KING HILL A midsummer night’s dream
some time to scoff at the feeble conjectures of so called ‘experts’ in their favoured sportentertainment-business on their charter ight to Turkey. So, my advice is: relax. Give your critical mind a rest, because this column is nothing but a midsummer night’s guess about fantastical things that do not really exist.
Like, for instance, the German Grand Prix. Have you noticed? It’s gone. We sent out a search party but they found nothing. Just a void where there should be a massive army of sunkissed Germanics aching to see their beloved Mercedes win another championship, and very conceivably with one of their very own driving. ‘But what about yet another great German driver in a Ferrari?’, I hear you cry. Surely Seb would put enough bums on mud/grass banking? With Ferrari’s rate of development he’s a possible winner, too. But even that seems not to have been enough to tempt them into paying Bernie’s jolly reasonable (I’m sure) fee. Jeez! How much was the gap? He already gave them $100m out of the goodness of his heart. Some people have no gratitude.
But don’t let my reminding you of this nonexistent event disturb you, because we still have Hungary. And that denitely exists. Hungary! The grand prix where they gave Nigel Mansell a horse as a trophy. The place I won my rst ever grand prix and very nearly won in the Arrows-Yamaha. See. I told you this was about things that never existed. Never mind. Hungary has been good to me, and to Jenson Button, who also won his rst grand prix there. We each have two wins, but Lewis has four and McLaren, eleven! Before the war, the Hungarian GP was held only once, in 1936. But guess who won? Nuvolari! Not only did Tazio Nuvolari have the best name of any racing driver (an A-list that includes Alberto Ascari, Giuseppe Farina, Juan-Manuel Fangio, José Froilan Gonzalez and the unforgettable, but sadly forgotten, Karl Kling), but he also raced motorcycles wearing a jumper with the word ‘Norton’ knitted into it. He was cool when the word ‘cool’ meant ‘You’ll need a jumper if you’re going on a motorbike.’ Because of the war, Hungary ended up behind an Iron Curtain, which had to be lifted up by an Iron Lady, called Margaret. But not before our very own ‘Man in Budapest’, Bernie Ecclestone, had inltrated the enemy to sign a deal to inaugurate the rst ever grand prix behind any kind of curtain. Incredibly, this will be its 29th year. That’s nearly as long as the Thirty Years War, but a damn sight better for the economy. And to think, we now race in Russia and China, and the USA! The world has changed so massively since 1986, but the Hungarian GP keeps rolling along.
There is an end-of-term feeling in Hungary. It’s F1 curfew time, when nothing is allowed to happen for three weeks. We turn out the lights and go into hibernation before emerging, like a suntanned buttery in the Ardennes Forest at the end of August. We could have a change in lead of the drivers’ championship before then. But, as I explained, Silverstone doesn’t exist yet. My guess? It was Lewis. With four wins already in Hungary, he must be odds-on for that, too. If they gave Nige a horse for winning once, Lord knows what they’ll have to give Lewis for ve wins – his own personal cavalry? But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. See what I did? Have a great holiday.
Cockpit savvy from the 1996 world champ, exclusively in F1R
Tazio Nuvolari: proud wearer of monogrammed jumpers and winner of the first ever Hungarian Grand Prix in 1936