whose turn next for pantomime villain? #F1

Earlier this year we had Pastor Maldonado cast in the role of the man in the black cloak, twirling his moustache whilst casting F1’s poor virgins out into the snow, chaining them to the railroad tracks or just punting them off into the boondocks, but now it is Romain Grosjean who has inherited the mantle. Continue reading

Oops! We found some stuff we had forgotten

Whilst having a bit of a clear out we’ve found a couple of lengthy draft posts that we were working on a good while ago and never got around to finishing.

One is on the Ford GT40 at Le Mans and the other is on the Hunt versus Morgan incident in F3 back in 1970. Both are almost done, but are at that stage where there is a bit of detailed research to be completed in order to make sure that we get them as correct as we can manage.

Both have been printed off and we are working on making up a list for each of the things that need to be verified, or taken out.

We will try and get that done in the coming weeks and get both posts published. Apologies if you saw the trailers for these and have been waiting for the outcome.

Is the Italian GP at Monza the spiritual home of F1 now?

As DJ is holding his BBC boycott protest it falls to me to report on what may have come over as an error by the BBC commentary team last weekend when they said that the old banked Monza circuit was last used in 1961 and maybe gave the impression that it was always used up until that point and never since.

The banked track at Monza still exists and you see the North banking clearly as the cars come down from Lesmo 2 and the cars come under the bridge. When the banking was used the cars would start, as now, from the left side of the pit straight, do a conventional lap of the road course, but on the exit of the Parabolica would keep right past the pits and on to the North banking, off that and down the straight to the South banking and then emerge from that onto the left side of the pit straight to start the next lap.

This combined course was ready in time for the Italian GP in 1955, and was used again for F1 in only three more years; 1956, 1960 and 1961, but was also used for the 1000kms Monza sports/GT world championship race through until 1969, reverting to the road course only from the 1970 race.

The banking was threatened with demolition a few years back, but a concerted campaign saw that off for the time being. It can’t last forever without some work, and therefore money, being invested, but it would be good to think that it will be around for a while as a reminder of a different era in motor sport.

Monza is one of the great tracks and about the only one that is around from the start of the F1 world championship that the guys who raced then would still recognise. Silverstone is a very different track now, Spa is so much shorter, and the others are long gone from the scene. France may have held the first GP, but that has been off the calendar for a while now. The UK may be home to more teams than anywhere else, but Italy, through Monza, has that F1 world championship continuity and, with such passionate fans, has a good claim to be the spiritual home of F1, and why not?

 

coming soon; Hunt v Morgan and GT40s at Le Mans

No F1 or NASCAR Sprint Cup this weekend (apologies to the truck series), so just a preview of a couple of things that I am working on in my Setting the Record Straight series.

The first one will be on the notorious James Hunt and Dave Morgan incident on the 3rd October 1970. I’m prompted to this one because of Tom Rubython’s book on the former where, in amongst a whole series of things that should never have appeared in a serious book, he raised the last corner crash at Crystal Palace. I was there and saw the whole thing, so I’ve got something fairly well advanced that will talk about the 1970 F3 season in general and that race in particular.

Also in production is something on the record of the Ford GT40 at Le Mans. This one comes from the erroneous utterings of one Jeremy Clarkson who has claimed that the GT40 won the Sarthe classic 4 years running, when it plainly did not.

Both of these are taking a lot of research to make sure that what I write will be as factually accurate as I can make them; that’s what setting the record straight is all about.

Thanks to all of the people that have read my posts here over the months. I hope that I can keep you entertained. Both of the above articles should be posted here before the end of April. Feel free to challenge me on any racing incident that you would like to know more about.

NASCAR got something right

I was very critical here the other week about NASCAR’s changes to the points system, but I didn’t mention the rule about only running in one championship. That has led to the situation where none of the three race winners at Daytona is leading the title race, becuase they are all nominated on a different division.

That is fine by me. I believe that it is right that the guys running in the Nationwide and Camping World series can race for the title without interference from more experienced guys. They still get to race against them, but having them out of the title race makes sense to me. It’s what we had here in Europe in the great days of F2 where the grand prix stars would turn out against the up and coming drivers, but only the latter could run for the title.

So praise where it is due. NASCAR generally do a great job, and this rule change is another example of that. I’ll still complain about some things, but I’m happy to acknowledge that they got this one right.

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