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The Nostalgic Grand Prix of Belgium


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#1 Barry Boor

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Posted 18 September 2002 - 06:42

I hope that Bira will allow this thread to remain on TNF, despite the fact that, at present, it is not exactly nostalgia, but will be soon! :( I have posted on TNF because it is my TNF friends with whom I wish to share this news.

Although this info was mooted a time ago, it appears that things are becoming more fefinite.

A well-informed insider has leaked to me the following desperate news: the tobacco advertising ban in Belgium begins on August 1st 2003; the grand prix should be at the end of that month; moves are afoot to swap Belgium with Austria so that the race at Spa takes place BEFORE August 1st 2003; then, from 2004 onwards......... no Belgian Grand Prix.

Is this depressing, or is it just me ????? :confused:

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#2 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 September 2002 - 07:26

Totally depressing that the future of Grand Prix racing relies on tobacco advertising.

Curse Colin Chapman and his gold leaves!

Can't Schumacher take a pay cut instead?

#3 oldtimer

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Posted 18 September 2002 - 18:49

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Totally depressing that the future of Grand Prix racing relies on tobacco advertising.

Curse Colin Chapman and his gold leaves!

Can't Schumacher take a pay cut instead?


I don't think we can blame it all on Chunkie, even though we know that's a tongue-in-cheek comment.

This whole thing came home to me in the early 70s when at Silverstone for practice at a British GP. I was peering inside a transporter for Graham Hill's Embassy Team, which was very much a backmarker. Inside were 4 or so DFV engines. I couldn't help but contrast this to the same event in 1958, when the Ferraris arrived under tarpaulins on open, beaten up British lorries and Hawthorn had to borrow ramps from the Vanwall team, who were the envy of the paddock with their custom-designed transporters.

#4 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 September 2002 - 21:00

True enough...

At the Australian GP of 1966 (or 1965, 1964, 1967 or 1968 for that matter, even 1969!) there were many Avis rental Ford F100s, all red and roadstained, with flatbed trailers that had spare wheels hanging on the sides around tarpaulin-covered BRMs (or Lotus, or Brabhams, or Ferraris, or Lolas), tool boxes stashed in the back of the style-side (a name that didn't exist then!) bodies of the trucks.

Today, the alloy containers shaped to the form of a 747 fuselage come on forklifts by the dozen, Bernie's camera crew set up all their own TV stuff around the circuit, the very best of everything is laid on for everyone and local catering crews are paid bountifully to keep them fed and otherwise provided for.

I know where I'd rather be... just by the way...

#5 Gary C

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Posted 18 September 2002 - 22:04

'the very best of everything is laid on for everyone and local catering crews are paid bountifully to keep them fed and otherwise provided for.' Ha! I don't know about that, Ray! (from one who has experienced it first hand!!!).

#6 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 September 2002 - 22:29

Well where is all that food and stuff going?

Caterers running around like mad things getting things sorted... oh, I get it... that's for the corporate guests!

#7 Gary C

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Posted 18 September 2002 - 22:30

Exactly!! I'm afraid we were fed and watered by the same (Austrian) crew the whole season.........

#8 Wolf

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Posted 18 September 2002 - 22:33

I think that the problem is that Bernie thinks Belgium is some banana-republic, where he can stomp his primadonna foot and make politicians/bureaucrats jump. There are plenty enough races with tobbacco ban (BTW, I may go on the record and claim it being hypocrisy of highest order, demanding special attention), so why would Spa not be allowed to be one of those races.

I understand the concept that there is only a certain number of races with tobbacco ban for rentability of the whole show (F1, that is) to exist, but he better drop another race in that case... Spa will be Spa without F1, but how much F1 will be F1, if Spa is dropped? Not that I delude myself that this is the Spa, but it definitely isn't one of 'em Mickey Mouse* tracks...

* i would ask, if I durst, about the origin of that phrase. Thanks in advance. :)

#9 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 September 2002 - 23:35

"Mickey Mouse"?

From the early seventies, as I recall... used often with places like Zolder. Ironically, many of them were Hugenholtz circuits built with too many restrictions, hence too tight to be realistic... and if one looks at Suzuka you'll see that Hugenholtz did the right job when he had the right situation to work with.

Maybe Alan Henry? Maybe one for Doug?

#10 Vitesse2

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 00:01

A little earlier than that Ray. Graham Hill uses the phrase in Life at the Limit, describing Le Mans Bugatti.

#11 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 00:45

When did he write that book?

Yeah, the Bugatti circuit would have brought out that term for sure...

#12 Ralliart

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 01:15

:smoking: On the video "Nine Days In Summer", the narrator says something to the effect - "The drivers consider the course (Le Mans-Bugatti) to be a Mickey Mouse circuit." As it's about the Lotus 49 and the Ford engine, maybe he's quoting G. Hill, maybe not.

#13 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 01:44

I suspect the name comes from the circuit maps...

The shape of the circuit, typically with 'ears' like Mickey Mouse...

#14 David McKinney

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 05:48

Nah, more likely from Mickey Mouse watches, which were kids' toys which sometimes worked and sometimes didn't. "Mickey Mouse" was applied to anything that was more like a cheap toy than the real thing long before its application to circuits

#15 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 06:03

Ah yes, indeed they did...

Funny, I never thought of that connection at the time.

#16 Barry Boor

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 06:23

I am currently reading a Len Deighton book called "Goodbye, Mickey Mouse". It is about American fighter pilots in England during WW2. The book implies that the term 'Mickey Mouse' was applied to certain frivolous, pointless and inconsequential things as long ago as the early 1940's.

Incidentally, when Motoring News published the first circuit map of the Las Vegas car park circuit in about 1981 (?), their headline read....

MICKEYIST MOUSE EVER?