Well, I am getting ready to watch the European Grand Prix. It is being broadcast for all of us lucky discriminating American viewers on Fox TV, and coverage will start at 12pm EST and 9am PST. Did I mention it is on Fox TV?

I hope one and all will join me in a discussion as we watch the race live. We can regale in how young Sebatian Vettel started from pole and drove away from the field for his sixth victory in eight races this year, basically racing against himself while the rest of the grid actually had a competitive race. We can marvel at how Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari is putting on a hell of a show throughout the entire race in front of his home country Spaniard crowd in Valencia. We can take sides with some of us supporting Fernando’s foil today, Mark Webber, in the Red Bull and us Scudderia aficionados screaming with glee as Alonso out bulls Webber’s Red Bull for the precious P2 podium finish; especially in that heart stopping Senna like pass that put the crowd breathless and on its feet.

We can do all of the above, of course, because the fucking race is over. And, thanks to the MENSA geniuses at Fox TV, we Americans were denied the ability to watch it live and have no alternative but to watch it on tape delay long after the checkered flag dropped for Vettel.

This is just craven and malignant jackassery by Fox; and there is simply no excuse for it. Formula One is the biggest and most popular sporting league in the world. Contrary to the ignorant belief of most Americans, the circle jerk that is NASCAR is NOT the highest form of motorsport, and its drivers are nowhere near the best in the world. No, that distinction would belong squarely to F1. The entire rest of the civilized world got to watch the excitement from the Valencia Street Circuit live, but Fox took it upon themselves to shit on Americans and serve them the anticlimactic sloppy seconds after the fact. Thanks for that Fox.

They may yammer about Rupert Murdoch going to jail for his paranoid exploitive phone hacking offenses, but this sheer fuckery right here to American F1 fans is far more of a capital offense as far as I am concerned. Off with his head!

Okay, with that out of the way, a few housekeeping matters. First off, congratulations to Jim White, whose Florida Gators will be hooking up with South Carolina in the finals of the College World Series. The SEC was, and is, dominant this year.

Secondly, the August 12 theatrical release of the blockbuster documentary “Senna” is rapidly approaching. It was debuted at Sundance and literally won rave reviews. “Senna” was screened last Tuesday night at the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Emptywheel blog’s intrepid roving correspondent, Rosalind, tried to attend; but it was standing room only sold out, and she couldn’t get in. Once it debuts, we will probably figure out some discussion format with me, Rosalind and whoever else wants to go see it on its opening and participate. Stay tuned.

In the same vein, there is another big budget F1 flick afoot, and it sounds incredible. The working title is “Rush”:

A development project currently making the rounds of Hollywood studios, “Rush” tells of the 1970s F1 rivalry between the late playboy British driver James Hunt and his nemesis, Austrian champion Niki Lauda.

Packaged just a few weeks ago as a Paul Greengrass film, the director has opted to move on to other projects, say two sources familiar with the pitch who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak on the director’s behalf. Instead, one of the sources said, the movie is being shopped with veteran director Ron Howard (“A Beautiful Mind,” “The Da Vinci Code”) as the filmmaker.
Lauda and Hunt would make compelling movie subjects. Archrivals who dominated their sport in the 1970s, their most storied square-off came in 1976, when Ferrari’s Lauda went out in middle of the season after suffering a serious injury. That allowed McLaren’s Hunt, who had lagged behind Lauda, to make up ground and eventually eke out a season win.

Adding to the rivalry: the pair were opposites both on and off the track. Hunt was known for dining with his dog at high-end London restaurants and for a general club and party lifestyle. Lauda led a more hard-luck life, contemplating suicide at one early point in his career and suffering the 1976 accident that burned a considerable portion of his face. His post-race career has nonetheless been fruitful: He’s founded two airlines and for a time managed a Formula 1 team. (Hunt, who after retirement did racing commentary for the BBC, died in 1993.)

Note, buried toward the end of the LA Times article linked is the little gold nugget that Steven Spielberg is also developing a project based on the life and exploits of James Hunt. I have had the distinct pleasure of meeting both James Hunt and Nicki Lauda. Both are, in the case of Lauda, and were, in the case of Hunt, fascinating men. I even prevailed on Hunt to let me buy him a cocktail and chat for a couple of minutes in the bar on the Queen Mary, where we both were staying during the Long Beach Grand Prix in 1976. This was pretty heady stuff as Hunt the Shunt, as he was nicknamed, was a jet setting F1 star playboy and I was, well, a 20 year old college student. Hunt could not have been nicer and more pleasant to talk to, and the, what appeared to be Belgian, beauties he had in tow were not shabby either. At any rate, it was a glorious period in F1 and Hunt and Lauda are both incredibly complex and compelling characters, it really could make for an incredible film. I can’t wait.

That is it for today. Make sure to hate on Fox a little and please trash this joint up!