I JUST MADE THE TEA: Tales From 30 Years In­side For­mula 1

Classic Driver - - HOLMAN -

Di Spires & Bernard Fer­gu­son. Pa­per­back edi­tion pub­lished 2013 by Haynes. 376 pages. Re­viewer’s own copy. $25. When you see the in­cred­i­ble trans­porters, mo­tor homes and hos­pi­tal­ity jug­ger­nauts lined up at Grand Prix meet­ings, as well as other mo­tor sports events, it’s hard to re­call how ba­sic the ‘cater­ing’ side was in the 1970s & ’80s. Di Spires and her hus­band Stu were there pretty much at the start of it all, chuck­ing in their day jobs to fol­low an F1 dream.

First team they joined was Sur­tees, and there was an aw­ful lot of learn­ing on the job. For the first few sea­sons, it was pretty hand-to-mouth stuff with no cer­tainty of em­ploy­ment in the off-sea­son. Grad­u­ally though, they got deals with bet­ter fi­nanced teams, a few more funds for the cater­ing side and larger trucks/buses (though they had some pretty scary mo­ments get­ting on & off fer­ries or try­ing to avoid get­ting bogged down in muddy pad­docks).

Over 30 sea­sons, Di and Stu made the tea and did a hell of a lot more for teams as var­ied as Tyrrell, Tole­man, Benet­ton, Lo­tus and Ste­wart. Be­yond cater­ing at all hours for all tastes, they dou­bled as long-dis­tance truck driv­ers, pit-board hold­ers, driv­ers’ kit laun­der­ers, awning as­sem­blers, mes­sage run­ners for teams who didn’t want it known they were in­ter­ested in an­other driver, and hand­ing out spon­sors’ prod­ucts. The lat­ter could be in­ter­est­ing when Durex was your spon­sor!

As well as F1, they also tried their hands at cater­ing for WRC teams, Le Mans and sup­pli­ers like Pirelli and Cos­worth. Widely known in the pad­dock as Mum and Dad, the sto­ries of their close re­la­tion­ships with driv­ers from Senna & Schu­macher to Her­bert & Pi­quet, plus me­chan­ics, team own­ers, cir­cuit per­son­nel, B. Ec­cle­stone and plenty of oth­ers make this a great ‘be­hind the scenes’ book, at a very rea­son­able price.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.