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The Show Must Go on...


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#1 StefanV

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 10:41

I saw this clips years ago but never found it again until today.
It made me, the as well as now, reflect over how much F1 has changed since I started to follow it. For better and worse. There is no doubt that the increased safety is good, very good, because seeing people you admire die on television is horrible. Don't get me wrong, it is of course horrible even if it is not televised, even if you do not see it, but F1 is a sport, it is entertainment, and death, blood and bad injuries should never be part of entertainment.

Still, sometimes when I hear the drivers now speak about "we can not drive without TC, imagine if it rains!" and "we need more runoff here, a chicane there", then I feel a bit sad. I understand them and I agree with them, but still it is like F1 smells more of deodorant than oil. Maybe F1 was, once, not just a sport? Maybe it was, once, more than just entertainment?

http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

Those times will never come back. Luckily.
But I miss them nevertheless.

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#2 bogi

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 10:45

Tom Pryce at Kyalami, don't want to search for the video.

#3 dank

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 10:54

Originally posted by bogi
Tom Pryce at Kyalami, don't want to search for the video.


First time I've properly seen it. Horrible. :(

#4 StefanV

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 16:06

Originally posted by bogi
Tom Pryce at Kyalami, don't want to search for the video.

The point of the video was not the accident itself, it is more the attitute. Look at the marshalls. They try to put out the fire from across the track when cars are passing, some still trying to fight for position. The drivers accelerate out of the corner with their mind set on continue the race. It was the reality then. Now thirty eight years later it seems unbelievable. It was simply another type of excitement. My interest in F1 died with Ronnie Peterson, he was my boyhood hero and I followed his car through the chaos in the start and when I saw the flames I knew it was him. I thought he was dead and was so relieved when they said he was alive. The next day I heard he was dead. For twenty years I did not watch a single race. I saw some recaps now and then, but it did not interest me. I can imagine the grief for millions of kids had Schumacher payed the ultimate prize and, as a I said before, I am happy that F1 nowadays is a reasonably safe sport. But the polished, politically correct business F1 of today is a bit boring. A tenth here, a inlap there, a team of fuel calculating strategists, rehearsed interviews...

I want the small of oil, petrol and rubber back. But without the death.

#5 Rabbit123

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 20:45

S.Vettel: No risk, no fun :|

#6 Vitesse2

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 21:25

Originally posted by bogi
Tom Pryce at Kyalami, don't want to search for the video.

Thanks for the warning. Never seen it, never want to ...

#7 rolf123

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 21:33

Originally posted by StefanV
...it is like F1 smells more of deodorant than oil.


This is going in my sig! :up:

#8 VoidNT

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 21:44

Originally posted by StefanV
I want the small of oil, petrol and rubber back. But without the death.


I bet that in ten years autosport will start to evolve in that direction. After reaching the point where racing is so safe that it becomes sterile, the public would begin to demand more risk to improve the show. Of course it's not about killing people, just making their life harder. The cars would become trickier to drive, the tracks would be trickier to stay on it and the driver would pay the price for every tiny mistake. We didn't reach that point so far, everybody is still worrying about the safety, but for sure the change will come - just in order to keep the audience excited about the show.

#9 canon1753

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 02:53

Originally posted by Vitesse2

Thanks for the warning. Never seen it, never want to ...


I got my vhs tape of the "Quick and the Dead." Looks great. Niki's on the cover and sounds cool. First scene (which makes no sense at all since the doc is about 1973, not 1977) is the Pryce crash. :eek: :( :cry:


Fast forwarded past that after that first time......

#10 donald29

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 10:32

Pryca crash was such a tragedy :(

I agree we need more exciting racing, but we also need safety.

Jackie Stewert said something like "Modern day drivers don't know what it is like, having to go and collect a deceased drivers things as his wife is too distraught to do it." He also said something like he doesn't want them to know what it is like, but they need to understand why safety must be as good as possible.

#11 Spunout

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 10:41

Originally posted by donald29
Pryca crash was such a tragedy :(

I agree we need more exciting racing, but we also need safety.

Jackie Stewert said something like "Modern day drivers don't know what it is like, having to go and collect a deceased drivers things as his wife is too distraught to do it." He also said something like he doesn't want them to know what it is like, but they need to understand why safety must be as good as possible.


Safety will never be "as good as possible". That would mean 50 KPH top speeds, goodbye to open cockpits, 500m runoff areas, and so on. In every single race there are compromises between entertainment and safety. We accept the fact that serious crash can - and eventually will - happen. So where is that thin red line? Nobody knows, really.

#12 bogi

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 10:47

I mention Pryce accident because marshals safety, today is much safer for them. I always want more entertaining races and old circuits without run off area, but after last year Kubica crash changed my opinion.

#13 Lord Snooty

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 11:26

Originally posted by StefanV


... but still it is like F1 smells more of deodorant than oil. Maybe F1 was, once, not just a sport? Maybe it was, once, more than just entertainment?


Horrible video; F1 does not need the saftey of those days back. But it needs the spirit of those days.

Think of the post race press conferences of today and then watch this interview by a driver who had just won his home Grand Prix.



Now THATS what we want back....

#14 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 12:42

It is always interesting to read what whose who weren't around then think about racing as it once was. That it was dangerous was a given. Risk was simply a part of Life, whether racing was involved or not. Like others back then, I spent time (two months) in the hospital because of an automobile accident that today would problably result in some slight bruising at most today, but caused very serious injuries back then.

The Tom Pryce incident was horrific in great part because it was so senseless. However, there is also the thought that it is amazing that such things did not happen more often. Indeed, the wonder is often that the death toll was not any higher than it already was.

Today, the consequences of a huge shunt in just about any form of automobile racing are very rarely fatal, certainly much reduced than they would be twenty or thirty years ago and lightyears better than forty, fifty or sixty years ago.

It was a different world, a different outlook on Life, and there are many things that we accepted back then because we really did not have much choice.

I think that racing was infinitely more fun and interesting back then because it was not so accessible. There was more romance to the sport, in great part necessary to offset its harsh realities.

It was then and this is now, just as many other things have changed -- forty years ago being able to use a common currency, the Euro, throughout Western Europe was almost impossible to comprehend, just as traveling from place to place in Europe without the constant hassle of customs, monetary controls, and whatnot each time you crossed a border.

Life changes, not necessarily always for the better, but it often becomes far more convenient.

#15 Powersteer

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 13:24

Its good that safety had improved drastically. Imagine todays speed with yesterdays safety, shocking.

:cool:

#16 DN5

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 17:37

Originally posted by Vitesse2

Thanks for the warning. Never seen it, never want to ...


Neither did I but it appeared on the ESPN Classic Brunswick F1 1977 review without warning :(

Geoff

#17 F1 RusH

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 18:09

Unfortunetly, I spent the last half hour watching F1 crash videos. :(

This guy puts Greg Moore`s fatal CART accident in one of them...jerk. :mad:

http://www.youtube.c...PPo4ktDaK0&NR=1

#18 StefanV

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 18:47

I was afraid this would happen. That people would skip through the deeper layer of my post and instead focus on the crashes. HDonaldCapps and a few others excluded.

But that's ok.

#19 StefanV

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 18:55

I just found this thread. :cry:
A bit ironic since I was about to mention the North West 200 yesterday. I was watching the practice some days ago and I was terrified. For those guys nothing has changed. Joey Dunlop, and now his brother Robert. R.I.P

But being afraid of dying has never helped anyone to a good life.

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#20 Lukin83

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 19:24

When I was a kid Formula 1 was to me a connection of the greatest speed and the greatest risk - I thought you have to be crazy and sick to be a F1 driver, yet I and everyone else in the backyard wanted to be one. Things changed later, mainly due to the safety regulations which I'm actually thankful for. But safety regulations is one thing, reducing a role of a driver is another. Current season (with the TC ban and so on) is a step in the right direction and hopefully 2009 will re-introduce overtaking. Let F1 be a men's rivalry again, not some kind of a glamorous product.

#21 StefanV

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 19:59

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#22 Paul Parker

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 21:39

I've read the posts on this subject and a few things occur to me.

Firstly HDC is indeed correct, different times, different strokes as it were. When I first started going to races regularily in 1961 drivers could and indeed did die or could be seriously injured in 60 mph impacts or less due to no belts, sudden stops, hitting the scenery, cars with no structural integrity etc.

Then of course there was the fire risk (incidentally the youtube clip of the 1970 Spanish GP at Jarama was actually Jackie Oliver's BRM t-boning Ickx's Ferrari after the BRM broke a stub axle, not Brabham. Later in the clip Oliver can be seen briefly in shot with his distinctive helmet).

However despite the regular and inevitable fatalities and maiming, only a few drivers stopped or retired prematurely by choice. One who did is Tony Brooks. Yet others carried on regardless even after suffering horrendous crashes and injuries, Salvadori, Farina, Moss, Arundell, Surtees, Redman and others spring instantly to mind and later Lauda plus countless Indy racers now and then. So they were prepared to carry on.

Secondly this attitude is still prevalent today and can be witnessed in motorbike racing as StefanV notes. Who on here would be willing to ride at 190+mph on public roads as per the IOM TT or the North West 200? Yet there they are and every so often one of them dies but still they do it.

Of course safety should never be ignored and is ever more vital given the performance of modern machinery. However unless you are talking street racing, F1 is positively boring to watch with rare exception, even as a circuit spectator.

The result of this greatly enhanced circuit and car safety together with better helmets, HANS devices and so on is of course hooligan driving, blocking and in some cases deliberately driving another competitor off the road. It started back in the 1970s on a regular basis (although individual actions date back certainly to pre-war). In the modern parlance such actions usually have no consequences beyond bent machinery and bruised egos which is precisely why it happens.

Personally I believe that ultimately you either do something or you don't. So if anybody is worried about the risks and the attendant family distress then they should not do it. Meanwhile latter day motor racing is so hidebound by rules and regs, almost an artificially contrived situation, that it hardly seems worth the effort except for those who are directly benefitting from it. Then again maybe my opinions are a matter of age.

I am reminded of what George Abecassis said to Doug Nye years ago when Doug asked George (a WW2 bomber pilot if memory serves correctly) if he ever worried about safety or words to that effect. The reply was in essence 'Of course not, nobody was shooting at us'.

#23 brett_sequeira

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 21:50

you guys made me look at the prye thing on youtue. i had to it was like a fly going into the zap light. oh my G-d. that marshall he ran across and got run over it was horrid. i undersatnd that it happned casue previously one of the drivers got burnt to death in Zandarvoot while the marshalls refused to cross the track. eeks :cry: i dont think i can watc a race for some time

#24 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 22:30

Originally posted by Paul Parker
I am reminded of what George Abecassis said to Doug Nye years ago when Doug asked George (a WW2 bomber pilot if memory serves correctly) if he ever worried about safety or words to that effect. The reply was in essence 'Of course not, nobody was shooting at us'.


Exactly.

I spoke to Alberto Ascari in March and he was dead in May. I also spoke with Alan Stacey and said "Hi" to Chris Bristow at Zandvoort and then they were both dead just two weeks later. We lived with these sorts of things then. Keep in mind that airliners crashed with greater frequency then, that deaths in automobile accidents were proportionally much higher then than now. Life, in general, was a bit more dangerous than today.

While I was in Iraq, we wore -- including the helmet and body armor -- about 50+ pounds of gear, ballistic eye protection, flame-retardent uniforms, and so on. As a Ranger in Viet-Nam, no helmet, no body armor, tiger stripes, and just lots of ammo and water as well as the radio -- when I would tell the troops this their eyes would bug out at how we could go into combat like that....

Different views of Life.

#25 Vitesse2

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 22:39

Brett: that - sadly - is what racing was like when Paul and I were growing up (though Paul's a smidgin older than me!). We saw - and lost - great drivers like Clark, Courage, Spence, McLaren, Rindt, Siffert, Williamson, Pryce and many more. Racing was dangerous, but sex was safe.

Paul: I agree wholeheartedly with your penultimate paragraph. But a small correction: George Abecassis was not a bomber pilot, but engaged on Special Duties - an arguably much more dangerous occupation than bomber ops - transporting SOE agents into - and out of - occupied Europe. Not a job for either the faint-hearted or a less than excellent pilot.