Thursday, 7 September 2017

The Painful Lies by Naquib Nor Azlan

               On a Sunday afternoon, the grandstands were filling in, the hot sun was blazing over the tarmac and 22000 horse powers were waiting to be unleashed. The long-awaited Belgian Grand Prix had finally arrived after the summer break. All the drivers had had their time off and new hungrier than ever to achieve the main goal. All apart from one driver who had the burden to prove his innocence during this race. That specific driver was named James Hunt, known for his ruthlessness to win. This drama started just before the summer break.

               James Hunt was in a class of his own, winning all but one race before the summer break. Every single time he jumped into his glowing red Ferrari F1 car and put on his eye-catching gold metal-flaked helmet, he seemed to be untouchable. Most people admired and respected the skills that he had and the success he achieved. However, it gave question marks to those who did not want to see Hunt win. They were furious that Hunt just could not be beaten and their driver, the great Niki Lauda could not fight. These people were adamant that no driver could be that dominant and James Hunt was racing against the books. Therefore, in order to cut down Hunt’s supremacy, they found out about the accusation, they broke into laughter. Afterwards, they realised they had laughed too soon.

               The F1 governing body would normally ignore a sudden bold statement but this time they decided to take it into account. James Hunt remained calm, even though he was stunned by the governing body’s action he was confident that nothing would happen and his car was safely within the regulations. When they did checks on the car, they found out that the gearbox was placed just shy of 3 cm behind than what it should be. Now 3 cm is such a small difference that it nearly has no performance gains at all. The governing body did not care and deemed that Hunt was racing an illegal car. When that happened all hell broke loose. The governing body knew that it did not make a difference if you moved the gearbox but they decided to stick to it as they assumed it would spice up the grid. This infuriated the Brit. Not only did his team now had to do a major revamp on the car but the rumours spreading over social media were killing Hunt deep inside. He was called a cheat, a fake winner, a coward who could not bear to lose and many others. Even though he knew the team and himself did not do anything wrong, the scars within him could not be healed. The team had to design a whole new car because the gearbox was right on the back bone so they had to reposition everything. Luckily, they managed to finish it and without any tests Hunt stepped into the unknown in the Belgian Grand Prix.

               “And it is lights out and away we go in Belgium!” shouted the commentator in excitement.

               James Hunt knew this race was so important not only for his championship but for his dignity as well. However, right from the get-go he could not find the sweet spot in his Ferrari. He was struggling with the over steer, under steer everything you name it. After 20 laps though, the car gave up.

               “Oh, dear! That is Hunt’s Ferrari bursting into flames!” the commentator said.

               The engine overheated and caught on fire. Even though the flames were right behind his head, he did not want to get out as he knew he was not ready for the criticism. Eventually Hunt did get out and immediately booed by the 15000 fans that turned up.

               After that race, he did not speak with anyone. He went straight into his motor home and never came out. His title was slowly going into smoke and with the world continuing to spread the rumours on him being a cheat, his confidence was shattered as well. He could not take it anymore so after a few weeks he shocked the racing world.

               “News Flash: James Hunt retires from Formula One”

               He did what he had to do, the fans did not want to see him win so he decided to make sure of that. For the people who knew Hunt it was mind-boggling as he loved racing. But due to people spreading false rumours about him, he decided to leave the very thing he adored.

               Even though he was out of F1, the critics did not stop. Hunt was continuously being criticised in front of the whole world for something he never did. The Brit slowly and steadily fell into deep depression. He lost everything. He lost his job, his passion, his confidence, his fans and much more. No human deserves to be treated like this but no one decided to help. After a few weeks, his depression won over him and his body was found hanging from the ceiling. Only then did the critics realise what they had done. It was no use already though as the British superstar who had so much potential in him was broken down by painful lies.  

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