Ciao, Stirling – Book Review

I suppose that I should confess that I was not a Moss fan in his racing days. Like most when offered a choice I took sides and I was a Mike Hawthorn supporter although I did always respect just how good Stirling Moss was as a driver. Later in life I met him and became a fan.

It makes a good read. There are lots of stories of life in the mews and on the road all told in an entertaining style. Some of the tales are known, but here we see them from another angle. There is also an insight into living in London in the late fifties and into the sixties that makes it something of a social commentary rather than just another motor sport biography.

I did wonder if the world needed another book on Moss, but it does deserve this one. I enjoyed it and it has earned its place on my bookshelf.

Wham, bam, thank you ma’m

So Seb has gone, Carlos and Danny have shuffled and Renault have a spare seat, all for next year. And we haven’t started this year yet. Talk about silly season.

The speed of these announcements suggest that the deal was sorted in advance and that Seb’s departure was, in effect, a firing. The way that it was done is brutal, but Ferrari have done the right thing.

The Vettel you get in the car is not the one you see out of it. There is a red mist that descends and he lacks reason. Multi 21, Turkey and many more incidents point to a problem that few team managers can afford and whilst he clearly has talent, the dark side is coming through too often.

If you can remember his qualifying performance for Red Bull, emerging in Q3 with just enough time for one flying lap and bagging pole race after race. That skill was a major factor in those four consecutive world titles. That record shows that he was something special and it is a record that will endure.

But like the equally talented Alonso before him there is that corrosive aspect that can ruin a team. Ferrari could see that and had no desire to keep him. They have a potential world champion in the team and in Carlos Sainz they have a very strong support driver with the potential to pick up wins. A classic number one and two situation.

That is why Danny Ric would not have been a good choice even if a lot of us would have loved to see him, with his Italian heritage, in one of the red cars. Instead we will have him in a McLaren and that should be an interesting combination. It will do Lando no harm either.

What happens to Seb remains to be seen, but I am not sure that there is room for him anywhere. Maybe his time has come to walk away, for certainly he deserves better than tooling around in midfield. He is pretty toxic though and who would take a chance?

The short 2020 season is going to be interesting though. If I were running Ferrari I would bench Seb and bring in Hulkenberg to see out the year in the second Ferrari. But it isn’t my decision.

In lockdown

How are you getting on without your motor sport fix? Do the virtual races provide any compensation? I am not missing racing hugely, but there is something of a hole there and the virtual races leave me cold.

My pleasure from motor sport came mainly from being there and I was fortunate to be able to see live action at Thruxton, Crystal Palace, Snetterton, Silverstone, Brands Hatch and Lydden Hill regularly between 1968 and about 1977 along with a one-off trip to Monaco. Since then I can add Castle Coombe, Daytona, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Homestead to the list.

In my day it was nothing at an F1 race for there to be a gap of more than a second between pole position and second on the grid. You might get some close racing, but a battle at the front throughout the race was a real rarity. There were many times in all classes of racing when someone took off at the start and vanished away to win, sometimes by nearly a lap. I didn’t care and I don’t think that too many others did either because we all turned up again next time.

Being there, seeing the cars and drivers, hearing the sounds and smelling the aromas was what may the day out for us and we would have been appalled at the sort of tactics that have blighted NASCAR and seem to be creeping towards F1 where the artificial levelling of the laying field so that a 5 or 10 lap shootout to the flag results. What is the point of having a 500 mile race or whatever if you are only bothered about the end?

So racing for me these days is a shadow of its former self and I don’t miss it too much. I do miss finding out about how certain teams and drivers have fared though and I feel for those for whom this shutdown is potentially ruining their career.

But in the overall scheme of things their problems are a drop in the ocean. The wider world has a lot to concern it and whilst all sports are a recreation and a necessary part of society, our society needs to survive this crisis first. We can worry about sports another time.

Dan Gurney

It was just over a week ago that I found a group on Facebook celebrating Dan and his AAR team. It was a closed group and I applied to join, mentioning that I had been a Dan fan since the sixties. The next day I received a welcome message from the group, but within days came the news that we had lost Dan. Continue reading

please steer clear of Ferrari Lewis

Lewis and Seb to swap places at the end of the season is a good story as are the hot denials that it might happen. It could be pure speculation, as could the one about Lewis walking away from the sport at the end of the year, but we are well into Silly Season and there will be all sorts of tosh floating about. That said, if we are to speculate, would a move to the Prancing Horse be a good one for Lewis? Continue reading

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