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Roy Salvadori RIP

With a name like that he could only have been a racing driver really, but he was also a successful businessman and, most of all, a gentleman.

As a man of his word he stuck with Aston Martin’s dreadful F1 project instead of staying on with Cooper where he might have won a world championship; certainly he would have won a Grand Prix or two. Instead of rear engined results he followed the handshake agreement into wasted time and races with one of the last front engined F1 cars. Continue reading


Weekend roundup – 12th March 2012 #NASCAR #WTCC #F1

#NASCAR – So one week after the Hamlin/Grubb partnership picks up its first win, Smoke & Steve get theirs. There has been a lot of talk about how breaking up the partnership that pulled off that amazing end to last season would make, but what real difference will it make? When it all boils down to it all the #14 did before the Chase was to make it into the Chase; they had an awfully inconsistent season up until then. We think that the right calls were made all round and that both the #11 and#14 will do better with their new pairings. With three races don they now have a win each and good luck to both.

Staying with Phoenix for the moment it was great to see Mark Martin pull off another pole. We’ve always been a fan and great to see him still able to contribute at this level.

#WTCC – We don’t often mention this branch of tin tops, but good to see the series kick off well at Monza with a pair of wins for Yvan Muller and his Chevrolet. But it was another veteran pulling off the pole with Gabrielle Tarquini, at 50, showing the way and bringing home him SEAT in third for race one before being taken out in that early incident in race 2. Not a bad weekend for the old guys in tin tops.

#F1 – The BS stops next weekend when qualifying gets under way down under. Just how quick is the Iceman and his Lotus? Just how far off are the Ferraris? Are Red Bull & McLaren close at the front? Will Caterham be close to the midfield pack? Have Williams remembered how to build a quick one? Who will show best from the second division runners? Will the bottom end of the third division still be as woefully off the pace?

Answer to all of these questions and more will emerge over the weekend when the real action starts. Stuff bernie and his TV deals; we’ll be following the action on on the web with interest.

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?


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