Growing up in New England means watching the modifieds in the summer with my dad. I love getting to the short tracks that dot the region and seeing these beautiful bastards tear ass across the ovals.
But the term “modified” comes from the fact that it is heavily modified in relation to a stock car so NASCAR’s lone open-wheel division isn’t about development.
Where the true modifieds lie is here in Formula 1, where a car is never finished and everything can be tinkered with. It makes F1 a radically different racing ecosystem than almost any other series.
Strategy, whether fuel, tire, or setup, can be a fun chess match, but no other series features practices with garden gates attached to cars or parts doused in neon paint.
And with the European season set to begin this week, and teams able to work more from their home base, the development battle is set to go supernova, and I am here for it.
I had forgotten what beautiful carnage development chaos can bring. The last two years were basically the same car and so little was allowed to be changed. Now we have cars with hammocks in the sidepods, cars with no sidepods, and everyone wound up with gills in the sidepods.
Everyone is porpoising (which probably needs a new, more land-based name) and no one can truly solve it. Ferrari is king, could have an even better engine showing up soon, and the million-dollar question is can anyone catch them before it turns into 2002 again.
It’s so much fun and been a breath of fresh air this year.
Last season was an all-timer. It felt like after Max won from pole in Abu Dhabi in 2020 that 2021 would bring a Verstappen-Hamilton duel, and the season did not disappoint.
But now Red Bull is down. Mercedes could be porpoising their way right off the mountaintop. And suddenly the Prancing Horse and its customers are back at the table while Mercedes’ minions can’t get out of their own way or, in Lance’s case, the way of others.
One of the many beauties of F1 is how the concrete never really sets. Upgrades can come at any time for any team and flip the season on its head. With Ferrari looking to be on the precipice of taking the season over, I’m looking forward to seeing how the other teams fight back through the development battle.
Modified season is picking up in New England. Modified season begins this week in Imola. Can’t wait for it.
Thanks for reading. This may not actually be the world’s best F1 blog, but I think it’s pretty ok. Enjoy one for the road…