The following is something that I highly based upon the Kurt Vonnegut short story "Harrison Bergeron":

THE YEAR WAS 2017, and every car on the grid was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. No car was more technologically advanced than any of the others. No car was better looking than any of the others. No car was faster or more fuel efficient than any of the others. All this equality was due to the 2017 F1 rules and regulations, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the FIA.


Some things about racing still weren't quite right, though. April for instance, still drove people crazy with the rain. And it was in that clammy month that the FIA men took George and Harvey's Team Bergeron formula one car, the H-2017, away.

It was tragic, all right, but George and Harvey couldn't think about it very hard. Harvey had a perfectly average simulator, which meant it couldn't process any data except in short bursts. And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little budgetary handicap in his wallet. He was required by regulation to have it in there at all times. It was tuned to an FIA transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some harsh fine to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their budgets.

George and Harvey were watching race telemetry. There were tears on Harvey's cheeks, but he'd forgotten for the moment what they were about.

On the television screen were F1 cars.

A buzzer sounded in George's head. His thoughts fled in panic, he was hit with a ₤1,000.00 fine.


"That was a real fast lap, that lap they just did," said Harvey.

"Huh" said George.

"That lap-it was fast," said Harvey.

"Yup," said George. He tried to think a little about the cars. They weren't really very good-no better than anybody else's would have been, anyway. They were burdened with ballast weights and bags of birdshot, and their wings were masked, so that no one, seeing a free and graceful gesture or a pretty car, would feel like theirs was something the cat drug in. George was toying with the vague notion that maybe cars shouldn't be handicapped. But he didn't get very far with it before he was slapped with another fine and scattered his thoughts.


George winced. So did two out of the eight of the other teams' engineers.

Harvey saw him wince. Having no financial handicap himself, she had to ask George what the latest fine had been.


"Five-thousand quid," said George.

"I'd think it would be real interesting, seeing all the different fines," said Harvey a little envious. "All the things they think up."


"Um," said George.

"Only, if I was the head of Formula One, you know what I would do?" said Harvey. Harvey, as a matter of fact, bore a strong resemblance to the head of Formula One, a man named Bernie Ecclestone. "If I was Bernie Ecclestone," said Harvey, "I'd have a ₤500 on Sunday-just ₤500. Kind of in honor of racing."


"I could think, if it was 500 quid," said George.

"Well-maybe make 'it hourly," said Harvey. "I think I'd make a good head of Formula One."


"Good as anybody else," said George.

"Who knows better than I do what normal is?" said Harvey.

"Right," said George. He began to think glimmeringly about his abnormal car who was now in an FIA scrutinizing garage, about the H-2017, but a twenty-one-thousand pound fine in his head bank account stopped that.


"Boy!" said Harvey, "that was a doozy, wasn't it?"

It was such a doozy that George was white and trembling, and tears stood on the rims of his red eyes. Two of the eight engineers had collapsed to the studio floor, were holding their temples.


"You been so tired lately-kind of wore out," said Harvey. "If there was just some way we could make the cars just a little bit faster, and just take out a few of them kilos. Just a few."

"Two year racing ban and two thousand pound fine for every kilo I took out," said George. "I don't call that a bargain."


"If you could just take a few out when we test," said Harvey. "I mean-you don't compete with anybody around here. You just drive around."

"If I tried to get away with it," said George, "then other people'd get away with it-and pretty soon we'd be right back to the dark ages again, with everybody competing against everybody else. You wouldn't like that, would you?"


"I'd hate it," said Harvey.

"There you are," said George. "The minute people start cheating on rules, what do you think happens to the sport?"


If Harvey hadn't been able to come up with an answer to this question, George couldn't have supplied one. A fine was going being deducted from his bank account.

"Reckon it'd fall all apart," said Harvey.

"What would?" said George blankly.

"The sport," said Harvey uncertainly. "Wasn't that what you just said?

"Who knows?" said George.

The prerace program was suddenly interrupted for a news bulletin. It wasn't clear at first as to what the bulletin was about, since the announcer, like all announcers, had a serious speech impediment. For about half a minute, and in a state of high excitement, the announcer tried to say, "Ladies and Gentlemen."


He finally gave up, handed the bulletin to a grid girl to read.

"That's all right-" Harvey said of the announcer, "he tried. That's the big thing. He tried to do the best he could with what God gave him. He should get a nice raise for trying so hard."


"Ladies and Gentlemen," said the grid girl, reading the bulletin. She was extraordinarily beautiful, because the outfit she wore very skimpy. And it was easy to see that she was the prettiest and most graceful of all the grid girls, for her umbrella bore the largest of the sponsor emblems.

And she had to apologize at once for her voice, which was a very unfair voice for a woman to use. Her voice was a warm, luminous, timeless melody. "Excuse me-" she said, and she began again, making her voice absolutely uncompetitive.


"The H-2017," she said in a high pitched squeak, "has just disappeared from the FIA garage, where it was held on suspicion of cheating. It is an extremely fast car with active areo and suspension, is under-handicapped, and should be regarded as extremely dangerous."

"If you see this car," said the girl, "do not - I repeat, do not - try to drive it."


There was the load thunderous roar of a racing motor being awakened from its slumber.

Screams and barking cries of consternation came from the rest of the grid.

George correctly identified the earthquake, and well he might have - for many was the time his own home had danced to the same crashing tune. "My God-" said George, "that must be H-2017!"


The realization was blasted from his mind instantly by the depletion of $15,000 from the team.

When George could open his eyes again, the H-2017 was on the starting line.

A young driver was in the cockpit, one who no one could recognize.

"VROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!" shrieked the H-2017. "VROOOOM, VRRRRRM, RRRRRRRRRRRRRRNNNNNNNNN!" The driver stabbed the gas and the stands shook.


The car took off in a blur of sound and motion.

What seemed like a sonic boom erupted with every shift.

Flames shot out the exhaust when diving into the turns as the wings and vanes turned and moved gluing it to the pavement.


Each burst of acceleration was a cacophony of noise. 300 mph were hit as it blasted down the back straight. It was going to be 30 seconds a lap quicker than anything that had ever graced the track.

It was then that Bernie Ecclestone, the Head of F1, came onto the track with a double-barreled ten-gauge shotgun. He fired twice, and the car was dead before it hit the wall.


Bernie Ecclestone loaded the gun again. He aimed it at the rest of the engineers and told them they had ten seconds to get their handicaps back on the cars.

It was then that the team's television cut out.

Harvey turned to comment about the blackout to George. But George had gone out into the hospitality suite for a cup of coffee.


George came back in with the coffee, paused while a fine shook him up. And then he sat down again. "You been crying" he said to Harvey.

"Yup," he said.

"What about?" he said.

"I forget," he said. "Something real sad on telemetry."

"What was it?" he said.

"It's all kind of mixed up in my mind," said Harvey.

"Forget sad things," said George.

"I always do," said Harvey.

"That's my boy," said George. He winced. There was a 25,000 pound sterling fine.


"Gee - I could tell that one was a doozy," said Harvey.

"You can say that again," said George.

"Gee-" said Harvey, "I could tell that one was a doozy."

(Image credit: Jihoon Seo via WTF1)