July 13, 2005
So, in a tip of the cap to two of my favorite hobbies, I bring you:
IF F1 TEAMS RAN NASA...
FERRARI: Shuttle pilots would cut each other off on approach to the landing strip, blame the fact that they can't make orbit on their tires, and paint everything blood red... and we'd have colonies on Mars by now.
McLAREN: Faster-Than-Light travel would be a reality, but every astronaut would have really strange names like "Kimi" or "Juan Pablo." The shuttle would have the name of the mission commander painted on the cargo doors.
RENAULT: Half of the shuttles would never get off the pad. The other half would be able to orbit the Earth in record time. All the pilots would be 22. Mission Controllers would have horrible poker faces.
WILLIAMS: The shuttle would take off well, but be unable to make orbit. The shuttle manufacturer would blame the engine constructors, the engine makers would blame the bodywork. But occasionally they'd have an amazing performance.
TOYOTA: The space agency would have the biggest budget in the country, but would always find themselves doing things after other space agencies. Their shuttles would often be in the way of other space vehicles.
RED BULL: Every astronaut could go entire missions without sleeping, but would be banned in France. The agency would also sponsor half of the world's 'lesser' space programs. Would run regular contests to find the next American to put into the cockpit. Every few years, another outfit would take over the agency.
SAUBER: The shuttle would have engines purchased from another space agency, but renamed so as not to cause confusion. Would eventually be sold to an outside group that promises to 'spend the money to get them on top.'
JORDAN: Every flight would be a hair-raising adventure as the shuttle couldn't fly a straight line. Still, they'd accomplish every mission, if a bit slowly.
MINARDI: We'd still be flying Mercury capsules. Every now and again, though, they'd find an astronaut who'd go on to be successful with other space agencies.
If the FIA ran NASA, the pilots would all hate the administration, there'd be talk of a second space agency made up of dissatisfied Flight Controllers, and there'd be one astronaut that NASA would let get away with anything.
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