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All Quiet on the F1 Front

Okay, I admit it, I do like a bit of controversy, something that I can throw a few ill-chosen words at to get everyone even more outraged. And F1 has let me down badly this morning, having apparently fixed the flexi-floor debate and the customer car row waiting for arbitration. The only thing happening seems to be testing in Malaysia with times that are all over the place, confirming the old adage that testing proves nothing.

Sato

Sato in the Super Aguri

Silverstone is threatened with a buy-out by a shadowy group called Spectre, prompting PitPass to speculate on a return of James Bond’s old enemy, Ernst Blofeld, but Damon Hill has denied that the circuit is up for sale. So much for any fun with that one.

Even F1 Fanatic is reduced to a post on a Formula 1 photograph exhibition in London. Definitely a day with no pots to stir and no fur to ruffle.

Which leaves me writing what I refer to on my personal blog as “a nothing post”. I am expert on these, having resorted to them often in moments of desperation. Mention of my personal blog reminds me that there are a few motor sport posts on it, however, and it occurs to me that I could duck this one by sending you over there to read them. They’re hugely out of date but might at least assuage my pangs of guilt at not being able to think of anything to write about today.

The Indianapolis Grand Farce

The Other Italian

Motor Racing Memories

Okay, there are only three but I do have other interests, you know…

4 Responses to “All Quiet on the F1 Front”

  1. If I may be permitted to submit my own “Motor Racing Memories”…

    It was quite a different story, here in Canada. Only we diehard fans even knew about sports car racing. They called our British sports cars “little 2-seaters”, and they found 4 cylinder engines “cute”, and nobody could figure out SU carbs.

    In the 50s and 60s, we raced on abandoned airfields. I hated them, because I always had difficulty seeing where the damn turns were (I’m a ‘spontaneous, reactive’ driver, not good at memorizing the track or making a strategy as to where I’ll try to pass the car ahead… I just go for it when I see the opportunity).

    It was pleasant in those days, to spend early spring weekends repairing fences and building cinderblock pit walls, then later in the season, racing over the rough, aged asphalt surface with scrubby grass growing up through the cracks here and there. And of course, the fragrance of the corner hay bales mixes with the fragrance of burning Castrol R. (My mechanics used to deliberately burn a bit of Castrol R on an old piston head in the shop, to help keep their energy up through an overnight repair)

    On one occasion, I blew a tire on one of the triple-laced wire wheels the ’61 Austin Healey I was racing. I had no spare, so I took the ordinary wire wheels and white-wall tires off my street Healey and raced on them (came second). One point I like to make – of all my pals with whom I raced in those days, only the ones driving Triumph TRs ever flipped over. Me and the others in Austin Healeys and MGAs never did.

    When Mosport Park was created near Bowmanville, Ontario, about and hour north-west of Toronto, racing on that character-filled track was much more enjoyable than were the flat airfields of Harewood Acres and Elmvale. At Mosport (pronounced MOE-SPORT for “motorsports” not MOSS-PORT for Sterling), we saw swarms of mini-coopers zapping past the roaring Pontiac Catalina in the corners, and getting re-passed on the straights.

    AC Cobras showed up then, thanks to enthusiastic supporter Charles Rathgeb of Comstock Construction fortunes. And Shelby Cobras. And I got myself a sweet little Ginetta with a Ford Holbay 997cc dry sump engine. 8300 rpm was very respectable back then, but I still managed to blow the poor thing up more than once.

    I tried racing my ’57 Chevrolet Corvette in ’57… but in handled like a slushbucket, so I relegated it to drag racing… where I cleaned up, by the way.

    I have too many memories, good and bad, but I am happy to have each memory all the same. Just one bad one… I was there when John Surtees went over the outside guard rail on turn one and Mosport in his black Lola T40… the car disintigrated when in landed upside down in the gully below, except for the central box in which the unhurt Surtees sat. Another good one: Stirling Moss and Olivier Gendebien in matching, pale lemon-lime coloured Lotus 19s, lapping with the grace and precision of ballet masters.

    Finally: during practice one day in my little #55 Ginetta, Jim Hall and Hap Sharp were also on the track at St.Jovite, Quebec (the Villeneuves home turf), practicing for the main event in their monstrous Chev-powered Chaparalls. At one point both of them were held up behind me in a tight set of twists. I can tell you, it was a thrill to see them in my mirrors, even for that moment. Seconds later, out onto a short straight, both cars blew by me so fast, I felt like a leaf spinning in their draft.

    It feels awfully good to remember these things.

  2. Wonderful memories, Barry – they put mine to shame. And the names! Ginettas (I thought everyone had forgotten those amazing little fliers), Chaparalls, Healeys, and the great John Surtees and Jim Hall, it’s enough to put a whiff of Castrol R in my nostrils. Funny how smells are so important to memories.

    I could put you and Roy Jacobson in a room together and just listen for hours…

  3. I wanted to comment on something that that reminds me a little of F1. Being from the States I am a little too exposed to Nascar, the most recent controversy comes from the ‘Car of Tomorrow’ in which a couple of cars, all from the same owner, had issues with their regulated springs being too low. It seems like this team has taken a page out of F1, if your car is new and unproven you can bend/break the rules and just blame it on the fact that the car is new and unproven. In reality they bend because they know they will be given some slack for to avoid controversy (Ferrari/BMW). Granted normally this is all sorted out by the next race, but sometimes that is all you really need.

  4. It certainly seems to be the first race of a season where everyone tries to get their latest rule-bending modifications past the scrutineers, Dan. The teams are supposed to put new ideas to the FIA for a decision if they are unsure whether they are legal or not but I think they all prefer the “let’s see if we can sneak this one past them” route. All part of the game… ;)

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