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Motorsport

F1 is fascinating for many reasons: one is the fact that there are days when one tiny event means not winning, when nearly perfect isn't good enough. And there's the fact that it's a brutal sport where fairness goes out of the window as soon as the lights go out at the first race of the season. Just three races into 2019 and it's already clear that even though much has changed, much has stayed the same.

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This day had to come: Marc Marquez has, unusually, been defeated by the forces of nature. Holding a commanding lead at the US GP at the Circuit of the Americans in Austin, one of the most fundamental aspects of motor-racing was demonstrated and he fell off leaving the result of the race, and the Championship, to cause more shaking of heads than a room full of joyous fan-boys.

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Charles Leclerc fumbled the start and saw his pole position evaporate. It was the only thing he did wrong in the entire race as he took the lead in an audacious move on his team leader, Sebastian Vettel, and didn't look back for the simple reason there was no one to see in his mirrors. Until gremlins arrived.

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I should say up front that I am not a fan of DRS but I concede that, sometimes, it's helped spice up what was an otherwise processional race. But in F1 this year, there seems to be a plan to have more DRS zones. Last night's race in Bahrain had three. When DRS was introduced, tracks had one. And, last night, DRS made an extremely positive contribution to the race but its contribution was limited and artificial. What if the DRS rules were changed to remove the limitation and artificiality?

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I've had the chance to watch an Indycar race on TV, something that, because of various rights fights, has been denied me for several years. There's good close racing but there's a lot wrong both with the rules and the way the sport is presented. What should have been edge of the seat stuff turned into a festival of yawns and a great deal of frustration. And then there's the cars.

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It's a question that three years ago had a clear answer: yes; easily. Now, it's far more complicated. How far, then, should F1 go to appease the Italian team?

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It might look like the tail fin from Concord but it's Bloodhound SSC, rescued this week by British businessman Ian Warhurst after entering liquidation last October.

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For fans of the personalities, regulations and technology of F1, the first race of the 2019 season was fascinating.

For fans of racing, it was extraordinarily dull.

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I can't claim to have known Charlie Whiting personally but I can say that, like one or two other people over my decades of enjoying Formula One as a spectator, he has been an important figure in my life. And then, suddenly, he's gone, as if someone turned out the lights. This time, they say "gone" not "go."

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MotoGP has, in recent years, had flashes of brilliance but periods of extreme dullness. If the first race of 2019, Qatar, is any guide, that's not going to be the case this season. And there's interest in the lower formulae, too.

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