This is not a mid-season review awarding the best and worst. But instead, we are celebrating the average, the middle-ground, the mediocre and all sorts of half measures after half a season. Get you gladrags on and don’t be late – it’s the Halfway Through F1 Awards, and you’re all invited.
The Midfield Lifetime Achievement Award: Sahara Force India
If there’s one team that is the embodied definition of the midfield, it’s them. Never quite competitive enough to challenge the big boys yet never bad enough to fall through the cracks. Even with financial troubles, they keep afloat; unlike McLaren or Red Bull who seem to yo-yo drastically up and down the grid. Whether that’s good or bad, that’s another topic for another day.
The Halftime Race Winner Trophy: Williams F1
For their performance at Silverstone, and thinking that trophies fell from the sky after 30 laps, not rain.
The One Foot out the Door the Other on the Gas Pedal Award: Red Bull Racing
…and their marriage counselling sessions with Renault. It could still end in divorce, but at least they’re thinking about the kids.
The Between a Rock and a Hard Place Award: McLaren- Honda
First there was light. Then there was a Honda-powered McLaren making big promises. And somehow they got stuck between getting praise for Honda’s decision to return and criticism for their performance. They want quick progress to give a good impression but can’t rush through important development either. All while their drivers exchange motivational clichés and meet up for mid-race coffee breaks.
The Getting There is Half the Fun Award: Toro Rosso
For their significant contributions to making the midfield more entertaining than the podium fight, the two youngsters get a thumbs up and a non-alcoholic beer for their efforts. But how cruel would it have been to nominate McLaren?
The Tweets from the Middle Ages Award: Team Sauber
For this little, umm, holiday treat. To their credit, having models build their chassis would at least excuse their recent performance.
— Sauber F1 Team (@SauberF1Team) July 31, 2015
The Halfway Through Portier Award: A sulking Lewis Hamilton
As if pondering whether to jump into the sea, being, as he was, the first driver to lose a race in the pits. Like ever.
The Stuck in No Man’s Land Award: Nico Hulkenberg
Continuously playing his own little game of musical chairs, he’s yet to fall into the winning one. We all totally imagine him in a Ferrari but we’re equally resigned to the fact it’s probably never going to happen. At least he didn’t get stuck in some forest in Le Sarthe.
The Why am I not halfway through a Fishing Trip Award: Jenson Button.
He’s not enjoying this, brave face and all. He’s not getting any younger, the car isn’t getting faster fast enough and he’s running out of synonyms for ‘moving forward’.
The Midway Through Puberty Award: No, not Max, as you’d expect, but Pastor Maldonado
No one has ever been in so much trouble on a Sunday afternoon other than a half-baked teenager coming back from a rave. If ‘rave’ is still a word young people use.
The Halfway Through the Cookie Jar Award: Sebastian Vettel
You could take Seb out of the media pen and put him in a kindergarten playpen and he wouldn’t look out of place. Ever since joining Ferrari he’s been like a kid getting his hands on the cookie jar and hiding it under the bed: all wide smiles and pulling one out of the bag every other weekend. The childlike enthusiasm has always been there, but in F1 you only get to be the teachers’ favourite once you drive a red car.
The Almost There Fashion Award: Lewis Hamilton
Despite Instagramming (is that a word) a picture of his invite, complete with dress code instructions, Lewis was turned away from seeing Novak Djokovic hit some tennis balls and munch on some grass. But ties are far too bourgeois for his taste, don’t you know.
The Half-Hearted Compliments Award: Niki Lauda at the Austrian GP – or any other time when Nico won.
I’m sure he could accurately inform us just how much faster Lewis was out of the womb.
The Halfway Through The Race Taxi Ride Award: Fernando Alonso
I know tow trucks and marshals on scooters don’t ask for a fare but it’s just common courtesy to leave a tip at this point.
The Midlife Crisis Award: Martin Brundle
It’s a special year for our Martin. He can publicly profess his crush on Lewis, he got to interview the Spice Girls and is generally mucking about in a different car every other week. An open-seater counts as a convertible too, right?
The Halfway Through A Yawn Award: Polls. So many polls.
I’ve spent so much time filling in Autosport’s and GPDA’s polls that any extra minute trying to decide which was more tedious would put me to sleep. In theory, I suppose Autosport Inc. got some useful market research done, while the GPDA will probably take the powerpoint slideshow and file it in the ‘Now you can’t say we didn’t at least ask’ desk cabinet. Every good husband has one.
The Mid-Season Modification to the Alteration Award: Start Procedures
Because no rule can be set in stone in F1, as much as Bernie tries to play Moses. McLaren’s extra engine deserves a mention but this start malarkey seems to help with the show. Somehow. But the day DRS is restricted, they can expect an actual trophy through the mail.
The Half Team Principal, Half Giggly Fangirl Award: Maurizio Arrivabene
Never has someone been as excited and doe-eyed since Take That announced a(nother) reunion. All the loving hugs, the pretentious compliments and the little games like the pretend interview – if it was anyone but Maurizio, Seb’s signature would already be on the restraining order. But he’s enjoying the sort of attention that Dr. Marko deprived him of.
The Half-Arsed Headline on a Slow News Day Award: Kimi Raikkonen
When no one’s dating Rihanna and no one’s getting cornrows, red alarm bells are ringing in newsrooms over the world while desperate editors reach for the emergency filler topic: who to replace Kimi Raikkonen? It will inevitably happen but, at this point, they could just post a video of a Pomeranian sneezing and I’d take it more seriously than their sources. And with Kimi now confirmed for 2016, we’ve only got another 12 months to wait before it all starts again.
The Glass Half Empty, Tank Half Full Award: F1 Media
Much like a post-menopausal knitting club, the F1 paddock spent half a year arguing and going through mood swings. But more than the usual bickering, this got a bit out of hand. First the racing was boring – not for the first time. Then people started complaining, as you do. Then other people started complaining about the media complaining. Then the media started complaining that they’re not complaining. And people like me started complaining about all the pointless complaining. This saw the media take a U-turn like you only see in complex personality disorders and proclaim every new race as the best thing since Neil’s gig on the Moon.
Now if you’ve made it all the way through this article, you deserve at least a half-arsed pat on the back and a beer you’re going to pick up from your own fridge. But cheer up, Spa is almost here and the nominations open for this season’s F1 Oscars – an event marginally more entertaining than the title fight itself!