I hasten to add that I thought Roebuck was the heir to the HNM/Jenks tradition for many years, but his writing started to go downhill from 88-9 onwards when he became so virulently and transparently anti-Senna and pro-Prost (his later attempt to recast them both as flawed geniuses rang insincerely); post-Senna it was blatantly obvious that he'd lost interest in F1, and he found it all but impossible to hide his contempt for the way the sport had evolved in the narrow cars/grooved tyres era. Which is fair enough, but the first job of a reporter is to report the facts, not present opinions...;)
Roebuck was brilliant in his day, but I think a journalist gradually loses his grip on a sport if the guys he cares about all move on, wherever they are in the sport. Nigel makes it blatantly obvious that his heroes were Behra, Jim Clark and Rosemeyer from before his own professional involvement, and Mario, Keke, Gilles, Alan Jones, Chris Amon, Ayrton, Sir Frank/Patrick... and of them only two are left in the game.
Well. I suppose debates are the healthier for divergence of opinion but I must say that the views expressed above do call to mind the aphorism of "Two men looked out from prison bars..." I see no evidence whatsoever that Roebuck has "lost interest in F1".
On the contrary, he has demonstrated a consistent fascination with it, perhaps spiced these days with a certain disappointment about aspects of the way commercialism and vested interests have taken it, something which the poster acknowledges as having validity.
I cite his response in "Ask Nigel" of 22 November 2006 to the question "Your favourite memorabilia items."
as evidence of Roebuck's continuing affection for the errant child that F1 currently seems to be. If anyone has difficulty seeing his genuine enthusiasm for F1, in both its ancient and modern guises then I don't fancy their chances in the event that a semi-trailer approaches them on the wrong side of the road!"...the first job of a reporter is to report the facts, not present opinions...;) "
Well it might be but after more than 35 years of following and writing about F1, during many of which he has been widely acknowledged within his fraternity as a leading light, I think we can allow him a somewhat greater status than mere reporter. I suggest that most of his readers enjoy his work precisely because
of the opinions he presents. And that is because they do not have the access to the inside people of motor racing that he does. No, he's not just a reporter, he's a commentator.
Roebuck has heroes, manifestly. Why not? And how does that necessarily hobble the quality of his knowledge, insights and opinion? What it does do is provide evidence that he has an ongoing interest in the sport.
As Roebuck says in his reply, "In spite of working F1 for as long as I have, I have never ceased to be 'a fan', as you put it, and I trust I never will."
I commend those TNFers who do not have a subscription to take one out quick smart and, after reading the aforementioned Roebuck piece then claim that he has "lost interest in F1"
or has lost "his grip on a sport".