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That Five Year Quest


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#1 CVAndrw

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Posted 10 October 2000 - 18:11

Not sure "Nostalgia" is the ideal forum, but this is the one I've missed the last few months:

Reading the pithy comments of such as Alain Prost, Bernie Ecclestone and Ross Brawn, who should be in a position to know, I’ve been trying to assign some historical significance to Schumacher’s achievement. Certainly Lauda and Brabham had to wait even longer to win their third Championships, but Lauda took two years off in between and Brabham drove Coopers and Lotuses before finally bringing it off in his own chassis- and I can’t believe Jack was subjected to the same pressure, suffered the same level of angst or had any sense that the stakes, financial and political, were as high.

Who else managed to stick with it for so long, with the same team, after having ditched the employer who’d made him Champion for one who was in the wilderness, to embark on such an epic, quixotic venture? I’d love to know the reaction of Brabham and such as Andretti, Mansell, Moss, Amon... I’m resolutely convinced that the best part of banging your head against the wall is that it feels so good when you stop, but nevertheless there must have been plenty of times when Schumacher wondered why he was putting himself through all this. Anyone care to speculate on who else in racing history may have been in a remotely similar situation?


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#2 MoMurray

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Posted 10 October 2000 - 18:51

While he has never won a WC and is hardly nostalgia fodder yet, spare a thought for poor Rubens Barrichello. He soldiered on for seven years with Jordan, Stewart and now Ferrari before climbing to the top step of the podium. How do these people find the motivation to go racing year after year without a win. Surely at the heart of every driver is the desire to win and in such a ruthless world as F1 have they compromised and simply accept that the money is good so keep plodding along or do they really believe that their day will come. One driver whose career I have followed was a formula ford and formula three standout. He went on to win in formula two but from 1979, through his F1 career and his indy car career until 1989, he did not cross the finish line first. Of course he then went on to great things in sportcar racing, but how can the psyche survive ten years without a win. Remember, these are people to whom winning is everything. This driver, of course was very talented and he proved that in sportcsars but every sunday night for those ten years did he question his ability? Did he have to re convince himself that he was a winner and next week would be his turn? Or did he simply say, I'm having a good life, why question it? Anyone have any insight...

#3 Don Capps

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Posted 10 October 2000 - 19:13

Personally, the all-time best feeling I ever had about someone winning a championship was in 1992 -- when Alan Kulwicki won the Winston Cup Championship. I still find myself thinking about that season. He did a simply superb job to win the championship. It was a masterful performance of grit, will, and determination. Say what you will, it was a superb performance by a true Underdog. I can still remember the race in Atlanta when he clinched it -- being the third driver that day to lead the championship!

As for the next in line, that particular place on the mantle will be occupied by Keke Rosberg for many, many, many years to come for his performance in 1982. That was an absolute great championship. I mean, keep in mind that Keke had scored absolutely ZERO points the prior season and was essentially a place-holder until Frank Williams could find someone else! A great effort by a superb driver.

Another one I really enjoyed was Mario Andretti in in 1965 winning the USAC crown. When he mentioned Ascari as one of his heroes, I knew I had found someone I could relate to!

Just my disjointed thoughts on the topic...

#4 fines

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Posted 10 October 2000 - 19:59

No, I don't know of any other driver who endured earning 4 million USD a month to drive the best car in the best team and still took that long to win the WC.

#5 fines

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Posted 10 October 2000 - 20:09

My favourite sentimental champion has to be Warren Hughes, if he wins the prize in Misano on Oct 22, after all he'd been thru. This would simply be a fairy tale ending, or maybe rather the beginning of something big... ?

#6 Ray Bell

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Posted 11 October 2000 - 00:28

Try Bruce McLaren... a winner in 1959 and second in the championship, I'm fairly sure, in either 59 or 60.... then languished with Cooper for five more years before striking out on his own, then had all those problems...
The Ford fiasco, the Serenissima stupidity, patience with the BRM V8 before the V12 came on stream, then a year of watching the DFVs before he could get his own.. and he never won.
He had his compensations, though. Tasman Cup, 1964; A couple of Can-Ams as a driver and more as a constructor:
Patty.

#7 Falcadore

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Posted 11 October 2000 - 10:34

Personal racing biases included here... a couple of 'thanks for the careers' at Bathurst, Ian Geoghegan in 1973, John French in 1981, John Harvey in 1983, John Goss in 1985, Allan Grice in 1986, John Bowe in 1989, Gregg Hansford in 1993.

yours
Mark Jones

#8 Dave Ware

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Posted 11 October 2000 - 16:35

>>there must have been plenty of times when Schumacher wondered why he was putting himself through all this.

I also suspect that the money had much to do with it.

>>Anyone have any insight...

Cheever comes to mind...many F1 and CART rides but no successes. I'd be tempted to guess Geoff Brabham but I'm not aware of him ever having driven F1. Derek Daly? He drove F1 and CART w/ no victories, and he has some sports car successes in the Nissan. I think you are thinking about Cheever.

I suspect that they guys have an enormous amount of self-belief, and an enormous amount of resiliancy

>>Anyone care to speculate on who else in racing history may have been in a remotely similar situation?

How about Dave Ware, who always wanted to be a racing driver, who drove a Formula Ford at a racing school in 1978 and didn't drive anything again until he got his Formula Vee in 1999? It is a sad, sad story of emptyness and yearning, one which is guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes......

D.

#9 AyePirate

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Posted 11 October 2000 - 20:21

FORZA DAVE WARE!

#10 Ray Bell

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Posted 11 October 2000 - 22:15

Geoff Brabham never sat in a Formula One car to my knowledge, certainly was never entered for a race... David, the youngest brother, did, and he went through the mill too.

#11 Falcadore

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Posted 12 October 2000 - 09:41

as did middle son Gary, part of that massive automotive abortion called Life Racing Engines after being the only Australian to ever win a Formula 3000 series.
yours
Mark Jones

#12 Falcadore

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Posted 12 October 2000 - 09:50

the more I think about it, the more I see the second generation of Brabham's as opportunity denied. All three had bag fulls of talent, won major championshps but never quite got that break into the big time. Particularly Geoff and David who's careers, ten years apart, are very similar. Both after many years of success in lesser Formulae scraped the surface of the big time in CART and F1. Geoff went on to be one of the best sports car racers in the world in the late 80's early 90s, a title David picked up exactly ten years later. While Geoff is now largely retired apart from the occasional touring car race, David is still racing, and is one of the drivers in demand in ALMS as Panoz lead driver. As for Gary? A middle ear related balance problem sidelined him I believe (not dissimilar to Bob Morris???) in the mid 80's after a couple of CART rides, but has been making noises about appearing in V8Supercar next year.

But for some luck gone their way, might Damon Hill been as far down as fifth as far as winning second generation GP racers go?

#13 Barry Lake

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Posted 12 October 2000 - 13:41

Mark
Gary Brabham's ear problem was not to do with balance, it is a hearing problem. He explained it to me quite recently.
It is in no way connected with Sir Jack's deafness; Jack's is due to listening to too many loud engines. Gary's was something to do with bone growth (again, I have it noted somewhere, but not easy to find at this point) and I THINK (so don't take this as gospel) that he said it was hereditary and from his mother's side.
I do know for sure it is not connected in any way to Jack's problem.
Gary actually said the main trouble was he was racing Champcars at the time and you had to hear the whistle of the turbocharger to know when to change gear - and he couldn't hear it. So he was either changing early or hitting the rev limiter - either of which cost time. You would think shift lights or something might have been a solution, but apparently not.

#14 Ray Bell

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Posted 12 October 2000 - 20:44

I well recall a conversation with Geoff way back, when I asked him if he aspired to F1. He said no, so I asked what he saw as his future.
His answer was that he would just keep on going in America... to which I asked if he felt he would finish up in his fifties still racing like Foyt..
He said yes.
Did he retire before he turned 50?

#15 Barry Lake

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Posted 13 October 2000 - 05:36

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Did he retire before he turned 50?

Did who retire before he turned 50?
If you're talking about Geoff, he's two years away from being 50 and he's not retired.

#16 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 October 2000 - 07:38

I didn't think he was fifty yet... and he's no longer racing full time, which was what he alluded to doing.

#17 Leif Snellman

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Posted 13 October 2000 - 08:34

Originally posted by fines
No, I don't know of any other driver who endured earning 4 million USD a month to drive the best car in the best team and still took that long to win the WC.


Alain Prost, 1981-84. Correct, Michael? :p
Well the salary was a bit lower in those days.

#18 CVAndrw

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Posted 13 October 2000 - 17:37

Well, there, that’s the kind of perspective I was looking for vis-à-vis Schumacher and Brabham. So Michael’s won himself immortal glory, he’s sitting on top of the world wondering where to go from here, he’s looking down the road with paternal pride to the inevitable spectacular debuts of Gina Marie and Mick’s karting careers, and all the time the unpredictability of human genetics is plotting to bring him back to earth.

As a related query, did Pat Moss and Erik Carlsson produce any offspring, and if so how's his/her car control and peripheral vision?


#19 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 October 2000 - 20:02

You'd certainly hope so, wouldn't you... Stirling hasn't done his part to ensure the continuation of the Moss family line, has he?

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#20 Barry Lake

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Posted 14 October 2000 - 05:52

Stirling has a son by his current wife Susie. He must be getting close to driving age.
I remember Stirling once talking about having taken him for a fast drive around the block when he was very young and, after a period of silence when they'd stopped, he said "That made my willie tingle" - so he understands what it is all about!

#21 KzKiwi

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Posted 14 October 2000 - 19:29

Barry,

Whose Willie was it that tingled? :rolleyes:
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

#22 Barry Lake

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Posted 15 October 2000 - 05:28

Well, it was his son who said it but, from the way Stirling drives all the time, I think his still does too!

#23 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 October 2000 - 13:37

Tingle? In 'All But My Life,' Stirling (or is it Purdie?) relates that one American driver of the twenties used to sustain an erection if a race got particularly exciting, and had an orgasm in extreme circumstances!
Along with Stirling saying he could 'hear' understeer, you must wonder if this is the first indication that the lad does have that kind of ESP...

#24 CVAndrw

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Posted 15 October 2000 - 18:51

Eewwwww, this is getting kinda yucky.

Niki Lauda in My Years With Ferrari:

"Imagine if you really felt a thrill racing; you’d get a centrifugal force orgasm on corners, a speed orgasm on the straight, you would go from one emotion to another and with so many thrills you wouldn’t be able to drive at all. People whose ‘needs are satisfied’ are wankers, not racing drivers."

I'm gonna go wash my hands now.



#25 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 October 2000 - 22:24

I'll have to look up the name of that American driver... maybe his genetics have passed on to somebody around here?

#26 Wolf

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Posted 15 October 2000 - 22:41

Ray, I don't think that Moss (it was his story) named that driver. But that story was strange!