“When I be­gan com­men­tat­ing in 1948, at­ti­tudes to­wards the dan­gers of mo­tor­sport were very dif­fer­ent…”

F1 Racing - - CHEQUERED FLAG -

The front-en­gined cars were flimsy con­trap­tions built with no re­gard to im­pactre­sis­tance. Driv­ers wore T-shirts, cot­ton trousers and li­nen skull­caps, their bod­ies jut­ted out of the car, they had no safety belts, cir­cuits lacked bar­ri­ers and run-off ar­eas, and med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties were ba­sic at best. “The throt­tle works both ways – if you can’t take the heat keep out of the kitchen,” was the gen­eral view.

In those cir­cum­stances, it was no sur­prise that there were fre­quent deaths. The great Sir Jackie Ste­wart re­port­edly lost more than 30 of his friends dur­ing his rac­ing ca­reer, and it was he who had the courage to stand up and make a fuss about the appalling race-track car­nage, hav­ing had a near-fa­tal ac­ci­dent of his own at Spa in 1966. “It’s a sport,” he kept say­ing, “we’re not meant to be killing our­selves.” Some re­garded him as a whing­ing wimp, but he com­manded far greater gen­eral re­spect as a car­ing world cham­pion. He had the guts to stick to his guns and, by do­ing so, started to change at­ti­tudes.

In the late 1960s the au­to­cratic boss of BRM, Louis Stan­ley, cre­ated a prop­erly staffed mo­bile

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.