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Goodwood Revival

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.

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  • peterriva

    Bravo Dan – wonderful piece and, ah, I long to be able to go to Goodwood again (was there in 67 when Graham Hill raced an LM 350 with a neck brace on).

    As for running people off the track – the worst I ever saw was Trulli running Kubica off at Montreal. What a crash that was.

    • peterriva

      Okay, so I typo-ed Dan instead of Derek – SORRY!
      Mental deficiency on a tough Wednesday.

  • I told Derek he looked damn good next to the Sunbeam. :)

    • peterriva

      Dummy NC, that’s not a sunbeam, that’s a camel!

  • rapid_roy

    The Revival is an awesome event – I’m just sorry I didn’t get to see Derek drive this year.

    The racing is seriously intense, clean and fair and some of the machines tearing round a track are astonishing – and you’re not sitting at an F1 standard mile away from the asphalt, this is an old-school track with zero run-off… I can’t imagine what 60’s Grand Prix cars were like round there but it must have been spectacular but you get a clear idea of the balls involved. Oh, and the 4-wheel drifts going on at the weekend – to die for!

    F1B-ers should seriously check this event out next year – when else are you going to see Newey race a GT40 hard?!

    Also, props to Lord March for making this event happen. A brilliant race fan experience.

    Gurney for President!!!

  • peterriva

    When the TV broadcast? Anyone know?

    • rapid_ roy

      Which region?

      Think it’s an ITV job in the uk, possibly ITV4?

    • peterriva

      I think Velocity handles this in the USA… if anyone knows when it is on, please tell NC!

  • Shocks&Awe

    Derek, Well said about teaching the young drivers. It’s easy to forget that, while it’s the youngsters’ responsibility to learn, it’s also the seniors’ responsibility to teach. I’m not saying the current crop of F1 drivers should be concerned with teaching the junior drivers (though I applaud them if they do), but it is the FIA’s responsibility to provide the right guidance in any series it sanctions.

    The only reason that F1 and the FIA get this wrong so consistently is because they don’t really care. It’s not that hard a problem to fix, if only someone would take ownership of it and see it across the finish line, so to speak.

  • Please email me for details but I would love for you to cover a press conference next week featuring Fernando Alonso. It is on Tuesday 11/20 at 11am. Thank you so much!