For the first time in 20 years I raced a car. Not since I retired from competition in 1992 after the Sebring 12 hour race did I ever have the slightest notion to race – until this years Goodwood Revival. What a blast. There is no way such an event could be re-created in America because the draw to the event is in part because of the rich history of British motorsports and the Goodwood circuit itself.
To see everyone dress in late fifties/early sixties styles was a joy and to see the saloon cars of my early teen days scorch around the circuit was as they say in Ireland – great craic.
My steeds for the weekend were a 1959 Sunbeam Rapier and a Aston Martin DB4GT. Harry Sherrards Rapier started life as a rally car but Jim Freemens DB4GT was an ex Jim Clark race winner still in mint and virtually original condition. I actually LIKED the experience of competition again. There we were in full drifts of oversteer at well over 100 miles an hour without thinking of our kids or working careers.
The surprise of Goodwood is just how hard they drive the cars – flat out. Accidents are however frowned upon and are usually cause for deletion from the following years invitation list. Gerhard Berger found this out after wrecking a Cobra in 2011. The car was rebuilt and entrusted to Martin Brundle this year, who not only smashed it again but he demolished a stationary Cobra also – ouch.
Adrian Newey enjoyed his weekend off before Singapore by dominating the St Mary’s Trophy in his self “designed” 1960’s E-Type Jaguar – what a beats that is.
Formula One etc
I applaud the FIA for taking action after the start line crash started by Lotus driver, Roman Grojean in Spa. He was handed a one race ban for his actions. In an ideal world we would have all offences dealt with fairly and justly but that will never happen because we have stewards who are human beings. Human beings being human beings are prone to emotional decision making depending on their points of reference and therefore their own interpretation of what happened will be viewed through their personal prism.
Grosjean swerved in front of Hamilton hitting him and the disaster was triggered. As Ferraris lead driver, Fernando Alonso, was eliminated in the crash, Ferrari’s Stefano Domenacalli was quick to respond by saying that drivers coming out of the junior formulae need to be more prepared and more disciplined. Now that strikes a nerve with me because I have been somewhat close to the junior formulae training grounds in Europe for a number of years and I’m absolutely convinced that junior drivers take their q’s from the senior hero’s. Whatever they see F1 drivers do, they naturally assume that’s what they are supposed to do.
After seeing Schumacher run Barrichello almost into the pit wall in Hungary 2010 and seeing Rosberg run both Hamilton and Alonso off the road in Bahrain this year, and when all three incidents were deemed as being “acceptable” – what do you think the message was to the junior drivers?
Parents teach children and hero’s teach pretenders – it never works the other way around. The best way to teach junior drivers is to have the hero’s behave and be proud of teaching the right skills. Formula One in recent years has moved to far over to the acceptable “chop block” instead of the skill display it can be.
Grojeans “mistake” was just that; a mistake. Not a malicious act intent of doing harm. Maldonado in 2010 committed a malicious act when he deliberately side swiped Hamilton AFTER the end of the practice session – yet he was given a wrap on the knuckles. So a malicious act is deemed to be less serious that a human error. This of course goes against almost every civilized countries laws of the land.
Pace of F1 development
The pace of development of F1 cars ferocious. The pressure on teams is just enormous. If a team wins one weekend they know (well the good ones do) that there is no guarantee that the same will happen the next race weekend. In fact this season, its almost guaranteed that if you win one weekend that you’ll find it too difficult to repeat at the next track. Such is the need to develop and adjust to each new environment which is why I love to tell people that part of the winning culture of great teams is to disbelieve in the sustainability of your performance. To think that the mighty team of red Bull, led by the most gifted aerodynamicist of modern times, can be soundly beaten is part of what makes Formula One so intriguing. Roll on Austin, Texas.