire and her cameraman Andy. They appeared to be ready to record a piece for her television company, whatever that might be.

He carried on and with a sense of dread, pushed open the media centre door. Charlie was waiting for him

'We don't have a lot of time' he said. 'Can you read as you walk' Lukas nodded and he was handed a press release to read. As his eyes scanned the paper and took in it's contents they ballooned like saucers. He scarcely believed what he had just seen. He looked up at the race director who was now ready to give a statement to the waiting press

'Charlie, is this a joke'

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     Thread Starter

February 17, 2023 4:17 pm  #26

Re: Slow and steady wins the race

Chapter Twenty Six: Brazil, Part III

'What do you suppose is going on' Andy asked Claire as the wait continued to drag on.

'Nothing good' she said. The paddock was slowly emptying as the sun was getting lower and lower. She remembered Murray Walker having to do the same thing in 1994. Staying in a deserted paddock to give news of Michael Schumacher's disqualification from the Belgian Grand Prix

And now Claire was undeniably doing the same thing. The  BBC in England had reached an agreement with CH4 to use her for their News 24 service. However it was gone Six o'clock and nothing had happened so far. Claire had already pulled out her low ponytail and tied it back at least three times as there had been nothing to do beyond waiting and telling various news anchors that she was still waiting

Finally at 6:50, she received some news. And as forecast it wasn't good

'At 1:43 during the Qualifying Session, Car No. 1 driven by Devon Butler failed to stop as requested into the Weighbridge area when he returned to the pitlane following a Qualifying attempt' The Press release stated. 'He then proceeded to return to his garage where his car was worked on in violation of Article 29.1(a). The stewards imposed the penalty of exclusion from the event in accordance with Article 29.1(b). Noting that the article does not give the stewards any alternative penalty.'

Claire’s eyes filled with tears as she scanned the digital press release. She dabbed them away and finished reading the press release

'Car No. 9, Lukas Weber is therefore awarded the title of World Driver's Champion. In accordance with Article 19.5, the champions press conference will accordingly take place in the media centre at 19:00 hrs.'

Claire was so full of joy she could hardly speak. She wanted to scream wildly round the paddock but had to remain professional. She wiped a tear that had escaped her left eye and streamed down her face and got ready to give the dramatic news to the BBC. As she did so she saw Lukas enter the media centre

Did he already know? If he didn't he would shortly. The anchor at BBC News 24 had questions so Claire took him through the weighbridge procedure, why there was a weighbridge in the first place and read to him from her F1 Codex the appropriate regulation which had sealed Devon's fate.

Claire was then allowed to watch the press conference which was being shown on YouTube in a special Live broadcast, which began with a standing ovation. An occasion, Claire noted that was as rare as the event itself

'I'm still a bit shocked' Lukas told the press after he had told them to be seated 'It is a cliche that we all say, we want to win on the track and this is one of those times. I was aware of the weighbridge rule, our race director Trevor Foster made sure we all did. Everytime me, Oscar and Ronny went out he would tell us, 'Don't forget the weighbridge'. We heard it so much that we were sick of it by China, but it was so important that we didn't miss it'

Lukas then continued to explain that he himself had been summoned on several occasions to the weighbridge that year, at least on two occasions to his detriment. He was asked if he was aware why the regulation had been changed and in irony of all ironies, the new Champion explained it had been Devon who had 'suggested' the change after the previous seasons Monaco GP. At that race Charles Leclerc had committed the same offence but the penalty then was the loss of two fastest qualifying times

Lukas had remembered the press conference quite well, because as he told the press he had actually been there

He then told the press that he and Oscar still had a job to do, and would go out the next day to win the Constructors for the team, 'because they deserve it too'

After twenty five minutes or so, the meeting broke up. The young reporter and her cameraman waited for the BBC to tell them they were ready for their final update. Andy succinctly summed up the whole sorry episode with a single sentence

'What a clot' Claire smiled. Then she spotted Lukas who had left his press conference

'Out of respect for Marianna, I'm not going to give you a hug but congratulations champ' she said holding out her hand. Lukas took it and thanked her

'It still hasn't sunk in yet, it probably won't for a while but I am very happy'

And so you should! Claire thought. A young woman came out of the media centre and addressed F1's newest title winner

'Sir, Me Domenicalli's complements. He wishes to come to the helipad and take you back to the hotel' Lukas told her he would be on his way. In her best Dobby impression, Claire exclaimed;

'Sir! I like her very much!!' Lukas grinned, said goodbye and followed the uniformed aide

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     Thread Starter

February 20, 2023 3:23 pm  #27

Re: Slow and steady wins the race

Chapter Twenty Seven: Brazil, Part IV

Jeff awoke the last day of the season, glad that it was all over. It had been a hell of a year. Literally

His mind went over the events of the previous day. Charlie had rung him because it was necessary to download the unboard footage from Devon's car because he had transgressed the regulations in qualifying

Brian initially refused to hand over the necessary code that would allow the FIA to do this. He had also not even cared that Aiden had walked out and would not come back

'I've had it up to here with his diva moments' he had said. Jeff lost his temper so badly it scared the entire garage, which was saying something given Devon's behaviour since Malaysia.

Finally the deadlock was broken at 6pm when the FIA president threatened to disqualify the entire team from the season if they didn't cooperate.

So Brian handed over the code and thirty minutes later Jeff dragged Devon up to Charlie's office to hear his fate.

The news that Devon had driven past the weighbridge had made him really cross. He had put his team through so much crap that year, only to do this at the last hurdle.

It was necessary for Devon and a team representative to sign a form authorising his exclusion. Jeff willingly signed it, but Devon even at this late stage was refusing to do so.

'You are going to sign that paper!' Jeff told him, pinning him against the wall. 'And then you are going to apologise to EVERYONE in the team that you have let down' Devon had given him a death glare but did indeed sign the paper.

Fifteen minutes later it became official and Lukas was announced as the World Champion at his press conference. Among the questions he was asked was whether he accepted that his title would come with an asterisk.

'No, because I wanted to win it on the track. I didn't ask Devon to get himself excluded. I was ready for a final battle on track and I was willing to let the racing gods decide what the outcome would be. We can't unfortunately have that, but this situation is not my fault'

Good for you, Lukas Jeff had said to himself. Despite how it ended, he fully deserved his first championship.

There was however the problem of now getting Aiden back. The Constructors championship was tied on 133 points each but Canox was in the lead because it had won nine races to Audi's seven. In order for Audi to win, Aiden needed to finish first and hope the two Canox's didn't finish on the podium - which also gave them 10 points.

'He's not going to come back Jeff' Marc told him.

But Jeff wasn't giving up yet and sent his driver one final message giving him the updated circumstances, hoping that would work

When he reached the circuit, Aiden still hadn't arrived. Charlie said he couldn't give him any leniency. He had to be there for the start of final practice otherwise Jeff would have no choice but to withdraw his entry

Wanting something to do, Jeff asked for a bottle of champagne and delivered it to the Canox garage so they could celebrate Lukas's title. When he got back Aiden had thankfully arrived

He couldn't use Devon's car for the race as it had been excluded along with the driver, but they could use the spare chassis which had Devon's settings. After Charlie had signed the authorisation to switch chassis they were ready to go

In the last practice session Aiden was top and the Canox's just behind in 2nd and 4th. They might just do this. On the grid prior to the race both Lukas and Oscar shook Aiden's hand to wish him luck. The crowds had noticeably thinned out with nearly all of Devon's fans going home after his disqualification, but the remainder would still see a race

At the start everyone got away cleanly, the Canox's made their way to the front and so did Aiden who was leading the race by Lap 5. And then he did his finest Devon impression driving onto the distance. He was so fast that he was lapping nearly the entire field and he needed an extra pit stop for fuel and tyres.

The Canox cars fluctuated in the top 5 but by Lap 60 they had completed their final stops and were lying in 2nd and 3rd places, Lukas ahead of Oscar. Aiden had now lapped everyone up to 4th place and was keeping a 1.6 second gap to the two red, white and blue cars ahead of him

Jeff crossed his fingers, not for Aiden but for Lukas and Oscar. He knew what Aiden was doing. If either of the two cars dropped out ahead of him, so would he giving Canox the Constructors championship. Over the final laps the cars circulated. Aiden had the fastest lap and it was looking that Lukas would complete the final part of his unique triple crown. Winning the WDC without a front row start, fastest lap and 2nd in the rankings of laps lead.

When Aiden took the chequered flag they were still running and then the season that had everything added two more items to the list. Lukas on his final lap suffered a fuel pressure problem and parked on the side of the track - but still on the podium in 3rd. And then Aiden's car started to smoke as he entered the pit lane and burst into flames. The fire marshalls quickly put it out and the podium celebrations began once Lukas had been picked up

In his press conference Aiden didn't budge on retiring from the sport after just one season. He told the press he wasn't sure what he would do next. Lukas and Oscar were happy to have won a second title for their team and said they were looking forward to getting home to celebrate with the workers at the factory

When final scrutineering had taken place and Aiden's trophy had been delivered to him, he just wanted to get out of there

'Help them pack up' Jeff advised. 'Just one more time'

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

February 23, 2023 2:48 pm  #28

Re: Slow and steady wins the race

Chapter Twenty Eight: Seasons End

Keely was very busy on the flight back, organising Lukas's schedule for the next few days. Among the things Lukas had to do was visit Grand Prix Legends to sign plaques for his special Champion Presentation which was a 1:18 scale replica of his car with all his point scores around the base. The previous year, Devon's third championship winning car had struggled to be successful but already there were 10,000 pre orders for Lukas's car

When they returned to the factory there were a group of fans wanting autographs so Lukas stopped and patiently signed them all and took pictures. One young girl passed over a present for him

'It's your championship year on DVD for you to watch back' she told him shyly. Lukas was very touched and thanked her very much

After an emotional reunion with Marianna, it was time to celebrate with everyone at the factory. Although they were already hard at work on next year's car, they took some time out to remember a truly historic year.

However whilst the overwhelming majority of fans were happy, Devon's weren't. Within a week a petition on had gone up demanding a re-run of the Brazilian GP to 'correct an injustice'. Reading between the lines it was clear thus meant re running the event until they got the result they wanted.

It didn't seem to matter that Devon had been the architect of his own downfall or that had he not crashed so much in the European races he could have won the championship easily, his fans regarded Lukas's title as stolen

Furthermore Lukas was disturbed to learn that Charlie Whiting had received death threats over his decision to exclude Devon from the event, ignoring the fact that a) he didn't have a choice as the regulations didn't permit any other course and b) Lukas hadn't wanted this to happen

Devon seemed to be reveling in the chaos his fans were creating, allowing not only the flames to continue but making it worse by announcing he would be joining Indycar the following year

Nothing is would appear would pacify them even though there were several YouTube videos proving the point that Lukas did deserve his championship and that Devon had thrown it away during the European rounds where Canox had dominated

The controversy got so bad that the German Chancellor and the British Prime Minister got involved pleading with Devon's fans to allow the upcoming FIA Gala to take place but it was clear that a protest was assembling

This put the FIA in a tough spot. Devon was obliged to attend as he had finished in the Top 3 - although whether he would feel so inclined was another question - so it was necessary to invite him to the venue to accept his trophy. Meaning his fans would know where to go

Under terms of the strictest security the FIA Gala was arranged for Frankfurt on the 15th December. Traditionally the prizes for F1 were given out last, but with the assembled protestors outside the decision was taken to move them to the beginning of the ceremony and end with World Rally

Devon wasn't at the ceremony thus triggering a future punishment that Jean Todt's replacement as FIA President would have to deal with. Aiden however was though and he accepted his third place trophy.

As Lukas accepted his championship trophy he noticed that all the previous champions were listed on it. So this was why his rival had left to join Indycar. He could have stayed and won another F1 title but this would mean he would always have a memory of 'the one that got away'

After the F1 prizes had been given out, Lukas and Sam Michael were spirited away in a car to a secret location. The FIA Gala continued thankfully without incident but the protest outside resulted in a small riot that caused a police officer's death

Lukas and his team principal looked at each other. All this because Devon had lost a championship

He would lose even more. By the time the F1 circus returned to Albert Park, not only had Devon been banned from Motorsport of any kind for a year, he had lost his Indycar drive. There had even been talk of criminal proceedings in Germany due to the death of the police officer

Lukas climbed into his car and got ready to start his first race as World Champion. The lights went out and he followed the field round on the parade lap, any thoughts of Devon falling away as he focused on Turn 1

The End

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

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